- About Eric
- Book Reviews
- Country Profile
- MDBG Dictionary
- Modern China
- Contact Eric
- BBN Radio
Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Monday, March 15, 2021
What is a weeb? The term is used in this fascinating and very informative short video on the historical relationship between China and Japan. Dictionary.com defines it this way:
A weeb is a derisive term for a non-Japanese person who is so obsessed with Japanese culture that they wish they were actually Japanese.
When the narrator of this short video uses the term “weeb” to define Chinese who are interested in China, he is doing it in jest, of course. But is it accurate? I started to think about this, because one of the things I noticed when I came to China was the difference between how American students and Chinese students approach Japan.
I taught at a software university in Tempe, Arizona for four years (but actually 12 semesters). I would ask students, “What is your dream?” or “What is you career objective?”
I would hear, “I want to go to Japan and write software.”
It always pained me, because I knew that the odds of that actually happening were not very good. I sincerely hope that some of them were able to make it happen. But it’s pretty tough for Americans. If you want to benefit from Japan’s severe labor shortage, you really need to be able to do Japanese.
But I wasn’t surprised by the interest American young people had for Japanese culture. Japan produces lots of video games, including phone games. So it’s not surprising at all that American young people who were enthralled with things Japanese would want to go to where it all happens.
When I got to China, the Software College at Beihang University actually had a Japanese Software program. They would hire a Japanese teacher to come and teach language skills to students in that program. Several members of the faculty had lived and worked in Japan, and spoke excellent Japanese. And I had many students who had, during their middle school years, taken the Japanese exemption to the language requirement. In some parts of China, students can opt to take Japanese or Russian instead of English.
So I saw a system at Beihang that the American “weebs” I taught in Arizona would envy. But when it comes to the reason for going to Japan, Chinese students tend, I think, to be more pragmatic. The reason for their interest in Japan does not come mostly from a fascination with things Japanese, but from a desire to take advantage of Japan’s severe labor shortage, and particularly in the area of their chosen skill and interest. I asked one my students who had gone to Japan if he was planning to become a Japanese citizen. He said, “My grandfather would be very angry.” But his grandfather didn’t complain about the money he was able to send home.
Chinese students in their approach to Japan are very similar to Americans in Beijing who value being in China, but who are perfectly content to go to international churches that bar the door to Chinese people. Of course I did not follow my students abroad, but I have heard reports from Chinese students who went to Japan or America that they often tended to spend a lot of time with other Chinese students.
So for the most part, I think, Chinese students who go to Japan are not so much preoccupied with becoming Japanese as they are with taking advantage, both of the work opportunity and of the economic difference between China and Japan. Money earned in Japan goes a lot further in China than it does in Japan. In addition to this, Chinese people who have Japanese experience, and especially Japanese language proficiency, have an extraordinary employability advantage when they come back to China.
Most Americans I met during the sixteen years I lived in Beijing knew very little about Chinese culture, and they had little interest in learning. For most of them, Beijing was their whole China. When they left Beijing, it was usually to go to America. Mind you, Americans generally like China, they like living in China, and they get along well with Chinese people. And in the church environment, the ones I saw who did go to Chinese churches (a very small minority, since most Americans prefer to go to the international churches that bar the door to Chinese people) were very effective at working with Chinese young people. But they did not know much about Chinese history or culture. When I was working at the Software College at Beijing University, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs had a special dinner at the Great Hall of the People for foreign teachers. One of my colleagues said, "Is this some kind of famous place or something?" Believe it or not, he was Chinese American.
Don’t get me wrong—there are plenty of sinophiles in China, but they don’t tend to be American. Americans are much more like Chinese working in Japan in that sense. Their reasons for being in China tend to be more pragmatic. But they differ in one way from Chinese. For Chinese people working in Japan, it is not so much that they are not interested in Japanese culture, it is because, in some sense, they are already part of it.
So this brings me to my question: Should China and Japan be viewed as two different cultures that have borrowed from each other over the centuries, or should they be viewed as actually being two different parts of the same culture? Watch the short video above and see what you think.
Labels: China and Japan
Monday, March 08, 2021
In the previous lesson, we introduced the glider as an aircraft that flies without an engine. We also talked about the difference between a conventional glider (or perhaps I should say “pre-Treaty of Versailles” glider) and what we have come to call a “sailplane.” As mentioned in the previous lesson, the Treaty of Versailles is important, because it is the historical event that motivated the Germans to focus on developing super efficient gliders.
In this lesson, we want to focus on how sailplanes work. To begin, then, we want to be sure we understand how a sailplane differs from a regular glider. Both sailplanes and regular gliders need to be towed aloft, usually by a powered airplane. The difference between them is that once they are released, the regular glider will simply glide back to earth, while the sailplane will search for rising air currents and try to use these rising air currents to stay aloft or even to gain altitude. The process of floating back to earth is called “gliding.” The process of using rising air currents to stay aloft is called “soaring.”
The video above explains how sailplanes use air currents to stay aloft. There is one error I should point out do you. He says, “gliders, also known as sailplanes.” That’s not correct. That implies that “sailplane” is just another term for glider. No. A sailplane is a specific type of glider. All sailplanes are gliders, of course. But all gliders are not sailplanes. But aside from the fact that he keeps saying “glider” when he should be saying “sailplane,” this video is the best technical description of how sailplanes work that you will ever see. It is excellent.
After you have watched the video above, take a look at the one below. The video below is interesting, because it shows a modern version of the gliders from 1930 that we introduced at the beginning of the previous lesson. Very similar. Essentially the same design. So why would anyone want to have such an old fashioned glider like the one below (that is no good for soaring) in the modern age when high performance sailplanes are available? The reason is that these old style gliders are very good as trainers, because they are so easy to fly. A kid could fly one. Mind you, you still need training, and you should limit your flying to days with almost perfect weather, but training gliders like this are very good for learning. So science takes a giant step backward. This is why there will always be a difference between gliders like the trainer below (which is also built by a German company) and high performance German sailplanes like the one we introduced in the video at the end of the previous lesson. So the need for conventional gliders is not going to go away, but It is probably also true that future innovations in powerless flight, especially the ultra light variety, will focus on taking advantage of rising air currents to extend flight.
Monday, March 01, 2021
Making Straight the Crooked
Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? - Ecclesiastes 7:13
Often God seems to place His children in positions of profound difficulty, leading them into a wedge from which there is no escape; contriving a situation which no human judgment would have permitted, had it been previously consulted. The very cloud conducts them thither. You may be thus involved at this very hour.
