Rest in God’s Promises
It’s easy to get caught up with to-do lists, social activities, and work. We live in a society where if we aren’t performing and achieving, we can feel anxious. I certainly feel this regularly. At the beginning of 2021 I decided that I was not achieving enough with my life—even though I had just gotten married and had other struggles to contend with—and I started studying again. I have always wanted to study psychology, but rather than thinking about the practicalities of taking on a four-year part-time course at that stage of my life, I just went for it.
Now, a year-and-a-half later, even though I managed to keep up with the workload and do well, I’ve had to take a break. At the time you read this, I’ll be in the middle of maternity leave with my first child. And while this is an incredible blessing, I have such anxiety about not performing. I want to achieve things. I have a checklist to complete every day. I have assignments and exams that help me feel like I am moving forward in life. For some reason, I don’t feel satisfied unless I am so busy that I’m exhausted and overwhelmed.
The perfect way to describe the mode many of us live in. Too many responsibilities, spread too thin, expectations that are way too high. Even in churches and Christian communities, these expectations and ways of living are very much the reality.
But God has a promise for us in Philippians 1:6,
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)
God is assuring us that since He started good work in us, He will bring it to completion through Jesus Christ. We don’t need to work any harder, achieve anymore, or burn ourselves out to achieve the only work that really matters—His work. By living in relationship and obedience to Him, we’re doing enough. Who we are and what we’re doing is enough simply because the God of miracles created us. And because He started the good work in us, we can rest in His promise of bringing it to completion through Jesus Christ.
Today I am resting in His promises. I trust that He formed my baby perfectly and in His timing. I trust that through this journey of motherhood, His good works are continuing. I am trusting that who I was created to be is enough for His kingdom and His purposes for me.
I hope and pray that you can feel reassured by this promise, too. That you believe that you are enough, what you’re doing is enough, and God created you for a time such as this. His good purpose for your life does not rest solely on you, but He will bring it to completion. Rest in that and carry it with you as you continue doing the work and activities you need to do.
5 Lessons from Proverbs 5
By Aaron D’Anthony Brown, crosswalk.com
“Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword.” (Proverbs 5:3-4)
The Forbidden Woman
“Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned?” asks one of the proverbs (Proverbs 6:27). The answer to this rhetorical question is obvious, as is our innate desire for sin, especially the sexual kind. God intended for sex to be an act that honors spouses, and honors Him, but much like other sins, mankind’s creativity for wrongdoing knows no bounds.
From billboards to social media, to movies on the big screen, or the device we keep in our pockets, if you want to find sex, you don’t have to look far. Young children access porn on a moment’s notice online, while some adults form groups with the sole purpose of fornicating.
Our fleshly weakness may explain why there are various passages in Scripture that warn us about uncontrolled desire. One such place is Proverbs 5, where a father cautions his son about the “forbidden woman.” Today, his wise words can serve to enlighten and strengthen us as well.
Whether we are nearing temptation, have already given in, or are seeking to remain strong, there is something each of us can learn from these five lessons on sexual temptation from Proverbs 5.
1. Establish Boundaries (Proverbs 5:1-2)
Living in a world of sin, something we all need is boundaries. Unfortunately, many of us learn this after answering the call of temptation. Too many parents give their children unmitigated access to the internet. And too many adults refuse to limit their own access for fear of missing out. No boundaries is like a wide-open door, an invitation for anything outside to come in.
Know your limits, and don’t test them. Approaching your boundary is a sign that you’re nearing a bad choice.
2. Humanize the Person (Proverbs 5:5-6)
The forbidden woman is a person, just like you, just like me. And just like us, no one chooses to sell their body when they think there is a better way to make money. Only people who have been abused, molested, and broken from early childhood pursue prostitution as a legitimate way to work. The same goes for the woman on the corner of a busy city and for the woman appearing in a late-night movie.
When we humanize people, we stop treating them as tools for ou pleasure. They are people with emotions, goals, thoughts, and struggles exactly like us. They have family, friends, and more. If we knew them, whether as a relative, friend, or acquaintance, would we want them to engage in such behavior?
