HEAR HIS MUSIC

The LORD corrects those he loves, just as parents correct the child they delight in.
PROVERBS 3:12

Oh, how God wants you to hear his music. He has a rhythm that will race your heart and lyrics that will stir your tears. You want to journey to the stars? He can take you there. You want to lie down in peace? His music can soothe your soul.

But first, he’s got to get rid of that country-western stuff. (Forgive me, Nashville. Only an example.)

And so he begins tossing the CDs. A friend turns away. The job goes bad. Your spouse doesn’t understand. The church is dull. One by one he removes the options until all you have left is God. He would do that? Absolutely. If he must silence every voice, he will. He wants you to hear his music.

from TRAVELING LIGHT

HE GOETH ON BEFORE

“He putteth forth his own sheep.” (John 10:4.)

OH, this is bitter work for Him and us—bitter for us to go, but equally bitter for Him to cause us pain; yet it must be done. It would not be conducive to our true welfare to stay always in one happy and comfortable lot. He therefore puts us forth. The fold is deserted, that the sheep may wander over the bracing mountain slope. The laborers must be thrust out into the harvest, else the golden grain would spoil.

Take heart! it could not be better to stay when He determines otherwise; and if the loving hand of our Lord puts us forth, it must be well. On, in His name, to green pastures and Still waters and mountain heights! He goeth before thee. Whatever awaits us is encountered first by Him. Faith’s eye can always discern His majestic presence in front; and when that cannot be seen, it is dangerous to move forward. Bind this comfort to your heart, that the Savior has tried for Himself all the experiences through which He asks you to pass; and He would not ask you to pass through them unless He was sure that they were not too difficult for your feet, or too trying for your strength.

This is the Blessed Life—not anxious to see far in front, nor careful about the next step, not eager to choose the path, nor weighted with the heavy responsibilities of the future, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time.

Dark is the sky! and veiled the unknown morrow!
Dark is life’s way, for night is not yet o’er;
The longed-for glimpse I may not meanwhile borrow;
But, this I know, HE GOETH ON BEFORE,

Dangers are nigh! and fears my mind are shaking;
Heart seems to dread what life may hold in store;
But I am His—He knows the way I’m taking,
More blessed still—HE GOETH ON BEFORE.

Doubts cast their weird, unwelcome shadows o’er me,
Doubts that life’s best—life’s choicest things are o’er;
What but His Word can strengthen, can restore me,
And this blest fact; that still HE GOES BEFORE.

HE GOES BEFORE! Be this my consolation!
He goes before! On this my heart would dwell!
He goes before! This guarantees salvation!
HE GOES BEFORE! And therefore all is well

—J. D. Smith.

A GODLY TOUCH

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I will. Be healed!”
MATTHEW 8:3

Oh, the power of a godly touch. Haven’t you known it? The doctor who treated you, or the teacher who dried your tears? Was there a hand holding yours at a funeral? Another on your shoulder during a trial? A handshake of welcome at a new job? …

Can’t we offer the same?

Many of you already do. Some of you have the master touch of the Physician himself. You use your hands to pray over the sick and minister to the weak. If you aren’t touching them personally, your hands are writing letters, dialing phones, baking pies. You have learned the power of a touch.

But others of us tend to forget. Our hearts are good; it’s just that our memories are bad. We forget how significant one touch can be …

Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t make the same mistake?


from JUST LIKE JESUS

Admission into Joy

You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.
PSALM 30:11

The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.…

They ask God to do for them what they can’t do without him. They have seen how holy God is and how sinful they are and have agreed with Jesus’ statement, “Salvation is impossible.”

Oh, the irony of God’s delight—born in the parched soil of destitution rather than the fertile ground of achievement.

It’s a different path, a path we’re not accustomed to taking. We don’t often declare our impotence. Admission of failure is not usually admission into joy. Complete confession is not commonly followed by total pardon. But then again, God has never been governed by what is common.

The Applause of Heaven