It does seem perplexing and very serious to the last degree, but it is perfectly right. The issue will more than justify Him who has brought you hither. It is a platform for the display of His almighty grace and power.
He will not only deliver you; but in doing so, He will give you a lesson that you will never forget, and to which, in many a psalm and song, in after days, you will revert. You will never be able to thank God enough for having done just as He has. —Selected
"We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns."
It puzzles me; but, Lord, Thou understandest,
And wilt one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Thy best—
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.
Thou hast fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on Thee;
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to Thee.
So I will thank and praise Thee for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing Thou dost hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Thy guiding hand. —F.E.M.I.
Meet Him in the Morning
Be ready in the morning, and come up...present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. And no man shall come up with thee. - Exodus 34:2-3
The morning watch is essential. You must not face the day until you have faced God, nor look into the face of others until you have looked into His.
You cannot expect to be victorious, if the day begins only in your own strength. Face the work of every day with the influence of a few thoughtful, quiet moments with your heart and God. Do not meet other people, even those of your own home, until you have first met the great Guest and honored Companion of your life--Jesus Christ.
Meet Him alone. Meet Him regularly. Meet Him with His open Book of counsel before you; and face the regular and the irregular duties of each day with the influence of His personality definitely controlling your every act.
Begin the day with God!
He is thy Sun and Day!
His is the radiance of thy dawn;
To Him address thy lay.
Sing a new song at morn!
Join the glad woods and hills;
Join the fresh winds and seas and plains,
Join the bright flowers and rills.
Sing thy first song to God!
Not to thy fellow men;
Not to the creatures of His hand,
But to the glorious One.
Take thy first walk with God!
Let Him go forth with thee;
By stream, or sea, or mountain path,
Seek still His company.
Thy first transaction be
With God Himself above;
So shall thy business prosper well,
And all the day be love. —Horatius Bonar
The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early upon their knees.
Matthew Henry used to be in his study at four, and remain there till eight; then, after breakfast and family prayer, he used to be there again till noon; after dinner, he resumed his book or pen till four, and spent the rest of the day in visiting his friends.
Doddridge himself alludes to his "Family Expositor" as an example of the difference of rising between five and seven, which, in forty years, is nearly equivalent to ten years more of life.
Dr. Adam Clark's "Commentary" was chiefly prepared very early in the morning.
Barnes' popular and useful "Commentary" has been also the fruit of "early morning hours."
Simeon's "Sketches" were chiefly worked out between four and eight.
The Price of Freedom
And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him. - Mark 9:26
Evil never surrenders its hold without a sore fight. We never pass into any spiritual inheritance through the delightful exercises of a picnic, but always through the grim contentions of the battle field. It is so in the secret realm of the soul. Every faculty which wins its spiritual freedom does so at the price of blood. Apollyon is not put to flight by a courteous request; he straddles across the full breadth of the way, and our progress has to be registered in blood and tears. This we must remember or we shall add to all the other burdens of life the gall of misinterpretation. We are not "born again" into soft and protected nurseries, but in the open country where we suck strength from the very terror of the tempest. "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Dr. J. H. Jowett
"Faith of our Fathers! living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword:
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious word.
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!
"Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
How sweet would be their children's fate,
If they, like them, could die for Thee!"
Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!
Tempered and Tried
Followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.- Hebrews 6:12
They (heroes of faith) are calling to us from the heights that they have won, and telling us that what man once did man can do again. Not only do they remind us of the necessity of faith, but also of that patience by which faith has its perfect work. Let us fear to take ourselves out of the hands of our heavenly Guide or to miss a single lesson of His loving discipline by discouragement or doubt.
"There is only one thing," said a village blacksmith, "that I fear, and that is to be thrown on the scrap heap.
"When I am tempering a piece of steel, I first beat it, hammer it, and then suddenly plunge it into this bucket of cold water. I very soon find whether it will take temper or go to pieces in the process. When I discover after one or two tests that it is not going to allow itself to be tempered, I throw it on the scrap heap and sell it for a cent a pound when the junk man comes around.
"So I find the Lord tests me, too, by fire and water and heavy blows of His heavy hammer, and if I am not willing to stand the test, or am not going to prove a fit subject for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me on the scrap heap."
When the fire is hottest, hold still, for there will be a blessed "afterward"; and with Job we may be able to say, "When he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold." —Selected
Sainthood springs out of suffering. It takes eleven tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. God will tune you to harmonize with Heaven's key-note if you can stand the strain.
"Things that hurt and things that mar
Shape the man for perfect praise;
Shock and strain and ruin are
Friendlier than the smiling days."
Hold on Until the End
We are made partaker of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. - Hebrews 3:14
It is the last step that wins; and there is no place in the pilgrim's progress where so many dangers lurk as the region that lies hard by the portals of the Celestial City. It was there that Doubting Castle stood. It was there that the enchanted ground lured the tired traveler to fatal slumber. It is when Heaven's heights are full in view that hell's gate is most persistent and full of deadly peril. "Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." "So run, that ye may obtain."
In the bitter waves of woe
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.
And fierce though the fiends may fight,
And long though the angels hide,
I know that truth and right
Have the universe on their side;
And that somewhere beyond the stars
Is a love that is better than fate.
When the night unlocks her bars
I shall see Him—and I will wait. —Washington Gladden
The problem of getting great things from God is being able to hold on for the last half hour. —Selected
We trusted. - Luke 24:21
I have always felt so sorry that in that walk to Emmaus the disciples had not said to Jesus, "We still trust"; instead of "We trusted." That is so sad—something that is all over.
If they had only said, "Everything is against our hope; it looks as if our trust was vain, but we do not give up; we believe we shall see Him again." But no, they walked by His side declaring their lost faith, and He had to say to them "O fools, and slow of heart to believe!"
Are we not in the same danger of having these words said to us? We can afford to lose anything and everything if we do not lose our faith in the God of truth and love.
Let us never put our faith, as these disciples did, in a past tense—"We trusted." But let us ever say, "I am trusting." —Crumbs
The soft, sweet summer was warm and glowing,
Bright were the blossoms on every bough:
I trusted Him when the roses were blooming;
I trust Him now...
