Love One Another

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

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Pharisees on Facebook

by Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35 

I have a friend who loves starting debates. Every once in awhile, he’ll post an article or question on his Facebook page, then send out a request asking people to share their thoughts. These questions can cover every topic from politics to pop-culture, and typically generate good discussion. There was one post however, where things got pretty grim. It all started when my friend posted an article about a group of Christians who went to a Gay Pride parade holding signs that read “We’re sorry for how the Church has treated you.” Personally, I was pretty touched at the article, but as you might expect on such a hot button issue, not everyone felt the same way.

It didn’t take long before the whole discussion exploded into a big honking argument and I remember leaving the thread in disgust, both by what others had written and how I had responded. The most unnerving part however, happened three days later when I picked up my Bible and read a passage where the Pharisees interrogated a man Jesus had just healed.

Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. – John 9:26-34 

We like to think we are different from the Pharisees, but the truth is we’re not. The Pharisees were the religious elite of the day, but they were so full of pride at their own self-righteousness, they could not even see the work of Christ when it was literally standing right in front of them. Instead, they argued and hurled insults at their enemy, a man who had done them no harm at all. I hate to say it, but that sounds a lot like me sometimes.

As Christians, we must remember that everything we say and everything we do reflects the presence of God in our lives. If we respond to others with cruelty, should we be surprised when their perception of Jesus is twisted? But if we respond in love, than perhaps they’ll begin to understand how Christ sees them. So ask yourself, how does the world see Christ when they look at you?

 

Faith in the Impossible

“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11 (ESV)

Pinterest ImageWhen I first got married, I naively thought that getting pregnant, sustaining a pregnancy and then delivering a child was like riding a bike. People seemed to do it with great ease all the time. At least, that’s how it appeared.

I didn’t have many married friends, and those friends didn’t seem to reveal much about their private lives. It wasn’t until I began having trouble getting pregnant and subsequently had two miscarriages that I realized how common infertility and miscarriages were. I ended up having a total of four miscarriages, but I did eventually give birth to our two children. Although I have children, when I read Sarah’s story, there’s much about her response that I can relate to, and I imagine the same will be true for many of us.

Scripture tells us that Sarah was barren. It can be assumed she and Abraham attempted to bear children but were unable to conceive. By the time we get to Genesis Chapter 18, Sarah is old, and biologically speaking, she would not be physically able to have children. (Genesis 18:11) Sarah overheard the Lord discussing her pending pregnancy, and she did what I think most in her state would do: She laughed in disbelief. (v. 12)

This part of the story is quite remarkable to me. God confronts Sarah for laughing and she denies it. Then the Lord calls her on the lie. (vv. 13-15) She did laugh, and she did struggle to believe that she could become pregnant. And the Lord tells her and all of us, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14a, ESV).

Even though Sarah laughed at first, the writer of Hebrews points out that Sarah was recognized as a woman of faith. Not because her faith was incredible but because she believed God was faithful: “… she considered him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11).

I remember, after my second miscarriage, sitting in bed wondering if God would heal my numb yet broken heart. The sorrow was too deep for words. And He graciously drew near to me, as He says He will in His Word. (Psalm 34:18) I didn’t know how my story would end; I just knew God was asking me to trust Him.

The Lord doesn’t promise us each and every desire of our hearts, but He does promise to be faithful. And He is. He was near to me and near to Sarah.

Although I can’t know for sure why the Lord chose this woman and this particular story, I can only imagine the many women who’ve heard and read about Sarah and were comforted. And although she did conceive, I imagine their comfort came from witnessing the character of God.

Sometimes our own stories are too difficult to tell, but the Lord has been so good to help us with the stories of those who have gone before us. He told Sarah that she would be pregnant. That pregnancy, by all earthly standards, was impossible, and the Lord did the impossible.

No matter what impossible situation you face today, or whether, like Sarah, you are struggling to believe God will come through for you, we can turn to the Lord and say: “What is impossible for man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27, ESV).

 

The Answer to Prayer – Streams in the Desert – June 16

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence. — Ps 62:5

Our too general neglect of looking for answers to what we ask, shows how little we are in earnest in our petitions. A husbandman is not content without the harvest; a marksman will observe whether the ball hits the target; a physician watches the effect of the medicine which he gives; and shall the Christian be careless about the effect of his labor?

Every prayer of the Christian, made in faith, according to the will of God, for which God has promised, offered up in the name of Jesus Christ, and under the influence of the Spirit, whether for temporal or for spiritual blessings, is, or will be, fully answered.

God always answers the general design and intention of His people’s prayers, in doing that which, all things considered, is most for His own glory and their spiritual and eternal welfare. As we never find that Jesus Christ rejected a single supplicant who came to Him for mercy, so we believe that no prayer made in His name will be in vain.

The answer to prayer may be approaching, though we discern not its coming. The seed that lies under ground in winter is taking root in order to a spring and harvest, though it appears not above ground, but seems dead and lost.
—Bickersteth

Delayed answers to prayer are not only trials of faith, but they give us opportunities of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in Him under apparent repulses.
—C. H. Spurgeon

Honor Your Father and Mother

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Imperfect Fathers

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.” Luke 15:11-12 (NIV)

All fathers are a work in process — none perfect, no not one. Boy, do I still feel this — even though my oldest child is 33-years-old! I prayed Rebekah (our first child) would have extra patience, since I was always practicing on her. Many times trial and error (she might say terror!) was my approach to fatherhood. I often questioned myself, “Was I too strict?” “Did I balance firmness with fun?” Fortunately, God filled the gaps of my inadequacies. His grace became our family’s relational glue. My imperfection as a father keeps me dependent on my heavenly Father.

Jesus describes a man with two sons. So, we know from the outset this dad, like the rest of us, was a flawed father. No doubt he tried to do the best with what he had. But the pressure of raising two very different boys was real and raw. One day, he faced the challenge of how to respond to the disrespectful demand of his youngest son. The dad decided to give both boys their inheritance, knowing they might not be ready. The younger squandered his stuff and the oldest grew self-righteous. What looked like a major parenting blunder — turned out to be a decision that brought the youngest back to God. Imperfect fathers trust the Lord to bring about His perfect plan.

“For a son dishonors his father… But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:6-7 (NIV)

Do you feel overwhelmed with your responsibilities as a dad? The day in and day out energy it takes to love and lead your little ones takes much more out of you than you ever imagined. One thing is for certain: you can’t be your best without learning from the best. Alone you may be a better father than some, but with the help of others you can become a better dad than most. So, invite three other dads for coffee and discuss books and scripture about parenting. Set the tone by being vulnerable about your own insecurities. Imperfect fathers learn from imperfect fathers.

Above all, as imperfect earthly fathers we lean into our perfect heavenly Father. He takes our best efforts and carries out His will. He takes our mistakes and teaches us humility. He takes our weaknesses and makes us strong in Him. Our imperfections are not an excuse to plateau as a parent. We keep learning. We ask forgiveness from our child. We pray with our child. We play with our child. When we are honest about our fears and struggles we create an environment of open communication. Fathers fail when they quit, but they succeed when they stay engaged with their child and with Christ. Fatherhood is not for the faint of heart, but it is for a heart of faith.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13 (NIV)

 

How to Be a Better Father

By Terence Chatmon

Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Since I recognized my own shortcomings as a father about 15-20 years ago, I’ve been doing a lot of research and study of the fatherhood crisis in America.  One thing I’ve discovered is that, more than anything else, and no matter the kind of father you are, there is never a time in a child’s life when he or she doesn’t crave a father’s love.

You may not be able to spend much time with your child because of a broken marriage or business travel, or whatever it may be, but I think the number one way to be a better father is to make sure that in every single interaction you have with your child, you are assuring him or her of your love. Maybe it’s just an email or text once a day if you’re not able to see them in person, but they need to lay their head on the pillow every night assured and confident in their father’s love.

After assurances of their father’s love, the next thing children need to hear is their father’s belief in them. No matter what their friends or their teachers or even their mom says to them about what a capable and special person they are, it never carries the weight that it does coming from Dad. If you express your belief in your child, regularly and specifically, it serves as a great deterrent to the doubts that can creep in and rob them of their self-confidence and positive outlook about themselves.

This is vitally important in the older elementary and middle school years, where we are seeing so many tragic instances of bullying and social media shaming.  No matter what the world says about them, if a child knows inside “my father believes in me and sees value in me, no matter what anyone else says,” they are more able to filter out and put less stock in those external negative opinions.

