November 27, 2010 – Stanley

The Road of Discipleship GALATIANS 1:11-17

After Paul’s conversion, he disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. He emerged, ready to communicate divine truth.

The Lord speaks to believers so that they will comprehend the truth, conform to the truth, and communicate the truth. These same steps form a roadmap to discipleship. What happened during Paul’s desert years was only the beginning of a life-long process–God renewed his mind and transformed him into the image of Christ. For the apostle, that change began with connecting his rich biblical knowledge to the revelation that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Paul knew Scripture thoroughly, but the truth that Jesus was the promised Messiah made him reconsider the foundation he’d been trusting. Everything he knew about God had to be reevaluated in light of this new information. Paul had a history of wanting to please God, so the Holy Spirit no doubt found him a willing pupil.

The apostle’s spirit had to be shaped according to the Father’s will. And the Lord kept working on him long after Paul left the desert and began his ministry. Every person who reads his letters is a witness to the work of God in a submissive man.

The Lord’s discipleship roadmap looks similar for every believer. Like Paul, you are the Holy Spirit’s student, and the knowledge you reap from Scripture should be changing your life. Be like the apostle in this way too: become a disciple maker by sharing what you learn with others.

November 27, 2010 – Begg

The Sweetness of Forgiveness

The forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

Ephesians 1:7

Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word “forgiveness” when it sounds in a guilty sinner’s ear, like the joyful notes of liberation to the captive Israelite? Blessed, forever blessed, be the dear star of pardon that shines into the condemned cell and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair! Can it be possible that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, forgiven altogether and forever? Hell is my portion as a sinner—there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me. Can the load of guilt be lifted, the crimson stain removed? Can the unbreakable stones of my prison-house ever be loosed from their mortices, or the doors be lifted from their hinges?

Jesus tells me that I may still be cleared. Forever blessed be the revelation of atoning love that not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is secured to all who trust in Jesus. I have believed in the atoning sacrifice, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment and forever forgiven by virtue of His substitutionary pains and death. What joy is this! What unimagined bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul! My soul dedicates all her powers to Him who by His own unpurchased love became my Savior and provided for me redemption through His blood. What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! To forgive at all, to forgive fully, to forgive freely, to forgive forever—here is a panorama of wonders.

And when I think of how great my sins were, how dear were the precious drops that cleansed me from them, and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me, I am in a maze of wondering, worshiping affection. I bow before the throne that absolves me, I clasp the cross that delivers me, and all my days I give to serve the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul.

November 26, 2010 – Stanley

Inseparable from Christ ROMANS 8:18-39

When pain and adversity enter our lives, it’s easy to conclude that God has abandoned us. After all, we think, if He were there, He would have done something by now. However, today’s passage says that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. Let’s consider the vast scope of this promise.

No events. Not a single distress can remove us from divine love, but rather, we can “overwhelmingly conquer through Him who love[s] us” (Rom. 8:35-37). Today’s verses also teach that our present sufferings cannot be compared to the coming glory (v. 18) and that God’s good purpose is our transformation into Christ’s image (v. 29). When we understand this, we gain a victorious eternal perspective, which produces hope and perseverance (vv. 24-25).

No time. Nothing we have gone through in the past, are dealing with at present, or will encounter in the future can take us away from Christ. He is with us every step of the way (v. 38).

No power. The unseen powers of evil that try to deceive and entrap us are no match for the Lord, who holds us securely in His omnipotent grasp (v. 39).

No created thing. Only our triune God is self-existent, and if He calls you His own, nothing and no one–not even you–can break that relationship (v. 39).

This promise of security in Christ isn’t a license to sin without consequence. Instead, it should motivate us to fall on our knees in gratitude and praise. As we truly grasp the greatness of this gift, our love for Christ will increase and result in obedience and perseverance, no matter what difficulty we face.

November 26, 2010 – Begg

The Master Builder

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

Zechariah 4:10

Small things marked the beginning of the work in the hand of Zerubbabel, but none should despise it, for the Lord had raised up one who would persevere until the work was completed with shouts of joy. The plumb line was in good hands. Here is the comfort of every believer in the Lord Jesus. Let the work of grace be ever so small in its beginnings, the plumb line is in good hands. A master builder greater than Solomon has undertaken to raise the heavenly temple, and He will not fail nor be discouraged till the pinnacle shall be raised. If the plumb line were in the hand of any merely human being, we might fear for the building, but the pleasure of the Lord will prosper in Jesus’ hand.

