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Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest” (Psalm 55:6-8)
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#338, 6th March 2018
Hi, Friend,
Have you ever wished you could fly? Well, in this issue we give you directions with a lovely piece written by Hannah Whitall Smith. Her article, The Life on Wings, has been edited for space reasons, but we've provided a link at the end for you so that you can read it in its entirety at your leisure.

Your newsletter also contains an article by Peter Wade, a thought provoking look at "corporate" prayer entitled, A Reluctant God? and we know it will get you thinking. Peter uses some humor in Acts 12:5 to make the point that while praying, noise is not power and quantity is not quality.

We also encourage you to take a look at the description of our featured book in this issue, The Grasshopper  Philosophy, which is an eBook Edition. We'd like to introduce you to our ebooks if you're not familiar with them. They are nicely laid out on our website for you to discover. If you just can't wait, click here!

 

The Life on Wings

by Hannah Whitall Smith

This life hid with Christ in God has many aspects, and can be considered under a great many different figures. There is one aspect which has been a great help and inspiration to me, and I think may be also to some other longing and hungry souls. It is what I call the life on wings.
   
Our Lord has not only told us to consider the “flowers of the field,” but also the “birds of the air”; and I have found that these little winged creatures have some wonderful lessons for us. In one of the Psalms, the Psalmist, after enumerating the darkness and bitterness of his life in this earthly sphere of trial, cries out, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest” (Psalm 55:6-8).
    
This cry for “wings” is as old as humanity. Our souls were made to “mount up with wings,” and they can never be satisfied with anything short of flying. Like the captive-born eagle that feels within it the instinct of flight, and chafes and frets at its imprisonment, hardly knowing what it longs for, so do our souls chafe and fret, and cry out for freedom. We can never rest on earth, and we long to “fly away” from all that so holds and hampers and imprisons us here.

Wings or horses?

This restlessness and discontent develop themselves generally in seeking an outward escape from our circumstances or from our miseries. We do not at first recognise the fact that our only way of escape is to “mount up with wings,” and we try to “flee on horses,” as the Israelites did, when oppressed by their trials (see Isaiah 30:16).

Our “horses” are the outward things upon which we depend for relief, some change of circumstances, or some help from man; and we mount on these and run east or west, or north or south, anywhere to get away from our trouble, thinking in our ignorance that a change of our environment is all that is necessary to give deliverance to our souls. But all such efforts to escape are unavailing, as we have each one proved hundreds of times; for the soul is not so made that it can “flee upon horses,” but must make its flight always upon wings.

Moreover, these “horses” generally carry us, as they did the Israelites, out of one trouble only to land us in another. It is as the Prophet says, “As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.”
    

How often have we also run from some “lion” in our pathway only to be met by a “bear,” or have hidden ourselves in a place of supposed safety only to be bitten by a “serpent”! No; it is useless for the soul to hope to escape by running away from its troubles to any earthly refuge, for there is not one that can give it deliverance. 

    
Is there, then, no way of escape for us when in trouble or distress? Must we just plod wearily through it all and look for no relief? I rejoice to answer that there is a glorious way of escape for every one of us if we will but mount up on wings and fly away from it all to God. It is not a way east or west, or north or south, but it is a way upwards. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
    
All creatures that have wings can escape from every snare that is set for them if only they will fly high enough; and the soul that uses its wings can always find a sure “way to escape” from all that can hurt or trouble it.

Our two wings

What, then, are these wings? Their secret is contained in the words, “They that wait upon the Lord.” The soul that waits upon the Lord is the soul that is entirely surrendered to Him, and that trusts Him perfectly. Therefore we might name our wings the wings of Surrender and of Trust. I mean by this, that if we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.
    
The wings of the soul carry it up into a spiritual plane of life, into the “life hid with Christ in God,” which is a life utterly independent of circumstances, one that no cage can imprison and no shackles bind.
    
The “things above” are the things the soul on wings cares about, not the “things on the earth,” and it views life and all its experiences from the high altitude of “heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Things look very different according to the standpoint from which we view them. The caterpillar, as it creeps along the ground, must have a widely different “view” of the world around it from that which the same caterpillar will have when its wings are developed, and it soars in the air above the very places where once it crawled. And similarly the crawling soul must necessarily see things in a very different aspect from the soul that has “mounted up with wings.” The mountain top may blaze with sunshine when all the valley below is shrouded in fogs, and the bird whose wings can carry him high enough may mount at will out of the gloom below into the joy of the sunlight above.
    