Finally, while we need to reassure our children of our love for and belief in them, we also need to be clear that while we love them, sometimes we cannot condone their behavior. Our children need to know their boundaries, and that because their father loves and wants to protect them, there will be consequences for going beyond those boundaries.

Children can understand, even if they can’t verbalize it, that you can love and accept them without loving and accepting all of their behaviors.  They can even recognize it is love that wants to protect them from the harm that comes from disobedience. If they are not given boundaries and discipline, they realize there is something lacking in the love they receive. True love loves unconditionally, but comes with accountability. Children need to know they are loved, and loved enough to want what’s best for them, which means the occasional course correction. Fathers who are absent may be afraid to punish, believing it will drive their children from them, but that could not be further from the truth, as long as the children know the discipline comes out of love.

Streams in the Desert – June 15

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

He named the second child Ephraim, saying, “Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering. (Gen 41:52)

The summer showers are falling. The poet stands by the window watching them. They are beating and buffeting the earth with their fierce downpour. But the poet sees in his imaginings more than the showers which are falling before his eyes. He sees myriads of lovely flowers which shall be soon breaking forth from the watered earth, filling it with matchless beauty and fragrance. And so he sings:

“It isn’t raining rain for me, it’s raining daffodils; 
In every dimpling drop I see wild flowers upon the hills. 
A cloud of gray engulfs the day, and overwhelms the town; 
It isn’t raining rain for me: it’s raining roses down.”

Perchance some one of God’s chastened children is even now saying, “O God, it is raining hard for me tonight.

“Testings are raining upon me which seem beyond my power to endure. Disappointments are raining fast, to the utter defeat of all my chosen plans. Bereavements are raining into my life which are making my shrinking heart quiver in its intensity of suffering. The rain of affliction is surely beating down upon my soul these days.”

Withal, friend, you are mistaken. It isn’t raining rain for you. It’s raining blessing. For, if you will but believe your Father’s Word, under that beating rain are springing up spiritual flowers of such fragrance and beauty as never before grew in that stormless, unchastened life of yours.

You indeed see the rain. But do you see also the flowers? You are pained by the testings. But God sees the sweet flower of faith which is upspringing in your life under those very trials.

You shrink from the suffering. But God sees the tender compassion for other sufferers which is finding birth in your soul.

Your heart winces under the sore bereavement. But God sees the deepening and enriching which that sorrow has brought to you.

It isn’t raining afflictions for you. It is raining tenderness, love, compassion, patience, and a thousand other flowers and fruits of the blessed Spirit, which are bringing into your life such a spiritual enrichment as all the fullness of worldly prosperity and ease was never able to beget in your innermost soul.
—J. M. McC.

God Is Well Pleased In Jesus

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The Father’s Delight

This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Matthew 3:17

 

One of the first places in Scripture that the Fatherhood of God is displayed is in Matthew 3 when Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized. There’s John, ribcage-deep in the Jordan River. His camel hair clothes are sopping wet.

He’s baptizing people right and left as He teaches, preaches, and prepares the way for the Lord. Suddenly, up walks Jesus and says, Hey, baptize Me. And John’s like, Wah-what? You got that backward, Jesus. You need to baptize me! So, they talk back and forth, but finally, John relents and plunges Jesus into the Jordan River and brings Him up again. Jesus is baptized to identify with sinners in their redemption, new and clean.

Scripture tells that when Jesus comes up out of the water, the heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends like a dove and alights on Jesus, and a Voice from heaven gives a startling and altogether wonderful announcement. Do you know what it was?

The announcement was big news to all those gathered by the Jordan that day. Many of the folks who were gathered around John the Baptist must have already known this thirty-year-old man, Jesus of Nazareth. He was Joseph’s kid, the carpenter’s son. Jesus had grown up in a little village not far away. They must have remembered Him playing as a boy, running down the side streets. They’d seen Him in the synagogue and marketplace, fully grown. And now, after Jesus is baptized by John, God the Father goes on record, speaking in an audible voice at the baptism service. And what exactly did God say?

Hey everyone, sorry I’m late but I was at the AARP Convention. Did the kid do okay?

Or, Hey boy, You better get in that river and get dunked like I told You to.

Or, Can’t you just feel a sense of peace and tranquility in the universe today?

Nope.

The Father calls out: THIS IS MY SON, WHOM I  LOVE! WITH HIM I AM WELL PLEASED!

It’s like He is saying I’m God, and that’s My kid! I love Him a lot. With Him I am well pleased. How crazy is that? If God’s going to call down from heaven, surely He’s going to give a full sermon. Surely, He’ll dazzle us with His theological omniscience.

Nope.

Just simple fatherly delight.

We just need to soak in that concept. We need to stay there, to bask in it, to enjoy it. See, by the Jordan River that day, God the Father showed that His relationship with Jesus wasn’t a contract. It wasn’t the signing of a theological treatise. It wasn’t a list of principles to agree with, or a bunch of rules to follow. It was a connection. A family connection. A real, heart-to-heart life connection where the Creator of the universe acknowledged His Son. Yes, God is all knowing and all powerful and all wise, and He’s holy and just and perfect, and there is a just wrath awaiting those who reject His truth and grace. But here’s what Jesus reveals most about Him—God is a loving Father. We see it clearly as God the Father pulled back the curtain and showed us this amazing relationship with the Son whom He dearly loves. And God extends a similar kind of relationship to us. A relationship where He is our Father, and we are His sons and daughters. God loves us, and God is even proud to call us His own.

Through The Bible Devotions

From: Daily Devotions

June 14

1 Kings 8:10-11 10When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.

When Solomon had finished building the temple that David had planned, the priests stepped out of the Holy Place (an inner room of the temple). Then a cloud filled the temple of the LORD. The Hebrews associated clouds with the glory of God. Their ancestors had seen the cloud on Sinai when Moses met with God. The glory of the LORD so filled the temple that the priests could not come in and do their assigned duties.

Our bodies are the temples of the LORD. Jesus said, “Destroy this temple (meaning his body) and in three days I will raise it up.” His body was so full of the glory of God that He did nothing except what the Father showed Him. Jesus didn’t really have His own ministry isolated and of itself. He was a yielded instrument to the glory of His Father. He always yielded Himself to the Father, and so “we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 The glory of the Father was His operating source.

We are often carried away with our ministry and wrapped up in what must be done. If we are not careful and focused, we will end up ministering from the wrong source. The glory needs to fill our temple, our earthly body. Then there is no room for us to get in the way and make a mess of things. The glory needs to fill us so that He is the source of our activity and we are merely submitted vessels for that glory.

Consider: What is the source of your activity? Is your temple filled with the glory of God?

 

Streams in the Desert – June 14

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:32)

Christian, take good care of thy faith, for recollect that faith is the only means whereby thou canst obtain blessings. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God’s throne except it be the earnest prayer of the man who believes.

Faith is the telegraphic wire which links earth to Heaven, on which God’s messages of love fly so fast that before we call He answers, and while we are yet speaking He hears us. But if that telegraphic wire of faith be snapped, how can we obtain the promise?

Am I in trouble? I can obtain help for trouble by faith. Am I beaten about by the enemy? My soul on her dear Refuge leans by faith.

But take faith away, then in vain I call to God. There is no other road betwixt my soul and Heaven. Blockade the road, and how can I communicate with the Great King?

Faith links me with Divinity. Faith clothes me with the power of Jehovah. Faith insures every attribute of God in my defense. It helps me to defy the hosts of hell. It makes me march triumphant over the necks of my enemies. But without faith how can I receive anything from the Lord?

Oh, then, Christian, watch well thy faith. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
—C. H. Spurgeon

We boast of being so practical a people that we want to have a surer thing than faith. But did not Paul say that the promise was, by FAITH that it might be SURE? (Romans 4:16)
—Dan Crawford.

Faith honors God; God honors faith.

Tell it all

By; Charles Sourgeon

‘But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.’ Mark 5:33

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10

You do not know, dear friends, of how much service your open confession of Christ might be to some trembling soul. One reason why we have churches, and are joined in fellowship, is that we may help the weak; that by our daring to say ‘Christ has saved me,’ others may take heart, and may come to him and find the same mercy. ‘Oh,’ but you say, ‘the church does not want me.’ Then, I might say the same, and all Christians might say the same. Where would there be a visible church on earth at all? What is right for one Christian to do is right for all to do; and if it is right for you to neglect professing Christ, then it is right for all believers to do so. And then, where is the church? Where is the ministry? Where is Christ’s truth? How are sinners to be saved at all? Suppose, my brother, that John Calvin and Martin Luther had said, ‘Well now we know the truth; but we had better be quiet, for we can go to heaven much more comfortably. If we begin preaching we shall set all the world by the ears, and there will be a deal of mischief done; hundreds of persons will have to be martyrs for their faith, and we shall be subject to many hardships.’ They had quite as much right to hide their religion as you have. They had quite as much reason for the concealment of their godliness as you have. But alas! for the world, where would have been the Reformation, if these had been as cowardly as you are, and like you had skulked to the rear in the day of battle. I ask again, what would be the wretched lot of England, what calamities would happen to our island, if all who know Christ as you know him were to act as you do?

