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Trust God With Every Moment

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Trust God with Every Moment

 

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’” (Acts 8:26 NIV)

A friend mentioned a nudge from God received on the job. He works in a nursing home. While seeing to the needs of an elderly resident recently, he felt the strong impression to pray for her right then. He prays regularly for those he serves, but silently, in obedience, he began to lift her to God.

What happened next was that this withdrawn woman with the glazed over look of so many institutionalized older adults, began to share about her life. “She just opened up and told me many things about herself,” said my young friend. Though filled with strong faith, he was pleasantly surprised about the reminder: God is with us every moment and will order our steps – giving us direction in the present. Why we’re surprised at His ready help and direction is curious. It’s there in His Word about His availability to those dependent on Him:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV)

A fictional book that I just finished has one character offer this thought, “The great lie of this broken universe is that God cannot be trusted and that we have to take care of ourselves. That’s the lie that snagged Eve.” (Jake Colsen, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore)

It’s the lie that can snag any of us – “Everything’s up to me. I’m on my own. I have to figure out what to do next.” And so comes the temptation not to pray or to pray with little hope and to act without having listened for guidance.

But God knows our needs before we speak them. He knows the needs of others and how we might intersect with them. He has plans not just for a distant future but for this day just as Jesus said,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, …” (Matthew 6:25, 32-34 NIV)

This is a huge step to take in trusting God – to believe that He cares about THIS day and that He has mapped these 24 hours out for us, if we’ll lean on Him.

The story of Philip helps me to grasp this wonderful idea – that God cares about us moment to moment and will orchestrate a Divine schedule with us. Philip, along with most of the early Church, was driven out of Jerusalem by persecution, just when the Church was beginning to explode with growth. Philip had been named a church “deacon.” Fleeing to Samaria this “deacon for a season,” under God’s leading, stepped into the role of a powerful preacher, healer, and miracle worker. Then, again, under God’s leading and provision, he took the road into the wilderness to explain the gospel to one lone African man – a time of one on one ministry that led to the man’s baptism and some think, to Africa being invaded by the gospel.

After this, there were more towns. Philip went forward not knowing what would come next. He demonstrated an openness to being led daily.

One of the greatest shifts we can make as Christ-followers is to start each morning simply praying, “I’m here, Lord. What‘s on our schedule?” God will give impressions through His Word, other people, circumstances, the nudges in our hearts. There are, perhaps, certain things fixed on the calendar.  Yet, believing that in the midst of this, God will bring what we have not planned, could not foresee, and cannot resource except by His strength, helps us to get up unruffled, hope-filled, and ready to touch other lives with His grace. And if you are in a difficult season, being able to stay focused and present, non-anxious about next week or next year because you hold onto the words, “I am with you,” is to know peace and usefulness in the storm.

 

How the Habit of Trust Transforms Your Life

From Joyce Meyers

Unshakeable Trust

 

For a long time, there was so much turmoil in my life. It really saddens me to think about all the years I wasted living this way.

I was a Christian and went to church, but I spent a lot of time being upset about things I couldn’t do anything about, and had continual feelings of guilt and condemnation much of the time. As a result, I had no peace and just didn’t enjoy life.

But thank God, I’ve experienced radical transformation in my soul. And the key was developing a habit of learning to trust God at all times, in every area of my life.

What It Means to Trust God

Trusting God is simply believing that He loves you and knowing He’s good, He has the power to help you, and He wants to help you.

Christians are called believers, but many times, we are more like unbelieving believers. We trust our friends, the bank, the stock market or the government more than we trust God and His Word.

In John 15:5, Jesus says that apart from Him, we can do nothing. We need to lean on Him for help with everything in our lives.

Sadly, a lot of people go to church, hear what they should do and then go home and try to do it on their own. They usually end up desperately telling God how hard they’re trying to do what they need to do, and they’re leaving Him out!

God wants us to put Him first in our lives. He wants us to put our confidence and trust in Him, all the time, in everything.

Learning to Trust God, Not Myself

I used to have a habit of trusting myself. I formed this habit through years of trusting people, getting hurt and finding out I couldn’t trust them.

I thought, If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. If you don’t ask anybody for anything or open your heart to them, they can’t hurt you. But this mindset just kept me from trusting God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 

When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Spirit of God comes to live inside you. This means you don’t have to go through someone else to get to God. He dwells in your heart and you can learn to hear His voice.

The best way to hear from God is knowing what the Bible says. God’s Word gives us wisdom, and as we study it, our mind is renewed (Romans 12:2), so we no longer just think the way the world thinks – we can think the way God thinks!

The Good Habit That Makes All the Difference

We have to habitually study the Word to really have confidence in God and know we can hear Him. As we spend time reading and meditating on Scripture, we develop a strong spirit. Then we can hear God speaking to our heart and make decisions based upon what He’s leading us to do, not just what we think, feel or want.

When you go beyond what you want, what you think and what you feel and do what the Word and the Spirit of God tell you to do, you are able to develop good habits and break bad ones. You come to a place where the blessings of God – His righteousness, peace and joy – overflow in your life.

Life is simple and peaceful when we come to God like little children and say, “God, I don’t want to live on my own. I want to trust You. When I don’t know what to do, I’ll trust You. When I don’t understand why, I’ll trust You. I’ll do my part with Your help, and when I’m done, I’ll trust You to do the rest.”

 

A Life Without God

by Inspiration Ministries

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ … There is no one who does good … All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good.” – Psalm 14:1, 3 NIV

On the surface, this psalm seems directed against those openly denying the existence of God. But, in fact, the principles articulated here have implications for everyone.

What David learned was how easy it can be for anyone to forget about God and to go his own way. And he learned the importance of focusing on God, placing Him first, seeking Him, trusting in Him, thinking about Him, and being guided by His principles. These attitudes are the foundation for a life of blessing.

This is true for everyone. Yes, denying His existence leads to a life without His blessing, protection, and wisdom. But even those who superficially believe in Him can act as if He does not exist.

Without a consciousness of God, we can believe any argument. When we stop focusing on Him, we can embrace any lifestyle. We can drift into any belief system and develop our own interpretations of events. We can follow any magnetic personality or be enticed by any clever-sounding teaching.

The sure path is to stay focused on God. To be committed to constant prayer, remembering that He is with us, all the time. To be sensitive to His Spirit. To live according to His Word.

In your life, seek to have a more intimate relationship with God. Read and study His Word. Spend time in prayer. Commit the issues of your life to Him.

 

Prayer—the forerunner of mercy

By: Charles Spurgeon

 

“Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” Ezekiel 36:37

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 22:9-23:5

First, I enquire what the promise is. I turn to my Bible, and I seek to find the promise whereby the thing which I desire to seek is certified to me as being a thing which God is willing to give. Having enquired so far as that, I take that promise, and on my bended knees I enquire of God whether he will fulfil his own promise. I take to him his own word of covenant, and I say to him, “O Lord, wilt thou not fulfil it, and wilt thou not fulfil it now?” So that there, again, prayer is enquiry. After prayer I look out for the answer; I expect to be heard; and if I am not answered I pray again, and my repeated prayers are but fresh enquiries. I expect the blessing to arrive; I go and enquire whether there is any tidings of its coming. I ask; and thus I say, “Wilt thou answer me, O Lord? Wilt thou keep thy promise. Or wilt thou shut up thine ear, because I misunderstand my own wants and mistake thy promise?” Brethren, we must use enquiry in prayer, and regard prayer as being, first, an enquiry for the promise, and then on the strength of that promise an enquiry for the fulfilment. We expect something to come as a present from a friend: we first have the note, whereby we are informed it is upon the road. We enquire as to what the present is by the reading of the note; and then, if it arrive not, we call at the accustomed place where the parcel ought to have been left, and we ask or enquire for such and such a thing. We have enquired about the promise, and then we go and enquire again, until we get an answer that the promised gift has arrived and is ours. So with prayer.

For meditation: Asking comes in two shapes—questions and requests. God is able to give us all the answers we need (Luke 11:9,10).

Pain And Patience

ROMANS 5

Faith Triumphs in Trouble

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

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Pain and Patience

“To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty. “ (Job 6:14 NKJV)

My wife was angry at God yesterday because a dear friend “Just can’t get a break.”

She was overwhelmed by yet another medical disaster that our tender-hearted sister in the Lord had experienced just that day. The woman was having a reaction to medication that had turned her foot into a dead lifeless looking appendage. My first thought when I saw the picture was her foot was going to have to be cut off.

