From: Our Daily Journey
Reminiscent of an era we wish were bygone, individuals consumed with hatred and prejudice carried torches and shouted slogans from a hideous time in America’s racial history as they marched across a university lawn. Barely twenty-four hours later, the governor of the state in which the school is located declared a state of emergency due to violent clashes. Only the base depravity of sin decries the life of another as less valuable, less human—and only the power of the cross brings us deliverance.
Today, those who claim to speak truth but walk in deception abound, just as they did in the days when the apostle John was writing (1 John 4:1). Significantly, especially in the ongoing reality of racism, John reminded his audience that the Messianic truth of Jesus, God come in human flesh, would be the profession of faith that would unite all believers (1 John 4:2-3). But the primary characteristic of their actions would be love (1 John 4:7-8).
God calls us to love as He loves. Why? These defining points of the life of the believer remind us how God’s pure compassion for us caused Jesus not only to take on our humanity but also to deliver us from its brokenness (1 John 4:9,11). He loved us enough to want to be with us, to share in our pain, and ultimately to free us from the desolation of our own sins (1 John 4:10). In turn, we have been commissioned, even commanded, to love those whom He loves (1 John 4:12,21; John 13:34)—even when they betray us.
The depravity of humanity breeds hatred. We can’t rightly be ambassadors of Jesus’ kingdom unless we instead begin with love. Through Jesus’ power, may we fearlessly love both those who have the love of the Father living in them and those who do not.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).
Go not, my friend, into the dangerous world without prayer. You kneel down at night to pray, drowsiness weighs down your eyelids; a hard day’s work is a kind of excuse, and you shorten your prayer, and resign yourself softly to repose. The morning breaks; and it may be you rise late, and so your early devotions are not done, or are done with irregular haste.
No watching unto prayer! Wakefulness once more omitted; and now is that reparable?
We solemnly believe not.
There has been that done which cannot be undone. You have given up your prayer, and you will suffer for it.
Temptation is before you, and you are not ready to meet it. There is a guilty feeling on the soul, and you linger at a distance from God. It is no marvel if that day in which you suffer drowsiness to interfere with prayer be a day in which you shrink from duty.
Moments of prayer intruded on by sloth cannot be made up. We may get experience, but we cannot get back the rich freshness and strength which were wrapped up in those moments.
-–Frederick W. Robertson
If Jesus, the strong Son of God, felt it necessary to rise before the breaking of the day to pour out His heart to God in prayer, how much more ought you to pray unto Him who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and who has promised all things necessary for our good.
What Jesus gathered into His life from His prayers we can never know; but this we do know, that the prayerless life is a powerless life. A prayerless life may be a noisy life, and fuss around a great deal; but such a life is far removed from Him who, by day and night, prayed to God.
A Word to the Wise and Blessed
By: Sharon Elliott
We have heard the old adage: A word to the wise is sufficient. That means it shouldn’t take being hit in the head by a brick for us to understand a lesson. We ought to be able to hear of other folks’ foibles and avoid them by not going down those same roads. The iron is hot; don’t touch it or you’ll get burned.
The story of King Uzziah is an iron-is-hot-word-to-the-wise story. Second Chronicles, chapter 26 lays out his meteoric rise and pathetic plunge. He gained the throne when he was only 16 years old. Since he “did what was right in the sight of the LORD” and “sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God,” we are told that “as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper” 2 Chronicles 26:4-5 (NKJ). In the 52 years that he reigned, the list of his accomplishments grew impressively:
- He made war successfully against the Philistines.
- He broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod (Philistine cites) and built cities for his own people.
- He had the Ammonites bringing him tribute.
- He built towers.
- He dug many wells for the amazing amount of livestock he had.
- He hired farmers and vinedressers because he loved the soil. (He was able to indulge his own passion and pastime.)
- He had an army of fighting men loyal to his cause for whom he supplied abundantly so they could carry out their task productively.
In all of this, “God helped him,” (verse 7) and “his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.” (verse 15)
Uzziah’s story should have ended there on an up note, but alas, verse 16 reads,
“But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.”
After all those accomplishments, after all the praise and fame, after all that help directly from God, Uzziah felt the need to overstep his boundaries. When the priests tried to warn him about his trespass, he became furious with them (verse 19). Immediately, God protected the office of the priesthood and the honor of His name, and punished Uzziah.
“King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD…” (verse 21).
No matter who we are or how much fame we have, God won’t allow us to dishonor His ways.
We have battles to fight, walls to break down, tribute to receive, towers to build, wells to dig, pastimes to enjoy, and loyal people who will fight for us for whom we can supply need. As long as we seek the Lord, God will help us, prosper us, and cause our fame to spread. It is His good pleasure to marvelously help us until we become strong. Consider these verses:
Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 (NKJ)
Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (The Message Bible)
So a word to the wise and the blessed. God doesn’t mind blessing and helping us. However, let us not allow success and fame brought to us by God go to our heads. Just one moment of thinking more of himself than he ought – of stepping out of his lane – cast Uzziah into a shameful plunge from which he was never able to recover. We are to continue to move forward in God’s amazing blessings, but keep His will in view and keep His honor foremost.