For meditation: Do you have to plead guilty? Many of us are more ready with our excuses than we are with our testimonies (1 Peter 3:15). The only excuses the early church made use of were excuses for spreading the Gospel (Acts 2:14–153:12–134:9–10,19–20,295:29,41–42).

God Restores Us Through His Son

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The Beautiful Work of Restoration

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In 2006, Steve Wynn, an art collector and real estate developer from Las Vegas, put his elbow through an expensive Picasso he owned, while showing it to friends. According to NPR, the painting was scheduled to be sold within days of the damage for $139 million to his friend Steve Cohen. A restorer said the painting would only be worth $85 million after restoration, but that didn’t stop Steve Cohen from buying it for $155 million, topping his original offer by $16 million.

Maybe you’re scratching your head like the rest of the art world. Why would someone pay more for a damaged piece? Because apparently, Cohen knew what God also knows:

The WORK OF RESTORATION is considered a work of art all by itself.

In other words, when something (or someone) is restored, the value actually increases. Think about Peter’s story of restoration. He denied the Lord Jesus three times after adamantly declaring to Him and everyone around that he would never do such a thing. I think what is so relatable about Peter’s story is how he wept bitterly after realizing his failure.

I’ve been there.

I’m sure he thought he was too far gone to ever be used by God again. And then Jesus did something beautiful. After revealing Himself to Peter and a few others on the shore after His resurrection, Jesus said,

“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-17).

For the same number of times Peter had denied Him, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” And like a brush stroke of restoration on a damaged canvas, Jesus revealed Peter’s value.

We find a similar illustration in Ezra in the rebuilding of the temple. The Bible says the old men who had seen the first temple (that had been destroyed) wept bitterly when the new foundation was laid while the younger men shouted and rejoiced. Why did the older men cry? Because when God restores what has been broken, lost, or stolen, it reveals value.

And the same is true of you and me — we were all once lost, broken, and separated from God (some of us multiple times). But our God is a great Restorer. And whereas the enemy has made us feel like there’s no way God could ever use or want us again, the opposite is actually true.

BECAUSE you’ve been restored, your value is exponential in God’s eyes!

I pray just as Jesus revealed to Peter the great value and calling he had on his life, you too realize today your great worth to the kingdom of God.

Through The Bible Devotions

June 13

1 Kings 6:7 7In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.

Imagine the precision that had to be used to have the stones perfectly fit when they arrived at the temple site! Three-dimensional exactness had to be obtained at the quarry, for no pounding of any iron tool was to be heard at the site. Each block was custom made for an exact location to fit with the blocks beside and below.

Peter refers to believers as living stones (1 Peter 2:4-5). What kind of parallel can we see here? Jesus is the builder of the eternal temple of God, as the author of Hebrews declared (Hebrews 3:3-4). He must shape us to perfectly fit into the place God has for us and that includes fitting in with those around us. Each of us has a calling and a place in the temple. But what does this noiseless activity represent?

The pounding and shaping, the noisy activity, should go on outside the temple site. When we gather to worship, it is not the time to hash out our differences. There we quietly behold His glory or sing His praises. There, our focus is not on our fit with the stone next to us but the wonder of our Savior. O come let us adore Him. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

The hammering and shaping should go on in the quarry. One on one with the Lord, we should allow ourselves to be shaped. The places we do not fit with the other living stones must be chiseled away. That noisy and often painful activity goes on in the quarry with Jesus so that we do not disturb the focus of others as we gather to worship corporately. Are you letting Him remove from you the protrusions in your life that keep you from fitting perfectly with the rest of the building?

Take time alone with God to let Him make some reductions in you so that you fit with the other living stones.

Streams in the Desert – June 13

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. (John 14:27)

Two painters each painted a picture to illustrate his conception of rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake among the far-off mountains.

The second threw on his canvas a thundering waterfall, with a fragile birch tree bending over the foam; and at the fork of the branch, almost wet with the cataract’s spray, sat a robin on its nest.

The first was only stagnation; the last was rest.

Christ’s life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that ever lived: tempest and tumult, tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time until the worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there.

At any moment you might have gone to Him and found rest. And even when the human bloodhounds were dogging Him in the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and offered them, as a last legacy, “My peace.”

Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church; it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.
—Drummond

My peace I give in times of deepest grief, 
Imparting calm and trust and My relief.

My peace I give when prayer seems lost, unheard; 
Know that My promises are ever in My Word.

My peace I give when thou art left alone—
The nightingale at night has sweetest tone.

My peace I give in time of utter loss, 
The way of glory leads right to the cross.

The restoration and conversion of the Jews

By Charles Spurgeon

‘Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.’ Ezekiel 37:5–

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:1–12

Israel is to have a spiritual restoration or a conversion. Both the text and the context teach this. The promise is that they shall renounce their idols, and, behold, they have already done so. ‘Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols’ (Ezekiel 37:23). Whatever faults the Jew may have besides, he certainly has no idolatry. ‘The Lord thy God is one God,’ is a truth far better conceived by the Jew than by any other man on earth except the Christian. Weaned for ever from the worship of all images, of whatever sort, the Jewish nation has now become infatuated with traditions or duped by philosophy. She is to have, however, instead of these delusions, a spiritual religion: she is to love her God. ‘They shall be my people, and I will be their God’ (verse 23). The unseen but omnipotent Jehovah is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth by his ancient people; they are to come before him in his own appointed way, accepting the Mediator whom their sires rejected; coming into covenant relation with God, for so the context tells us—‘I will make a covenant of peace with them’ (verse 26), and Jesus is our peace, therefore we gather that Jehovah shall enter into the covenant of grace with them, that covenant of which Christ is the federal head, the substance, and the surety. They are to walk in God’s ordinances and statutes, and so exhibit the practical effects of being united to Christ who has given them peace. All these promises certainly imply that the people of Israel are to be converted to God, and that this conversion is to be permanent.

For meditation: Do you find time in your theology and prayers for the Jews? Join the apostle Paul and pray (Romans 10:1) that more and more Jewish people will accept the new covenant which God has made, that he will be their God and that they will be his people (Hebrews 8:8,10).

We Have Seen and Believed

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Jesus #Lord #thankyou #thanksgiving #victory #win #conquer  #morethanconquerors #God #jesusislord #ocean #waves #… | Bible promises,  Bible prayers, Scripture versesQuotes about Believing in jesus christ (42 quotes)
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The Other Disciple, Standing By

Bible open to Gospel of John

 

“Then went in that other disciple, which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed” (John 20:8).

Everyone wants to be front and center like Peter, but no one wants to be that “other disciple.” The Bible uses that phrase five times. Four times in chapter 20 and the other in John 18:16.

In John 19, Jesus saw the disciple whom he loved “standing by.”

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst” (John 19:26-28).

I had totally missed something in that verse before. Do you realize the last thing Christ did was make sure his mom was taken care of? The part that stuck out to me was the other disciple. It was John, and he was also the one leaning on Jesus’ breast at the last supper.

The definition of a disciple is not only the followers of Christ but also a person who is a pupil or adherent to another’s doctrines. John was indeed adherent to the doctrines of Christ. Little is written of John personally. Three other times we find John referred to as “the disciple whom the Lord loved.” John was usually found in the company of Peter. Still, it was apparent when all the disciples were gathered with Christ, Jesus was definitely the top priority.

When they were all together, Peter was usually found right in the middle of any conversation or activity. If you notice when reading about their activities, Peter, James, and John were generally listed in that order. That combination is recorded 10 times in the gospels and always in that order. They were the ones present at the transfiguration and the raising of Jarius’ daughter. Jesus nicknamed James and John the “Sons of Thunder.” Their mother once created some division among the disciples when she asked for them to sit on either side of his throne. Jesus, of course, didn’t accommodate her wish. You never read anything really about either of them by themselves. They are almost always in the company of Peter.

John’s individual big moment was at the crucifixion when Jesus entrusted him with the care of his mother. As an old man, the Lord also allowed him to see visions and write the book of Revelation. He was also the last of the disciples to die according to historical accounts.