Our friend is a Godly handmaiden of the Lord and had not forsaken the fear of the Almighty. Yet, after a lifetime of medical issues, now she had this scary reaction. My wife showed her overwhelming worry in a brief anger attack.

I was proud of my wife having an honest tender heart instead of the self-righteous attitudes of Job’s friends. They were quick to assume if a person was allowed by God to suffer it was because they were not righteous enough. And Job called them out about that hard-hearted attitude in today’s reflection verse. A friend is to “show kindness to our friends that are afflicted,” which will demonstrate to them they are not alone during overwhelming times. Then, deep trusting prayer for help can take over and the peace that passes understanding through Christ our Lord can result as we are taught in Philippians 4:6-7:

“Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)

Summarizing Job’s message to God’s children about pain and patience:

  • The Bible has a lot to say about pain. One of the key lessons found in Job is the Lord God is Sovereign during times of overwhelming trials.
  • Satan is heartless and mean in pursuit of his goals. Remember the evil one’s schemes, terrorizing, and murder.
  • Satan often uses self-righteous people when we are at our lowest. Aloof, judgmental people make things worse.
  • Job overcame and found a better future by holding onto his belief that the Father knows best no matter what happens. This attitude is a trusting heart’s strength and is often necessary to survive overwhelming trials.
  • The Lord understands when we get angry at Him. He “pities His children as He knows they are dust,” Psalm 103:13-14. He understands that we are weak and human.
  • We become stronger through pain or we are crippled by it when we blame the Father. Only our Father knows the big picture and the future. Our Father knows best.
  • Pain comes to both the righteous and the wicked, permitting opportunities to develop relationships with God Almighty. Pain is not our enemy as it provides a chance to learn and grow.

The New Testament agrees with Job:

  • Tribulation brings about patience. Romans 5:3.
  • God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. Romans 8:28.
  • God will never leave or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

Suffering and Patience

“As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10).

– James 5:10–11

So many of the situations that we find in life are endurable because we know what their end will be. For example, women can endure the pains and changes associated with nine months of pregnancy because they know the joy that will come when the baby arrives.

In his epistle, James reminds us that we can be obedient to God and endure suffering because of what will happen at the last day. At the Father’s predetermined time, Jesus will return as judge and reverse the fortunes of His people (5:1–9). Only the confidence in God’s final deliverance at Christ’s second coming enables us to rejoice in the trials that produce perseverance (1:2–3). As well, it helps us to understand that in the final analysis, our wealth will not give us any advantage in the kingdom of God (vv. 9–11; 2:1–10; 4:13–17).

In that final day, our trust in God will be vindicated before all men. In today’s passage, James continues to exhort us to wait patiently for this day by pointing us to the prophets and to Job as examples of patient servants (5:10–11).

The prophets are good examples of patience because in the midst of trials brought by those who hated God, they persevered in their callings. At one point in his life, Jeremiah was imprisoned (Jer. 37:11–38:13). Tradition testifies that Isaiah and many of the other prophets were martyred. Yet they patiently preached repentance to hardened sinners, calling Israel to embrace justice and mercy even as the people stubbornly refused. And if they could do this without actually seeing God’s promises in time (Heb. 11:39–40), how much more can we, having seen God’s full revelation in Jesus, do the same?

Some might question why Job is given to us as a second example of patience since he did impatiently demand that God explain his sufferings to him (for example, Job 6). But Job is an excellent paradigm for us because though he questioned God, he never gave up his faith. Also, if Job is our example we can see that even the most patient of God’s servants will not be perfect until they are glorified. Finally, because Job was one of the first to anticipate the final judgment, he serves as an example for us who also await that day (Job 19:25–26).

 

Patience in Suffering

by 

I hate pain. I try to avoid suffering, and I don’t go out of my way to look for affliction. But pain, suffering, and affliction find me. They find all of us. If you are free of these things, brace yourself and be patient. All you have to do is live long enough. Suffering and affliction are human conditions. And when suffering and affliction come, be patient, remembering that God is sovereign.

And thank God that He is sovereign over suffering, using affliction first for His glory and secondarily for our good. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it, nor is patience easy in the face of suffering and pain.

But, remember, the important things in life are generally formed over time. The strongest tools are forged by the hottest fires. The most beautiful artistic expressions take the most energy and care to create. So it is with the beautiful thing called “holiness.” It is not achieved quickly, or without effort, or in the absence of pain. In our instant society, much to our disappointment, there is no such thing as “microwave holiness.” Metaphors abound.

God is described by Jeremiah as a potter, and we are described as clay (Jer. 18). The most pliable clay is that which has been most thoroughly mixed, beaten, rolled, and, finally, pushed and pulled on the wheel. Only then the potter, with care and patience, begins to pull and shape the clay into something beautiful. But it is painful to be pulled and drawn into a new shape. Do you feel pulled in every direction, drawn thin and fragile, left out to dry, placed in a fire of unimaginable heat? The Potter is having His way with the clay, and the vessel He makes will be beautiful in His hands.

God may be seen as a weaver, creating in us individually and corporately a breathtaking tapestry of His glory. But the design only begins to take shape after the threads have been spun, wound, spooled, and drawn through the warp. Only then is the thread thrown through the woof and beaten by the bar into a tightly knit design. Do you feel like life spins around you, like you are being thrown and beaten? The Weaver has His way with the cloth, but the resulting fabric promises to be a stunning display of glory.

In John’s gospel, God is portrayed as a vinedresser, cultivating His vineyard to maximize His harvest (John 15). But the cultivation of grapes requires pruning the vines, pulling the dead brush away to be burned, tying the branches up to allow growth and nurture. Only after this grueling process may the vine achieve its potential of rich and satisfying fruit. Do you feel like parts of your life are being cut off, pulled away, burned up? Do you feel like God’s hand is personally tying you to a wire? The Vinedresser will have His way with His field and the harvest will be succulent and rich. The writer of Hebrews says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (12:11).

Joni Eareckson Tada writes of God as a painter, a master artist. She says that, along with the bright colors, “God brings the cool, dark contrast of suffering into your life. That contrast, laid up against the golden character of Christ within you, will draw attention … to Him. Light against darkness. Beauty against affliction. Joy against sorrow” (Glorious Intruder, p. 158). Is God bringing dark shades into the portrait of your life? The light of Christ in His children is made more manifest to the world through the dark colors of suffering, borne through patient endurance.

James tells us that trials and testing develop perseverance resulting in maturity and wisdom: “You know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:3–5). In J.R.R. Tolkien’s massive legend The Lord of the Rings, made popular again by the recent films, we see a subtle example of this hard truth. In The Silmarillion, the story before the story, Tolkien speaks of the creator of Middle Earth, Iluvatar, and the process of creation. Of the race of Elves, we read: “Though the beauty of the Quendi was beyond all other beauty that Iluvatar has caused to be … sorrow and wisdom have enriched it.” Do you see it? The Elves in Tolkien’s legend are portrayed as most beautiful. But these qualities are magnified and enriched by sorrow.

Affliction and suffering have been appointed by God as instruments He uses to make us more holy, to make us more like Jesus. They remind us that we are weak and we must rely not on ourselves, but on Jesus. They remind us that this world is not our home but that we are only passing through toward our real home in heaven with our Father, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

The Scriptures say that we are the height of God’s creation, made in His image (Gen. 1:26–27). Affliction and sorrow — almost never brief, almost always difficult — are necessary elements in our Creator’s hand to bring His people, over time, to a place of wisdom, joy, and holiness. Though we are often impatient to get to the destination, the deeper the affliction and sorrow, the greater the wisdom, joy, and holiness at journey’s end.

Great Things Happen By Faith

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Faith … in What?

Does your faith seem small? Take heart. Perhaps you just need to redirect it.

Consider Jesus’ statement below:

Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! (Matthew 9:29-30 NLT).

The obvious meaning of Jesus’ words is that faith sets the stage for the Lord to help us, and that unbelief keeps us from receiving from him what we need. The blind men in this narrative believed Jesus could heal them—and he did. Conversely, the residents of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, did not believe in him—and no great miracles happened there (Mark 6).

What is not so obvious is that both the blind men and the residents of Nazareth believed. The blind men believed Jesus was a prophet who had miracle-working power and Jesus’ hometown acquaintances believed he was a man like them so he couldn’t be a miracle worker.

