Aug 27, 2011
Breathe – Michael W. Smith
This song is for praise and worship by many
Aug 27, 2011
Breathe – Michael W. Smith
This song is for praise and worship by many
LORD, even when I have trouble all around me, you will keep me alive. PSALM 138:7
There is a window in your heart through which you can see God. Once upon a time that window was clear. Your view of God was crisp. You could see God as vividly as you could see a gentle valley or hillside.
Then, suddenly, the window cracked. A pebble broke the window. A pebble of pain.
And suddenly God was not so easy to see. The view that had been so crisp had changed.
You were puzzled. God wouldn’t allow something like this to happen, would he?
When you can’t see him, trust him.… Jesus is closer than you’ve ever dreamed.
In the Eye of the Storm
Divine miracles occur daily: when closed minds open, the spiritually blind suddenly see the gospel’s truth, and rebels surrender and become God’s children. Jesus promised that we who believe can have a part in great works like these by making requests in His name.
Our heavenly Father waits for us to draw near with our big petitions. He looks to see that we are asking based on the merits and reconciling work of Christ, that we have confessed all known sin, and that we firmly believe He’ll do what He has said. In other words, we are not to doubt; our Father wants us to have faith that He will both keep His promises and respond for our good. He delights in giving His children gifts (Matt. 7:11).
God answers our requests when they are in alignment with His plan. And we know He won’t act in a manner inconsistent with His character. So by searching the Scriptures, we can discover whether our desires line up with God’s nature and promises. We might also learn about someone with a similar dilemma, such as: Elisha, who was exhausted and in despair; Ruth and Naomi, who were poor widows in need of the Lord’s help; or David, whose life was in danger. Their interactions with God—and the ways He responded—will provide guidance on how we can speak with our Father about our difficulties. And we can be certain the Holy Spirit will help us (Rom. 8:26).
God alone knows the perfect actions to take and the right time to do so. But He invites us to ask in faith—and to keep on asking (Matt. 7:7 ISV).
“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38)
There are times when we have great problems and God seems to ignore our prayers, and finally we begin to wonder if He cares about us at all. There is no need to wonder. God cares about the sparrow, and He surely cares about His own dear children. If there is not some clear reason why He fails to answer (such as sin in our lives), then perhaps it is simply (as in Job’s case) a test of our faith.
When the disciples thought Jesus didn’t care, He rebuked them thus: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Mary and Martha sent word that their brother Lazarus was deathly ill, but then Jesus “abode two days still in the same place where he was” (John 11:6). When the sisters complained about His delay, He replied: “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).
One day a woman of Canaan cried out to Him for mercy on her for her demon-possessed daughter, “but he answered her not a word.” He seemed not to care, but she kept calling on Him and worshipping Him, until He finally said unto her: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:23, 28).
The disciples and the sisters of Lazarus and the Canaanite woman all wondered at His seeming lack of concern, but He did care. He finally calmed the storm, and raised Lazarus, and healed the daughter. His delay was in order to test and strengthen their faith.
Can He not also test us, “that the trial of your faith . . . though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7)? HMM
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” (Exod. 3:1, 2.)
THE vision came in the midst of common toil, and that is where the Lord delights to give His revelations. He seeks a man who is on the ordinary road, and the Divine fire leaps out at his feet. The mystic ladder can rise from the market place to Heaven. It can connect the realm of drudgery with the realms of grace.
My Father God, help me to expect Thee on the ordinary road. I do not ask for sensational happenings. Commune with me through ordinary work and duty. Be my Companion when I take the common journey. Let the humble life be transfigured by Thy presence.
Some Christians think they must be always up to mounts of extraordinary joy and revelation; this is not after God’s method. Those spiritual visits to high places, and that wonderful intercourse with the unseen world, are not in the promises; the daily life of communion is. And it is enough. We shall have the exceptional revelation if it be right for us.
There were but three disciples allowed to see the transfiguration, and those three entered the gloom of Gethsemane. No one can stay on the mount of privilege. There are duties in the valley. Christ found His life-work, not in the glory, but in the valley and was there truly and fully the Messiah. The value of the vision and glory is but their gift of fitness for work and endurance.— Selected.
“He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” John 16:15
There are times when all the promises and a doctrines of the Bible are of no avail, unless a gracious hand shall apply them to us. We are thirsty, but too faint to crawl to the water- brook. When a soldier is wounded in battle it is of little use for him to know that there are those at the hospital who can bind up his wounds, and medicines there to ease all the pains which he now suffers: what he needs is to be carried thither, and to have the remedies applied. It is thus with our souls, and to meet this need there is one, even the Spirit of truth, who takes of the things of Jesus, and applies them to us.
Think not that Christ hath placed His joys on heavenly shelves that we may climb up to them for ourselves, but He draws near, and sheds His peace abroad in our hearts. O Christian, if thou art to-night labouring under deep distresses, thy Father does not give thee promises and then leave thee to draw them up from the Word like buckets from a well, but the promises He has written in the Word He will write anew on your heart. He will manifest His love to you, and by His blessed Spirit, dispel your cares and troubles. Be it known unto thee, O mourner, that it is God’s prerogative to wipe every tear from the eye of His people. The good Samaritan did not say, “Here is the wine, and here is the oil for you”; he actually poured in the oil and the wine.
So Jesus not only gives you the sweet wine of the promise, but holds the golden chalice to your lips, and pours the life-blood into your mouth. The poor, sick, way-worn pilgrim is not merely strengthened to walk, but he is borne on eagles’ wings. Glorious gospel! which provides everything for the helpless, which draws nigh to us when we cannot reach after it— brings us grace before we seek for grace! Here is as much glory in the giving as in the gift. Happy people who have the Holy Ghost to bring Jesus to them.
“I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4
This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.”
Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then He would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, “I will love you freely.”We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” “I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish.” “I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when He said, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned.”
It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! “I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such—”I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father’s face.