John never had any standout moments after the ascension of Christ. He was never listed first but never seemed to mind. He just quietly went about doing his job for the glory of God. The impressive thing about John is he was always standing by.

“Standing by” means ready and awaiting further instructions. That was the story of his life, just standing by. Wouldn’t it be great to have a bunch of close friends like that? Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus had a few more like that? Just think how much simpler our lives would be if we were just “standing by” awaiting God’s command. Ready to do whatever he said, just for His glory. Think how victorious our spiritual life would be if we were willing to be that other disciple just standing by.

Many Christians think they have to be out front and grabbing the headlines. If we could learn to just be satisfied with what He wants us to do. I hope I’m getting this across like it’s in my heart. If we didn’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought. If we were content to let Peter go in first like he did at the tomb. If we were just willing to go that last mile and “stand by” in case we were needed. If our name didn’t have to be known. If we were that “other disciple standing by,” we would have all we need.

 

Through The Bible Devotions

June 12

1 Kings 3:5,9 5At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 9So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Solomon began his reign with a heart after God. After offering a thousand sacrifices upon the high place of Gibeon, the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream promising him whatever he would ask.

Of all the things Solomon could have desired, he asked for a discerning heart and wisdom to rule God’s people. He recognized his need for discernment. This pleased the heart of God. He was then told that he would also receive the things for which man would normally ask: riches, long life, and the death of his enemies.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Isn’t seeking the kingdom seeking the good of the people in it? Solomon was thinking of others and not himself. It is sad that his heart did not remain in this condition, but at the time it was genuine.

We have here both the good example of seeking the best for the people of God, and the warning to be careful that we do not turn our attention to pleasing ourselves. If you will seek the good of others, God will see that you are taken care of, and you will be laying up treasures in heaven.

Consider what you would ask of God.

A Safe Journey – Streams in the Desert – June 12

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

In everything ye are enriched by him (1 Cor. 1:5).

Have you ever seen men and women whom some disaster drove to a great act of prayer, and by and by the disaster was forgotten, but the sweetness of religion remained and warmed their souls?

So have I seen a storm in later spring; and all was black, save where the lightning tore the cloud with thundering rent.

The winds blew and the rains fell, as though heaven had opened its windows. What a devastation there was! Not a spider’s web that was out of doors escaped the storm, which tore up even the strong-branched oak.

But ere long the lightning had gone by, the thunder was spent and silent, the rain was over, the western wind came up with its sweet breath, the clouds were chased away, and the retreating storm threw a scarf of rainbows over her fair shoulders and resplendent neck, and looked back and smiled, and so withdrew and passed out of sight.

But for weeks long the fields held up their bands full of ambrosial flowers, and all the summer through the grass was greener, the brooks were fuller, and the trees cast a more umbrageous shade, because the storm passed by–though all the rest of the earth had long ago forgotten the storm, its rainbows and its rain.
–Theodore Parker

God may not give us an easy journey to the Promised Land, but He will give us a safe one.
–Bonar

It was a storm that occasioned the discovery of the gold mines of India. Hath not a storm driven some to the discovery of the richer mines of the love of God in Christ?

 

The scales of judgement

By: Charles Spurgion

“Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Daniel 5:27.

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 62

Into those scales I must go. God will not take me on my profession. I may bring my witnesses with me; I may bring my minister and the deacons of the church to give me a character, which might be thought all-sufficient among men, but God will tolerate no subterfuge. Into the scales he will put me, do what I may; whatever the opinion of others may be of me, and whatever my own profession. And let me remember, too, that I must be altogether weighed in the scales. I cannot hope that God will weigh my head and pass over my heart—that because I have correct notions of doctrine, therefore he will forget that my heart is impure, or my hands guilty of iniquity. My all must be cast into the scales. Come, let me stretch my imagination, and picture myself about to be put into those scales. Shall I be able to walk boldly up and enter them, knowing whom I have believed, and being persuaded that the blood of Christ and his perfect righteousness shall bear me harmless through it all; or shall I be dragged with terror and dismay? Shall the angel come and say, “Thou must enter.” Shall I bend my knee and cry, “Oh, it is all right,” or shall I seek to escape? Now, thrust into the scale, do I see myself waiting for one solemn moment. My feet have touched the bottom of the scales, and there stand those everlasting weights, and now which way are they turned? Which way shall it be? Do I descend in the scale with joy and delight, being found through Jesus’ righteousness to be full weight, and so accepted; or must I rise, light, frivolous, unsound in all my fancied hopes, and kick the beam?

For meditation: We all ought to check our weight before God does (2 Corinthians 13:5). The scales of God’s judgement will show in our favour only if Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages, is in us. Do you need to put on weight?

Love God With All Your Heart

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Beach Lessons

Pin on Quotes & favorite sayings

by Katherine Britton, crosswalk.com

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  –Luke 7:47, ESV

How do you explain to a child who’s never been to the ocean what waves are like? You might fill a bathtub with water and splash it back and forth. That could teach action of waves – but what about the look? You might take the child to a nearby river with a few rapids, and show them how the foam collects at the bottom of a fall “like on top of a wave.” You might show them a 4×6 inch photograph. You might try to show them what waves sound like with a conch shell. But what about their vast dimensions along the shore? What about their unending nature? What about the undercurrent of a wave going back to sea?

No substitute can convey the scale and true nature of waves continually breaking on the shore. No analogies or to-scale models prepare children for their first trip to the beach. They can’t grasp the greatness until they’ve seen it for themselves.

Have you seen the greatness of God’s forgiveness yet?

No measure of teaching, preaching, and analogizing can make us really grasp what God’s forgiveness means. Even after we reach adulthood, we’re still creatures of experience. It takes a firsthand experience – recognition of how vast our sins really are – before we can appreciate how vast God’s mercy is to cover them.

Jesus gave Simon the Pharisee the example of two men who owed another money – one owed him five hundred days’ wages, one owing him fifty. The moneylender forgives both debts, but, as Simon empathizes, the one forgiven the larger sum has a greater reason to love the one who canceled his debt. But all Simon heard were Jesus’s words. He failed to realize what a vast stretch of sand he stood on, and what a great tide it would take to overtake all of those grains of sand. As a result, it’s the woman Jesus recognizes for her great love of her Savior.

 

Don’t Stay Stuck in a Chapter of Disappointment

35 Bible Verses about Love - Bible Verse Images

rough the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5b (NLT)

One Saturday afternoon several years ago, I found myself needing a project — something to occupy my hands but also reroute my thoughts from falling into an epic self-pity party.

So I wandered upstairs to the hot attic, breathed in the musky, damp smell and began scanning the room for a project. Two cardboard boxes spilling over with forgotten items caught my attention. I plopped down on the bare wood floor and began sifting through the contents.

I smiled as I pulled out various long-forgotten items one by one. Photos of my children’s cute little faces when they were young, vacation photos with sweet memories, pottery pieces with my children’s initials in the clay, painted handprints on construction paper and more sports team photos than any parent should ever have to purchase.

But when I moved a few other things around, a big white book shifted and peeked out from under the pile. My smile instantly faded.

The wedding album.

A book which used to be a treasured keepsake now held the power to evoke immense heartache. I reached over and pulled it out of the box, blowing off a cloud of dust that had settled on it over the years. I opened it up and began flipping through the pages, and with each photo my eyes fell upon, my heart sunk.

Life hadn’t turned out the way I thought it would. Wedding vows weren’t kept. Dreams were shattered. Hearts were hurting. A family was broken. Disappointment overload began to consume my thoughts yet again … until God brought a favorite Scripture verse to mind.

Over the years, I’ve often thought of Psalm 30:5b, which says, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” This verse is a great reminder that despite how disappointed or sad we may feel, it won’t last forever. We don’t have to let that disappointment keep us stuck in grief or regret, trapped in a chapter of life we don’t want to live in. Instead, we can choose to trust that God has our best interests at heart, our lives under control and good plans for our future.

Disappointment and sorrow are powerful emotions that can keep us stuck in a pattern of focusing on what we lost or mourning dreams that didn’t come true. They prevent us from believing God has good plans for us and stifle our ability to let go of what we thought was supposed to be.

We can allow disappointment to be a hindrance to our happiness, or we can trust God has good plans for us. Disappointment will lessen when we change our perspective of it, considering it a redirect from God rather than His neglect.

Trudging back downstairs from the attic, I took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh. I realized that day that I was tired of being stuck on a torn-up page of life. As hard as I knew it would be, my heart and mind were finally ready to let go of disappointment, move forward, turn the page and trust God.