Do we not all believe something, all of the time? And what we believe, what we really have faith in, greatly impacts our relationship with God and the outcome of our prayers. If I ask God for help, but remain anxious and uncertain, could it mean that I have greater faith in the problem than I do in God? In that case, Jesus’ words “Because of your faith, it will happen” (Matthew 9:29 NLT) seem to imply “Because of your faith that things will continue to be bad, that is what will happen.”

Is that not why the Scriptures urge us to do the kind of thinking that creates a climate for faith in God? For example:

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8 NLT).

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night (Joshua 1:8 NKJV).

But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night (Psalm 1:2 NLT).

In the vicinity of Nogales, Arizona, where my family moved when I was in high school, is a butte-like peak referred to as “Monkey Mountain.” The front of it is a sheer vertical wall, so climbers have to hike around to the back of it. There, they can step from boulder to boulder, shimmy up crevices, pick their way gingerly along narrow ledges, and, finally, cross the narrow saddle connecting to the summit.

Even after my siblings and I grew up and moved to distant parts of the United States, we looked forward to making this climb when home for a visit. On one of the last such occasions, we parked the car at the Peña Blanca picnic grounds and began the trek toward Monkey Mountain. Although we were only a few hundred yards from the base of the mountain, our progress was slow because of the rocky ground and the trench-like depressions (probably dry arroyos, or stream beds) we had to cross. Amazingly, when down in the lowest part of these troughs, the view of the mountain was completely cut off. If one spent much time down there, one might even forget there was a mountain just a hundred yards away!

Problems always loom large. When we are sunk down in the middle of a challenging situation, these circumstances are all that we can see. God is much greater than our difficulty, but our view of him seems cut off. If we pray in that gloomy frame of mind, is that praying in faith? At such times, we have to purposely remind ourselves that God and his power, his love, and his solutions are still there—right over that pile of rocks.

Since our faith affects what will happen, let’s make a point of setting our expectations on God. Let’s not allow ourselves to become trapped by faith in the wrong thing!

“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:24 (NIV)

Is there a person in the Bible whose story you simply love? One who encourages you, challenges you or with whom you share a similar life circumstance?

Perhaps it’s Moses and his keen leadership skills? Or, Esther — the compelling queen, both beautiful and brainy — who used her quick thinking to help save an entire nation? Maybe Joseph is your favorite, as you contemplate how someone so mistreated could continually take the high road which led him not only to political power but also to family forgiveness?

All of these are fabulous choices, but I choose Enoch.

I first heard of Enoch as a teen, and he fascinated me. Not a lot is written about him in the pages of Scripture, but what is there piqued my interest: Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). Hmmm. My young mind pondered that strange description.

As I grew in my faith, I learned more about this Old Testament mystery man. In Hebrews 11:5-6 we catch more of the story. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (NIV).

That’s it! Enoch was whisked away, spared the pain of death and transported immediately to God’s side, all because of one simple thing: He pleased God.

I say simple, but I don’t say easy.

It is a simple thing to please God. You just do what He says in His Word. Straightforward enough, right?

However, my years as a follower of Christ have taught me that simple is not always easy. Choices present themselves, the world screams, our flesh gets in the way and we want revenge or glory … so we often lack faith, and instead try to control our own destinies. We mess up the pleasing God part with our very own hands and hearts.

Enoch walked with God.

Oh, don’t we long for that to be said of us? I’ll admit I don’t always walk with God. I take a stand for God — believe the right things and make it known. I may walk after God. And sadly, sometimes I run ahead of God, make my own plans and then say, “Oh yeah. By the way God, do ya mind blessin’ these plans? I made them in Your name. I may have forgotten to consult You in the midst of them, but they are for You, alright?” What a shame and a sham!

Walking with God means we daily give up our desire to navigate our own lives, and we place our faith in Him. We admit He knows what’s best for us and realize He might not always reveal the hows and whys until the very last second. God is seldom early, but never late. Only day-by-day faith-walking pleases God.

Do you long to be one who pleases God this way? One who makes Him smile as He sees you place complete trust in Him and His infinite wisdom daily? Maybe then we just might be like my Bible hero Enoch … the one who walked so closely by our Creator’s side that one day, during one of those long walks, God looked at him and said, “You know, we’ve been walking together for so long now that we are actually closer to My house than yours. Why don’t you just come on home with Me right now?”

 

Praying to Be Able to Walk in Faith

Praying to Be Able to Walk in Faith

What if this Jesus thing is all a hoax? I thought to myself in horror one day nearly two years after I accepted Christ as Savior. What if none of it’s true? What if the pastor suddenly says, “This is all a joke, and you fell for it! Jesus isn’t real and you’re not really saved!”

That day a wall of doubt settled around me like steel bars separating me from my future. The possibility of a life of nothingness became a temporary reality, and I panicked. What brought this on all of a sudden? I wondered. I struggled with that flash of doubt for days, and the more I thought about it, the more unhappy I became. I knew I had to reevaluate everything.

What was your life like before you met Jesus? I asked myself.

I was dying inside, I replied. How did you feel?

I questioned further. Full of pain, hopelessness, and fear, I answered.

Are things better now? Much.n What’s different?

I don’t feel depressed, fearful, or hopeless, I answered.

When did that change?

When I received Jesus, I started to feel better.

Your experience with the Lord was real? I asked.

Well, yes, I think so.

Then what’s your problem? I asked.

The problem is I can’t prove that Jesus is real.

Can you prove that He isn’t?

No, I answered.

Well, then it looks like the choice is up to you, doesn’t it? To believe or not to believe. It’s your decision.

It’s my decision, I answered.

Yes!

Okay, then. Weighing the quality of my life before I met Jesus against the quality of my life since then, I choose to believe Him.

Are you sure? I asked.

Yes. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.

This little scenario happened five or six times in the first ten years of my walk with the Lord. In retrospect, I believe it occurred in busy and stressful times when I had not spent enough time in the Word of God or had neglected being alone with the Lord in prayer and praise. Eventually I realized that sending a doubting spirit to torment us is one of the devil’s favorite tactics.

Without a Doubt

Faith is a spiritual muscle that needs to be exercised in order to prevent atrophy, which makes our entire spiritual being weak. Faith is first a decision, then an exercise in obedience, then a gift from God as it is multiplied. Our first step of faith is taken when we decide we will receive Jesus. After that, every time we decide to trust the Lord for anything, we build that faith. And whenever we decide not to trust Him, we tear it down. Faith is our daily decision to trust God.

The Bible says,

Whatever is not from faith is sin. — Romans 14:23

How much clearer can it be? Faith is obedience. Doubt is disobedience. Faith is a gift from God because He enables us to believe, but we have to obey by building on that faith.

 

Built on the Word

How do we start building faith? Once we have a little, how do we get more? The first step is to be totally open and honest about any doubt in God’s ability or His faithfulness to provide for our every need. Oswald Chambers said,

Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams He would not stand by us.1

Doubt emanates from a lie of the enemy, which says God is not all-powerful. If you’ve listened to this lie, confess it as sin.

The next step is to fill your mind with the Word:

Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. — Romans 10:17 NIV

Reading the Word daily, regularly submitting to Bible teaching, and speaking the Word aloud will build faith. Your mouth and heart have to be united in this. One can’t be saying, “God can,” while the other says, “God can’t.” Your mind will convince your heart as you read or speak God’s Word.

Whenever I’m afraid or doubt that my life is secure, I read the Bible until I sense God’s peace in me. The more I read, the more hope I have. Then, when I pray, I’m confident that God will answer my prayers.

Even if you are not given to fear and doubt, you can be attacked by a spirit of doubt, as I was. When that happens, don’t carry it by yourself. Take it to the Lord immediately. Or ask a mature believer to pray with you if you need to.

Sensing your own limitations doesn’t mean you don’t have faith. Feeling that God has limitations is what indicates a lack of faith. When faith has blossomed, it gives birth to hope, and says, “There is an end to this. I won’t be in this situation forever. I won’t always feel like this. I won’t always hurt.” Hope and faith together give you a vision for your life.

The Bible says of the people who could not go into the Promised Land,

They could not enter in because of unbelief. — Hebrews 3:19

Don’t let that happen to you. Choose to enter in to all that God has for you by taking this important step of obedience.