3. Flee (Proverbs 5:8)
Possibly the most underrated advice when facing temptation is to run. Flee. Escape the fire before you get burned. Saying no to sin early on is like pulling out a seed from the ground. Uprooting a tree is a much more difficult task.
4. Know the Consequences (Proverbs 5:9-14)
One reason we succumb to lust is that we either don’t know, or we ignore the consequences. The easiest way to resolve this issue is by ensuring that we not only know the consequences of our actions, but that we meditate on them. This is especially true if we are in seasons or places in life where temptation is higher.
Knowing what possible bad outcomes await can be sure motivation to walk the straight path.
5. Enjoy Marriage (Proverbs 5:15-19)
If marriage is a part of your life, then enjoy the blessing that God has given you. Realize that your spouse will never match up to lust. They will never look, act, or talk like those people we lust after. That’s because your spouse is real. Honor and appreciate that realness.
If you’re single, pray to God for strength to remain chaste and for discernment as to where you can put your sexual energies. Sex is a want, not a need, but no one denies that libido exists. Find a way to put that energy toward serving the community, a hobby, or anything positive that gets your mind off of sex.
Streams in the Desert – October 5
- 20225 Oct
After a while, the stream dried up because there had been no rain in the land. (1 Kings 17:7)
The education of our faith is incomplete if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss, a ministry of failing and of fading things, a gift of emptiness. The material insecurities of life make for its spiritual establishment. The dwindling stream by which Elijah sat and mused is a true picture of the life of each of us. “It came to pass … that the brook dried up”—that is the history of our yesterday, and a prophecy of our morrows.
In some way or other we will have to learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the Giver. The gift may be good for a while, but the Giver is the Eternal Love.
Cherith was a difficult problem to Elijah until he got to Zarephath, and then it was all as clear as daylight. God’s hard words are never His last words. The woe and the waste and the tears of life belong to the interlude and not to the finale.
Had Elijah been led straight to Zarephath he would have missed something that helped to make him a wiser prophet and a better man. He lived by faith at Cherith. And whensoever in your life and mine some spring of earthly and outward resource has dried up, it has been that we might learn that our hope and help are in God who made Heaven and earth.
—F. B. Meyer
By: Charles Spurgeon
“And thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:14
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 118:5-14
Hear Jehovah, the everlasting Father, saying, “I will help thee.” “Mine are the ages: before the ages began, when there were no worlds, when nothing had been created, from everlasting I am thy God. I am the God of election, the God of the decree, the God of the covenant; by my strength I did set fast the mountains; by my skill I laid the pillars of the earth, and the beams of the firmament of heaven; I spread out the skies as a curtain, and as a tent for man to dwell in; I the Lord made all these things. I will help thee.” Then comes Jehovah the Son. “And I also, am thy Redeemer, I am eternal; my name is wisdom. I was with God, when there were no depths, before he had digged the rivers, I was there as one brought up with him. I am Jesus, the God of ages; I am Jesus, the man of sorrows: ‘I am he that liveth and was dead, I am alive for evermore.’ I am the High Priest of thy profession, the Intercessor before the throne, the Representative of my people. I have power with God. I will help thee.” Poor worm, thy Redeemer vows to help thee; by his bleeding hands he covenants to give thee aid. And then in comes the Holy Spirit. “And I,” saith the Spirit, “am also God—not an influence, but a person—I, eternal and everlasting co-existent with the Father and the Son—I, who did brood over chaos, when as yet the world was not brought into form and fashion, and did sow the earth with the seeds of life when I did brood over it,—I, that brought again from the dead your Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep, I who am the Eternal Spirit, by whose power the Lord Jesus did arise from the bondage of his tomb—I, by whom souls are quickened, by whom the elect are called out of darkness into light—I, who have power to maintain my children and preserve them to the end—I will help thee.”
For meditation: 2 Corinthians 13:14: what a mighty benediction!