I have shed many tears over the past few years, but over time, God dried those tears. My weeping stopped, and my disappointment was gradually replaced with joy as I intentionally tried to be positive and trust God with whatever the future might hold.

God is always up to something new, yet we have to let go of past disappointments in order to embrace what is yet to come. The life that awaits us is far more important than the life behind us. It took me a while to understand this because it was hard to accept what had happened to my family, but when I finally allowed myself to believe it, life changed for the better, as did I.

 

Streams in the Desert – June 11

34 Bible Verses about Forgiveness - KJV - DailyVerses.net

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, (2 Tim 2:24)

When God conquers us and takes all the flint out of our nature, and we get deep visions into the Spirit of Jesus, we then see as never before the great rarity of gentleness of spirit in this dark and unheavenly world.

The graces of the Spirit do not settle themselves down upon us by chance, and if we do not discern certain states of grace, and choose them, and in our thoughts nourish them, they never become fastened in our nature or behavior.

Every advance step in grace must be preceded by first apprehending it, and then a prayerful resolve to have it.

So few are willing to undergo the suffering out of which thorough gentleness comes. We must die before we are turned into gentleness, and crucifixion involves suffering; it is a real breaking and crushing of self, which wrings the heart and conquers the mind.

There is a good deal of mere mental and logical sanctification nowadays, which is only a religious fiction. It consists of mentally putting one’s self on the altar, and then mentally saying the altar sanctifies the gift, and then logically concluding therefore one is sanctified; and such an one goes forth with a gay, flippant, theological prattle about the deep things of God.

But the natural heartstrings have not been snapped, and the Adamic flint has not been ground to powder, and the bosom has not throbbed with the lonely, surging sighs of Gethsemane; and not having the real death marks of Calvary, there cannot be that soft, sweet, gentle, floating, victorious, overflowing, triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb.
—G. D. W.

“And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).

Ask God For Help and Believe

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Saturday was grass-cutting day. This is a chore I dread because I lack the strength to start the lawnmower. Since some tasks are easier for men, and starting a lawnmower is one of them, sometimes I do succeed in getting it started, but not this day. Have you heard that women can do almost anything a man can? Well, that sounds good, but from my experience, it isn’t always so. God created us differently. I’ve come to realize this more and more since I lost my husband.

Before I had time to complain to God about my predicament, I saw my neighbor in his yard. I quickly went over to ask him to start the lawnmower. My neighbor, Mike, stopped what he was doing, and came right over to help.

The youngest of his children, three-year-old Ross, was standing with him. I watched the little boy follow right behind him, almost matching him step-by-step. This time the lawnmower wouldn’t start, even for him. Mike immediately went to get his tools to fix the problem. As he started to his garage, so did his little boy. He returned with a few tools in hand, and walking with him, holding some of his play tools, was Ross. Mike stooped down and began looking at the lawnmower, unscrewing nuts and bolts, with Ross stooping right beside him, imitating everything he did. It was a picture I will carry with me for a long time, father and son sharing such a special bond.

In a few moments, the oldest son joined the pair fixing the lawnmower. Christopher looked at me, and with great confidence in his Dad’s abilities said, “if it can be fixed, my Dad can do it.” I was now observing the father’s bond with the eldest, as well as the youngest child.

God showed me a few nuggets of truth, right there in my own front yard.

1. I need to be childlike, just as those two boys were with their father.

“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3 NLT).

2. I am to imitate my heavenly Father, just as the youngest one did his earthly dad. I need to be close to Him, watching and learning.

3. Like the oldest son, I need to have confidence in my Heavenly Father. I know my God can fix anything! This son’s confidence in his dad was based on knowing him and seeing him fix things before. He had been where the youngest was now sitting. There was no doubt in his mind, he was confident that his dad could fix my lawnmower.

Do I have that same confidence in God? Do I know my heavenly Father as those two boys know their earthly dad?

“Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him! He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring” (Hosea 6:3 NLT).

It won’t happen unless I do as they did — spend time with my Dad and watch what He is doing, listen to what He is saying, and then do as He does.

“… the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19 NLT).

My prayer is that I can learn to do as the two neighbor boys did with their earthly father. I want to be a “mirror image” of the Father and His Son.

Also, let’s remember to have confidence in God for our needs. We have seen Him fix things before and we know He can do it again! He has even fixed us in that He saved us so we can live with Him for all eternity. We have great reason to be confident!

 

Shattered Beyond Repair

A Prayer of Release to God for What We Cannot Control

JUNE 10, 2021

  our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

Are there any broken places in your heart and life right now?

I know how hard that can be.

And there’s this wonderful Christian story I could tell you. It’s the one about how we can pick up the broken pieces, glue them back together and then let God’s light shine through our cracks. That’s a beautiful story.

But what about those times when things aren’t just broken … but shattered beyond repair? Shattered to the point of dust. At least when things are broken, there’s some hope you can glue the pieces back together.

What if there aren’t even pieces to pick up in front of you?

You can’t glue dust.

It’s hard to hold dust. What was once something so very precious is now reduced to nothing but weightless powder even the slightest wind could carry away. We feel desperately hopeless. Dust begs us to believe the promises of God no longer apply to us. That the reach of God falls just short of where we are. And that the hope of God has been snuffed out by the consuming darkness all around us.

My own life has certainly held seasons of dust. And if we could sit together over coffee, I imagine you would have some kind of shattered dust story to share with me, too. We are alike in that way. We’re united with our tears, even if our circumstances are different.

We’re also united in our desire for God to fix it all. Edit this story so it has a different ending. Repair this heartbreaking reality.

But what if fixing, editing and repairing isn’t at all what God has in mind for us in this shattering?

What if, this time, God desires to make something completely brand-new? Right now. On this side of eternity. No matter how impossible our circumstances may seem.

You see, dust is the exact ingredient God loves to use.

We think the shattering in our lives could not possibly be for any good. But what if shattering is the only way to get dust back to its basic form so something new can be made? We can see dust as a result of an unfair breaking. Or, we can see dust as a crucial ingredient.

Think about a plain piece of ice. If ice stays in a cube, it’s always just a square of ice. But if the ice melts, it can be poured into a beautiful form to reshape it when it’s frozen again. Dust is much the same; it’s the basic ingredient with such great potential for new life.

Of all the things God could have used to make man, He chose dust: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NIV).

Jesus used the dust of the ground to restore a man’s sight. Jesus said, “‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (John 9:5-6, NIV). And after the man washed in the pool of Siloam, he went home seeing.

And, when mixed with water, dust becomes clay. Clay, when placed in the potter’s hands, can be formed into anything the potter dreams!

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

“He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the LORD. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel’” (Jeremiah 18:6, NIV).

Oh, how I love and need the hope God has tucked into these verses.

Dust doesn’t have to signify the end. Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.

I don’t know what hard realities have left you feeling shattered, friend. But I do know this: We can trust our God. We can trust Him with our dust.

Our greatest disappointments and disillusionments — things that shake us and break us and make us wonder about everything — don’t have to mean all hope is lost. We can place our lives fully in the hands of the Potter. We can dare to believe He is making something glorious out of dust, out of us.

 

All Things Work Together for Good – Streams in the Desert – June 10

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, (Rom 8:28)

How wide is this assertion of the Apostle Paul! He does not say, “We know that some things,” or “most things,” or “joyous things,” but “ALL things.” From the minutest to the most momentous; from the humblest event in daily providence to the great crisis hours in grace.

And all things “work’—they are working; not all things have worked, or shall work; but it is a present operation.

At this very moment, when some voice may be saying, “Thy judgments are a great deep,” the angels above, who are watching the development of the great plan, are with folded wings exclaiming, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” (Ps. 145:17)

And then all things “work together.” It is a beautiful blending. Many different colors, in themselves raw and unsightly, are required in order to weave the harmonious pattern.

Many separate tones and notes of music, even discords and dissonances, are required to make up the harmonious anthem.

Many separate wheels and joints are required to make the piece of machinery. Take a thread separately, or a note separately, or a wheel or a tooth of a wheel separately, and there may be neither use nor beauty discernible.

But complete the web, combine the notes, put together the separate parts of steel and iron, and you see how perfect and symmetrical is the result. Here is the lesson for faith: “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.”
—Macduff

In one thousand trials it is not five hundred of them that work for the believer’s good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine of them, and one beside.
—George Mueller

“GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD” (Gen. 50:20).

God Will Carry You Through Trials

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He Is Yahweh: The Eternal God Will Carry You Through

dad with a toddler in a baby carrier on his back

Pin on Words.

