STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.B. COWMAN
"Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth" Isaiah 41:15
Around the turn of the twentieth century, a bar of steel was worth about $5. Yet when forged into horseshoes it was worth $10; when made into needles, its value was $350; when used to make small pocketknife blades, its worth was $32,000; when made into springs for watches, its value increased to $250,000.
What a pounding the steel bar had to endure to be worth this much! But the more it was shaped, hammered, put through fire, beaten, pounded, and polished, the greater its value.
May we use this analogy as a reminder to be still, silent, and long-suffering, for it is those who suffer the most who yield the most. And it is through pain that God gets the most out of us, for His glory and for the blessing of others.
Oh, give Your servant patience to be still,
And bear Your will;
Courage to venture wholly on Your arm
That will not harm;
The wisdom that will never let me stray
Out of my way;
The love that, now afflicting, yet knows best
When I should rest.
Our life is very mysterious. In fact, it would be totally unexplainable unless we believed that God was preparing us for events and ministries that lie unseen beyond the veil of the eternal world---where spirits like tempered steel will be required for special service.
The sharper the Craftsman's knives, the finer and more beautiful His work.
STREAMS IN THE DESERT by L.B. COWMAN
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart---These, O God, You will not despise.
Those people God uses most to bring glory to Himself are those who are completely broken, for the sacrifice He accepts is a "broken and a contrite heart." It was not until Jacob's natural strength was broken, when "his hip was wrenched" (Gen. 32:25) at Peniel, that he came to the point where God could clothe him with spiritual power. And it was not until Moses struck the rock at Horeb, breaking its surface, that cool "water [came] out of it for the people to drink" (Exo. 17:6).
It was not until Gideon's three hundred specially chosen soldiers "broke the jars that were in their hands" (Judg.7:19), which symbolized brokenness in their lives, that the hidden light of the torches shone forth, bringing terror to their enemies. It was once the poor widow broke the seal on her only remaining jar of oil and began to pour it that God miraculously multiplied it to pay her debts and thereby supplied her means of support. (See 2 Kings 4:1-7).
It was not until Esther risked her life and broke through the strict laws of a heathen king's court that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death. (See Esther 4:16).
It was once Jesus took "the five loaves...and broke them"
(Luke 9:16) that the bread was multiplied to feed the five thousand. Through the very process of the loaves being broken, the miracle occurred. It was when Mary broke her beautiful "alabaster jar of very expensive perfume"
(Matt. 26:7), destroying its future usefulness and value, that the wonderful fragrance filled the house. And it was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken by thorns, nails, and a spear that His inner life was poured out like an ocean of crystal-clear water, for thirsty sinners to drink and then live.
It is not until a beautiful kernel of corn is buried and broken in the earth by DEATH that its inner heart sprouts, producing hundreds of other seeds or kernels. And so it has always been, down through the history of plants, people, and all of spiritual life---God uses BROKEN THINGS.
Those who have been gripped by the power of the Holy Spirit and are used for God's glory are those who have been broken in their finances, broken in their self-will, broken in their ambitions, broken in their lofty ideals, broken in their worldly reputation, broken in their desires, and often broken in their health. Yes, He uses those who are despised by the world and who seem totally hopeless and helpless, just as Isaiah said: "The lame will carry off plunder" (Isa. 33:23).
Oh, break my heart; but break it as a field
Is plowed and broken for the seeds of corn;
Oh, break it as the buds, by green leaf sealed,
Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;
Love would I offer unto Love's great Master,
Set free the fragrance, break the alabaster.
Oh, break my heart; break it, victorious God,
That life's eternal well may flow abroad;
Oh, let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought's sacred grove to life is springing,
Be joys, like birds, their hope, Your victory singing.
(Thomas Toke Bunch)
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