Prayers are written and hung high above Swallow Cave in Yunnan, China. I watched as brave climbers scaled the cave wall to hang the prayers. How different than how I offer prayers to my God.
DAY 39 – WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY
“Why, God, why?” So many times we ask that question. We cannot always see the plan God has for us. We stumble and crash through life, avoiding some things, falling into others. We watch as lives around us are destroyed. We see plans fall through. One day we are on top of the world, the next we are far below sea level. Each time we ask “why?”
Funny, isn’t it, that when things go well for us we rarely ask why. When things go wrong, we are quick to ask the question. The real understanding of man, though, would lead us to ask God why He blesses us at all.
We could have been born anywhere in the world, to any parents. God put us where He wanted us to be for a reason. Some of us have riches, some poverty. Some live in free societies, others in tightly controlled countries. He places us where He does for reasons that may not be obvious to us. Later, perhaps, we will come to understand the reasoning behind His actions. Sometimes we never will.
In reading through Job, I never find where God ever explained to Job the reasons behind his misfortune. He may know now, from heaven but he didn’t here on earth and that, I think is the point of this hymn. It may not be until we arrive home in heaven that we even begin to see how God weaved the tapestry of our life into that of all the other people on earth. It may not be until much later that we begin to comprehend His plan to bring glory to His name through our circumstances. Let us endure with patience, then, our lot in life and trust in Him to accomplish His purpose with us.
Lord, help me to realize that I do not have to understand, just trust. Help me to see that to develop faith in You, I must come to believe that You are in control and that You do not need to consult me or gain my permission. My life is Yours, do with it what You want.
WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY
by Charles Tindley
We are tossed and driven on the restless sea of time
Somber skies and howling tempest
Oft succeed a bright sunshine
In that land of perfect day when the mists are rolled away
We will understand it better by and by
We are often destitute of the things that life demands
Want of food and want of shelter
Thirsty hills and barren lands
We are trusting in the Lord and according to God’s word
We will understand it better by and by
Trials dark on every hand and we cannot understand
All the ways that God would lead us
To that blessed promised land
But He guides us with His eye and we’ll follow till we die
For we’ll understand it better by and by
Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares
And our hearts are made to bleed
For a thoughtless word or deed
And we wonder why the test when we try to do our best
But we’ll understand it better by and by
By and by when the morning comes
When the saints of God are gathered home
We’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome
For we’ll understand it better by and by
DAY 34 – MUST I GO, AND EMPTY-HANDED?
What a haunting thought, to meet Jesus in heaven and have nothing to show Him. To waste the talents He has given us, to squander the time allotted to us, to waste the opportunities to reach others for His kingdom, what a tragedy. We must work now, before He returns, to reach as many people as we can with the gospel, for when He comes again it will be in judgment and not mercy.
Jesus will not lie to us. He will not say, “Well done my good and faithful servant” if we have not done well nor been good. If we have hidden our talent, as the man in the parable did, if we have refused to live our life for His glory, it will be in shame that we stand before Him.
To live a life with no regrets, to make the most of every opportunity given, to use every minute of every day seeking His will, that should be our goal. Oh if we could have time back. Time to witness once more to friends that have passed away. Time to speak, once again, to family members that have died without Christ. But there is no turning back the clock, we must make the most of every opportunity, redeeming the time we have.
This is a good resolution to make: to seize the time, to earnestly seek after souls and ferret out opportunities to share the gospel. Will we have people in heaven come up to us, thanking us for sharing the gospel with them or will we have people in hell shrieking, asking us why we cared so little for us that we kept our gospel to ourselves? Will we meet Jesus empty-handed?
Lord Jesus, help me redeem the time You have allotted to me to work for the kingdom. Give me souls to witness to, give me opportunities to share. Let me lead others to You so You can save them by Your grace.
MUST I GO, AND EMPTY-HANDED by Charles Luther
Must I go and empty-handed
Thus my dear Redeemer meet
Not one day of service give Him
Lay no trophy at His feet?
Not at death I shrink nor falter
For my Savior saves me now
But to meet Him empty-handed
Thought of that now clouds my brow
O the years in sinning wasted
Could I but recall them now
I would give them to my Savior
To His will I’d gladly bow
O ye saints, arouse, be earnest
Up and work while yet ’tis day
Ere the night of death o’er-take thee
Strive for souls while you still may
Must I go and empty-handed?
