Amnesia

Nebuchadnezzar was a great general and king. God taught him who He was after 
he lost his mind, acted like an animal, and later was restored as king of Babylon. You find
this story in Daniel chapter 4.
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Amnesia

From: Our Daily Bread

Amnesia

My understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High. Daniel 4:34 nkjv

Emergency Services in Carlsbad, California, came to the rescue of a woman with an Australian accent who couldn’t recall who she was. Because she was suffering from amnesia and had no ID with her, she was unable to provide her name or where she had come from. It took the help of doctors and international media to restore her health, tell her story, and reunite her with her family.

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, also lost sight of who he was and where he had come from. His “amnesia,” though, was spiritual. In taking credit for the kingdom he’d been given, he forgot that God is the King of Kings, and everything he had was from Him (Daniel 4:17, 28–30).

God dramatized the king’s state of mind by driving him into the fields to live with wild animals and graze like a cow (vv. 32–33). Finally, after seven years Nebuchadnezzar looked up to the skies, and his memory of who he was and who had given him his kingdom returned. With his senses restored, he declared, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven” (v. 37).

What about us? Who do we think we are? Where did we come from? Since we are inclined to forget, who can we count on to help us remember but the King of Kings?

Father, we are so inclined to forget who we are, where we’ve come from, and that we belong to You. Help us to remember that in Christ we are Your children—known, loved, gifted, and cared for—now and forever.

When we forget who we are, our Father cares.

Comes in Pretty Handy

From: Our Daily Journey

Comes in Pretty Handy

Read:

Romans 15:23-33
Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well.” . . . What good does that do? (James 2:15-16).

“We don’t use money in heaven,” says Clarence the angel in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life. “It comes in pretty handy down here, Bub!” replies an exasperated, earthbound George Bailey.

Joe Holman could relate to George. He needed $700 to fund a medical-mission event in a remote region. By posting the need online, he raised $210. At the same time, a friend of Joe’s posted that he needed $4,000 to make a music CD. He received $4,300.

Joe doesn’t like to discuss finances. As a missionary, he says, “We have to appear above money.” But money does matter. And it especially matters to those who serve at the front lines of our poorest areas.

As the apostle Paul wrapped up his letter to the church in Rome, he touched on this practical matter. He was about to take a financial gift to the believers in Jerusalem from Gentile believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Gentiles had heard the good news about Jesus from Jerusalem missionaries and now wanted to help in some small way (Romans 15:26). “They feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially,” Paul wrote (Romans 15:27).

Remarkably, the church in Macedonia gave out of their poverty (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Paul used their generosity to challenge wealthier churches to give as well. (Note that the apostle wasn’t asking for money for himself.)

It isn’t all about the money, of course. When Paul asked for his own needs, he said, “Join in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30). But money does indeed “come in pretty handy down here.” By using it wisely as our generous God provides, we bless others even while we serve Him. Consider helping missions or a faith-based charity in a tangible way today as He supplies what you need.

 

High-Tech Communication

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Now we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. —1 Corinthians 2:12

When it comes to communication, our world is becoming increasingly high-tech. The popularity of things like Twitter and Facebook might cause some to think the Bible is too old-school. The tech-savvy people of our world might feel deterred because there are no sounds and no nifty graphics in the Bible. But the truth is, there’s more high-tech power in God’s Word than in any cutting-edge communication tool our world will ever know.

It’s not uncommon for a pastor to be told, “When you said that in your message, it was just what I needed.” Somehow during the sermon, God spoke to the person’s heart with a message tailor-made for him or her. If you’ve ever read the Bible and sensed God speaking directly to you, you know what I’m talking about. God has hard-wired you with His Spirit, who illumines your mind to understand His Word.

Imagine getting a “text message” directly from the Creator of the universe telling you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. No matter how high-tech this world gets, you’ll never experience a more powerful mode of communication!

Rejoice in the reality that “we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:12).

Give me the insight, Lord,
As I hear Your Word today,
So I will truly understand
Your message and Your way. —Monroe

The Bible may be old, but its truths are always new.

A Worthy Sacrifice

A Worthy Offering

Cain, in the Bible (Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament), firstborn son of Adam and Eve, who
murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1–16). Cain, a farmer, became enraged when the
Lord accepted the offering of his brother Abel, a shepherd, in preference to his own.
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Peace With God Through Christ

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.     John 16:33

 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do
not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.       John 14:27
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The Secret of Peace

From: Our Daily Bread

The Secret of Peace

The Lord of peace himself give you peace. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Grace is a very special lady. One word comes to mind when I think of her: peace. The quiet and restful expression on her face has seldom changed in the six months I have known her, even though her husband was diagnosed with a rare disease and then hospitalized.

When I asked Grace the secret of her peace, she said, “It’s not a secret, it’s a person. It’s Jesus in me. There is no other way I can explain the quietness I feel in the midst of this storm.”

The secret of peace is our relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our peace. When Jesus is our Savior and Lord, and as we become more like Him, peace becomes real. Things like sickness, financial difficulties, or danger may be present, but peace reassures us that God holds our lives in His hands (Daniel 5:23), and we can trust that things will work together for good.

Have we experienced this peace that goes beyond logic and understanding? Do we have the inner confidence that God is in control? My wish for all of us today echoes the words of the apostle Paul: “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace.” And may we feel this peace “at all times and in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Dear Lord, please give us Your peace at all times and in every situation.

To trust in Jesus is peace.

 

The Kingdom Believer

From: Michael Plemmons, Author

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We live in a world that is beset by constant change. Daily, the day’s headlines give mute testimony to this fact. Everyone in our world today in every nation can sense that we are experiencing something quite unlike anything we have seen before. In a world seemingly spinning more and more out of control, millions all over the world are searching for answers.

The answers we all seek in this hour can only be found in one place and from one heart. It is a heart that has too long been misunderstood. It is a heart that flows in the greatest love and compassion that has ever existed.

Father God is about to reveal himself in a new and revolutionary way. The kingdom of God and planet earth are on a collision course. The church of Jesus Christ is about to be freed from the chains of tradition and religion.

All over the world hungry hearts are seeking the face of God. These devoted followers of Jesus Christ are united on a holy quest to seek the presence of God. I believe we have entered a new day and that Father God is preparing the hearts of his church for the greatest outpouring of his Spirit ever seen. The kingdom of God is about to be established and with it what I shall call the kingdom believer.

The kingdom believer longs to experience the anointing and glory of the Kingdom of their heavenly Father. Those who have walked in, tasted, and seen with the eyes of their hearts His kingdom, have by experiencing it forever, purged from them any desire for a kingdom of their own. As we experience the wonders of the age to come, our desires for the world and its seductive inducements are forever lost in the expanding inner revelation of the realm of heaven.

Those whose hearts hunger for a new revelation of the heart of God shall experience the glory of union with God. The Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, exist in perfect unity, as they are both three and one. The heart, which hungers for union with God, shall walk in a new revelation of the glory of God. Those who receive this revelation shall never be satisfied with the power of God simply resting on them. Having been given a new awareness of God they will rather hunger that they will be a vessel through whom Father shall flow that others may be transformed by the heart of Father God that this new awareness of him brings.

Never again shall the church of Jesus Christ be satisfied with just an anointing without an inner revelation of the heart of God. The world is in desperate need in this day and hour for a new source of hope. All around us the seeds of tribulation have been sown. Mankind, if the word of God be true, is facing its most desperate hour. Saints of God, the work that Father is doing in the hearts of believers all over the world is preparing the church for the dark days ahead.

We have the answers the world is seeking. The kingdom believers shall be a force of righteous conviction in the world. They shall walk in a new understanding of the plans of their God in this day. This new understanding shall bring the most powerful force of compassion and love ever seen into the world of men. If the truth be known, one age is coming to an end in fiery judgment and a new one is being established in its place. Let us not give in to the fear and terror of these times but rather rest secure in the knowledge that a new kingdom is coming.

So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)

Do You Worship The Work?

Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. The only concern of Christian workers should be their concentration on God. This will mean that all the other boundaries of life, whether they are mental, moral, or spiritual limits, are completely free with the freedom God gives His child; that is, a worshiping child, not a wayward one. A worker who lacks this serious controlling emphasis of concentration on God is apt to become overly burdened by his work. He is a slave to his own limits, having no freedom of his body, mind, or spirit. Consequently, he becomes burned out and defeated. There is no freedom and no delight in life at all. His nerves, mind, and heart are so overwhelmed that God’s blessing cannot rest on him.

But the opposite case is equally true– once our concentration is on God, all the limits of our life are free and under the control and mastery of God alone. There is no longer any responsibility on you for the work. The only responsibility you have is to stay in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him. The freedom that comes after sanctification is the freedom of a child, and the things that used to hold your life down are gone. But be careful to remember that you have been freed for only one thing– to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.

We have no right to decide where we should be placed, or to have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do. God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Full Redemption

Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to
the riches of His grace
Titus 2:14

who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Ephesians 4:30

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Romans 3:24

being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus

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Full redemption

By: Charles Spurgeon

“There shall not an hoof be left behind.” Exodus 10:26

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 20:1-10

A man once wrote a book to prove the devil a fool. Certainly, when all matters shall come to their destined consummation, Satan will prove to have been a magnificent fool. Folly, magnified to the highest degree by subtlety, shall be developed in Satan. Ah! Thou trailing serpent, what hast thou now after all? I saw thee but a few thousand years ago, twining around the tree of life, and hissing out thy deceptive words. Ah! how glorious was the serpent then—a winged creature, with his azure scales. Yes, and thou didst triumph over God. I heard thee as thou didst go hissing down to thy den. I heard thee say to thy brood,—vipers in the nest as they are,—“My children, I have stained the Almighty’s works: I have turned aside his loyal subjects; I have injected my poison into the heart of Eve, and Adam hath fallen too; my children let us hold a jubilee, for I have defeated God.” Oh, my enemy; I think I see thee now, with thy head all broken, and thy jaw-teeth smashed, and thy venom-bags all emptied, and thou thyself a weary length of agony, rolling miles afloat along a sea of fire, tortured, destroyed, overcome, tormented, ashamed, hacked, hewed, dashed in pieces, and made a hissing, and a scorn for children to laugh at, and made a scoff throughout eternity. Ah! well, brethren, the great Goliath hath gained nothing by his boasting: Christ and his people have really lost nothing by Satan. All they lost once, has been re-taken. The victory has not simply been a capture of that which was lost, but a gaining of something more. We are in Christ more than we were before we fell. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”

For meditation: Victory over Satan will be celebrated with joy (Revelation 12:10-12Romans 16:20) but for the moment we must remain on our guard against him (1 Corinthians 7:52 Corinthians 2:11Ephesians 4:276:111 Timothy 3:6,71 Peter 5:8,9).

Childlike Faith

From: Our Daily Journey

Childlike Faith

Read:

Luke 10:1-23
Jesus . . . said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Luke 10:21).

Every Sunday morning in the foyer, our eyes meet. Her eyes are full of joy, twinkling. Immediately she breaks into song, loudly singing my name, “Mar-le-na!” She ambles over, we hug, and I say, “It is so good to see you.” She always responds with, “It is good to be seen.” And then I remind her, “You know I love you.” And she trustingly offers, “I know you do.” My dear friend, who is seventy-five and dealing with progressing dementia, remains full of the joy of the Lord. She’s childlike in her trust of Jesus and those who love Him.

I marvel at my friend, so joyful in spite of her circumstances. Her true joy reminds me of the Scriptures that describe Jesus’ joy. In Luke 10, for example, Jesus had just sent seventy-two of His disciples ahead of Him to minister in the towns He planned on visiting (Luke 10:1). They returned full of joy and in awe of God’s power. “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” they reported (Luke 10:17). After Jesus heard their updates, the Bible tells us that He was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way” (Luke 10:21).

God’s ways are revealed to the humble, to those who, with simple trust, believe that Jesus is who He says He is: “Unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3). When we trust Christ and exchange our ways and the world’s ways for His ways, joy comes. Every time I see my friend, I’m reminded of the beauty of this truth.

 

The Light That Never Fails

By Oswald Chambers

 The Light That Never Fails

A servant of God must stand so very much alone that he never realizes he is alone. In the early stages of the Christian life, disappointments will come— people who used to be lights will flicker out, and those who used to stand with us will turn away. We have to get so used to it that we will not even realize we are standing alone. Paul said, “…no one stood with me, but all forsook me….But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…” (2 Timothy 4:16-17). We must build our faith not on fading lights but on the Light that never fails. When “important” individuals go away we are sad, until we see that they are meant to go, so that only one thing is left for us to do— to look into the face of God for ourselves.

Allow nothing to keep you from looking with strong determination into the face of God regarding yourself and your doctrine. And every time you preach make sure you look God in the face about the message first, then the glory will remain through all of it. A Christian servant is one who perpetually looks into the face of God and then goes forth to talk to others. The ministry of Christ is characterized by an abiding glory of which the servant is totally unaware— “…Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him” (Exodus 34:29).

We are never called on to display our doubts openly or to express the hidden joys and delights of our life with God. The secret of the servant’s life is that he stays in tune with God all the time.

Fasting and Prayer

Matthew 6

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which sees in secret, shall reward thee openly.

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Feasting after Fasting

From: Our Daily Journey

Feasting after Fasting

Read:

John 15:7-11
I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! (John 15:11).

“How can they observe the season of Lent and then miss out on the feasting afterwards?” a friend asked, mulling over the seemingly lost practice of celebrating the season of Easter—the fifty days following Resurrection Sunday. Christians who follow a more liturgical tradition dedicate the forty days before Easter as a season of prayer and fasting (while celebrating the resurrection each Sunday), but they sometimes neglect to embrace the discipline of celebration during the Easter season. Fasting without the subsequent feasting loses the experience of joy that God longs for His people to know and embrace.

When Jesus spoke to His disciples before His death and resurrection, He promised them joy. He said He would remain close to them and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (see John 14:3,16-17). Instructing them to obey the Father and remain in His love, He said they would receive joy overflowing (John 15:10-11). Indeed, after His resurrection, the first words Jesus spoke to His friends assembled behind locked doors were, “Peace be with you.” And the disciples “were filled with joy” (John 20:19-20).

The risen Christ appeared to His disciples back then, but He also lives today. As we obey Him and join in His work, we rejoice knowing that He’s alive and that we’ll see Him again (John 16:22). He willingly fills us with the gift of joy.

Have you ever considered celebrating the weeks after Easter as a season of jubilee and feasting? We may not host extravagant parties, but we can foster an attitude of joy as we embrace Jesus’ final words on Earth before He died, rose again, and returned to dwell among us. May our joy be complete and overflowing in Him.

 

Stepping Stones to the Throne

From: Missey Butler, Author

Have you ever felt as if you’ve lost your way? I mean, you can’t really put into words what has happened to you. All you know is that things aren’t the same. It’s as if you are slowly drying up on the inside and you don’t know when or how it all started. Life seems to have kept moving but you decided not to. I remember reading that when it comes to our spiritual walk, we are doing one of two things. We are either moving forward or falling back. There is no neutral ground.

Boy, that really did bother me because honestly, I wanted a little breather. You know what I mean? And then, I kept hearing this catchy little jingle – “You deserve a break today” – so, needless to say, I did. I took a break from working on my spiritual life. Unnoticeably to me, the moments turned into an hour, an hour turned into a day, a day into a week, and before I realized it six months had passed by. I finally realized I had fallen into what felt like a serious backslidden condition.

My mind had turned into a raging battlefield of guilt, resentments, anger, justifications, and one of my personal favorites – indifference. The things I once cared about, even had convictions over, no longer bothered me. My heart used to be so sensitive. Now it was very calloused, so much that it was almost unrecognizable to me.

Immediately, God’s Word, ever faithful and always on time, began to minister to me. I heard Him say, “Break up the fallow ground of your heart and allow me to redeem back the time the enemy has stolen.” His voice was so gentle, but yet firm. He was not at all the condemning, finger-shaking, personality my imagination had conjured up. Instead, I saw my Lord and myself suspended above a shallow pond. I watched him as He slowly bent down and placed before my feet a stepping stone that had writing on it. I leaned over and saw these words:

Romans 2:4b, the goodness of the Lord leads men to repentance.

I felt my eyes swell with tears as I looked up at Him. He very lovingly smiled at me and said, “Step here my beloved.” As I lowered my foot onto the stone, He bent forward with another stone upon which read:

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I heard His tender voice speak to me again, “Step here my beloved.” As I stepped onto the warm sandstone, I sensed such a cleansing and lifting of a heavy weight off of my soul. I felt so clean and free. The last stone the Lord put before me had inscribed upon it a verse that was very familiar to me, but I had lost sight of it. It was one of those commands that was simple, yet filled with such meaning:

Matthew 3:8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

I hesitated for a moment before stepping out. I closed my eyes and whispered, “Oh Lord, you know how I have failed you in this area. How will it be any different this time?” Then I heard the Lord say, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Now, take another step.”

Don’t Hurt the Lord

April 21 

By Oswald Chambers

Don’t Hurt the Lord

Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us— astounded at how “un-simple” we are. It is our own opinions that make us dense and slow to understand, but when we are simple we are never dense; we have discernment all the time. Philip expected the future revelation of a tremendous mystery, but not in Jesus, the Person he thought he already knew. The mystery of God is not in what is going to be— it is now, though we look for it to be revealed in the future in some overwhelming, momentous event. We have no reluctance to obey Jesus, but it is highly probable that we are hurting Him by what we ask— “Lord, show us the Father…” (John 14:8). His response immediately comes back to us as He says, “Can’t you see Him? He is always right here or He is nowhere to be found.” We look for God to exhibit Himself to His children, but God only exhibits Himself inHis children. And while others see the evidence, the child of God does not. We want to be fully aware of what God is doing in us, but we cannot have complete awareness and expect to remain reasonable or balanced in our expectations of Him. If all we are asking God to give us is experiences, and the awareness of those experiences is blocking our way, we hurt the Lord. The very questions we ask hurt Jesus, because they are not the questions of a child.

“Let not your heart be troubled…” (14:1, 27). Am I then hurting Jesus by allowing my heart to be troubled? If I believe in Jesus and His attributes, am I living up to my belief? Am I allowing anything to disturb my heart, or am I allowing any questions to come in which are unsound or unbalanced? I have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate.

 

 

Forgive As Jesus Forgave You

Colossians 3:13  

13   Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

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The Art of Forgiveness

From: Our Daily Bread

The Art of Forgiveness

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

One afternoon I spent two hours at an art exhibit—The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness—in which all of the pieces were focused on Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11–31). I found Edward Riojas’s painting The Prodigal Sonespecially powerful. The painting portrays the once wayward son returning home, wearing rags and walking with his head down. With a land of death behind him, he steps onto a pathway where his father is already running toward him. At the bottom of the painting are Jesus’s words, “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion” (v. 20 kjv).

I was deeply moved by realizing once more how God’s unchanging love has altered my life. When I walked away from Him, He didn’t turn His back, but kept looking, watching, and waiting. His love is undeserved yet unchanging; often ignored yet never withdrawn.

We all are guilty, yet our heavenly Father reaches out to welcome us, just as the father in this story embraced his wayward son. “Let’s have a feast and celebrate,” the father told the servants. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (vv. 23–24).

The Lord still rejoices over those who return to Him today—and that’s worth celebrating!

Father, as we receive Your love and forgiveness, may we also extend it to others in Your name.

God’s love for us is undeserved yet unchanging.

 

Silence Isn’t Always Golden

From: Our Daily Journey

Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Read:

2 Kings 7:3-11
This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! . . . Come on, let’s go back and tell the people (2 Kings 7:9).

Samaria, the capital of Israel, was being besieged by the Aramean army. Food was soon depleted, and many died of hunger while some resorted to cannibalism (2 Kings 6:24-31). The prophet Elisha told the unbelieving king that God would rescue them and provide food for them (2 Kings 7:1). Soon, the divine army that Elisha’s servant had seen earlier scattered the enemy (2 Kings 6:14-172 Kings 7:6-7).

The victory was first grasped not by the people inside the city, but by four lepers who had been forced to live outside the city walls because of their disease (Leviticus 13:45-46). Trapped between the walls and the Aramean army, death was a certainty (2 Kings 7:3-4). But when they went to surrender to the Arameans, they found the army mysteriously gone (2 Kings 7:5-6). God had delivered them!

Entering the empty Arameans’ tents, the lepers gorged themselves on an abundance of food and collected silver, gold, and clothing (2 Kings 7:8). But then they became ashamed of their self-centeredness. Their family members and fellow Israelites were still in misery, uninformed of God’s deliverance and provisions. Guilt-stricken, they admitted, “This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! Come on, let’s go back and tell the people” (2 Kings 7:9).

Spurred on by their newfound gratitude, they “went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened. . . . Then the gatekeepers shouted the news to the people” (2 Kings 7:10-11).

We have good news to tell: God has come to our rescue! And He’s blessed us abundantly (Ephesians 1:3-8). Like the lepers, may gratitude motivate us as we share openly about Jesus. In His guidance and power, let’s share the good news!

 

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts (Zech. 4:6).

My way led up a hill, and right at the foot I saw a boy on a bicycle. He was pedalling up hill against the wind, and evidently found it a tremendously hard work. Just as he was working most strenuously and doing his best painfully, there came a trolley car going in the same direction–up the hill.

It was not going too fast for the boy to get behind it, and with one hand to lay hold of the bar at the back. Then you know what happened. He went up that hill like a bird. Then it flashed upon me:

“Why, I am like that boy on the bicycle in my weariness and weakness. I am pedalling up hill against all kinds of opposition, and am almost worn out with the task. But here at hand is a great available power, the strength of the Lord Jesus.

“I have only to get in touch with Him and to maintain communication with Him, though it may be only one little finger of faith, and that will be enough to make His power mine for the doing of this bit of service that just now seems too much for me.” And I was helped to dismiss my weariness and to realize this truth.
–The Life of Fuller Purpose

ABANDONED

Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Seeking all His fulness at whatever cost;
Cutting all the shore-lines, launching in the deep
Of His mighty power–strong to save and keep.
Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Oh! the sinking, sinking, until self is lost!
Until the emptied vessel lies broken at His feet;
Waiting till His filling shall make the work complete.
Utterly abandoned to the will of God;
Seeking for no other path than my Master trod;
Leaving ease and pleasure, making Him my choice,
Waiting for His guidance, listening for His voice.
Utterly abandoned! no will of my own;
For time and for eternity, His, and His alone;
All my plans and purposes lost in His sweet will,
Having nothing, yet in Him all things possessing still.
Utterly abandoned! ’tis so sweet to be
Captive in His bonds of love, yet so wondrous free;
Free from sin’s entanglements, free from doubt and fear,
Free from every worry, burden, grief or care.
Utterly abandoned! oh, the rest is sweet,
As I tarry, waiting, at His blessed feet;
Waiting for the coming of the Guest divine,
Who my inmost being shall perfectly refine.
Lo! He comes and fills me, Holy Spirit sweet!
I, in Him, am satisfied! I, in Him, complete!
And the light within my soul shall nevermore grow dim
While I keep my covenant–abandoned unto Him!
–Author Unknown

Don’t Hurry

Philippians 4:6 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Proverbs 19:2 

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Psalm 46:10 

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

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Hurry Not

Hurry Not

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

“Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” When two friends repeated that adage by the wise Dallas Willard to me, I knew I needed to consider it. Where was I spinning my wheels, wasting time and energy? More important, where was I rushing ahead and not looking to God for guidance and help? In the weeks and months that followed, I remembered those words and reoriented myself back to the Lord and His wisdom. I reminded myself to trust in Him, rather than leaning on my own ways.

After all, rushing around frantically seems to be the opposite of the “perfect peace” the prophet Isaiah speaks of. The Lord gives this gift to “those whose minds are steadfast,” because they trust in Him (v. 3). And He is worthy of being trusted today, tomorrow, and forever, for “the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (v. 4). Trusting God with our minds fixed on Him is the antidote to a hurried life.

How about us? Do we sense that we’re hurried or even hasty? Maybe, in contrast, we often experience a sense of peace. Or perhaps we’re somewhere in between the two extremes.

Wherever we may be, I pray today that we’ll be able to put aside any hurry as we trust the Lord, who will never fail us and who gives us His peace.

Lord God, You give the peace that passes all understanding, which is a gift I don’t want to take for granted. Thank You.

God’s peace helps us not to hurry.

Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exod. 14:13).

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?

The Master’s word to him is “stand still.” It will be well for him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.

Precipitancy cries, “Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once–we must do it, so we think–instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.” But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.

“Stand still”–keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.’
–Spurgeon

“Be quiet! why this anxious heed
About thy tangled ways?
God knows them all. He giveth speed
And He allows delays.
‘Tis good for thee to walk by faith
And not by sight.
Take it on trust a little while.
Soon shalt thou read the mystery aright
In the full sunshine of His smile.”

In times of uncertainty, wait. Always, if you have any doubt, wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go against it.

Lysa TerKeurst April 19, 2018
God Wants Our Whole Heart
LYSA TERKEURST

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12 (NIV)

God wants us to get some things settled in our heart. One of the most crucial is deciding whether we are all-in when it comes to our relationship with Him. Do we want to walk in the fullness of His love and His plans? Or, do we want to spend our lives chasing after the world’s empty pleasures?

Why not push the limits, live for the now and worry about eternity later?

The enemy is very strategic with his plans to derail and distract us. He’s clever by making his temptations seem so harmless.

The problem is that we miss the whole point of our existence, the very purpose for which we were created. God made us for the relationship of His perfect love. But if we’re always chasing after other things, we’ll never experience the fullness of that love. There’s a big difference between a half-hearted approach to God and whole-hearted devotion.

That half-hearted approach is where we find God’s people in a passage of Scripture I have been studying recently.

Hosea 10 opens with the initial appearance that all is well for the Israelites. They’re flourishing and in a season of plenty. (Hosea 10:1) Anyone looking at them from the outside would probably assume God is pleased with them and greatly blessing them. But Hosea lets the Israelites know God is anything but pleased with them, and their season of plenty and fruitfulness is about to be replaced with one of destruction and barrenness.

Why?

Hosea 10:2 explains the reason, “Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.”

The Hebrew word for “deceit” is חָלַק, ḥālaq (pronunced “Ha ‒ Lack”) and means “divided, smooth, or slippery.”

God didn’t have their whole heart.

Their hearts were deceived and divided. Instead of worshipping God with their whole heart, the Israelites turned to their pagan altars. (Hosea 10:1) Instead of trusting in the Lord, they put their faith in their rebellious and evil kings. (Hosea 10:3-4, 7)

They ignored God’s warnings to tear down their altars — failing to realize that divided affections will always be detrimental to their life of devotion. And as they chased after their idols, they wandered away from their covenant relationship with the Lord.

Thankfully, God is gracious in the midst of our wandering — beckoning us back home, calling us to repentance, offering us the chance to begin again.

He holds out hope to the Israelites and to us in Hosea 10:12“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.”

I don’t want us to miss the original Hebrew meaning of the word “seek” in this verse. The word is דָּרַשׁ, dāraš (pronounced “Da ‒ Rash”) is translated as “turning to the Lord.” I love that! Can’t you just hear the Father’s voice calling out to His people? Calling out to us?

As if He’s saying … “My wayward and wandering children, turn back! Turn to Me! The path you are on is one that leads to destruction. One I cannot bless. But it’s not too late! You haven’t wandered too far. You can stop right now, right where you are, and return to Me. You can make wise and holy choices. Starting now. You can sow better seed. Today. Draw near to Me once again, and I will draw near to you. Repent of your sins and receive the fullness of My mercy, grace and forgiveness. Welcome Me even into the parts of your heart that have perhaps been hard and resistant to Me. Turn to Me. Seek Me. You will find Me waiting and ready to move in your life with amazing grace, unending love and incredible power.”

Oh how I pray we will answer His call today. Let’s seek God like never before. Let’s turn to Him, follow Him and offer Him all that we are and all that we have.

Father God, please forgive me. You know how my heart can get so divided and stretched and pulled in a million directions. Thank You for reminding me that You want every single piece of my heart. Please reveal anything I have been turning to instead of You. Teach me to rely on Your strength and power in the areas where I am weak. My deepest desire is to follow hard after You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God Is With Us

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With Us in Our Suffering

From: Our Daily Journey

With Us in Our Suffering

Read:

Isaiah 43:1-13
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you (Isaiah 43:2).

Poet Christian Wiman, some time after being diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer, reflected on his ordeal, writing, “I have passed through pain I could never have imagined, pain that seemed to incinerate all my thoughts of God and to leave me sitting there in the ashes, alone.” But he found hope in the powerful presence of Jesus. “I am a Christian because of that moment on the cross when Jesus, drinking the very dregs of human bitterness, cries out, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ ” (Matthew 27:46). In times of great suffering, Wiman realized, only the One who carried all human suffering can sustain us.

While experiencing the hardships of captivity, the Israelites needed reassurance of His presence, and the prophet Isaiah gave them that encouragement. Although they were enduring the consequences of their sin, Isaiah still told them not to fret or fear. God had created them with painstaking care and redeemed them with His power (Isaiah 43:1). Despite everything they were going through, they were still loved by and precious to God (Isaiah 43:4). And no matter what they endured in the future—whether “rivers of difficulty” or “fire of oppression”—God would be with them (Isaiah 43:2). He had sustained them with His presence in the past, and He could be trusted to do so again in the future (Isaiah 43:3-4).

Whether we’re suffering from the consequences of our sin or, like Christian Wiman, suffering pain that is simply a result of living in a fallen world, we need more than glib answers. In the face of overwhelming dread and pain, we can find strength and hope only through the powerful presence of the One who will never let us go (Isaiah 43:13).

 

Well-Seasoned in the Word

From: Cathy Irvin, Author

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15, NLT)

As the world grows darker in sin, we must find time to trim our wicks and fill our lamps with oil. We are to be light to the world and salt to the earth. But have we lost our flavor? If we are well-seasoned in the Word and we maintain our prayer life, we will be making an obvious difference.

It takes soaking up the Word of God daily for the words that flow from our lips to be a sweet savor, an encouraging word to the hearer. It is so easy to become dull and bland without those times of refreshing in God’s presence. Nobody likes plain ‘ole, plain ‘ole anything.

Many times, even a good steak needs some seasoning salt, a little garlic, butter, or steak sauce while it is marinating on the grill. The flavor of the meat is greatly enhanced. And so it is with us. When our lives reflect Christ, it will be evident after we have spent time with Him, because we will manifest His glory. The light will shine brightly for all to see.

People need to see Christ in us, the hope of glory, for them to want Him. Who wants what we have if we are not positive, and not full of joy and peace? I hear some Christians who always speak negatively. They are worrying all the time, and they are sad and gloomy. I think they must be lacking in some quality Bible study time, prayer, and church fellowship. We want those who do not know Him to say, “I know there is something different about you” or ask, “Why are you so happy?” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear them say, “I want whatever it is that you have”?

I remember that I said those very words more than 29 years ago. I gave my heart to the Lord while watching The 700 Club. I went to visit a local church. The people there were singing and clapping, and some even danced in the aisle to the songs. I was overwhelmed. I had always attended a very traditional church while growing up, and I felt no enthusiasm or joy in it at all. I recall listening to the message intently; I had blocked out everything and had focused intently on the preacher as he spoke. I sat on the edge of my seat like I was at a long-awaited concert.

At the close of the service, I remember a lady asking me if I wanted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t even know what she was talking about, but I said, “Whatever you people have, I want it!” I was gloriously filled that very evening and spoke in tongues. My life was changed forever, and I have felt the joy ever since.

We can share the things we have learned by being salt and light with other believers so that they can enjoy their Christian walk and be better witnesses. It is important to remember that we are not offering a “religion” to anyone. We are telling them about a relationship with a loving, living Savior who can transform their lives and not only give them the gift of eternal life, but also the abundant life while here on planet earth. Jesus wants to add some seasoning to a bland spiritual life.

Got your lamps filled with oil? Follow me! Let’s shine our lights and pour out some salt on those who need to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. (Psalm 34:8, NKJV)

 

Readiness

By Oswald Chambers

 Readiness

When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.

Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing— it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready. Whenever any duty presents itself, we hear God’s voice as our Lord heard His Father’s voice, and we are ready for it with the total readiness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us just as His Father did with Him. He can put us wherever He wants, in pleasant duties or in menial ones, because our union with Him is the same as His union with the Father. “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to getready— he is ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready once God has called! The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the person who is ready, and it is on fire with the presence of God Himself.

Learning To Know God

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Learning to Know God

From: Our Daily God

Learning to Know God

But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” John 6:20

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I dreamed about getting married, getting pregnant, and holding my baby in my arms for the first time. When I finally got married, my husband and I never even considered waiting to expand our family. But with each negative pregnancy test, we realized we were struggling with infertility. Months of doctors’ visits, tests, and tears followed. We were in the middle of a storm. Infertility was a bitter pill to swallow and left me wondering about God’s goodness and faithfulness.

When I reflect on our journey, I think about the story of the disciples caught in the storm on the sea in John 6. As they struggled against the waves in the dark of the storm, Jesus unexpectedly came to them walking on the stormy waves. He calmed them with His presence, saying, “It is I; don’t be afraid” (v. 20).

Like the disciples, my husband and I had no idea what was coming in our storm; but we found comfort as we learned to know God more deeply as the One who is always faithful and true. Although we would not have the child we had dreamed of, we learned that in all our struggles we can experience the power of His calming presence. Because He is there powerfully working in our lives, we need not be anxious.

Dear Lord, thank You that I do not have to face the storms in this life without You. Thank You for Your calming presence and power carrying me through whatever I face.

Read more about waiting on God at discoveryseries.org/q0736.

We can experience God’s powerful presence even in the storms of our lives.

 

A Thin Line between Humility and Pride

From: Ken Barnes

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Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you. James 4:6 (NASB).

Humility may be one of the most sought-after virtues in the Bible, but possibly the least achieved. We know it when we see it, but it is difficult to define. It is one of the Christian graces that if you try to pursue it, you may distance yourself from it. You cannot choreograph humility into the script of your life. God has to facilitate the process. If you are trying to get it through self-effort, the accomplishment negates the desired result.

Long ago, the famous preacher, Harry Ironside, from Moody Bible Church, worried that he was not as humble as he ought to be. He asked a friend what he should do. The friend counseled him to make a sandwich board with the plan of salvation in Scripture written on it and walk around the busy shopping district of downtown Chicago for an entire day. Ironside thought this would be a humbling experience, so he walked around the Windy City, spouting Scriptures along the way. When he finally returned to his apartment, he thought about how humbling his excursion had been and was feeling pretty good about the experience. As he was removing his sign, he caught himself thinking, “There is not another person in Chicago that would be willing to do a thing like that.”

Humility is a contradiction in terms. When you feel like you are closest to achieving it, you are farthest from possessing it. When you realize how far you have to go in acquiring it, you are actually closer to having it. Meekness is a virtue that if gotten through your self-effort, can make you proud of your humility. It is a grace that we must continually pursue, but recognize that we can never entirely grasp.

Billy Graham, arguably the greatest preacher of the modern era, might teach us something about humility. On one occasion, someone stole his Bible. He told someone, “I can’t see why someone would want it, it had my name printed right on it.” He was clueless about the fact that a Bible with his name on it, was the very reason someone would want to steal it. Pride always gives us an elevated sense of self-importance. Humility keeps our life in perspective. Over the years, people have studied the preaching of Billy Graham, his style, content, and structure. Many have tried to emulate these, with not near the success he had. Could it be that the secret of his success is not the mechanics of his preaching but a less apparent reason, humility, that God always honors in a person’s life?

In God’s Kingdom, the way up is always down. In the world, you can usurp authority, but in ministry, conceit impedes your progress. Pride is just an incorrect view of who you are in relation to who God is. Accurately compare yourself with God and the only reasonable response will be humility. Humble yourself before God, and He will lift you up.

 

All or Nothing?

By Oswald Chambers

 All or Nothing?

Have you ever had a crisis in your life in which you deliberately, earnestly, and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of the will. You may come to that point many times externally, but it will amount to nothing. The true deep crisis of abandonment, or total surrender, is reached internally, not externally. The giving up of only external things may actually be an indication of your being in total bondage.

Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of the will, not of emotion; any positive emotion that results is simply a superficial blessing arising out of the transaction. If you focus your attention on the emotion, you will never make the transaction. Do not ask God what the transaction is to be, but make the determination to surrender your will regarding whatever you see, whether it is in the shallow or the deep, profound places internally.

If you have heard Jesus Christ’s voice on the waves of the sea, you can let your convictions and your consistency take care of themselves by concentrating on maintaining your intimate relationship to Him.

In The Blink Of An Eye

 

Matthew 24: 38-42   Be Ready For The Rapture

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

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Just a Second

From: Our Daily Bread

Just a Second

How fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4

Scientists are pretty fussy about time. At the end of 2016, the folks at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland added an extra second to the year. So if you felt that year dragged on a bit longer than normal, you were right.

Why did they do that? Because the rotation of the earth slows down over time, the years get just a tiny bit longer. When scientists track manmade objects launched into space, they must have accuracy down to the millisecond. This is “to make sure our collision avoidance programs are accurate,” according to one scientist.

For most of us, a second gained or lost doesn’t make much difference. Yet according to Scripture, our time and how we use it is important. For instance, Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 7:29 that “time is short.” The time we have to do God’s work is limited, so we must use it wisely. He urged us to “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 esv).

This doesn’t mean we have to count each second as do the scientists, but when we consider the fleeting nature of life (Psalm 39:4), we can be reminded of the importance of using our time wisely.

Lord, thank You for each moment You give us. May we strive to honor You with this gift by using our time wisely for Your honor and glory.

Don’t just spend time—invest it.

Real Rest

From: Our Daily Journey

Real Rest

Read:

Genesis 2:1-4
On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work (Genesis 2:2).

Following World War I, there was no more accomplished golfer than Bobby Jones. In 1930, he achieved the Grand Slam by winning the US Open, British Open, US Amateur, and British Amateur championships—all in the same year! The golfing world was stunned, however, when shortly following those victories Jones decided to retire from golf. He didn’t decide to hang up the spikes because his skills had diminished in any way. Instead, the talented athlete made his decision because he had accomplished the greatest feat in golf at the time and had nothing left to prove. He simply chose to give his golf career a rest.

When it says that God “rested from all his work” in Genesis 2:2, I’m often tempted to think that He took a break for the same reason that I take a vacation—because He was tired and simply couldn’t go on without a little R&R. But Psalm 121:4 tells us that God “never slumbers or sleeps,” so that obviously can’t be the case. No, He didn’t rest so that He could gain the strength He needed to continue creating. He rested because His work of creation was fully done (Genesis 2:2). God rested because His work was accomplished!

In the New Testament, we read that we can rest in Jesus, such as when we’re told to lay our burdens on Him in Matthew 11:28 or when the writer of Hebrews tells us that He provides our “special rest” (Hebrews 4:9). It can be difficult to fully understand what it means to “rest in Jesus,” but resting in Him includes resting in His completed work—His life, death, and resurrection. We can rest in knowing that God loves us so much He gave His only Son as a sacrifice and that our salvation isn’t earned, but freely given. That’s real rest!

 

Receiving Power

From: CBN Network

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We are still learning to go even lower, which is the only way forward. And we are still learning to stop for the one in the middle of a sea of need. We are still learning what it means to be a friend of God and to value fellowship with Him and each other above all else. We are not professional, high-power, efficient missionary machines. We measure the quality of our lives by the depth of our relationships. We are still learning to love.

We cannot function in this world without the power of our God. Some of us haven’t yet been brought to our extremity, so we aren’t fully and forcibly aware of our dependence. But our time will come. We need Him to stay alive. We need Him for our health. We need Him for our healing. We need Him for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We need more than any human being can do for us. We need sheer, raw power in the goodness and love of God. We need power to appreciate our God, to make Him the greatest pleasure in our lives. We need power to rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. We need power to experience His Kingdom, to move in His environment.

How do we get power? It is the grace and gift of God. He plants in us a hunger that will not be denied. He opens our eyes to our poverty without His powerful presence. He grants faith where there was none. In His power we can rest, even while under demonic attack. His power fixes our eyes on Him. In His power we are able to discipline ourselves in everything. We can cast our cares on Him, because He is willing to use His power on our behalf.

How can we be sure He cares for us? The cross. We go to the cross always to find confidence to approach Him. We will not empty the cross of its power. There and only there do we find salvation of every kind. At the cross we come to know our God and His heart toward us. At the cross we learn to become utterly dependent on His power.