Read an ExcerptStreams in the Desert for Graduates 366 Daily Devotional Readings
By L.B. Cowman Zondervan Copyright © 1997 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter One January 1
The land you are ... to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)
Today we stand at the threshold of the unknown. Before us lies a new year, and we are going forward to take possession of it. Who knows what we will find? What new experiences or changes will come our way? What new needs will arise? In spite of the uncertainty before us, we have a cheerful and comforting message from our heavenly Father: "The Lord your God cares for [it]; the eyes of the Lord ... are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end."
The Lord is to be our Source of supply. In Him are springs, fountains, and streams that will never be cut off or run dry. To those who are anxious comes the gracious promise of our heavenly Father: If He is the Source of our mercies, mercy will never fail us. No heat or drought can dry the "river whose streams make glad the city of God" (Ps. 46:4).
Yet the land we are to possess is a land of valleys and hills. It is not all flat or downhill. If life were always smooth and level, the boring sameness would weigh us down. We need the valleys and the hills. The hills collect the rain for hundreds of fruitful valleys. And so it is with us! It is the difficulty encountered on the hills that drives us to the throne of grace and brings the showers of blessing. Yes, it is the hills, the cold and seemingly barren hills of life that we question and complain about, that bring down the showers. How many people have perished in the wilderness valley, buried under its golden sand, who would have thrived in the hills? And how many would have been killed by the cold, destroyed or swept desolate of their fruitfulness by the wind, if not for the hills-stern, hard, rugged, and so steep to climb? God's hills are a gracious protection for His people against their foes!
We cannot see what loss, sorrow, and trials are accomplishing. We need only to trust. The Father comes near to take our hand and lead us on our way today. It will be a good and blessed New Year!
He leads us on by paths we did not know; Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow, Though oft we faint and falter on the way, Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day; Yet when the clouds are gone, We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years; Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears, He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze Of losses, sorrows, and o'er clouded days; We know His will is done; And still He leads us on. Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf
The side rooms all around the temple were wider at each successive level. The structure surrounding the temple was built in ascending stages, so that the rooms widened as one went upward. A stairway went up from the lowest floor to the top floor through the middle floor. (Ezekiel 41:7)
Still upward be your onward course: For this I pray today; Still upward as the years go by, And seasons pass away.
Still upward in this coming year, Your path is all untried; Still upward may you journey on, Close by your Savior's side.
Still upward although sorrow come, And trials crush your heart; Still upward may they draw your soul, With Christ to walk apart.
Still upward till the day shall break, And shadows all have flown; Still upward till in Heaven you wake, And stand before the throne.
We should never be content to rest in the mists of the valley when the summit of Mount Tabor awaits us. How pure is the dew of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the food and drink of those who dwell above, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem! Many saints are content to live like people in coal mines, who never see the sun. Tears sadden their faces when they could be anointed with heavenly oil. I am convinced that many believers suffer in a dungeon when they could walk on a palace roof, viewing the lush landscape and Lebanon. Wake up, believers, from your lowly condition! Throw away your laziness, sluggishness, coldness, or whatever is interfering with your pure love for Christ. Make Him the Source, the Center, and the One who encompasses every delight of your soul. Refuse to be satisfied any longer with your meager accomplishments. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, and a fuller life. Upward to heaven! Nearer to God! Charles H. Spurgeon
I want to scale the utmost height, And catch a gleam of glory bright; But still I'll pray, till heaven I've found, Lord, lead me on to higher ground!
Not many of us are living at our best. We linger in the lowlands because we are afraid to climb the mountains. The steepness and ruggedness discourage us, so we stay in the mist of the valleys and never learn the mystery of the hills. We do not know what is lost by our self-indulgence, what glory awaits if we only have the courage to climb, or what blessings we will find if we will only ascend the mountains of God! J. R. M.
Too low they build who build beneath the stars.
Excerpted from Streams in the Desert for Graduates by L.B. Cowman Copyright © 1997 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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