Small were my faith should it weakly falter
Now that the roses have ceased to blow;
Frail were the trust that now should alter,
Doubting His love when storm clouds grow. —The Song of a Bird in a Winter Storm
Our Dependency on Christ
We are troubled on every side. - 2nd Corinthians 7:5
Why should God have to lead us thus, and allow the pressure to be so hard and constant? Well, in the first place, it shows His all-sufficient strength and grace much better than if we were exempt from pressure and trial. "The treasure is in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
It makes us more conscious of our dependence upon Him. God is constantly trying to teach us our dependence, and to hold us absolutely in His hand and hanging upon His care.
This was the place where Jesus Himself stood and where He wants us to stand, not with self-constituted strength, but with a hand ever leaning upon His, and a trust that dare not take one step alone. It teaches us trust.
There is no way of learning faith except by trial. It is God's school of faith, and it is far better for us to learn to trust God than to enjoy life.
The lesson of faith once learned, is an everlasting acquisition and an eternal fortune made; and without trust even riches will leave us poor. —Days of Heaven upon Earth
"Why must I weep when others sing?
'To test the deeps of suffering.'
Why must I work while others rest?
'To spend my strength at God's request.'
Why must I lose while others gain?
'To understand defeat's sharp pain.'
Why must this lot of life be mine
When that which fairer seems is thine?
'Because God knows what plans for me
Shall blossom in eternity.'"
Be Sure of His Promises
Do as thou hast said, that thy name may be magnified forever. - 1st Chronicles 17:23-24
This is a most blessed phase of true prayer. Many a time we ask for things which are not absolutely promised. We are not sure therefore until we have persevered for some time whether our petitions are in the line of God's purpose or no. There are other occasions, and in the life of David this was one, when we are fully persuaded that what we ask is according to God's will. We feel led to take up and plead some promise from the page of Scripture, under the special impression that it contains a message for us. At such times, in confident faith, we say, "Do as Thou hast said." There is hardly any position more utterly beautiful, strong, or safe, than to put the finger upon some promise of the Divine word, and claim it. There need be no anguish, or struggle, or wrestling; we simply present the check and ask for cash, produce the promise, and claim its fulfillment; nor can there be any doubt as to the issue. It would give much interest to prayer, if we were more definite. It is far better to claim a few things specifically than a score vaguely. —F. B. Meyer
Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request: "Do as Thou hast said." The Creator will not cheat His creature who depends upon His truth; and far more, the Heavenly Father will not break His word to His own child.
"Remember the word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope," is most prevalent pleading. It is a double argument: it is Thy Word. Wilt Thou not keep it? Why hast thou spoken of it, if Thou wilt not make it good. Thou hast caused me to hope in it, wilt Thou disappoint the hope which Thou has Thyself begotten in me? —C. H. Spurgeon
"Being absolutely certain that whatever promise he is bound by, he is able also to make good" (Rom. 4:21, Weymouth's Translation).
It is the everlasting faithfulness of God that makes a Bible promise "exceeding great and precious." Human promises are often worthless. Many a broken promise has left a broken heart. But since the world was made, God has never broken a single promise made to one of His trusting children.
Oh, it is sad for a poor Christian to stand at the door of the promise, in the dark night of affliction, afraid to draw the latch, whereas he should then come boldly for shelter as a child into his father's house. —Gurnal
Every promise is built upon four pillars: God's justice and holiness, which will not suffer Him to deceive; His grace or goodness, which will not suffer Him to forget; His truth, which will not suffer Him to change, which makes Him able to accomplish. —Selected
Cast Your Burdens Upon God
Look from the top. - Song of Solomon 4:8
Crushing weights give the Christian wings. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is a blessed truth. David out of some bitter experience cried: "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! Then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Ps. 55:6). But before he finished this meditation he seems to have realized that his wish for wings was a realizable one. For he says, "Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain thee."
The word "burden" is translated in the Bible margin, "what he Jehovah. hath given thee." The saints' burdens are God-given; they lead him to "wait upon Jehovah," and when that is done, in the magic of trust, the "burden" is metamorphosed into a pair of wings, and the weighted one "mounts up with wings as eagles. —Sunday School Times
One day when walking down the street,
On business bent, while thinking hard
About the "hundred cares" which seemed
Like thunder clouds about to break
In torrents, Self-pity said to me:
"You poor, poor thing, you have too much
To do. Your life is far too hard.
This heavy load will crush you soon."
A swift response of sympathy
Welled up within. The burning sun
Seemed more intense. The dust and noise
Of puffing motors flying past
With rasping blast of blowing horn
Incensed still more the whining nerves,
The fabled last back-breaking straw
To weary, troubled, fretting mind.
"Ah, yes, 'twill break and crush my life;
I cannot bear this constant strain
Of endless, aggravating cares;
They are too great for such as I."
So thus my heart condoled itself,
"Enjoying misery," when lo!
A "still small voice" distinctly said,
"Twas sent to lift you—not to crush."
I saw at once my great mistake.
My place was not beneath the load
But on the top! God meant it not
That I should carry it. He sent
It here to carry me. Full well
He knew my incapacity
Before the plan was made. He saw
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow;
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow—
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One's load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace;
Without them we must roam for aye
On planes of undeveloped faith,
For faith grows but by exercise in circumstance impossible..
Oh, paradox of Heaven. The load
We think will crush was sent to lift us
Up to God! Then, soul of mine,
Climb up! for naught can e'er be crushed
Save what is underneath the weight.
How may we climb! By what ascent
Shall we surmount the carping cares
Of life! Within His word is found
The key which opes His secret stairs;
Alone with Christ, secluded there,
We mount our loads, and rest in Him. —Miss Mary Butterfield
The Just Shall Live by Faith
The just shall live by faith. - Hebrews 10:38
Seemings and feelings are often substituted for faith. Pleasurable emotions and deep satisfying experiences are part of the Christian life, but they are not all of it. Trials, conflicts, battles and testings lie along the way, and are not to be counted as misfortunes, but rather as part of our necessary discipline.
In all these varying experiences we are to reckon on Christ as dwelling in the heart, regardless of our feelings if we are walking obediently before Him. Here is where many get into trouble; they try to walk by feeling rather than faith.
One of the saints tells us that it seemed as though God had withdrawn Himself from her. His mercy seemed clean gone. For six weeks her desolation lasted, and then the Heavenly Lover seemed to say:
"Catherine, thou hast looked for Me without in the world of sense, but all the while I have been within waiting for thee; meet Me in the inner chamber of thy spirit, for I am there."
