A Blind Servant
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1 NASB
Later in life, mother’s one remaining eye was going blind.
After a long life of serving Jesus, my mother had been robbed of sight in one eye by a nasty strep infection. Surprisingly, she kept serving the Lord in the jails of Central California as the first female chaplain in Fresno County’s history. Fear often overwhelmed her, but she placed it in Jesus’ hands and pressed on.
Later she lost my father to heart failure and again pressed on. Having become one of the founders of The Valley Mission of Central California, my dear one-eyed mother pressed on and spent hours each day on her knees praying in our small bathroom.
My mother’s prayer life frightened me. A few times I came home from high school just as she would come out from praying and she had a glowing light surrounding her. Living with my mother taught me about the reality of the Holy Spirit’s presence and healing ability.
Years later, this dear handmaiden of the Lord was in danger of going blind in her one remaining eye. She was frightened, primarily because she would no longer be able to read her Bible. My mother could no longer see clearly yet continued to teach me even in this circumstance. She taught me that her soul was not blind but full of light as when she passed on, with my three professional sisters in attendance, the room filled with golden light for several blessed moments. Then, Mom made it safely to her heavenly retirement home and the room became as it was before.
Because of my Mother’s struggle with blindness, I tried to write what she had taught me:
“A woman blind to there being a one true God is a person who trips and falls. She uses walls to hang onto as she tries to make her journey safely. A woman who refuses to look up into the heavens is a nearsighted woman blind to what is coming. This woman is blind from birth and cannot imagine a sunrise. She tries to lift burdens without a Divine fulcrum. Those without faith’s light live a life without God’s power and grace. They are blind and trust nothing more than what they can see.”
You have become blind when what you see as good contradicts what God has said.
Keep looking up and pressing on with your eyes on Jesus’ beautiful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.
Streams in the Desert – July 20
- 202120 Jul
Seeing then that we have a great high Priest… Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Our great Helper in prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Advocate with the Father, our Great High Priest, whose chief ministry for us these centuries has been intercession and prayer. He it is who takes our imperfect petitions from our hands, cleanses them from their defects, corrects their faults, and then claims their answer from His Father on His own account and through His all-atoning merits and righteousness.
Brother, are you fainting in prayer? Look up. Your blessed Advocate has already claimed your answer, and you would grieve and disappoint Him if you were to give up the conflict in the very moment when victory is on its way to meet you. He has gone in for you into the inner chamber, and already holds up your name upon the palms of His hands; and the messenger, which is to bring you your blessing, is now on his way, and the Spirit is only waiting your trust to whisper in your heart the echo of the answer from the throne, “It is done.”
–A. B. Simpson
The Spirit has much to do with acceptable prayer, and His work in prayer is too much neglected. He enlightens the mind to see its wants, softens the heart to feel them, quickens our desires after suitable supplies, gives clear views of God’s power, wisdom, and grace to relieve us, and stirs up that confidence in His truth which excludes all wavering.
Prayer is, therefore, a wonderful thing. In every acceptable prayer the whole Trinity is concerned.
–J. Angell James
What’s it to You?
by Kelly Givens, crosswalk.com
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at the table close to him… When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:20-22
Have you ever wondered why God allows some Christians to suffer so much, and others seem to glide through life relatively pain-free? I know many godly men and women who seem to suffer without end. Their pain is more than I have ever experienced; they’ve faced more trials in a year than I’ve faced in my entire life. Why is that? Am I loved by God more than these people? Are they glorifying God more through their suffering than I can in my blessings? The comparisons go in all directions.
Comparison was Peter’s go-to when Jesus told him this: “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God). Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19).
Jesus was foretelling that Peter, just like himself, would be led to his death, arms stretched out in his own crucifixion. Tradition points to Peter being crucified upside down during Nero’s persecution, not wanting to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.
I’m not sure if Peter knew then by what kind of death he would die, but no doubt he got the gist of what Jesus was saying. So it’s no surprise that he quickly disregarded Christ’s instruction to “follow me!” Instead, he looked around at the other disciples, spotted John, and exclaimed “Lord, what about this man?” I wonder if Peter was thinking, “I get what you’re trying to tell me, but what about that guy? Why should I go through this trial and not him? Do you love him more than me?”
Comparison is hard-wired in our sinful nature. When others seem to get ahead or are seemingly more blessed than us, we grow envious. When the tables are turned and we are the ones being blessed, we might fight the urge to brag or think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Both kinds of comparison are fatal to our faith, and Jesus knows it. So when Peter bluntly asked, “what about this man?” Jesus’ response was clear. “What is that to you? You follow me!”
Peter died a horrible, agonizing death. Most historians agree that most of the other apostles met similar, violent ends. Except for John. John died, presumably peacefully, in his old age. Why? Because that was how each “was to glorify God.” When God bestows on us blessings we should proclaim his glory joyfully and humbly. But when he allows us to suffer, we have the opportunity to proclaim him King through our hopefulness and faith. God’s glory is what’s important, not our circumstances.
“You follow me.” Fixing ourselves on Jesus is the key to fruitful ministry, the key to humility, the key to joy regardless of our circumstances. It’s the key to glorifying God – the true purpose of our lives and ministry.
Am I clear of his blood?
Author: Charles Spurgeobn
‘The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.’ Genesis 4:10
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 5:15–20
The servants of Satan shame me; they shame me! There comes at night a message to some of you who are the servants of Satan—‘The master is come, and calleth for thee.’ You leave your wife and your children without a tear, you go to your master’s house, and there are foul cups passing round, and you will drink, and drink still on; never denying your master; confessing him with many an oath; saying to your comrades many things which injure your poor souls; and yet you do it so bravely. You hardly know how you get home at night, but when the morning comes, and you wake, there is the redness of the eyes, the headache, and the sickness; but the next night when your master wants you, you go again; and so you will do year after year, even though delirium tears you like a whirlwind. But here am I, a servant of God, and when my Master calls for me and bids me go and confess him, I am tempted to be still, and when he tells me to speak to yonder man I would wickedly avoid the task; and whereas you confess your master and imprecate a curse upon your head, how often do some of us confess our master as timidly as if we feared a curse, when instead thereof it is by confession that the curse is turned away! It is enough to make us Christians ashamed to think how sinners will confess their god! Hear them at night, as they reel home through the streets; they are not ashamed of their lord and master. Hear how they swear, and defy heaven! They are ashamed of nothing for their lord; and yet we, who have heaven for our reward, and such a Christ to serve, and one so good and gracious to us—look at us! What poor lovers of our Saviour are we! What poor lovers of the souls of men!
For meditation: Do you find yourself being ashamed firstly of Christ and then, as a result, of yourself (Mark 14:66–72)? Failure to speak for him is a common temptation and sin of omission, but with God’s help it is possible to get the victory over it (Psalm 119:46; Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8).