Must I meet my Savior so?
Not one soul with which to greet Him:
Must I empty-handed go?
DAY 5 – DARE TO BE A DANIEL
Written by Phillip Bliss for his Sunday School class, this hymn has been a favorite of mine since I was a boy. Both inspiring and challenging, Bliss throws down a gauntlet in urging believers to stand firm for the truth and to be active in conquering evil. In a day when a false definition of tolerance is making its way though society, the words of this song encourage us to act like one of the heroes of the faith.
Like Daniel, we are encouraged to live faithful lives by standing firm in obedience to God’s commands, even when the rest of society is compromising. We are urged to be brave and not to shirk from our duty. Though others may fall away, though we alone may seem to be remaining faithful, we must stand firm for our beliefs as Daniel did.
I often wonder, as I read the book of Daniel, how many other captive Jews just blended into Babylonian society. Apparently he was the only one who took praying to God seriously. The rest, well, it wasn’t politically correct to be seen worshipping God. How many of us fall into the trap of being politically correct instead of obedient?
We can accomplish great things for God when we walk in the might of His power and share the gospel message. May we go before the Lord today and pray that we will have the courage to stand for our convictions as Daniel did.
Lord, grant me conviction of heart like Daniel. Help me to stay the course, to be true and faithful. May it start today, let me not shirk from sharing the gospel with one who needs to hear Your message.
DARE TO BE A DANIEL by Phillip Bliss
Standing by a purpose true
Heeding God’s command
Honor them the faithful few
All hail to Daniel’s band
Mighty men are lost
Daring not to stand
Who for God had been a host
By joining Daniel’s band
Many giants great and tall
Stalking through the land
Heedlong to the earth would fall
If met by Daniel’s band
Held the Gospel banner high
On to victory grand
Satan and his hosts defy
And shout for Daniel’s band
Dare to be a Daniel
Dare to stand alone
Dare to have a purpose firm
Dare to make it known.
STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS
When I was a child, I did not understand this hymn. Well, to be honest, I understood all but one line of it. In the fourth stanza, at the end, the poem goes, “where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.”
In my young mind I took this phrase to mean “never be wanting to go wherever danger might be.” I knew, though, that while this made sense to my child’s mind, it didn’t make sense in a song about fighting for God, and being willing to put all on the line for the Lord.
Finally, it was explained to me. To be found wanting is to be found missing from where one needs to be. You are wanted, needed somewhere. You need to be somewhere that duty is calling, but you have gone AWOL. You have gone astray. The writer of this song is encouraging us to always be where we are needed, and to never let cowardice keep us from standing up for the Lord.
What a powerful song. Based on Ephesians 6:14 and written as a tribute to the Reverend Dudley Tyng (one of America’s great preachers) this song has inspired many to look to Jesus and not at the world. It is Jesus alone we look to, Jesus alone we are called to serve. Let us, therefore, be found true and faithful to the One who gave His life for us. Let us stand up for Jesus at home, school and play. Let us never be found wanting where we are needed.
Lord, help me be unashamed of You. Help me to witness clearly, speak boldly and oppose evil mightily. Give to me, the strength and protection I need.
Stand Up, Stand for Jesus by George Duffield, Jr.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus Ye soldiers of the cross
Lift high His royal banner It must not suffer loss
From victory, unto victory His army shall He lead
Till every foe is vanquished And Christ is Lord indeed
Stand up, stand up for Jesus The solemn watchword hear
If while ye sleep He suffers Away with shame and fear
Wherever ye meet with evil Within you or without
Charge for the God of battles And put the foe to rout
Stand up, stand up for Jesus The trumpet call obey
Forth to the mighty conflict In this His glorious day
Ye that are brave now serve Him Against unnumbered foes
Let courage rise with danger And strength to strength oppose
Stand up, stand up for Jesus Stand in His strength alone
The arm of flesh will fail you Ye dare not trust your own
Put on the Gospel armor Each piece put on with prayer
Where duty calls or danger Be never wanting there
Stand up, stand up for Jesus Each soldier to his post
Close up the broken column And shout through all the host
Make good the loss so heavy In those that shall remain
And praise to all around you That death itself is gain
Stand up, stand up for Jesus The strife will not be long
This day the noise of battle The next the victor’s song
To him who overcometh A crown of life shall be
They with the King of Glory Shall reign eternally