Distinguish between the fact of God's presence, and the emotion of the fact. It is a happy thing when the soul seems desolate and deserted, if our faith can say, "I see Thee not. I feel Thee not, but Thou art certainly and graciously here, where I am as I am." Say it again and again: "Thou art here: though the bush does not seem to burn with fire, it does burn. I will take the shoes from off my feet, for the place on which I stand is holy ground." —London Christian
Believe God's word and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your Rock is Christ, and it is not the Rock which ebbs and flows, but your sea. —Samuel Rutherford
Keep your eye steadily fixed on the infinite grandeur of Christ's finished work and righteousness. Look to Jesus and believe, look to Jesus and live! Nay, more; as you look to him, hoist your sails and buffet manfully the sea of life. Do not remain in the haven of distrust, or sleeping on your shadows in inactive repose, or suffering your frames and feelings to pitch and toss on one another like vessels idly moored in a harbor. The religious life is not a brooding over emotions, grazing the keel of faith in the shallows, or dragging the anchor of hope through the oozy tide mud as if afraid of encountering the healthy breeze. Away! With your canvas spread to the gale, trusting in Him, who rules the raging of the waters. The safety of the tinted bird is to be on the wing. If its haunt be near the ground--if it fly low--it exposes itself to the fowler's net or snare. If we remain grovelling on the low ground of feeling and emotion, we shall find ourselves entangled in a thousand meshes of doubt and despondency, temptation and unbelief. "But surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of THAT WHICH HATH A WING" marginal reading (Prov. 1:17). Hope thou in God. —J. R. Macduff
When I cannot enjoy the faith of assurance, I live by the faith of adherence. —Matthew Henry
Strength From the Sorrow
Now it came to pass after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now, therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people. - Joshua 1:1-2
Sorrow came to you yesterday, and emptied your home. Your first impulse now is to give up, and sit down in despair amid the wrecks of your hopes. But you dare not do it. You are in the line of battle, and the crisis is at hand. To falter a moment would be to imperil some holy interest. Other lives would be harmed by your pausing, holy interests would suffer, should your hands be folded. You must not linger even to indulge your grief.
A distinguished general related this pathetic incident of his own experience in time of war. The general's son was a lieutenant of battery. An assault was in progress. The father was leading his division in a charge; as he pressed on in the field, suddenly his eye was caught by the sight of a dead battery-officer lying just before him. One glance showed him it was his own son. His fatherly impulse was to stop beside the loved form and give vent to his grief, but the duty of the moment demanded that he should press on in the charge; so, quickly snatching one hot kiss from the dead lips, he hastened away, leading his command in the assault.
Weeping inconsolably beside a grave can never give back love's banished treasure, nor can any blessing come out of such sadness. Sorrow makes deep scars; it writes its record ineffaceably on the heart which suffers. We really never get over our great griefs; we are never altogether the same after we have passed through them as we were before. Yet there is a humanizing and fertilizing influence in sorrow which has been rightly accepted and cheerfully borne. Indeed, they are poor who have never suffered, and have none of sorrow's marks upon them. The joy set before us should shine upon our grief as the sun shines through the clouds, glorifying them. God has so ordered, that in pressing on in duty we shall find the truest, richest comfort for ourselves. Sitting down to brood over our sorrows, the darkness deepens about us and creeps into our heart, and our strength changes to weakness. But, if we turn away from the gloom, and take up the tasks and duties to which God calls us, the light will come again, and we shall grow stronger. —J. R. Miller
Thou knowest that through our tears
Of hasty, selfish weeping
Comes surer sin, and for our petty fears
Of loss thou hast in keeping
A greater gain than all of which we dreamed;
Thou knowest that in grasping
The bright possessions which so precious seemed
We lose them; but if, clasping
Thy faithful hand, we tread with steadfast feet
The path of thy appointing,
There waits for us a treasury of sweet
Delight, royal anointing
With oil of gladness and of strength. —Helen Hunt Jackson
Deliverance in the Stormy Winds
The Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the cast wind brought the locusts....Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste....And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. - Exodus 10:13, 19
See how in the olden times, when the Lord fought for Israel against the cruel Pharaoh, the stormy winds wrought out their deliverance; and yet again, in that grandest display of power--the last blow that God struck at the proud defiance of Egypt. A strange, almost cruel thing it must have seemed to Israel to he hemmed in by such a host of dangers--in front the wild sea defying them, on either hand the rocky heights cutting off all hope of escape, the night of hurricane gathering over them. It was as if that first deliverance had come only to hand them over to more certain death. Completing the terror there rang out the cry: "The Egyptians are upon us!"
When it seemed they were trapped for the foe, then came the glorious triumph. Forth swept the stormy wind and beat back the waves, and the hosts of Israel marched forward, down into the path of the great deep--a way arched over with God's protecting love.
On either hand were the crystal walls glowing in the light of the glory of the Lord; and high above them swept the thunder of the storm. So on through all that night; and when, at dawn of the next day, the last of Israel's host set foot upon the other shore, the work of the stormy wind was done.
Then sang Israel unto the Lord the song of the "stormy wind fulfilling his word."
"The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil...Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters."
One day, by God's great mercy, we, too, shall stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Then we shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." We shall know then how the stormy winds have wrought out our deliverance.
Now you see only the mystery of this great sorrow; then you shall see how the threatening enemy was swept away in the wild night of fear and grief.
Now you look only at the loss; then you shall see how it struck at the evil that had begun to rivet its fetters upon you.
Now you shrink from the howling winds and muttering thunders; then you shall see how they beat back the waters of destruction, and opened up your way to the goodly land of promise. —Mark Guy Pearse
"Though winds are wild,
And the gale unleashed,
My trusting heart still sings:
I know that they mean
No harm to me,
He rideth on their wings."
Songs of Praise Rise From Affliction
Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. - Revelation 15:3
The following incident is related by Mrs. Charles Spurgeon, who was a great sufferer for more than a quarter of a century:
"At the close of a dark and gloomy day, I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on; and though all was bright within my cozy room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the Hand which I knew held mine, and guided my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In sorrow of heart I asked,
"'Why does my Lord thus deal with His child? Why does He so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?'
"These fretful questions were quickly answered, and through a strange language; no interpreter was needed save the conscious whisper of my heart.
"For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of the oak log burning in the fireplace. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound, a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window.
"'What can it be? surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of the year and night.'
