PRAYER REMINDS US

When a believing person prays, great things happen. JAMES 5:16

Prayer is the recognition that if God had not engaged himself in our problems, we would still be lost in the blackness. It is by his mercy that we have been lifted up. Prayer is that whole process that reminds us of who God is and who we are.

I believe there’s great power in prayer. I believe God heals the wounded, and that he can raise the dead. But I don’t believe we tell God what to do and when to do it.

God knows that we, with our limited vision, don’t even know that for which we should pray. When we entrust our requests to him, we trust him to honor our prayers with holy judgment.

from WALKING WITH THE SAVIOR

What Time Is It?

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son. —Galatians 4:4

The old adage is true: Timing is everything! That’s why Paul’s statement, “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son” intrigues me so much (Gal. 4:4).

A quick look at history reveals that the coming of Christ was at just the right time. Centuries earlier, Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world, bringing with him the Greek culture and language. On the heels of his demise, the Roman Empire picked up where Alexander left off and expanded the territory under the unifying influence of the culture and language of the Greeks. It was under Roman rule that the crucifixion took place, where the blood of Christ was shed for us. It was under the rule of Rome that conditions were made ready for the spread of the gospel across three continents: good roads, territorial boundaries free of “passport” restrictions, and a unifying language. The providence of God had put all the pieces in place for the perfect time to send His Son.

God’s timing is perfect in everything. While you are waiting, perhaps wondering why God doesn’t seem to be acting on your behalf, remember that He’s working behind the scenes to prepare His moment of intervention at just the right time. Trust Him. He knows what time it is. by Joe Stowell

Lord, in Your infinite wisdom and power, You work
behind the scenes to prepare all things for just the
right time. Teach me to wait well and to trust You
to know when the fullness of time has come.

Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work. —Marshall

The Dayspring from on High

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us.” (Luke 1:78)

This is an unusual, but beautiful, name of the coming Savior given Him by Zacharias when he was “filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied” (Luke 1:67). In that same prophecy, Zacharias also called that coming one “the Highest” and “the Lord” who would “give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” (vv. 76-77). Just six months later, Jesus was born.

The Greek word here translated “dayspring” is so translated only this one time. It refers to the metaphorical spring from which the sun springs forth each day, and so is usually translated simply as “the east.” It is interesting that it is used three times in connection with the story of the wise men “from the east” who saw “his star in the east,” and then, when they reached Bethlehem once again, “the star, which they saw in the east,” led them to the one who was Himself “the dayspring” (Matthew 2:1-2, 9).

There is one other sunrise appropriately presaged here. Many years later, the women who had tearfully watched the Lord being crucified and buried came to His sepulcher to anoint Him with sweet spices “at the rising of the sun” (Mark 16:2) immediately after He had risen from the dead. Here a closely related word is the word translated “rising.”

There is another great sunrise coming, as promised in the last chapter of the Old Testament. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). He who is Himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12) will someday even replace the sun in the new Jerusalem. There will never be another sunrise after that, for “there shall be no night there . . . neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light” (Revelation 22:5). HMM

Be still, and know that I am God

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10.)

IS there any note of music in all the chorus as mighty as the emphatic pause? Is there any word in all the Psalter more eloquent than that one word, Selah (Pause)? Is there anything more thrilling and awful than the hush that comes before the bursting of the tempest and the strange quiet that seems to fall upon all nature before some preternatural phenomenon or convulsion? Is there anything that can touch our hearts as the power of stillness?

There is for the heart that will cease from itself, “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” a “quietness and confidence” which is the source of all strength, a sweet peace “which nothing can offend,” a deep rest which the world can neither give nor take away. There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.

There is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center, where there is no movement at all; and so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God, in eternal stillness. There is only one way to know God. “Be still, and know.” “God is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”—Selected.

“All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever. And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.

“But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps. It was Thy ‘still small voice’ that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard. We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love. And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain.”

The worst of sluggards only ask for a little slumber

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” Proverbs 24:33,34

The worst of sluggards only ask for a little slumber; they would be indignant if they were accused of thorough idleness. A little folding of the hands to sleep is all they crave, and they have a crowd of reasons to show that this indulgence is a very proper one. Yet by these littles the day ebbs out, and the time for labour is all gone, and the field is grown over with thorns. It is by little procrastinations that men ruin their souls.

They have no intention to delay for years—a few months will bring the more convenient season—tomorrow if you will, they will attend to serious things; but the present hour is so occupied and altogether so unsuitable, that they beg to be excused. Like sands from an hour-glass, time passes, life is wasted by driblets, and seasons of grace lost by little slumbers. Oh, to be wise, to catch the flying hour, to use the moments on the wing! May the Lord teach us this sacred wisdom, for otherwise a poverty of the worst sort awaits us, eternal poverty which shall want even a drop of water, and beg for it in vain. Like a traveller steadily pursuing his journey, poverty overtakes the slothful, and ruin overthrows the undecided: each hour brings the dreaded pursuer nearer; he pauses not by the way, for he is on his master’s business and must not tarry.

As an armed man enters with authority and power, so shall want come to the idle, and death to the impenitent, and there will be no escape. O that men were wise be-times, and would seek diligently unto the Lord Jesus, or ere the solemn day shall dawn when it will be too late to plough and to sow, too late to repent and believe. In harvest, it is vain to lament that the seed time was neglected. As yet, faith and holy decision are timely. May we obtain them this night.

The glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams

“The glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.” Isaiah 33:21

Broad rivers and streams produce fertility, and abundance in the land. Places near broad rivers are remarkable for the variety of their plants and their plentiful harvests. God is all this to His Church. Having God she has abundance. What can she ask for that He will not give her? What want can she mention which He will not supply? “In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things.” Want ye the bread of life? It drops like manna from the sky. Want ye refreshing streams? The rock follows you, and that Rock is Christ.

If you suffer any want it is your own fault; if you are straitened you are not straitened in Him, but in your own bowels. Broad rivers and streams also point to commerce. Our glorious Lord is to us a place of heavenly merchandize. Through our Redeemer we have commerce with the past; the wealth of Calvary, the treasures of the covenant, the riches of the ancient days of election, the stores of eternity, all come to us down the broad stream of our gracious Lord. We have commerce, too, with the future. What galleys, laden to the water’s edge, come to us from the millennium! What visions we have of the days of heaven upon earth!

Through our glorious Lord we have commerce with angels; communion with the bright spirits washed in blood, who sing before the throne; nay, better still, we have fellowship with the Infinite One. Broad rivers and streams are specially intended to set forth the idea of security. Rivers were of old a defence. Oh! beloved, what a defence is God to His Church! The devil cannot cross this broad river of God. How he wishes he could turn the current, but fear not, for God abideth immutably the same. Satan may worry, but he cannot destroy us; no galley with oars shall invade our river, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby.