When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.
Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ inJohn 13:1-17.
[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]
Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. —Jeremiah 15:16
Grocery shopping with my wife, Martie, is like taking a seminar in nutrition. I’ll often pick up a box of something that looks good, and she’ll say: “Look at the label. Are there trans-fats? What’s the calorie count? How about the cholesterol rating?” I have to confess that if she weren’t the nutrition cop in my life, I’d look like Shamu the whale!
More important than making good choices in the grocery store is thinking carefully about the food we digest for our souls. I love the verse that says: “Your words were found, and I ate them” (Jer. 15:16).
When we read God’s Word, we have to be doing more than checking it off our to-do list. We have to read it to digest it. Slow, thoughtful absorption of the Word of God with quiet reflection on its implications is high in nutrition. His Word provides all the ingredients we need to thrive spiritually:
- a direct connection to the sustainer of our soul
- brain food that makes us wise and discerning
- a daily check-up revealing the condition of our hearts
- preventive medicine keeping us from sin
- a spiritual shower of peace, hope, and comfort
Eat God’s Word. It’s a spiritual feast!
God’s Word provides the nourishment
That Christians need if we’re to grow;
But if we do not feast on it,
A vibrant faith we’ll never know. —Sper
The Bible contains all the nutrients for a healthy soul.
The Redemption of Israel
From: Streams in the Desert
Moses Was Humble
From: Through the Bible
Numbers 12:1-3 (NIV) 1Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2“Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this. 3(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
Moses family didn’t approve of his marriage. We don’t know what happened to Zipporah, his first wife. The new wife was an Egyptian, probably one of the multitude that came out with the Israelites to worship the God of the Hebrews. I think Moses was big enough to make his own decisions, and godly enough not to be second-guessed. The real issue is leadership. Who has the final say? “Shouldn’t we vote on whether or not this is the right decision? God speaks to us too! Why should he remarry at his age (80+yrs)?”
Yes, He does speak to them. We just saw in the last chapter how His Spirit was placed upon the elders. The question remains, who will have the final say? It is a power struggle, and not the last one we will see in the desert. The power belongs to God. He’s in charge. He is leading through his servant Moses, but helping him with the elders. This most humble of men does not defend himself and his decision to marry, but God will defend him.
We can know that if we are walking with the LORD, in humble submission to Him, that we need not defend ourselves. The office of the prophet as the intermediary between God and man has since ceased (Luke 16:16). The Holy Spirit communes with each of us, and we have His Word. Still, the principle is the same. We will often be questioned, and sometimes our whole family will be against us (Matthew 10:36). We should know that we need not argue our case. If it is a righteous decision, the LORD will defend us. If it is not a godly decision, we will see by the fruit and learn from our mistake. That is genuine humility.
Meditation: Can I trust God to defend my godly decisions?
Matthew 16:13-15 (NIV) 13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Caesarea Philippi was a city at the source of the Jordan River twenty miles north of Galilee. It consisted mostly of Gentile people. It was a center for the worship of the Greek god Pan, because of a great water cavern. This was the northern most outreach of Jesus’ ministry. It was here, in view of all the idolatry of the city, that Jesus asked His disciples who people thought Him to be. Their answer of John the Baptist shows us that they did not actually mean reincarnation, but the spirit and anointing of that person. John had recently died while Christ was living. It was hard to accept the loss of the prophet so well received. Calling Him Elijah was quite a compliment because Elijah was considered one of the greatest prophets and was known to be quite confrontational. Jeremiah was the unaccepted prophet. Did they see Jesus’ grief at the rejection of their long awaited Messiah? Some thought that perhaps He was a new prophet.
The question of all time was put to them. Who do you say the Son of Man is? ‘Son of Man’ is Jesus’ most common term for Himself. God called Ezekiel by this title. Perhaps it was to keep him humble through the many revelations and visions he saw. Daniel used the term to refer to the coming Messiah (Daniel 7:13). Which way did the disciples see Him? Who do you say He is? Your eternal destiny is riding on the answer. It is easy to just repeat Peter’s answer, but what is your real answer? Looking at Jesus standing there in view of all the world’s belief systems, what will you say to Him? Has the Father revealed to you who He is, or are you just repeating the answer that is expected? Dear reader, stop for a moment from the business of life, and ask yourself what you really believe. If you say He is the Messiah, your Savior, God incarnate, what kind of a life focus does that call for in response to that fact? Are you living it? If not, what needs to change, and how will you go about making a shift to that focus? If you answer, “I don’t really know”, then ask the Father to reveal His Son to you.
Consider: Who do you say the Son of Man is?