Our Father, bless us this morning. Lay Your hand on each of our heads as we bow before You, and give us a Father’s blessing. Then we can go out into the great world without fear. Keep us from evil all the day. Let us not wander from Your side. Hold us with Your hand, leading us and guarding us from falling. You are able to keep us from stumbling, and to present us faultless in glory. We cast our weakness upon You.
Bless us in whatever experiences the day may bring to us. May this be to each of us a day of growth in grace. May we be enabled to do our work well. Help us in our household duties and cares. Let us not be fretted or vexed with worries. Help us to do simply our duty, and then leave all of life’s tangles in Your hands. Help us also in our business and work. May we have grace to be honest in all our dealings with others, truthful in all our life and conversation, and consistent in our conduct and behavior — so that all who see us, shall see Jesus in us.
We desire to make this day one of loving ministry in Your name, to others. Fill us with Your Spirit, so that wherever we go, our faces may shine with the brightness of divine love. Help us to be as Jesus to those we meet. Fill us with Your love, Your peace, Your grace, Your compassion — so that Your life really shall be revealed in us. May our wayside ministry be one of blessing. Enable us by simple kindnesses, by gentleness, and grace of manner, and by words of encouragement and comfort — to be a blessing to everyone we meet today.
We remember our friends, and ask You to bless them all. Receive us now into your care, use us, bless us, and keep us, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Streams in the Desert
Open My Eyes
Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see – 2 Kgs 6:17
This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one another, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see”; for the world all around us, as well as around the prophet, is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls.
Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we treat it as such; and, on the other hand, even the smallest trial may be a Juggernaut car to crush us into misery or despair if we consider it.
It lies with each of us to choose which they shall be. It all depends, not upon what these events are, but upon how we take them. If we lie down under them, and let them roll over us and crush us, they become Juggernaut cars, but if we climb up into them, as into a car of victory, and make them carry us triumphantly onward and upward, they become the chariots of God. —Hannah Whitall Smith
The Lord cannot do much with a crushed soul, hence the adversary’s attempt to push the Lord’s people into despair and hopelessness over the condition of themselves, or of the church. It has often been said that a dispirited army goes forth to battle with the certainty of being beaten. We heard a missionary say recently that she had been invalided home purely because her spirit had fainted, with the consequence that her body sunk also. We need to understand more of these attacks of the enemy upon our spirits and how to resist them. If the enemy can dislodge us from our position, then he seeks to “wear us out” (Daniel 7:25) by a prolonged siege, so that at last we, out of sheer weakness, let go the cry of victory.
Streams in the Desert
Do Not Yield to Discouragement
They looked…and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud – Exod 16:10
Get into the habit of looking for the silver lining of the cloud and when you have found it, continue to look at it, rather than at the leaden gray in the middle.
Do not yield to discouragement no matter how sorely pressed or beset you may be. A discouraged soul is helpless. He can neither resist the wiles of the enemy himself, while in this state, nor can he prevail in prayer for others.
Flee from every symptom of this deadly foe as you would flee from a viper. And be not slow in turning your back on it, unless you want to bite the dust in bitter defeat.
Search out God’s promises and say aloud of each one: “This promise is mine.” If you still experience a feeling of doubt and discouragement, pour out your heart to God and ask Him to rebuke the adversary who is so mercilessly nagging you.
The very instant you whole-heartedly turn away from every symptom of distrust and discouragement, the blessed Holy Spirit will quicken your faith and inbreathe Divine strength into your soul.
At first you may not be conscious of this, still as you resolutely and uncompromisingly “snub” every tendency toward doubt and depression that assails you, you will soon be made aware that the powers of darkness are falling back.
Oh, if our eyes could only behold the solid phalanx of strength, of power, that is ever behind every turning away from the hosts of darkness, God-ward, what scant heed would be given to the effort of the wily foe to distress, depress, discourage us!
All the marvelous attributes of the Godhead are on the side of the weakest believer, who in the name of Christ, and in simple, childlike trust, yields himself to God and turns to Him for help and guidance. —Selected
On a day in the autumn, I saw a prairie eagle mortally wounded by a rifle shot. His eye still gleamed like a circle of light. Then he slowly turned his head, and gave one more searching and longing look at the sky. He had often swept those starry spaces with his wonderful wings. The beautiful sky was the home of his heart. It was the eagle’s domain. A thousand times he had exploited there his splendid strength. In those far away heights he had played with the lightnings, and raced with the winds, and now, so far away from home, the eagle lay dying, done to the death, because for once he forgot and flew too low. The soul is that eagle. This is not its home. It must not lose the skyward look. We must keep faith, we must keep hope, we must keep courage, we must keep Christ. We would better creep away from the battlefield at once if we are not going to be brave. There is no time for the soul to stampede. Keep the skyward look, my soul; keep the skyward look!
“Keep looking up—
The waves that roar around thy feet,
Jehovah-Jireh will defeat
When looking up.
“Keep looking up—
Though darkness seems to wrap thy soul;
The Light of Light shall fill thy soul
When looking up.
“Keep looking up—
When worn, distracted with the fight;
Your Captain gives you conquering might
When you look up.”
We can never see the sun rise by looking into the west. —Japanese Proverb
“Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro. He went deep into the wilderness” – Exod 3:1
For forty years Moses had been shepherding sheep in the wilderness. It appears to us as if all those years were lost. We can see how profitably the first forty were spent. Those earlier years under his mother’s influence–he carried their lessons and impress to the end. Then those years in the schools of Egypt and in the palace he learned much there which was essential to his mission. But what did that long period in the desert do toward fitting him to be a leader, a lawgiver, the builder of a nation? Far more, no doubt, than we can tell. All that while, his character was knitting itself into strength. He was learning self-discipline. In the wilderness, he was taught many a lesson which made him more fit for his work–lessons he could never have learned in the busy life of Pharaoh’s palace.
Nowadays, boys can scarcely wait until they are out of their teens to begin their life-work. Some of them think it a waste of time to take a regular college course before they enter a profession. They think they must get at once into the ministry, or into the medical or legal profession. They cannot afford the time to study through all the long course. No wonder such boys fail as men. When God trains a man for any great work–he always takes plenty of time. No boy acts wisely who is in such a hurry to get to work that he cannot wait to prepare well.
Blessed are You, O God, our strength, who teaches our hands to war, and our fingers to fight. Teach us to war against all wickedness. You are our goodness and our fortress and our high tower, our deliverer, our shield, and the God in whom we trust. You are our refuge and our strength, our keeper in the midst of trouble, and our deliverer.
Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him. Man is like to vanity; his days are as a shadow that passes away. Yet we rejoice in Your love and thought for Your redeemed children. Though we are so frail, like a flower, like the reed, bruised and broken — still You do indeed make account of us. You have put Your image upon us. You have put Your Spirit within us. You have made us Your own children. We are dearer to You than all other things in the universe, because we are Your own children and You are our Father, and because You have redeemed us at the price of the blood of Your own Son. In the person of Your Son, we are as dear to You as He is. Help us to realize our nearness and dearness to You.
We would rejoice as a family in Your goodness and Your grace. Rid us and deliver us from the hand of evil men, whose mouth speaks vanity and whose right hands are right hands of falsehood. May our sons be as plants grown up in their youth. May our daughters be as corner-stones polished after the similitude of a palace. May our garners be full, that we may feed the hungry. May we all honor You by holy and beautiful lives.
Fill our home today with Your love, and may all of us receive from You grace, mercy, and truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.