"Again came the faint, plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke our wonder. My friend exclaimed,
"'It comes from the log on the fire!' The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak's inmost heart!
"Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all was well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold. But he had grown old since then, and hardened; ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up the long-forgotten melody, until the fierce tongues of the flames came to consume his callousness, and the vehement heart of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice. 'Ah,' thought I, 'when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed we are purified, and our God is glorified!'
"Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log, cold, hard, insensible; we should give forth no melodious sounds, were it not for the fire which kindles around us, and releases notes of trust in Him, and cheerful compliance with His will.
"'As I mused the fire burned,' and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set forth before me.
"Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us, if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before."
Treasures in the Darkness
Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. - Exodus 20:21
God has still His hidden secrets, hidden from the wise and prudent. Do not fear them; be content to accept things that you cannot understand; wait patiently. Presently He will reveal to you the treasures of darkness, the riches of the glory of the mystery. Mystery is only the veil of God's face.
Do not be afraid to enter the cloud that is settling down on your life. God is in it. The other side is radiant with His glory. "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." When you seem loneliest and most forsaken, God is nigh. He is in the dark cloud. Plunge into the blackness of its darkness without flinching; under the shrouding curtain of His pavilion you will find God awaiting you. —Selected
"Hast thou a cloud?
Something that is dark and full of dread;
A messenger of tempest overhead?
A something that is darkening the sky;
A something growing darker bye and bye;
A something that thou fear'st will burst at last;
A cloud that doth a deep, long shadow cast,
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
It is Jehovah's triumph car: in this
He rideth to thee, o'er the wide abyss.
It is the robe in which He wraps His form;
For He doth gird Him with the flashing storm.
It is the veil in which He hides the light
Of His fair face, too dazzling for thy sight.
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
A trial that is terrible to thee?
A black temptation threatening to see?
A loss of some dear one long thine own?
A mist, a veiling, bringing the unknown?
A mystery that unsubstantial seems:
A cloud between thee and the sun's bright beams?
God cometh in that cloud.
Hast thou a cloud?
A sickness--weak old age--distress and death?
These clouds will scatter at thy last faint breath.
Fear not the clouds that hover o'er thy barque,
Making the harbour's entrance dire and dark;
The cloud of death, though misty, chill and cold,
Will yet grow radiant with a fringe of gold.
GOD cometh in that cloud."
As Dr. C. stood on a high peak of the Rocky Mountains watching a storm raging below him, an eagle came up through the clouds, and soared away towards the sun and the water upon him glistened in the sunlight like diamonds. Had it not been for the storm he might have remained in the valley. The sorrows of life cause us to rise towards God.
Earth's Broken Things
Fear not, thou worm Jacob...I will make thee a threshing instrument with teeth. - Isaiah 41:14-15
Could any two things be in greater contrast than a worm and an instrument with teeth? The worm is delicate, bruised by a stone, crushed beneath the passing wheel; an instrument with teeth can break and not be broken; it can grave its mark upon the rock. And the mighty God can convert the one into the other. He can take a man or a nation, who has all the impotence of the worm, and by the invigoration of His own Spirit, He can endow with strength by which a noble mark is left upon the history of the time.
And so the "worm" may take heart. The mighty God can make us stronger than our circumstances. He can bend them all to our good. In God's strength we can make them all pay tribute to our souls. We can even take hold of a black disappointment, break it open, and extract some jewel of grace. When God gives us wills like iron, we can drive through difficulties as the iron share cuts through the toughest soil. "I will make thee," and shall He not do it? —Dr. Jowett
Christ is building His kingdom with earth's broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth's broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth's saddest failure up to heaven's glory. —J. R. Miller
"Follow Me, and I will make you"
Make you speak My words with power,
Make you channels of My mercy,
Make you helpful every hour.
"Follow Me, and I will make you"
Make you what you cannot be
Make you loving, trustful, godly,
Make you even like to Me. —L. S. P.
Flowers in the Canyon
For our profit. - Hebrews 12:10
In one of Ralph Connor's books he tells a story of Gwen. Gwen was a wild, wilful lassie and one who had always been accustomed to having her own way. Then one day she met with a terrible accident which crippled her for life. She became very rebellious and in the murmuring state she was visited by the Sky Pilot, as the missionary among the mountaineers was termed.
He told her the parable of the canyon. "At first there were no canyons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the Prairie, 'Where are your flowers?' and the Prairie said, 'Master I have no seeds.'
"Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the Prairie: 'Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?'
"And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But, again, when the Master came he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said:
"'Where are those my sweetest flowers?' and the Prairie cried sorrowfully:
"'Oh, Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.'
"Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound.
"But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mould, and once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the canyon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and wind-flower and maiden-hair grew and bloomed, till the canyon became the Master's favorite place for rest and peace and joy."
Then the Sky Pilot read to her: "The fruit—I'll read 'flowers'—of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness--and some of these grow only in the canyon."
"Which are the canyon flowers?" asked Gwen softly, and the Pilot answered: "Gentleness, meekness, longsuffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace, bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon."
For a long time Gwen lay quite still, and then said wistfully, while her lips trembled: "There are no flowers in my canyon, but only ragged rocks."
"Some day they will bloom, Gwen dear; the Master will find them, and we, too, shall see them."
Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!
Patience in the Routine
Be thou there till I bring thee word. - Matthew 2:13
"I'll stay where You've put me;
I will, dear Lord, Though I wanted so badly to go;
I was eager to march with the 'rank and file,'
Yes, I wanted to lead them, You know.
I planned to keep step to the music loud,
To cheer when the banner unfurled,
To stand in the midst of the fight straight and proud,
But I'll stay where You've put me.
"I'll stay where You've put me; I'll work, dear Lord,
Though the field be narrow and small,
And the ground be fallow, and the stones lie thick,
And there seems to be no life at all.
The field is Thine own, only give me the seed,
I'll sow it with never a fear;
I'll till the dry soil while I wait for the rain,
And rejoice when the green blades appear;
I'll work where You've put me.
"I'll stay where You've put me; I will, dear Lord;
I'll bear the day's burden and heat,
Always trusting Thee fully; when even has come
I'll lay heavy sheaves at Thy feet.
And then, when my earth work is ended and done,
In the light of eternity's glow,
Life's record all closed, I surely shall find
It was better to stay than to go;
I'll stay where You've put me."
"Oh restless heart, that beat against your prison bars of circumstances, yearning for a wider sphere of usefulness, leave God to order all your days. Patience and trust, in the dullness of the routine of life, will be the best preparation for a courageous bearing of the tug and strain of the larger opportunity which God may some time send you."