 

The journey of fatherhood remains filled with immense reward. One of my wife and I’s favorite pastimes has always been going for outdoor walks together. We love hitting the trails at local parks to soak in the fresh air, get in a cardio workout, and behold the beauty of God’s creation. When our son and first child, Joseph, was born, we decided to take him along for our weekly outdoor adventures. Accomplishing this meant strapping him to my chest in a snugli. He enjoyed the ride and smiled ear to ear to have the front seat view. And I didn’t mind the added weight, which equaled a better leg workout and more calories burned.

I carried our little guy up and down the rolling hills, around winding trails, and through rugged terrain for miles at a time. Of course, I had to exercise care. Some paths were too treacherous to tread with a toddler in tow.

Similarly, God looked after the Hebrew people as he led them through the barren land of the Sinai wilderness:

The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your very eyes, and in the wilderness, where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place (Deuteronomy 1:30-31, NRSV).

For forty years, “the Lord” (Hebrew, Yahweh) ushered the Israelites through unfamiliar desert lands, revealing himself strong on their behalf amid hunger, dehydration, and the many quarrels threatening to divide them. He steered his people’s course and, in due time, brought them into Canaan, the Promised Land.

Since Joseph, we added two more kids to the mix—our twin girls, Katarina and Theresa. While it’s not practical to strap two kids to my chest in snuglis, we found a double stroller and started taking the girls on many of the same excursions as when it was just three of us. As our kids grow up, I aim to be there for them, to guide and see them through no matter what obstacles lie in their path. I will walk beside them through whatever valleys they have to cross or mountains to climb for as many years as I have on God’s green earth.

Yet, as surely as the terrain changes, my days on earth are destined to come to an end. Thus it behooves my wife and me to build into our kids a solid foundation in the faith, teaching them the ways of God’s word and the power of prayer. This way, even after our time on earth comes to an end, they (and we) can rest assured that Yahweh (literally, “I am the I am”) will carry them through. The meaning of this Hebrew name implies the self-existence and eternality of God. The life and purposes of Yahweh are not conditioned on any other being in the universe; indeed, he created everyone and everything. He is the eternal God, existing from the beginning of time (even before time since he’s the author of time itself). Because God has always been and always will be, I find consolation in the reality that although my days here on earth are numbered, he will still be standing by to look after my children long after I am gone.

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4, NIV).

Our heavenly Father walks beside us to steer our course and direct our path through whatever wilderness we face, now and forevermore. Indeed, even after we grow old and weary, Yahweh is still keeping watch over our posterity to guide, sustain, and rescue our dear ones in their hour of need. We can have confidence that the Eternal One will one day bring to fruition his plan, ushering every child of God into the Promised Land.

 

Streams in the Desert – June 9

25 Encouraging Bible Verses to Give You Peace | Lynn Dove's Journey Thoughts

Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t

Trust in the Lord and do what is right! Settle in the land and maintain your integrity! (Ps 37:3)

I once met a poor colored woman, who earned a precarious living by hard daily labor; but who was a joyous triumphant Christian. “Ah, Nancy,” said a gloomy Christian lady to her one day, “it is well enough to be happy now; but I should think the thoughts of your future would sober you.

“Only suppose, for instance, you should have a spell of sickness, and be unable to work; or suppose your present employers should move away, and no one else should give you anything to do; or suppose—”

“Stop!” cried Nancy, “I never supposes. De Lord is my Shepherd, and I knows I shall not want. And, Honey,” she added, to her gloomy friend, “it’s all dem supposes as is makin’ you so mis’able. You’d better give dem all up, and just trust de Lord.”

There is one text that will take all the “supposes” out of a believer’s life, if it be received and acted on in childlike faith; it is Hebrews 13:5, 6: “Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
—H. W. S.

“There’s a stream of trouble across my path;
It is black and deep and wide.
Bitter the hour the future hath
When I cross its swelling tide.
But I smile and sing and say:
’I will hope and trust alway;
I’ll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,
But I’ll borrow none today.’

When Jesus Cries With You

10 Bible Verses Christians Often Get Wrong - Faith is the Evidence

JUNE 9, 2021

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. … Jesus wept.” John 11:32-33, 35 (NIV)

I’m pushing a grocery cart through the freezer aisle when my phone rings.

My heart jumps into my throat.

I’ve been waiting for days for this call, so crowded aisle or not, I answer.

She talks fast, pulling-off-a-Band-Aid style, like if she says it fast, it won’t hurt so much. But this is no Band-Aid, and this wound is never going to heal.

Memory loss … progressive … still early …

I know too much to be fooled by the might-not-be and the it’s-too-soon-to-panic statements. I hear all the things she can’t bring herself to say. We’ve been begging God to spare our loved one this diagnosis, but this is a resounding “no.”

I stand rooted, numb. Time is frozen — am frozen — in the frozen-food aisle. People shoulder past me, some shooting me irritated glances. How could they know the woman blocking their way is a daughter in mourning?

We all have “no” stories: times when hopes flew and prayers pleaded, but God said “no.” And in those times, it can be tempting to doubt God’s heart and to question His love. But Lamentations 3:33 assures us, “… [God] does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (NIV).

That’s the truth we need to know when we’re hurting, isn’t it? When life knocks us down, tramples us under a thousand stampeding feet, we need to know that God doesn’t desire this pain for us. He isn’t up in heaven indifferent or — worse — secretly gloating.

In my mind, no moment depicts this truth more poignantly than when Jesus stood with Mary and Martha outside the tomb of their brother, Lazarus. When Lazarus fell ill, Jesus could have rushed to heal His friend, but instead He intentionally delayed His coming.

When Jesus finally arrived, several days too late, He met the mourning sisters at the tomb. Jesus already had the happy ending planned. He knew that in mere minutes, He would call Lazarus back to life. The sisters’ cries of mourning would turn to shouts of praise.

And yet. With all that joy only moments away, Jesus stopped. He stood there beside — I always picture Him between — these two sisters, and He wept with them.

I’ve heard people speculate all kinds of profound reasons for Jesus’ tears. Why would Jesus cry, knowing He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead? There must be more to the tears than empathy. Jesus must have been weeping for the lost world, or mourning His own impending suffering.

In my view, those theories are trying too hard. Way too hard. I suspect it’s as simple as this: Jesus’ friends were hurting, so Jesus was hurting. In His tears, I hear these words: “I’m sorry I had to let you go through this. I see your anguish, and My heart bleeds with yours.” It didn’t matter that the pain was almost over. The pain still mattered.

Do you see what this means? Jesus hurts with us. Even if He knows better days are coming, He hurts with us today — right here, right now. Wherever we are: at a desk or in the car, beside a hospital bed or a gravestone. He meets us in our present-tense pain — stands with us, weeps with us, mourns with us. Because our pain is real, and our pain is His pain.

Now that’s love. That’s a God I can trust when I’m hurting. That’s a God I can lean on even when He doesn’t give me what I ask.

Confidence in God’s love changes everything about how we suffer:

We go from suffering alone to suffering while wrapped in the strong, comforting arms of the Father.

Our tears still fall, but they fall on broad shoulders.

Our cries still sound, but they are heard. They may even be accompanied by cries of His own.

God loves you forever and for always.

Even when He says “no.”

Receiving Honor

Pin on Words to live by

by Inspiration Ministries

“On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him, as they stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.” – Joshua 4:14 AMPC

After Moses died, some Israelites likely had questions about his successor, Joshua. What kind of leader would he be? Could he hear from God and effectively lead them? God soon made it obvious that Joshua was the right man.

His leadership became clear as he stood before the Israelites, preparing to lead them across the Jordan River. God “magnified” Joshua in that moment, which is not the same as being popular or receiving praise. This caused the people to stand “in awe of him,” just as they had been in awe of Moses.

Joshua’s faithful service to Moses gave earthly merit, but God’s blessing exceeded any natural praise or popularity. This honor only can be given sovereignly by God to those who please Him.

Many people focus on achieving worldly success. They may gain riches, impress others, and experience short-term fame. They may seem to gain the whole world. But as Jesus warned, in the process they may “forfeit [their] life” (Mark 8:36). The Bible reminds us that our priority should be on pleasing God. The only honor that matters is the honor He gives.

Remember that seeking God’s kingdom should be your priority. Serve Him with your time, talents, and treasures. Make it your goal for Him to say of you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Seek to be pleasing to Him.

