Beautiful Outlaw

Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off. The result is a dry, two dimensional person doing strange, undecipherable things. But when we discover his true character-this man who made the wind, music and flying squirrels-suddenly all of the remarkable qualities of Jesus burst forth with color and brilliance like fireworks.
Breaking Jesus out of the typical stereotypes, BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW welcomes readers into the rich emotional life of Christ showing how they can experience the actual personality of Jesus in their daily lives in ways that will deepen their faith.

Streams In the Desert 5/4/2017

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men . . . who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.(2 Chronicles 20:22)

Oh, if only we would worry less about our problems and sing and praise more! There are thousands of things that shackle us that could be turned into instruments of music, if we just knew how to do it. Think of those people who ponder, meditate, and weigh the affairs of life, and who continually study the mysterious inner workings of God’s providence, wondering why they suffer burdens and are opposed and battled on every front. How different their lives would be, and how much more joyful, if they would stop indulging in self-centered and inward thinking and instead would daily lift their experiences to God, praising Him for them.

It is easier to sing your worries away than to reason them away. Why not sing in the morning? Think of the birds—they are the first to sing each day, and they have fewer worries than anything else in creation. And don’t forget to sing in the evening, which is what the robins do when they have finished their daily work. Once they have flown their last flight of the day and gathered the last bit of food, they find a treetop from which to sing a song of praise.

Oh, that we might sing morning and evening, offering up song after song of continual praise throughout our day! selected

Don’t let the song go out of your life
    Although it sometimes will flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
    With the major tone you know.

Although shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
    And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
    If you let the melody run.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
    Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the quivering note may die in your throat,
    Let it sing in your spirit still.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
    Let it ring in your soul while here;
And when you go hence, it will follow you thence,
    And live on in another sphere.

Streams in the Desert 5/3/2017

The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.(Psalm 103:19)

Some time ago as I went out my door in the early spring, a blast of easterly wind rounded the corner. It seemed defiant and merciless and was fierce and dry, raising a cloud of dust ahead of it. As I removed the key from the door, I quite impatiently began to say, “I wish the wind would . . .” What I was about to say was change, but my thought was stopped and the sentence was never finished.

As I continued on my way, this incident became a parable for me. I imagined an angel handing me a key and saying,”My Master sends you His love and asked me to give you this.”Wondering, I asked,”What is it?””It is the key to the winds,” the angel said and then disappeared.

My first thought was,”This indeed will bring me happiness.” So I hurried high into the hills to the source of the winds and stood amid the caves. I proclaimed,”I will do away with the terrible east wind—it will never plague us again!” I summoned that unfriendly wind to me, closed the door behind it, and heard it echoing through the hollow caves. As I turned the key, triumphantly locking it in, I said,”There, I am finished with that.”

Then looking around me, I asked myself,”What should I put in its place?” I thought of the warm southerly wind and how pleasant it must be to newborn lambs and new flowers and plants of all kinds. But as I put the key in the door, it began to burn my hand. I cried aloud, “What am I doing? Who knows what damage I may cause? How do I know what the fields want and need? Ten thousand problems may result from this foolish wish of mine!”

Bewildered and ashamed, I looked up and asked the Lord to send His angel to take away the key. Then I promised I would never ask for it again. To my amazement, the Lord Himself came and stood by me. He stretched out His hand to take the key, and as I placed it there, I saw it touch that sacred scar.

I was filled with remorse as I wondered how I could ever have complained about anything done by Him who bore such sacred signs of His love. Then He took the key and hung it on His belt. I asked, “Do you keep the key to the winds?” “I do, my child,” He graciously answered. And as He spoke, I noticed that all the keys to my life were hanging there as well. He saw my look of amazement and asked, “Did you not know, dear child, that my ‘kingdom rules over all’?

“If you rule ‘over all,'” I questioned,”is it safe to complain about anything?”Then He tenderly laid His hand upon me to say,”My dear child, your only safety comes from loving, trusting, and praising Me through everything.” Mark Guy Pearse

Streams in the Desert

Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.(Joel 2:32)

So why don’t I call on His name? Why do I run to this person or that person, when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down to plot my own course and make my own plans? Why don’t I immediately place myself and my burden on the Lord?

Straight ahead is the best way to run, so why don’t I run directly to the living God? Instead, I look in vain for deliverance everywhere else, but with God I will find it. With Him I have His royal promise:”[I] will be saved.”And with Him I never need to ask if I may call on Him or not, for the word “everyone” is all encompassing. It includes me and means anybody and everybody who calls upon His name. Therefore I will trust in this verse and will immediately call on the glorious Lord who has made such a great promise.

My situation is urgent, and I cannot see how I will ever be delivered. Yet this is not my concern, for He who made the promise will find a way to keep it. My part is simply to obey His commands, not to direct His ways. I am His servant, not His advisor. I call upon Him and He will deliver me. Charles H. Spurgeon