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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
BY MRS. CHARLES COWMAN
In Streams in the Desert
"Alone" (Deut. 32:12).
"The hill was steep, but cheered along the way
By converse sweet, I mounted on the thought
That so it might be till the height was reached;
But suddenly a narrow winding path
Appeared, and then the Master said, 'My child,
Here thou wilt safest walk with Me alone.'
"I trembled, yet my heart's deep trust replied,
'So be it, Lord.' He took my feeble hand
In His, accepting thus my will to yield Him
All, and to find all in Him.
One long, dark moment,
And no friend I saw, save Jesus only.
"But oh! so tenderly He led me on
And up, and spoke to me such words of cheer,
Such secret whisperings of His wondrous love,
That soon I told Him all my grief and fear,
And leaned on His strong arm confidingly.
"And then I found my footsteps quickened,
And light ineffable, the rugged way
Illumined, such light as only can be seen
In close companionship with God.
"A little while, and we shall meet again
The loved and lost; but in the rapturous joy
Of greetings, such as here we cannot know,
And happy song, and heavenly embraces,
And tender recollections rushing back
Of pilgrim life, methinks one memory
More dear and sacred than the rest, shall rise,
"And we who gather in the golden streets,
Shall oft be stirred to speak with grateful love
Of that dark day when Jesus bade us climb
Some narrow steep, leaning on Him alone."
"There is no high hill but beside some deep valley.
There is no birth without a pang."
The public domain version of this classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert. It is shared from here with permission.
Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website.
More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions
Making Peace -
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. —Matthew 6:14-15
Leonardo da Vinci painted one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the world. The work of art is called The Last Supper. Few people know the story behind the creation of this famous painting.
Da Vinci had an enemy who was also a painter. Right before da Vinci began to paint the picture of Jesus with His disciples, he had a bitter argument with his enemy. When da Vinci painted the face of Judas Iscariot, he used the face of his enemy as a reference so that his enemy would be present for ages as the man who betrayed Jesus. While painting the picture, da Vinci took delight in knowing that others would actually notice the face of his enemy on Judas.
He continued painting the faces of the other disciples and often tried to paint the face of Jesus, but he could not make any progress. Da Vinci was frustrated and confused. In time, he realized what was wrong. His hatred for the other painter was holding him back from finishing the face of Jesus. After making peace with his fellow painter and repainting the face of Judas, he was able to paint the face of Jesus and complete his masterpiece.*
Is there a broken relationship in your life that needs mending? Pray that God will give you courage to take the next step toward reconciliation.
1. What was the lesson Leonardo da Vinci learned?
2. Is there someone in your life you need to forgive to make peace with God and that person?
* “Leonardo da Vinci,” Story of Love.
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com.
Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com
Moving from Willpower to Real Power -
I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe in him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. —Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)
If you’ve ever been to a funeral, I’m pretty sure you’ve informally gone through the following process: You sit quietly in the funeral service and grieve the loss of a life, and in that quietness you resolve to sharpen your goals. The reality of death awakens something in you, and in that moment you want to focus on what really matters most. Maybe you go home and change the way you treat your close friends or family. That happens often for a day or two. Then the resolve fades. Why?
Easy answer! It fades because you go back to relying on your own willpower rather than on God’s power. I know this because I’ve gone through this spiritual ping-pong match many times myself. And my willpower isn’t enough for what matters most.
To be successful at this, we must move from willpower to real power. This is where we depend on God to help us define and achieve what matters most.
Today’s Scripture passage gives us insight into how God’s power—real power—is available to us. It means that, as a Christian, since we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, we have access to His power. It’s the same power that defeated death on Easter morning! It’s the same power that created this incredible playground we call Earth! This same power is available to you, to help you live a life with meaning, to heal relationships, work in your family and on the job, rescue your life when you need it, and to focus on the things that matter most!
But there is a condition to obtaining this power. Did you notice it in the verses from Ephesians? It states, “the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe in him…” The power is available only to those who believe. If you’re not a believer, this might sound like some bad news. But it can easily be changed into good news if you believe in Jesus and put your faith in Him. All you have to do is say yes to Him today.
God’s power is available to everyone. This includes you! When you believe in Him and depend on Him to give you His power, He’ll help you live the life you were created to live. God will give you all the power you need to gain a fresh start. He will help you make up for lost time as you finally begin to pursue what matters most!
1. What do you value most?
2. What percentage of your time do you feel you spend on what you value most? Is it enough time? If not, why not?
Romans 8:11; James 4:14; Psalm 90:12
DOUG FIELDS is the senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and the co-founder of Downloadyouthministry.com. Doug has been a youth and teaching pastor at Mariners Church and Saddleback Church for 30 years and has authored more than fifty books. He is a passionate speaker reaching thousands of leaders, teenagers, and parents every year. Doug resides with his wife and three children in Southern California.
More of Doug Fields: www.homeword.com
More Like You -
This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. —Psalm 37:4
In a delightful compilation of children’s letters to God*, a simple and very honest prayer reads, “Dear God, thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.”
It’s fairly safe to assume that this little girl’s biggest desire was for a puppy. After all, puppies are cute, fun to play with, make great companions and are often at the top of every child’s wish list. I suspect that her heart must have felt a little betrayed when God answered her prayer differently than she had anticipated. Baby brothers are okay, but to many children, a puppy is a dream, come true.
In this psalm of David there is a promise – an if/then statement, if you will. It could as easily read, “If you delight yourself in the Lord, then he will give you the desires of your heart.” If that is the case, how does one explain the baby brother in the above story? Many people imagine God like a Santa in the sky with whom they hope to bargain, such as, “If I just go to church, pray the right prayer, say the right things, then God will reward me with a new job, a new wife, a shiny red convertible, or something else for my pleasure.”
However, I’m hesitant to approach Scripture as merely a recipe for my own happiness. A more accurate reading of this passage reveals that when a person delights himself or herself in the Lord, then the desires of our hearts become more in line with the desires of God’s heart. Does that mean you can never ask for a new job, a new car, or other things of personal pleasure? Absolutely not! It does, however, reveal God’s deeper desire for us: to become more like Him. A worship song expresses the prayer this way, “I want to be more like You. I want to be more like You. I want to be a vessel You work through. I want to be more like You.”
Today, may those words be the prayer of your own heart.
1. Listen carefully the next time you pray. Are your prayers centered on your own desires and wishes, or do they reflect the willingness to accept God’s desires as your own?
2. What specific actions are you taking to become more like Christ?
Proverbs 19:21; Proverbs 16:2, 9
*Children’s Letters to God, the New Collection. Compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall. Workman Publishing, 1991.
This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.
More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/