And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
God Is FOR You
Jesus never promised that life would be easy. On the contrary, Jesus said that we would have trials.
At times, our difficulties make us question our relationships, our feelings about ourselves and others, and if God is truly concerned about our situation. It may appear like God is not present and if He is, that He is not tuned in to our cry for help. Our problems persist and our relationships suffer. But know this, whether we go through financial struggles, physical or emotional problems, God is near to us.
Joshua 5:13-14 says,
“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come … (NIV)”
In this passage, Joshua was being prepared to go into Jericho to take the city. The Israelites had just celebrated the Passover and the Bible says that the manna had ceased. Still, Joshua thought to ask the angel of the Lord whether he was for the Israelites or for Jericho. When the angel answered “neither” he was saying that he was not for him or against him, just as he was not for Jericho or against Jericho. The angel was there to do the will of the Lord.
Now, let that soak in for a moment.
Have you ever felt that God was against you and for someone else? After reading that verse, I have come to understand that God is not out to take sides, but He sends His angels to accomplish His will in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
In your situation, pray about what is God’s will for your life and understand that God does not have anything against you. The enemy would love for you to believe that God is angry with you and therefore has abandoned you; especially when you see others prosper or the wicked blessed.
No, whether you see it or not, the Bible says that the “Father is always at His work” (John 5:17, NIV). God is working on your behalf. His will is to bless you and to set you free from the lies of the enemy. His will is for you to grow in Him and be the person that He has created you to be. Meditate on the fact that you are loved by God and that He is for you to accomplish His will in your life.
He Helps Us Get Up
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
There are some seasons of life that leave us feeling like we’re falling more than flying.
Losing my mom, my only brother, my last living grandparent, and our family horse in a two-year span definitely left a lingering feeling that I was falling again and again.
All of it didn’t seem fair. Didn’t seem believable. Didn’t seem like so much loss could happen in such a short time. And rightly so, it left me feeling like the next loss was always just around the corner.
I felt stuck in discouragement and doom, like it was impossible to get up from all the feelings of defeat I was wrestling with.
My guess is you too have had a season, whether long or short, that’s made you feel like it was going to be difficult to get back up.
Sometimes we wonder if our grief, disappointments or failures have pushed us to the point of no return. Which is why today’s key verse has become my anchor for the days ahead.
Reading it in the context of the entire chapter of Isaiah 40, verse 31 is truly where we see the power and promise: “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
In this chapter, Isaiah is speaking to people who are in extreme distress for a variety of reasons.
Seasons of falling bring these distress-filled feelings front and center.
Throughout this entire chapter, Isaiah reminds his listeners that God is in charge of everything. But he also challenges them to wrestle with their doubt, sin, fear and questions.
Hard seasons bring questions. And just because we have questions doesn’t necessarily mean we’re questioning God.
After reading this chapter in a sobering posture of the reality of life, I arrived at verse 31. Through Isaiah’s words, I’m reminded that our God is very real, incredibly strong and bigger than anything seasons of distress can bring.
He creates a way for us to go up higher, or as this verse says, “soar,” in the midst of it all.
By waiting in trust for God to strengthen us through our sorrow.
But this isn’t necessarily a sitting-still motion.
It’s a space where we fill our time with worship instead of worry. It’s when we simply pray His promises when our words are hard to find in prayer. And it’s how we reject our distress-filled doubt with the reality of who our God is.
All of these things can help us get up when the trials of this weary world try to keep us down. And one day, we’ll be able to look back on our seasons of falling and see the God who helped us get back up, again and again.
Each day, when my heart starts to ache over the loss I’ve experienced, I pull out Isaiah 40:31 and let this promise from God help me back up.
God will do the same for you. Wait in trust. Worship through the worry. Remember who your God is. And find yourself experiencing a strength to carry on that can only come from heaven’s throne.
Every Christian is a disciple. In fact, the Lord’s Great Commission was to go into all the world and
make disciples… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. — Matthew 28:19-20
That means the mission of the Church, and the goal of evangelism, is to make disciples. Disciples are people who believe, those whose faith motivates them to obey all Jesus commanded. The word disciple is used consistently as a synonym for believer throughout the book of Acts (Acts 6:1, Acts 6:2, Acts 6:7; Acts 11:26; Acts 14:20, Acts 14:22; Acts 15:10). Any distinction between the two words is purely artificial. Though introduced by sincere and well-meaning men, it has given birth to a theology of superficial faith that disposes of the hard demands of Jesus.
When Jesus called disciples, He carefully instructed them about the cost of following Him. Half-hearted people who were not willing to make the commitment did not respond. Thus He turned away anyone who was reluctant to pay the price — such as the rich young ruler. He warned all who thought of becoming disciples to count the cost carefully.
Which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’. — Luke 14:28-30
A Christian is not one who simply buys “fire insurance,” who “accepts Christ” just to escape hell. As we have seen repeatedly, true believers’ faith expresses itself in submission and obedience. Christians follow Christ. They are committed unquestionably to Christ as Lord and Savior. They desire to please God. They are humble, meek learners. When they fail, they seek forgiveness and move forward. That is their spirit and their direction.
The call to Christian discipleship explicitly demands just that kind of total dedication. It is full commitment, with nothing knowingly or deliberately held back. No one can come to Christ on any other terms. Those who think they can simply affirm a list of gospel facts and continue to live any way they please should examine themselves to see if they are really in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
In Matthew 10:32-39, Jesus challenged His disciples, saying:
Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in Heaven… He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
Our Lord gave no more definitive statement on discipleship than that. He spells out in the clearest possible language the cost of discipleship. The words are addressed to the Twelve in particular, but they are principles of discipleship applicable to us all. Matthew 10:24 says, “A disciple is not above his teacher.” A disciple here means any disciple, and the words that follow, to the end of the chapter, apply to discipleship in general.
Those who see disciples as a separate class of more dedicated believers will point out that the Twelve — or at least eleven of them — were already believers in Christ and thus did not need instruction on what it means to come to Christ with saving faith. It is true that most of the disciples were undoubtedly already born again, but that does not negate the impact of these words for them. The fact is, these men were already called disciples, too (Matthew 10:1). This was not an invitation to a higher kind of relationship, but a reminder of what had already been established when they believed. Our Lord was continuing to teach them the meaning of faith and salvation, and constantly reminding them of the commitment they had made when they chose to follow Him.
These words apply to you and me as well. Luke 14:25-35 contains similar words — in even stronger language — which Jesus spoke not just to the Twelve, but to the multitudes who came to hear Him.
Matthew 10:2 refers to the Twelve as “apostles.” That means “sent ones.” Their basic training being complete, Jesus sent them out to preach. In this parting charge to them, however, He uses the word disciple, not apostle. His words apply to every disciple, serving as a signpost to every potential follower of Jesus.
Grieving Yet Rejoicing – Streams in the Desert – March 20
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
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.