Prayer

Father, I commit my life to You. Direct my steps. May I please You with my choices. May my life bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Unseen Glory

77 Bible verses about God, Glory Of11 Bible verses about God, Invisible
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 | Kjv, Bible, Christian scripture47 Bible verses about God's Glory Revealed

 

God’s Unseen Glory

Bible Verses about 'Eternal'

by Ryan Duncan, crosswalk.com

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14 

If I had to choose a favorite moment in the life of Christ, it would probably be the story of the blind man in John 9. Most Christians are familiar with the passage, it begins with Jesus walking through the temple with his disciples when they come across a man born blind.

“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” – John 9:1-3

For a long time, I believed the “works” Jesus talked about meant healing the man’s blindness. That’s what the story was all about, wasn’t it? Jesus performing a miracle to prove he was the Son of God? Actually, no. In fact, the real message of John 9 turned out to be something much different.

After receiving his sight, the man is brought before the Pharisees to be questioned. The religious leaders are torn: this Jesus performed a miracle, so he must be some kind of prophet, but he did so on the Sabbath, a true man of God wouldn’t break the Sabbath. Eventually, they just decide to pull rank (We are the Pharisees, We decide who gets credit for this miracle!) Listen to how the once-blind man responds,

“The man answered and said to them, ‘Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?’ So they put him out.”

If Jesus had wanted to be recognized for his power he would have ridden into Jerusalem as the conquering hero the Jews expected him to be. Instead, he came quietly, touching the lives of the lost and overlooked. His “works” were the restoring of hearts and souls, not just physical bodies. By doing so, he gave a blind man the ability to see truth, where the Pharisees became blind to it. Let us make sure the Church doesn’t become blind as well.

 

Trusting God’s Will Over Our Way

36 Bible verses about Glory Of God

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

As a young working woman in her mid-20s, I’d spent most of my life thinking about this season and all I wanted to achieve — finding a more fulfilling role where I’d be able to use my creative and leadership gifts. I was ready to take on the goals I had long planned for.

Instead, I was met with disappointment, discontent, and more administrative work and spreadsheets than anything else. Mentally and emotionally exhausted, I was running myself into the ground while trying to grow in my career, sacrificing the very things God had placed before me as my portion to steward: time with my family and time with Him. I had followed my way before even asking God about His will.

Deep down, I knew God wanted good things for me, but honestly, I thought my way seemed better.

There was very little prayer involved in this season of my life. When I did pray, my prayers were more like petitions, asking God to bless my plan rather than to help me follow Him. The more I strived to follow my desires, the more my soul withered. I had created an idol out of my dreams and allowed performance and success to become little gods in my life.

Something had to change before something else in my life suffered. I needed to recommit the work of my hands and my heart’s desires to the Father, as our key verse says: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3).

I went before God with my hands and heart open, asking Him to do a new thing in me, settle my soul and help me remain faithful to the season He’d called me to. I sat with Him and listened as I read the Scriptures and sought out His wisdom.

Slowly but surely, my heart began to turn back to God. Finger by finger, I released my tight grip on the idols that had become the center of my affection. God was inviting me into total surrender and trust, asking me to commit to Him all that had been set before me and everything that was in me.

Proverbs 16:3 speaks beautifully to the heart of this. Solomon was a man who walked in wisdom at the time he wrote this proverb. He understood the importance of committing his heart and work to the Lord and had done so for many years, building the temple and serving God faithfully. (1 Kings 6:14) However, somewhere along his journey, he began to turn away from God, giving in to his desire to marry many foreign women, which led him into a life of idolatry and sin. (1 Kings 11:1-13) He failed to commit His whole heart over to God and steward well what God had continued to call him to.

The word “commit” in Hebrew means “to roll away,” to let go of all we think we must carry and do. To roll toward God all of our heart’s desires, leaving them at the feet of Jesus. What a beautiful picture of trust and surrender — to open our heart and hands, releasing the grip we’ve tightly held around the things we long for and maybe even idolize. Had Solomon surrendered his desires and plans to God, had he trusted God with his whole heart, he likely would’ve seen that on the other side of obedience is abundance. (John 10:10)

This is God’s desire for us: to commit our life and plans to Him while trusting His leading and guidance.

God had better things ahead for Solomon and has better things for us today. God’s will for our lives will always be best — taking what’s in our hearts and conforming it to His. Friends, our desires, left unchecked, will open the door to a life fueled by pride and idolatry, turning us away from the Lord. But when we seek God in all things, we learn that what our hearts truly desire can only be found in Jesus. And as we commit to follow Him, He will lead us in the path of righteousness. (Psalm 23:3)

 

Through The Bible Devotions

Inspirational Bible Verse Pictures: Share Images of Scripture Quotes

June 8

2 Samuel 16:1-2 1When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine. 2The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the desert.”

Remember Ziba? He was Saul’s servant. David appointed him and his family to be servants of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. It isn’t clear if Mephibosheth was planning his own rebellion to restore Saul’s throne in the chaos, or if Ziba was conniving to take back over the property of Saul, but the result was that David’s young children and wives were provided animals to ride so that they could keep up. Ziba also provided food to nourish them all on the journey. What David could not prepare in the short notice and sudden flight, God provided from an unlikely source. We can know that when we are in the middle of calamity, God will still be faithful and can meet our needs.

All Israel was choosing sides out of their own personal interests. Will you side with the usurper or with the true King? The usurper promises position and power, but he cannot deliver. You will find true freedom with hardship if you follow the true King. Your service will be rewarded for he is just and genuinely appreciative.

Consider: Every day we are tempted to side with the enemy. He promises what he can never deliver. Follow the true King, even when it is difficult.

 

The Power of the Holy Spirit

Memorize Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:17 - JeffRandleman.com
Dean Deppe, todaydevotional

Scripture Reading — Acts 1:7-8

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.” — Acts 1:8

My testimony depends on the power of the Spirit, not on my own abilities or strength of will. When two friends in college invited me to spend six weeks traveling in the Rocky Mountains and sharing our faith, I thought I was prepared because I had been trained in evangelism.

We practiced some songs that we planned to share around a campfire along with our personal stories about our faith. But when I tried to testify about my faith, nothing happened. The harder I tried, the more frustrated I became.

As we traveled, we heard about a coffeehouse where people were being saved every week. The head of the coffeehouse said something that I have not forgotten: “The only person who can live the Christian life is Jesus Christ.”

I realized I would have to give up trying to live the Christian life on my own and to ask the Holy Spirit to live through me. As I did that, the power of the Spirit filled me. My mouth overflowed with praise, and I saw a heavenly vision of thousands of people on their knees worshiping a lamb on a distant throne.

The trip totally changed ­after that. I would begin talking with people, and they would become convicted of a need in their life. I would pray for them, and the Spirit would transform their lives. When I got back to college, I began sharing with old friends, and their lives began to change.

It is true. There is a power to witness that comes only from the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Spirit, lead us to surrender our lives to you, and please empower us to be your witnesses. Amen.

Prayer Changes Things

36 Bible Verses About Faith — What the Bible Says About Faith36 Bible Verses About Faith — What the Bible Says About Faith
Pin by Lourdes Piloto on Christelike versies | Prayer verses, Prayers, Faith prayer10 Bible Verses: How Jesus Prayed - Purposeful Faith

I Would Have Prayed

79 Bible Verses about Faith - DailyVerses.net

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one

, I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23 (TNIV)

I prayed too late. If I’d known sooner, maybe things would have been different. I stood gazing into the casket of my dearest friend. A sister. One I’d long to be in the company of, so when God blessed me with the opportunity to be her friend, I grasped hold and held tight.

That morning Mom had called me to ask if I’d heard from Lisa. I’d not heard from her in days, but we’d talked the week before.

“Lisa is dead,” Mom said. “Electrocuted in the tub.”

I hung up the phone. Don’t remember much after that. Somewhere between the four-hour trip and the reception line, I woke up to find myself staring into her casket, Lisa’s Bible clutched in her hands. Just like in life, she held Christ tight. Only now she was dead.

If I’d have known there was a problem between Lisa and her husband I’d have prayed for her safety. My heart broke as the loneliness swept over me. Christ had brought us together as friends and now we were divided by the shroud of death.

Lisa and I prayed together, talked about everything. And not once had she mentioned a fear of her husband or that he’d try to harm her. I’m not sure she knew the possibility. She’d ask how I was doing and yet, she kept silent about her own life.

I felt so helpless, torn. I could have prayed – would have, if I’d known. God might have saved her … changed her circumstances. But I didn’t know.

But Jesus knew. I took comfort in the fact that, just as Jesus prayed for us then, He prays for us now. Long before my birth, He fell to His knees and pleaded that I would know the Father as He knew the Father. Christ prayed for me like no one else has ever prayed – He asked for me to be brought to Him and united in His love. He wanted me to have that peace and reassurance that He would die for. He prayed that same thing for Lisa.