The Heroes Of My Faith

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The Heroes of My Faith

I didn’t grow up in church. I didn’t learn the stories of David and Goliath or Joseph and his coat of many colors, or his brothers who plotted to kill him. I didn’t know about Abraham and Isaac, or Daniel and the lion’s den. I didn’t know about Baby Jesus in a manger or Paul meeting Jesus on the Road to Damascus when he was still named Saul. I didn’t know about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea or about Noah and the ark or Jonah in the whale.

But I learned these stories after I was saved and reading my Bible. I also heard them in the context of messages in church and Sunday school classes and other Bible studies. They are not mere stories. They are true accounts of men and women God chose to place in the Holy infallible scriptures for our benefit. We are to learn from them.

I have my favorites. I call them the heroes of my faith. Their stories and struggles, their victories and faith have taught me the most. We all need heroes. here are a few of mine:

When I need courage to face a giant, I remember David.

And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:37 NASB

When I need to forgive when others hurt me, I think of Joseph and the injustices he endured.

But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:19-20 NASB

When I can’t see the next step of my journey, I remember Abraham.

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 NASB

When I struggle with contentment and joy, I think of Paul.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:11-13 ASV

When I don’t understand anything in the face of hardship, I think of Job.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job 1:20-22 NASB

The greatest Hero of my faith is Jesus Christ, because He is my Savior.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 NASB

 

What Makes a Hero?

By: Greg Laurie, crosswalk.com

What Makes a Hero?

Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. – (John 1:41–42)

We hear the word hero a lot in our culture, but do we really know what it means? We seem to have a lot of celebrities but very few heroes. Historian Daniel Boorstin compared the two this way:“Celebrities are people who make news, but heroes are people who make history. Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities.”

A hero is someone who does something selfless, something sacrificial. A hero is someone who puts the needs of another above his or her own. Sometimes heroes are known in their lifetime for their achievements, and sometimes we call them heroes after they’re gone. In that case, we sometimes call them unsung heroes because we didn’t realize how heroic they were until time had passed.

One unsung hero from the New Testament is Andrew, Peter’s brother. Andrew didn’t get a lot of ink in the New Testament, but what we do read about him is significant. Andrew is primarily known as the guy who brought others to Jesus. In fact, when he discovered that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, he went and found his brother and brought him to the Lord.

How easily Andrew could have kept this to himself and said, “I don’t want Peter to get in here. He probably would try to take over the whole operation.” Instead, Andrew brought him to Jesus. In fact, every time we read about Andrew, he is bringing someone to the Lord.

We might say that Andrew is the patron saint of unsung heroes, the kind of people who are willing to do what needs to be done and fly under the radar. They just want God to get the glory. And here is the thing we need to remember: If we had more Andrews, we probably would have more Simon Peters.

 

Jericho captured

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.’ Joshua 6:2–3

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 11:29–38

‘Go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks.’ These men were practical surveyors of Jericho; they could well understand the strength of the battlements, how many feet long the huge stones were at the corners, and how near the stars the loftiest towers were raised. They had the difficulty, I say, always before them, yet they kept on in simple faith, going round the city. Sometimes we get into the habit of shutting our eyes to difficulty; that will not do: faith is not a fool, faith does not shut her eyes to difficulty, and then run head-foremost against a brick wall—never. Faith sees the difficulty, surveys it all, and then she says, ‘By my God will I leap over a wall;’ and over the wall she goes. She never brings out the flaming accounts of ‘Signs of the Times,’ in her favour; she does not sit down, and say that evidently public sentiment is changing; she does not reckon upon any undercurrents that may be at work, which she is told by Mistress Gossip really are doing great things, but she just looks at it, and does not mind how bad the thing is reported to be; if anyone can exaggerate the difficulty, faith is of the same noble mind as that famous warrior, who when told there were so many thousand soldiers against him, replied, ‘There are so many more to be killed.’ So faith reckons: ‘So many more difficulties, so many more things to be overcome;’ and even impossibilities she puts down as only so much burden to be cast upon him, with whom nothing is impossible. She keeps Jericho’s walls before her.

For meditation: Walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) does not mean having blind faith. The Christian is not to close his eyes to the difficulties (Romans 8:35,38–39), but to open them to see the hand of the invisible God at work (Hebrews 11:27). Hezekiah had the right approach (2 Kings 19:14–19).

 

Streams in the Desert – June 24

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

This is what the Lord says, the Holy One of Israel, the one who formed him, concerning things to come: “How dare you question me about my children! How dare you tell me what to do with the work of my own hands! (Isa 45:11)

Our Lord spoke in this tone when He said, “Father, I will.” Joshua used it when, in the supreme moment of triumph, he lifted up his spear toward the setting sun, and cried, “Sun, stand thou still!”

Elijah used it when he shut the heavens for three years and six months, and again opened them.

Luther used it when, kneeling by the dying Melanchthon, he forbade death to take his prey.

It is a marvelous relationship into which God bids us enter. We are familiar with words like those which follow in this paragraph: “I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” But that God should invite us to command Him, this is a change in relationship which is altogether startling!

What a difference there is between this attitude and the hesitating, halting, unbelieving prayers to which we are accustomed, and which by their perpetual repetition lose edge and point!

How often during His earthly life did Jesus put men into a position to command Him! When entering Jericho, He stood still, and said to the blind beggars:

“What will ye that I shall do unto you?” It was as though He said, “I am yours to command.”

Can we ever forget how He yielded to the Syrophenician woman the key to His resources and told her to help herself even as she would?

What mortal mind can realize the full significance of the position to which our God lovingly raises His little children? He seems to say, “All my resources are at your command.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.”
—F. B. Meyer

Say to this mountain, “Go,
Be cast into the sea”;
And doubt not in thine heart
That it shall be to thee.
It shall be done, doubt not His Word,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Claim thy redemption right,
Purchased by precious blood;
The Trinity unite
To make it true and good.
It shall be done, obey the Word
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Self, sickness, sorrow, sin,
The Lord did meet that day
On His beloved One,
And thou art “loosed away.”
It has been done, rest on His Word,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Praising My Way Through Grief

Combat Grief With Praise.  Also, read the psalms.

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Praising My Way through Grief

Praising God when things are going well seems the right thing to do. But when my world seems to be shattered, praising God can feel unnatural. And so it is.

This is why God rejoices when I do it, and my life is transformed in the process.

There’s no doubt that the Word instructs me to keep on praising the Lord—no matter what my circumstances are like.

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 KJV

What a challenge this has been in my Christian life. Too often I want to “bless the LORD” with my praise only when all seems right with my world.

When it feels to my near-sighted soul that He has withdrawn His blessings from me–such as when tragedy or trouble comes–I want to withdraw my praise.

The course in the midst of troubles has too often been: I will praise Him when things get better—when He is blessing me again.

The truth is God never stops blessing me. Every day and every moment of the day He pours His grace on me. He helps me through my troubles—if I’m willing to receive that help. His love for me does not change—even though my circumstances may.

Praises can cease when I start judging God– accusing Him of bringing calamity to my life for all sorts of unholy reasons. The truth is God remains holy and righteous through every season of my life. His view of me does not change just because I think it does or because the way I see Him becomes skewed. He is not punishing me through trials just because my wayward soul determines it is so.

When tragedy struck on February 28, 2012 due to the suicide of my brother, there was a part of me that wanted to stop praising God. How can I praise a God who refused to intervene to save this precious life? But those thoughts were short-lived as I determined to stay in praise no matter what my emotions told me.

As I have stayed in the Word—especially in the Psalms—I’ve been reminded that God is deserving of all my praise. Praise the Lord! I’ve recalled all He has brought me through. Praise the Lord! I’ve recollected how at times He has carried me when I’ve felt too weak to go on—both in this tragedy and in the midst of calamities in the past. Praise the Lord!

Not only do I praise God for His faithfulness in days gone by and in my present struggles, but I also praise Him for His promise to be faithful in the future. I feel excited about what He is going to do next to continue to bring good out of this latest heartbreak as He has done with every challenge in my life.

I’m still going through the valley of grief. This month is hard because it’s my brother’s birthday. Suddenly at times I’ve felt overwhelmed with guilt and anger again. Guilt over not doing more to reach out and encourage. Anger over the devil’s taunts that he has won the victory in this tragedy.

When I look at what has happened from God’s perspective, I see Him bringing triumph from tragedy. Hearts are being drawn closer to Him and to each other. I’ve never felt closer to the Lord.

My heart echoes what David said in Psalm 43:5

…for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (NIV)

Moving From Grief to Grace

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

Grief hits each one of us and can come from so many different directions.

