Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called . . . . And he went out, not knowing where he was going. —Hebrews 11:8
Has God ever asked you to do something that seemed unreasonable? Something that took you into the territory of the unknown? What if He asked you to refuse a long-awaited promotion or resist a longed-for relationship? What if He called you to a remote part of the world or asked you to release your children to serve Him in a faraway place?
The unknown is full of haunting “what ifs.” Yet God often calls us to chart unknown territory as we follow Him. Obeying His commands to forgive, to give away our treasures, or to give up things that provide security and pleasure often leave us in the scary territory of unknown outcomes.
Imagine how Abraham felt when God asked him to move his whole family without telling him where they were going (Gen. 12:1-3). God also asked Abraham to persevere—to stay in an unknown land even when the lure of past comforts may have threatened to seduce him and his family back to their comfort zone in Ur.
The fear of the unknown could cripple our capacity to follow God’s leading through the days ahead. Yet, like Abraham, when we cling to the One who knows all things, we’re in good hands—regardless of where He leads.
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand. —Stanphill
Never be afraid to entrust the unknown future to the all-knowing God.
From: Streams in the Desert
As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Cor. 6:10).
The stoic scorns to shed a tear; the Christian is not forbidden to weep. The soul may be dumb with excessive grief, as the shearer’s scissors pass over the quivering flesh; or, when the heart is on the point of breaking beneath the meeting surges of trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better.
They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul.
Be it so. And thus amid manifold trials, souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy. Though deep call to deep, yet the Lord’s song will be heard in silver cadence through the night. And it is possible in the darkest hour that ever swept a human life to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you learned this lesson yet? Not simply to endure God’s will, nor only to choose it; but to rejoice in it with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
–Tried as by Fire
I will be still, my bruised heart faintly murmured,
As o’er me rolled a crushing load of woe;
The cry, the call, e’en the low moan was stifled;
I pressed my lips; I barred the tear drop’s flow.
I will be still, although I cannot see it,
The love that bares a soul and fans pain’s fire;
That takes away the last sweet drop of solace,
Breaks the lone harp string, hides Thy precious lyre.
But God is love, so I will bide me, bide me–
We’ll doubt not, Soul, we will be very still;
We’ll wait till after while, when He shall lift us
Yes, after while, when it shall be His will.
And I did listen to my heart’s brave promise;
And I did quiver, struggling to be still;
And I did lift my tearless eyes to Heaven,
Repeating ever, “Yea, Christ, have Thy will.”
But soon my heart upspake from ‘neath our burden,
Reproved my tight-drawn lips, my visage sad:
“We can do more than this, O Soul,” it whispered.
“We can be more than still, we can be glad!”
And now my heart and I are sweetly singing–
Singing without the sound of tuneful strings;
Drinking abundant waters in the desert,
Crushed, and yet soaring as on eagle’s wings.
–S. P. W.
From: Through the Bible
Deuteronomy 4:29-31a (NIV) 29But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31aFor the LORD your God is a merciful God…
Moses warned the people that if they worshipped other gods and did not keep the covenant, they would become captives of other nations. God states that the reason is because He is a jealous God. The word for ‘jealous’ in Hebrew includes the meaning of a white-hot fire. God is passionate about those He has chosen. He will bring into their lives whatever it will take to turn them back to Him. He promises, in this passage, that if, from that place of slavery, you will seek the LORD you will find Him. But that is accompanied by a big “if”. The condition is looking for Him with all our heart and soul. That is why Israel went into captivity, their hearts were mixed, thinking satisfaction and fulfillment lay in God plus something else.
God allows distress to come into our lives to return us to Him. Then we get a sense of the reality of life without Him and become desperate to be in Him. That is when He will help us turn back to Him. Why? Why would God want His unfaithful bride back after she so willingly sought other lovers?
The LORD our God is a merciful God. Mercy forgives and forgets and loves once again. We have been recipients of this mercy as Israel was. It is now our duty to be merciful to others. Forgive and forget and love again so that you will be a reflection of the wonderful God who loves you.
Consider: Whom do I need to forgive, and what steps will I take to see that I do?
Matthew 22:8-10 (NIV) 8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
One of Jesus’ parables during the final week was of a king who invited guests to his son’s wedding. In that culture it would have been insulting and arrogant to refuse to attend such an important event. Those first invited ignored the invitation and even abused the messengers, killing some of them. The king sent his army to execute justice, but the wedding preparations sat waiting. Then the king sent more servants out to invite anyone they found. The banquet hall was filled with both good and bad guests.
This is about the call to the Jews to be the bride of the Son. They refused to accept Christ. They mistreated and killed the prophets. Then the gospel went out to all. I’m one of the bad ones that were found. Thank God that He did not just ask the servants to look for only good people. We are already partaking of all the generosity of the King. One day we will actually sit at the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. What an honor!
There was a man there without a wedding gown. It was the custom of the time for the host to provide a white gown for all the guests upon their arrival at the feast. Someone had refused to wear the gown. He was promptly thrown out. The gown is the righteousness of Christ. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” That is the only reason that the good and the bad can both be there. We are clothed with Christ. Without that covering, it would not matter how good we were, we would still be refusing to accept the covering our King has provided. Jesus closes the parable by saying that many are called but few are chosen. If you have heard the call, be sure you put on Christ. That is the only thing that makes you acceptable in that place and a witness here below.
Consider: What does it mean to be clothed in Christ?