He Answered Nothing
He answered nothing. - Mark 15:3
There is no spectacle in all the Bible so sublime as the silent Savior answering not a word to the men who were maligning Him, and whom He could have laid prostrate at His feet by one look of Divine power, or one word of fiery rebuke. But He let them say and do their worst, and He stood in THE POWER OF STILLNESS—God's holy silent Lamb.
There is a stillness that lets God work for us, and holds our peace; the stillness that ceases from its contriving and its self-vindication, and its expedients of wisdom and forethought, and lets God provide and answer the cruel blow, in His own unfailing, faithful love.
How often we lose God's interposition by taking up our own cause, and striking for our defense. God give to us this silent power, this conquered spirit! And after the heat and strife of earth are over, men will remember us as we remember the morning dew, the gentle light and sunshine, the evening breeze, the Lamb of Calvary, and the gentle, holy heavenly Dove. —A. B. Simpson
The day when Jesus stood alone
And felt the hearts of men like stone,
And knew He came but to atone
That day "He held His peace."
They witnessed falsely to His word,
They bound Him with a cruel cord,
And mockingly proclaimed Him Lord;
"But Jesus held His peace."
They spat upon Him in the face,
They dragged Him on from place to place,
They heaped upon Him all disgrace;
"But Jesus held His peace."
My friend, have you for far much less,
With rage, which you called righteousness,
Resented slights with great distress?
Your Saviour "held His peace."
Preparation For Praise
Beloved, do not be surprised at the ordeal that has come to test you...you are sharing what Christ suffered, so rejoice in it. - 1st Peter 4:12
Many a waiting hour was needful to enrich the harp of David, and many a waiting hour in the wilderness will gather for us a psalm of "thanksgiving, and the voice of melody," to cheer the hearts of fainting ones here below, and to make glad our Father's house on high.
What was the preparation of the son of Jesse for the songs like unto which none other have ever sounded on this earth?
The outrage of the wicked, which brought forth cries for God's help. Then the faint hope in God's goodness blossomed into a song of rejoicing for His mighty deliverances and manifold mercies. Every sorrow was another string to his harp; every deliverance another theme for praise.
One thrill of anguish spared, one blessing unmarked or unprized, one difficulty or danger evaded, how great would have been our loss in that thrilling Psalmody in which God's people today find the expression of their grief or praise!
To wait for God, and to suffer His will, is to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, and to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. So now, if the vessel is to be enlarged for spiritual understanding, be not affrighted at the wider sphere of suffering that awaits you. The Divine capacity of sympathy will have a more extended sphere, for the breathing of the Holy Ghost in the new creation never made a stoic, but left the heart's affection tender and true. —Anna Shipton
"He tested me ere He entrusted me" (1st Timothy 1:12, Way's Translation)
Sorrowful, Yet Rejoicing
As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. - 2nd Corinthians 6:10
The stoic scorns to shed a tear; the Christian is not forbidden to weep. The soul may be dumb with excessive grief, as the shearer's scissors pass over the quivering flesh; or, when the heart is on the point of breaking beneath the meeting surges of trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better.
They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul.
Be it so. And thus amid manifold trials, souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy. Though deep call to deep, yet the Lord's song will be heard in silver cadence through the night. And it is possible in the darkest hour that ever swept a human life to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have you learned this lesson yet? Not simply to endure God's will, nor only to choose it; but to rejoice in it with joy unspeakable and full of glory. —Tried as by Fire
I will be still, my bruised heart faintly murmured,
As o'er me rolled a crushing load of woe;
The cry, the call, e'en the low moan was stifled;
I pressed my lips; I barred the tear drop's flow.
I will be still, although I cannot see it,
The love that bares a soul and fans pain's fire;
That takes away the last sweet drop of solace,
Breaks the lone harp string, hides Thy precious lyre.
But God is love, so I will bide me, bide me—
We'll doubt not, Soul, we will be very still;
We'll wait till after while, when He shall lift us
Yes, after while, when it shall be His will.
And I did listen to my heart's brave promise;
And I did quiver, struggling to be still;
And I did lift my tearless eyes to Heaven,
Repeating ever, "Yea, Christ, have Thy will."
But soon my heart upspake from 'neath our burden,
Reproved my tight-drawn lips, my visage sad:
"We can do more than this, O Soul," it whispered.
"We can be more than still, we can be glad!"
And now my heart and I are sweetly singing—
Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;
Drinking abundant waters in the desert,
Crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle's wings. —S. P. W.
According to Our Faith
According to your faith be it unto you. - Matthew 9:29
"Praying through" might be defined as praying one's way into full faith, emerging while yet praying into the assurance that one has been accepted and heard, so that one becomes actually aware of receiving, by firmest anticipation and in advance of the event, the thing for which he asks.
Let us remember that no earthly circumstances can hinder the fulfillment of His Word if we look steadfastly at the immutability of that Word and not at the uncertainty of this ever-changing world. God would have us believe His Word without other confirmation, and then He is ready to give us "according to our faith."
"When once His Word is past,
When He hath said , 'I will,' (Hebrews 13:5)
The thing shall come at last;
God keeps His promise still." (2nd Corinthians 1:20)
The prayer of the Pentecostal age was like a cheque to be paid in coin over the counter. —Sir R. Anderson
"And God said?and it was so." (Genesis 1:9)
And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush...saying...I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. - Acts 7:30, 32, 34
That was a long wait in preparation for a great mission. When God delays, He is not inactive. He is getting ready His instruments, He is ripening our powers; and at the appointed moment we shall arise equal to our task. Even Jesus of Nazareth was thirty years in privacy, growing in wisdom before He began His work. —Dr. Jowett
God is never in a hurry but spends years with those He expects to greatly use. He never thinks the days of preparation too long or too dull.