A romantic relationship gone awry. The loss of a cherished friendship. A puppy put down. Empty arms and a broken heart due to abortion. Infertility. Abuse. The death of a loved one.

Dreams with a hope and future dashed in an instant. I know. I’ve lived it, too.

A phone call changed my hopes and future as Matt, my older son, wailed into the phone about my younger son, “Kyle died last night!”

Oh, God.

NO, GOD!

Hopes, dreams, future …

Wedding invitations from his friends simply ripped my heart apart. Birth announcements of babies from those now married friends rekindled the loss. And the realization that there would be no grandchildren from him — running to me, holding their pudgy little hands or him tossing them into the sky showered with shouts of glee — hit hard.

Yes, weddings, graduations, birth announcements — all reminders of those hope-filled dreams that had been shattered — caused weeping, groaning and bitterness. My heart often wondered: Will I remain bitter or will I get better? Will I continue to dissolve into tears, or will I ever erupt into cheers for these precious friends?

At one of my lowest moments, realization and remembrance flooded my heart and mind: God lost His Son too, His only Son. The Father knew my loss, pain and brokenness oh so well.

That revelation was like supernatural glue applied to bind my wounded soul. The lost, dark, broken part receded as God proceeded to heal my broken heart with His love and light.

How about your lost plans, hopes and dreams?

Are you bitter?

Do you want to be better?

Are you ready to lay your heavy cares at the foot of the cross … and leave that burden there, so you can step into God’s plans for you? Jesus promised, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” (Matthew 11:30, NKJV).

God’s plan for His Son was not what the people hoped for and expected as they celebrated the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday, then experienced His death on the cross by week’s end. They did not know Easter Sunday — His Son’s day — was coming.

Remember, friend … Sunday’s coming! Jesus arose from the grave by the grace of God to save and redeem us. He has plans for us that include a hope and a future, even when our plans are dashed and we can’t see beyond the overwhelming loss of now.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

We lost Kyle seven years and three days ago today. Yet, out of the ashes of grief a story of grace rises — the grace of our Lord, Jesus.

 

Season of Grief, Journey of Faith

Through a Season of Grief; Season of Grief, Journey of Faith

Understanding Your Grief

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. — Isaiah 40:31

Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human.

Grief is the cost of loving someone.

Since grief comes to everyone, why do some people seem to work through it better than others?

“Some people think that going through the losses or crises of life are the exceptional times,” says Dr. H. Norman Wright.

“I see it differently. I see the times of calm as the exceptions. Life really is going through one loss after another, one crisis after another. Instead of avoiding talking about these times, let’s do our homework. When you know what to expect, you’re not thrown by them as much, and you’re going to be better able to recover.”

Lord God, teach me to embrace my grief and not fight it, so that I may experience the true healing that comes from You. 

Grief Is a Unique Experience

O LORD, You have examined my heart and know everything about me… Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex… You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. — Psalm 139:1,14,16 (NLT)

You may feel it is useless to talk about your grief because no one truly understands what you are going through.

“You sometimes feel after an experience like this that you’re talking a foreign language,” says Dora, whose daughter died. “You feel like there’s no way anybody can know what you’re feeling. There is absolutely no way anyone can know the depth of your pain. So you feel like it’s futile to talk about it because words can’t express the pain.”

Although countless people have experienced grief before you, each person’s response to grief is different. Your path of grief will be uniquely your own.

Be encouraged that regardless of how your grief appears to you or others, it has a precious uniqueness to the One who created you.

God, who knows intimately your personality, your relationships, and the experiences of your life, knows your grief and isn’t shocked or surprised by your responses.

Father, thank You that my way of grieving is distinctly my own, reflective of all You have sovereignly created me to be and experience.

Grief Runs Deep: Where Is the Hope?

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. — Psalm 31:24

Dr. Joseph Stowell says, “Even though your heart is breaking and tears are clouding your eyes and staining your cheeks, God does give us something worth trusting in tough times. And that’s Him, and Him alone.”

When your heart is breaking, you can place your hope and trust in the Lord.

Anne Graham Lotz defines hope: “Biblical hope is absolute confidence in something you haven’t seen or received yet, but you’re absolutely confident that whatever God has said is going to come to pass.”

She also declares that “Jesus is your hope for the future. One day Jesus Christ will come back, and He will set all of the wrong right. Good will triumph over the bad. Love will triumph over hate. Righteousness will triumph over evil. He’s going to make it all right, and you can have absolute confidence that that’s going to take place. That’s your hope.”

Sovereign God, I choose hope. I choose faith. I choose life. Give me an unshakable faith in You.

Grief Lasts Longer Than Expected

Grief ’s unexpected turns will throw you again and again. You may feel that for every step forward, you take at least one step back.

The grieving process generally takes longer than you ever imagined. Please don’t rush this process. Remember, what you are feeling is not only normal, it is necessary.

“It’s been seven years, and I’m still going through it,” says Dr. Larry Crabb, whose brother died in a plane crash. “I don’t know if it’s a very holy thing to admit, but when someone says, ‘Well, it’s been a week, a month, a year — Larry, for you it’s been seven years. Get a grip. Where’s your faith in Christ, for goodness’ sake?’ I get really angry.

“Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there’s going to be an ache that won’t quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain.”

We read in the Psalms that David grew weary with the process of grief and cried out to the Lord. Then he left the timing in God’s hands.

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love. — Psalm 6:2-4

I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief. — Psalm 6:6-7

Heavenly God, I cannot even begin to put my grief in a time frame. Thank You that I don’t have to. Comfort me and support me as I lean on You. 

He Will Carry You

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. — Psalm 61:1-3

The Lord will carry you if you ask Him. When you are feeling so weak you cannot take another step, ask Him to lift you high into His loving arms. Then rest in Him with an open and listening heart. This does not mean your problems will disappear, but it does mean you will have Someone to share them with.

“If you are someone who does not know Jesus Christ as your Savior and you have just been widowed or bereaved, you have a tremendous burden,” says Elisabeth Elliot. “You are tired, and it is too big a burden to carry. The Lord says, ‘Come to Me, you who are tired and over-burdened, and I will give you rest.’”

To receive peace and rest in Christ, the instructions are clear. Jesus says, “Come to Me.” You must first approach Him and then talk to Him and quietly listen.

 

The Waves Were None of His Business – Streams in the Desert – June 23

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

So he said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:29-30)

Peter had a little faith in the midst of his doubts, says Bunyan; and so with crying and coming he was brought to Christ.

But here you see that sight was a hindrance; the waves were none of his business when once he had set out; all Peter had any concern with, was the pathway of light that came gleaming across the darkness from where Christ stood. If it was tenfold Egypt beyond that, Peter had no call to look and see.

When the Lord shall call to you over the waters, “Come,” step gladly forth. Look not for a moment away from Him.

Not by measuring the waves can you prevail; not by gauging the wind will you grow strong; to scan the danger may be to fall before it; to pause at the difficulties, is to have them break above your head. Lift up your eyes unto the hills, and go forward—there is no other way.

“Dost thou fear to launch away?
Faith lets go to swim!
Never will He let thee go;
’Tis by trusting thou shalt know
Fellowship with Him.”

Judgement Day Is Coming

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Waiting on God as a God of Judgment

Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee. . . For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:8-9 The LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait upon him. Isaiah 30:18

God is a God of mercy and a God of judgment. Mercy and judgment are forever together in His dealings. In the Flood, in the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, in the overthrow of the Canaanites, we ever see mercy in the midst of judgment. In these, the inner circle of His own people, we see it, too. The judgment punishes the sin, while mercy saves the sinner. Or, rather, mercy saves the sinner, not in spite of, but by means of, the very judgment that came upon his sin. In waiting on God, we must beware of forgetting this: as we wait we must expect Him as a God of judgment.

”In the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee.” That will prove true in our inner experience. If we are honest in our longing for holiness, in our prayers to be wholly the Lord’s, His holy presence will stir up and discover hidden sin. It, will bring us very low in the bitter conviction of the evil of our nature, its opposition to God’s law, and its inability to fulfill that law. The words will come true: ”Who may abide the day of his coming?. . . For he is like a refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:2). ”Oh that thou wouldest. . . come down. . . As when the melting fire burneth” (Isa. 64:1).