It took years for me to learn the secret of prayer is not in the words but in the purity of our hearts. That it’s the sincerity of soul, a naive faith that believes we can know God and that God knows us. That He seeks us and desires our presence with Him. Christ pleaded to the Father that I would know the unity of His presence in my life and He prayed those words with that same purity of heart and a “Father’s faith,” believing that through my trials, I would respond.

What an amazing gift Christ wanted me to have—an indivisible unity with the Father. No one has ever wanted more for me.

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4 (NIV)

In death, Lisa clung to His word. Like Christ clung to the cross. Like I cling to the hope I’ll see my friend again and the hope that I can know the Father as Christ knows Him.

Won’t you seek the One who reaches out from the cross to you? Allow His love to fill your heart. Hold tight to the unity found in Him through the Father and through the love we share with one another. He has provided a way to know Him.

We only need to stand in the shadow of the cross.

 

Believing God for Seasons of Joy Again

JUNE 7, 2021

“Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.’” Genesis 48:11 (NIV)

“Mom, I miss our old house,” my sweet girl whispered. I asked why and expected to hear thoughts on our lush backyard or her pink bedroom.

“We were so … happy there.” Her tender honesty pierced my heart. I affirmed her feelings and proceeded to name some positive points about our current life — but I couldn’t escape the reality she’d so wisely identified.

We were happy there, in our season of “before.” Before an agonizing diagnosis rocked our family. Before a cross-country move and the loss of a supportive community. Before multiple hardships wore us down with a fierce relentlessness.

The loss of a “before” season often leaves us listless and low on hope. We wonder if life can indeed be good again, as it once was before the diagnosis, job loss, crisis, death or affair. Before the lights went out and life stopped making sense.

This soul ache presses hard into our faith muscle, sometimes even threatening to wear it out. And when these grueling seasons unpack their bags and linger for a while, it’s easy to begin believing: My best days are behind me.

The patriarch Jacob experienced a “before” season, too — before the loss and presumed death of his beloved son, Joseph. While Jacob had many children, Genesis 37:3 tells us he “… loved Joseph more than any of his other sons” (NIV).

Unfortunately, this favoritism led Joseph’s jealous brothers to sell him into slavery and fake his death. With chilling deception, they presented Joseph’s bloodied, multicolored coat to Jacob, who then grieved mightily.

While Scripture doesn’t give us many details, we can imagine the depth of Jacob’s trauma. We can envision the way this massive loss tore at his soul and clouded his mind. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine Jacob was never quite as lighthearted from that day forward. Perhaps, like us, he believed a season of joy would never come again.

And yet the conclusion of Genesis reveals the exquisite story God had been writing through those dark days: Joseph, alive and well in Egypt, was finally reunited with his father. Our key verse recounts the tender, poignant words spoken by Jacob (also called “Israel”):

“Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.’” (Genesis 48:11)

What a resolution! Not only does Jacob have his son back, but he also experiences the joy of knowing his grandsons. After years of heartache, God brought Jacob into a spacious season where he enjoyed 17 years with Joseph.

When seasons of loss arrive, let us not forget the truth that God always, always works for our good. He loves us deeply and will never cease moving on our behalf — even when we don’t understand His ways, for what is dark to us isn’t dark to Him.

You and I may not receive the ending we’d choose, but we can choose to trust the God who wants the very best for us. It’s tempting to draw conclusions about the end of the story when we’re in the middle of it. But what if we leaned into that faith muscle a little deeper? What if we grasped onto the truth with all our might and trusted God to write the ending He knows we need?

In painful seasons, we can draw hope and strength from this story of Jacob and Joseph. Instead of pulling away from Jesus, we can run to Him and entrust our heartache and disappointment into His scarred hands. We can reject the enemy’s lie that joy will never come again.

Your best days are not behind you, dear one. In Jesus, we know each season serves a divine purpose. And just as God was faithful to Jacob and Joseph, so God will be faithful to you, too. Let’s never give up hoping and expectantly looking for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

 

Love Coupons from the Lord

Jesus Daily Quotes - Jesus Christ Quotes | Prayer scriptures, Prayer quotes, Scripture quotes

by Shawn McEvoy, crosswalk.com

Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
Hebrews 6:12, NLT

Rummaging through our junk drawer once upon a time, I came across a gift from my wife that has brought me nothing but trouble.

Hold it right there. You keep presents from your wife in the junk drawer? 

I’m happy to explain. Everything else I’ve ever received from Valerie is a treasure, a blessing. But in this case…

I’m speaking here of a booklet of “love coupons” placed in my stocking one Christmas. You’ve surely received something similar at one point in your life – a bundle of certificates entitling the bearer, at his or her behest, to a smattering of various benefits such as back rubs, dates, baked goods, relaxation, respite from chores, or other goodies. Whoever invented these well-intended documents of doom wasn’t a master of foresight.

The problem doesn’t lie in the sentiment, it’s in the redemption. Flipping fondly through the long lost book, I plucked out a coupon for a 30-minute massage and excitedly approached the one from whom the much-appreciated thought originated.

“Hey, look what I found. Do you think I could redeem this tonight?”

Body language is an amazing thing. Val said nothing, but her facial expression told me I might as well have been expired yogurt. Her lips didn’t move, but I very clearly heard her brain say:

“Are you kidding me? I’m overwhelmed and on my feet all day chasing down rambunctious children, and you have the audacity to bring me a coupon? If there’s anybody who should be receiving a massage tonight, mister, it’s me! In fact, if you really loved me, you’d know when I was too busy or moody or tired!”

And there it is. Something that had been designed to show her love to me had turned into something that demonstrated my perceived lack of love for her. Um, how did that happen? Stupid coupons. Back into the junk drawer until you’re more convenient to my wife – once the kids are out of the house.

So, in need of unconditional promises I could count on, I pulled out the old concordance seeking out scriptures about which I could pray: “Look what I found. Do you think I could redeem this tonight?”

See, Valerie is human; I’m unwise. Our Father is neither. He loves us more than we can fathom and He’s put together quite a package of unbreakable promises that have no flaw in the redemption. We just have to faithfully submit them.

Holding fast to promise in difficult times was a major theme for New Testament authors. Here are just a few examples of the encouragement they offer through telling us what’s available to the believer through Christ:

  • 1 – Power, Holiness, Escape from Temptation and Worldliness“And by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in His divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you feel bogged down by all the sin and negativity in the world, when you need to feel that your destiny is something more than this crude earthly matter, but a partaker of the divine.
  • 2 – The Holy Spirit, Complete with Gifts, Fruit, and Power“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (Luke 24:49).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you need to remember that Jesus did not leave you here alone; He sent His messenger to fill you with everything you need to know Him and make Him known.
  • 3 – Fellowship, Joy, Eternal Life“You must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will continue to live in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life He promised us” (1 John 2:24-25).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you need to return to the first principles of the faith, being reminded of the benefits of walking with God.
  • 4 – Salvation, Belonging, Riches & Blessings, Being Children of God“And this is the secret plan: The Gentiles have an equal share with the Jews in all the riches inherited by God’s children. Both groups have believed the Good News, and both are part of the same body and enjoy together the promise of blessings through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you are overtaken by selfishness or self-centeredness, and need to focus on who you are as part of the Church and an all-inheriting child of God.
  • 5 – Truth, Confidence, Assurance, Life“Truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began – and He cannot lie” (Titus 1:2).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you feel let down by those around you, lost in the temporal rather than the eternal, or in need of knowing that God can’t go back on His Word.
  • 6 – Membership in the Family, Persecuted but Free“And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. And we who are born of the Holy Spirit are persecuted by those who want us to keep the law, just as Isaac, the child of promise, was persecuted by Ishmael, the son of the slave-wife” (Galatians 4:28-29).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you are downtrodden by right-and-wrong, do-and-don’t. You are born again free in the family of the Most High.
  • 7 – Trials, Patience, Endurance, the Crown of Life“God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).Pluck this out and turn it in when… you wonder at God’s wisdom and will, when tough times come your way, and when you feel you don’t have the strength to go on. Testing is guaranteed, so don’t despise it or your own discipline – how else would you be able to exercise your faith?

And the best promise of all while we’re on this earth may just be new joy, new mercy every morning. Each day another chance. When days get rough and we could use “a backrub from above,” all we have to do is open up the Bible and say, “Look what I found, Lord. It’s been a tough day. Do you think I could redeem this one tonight?”

Since the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the answer is always yes. Until one day we experience His ultimate promise of a new heaven and a new earth and there will be no need of coupons.