The hardest ingredient in suffering is often time. A short, sharp pang is easily borne, but when a sorrow drags its weary way through long, monotonous years, and day after day returns with the same dull routine of hopeless agony, the heart loses its strength, and without the grace of God, is sure to sink into the very sullenness of despair. Joseph's was a long trial, and God often has to burn His lessons into the depths of our being by the fires of protracted pain. "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver," but He knows how long, and like a true goldsmith He stops the fires the moment He sees His image in the glowing metal. We may not see now the outcome of the beautiful plan which God is hiding in the shadow of His hand; it yet may be long concealed; but faith may be sure that He is sitting on the throne, calmly waiting the hour when, with adoring rapture, we shall say, "All things have worked together for good." Like Joseph, let us be more careful to learn all the lessons in the school of sorrow than we are anxious for the hour of deliverance. There is a "need-be" for every lesson, and when we are ready, our deliverance will surely come, and we shall find that we could not have stood in our place of higher service without the very things that were taught us in the ordeal. God is educating us for the future, for higher service and nobler blessings; and if we have the qualities that fit us for a throne, nothing can keep us from it when God's time has come. Don't steal tomorrow out of God's hands. Give God time to speak to you and reveal His will. He is never too late; learn to wait. —Selected
"He never comes too late; He knoweth what is best; Vex not thyself in vain; until He cometh—REST."
Do not run impetuously before the Lord; learn to wait His time: the minute-hand as well as the hour-hand must point the exact moment for action.
Out of the spoils won in battle did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord. - 1st Chronicles 26:27
Physical force is stored in the bowels of the earth, in the coal mines, which came from the fiery heat that burned up great forests in ancient ages; and so spiritual force is stored in the depths of our being, through the very pain which we cannot understand.
Some day we shall find that the spoils we have won from our trials were just preparing us to become true "Great Hearts" in the Pilgrim's Progress, and to lead our fellow pilgrims triumphantly through trial to the city of the King.
But let us never forget that the source of helping other people must be victorious suffering. The whining, murmuring pang never does anybody any good.
Paul did not carry a cemetery with him, but a chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice. He said, "Yea, and if I be offered upon the service and sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all." Lord, help me this day to draw strength from all that comes to me! —Days of Heaven upon Earth
"He placed me in a little cage,
Away from gardens fair;
But I must sing the sweetest songs
Because He placed me there.
Not beat my wings against the cage
If it's my Maker's will,
But raise my voice to heaven's gate
And sing the louder still!"
Be Definite in Prayer
And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: Deliver me, I pray thee. - Genesis 32:9, 11
There are many healthy symptoms in that prayer. In some respects it may serve as a mould into which our own spirits may pour themselves, when melted in the fiery furnace of sorrow.
He began by quoting God's promise: "Thou saidst." He did so twice (verses 9 and 12). Ah, he has got God in his power then! God puts Himself within our reach in His promises; and when we can say to Him, "Thou saidst," He cannot say nay. He must do as He has said. If Herod was so particular for his oath's sake, what will not our God be? Be sure in prayer, to get your feet well on a promise; it will give you purchase enough to force open the gates of heaven, and to take it by force. —Practical Portions for the Prayer-life
Jesus desires that we shall be definite in our requests, and that we shall ask for some special thing. "What will ye that I shall do unto you?" is the question that He asks of every one who in affliction and trial comes to Him. Make your requests with definite earnestness if you would have definite answers. Aimlessness in prayer accounts for so many seemingly unanswered prayers. Be definite in your petition. Fill out your check for something definite, and it will be cashed at the bank of Heaven when presented in Jesus' Name. Dare to be definite with God. —Selected
Miss Havergal has said: "Every year, I might almost say every day, that I live, I seem to see more clearly how all the rest and gladness and power of our Christian life hinges on one thing; and that is, taking God at His word, believing that He really means exactly what He says, and accepting the very words in which He reveals His goodness and grace, without substituting others or altering the precise modes and tenses which He has seen fit to use."
Bring Christ's Word—Christ's promise, and Christ's sacrifice—His blood, with thee, and not one of Heaven's blessings can be denied thee. —Adam Clarke
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. - Hebrews 11:6
The faith for desperate days.
The Bible is full of such days. Its record is made up of them, its songs are inspired by them, its prophecy is concerned with them, and its revelation has come through them.
The desperate days are the stepping-stones in the path of light. They seem to have been God's opportunity and man's school of wisdom.
There is a story of an Old Testament love feast in Psalm 107, and in every story of deliverance the point of desperation gave God His chance. The "wit's end" of desperation was the beginning of God's power. Recall the promise of seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sands of the sea, to a couple as good as dead. Read again the story of the Red Sea and its deliverance, and of Jordan with its ark standing mid-stream. Study once more the prayers of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, when they were sore pressed and knew not what to do. Go over the history of Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea, and Habakkuk. Stand with awe in the darkness of Gethsemane, and linger by the grave in Joseph's garden through those terrible days. Call the witnesses of the early Church, and ask the apostles the story of their desperate days.
Desperation is better than despair.
Faith did not make our desperate days. Its work is to sustain and solve them. The only alternative to a desperate faith is despair, and faith holds on and prevails.
There is no more heroic example of desperate faith than that of the three Hebrew children. The situation was desperate, but they answered bravely, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." I like that, "but if not!"
I have only space to mention Gethsemane. Ponder deeply its "Nevertheless." "If it is possible?nevertheless!" Deep darkness had settled upon the soul of our Lord. Trust meant anguish unto blood and darkness to the descent of hell—Nevertheless! Nevertheless!!
Now get your hymn book and sing your favorite hymn of desperate faith. —Rev. S. Chadwick
"When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to Thee.
"And when there seems no chance, no change,
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And calmly waits for Thee."
Receive All He Has For You
Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it. - Genesis 13:14-15
No instinct can be put in you by the Holy Ghost but He purposes to fulfill. Let your faith then rise and soar away and claim all the land you can discover. —S. A. Keen
All you can apprehend in the vision of faith is your own. Look as far as you can, for it is all yours. All that you long to be as a Christian, all that you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith. Then come, still closer, and with your Bible before you, and your soul open to all the influences of the Spirit, let your whole being receive the baptism of His presence; and as He opens your understanding to see all His fulness, believe He has it all for you. Accept for yourself all the promises of His word, all the desires He awakens within you, all the possibilities of what you may be as a follower of Jesus. All the land you see is given to you.
The actual provisions of His grace come from the inner vision. He who puts the instinct in the bosom of yonder bird to cross the continent in search of summer sunshine in the Southern clime is too good to deceive it, and just as surely as He has put the instinct in its breast, so has He also put the balmy breezes and the vernal sunshine yonder to meet it when it arrives.
He who breathes into our hearts the heavenly hope, will not deceive or fail us when we press forward to its realization. —Selected
"And they found as he had said unto them" (Luke 22:13).