In great mercy, God executes, within the soul, His judgments upon sin, as He makes it feel its wickedness and guilt. Many try to flee from these judgments. The soul that longs for God, and for deliverance from sin, bows under them in humility and in hope. In silence of soul, it says, ”Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered” (Num. 10:35). ”In the way of thy judgments. . . have we waited for thee.”

Let no one who seeks to learn the blessed art of waiting on God, wonder if at first the attempt to wait on Him only reveals more of sin and darkness. Let no one despair because unconquered sins, evil thoughts, or great darkness appear to hide God’s face. Was not, in His own beloved Son, the gift and bearer of His mercy on Calvary, the mercy as hidden and lost in the judgment? Oh, submit and sink down deep under the judgment of your every sin. Judgment prepares the way and breaks out in wonderful mercy. It is written, ”Zion shall be redeemed with judgment” (Isa. 1:27). Wait on God, in the faith that His tender mercy is working out His redemption in the midst of judgment. Wait for Him; He will be gracious to you.

There is another application still, one of unspeakable solemnity. We are expecting God, in the way of His judgments, to visit his earth; we are waiting for Him. What a thought! We know of these coming judgments. We know that there are tens of thousands of professing Christians who live on in carelessness, and who, if no change comes, must perish under God’s hand.

Oh, will we not do our utmost to warn them, to plead with and for them, if God may lave mercy on them! If we feel our lack of boldness, zeal, and cower, will we not begin to wait on God more definitely and persistently as a God of judgment? Will we not ask Him to so reveal Himself in the judgments that are coming on our very friends, that we may be inspired with a new fear of Him and them, and constrained to speak and pray as never yet before?

Verily, waiting on God is not leant to be a spiritual self indulgence. Its object is to let God and His holiness, Christ and the love that died on Calvary, the Spirit and fire that burns in heaven and came to earth, get possession of us to warn and arouse men with the message that we are waiting for God in the way of His judgments. Oh, Christian, prove that you really believe in the God of judgment!

My soul, wait thou only upon God!

 

Judgement Day Is Coming

From: crosswalk.com

 

“For we know Him who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.’ And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:30-31

Some years after World War II ended, Winston Churchill made this astute observation regarding the state of morality in Great Britain, “The moral landslide in Great Britain can be traced to the fact that heaven and hell are no longer preached in the land.”  Because coming judgment was not regularly preached, the people engaged in all forms of sin and debauchery with no thought of the consequences.

If Churchill’s statement was true in 1960, how much more appropriate is it for today?  People today have a false view of God.  They see Him as mushy, weak, and without standards.  They conveniently forget that He is “holy, holy, holy.”  They fail to comprehend the ominous warning in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

TWO JUDGMENTS

All of us will one day stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator God (see John 5:22-23), to give an account of our lives.  Unbelievers will do this at the Great White Throne Judgment (see Revelation 20:11-15), and believers will do this at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:10).  Christ-rejecters (unbelievers) will be judged for their sins and cast into hell—the garbage dump of eternity where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies.  Christ acceptors (believers), on the other hand, will have their works tested by fire.  They will be rewarded for their fruitfulness and faithfulness to the Lord.

Tragically, some Christians will experience tremendous loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  They will not lose their salvation or their inheritance of heaven, but they will lose their hope of reward.  Why?  The reason is these Christians did not yield to the Lordship of Christ.  They did not walk in the power of the Spirit but in the power of the flesh.  The product of their lives will go up in flames, consisting of wood, hay, and straw (see 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

WHICH JUDGMENT FOR YOU?

There are only two possible judgments after death.  Which one you go to depends on what you do with the Savior in this life.  For unbelievers, the horrors of hell await, and rightfully so.  For believers, the Judgment Seat of Christ should persuade us “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.”  As the old poem so aptly states, “Only one life will soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Our world today does not even have the fear of God’s judgment on the radar screen.  People think they can sin with impunity, but nothing could be further from the truth.  God is the righteous judge, and no one gets away with sin.  Sin for the unbeliever results in eternal punishment, and sin for the believer results in eternal loss of reward.  Do not be deceived.  There is a heavy price to pay for embracing the passing pleasures of sin.

May we be sobered to the evils all around us.  May we be sensitive to any ungodly thought, word, deed, or attitude we have allowed into our hearts.  May we be aware of the coming judgment and the exposing of all things hidden in the darkness.  Listen:  it pays to serve Jesus … and it costs to neglect Him.

 

The Coming Judgment

From: intouch.com

 

Acts 10:42-43

Have you ever been required to appear in court before a judge? Even if your only offense was a parking or speeding ticket, the courtroom experience can be very intimidating. Your wrong cannot be undone, and you must give an account for your actions and accept whatever consequences the judge decrees.

There will come a day when every human being will be required to stand before the Judge of the universe. At that point, there’s no turning back, no chance to start over. We will each be held accountable by almighty God for our choices and actions in this life.

If you’ve trusted in Jesus, you will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This isn’t a judgment of your sins, because they were judged when God’s wrath was poured out on His Son at Calvary. Since the Savior has already secured your eternal destiny, you will stand before God, clothed in Christ’s righteousness. The purpose of this judgment is evaluation of your works to determine if they are worthless or deserving of a reward.

The Great White Throne Judgment is reserved for people who have rejected Jesus as Savior (Revelation 20:11-15). The works they have done will be evaluated according to God’s record books. Since their names are not written in the book of life, their eternal destination will be the lake of fire.

Although no one can avoid being judged, the good news is that you have a choice regarding which judgment seat you will appear before. But the only time you can make that choice is in this lifetime. Once your earthly life ends, your destiny is set.

 

Judgment Day is Coming

From: fervr.net, MIKE EVERETT , author

 

The first thing to say is Judgment Day is coming. Jesus has already come to earth once and he has promised to come back (John 14:3; Acts 1:11).

On this day there will be a final judgment of all people, living and dead. Jesus himself will be the judge (Acts 17:30-31).

Those who trust in Jesus will receive new spiritual bodies for eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2); those who don’t trust in Jesus will receive eternal death (John 3:36; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

There will be a final defeat and destruction of all evil — Satan, sin, suffering and death. The kingdom of God will come to its fulfillment at last and the world will be recreated (Acts 3:20-21).

Maybe, maybe not!  Jesus said no one would be able to predict exactly when He would return.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32).

So the angels don’t know when Jesus is coming back, and Jesus doesn’t know when He is coming back. So either

1) The people who put the billboard up (“Family Radio Worldwide”) know more than Jesus and the angels, or

2) they are wrong in saying they know exactly when Judgment Day is coming.

Preparing for judgement day

So what do you do? Well, Judgment Day is coming. Jesus will return, even though we don’t know when. What do we do? Check out the following:

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:43-44).

“Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” (Mark 13:33)

“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)

“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (2 Peter 3:10-12)

 

Happy Father’s Day

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Father

I’ve held many positions with various titles. Some have been professional, some spiritual, and some just for fun. But of all the positions I’ve held, none compares with Father. When you are young, you assume you will become a father one day, because most every man does. It’s the way of nature. And when you marry, you assume it is just around the corner because now you can become fruitful and multiply as the Lord commanded.

Yet, you still haven’t a clue how your life will change, how you will change. For me, it was a long wait. Nineteen years we waited, then one day our prayers were answered and the miracle of life happened for us.

Seeing the precious face of our baby girl was as close to a divine experience as one could have on this earth. We fell totally and completely in love with this little stranger, whom we felt we had always known. We held our dream in our hands for the first time.

Yes, we were crazy about our blessing. We bought her everything we dreamed of, took her every place we dreamed of, and took great care to plan her future. That was to be expected. But the love I felt for my child, was something I never expected. I had experienced nothing with which to compare.

I remember my godly grandmother, when she visited, upon seeing dozens of pictures of my baby daughter on the walls warned, “Now son, be careful not to worship that child, we are only supposed to worship the Lord.”

I explained to her, “Grandmother, my love for her is so great, I can’t help it. God understands.”

I know she meant well, but as far as I was concerned, my love was God given and I didn’t consider it worship, just the highest, most pure love one could have. That love has never wavered or waned. It continues to grow with time. It is unabashed. And as far as I am concerned, it is the closest a man can understand the love that God, our heavenly Father, has for us, His children.

The Bible says, “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Galatians 4:6, NLT

Our Heavenly Father has a love for us, His children, that is unmatched. All the heavens and earth were created with us in mind. He wanted a beautiful place for His family of mankind. He provides everything we need and much of what we want. He cares about every aspect of our lives: our health, our family, our life’s work, hobbies, dreams, and even our desires.

