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Standing still

I waited patiently for the Lord. – Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)

Psalm 40:1

Waiting patiently for the Lord seems to be a total failure at times. You are compelled by the Lord to stand still. You remember your calling; you are called to do great things for Him, and initially you are busy with so many things. Yes, trials, tribulations, afflictions and suffering – all are present, but none of that matters, because you are doing great work for the Lord, and then suddenly there is an enforced inaction.

Initially, you are not even sure if it is the will of God. As you attempt to do few things, all of them end up as failures and in disappointment. Slowly, as you see the hand of the Lord behind your standing still, initially there is a joy as you realize it is God Who is asking you to stand still, and there you are, standing still, like the sun over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12-13).

Then you realize though your sun and moon are standing still, the earth is still rotating, and everyone’s life keeps going. They come to you often, complain about the various things happening in their life, but at least things are happening in their life. Though they are struggling, and are afflicted in every side, at least they are moving forward. For you, though, there has been no movement forward for so long. You are there, waiting patiently for the Lord.

And, you already know that, it is thousand times harder to stand still for the Lord, than being active in the work of the Lord amid the day-to-day’s troubles. It may look like a failure as the life moves on for others, but dear friend, this is one of the truest tests of your faith. To stand still, waiting for the Lord, without losing hope and losing your heart, to give up the work and honor to others, to be quiet, rejoicing in the promises of the Lord requires greater faith, especially when those busy multitude go ahead and go away. But you are chosen, by God, to stand still and see His salvation.

Exodus 14:13

Great and precious promises

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

When a shipwright builds a vessel, does he build it to keep it upon the stocks? Nay, he builds it for the sea and the storm. When he was making it, he thought of tempests and hurricanes; if he did not, he was a poor shipbuilder.

When God made thee a believer, He meant to try thee; and when He gave thee promises, and bade thee trust them, He gave such promises as are suitable for times of tempest and tossing. Dost thou think that God makes shams like some that have made belts for swimming, which were good to exhibit in a shop, but of no use in the sea?

We have all heard of swords which were useless in war; and even of shoes which were made to sell, but were never meant to walk in. God’s shoes are of iron and brass, and you can walk to Heaven in them without their ever wearing out; and His life-belts, you may swim a thousand Atlantics upon them, and there will be no fear of your sinking. His Word of promise is meant to be tried and proved.

There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He loves to be employed by us. Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do.

O man, I beseech you do not treat God’s promises as if they were curiosities for a museum; but use them as every day sources of comfort. Trust the Lord whenever your time of need comes on.
— C. H. Spurgeon

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With a grateful heart

Last year at this time, August 9th. 2016, 11:30 pm, I was in the hospital, after undergoing a totally unnecessary biopsy, wearing a medical gown; as I was already suffering from severe pain, three sets of doctors left three different instructions on what position I should sleep that night, and was constantly interrupted by one or the other nurse, to change my sleeping position according to which doctor had left the instructions to that particular nurse; so, when I entered August 10th, 2016, my birthday, I was sleep deprived, wearing a medical gown and in severe pain.

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So, this year, I did not have any plans for my birthday. Even yesterday, when I was praying for my birthday, I was grateful that this year, I would not be wearing a medical gown, suffering from sleep deprivation and intense pain. I just thanked the Lord for this, and in prayer, asked Him to bless me according to His will, and whatever He does, I will accept it with a grateful heart.

Imagine my surprise then when this morning (August 9th, 2017), as I was getting ready for our morning family prayer, my cousin brother called me to ask if I would join him for a small trip to Pondicherry, a nearby town by the East Coast of India. When I asked him what the occasion was, he told me that his family just wanted to go out and he would be happy if my wife and I could join them for the trip.

So, we went in the morning and I just came back. It was exhausting, but in a good way. We went to the beach, had some delicious food and did some shopping. More importantly I could spend a lot of time with my nieces. Though I became very tired in the evening, the Lord strengthened me soon.

I am too exhausted now. All I want is to sleep. But then my heart is filled with so much gratitude, I don’t know how to thank our Father in Heaven. One thing though. When I was young, I was taught that if you leave anything to the will of God, you will end up suffering a lot – remember the prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane and what happened to Him within 24 hours – is what I was taught. Though over the years I understood the folly of that notion, “according to Your will” had been always associated with severe afflictions and tribulations. But, the death at Calvary is not the end. It is the path leading to the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; yes, the will of the Lord is not always to make us suffer, but once we have suffered with Jesus, to make us partakers in His revealed glory.

With a grateful heart, I praise our Father and as I am about to begin a new year, Father, may Your will be done in my life; bless me according to Your Word that You have given Your servant. Through Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

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Your share in the Savior’s Victory

“Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance (victories, margin) for Jacob”
(Psalm 44:4 RV).

Here is no foe to your growth in grace, no enemy in your Christian work, which was not included in your Savior’s conquests.

