The Top of the Waterfall
by Katherine Britton, crosswalk.com
“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.” – Isaiah 26:9
As I looked up the path – and up, and up – I couldn’t even see the head of the waterfall. The last cataract foamed in front of me, but the first was far up on mountain, where the sunlight hit the summit. I wanted to see more.
The trail was relatively easy, but I was huffing and puffing before long thanks to the incline. The trail snaked back and forth across the mountain, taking us up a fifty feet with each turn. The second, third, and fourth cataracts appeared, and we clambered onward after each one, still intent on seeing that first drop. In the words of C. S. Lewis, the lure of “further in and further up” kept us going, as beauty upon beauty made us eager to see even more.
The view didn’t disappoint us. The autumn panorama spread over the surrounding hills, contrasted in highlight and shadows from the afternoon sun. Everyone at the summit was smiling and taking pictures. Nobody sat with their back against the view. To our right, the head of the waterfall rushed on, flowing over the first drop. Nothing in the suburbs compares with what we saw.
What is it about a waterfall – or anything natural wonder – that makes us stop and stare? What is it about a rainbow that keeps us looking for the next one? Why is Niagara Falls so famous? Why does the human soul dream of places so far from what we normally experience? Why do we keep following the path until we see the greatest beauty of all?
I think such scenes are part of God’s mercy to the whole world, because they teach us what it means to hunger for more. They give us a glimpse of the time when we can drink so deeply that our thirst will be quenched. Like in the Narnia books, they shadow the real thing, when we will be in God’s eternal presence. Do we hunger for that?
Scripture is full of references to this kind of longing. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul writes of “seeing dimly, as in a mirror,” as he waits to see the true nature of love revealed. Roman 8:18-27 empathizes with all of creation’s “groaning” as it waits to see the full glory of God revealed. After all, “who hopes for what he already has?”
As I remember that panorama – and how I want to go back – I consider those verses of longing after God. The more I know and see of God’s character, the more I should be amazed and want to see even more. Someday, every Christian will experience the joy of seeing the fullness of the Lord displayed, but until then, we see one beauty at a time as we keep going. Are you satisfied with the small glimpses, or does the summit beckon you?
To everyone who is thirsty, he gives something to drink; to everyone who is hungry, he gives good things to eat. — Psalm 107:9 CEV
Roughly half of Jesus’ public prayers in the four Gospels are prayers of thanksgiving for food. He thanked God for five loaves and two fish while feeding the five thousand. When He broke bread for the Last Supper, and when He appeared to the disciples and they fed Him, He thanked the Father. Any time He touched food in the Bible, He gave thanks. Follow the example of Jesus; recognize the Lord is our Great Provider.
How has the Lord provided for you today?
Thanksgiving, Even Without Turkey
Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me. — Psalm 50:23 NLT
Television commercials, social media, churches, stores, and more remind us of gratitude as Thanksgiving approaches. And while slicing the turkey and passing the gravy boat, we ritualistically list what we’re grateful for. After all, it’s Thanksgiving. Ponder this question: Could you carry that mind-set of gratitude through the year, not just in November? Celebrate a daily Thanksgiving with eyes wide-open for God’s gifts and a heart full of thanks for every precious blessing in your life.
Pretend you’re sitting at the dining room table laden with a full Thanksgiving spread, and Jesus is your dinner company. What would you tell Him?
Thank the Lord
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. — Psalm 100 NLT
The book of Psalms is bursting with praise and adoration for God, but only one psalm is singled out as a psalm of thanksgiving. Psalm 100 is a beautiful example of how to thank our Lord. We are to shout with joy, worship Him with gladness, sing for joy, acknowledge His greatness, and enter His presence with thanksgiving. Why? Because He is good, His love never fails, and He is faithful.
The next few mornings, read Psalm 100 to begin your day. How will you show God gratitude today?
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” – 2 Timothy 4:7 NLT
Heir to a family fortune, William Borden was expected to enter business. Born on this day in 1887, he seemed set for life. Then a high school graduation trip around the globe changed everything. Seeing the needs of the world, he felt called to the mission field.
Many thought this was a terrible decision. One friend commented that Borden was “throwing himself away.” In response, Borden wrote in his Bible, “No reserves…Say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to Jesus every time.”
He began leading a small group that exploded into a campus-wide movement. By the time Borden was a senior, more than a thousand students were participating. He also inspired others with compassion for widows, orphans, and the disabled.
Feeling God’s call to reach Muslims in China, Borden turned down some job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two words: “No retreats.”
Hoping to learn Arabic, Borden stopped in Egypt on his way to China. But there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, he was dead.
His zeal for the Gospel impacted countless lives. A newspaper wrote, “A wave of sorrow went round the world.” His biography declared that he not only gave away his wealth but also gave himself in a way that was “joyous and natural.” It all was “a privilege rather than a sacrifice.”
Think about the impact of your life. Renew your commitment to follow Jesus wherever He leads. Seek to be a living sacrifice.
The exaltation of Christ
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
Suggested Further Reading: John 17:1-5
Look at him! Can your imagination picture him? Behold his transcendent glory! The majesty of kings is swallowed up; the pomp of empires dissolves like the white mist of the morning before the sun; the brightness of assembled armies is eclipsed. He in himself is brighter than the sun, more terrible than armies with banners. See him! See him! Oh! Hide your heads, you monarchs; put away your gaudy pageantry, you lords of this poor narrow earth! His kingdom knows no bounds; without a limit his vast empire stretches out itself. Above him all is his; beneath him many a step are angels, and they are his; and they cast their crowns before his feet. With them stand his elect and ransomed, and their crowns too are his. And here upon this lower earth stand his saints, and they are his, and they adore him; and under the earth, among the infernals, where devils growl their malice, even there is trembling and adoration; and where lost spirits, with wailing and gnashing of teeth for ever lament their being, even there, there is the acknowledgement of his Godhead, even though the confession helps to make the fire of their torments. In heaven, in earth, in hell, all knees bend before him, and every tongue confesses that he is God. If not now, yet in the time that is to come this shall be carried out, that every creature of God’s making shall acknowledge his Son to be “God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.” Oh! My soul anticipates that blessed day, when this whole earth shall bend its knee before its God willingly! I do believe there is a happy era coming, when there shall not be one knee unbent before my Lord and Master.
For meditation: For meditation: Those who refuse to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ in this life (2 John 7) will be forced to acknowledge him in the next—but it will be too late to do them any good. Those who trust in him now will enjoy praising him for ever.