Father God not only loves us in church, He loves us wherever we are. He loves what we do and what we become. He watches over us while we sleep and wakes us up every morning to start a new day in His love!

He scrutinizes our every move, and every thought. The Bible says that we are so valuable to God,

“even the hairs on your head are all counted.” Luke 12:7

His love is so deep that we can never fully comprehend its depth. When our granddaddy Adam fell in the Garden of Eden, Father set about to place a plan in motion to win us back. It took a miracle. It took love. It took a Savior. Our Father’s love for us compelled Him to sacrifice His most precious possession.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16, NLT

With our heavenly Father as our role model, we earthly fathers can glean inspiration from Him, even if our experience as sons was with a bad father or no father at all. Though we may fail in one area or another, the love of a good father never fails, as our heavenly Father helps us to share His love.

The title of Father comes to some men through biology, marriage, or adoption. The love of a Father solidifies and confirms the right to that title. It is the highest title a man may hold. It is a title most solemn, conferred and blessed of God. My child is and will always be my cherished blessing, and I will always be her Father.

 

What’s a Good Father Really Like?

JUNE 8, 2016

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

“I love watching her dance.”

I heard the catch in his voice, standing there at his daughter’s senior dance concert. We both knew these days of high school were coming to a close, and I knew how much our friend would miss them.

John’s pleasure in his daughter was evident. He was enthusiastic about everything connected with her dancing, from the practices to fundraising events to ticket sales at the concerts. He even seemed to enjoy the parts that most parents dislike, but because it was for his daughter, John was all in.

My father-experience was quite different. Dance wasn’t my thing, but singing was. From age 8 until just a few years ago, I was always involved with some kind of chorus, choir or band. And not once did my father hear me sing while he was alive.

To me it was normal to only have a mother in the audience. I guess I assumed men didn’t enjoy those types of “girl” events. But watching John these past few years has given me a different perspective on a father’s interest in his daughter.

Standing there at that concert, I could almost hear God’s voice speaking about His pleasure in watching His daughters. And my heart overflowed in thanksgiving for a good Heavenly Father.

For so many years I defined my understanding of God’s interest in me based on my father’s interest in me. I knew my dad loved me, but it was limited by his background and personal experience. But God’s love is unhindered by any human experience or limitation.

Every day I come to a greater understanding of God as the perfect Father. It makes me feel treasured and softens the pain of what I didn’t have growing up. As I’ve sought to understand what a good Father is like, here are five things I’ve discovered in Scripture we can count on about our Heavenly Father:

1. He cares for and provides for our daily needs. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus vividly described to His disciples how God cares for the birds and the flowers and explained we are far more important to our heavenly Father than that. God cares about all our needs.

2. He’s merciful toward us. Mercy is withholding punishment for what we deserve. Although God allows natural consequences when we make wrong choices, our Heavenly Father shows lovingkindness rather than anger when we fall short. (Luke 6:36)

3. God hears our prayers and answers them. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus makes an incredible statement that shows God’s heart. He says when two or more agree upon something in prayer, God hears and answers.

4. He protects us. In Matthew 26:53, Jesus said His Father would send 12 legions of angels to save Him if Jesus asked. Psalm 91 says, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11, NIV).

5. God watches and waits for us when we turn from Him. Jesus told a story that modeled the Father’s heart for us. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the son decides to go his own way and squander his inheritance. When his life fell apart, the son realized his folly and returned home. Jesus described the father’s response, and it wasn’t “I told you so!” Rather God’s Word tells us that “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20b, ESV). Then the father threw a party! Imagine!

No matter our situation with our earthly father, we can say with confidence we have a good heavenly Father who loves us with attentive devotion. He’s all in, and we never outgrow His care and provision.

So this Father’s Day, as we honor our earthly fathers, may we take some time to honor our heavenly Father. And I hope you hear Him whisper, “I love to watch you dance.”

 

A Perfect Father

“You were always there for me, Dad!” Sierra shoved that card back in the rack. “How can I thank you for all the things you taught me as a child?” Not quite right, either. She grimaced. Where’s a card that won’t make me feel like a hypocrite? Something like “You were always too busy with your career to come to my recitals and school plays so I don’t really have childhood memories of fun times with you and now we feel so distant from each other that conversation is mostly about the weather or the news, but Happy Father’s Day anyway.”

No father is perfect. Eli and David were both godly men placed in leadership roles who devoted themselves to the Lord. Yet they each made serious mistakes in parenting that not only damaged their own families, but had a negative impact on the nation of Israel. Another example is Lot. Even though the Bible describes him as a righteous man (see 2 Peter 2:7-8), Lot failed his daughters in a way that caused much misery and degradation. When men from Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and demanded sex with the two men who were his guests, Lot offered them his virgin daughters instead. Lot placed greater importance on his role as host than on his role as father and protector of the children God had entrusted to him.

It’s hard to imagine how the girls felt about being offered to a half-crazed mob for sexual pleasure, and by their own father at that. We do know from their later actions that they had no respect for themselves or for Lot. After God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his daughters lived a secluded life in a cave in the mountains. The girls tricked their drunken father into having sex with them. They placed greater importance on continuing the family line than on basic laws of morality. The sons born from this incest grew up to be the ancestors of two of Israel’s bitterest enemies.

Each one of us has probably felt let down in some way by our parents, whether by minor disappointments or by deep, lasting wounds of neglect or abuse. We may have a distant or strained relationship with our father; we may even be completely estranged from them. Maybe a part of us still feels like a needy child, longing for our daddy’s love and approval, which may never come. It’s easy to forget that all earthly fathers are human and prone to mistakes, just as we are. Our parents most likely had their own hurts and emotional issues that we were never aware of.

Regardless of our relationship with our dad, we can rejoice that our heavenly Father is perfect and loves us with “an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). That love led Him to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We can rest assured that He will never let us down; He will never fail to meet our needs and satisfy our deepest longings. And if we ask Him, He is also ready to help us forgive all the hurts that have been done to us. In cases like Sierra’s, he can help us rebuild that father-daughter relationship so that buying a Father’s Day card is a lot easier.

Whom Shall I Fear

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Whom Shall I Fear?

By: Debbie Przybylski, crosswalk.com

“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” – (Psalm 86:11).

Dear intercessors,

As you look at your present life, what do you personally fear? You may be presently struggling with a fear that has gripped your heart deeply. Satan has released a spirit of fear all over the world, but the fear of the Lord counterattacks enemy fear. In light of this fact, we must learn not only about the fear of the Lord but how to walk in the fear of the Lord. Is it your deep desire to learn about the fear of the Lord?

Maybe you wonder, “What does it really mean to fear the Lord?

Some people think that fearing the Lord is like driving down the street while watching a policeman in your rearview mirror. But this is not a true picture of what the fear of the Lord is. It’s more like a teenage driver who suddenly sees her father in the rearview mirror. She quickly puts on her best behavior in driving—eyes on the road, no texting, and stopping at a yellow light. But this tells her that her father really cares enough to follow her. She’s safe. She knows that he is trying to help her develop good driving habits by obeying the laws and staying safe until she gets home. She’s driving but not completely on her own.

For us as God’s people, the fear of the Lord is like living with our heavenly father in the rearview mirror. When we look up we see His wonderful holiness, care, and love. Our fear of Him is mixed with reverence, trust, and love.

To fear the Lord is an extremely positive subject (Isaiah 11:3, Psalm 19:9, 12-14). Jesus delighted Himself in the fear of the Lord. Our hearts are designed in the same way. In the Bible there are at least 300 references to the fear of God. To truly fear the Lord is a joy and a supreme delight when we see it the way God desires. It is not to be afraid of the Lord but to be in awe of Him. But it also can be terrifying as we look at our personal sin in light of God’s consuming fire. Romans 3 is a main chapter on sin that tells us that our chief sin is to have no fear of God (v. 18).

The godly men of the Bible feared God. Joseph was a god-fearing man (Genesis 42:18). Moses feared God and chose god-fearing leaders (Exodus 18:21). David, Daniel, Abraham, and other Bible characters walked in the fear of the Lord. Jesus Himself said not to fear those who can kill the body, but to only fear God (Matthew 10:28).

To live a vibrant and holy life like the godly men of the Bible, we must walk in the fear of the Lord.