You need not be afraid of them. When you touch them, they will flee before you. God has promised to deliver them up before you. Only be strong and very courageous! Fear not, nor be dismayed! The Lord is with you, O mighty men of valor– mighty because one with the Mightiest. Claim victory!

Whenever your enemies close in upon you, claim victory! Whenever heart and flesh fail, look up and claim VICTORY!

Be sure that you have a share in that triumph which Jesus won, not for Himself alone, but for us all; remember that you were in Him when He won it, and claim victory!

Reckon that it is yours, and gather spoil. Neither the Anakim nor fenced cities need daunt or abash you. You are one of the conquering legion. Claim your share in the Savior’s victory.
– Joshua, by Meyer

Do as Thou hast said

“Do as thou hast said, that thy name may be magnified forever” (1 Chronicles 17:23-24).

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

Why must I?

“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.”

“IS”

My grace is sufficient for you. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

A devotion by Prebendary H. W. Webb Peploe.

It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain; and as I had just laid my little one’s body in the churchyard, on return home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial.

Finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sabbath, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but on trying to prepare the notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true; and therefore I knelt down and asked God to let His grace be sufficient for me. While I was thus pleading, I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, and which I had told my servant to place upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us.

I did not notice the words on returning to my house; but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

The “is” was picked out in bright green while the “My” and the “thee” were painted in another color.

In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as, “Lord, let Thy grace be sufficient for me”; for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask that which is?” God cannot make it any more sufficient than He has made it; get up and believe it, and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.”

“My,” “is,” and “thee” were from that moment, I hope, indelibly fixed upon my heart; and I (thank God) have been trying to live in the reality of the message from that day forward to the present time. The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, Never turn God’s facts into hopes, or prayers, but simply use them as realities, and you will find them powerful as you believe them.

2 Corinthians 12_9

Praise changes things!

Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer as our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers. I got a great blessing once in China in this connection. I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened. Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: “Try Thanksgiving.” I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return. Yes, the Psalmist was right, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” — Henry W. Frost

Psalm 107:1

Whence does it come?

“Affliction does not come from the dust–nor does trouble sprout from the ground. For man is born unto trouble–as surely as sparks fly upward.” Job 5:6-7

Affliction does not come of itself; it does not spring up from the dust of the earth, nor grow naturally from the ground, as plants do; nor has chance anything whatever to do with it. As common as it is–affliction does not come without a cause, or without being sent on purpose by God.

Yet affliction does fall to the lot of all. No one, however prosperous, is without sorrow and trial. Sooner or later: “Man is born unto trouble–as surely as sparks fly upward.” As surely as sparks go up from anything burning, or from iron beaten on the anvil–so surely does trouble in some shape befall every man who is born into the world.

Whence does it come? God sends it–or at least allows it to come. But it is not saying too much, to say that He sends it.

When Adam fell and sin and death entered into the world–then trouble came too. This was God’s appointment. He said to Adam, “Because you have listened unto the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you–cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; in the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, until you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken–for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.”

And not only is trouble in general appointed to man by God–but each man’s particular trouble is of God’s appointment as well. Your troubles and mine do not come forth of the dust or spring out of the ground. They do not arise by chance or accident. God sends them! Sickness and sorrow are ordained for us by Him–each sickness and each sorrow as it comes. We do not see the hand that sends them, but a hand there is–the hand of God, the hand of a loving Father!

Job’s troubles were many and great–yet let him not despair. Everything was in God’s hand. All that happened was ordered by Him–all was subject to His control. “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave–and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”” Job 1:20-21

To all who truly know God–it is a most comforting thought that their affliction comes from Him. It seems to take away the strangeness and the bitterness of it. When once they can realize His hand, then in all their sorrowful thoughts about their afflictions–they think about God too, and this comforts them. It is no longer mere trouble–but trouble which God has sent. If He has sent it–then it is wisely and kindly sent. Is there not a hidden blessing in it? Then the heart goes in search of the blessing and begins to ask why the trouble was sent, what it was meant to do, and how far it has done what it was sent for. And this is the very way to find the blessing.

Besides, when the sufferer thus sees the hand of God in trouble–he reasons that God will never let the trouble be too great. If He sends it–He will not send it too sharply, nor too heavily. There is no chance about it. All is measured and dealt out by an omnipotent hand of wisdom and love! The affliction, therefore, cannot become too sore. When the right point has been reached, when the fit time has come–then He who sent it will say, “Hitherto shall you come, but no further!”

– from Francis Bourdillon’s “Man is Born to Trouble!”

Job 38_11

These are His mountains

“I will make all my mountains a way” (Isaiah 49:11).

God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross– we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.

“Oh, fools, and slow of heart!” These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.

Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable. Go back; submit thyself. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there.

We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. “God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven”; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.– Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer

Isaiah 49_11