I was at one time spending a winter in London, and during three long months we did not once see any genuine sunshine because of the dense clouds of smoke that hung over the city like a pall. But many a time I saw that above the smoke the sun was shining, and once or twice through a rift I had a glimpse of a bird, with sunshine on its wings, sailing above the fog in the clear blue of the sunlit sky. Not all the brushes in London can sweep away the fog; but could we only mount high enough we should reach a region above it all.
    

And this is what the soul on wings does. It overcomes the world through faith. To overcome means to “come over,” not to be crushed under; and the soul on wings flies over the world and the things of it. These lose their power to hold or bind the spirit that can “come over” them on the wings of Surrender and Trust. That spirit is made in very truth “more than a conqueror.”

If you would like to read this article in its entirety click here.

Our eBooks are in the popular Kindle format. Free readers for your computer, tablet, or smartphone are available from Amazon.com. Contact us for other formats.


The Grasshopper Philosophy eBook Edition

God’s Word gives solid information about who we really are as compared to who we think we are! This is illustrated by the record in Numbers 13 and 14 and the unnecessary mission into the promised land of Canaan by 12 spies. From the negative report of the majority, two spies painted a positive picture and said, “We are well able…” Follow this amazing record and discover why you can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought!

This ebook is Part Two of the paperback book, “Seeds and Secrets” by Peter Wade, available from Amazon or directly from our eBookstore. The book also contains “God’s Seeds of Greatness,” “God’s Secrets of Success,” and “Be a Victor, not a Victim.”

A Reluctant God?
by Peter Wade
(Noise is not power. Quantity is not quality.)
I read on Facebook recently a post from a minister I have personally known for 50 years, who has been told by his physician that he is dying after a four-year battle with disease. I pray that he will recover. In one of 500+ comments on the post, a follower wrote along these lines: "Come on church, this is serious. We all need to pray and fast for 24 hours" et cetera. And I said to myself, "Really?" What follows is not a criticism of my fellow minister or his followers, but a rebuttal of an area of Christian thinking.

I strongly believe in prayer that is based on God's written Word, and many of you do also. There are hundreds of references. In the Old Testament God said, "Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24). Jesus instructed his disciples to "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24). Paul instructed the believers to "pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication" (Ephesians 6:18), and James stated that "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16 NKJV).

We sing about prayer most weeks in our services. "What a friend we have in Jesus | All our sins and griefs to bear | What a privilege to carry | Everything to God in prayer." Vep Ellis in 1941 wrote the American gospel song, "I know He heard my prayer | He knows my every care | He gives to me the blessed victory | Oh Yes! I feel Him now, my loyalty I vow | I know the Savior heard my plea." Listen to it on YouTube.

There is a place for corporate prayer, when believers are gathered together in fellowship. "Corporate prayer isn’t about getting enough people together to pray until God bends His will to our will. Instead, prayer (corporate and private) is about cooperating with God and abandoning our desires and submitting to God’s will. In fact, Matthew 6:8 says, '…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him'" (allaboutprayer.org). 

In the book of Acts there is a humorous account of the church praying for Peter to be let out of jail. "So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church" (Acts 12:5). Peter was let out of jail by an angel, and went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, "where many were gathered together and were praying" (verse 12).

He knocked on the door trying to get into the prayer meeting and Rhoda came and recognized Peter's voice but in her excitement left him standing there. When told that Peter was at the door, those who were praying said to Rhoda, "You're crazy" (MSG) and "It must be his angel." Finally someone opened the door and those praying were "amazed" that their prayers worked! The meeting turned into a praise meeting.

So what's the problem with getting many believers praying and fasting for 24 hours? Or praying with a lot of shouting and speaking in tongues, as I've heard in my Pentecostal background? The problem is that noise is not power, and quantity is not quality! These things are being done because of a belief in a reluctant God, and perhaps with multitudes praying for the same issue it just might get God's attention.

This is common in Christianity today -- prayer chains, either by telephone or email, trying to get more people praying for some need. A book could be written on the subject, but I just want to get you thinking that there is something wrong with the concept. What on earth would you do if you were the only one living on a tropical island?

I've written many times, including in the last newsletter, about the similar fallacy of a capricious God. This also has no basis in God's Word, as God is not a respecter of persons. "Our God is a God of principle, not capriciousness" (from God's Principles and Your Potential.) And our God is not reluctant at all. He wants everyone to be saved (II Peter 2:9), He has blessed His family with all spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), we are complete with Him (Colossians 2:10 NKJV), and we could go on and on. -- Peter Wade

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"The Key to Faithing" [#337],
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