We all want a vibrant life. We want a life full of energy, enthusiasm, vim and vigor. We want one that is vivacious, dynamic, passionate, and exciting. This is the dictionary definition of vibrant. Unfortunately we do not often see this. When I look around the world, I see people filled with fear, unhappiness, apathy, and pain. But as Christians we want our lives to be filled with the awe and wonder of God. We want to look forward to the future, instead of living in fear and uncertainly. If we want to find true success, we must live according to God’s design. When we value what He values, our lives will be blessed.

There is no better time to learn about the fear of the Lord as now when human fears are at an all time high. This is the day where we must put the fear of the Lord at the front of all other ambitions. The times we are encountering require it.

Let’s realize that there are so many rewards of fearing the Lord. Here are just a few of the 300+ Bible verses about the fear of the Lord. Quiet your heart and take time to meditate on what the fear of the Lord gives you and what this means in your own personal life: knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27) healing and refreshment (Proverbs 3:7-8), strength to turn from evil (Proverbs 16:9), wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), provision (Psalm 34:9), confidence and refuge (Proverbs 14:26), God’s goodness (Proverbs 31:19), deliverance (Psalm 34:7), mercy (Psalm 103:11), care (Psalm 33:18-19), contentment (Proverbs 15:16), prolonged life (Proverbs 10:27), a satisfying life (Proverbs 19:23), God’s watchful care (Psalm 33:18-19), holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1), and so much more!

In light of these rewards, it is so important that we make it our goal to fear the Lord. If we want to grow in holiness, our long-term success is in the context of the fear of the Lord. We must determine within ourselves to be well-pleasing to God. As Christians, our lives are being set apart unto God and set apart from sin. We live in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God.

God Sees, Cares, and Rewards

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” – (2 Chronicles 16:9).

We must be aware of God’s presence. He holds us accountable for our words, thoughts, motives, and actions. We must consciously realize that He is watching, that He cares, and that He remembers what we do and rewards us.

  • God sees –We are often so concerned about what others think about us and how they judge what we do. How much more should we be concerned about God’s evaluation of our words, thoughts, actions, attitudes, and motives! He sees us in the hidden place of our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Every hour of our life is meaningful because God sees us completely. As we grow in this minute-by-minute awareness, we will grow in the fear of the Lord. See Hebrews 4:12-13.
  • God cares and remembers –He is involved in our lives and passionate about what He sees. He finds great value in our daily choices to love Him. Even when we give a glass of water in His name, He takes notice. He cherishes every movement of our heart towards Him. If we repent of the bad things we do, God will forget our sin. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). See Malachi 3:16-17, Proverbs 16:2, and Psalms 56:8.
  • God rewards – When we stand before Him, He will openly reward us (Matthew 6:6, Psalm 45:7, 86:11, 98:10, Proverbs 1:29,31, Romans 12:9).

    “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous… By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:9-11).

The fear of the Lord is a holy fear where we learn to stand in awe and respect the good, greatness, and glorious nature of God. It should be our desire to be near the Lord and to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Through fearing the Lord we can become all that He desires and accomplish that which is beyond our own ability in the natural. God wants our fear of Him to be above every other fear in life.

You may feel that your actions are often mundane, insignificant, and makes very little difference in life. But take notice of this: God sees and cherishes every single thing you do for His glory. Your daily choices to love Him bring great joy to His heart. Realize that God holds the world in His hands and that nothing formed against you shall stand. He is your Strength and Shield. He goes before you and reigns forever. Your God is faithful and always by your side. He is the one you must fear and no other. In my next article we will learn about how to walk in the fear of the Lord.

Let’s ask God to give us a minute-by-minute awareness of His presence and consciously choose today to walk in the fear of the Lord.

 

Salvation: The First Step

From: intouch

Acts 16:19-40

After a baby takes his first steps, the parents call loved ones. They excitedly announce the awesome accomplishment, which is the beginning of a new life of greater mobility and maturity. In the same way, the Christian life begins with a first step—salvation. But it’s only the start of a new life of increasing spiritual growth.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). It’s simple enough that even a child can do it, and after salvation, we are all like babies taking our first steps. A new believer doesn’t understand all the doctrines of salvation any more than a toddler knows all the mechanics of walking. However, once we are saved, we have a responsibility to learn what God has done for us and to take more steps of obedience in the Christian life.

Genuine salvation always results in transformation. When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, He comes to live within us through the Holy Spirit. Our old way of life no longer fits our new identity, and the Spirit works within us to make us more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Has there been a particular point in your life when you recognized your sin and then asked Jesus to forgive you and become your Savior? If so, how has your life been transformed since then? Spiritual growth is one of the ways we can know that we are saved.

 

Childlike Faith

by Inspiration Ministries

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foes and the avenger.” – Psalm 8:2 NIV

The Bible makes clear: there is a direct relationship between children (and all they symbolize) and spiritual growth, maturity, and power. Jesus taught that we cannot even enter God’s Kingdom unless we enter like a little child (Luke 18:17). We need childlike faith.

Learning this truth, David described how praise is ordained “from the lips of children and infants.” As he discovered, this kind of praise brings victory and power.

We often think victory is achieved by those with numerical advantages, economic assets, or special talents. But David says that the factor that will “silence” our adversaries is the praise that comes from the heart of those with childlike faith and complete trust in God.

Young children provide the perfect example. They have no doubts and simply know that loving parents can be counted upon and trusted.

We need to have this same kind of childlike faith in God and His promises. This kind of confidence gives us a completely new attitude. It removes doubt and fear. It bubbles over into praise and hearts filled with gratitude. Resting in Him, we cannot contain our joy and don’t need to hold back.

At the same time, focusing on ourselves can foster doubt and worry when we realize our own weaknesses and the flaws of other people. We worry when we don’t have faith in God.

Ask God to help you trust Him with childlike simplicity. Commit your needs to Him. Praise Him.

 

Mercy, omnipotence, and justice

“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” Nahum 1:3

Suggested Further Reading: Nehemiah 9:9-31

Have you ever observed that scene in the garden of Eden at the time of the fall? God had threatened Adam, that if he sinned he should surely die. Adam sinned: did God make haste to sentence him? ‘Tis sweetly said, “The Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” Perhaps that fruit was plucked at early morn, maybe it was plucked at noon-tide; but God was in no haste to condemn; he waited till the sun was well nigh set, and in the cool of the day came, and as an old expositor has put it very beautifully, when he did come he did not come on wings of wrath, but he “walked in the garden in the cool of the day.” He was in no haste to slay. I think I see him, as he was represented then to Adam, in those glorious days when God walked with man. Methinks I see the wonderful similitude in which the unseen did veil himself: I see it walking among the trees so slowly—if it is right to give such a picture—beating its breast, and shedding tears that it should have to condemn man. At last I hear its doleful voice: “Adam, where art thou? Where hast thou cast thyself, poor Adam? Thou hast cast thyself from my favour; thou hast cast thyself into nakedness and into fear; for thou art hiding thyself. Adam, where art thou? I pity thee. Thou thoughtest to be God. Before I condemn thee I will give thee one note of pity. Adam, where art thou?” Yes, the Lord was slow to anger, slow to write the sentence, even though the command had been broken, and the threatening was therefore of necessity brought into force.

For meditation: There are good and bad ways of taking advantage of God’s apparent slowness (2 Peter 3:3,4,9).

 

Streams in the Desert – June 20

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

You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left. (Isa 30:21)

When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.

It is not wise in the earlier stages of Christian life to depend on this alone, but to wait for the corroboration of circumstances. But those who have had many dealings with God know well the value of secret fellowship with Him, to ascertain His will.

Are you in difficulty about your way? Go to God with your question; get direction from the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal.

If you will only get alone, where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach and if you will dare to wait there silent and expectant, though all around you insist on immediate decision or action—the will of God will be made clear; and you will have a new conception of God, a deeper insight into His nature and heart of love, which shall be for yourself alone a rapturous experience, to abide your precious perquisite forever, the rich guerdon of those long waiting hours.
—David

“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands: 
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands; 
His arm is mighty to divide the wave. 
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see 
How God can work the “impossible” for thee, 
For with a great deliverance He doth save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand, 
Even when compassed ’round on every hand, 
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend. 
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still, 
That He may work in thee His blessed will, 
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.

“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still, 
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until 
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow; 
In stillness God can work through thee and reach 
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach 
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest. 
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best 
The way to lead His child to that fair land, 
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow; 
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know 
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.
—Selected