When We See Him Face to Face
A remarkable incident occurred recently at a wedding in England. A young man of large wealth and high social position, who had been blinded by an accident when he was ten years old, and who won University honors in spite of his blindness, had won a beautiful bride, though he had never looked upon her face. A little while before his marriage, he submitted to a course of treatment by experts, and the climax came on the day of his wedding.
The day came, and the presents, and guests. There were present cabinet ministers and generals arid bishops and learned men and women. The bridegroom, dressed for the wedding, his eyes still shrouded in linen, drove to the church with his father, and the famous oculist met them in the vestry.
The bride, entered the church on the arm of her white-haired father. So moved was she that she could hardly speak. Was her lover at last to see her face that others admired, but which he knew only through his delicate finger tips?
As she neared the altar, while the soft strains of the wedding march floated through the church, her eyes fell on a strange group.
The father stood there with his son. Before the latter was the great oculist in the act of cutting away the last bandage. The bridegroom took a step forward, with the spasmodic uncertainty of one who cannot believe that he is awake. A beam of rose-colored light from a pane in the chancel window fell across his face, but he did not seem to see it.
Did he see anything? Yes! Recovering in an instant his steadiness of mien, and with a dignity and joy never before seen in his face, he went forward to meet his bride. They looked into each other's eyes, and one would have thought that his eyes would never wander from her face.
"At last!" she said. "At last!" he echoed solemnly, bowing his head. That was a scene of great dramatic power, and no doubt of great joy, and is but a mere suggestion of what will actually take place in Heaven when the Christian who has been walking through this world of trial and sorrow, shall see Him face to face. —Selected
"Just a-wearying for you,
Jesus, Lord, beloved and true;
Wishing for you, wondering when
You'll be coming back again,
Under all I say and do,
Just a-wearying for you.
"Some glad day, all watching past,
You will come for me at last;
Then I'll see you, hear your voice,
Be with you, with you rejoice;
How the sweet hope thrills me through,
Sets me wearying for you."
And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon a heap. - Joshua 3:13
Brave Levites! Who can help admiring them, to carry the Ark right into the stream; for the waters were not divided till their feet dipped in the water (ver. 15). God had not promised aught else. God honors faith. "Obstinate faith," that the PROMISE sees and "looks to that alone." You can fancy how the people would watch these holy men march on, and some of the bystanders would be saying, "You would not catch me running that risk! Why, man, the ark will be carried away!" Not so; "the priests stood firm on dry ground." We must not overlook the fact that faith on our part helps God to carry out His plans. "Come up to the help of the Lord."
The Ark had staves for the shoulders. Even the Ark did not move of itself; it was carried. When God is the architect, men are the masons and laborers. Faith assists God. It can stop the mouth of lions and quench the violence of fire. It yet honors God, and God honors it. Oh, for this faith that will go on, leaving God to fulfill His promise when He sees fit! Fellow Levites, let us shoulder our load, and do not let us look as if we were carrying God's coffin. It is the Ark of the living God! Sing as you march towards the flood! —Thomas Champness
One of the special marks of the Holy Ghost in the Apostolic Church was the spirit of boldness. One of the most essential qualities of the faith that is to attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God, is holy audacity. Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little; it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore.
Like wise seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth.
Let us, today, attempt great things for God; take His faith and believe for them and His strength to accomplish them. —Days of Heaven upon Earth
Leave it With Him
Consider the lilies, how they grow. - Matthew 6:28
"I need oil," said an ancient monk; so he planted an olive sapling. "Lord," he prayed, "it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. "Lord," prayed the monk, "my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray Thee." And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. "Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues," cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.
Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. "I, too, planted a little tree," he said, "and see! it thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. 'Lord, send what it needs,' I prayed, 'storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.'"
Yes, leave it with Him,
The lilies all do,
And they grow—
They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the, dew—
Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night—
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light—
Still they grow.
Yes, leave it with Him
'Tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
'Neath the snow:
Whatever you need, if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him—for you are His care.
You, you know. —Selected
Rely on God, Not Self
Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. - Isaiah 50:11
What a solemn warning to those who walk in darkness and yet who try to help themselves out into the light. They are represented as kindling a fire, and compassing themselves with sparks. What does this mean?
Why, it means that when we are in darkness the temptation is to find a way without trusting in the Lord and relying upon Him. Instead of letting Him help us out, we try to help ourselves out. We seek the light of nature, and get the advice of our friends. We try the conclusions of our reason, and might almost be tempted to accept a way of deliverance which would not be of God at all.
All these are fires of our own kindling; rushlights that will surely lead us onto the shoals. And God will let us walk in the light of those sparks, but the end will be sorrow.
Beloved, do not try to get out of a dark place, except, in God's time and in God's way. The time of trouble is meant to teach you lessons that you sorely need.
Premature deliverance may frustrate God's work of grace in your life. Just commit the whole situation to Him. Be willing to abide in darkness so long as you have His presence. Remember that it is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk alone in the light. —The Still Small Voice
Cease meddling with God's plans and will. You touch anything of His, and you mar the work. You may move the hands of a clock to suit you, but you do not change the time; so you may hurry the unfolding of God's will, but you harm and do not help the work. You can open a rosebud but you spoil the flower. Leave all to Him. Hands down. Thy will, not mine. —Stephen Merritt
Security in Storms
The wind was contrary. - Matthew 14:24
Rude and blustering the winds of March often are. Do they not typify the tempestuous seasons of my life? But, indeed, I ought to be glad that I make acquaintance with these seasons. Better it is that the rains descend and the floods come than that I should stay perpetually in the Lotus Land where it seems always afternoon, or in that deep meadowed Valley of Avilion where never wind blows loudly. Storms of temptation appear cruel, but do they not give intenser earnestness to prayer? Do they not compel me to seize the promises with a tighter hand grip? Do they not leave me with a character refined?
Storms of bereavement are keen; but, then, they are one of the Father's ways of driving me to Himself, that in the secret of His presence His voice may speak to my heart, soft and low. There is a glory of the Master which can be seen only when the wind is contrary and the ship tossed with waves.
"Jesus Christ is no security against storms, but He is perfect security in storms. He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing."
Oh, set your sail to the heavenly gale,
And then, no matter what winds prevail,
No reef can wreck you, no calm delay;
No mist shall hinder, no storm shall stay;
Though far you wander and long you roam
Through salt sea sprays and o'er white sea foam,
No wind that can blow but shall speed you Home. —Annie Johnson Flint