The works did not proceed irregularly and without care, for the master’s hand carried a good instrument. If the walls had been built in a hurry without proper supervision, they might have been out of line; but the plumb line was used by the chosen overseer. Jesus is always watching the construction of His spiritual temple, to ensure that it is built securely and well. We are for speed, but Jesus is for judgment. He will use the plumb line, and that which is out of line must come down, every stone of it. This explains the failure of many a flattering work, the overthrow of many a glittering profession. It is not for us to judge the Lord’s Church, since Jesus has a steady hand and a true eye and can use the plumb line well. Do we not rejoice to see judgment left to Him?

The plumb line was in active use—it was in the builder’s hand, a sure indication that he meant to bring the work to completion. Lord Jesus, how glad we would be to see You at Your great work. O Zion, the beautiful, your walls are still in ruins! Rise, glorious Builder, and make her desolations to rejoice at Your coming.

November 25, 2010 – Stanley

Gratitude in Affliction PSALM 119:65-72

At Thanksgiving, we typically express gratitude for God’s blessings. But did you ever consider thanking Him for something that doesn’t seem like a blessing–such as a trying circumstance you want Him to remove or change? A grateful heart is most precious to God when, humanly speaking, our situations don’t warrant giving thanks. By making four foundational decisions, we can begin to see the value of our adversities and respond with appreciation.

Believe and trust the Lord. Only by viewing life from a scriptural perspective can we understand His purposes in our trials and trust His wisdom in allowing them.

Accept the situation as coming from God–either directly sent or permissively allowed. If we truly believe He’s working for our good (Rom 8:28-29), we can choose to receive each difficulty as coming from His loving hand. Then we can say “Thank You.”

Submit to God in the circumstance. Although we may not like the situation, knowing that God “[is] good and does good” (v. 68) allows us to confidently place our lives under His authority.

Draw from Him the strength to endure. No one has the ability within himself to endure hardships with gratefulness. Only by relying on the Lord can believers go through adversity with an appreciative heart.

Now, think about that circumstance you would like changed, and with a new mindset, offer this prayer to God: “Lord, I accept this situation as coming from You. In faith and trust, I place myself under Your loving authority, and draw from You the strength I need to endure with gratitude.”

November 25, 2010 – Begg

The Humbling Doctrine of Election

For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’

Romans 9:15

In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold His mercy according to His own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in His sight. Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they deserve to perish for their sins—and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, He may do so if the ends of justice are not thwarted; but if He judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may call Him to account.

All those discourses about the rights of men being placed on the same footing are foolish and impudent and ignorant; worse still are the arguments against discriminating grace, which are just the rebellions of proud human nature against God’s rule. When we are brought to see our own utter ruin, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer scoff at the truth that the Lord is not bound to save us; we do not murmur if He chooses to save others, as though He were doing us an injury, but feel that if He deigns to look upon us, it will be His own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we will forever bless His name.

How will those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more deserving of gratitude, and consequently none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it but adoringly rejoice in it.

November 24, 2010 – Stanley

Contentment in All Circumstances PHILIPPIANS 4:10-13

Think about the times when you have felt truly satisfied. What caused you to feel that way? For most people, a sense of well-being comes when their environment is just the way they want it, but that wasn’t the case with Paul. He learned to be content in every circumstance, good or bad.

We’d do well to learn a few lessons from him. After all, we can’t avoid all difficult situations, so we might as well discover how to face them with a tranquil, settled spirit rather than with frustration and anxiety.

Contentment isn’t governed by external circumstances. Changing the situation may bring temporary relief, but satisfaction based on circumstances will always be sporadic and fleeting. It’s a matter of how you think, not what you have.

Contentment flows from an inward attitude. The apostle’s inner calm came from a mind set on Christ. Choosing to trust the Savior no matter what, Paul allowed the Holy Spirit within him to rule his emotions and shape his responses.

Contentment is learned experientially. You cannot acquire it from a book or a sermon because it’s a process that must be lived out. Paul learned contentment on the road–in persecution, suffering, and prison. The Lord used every difficulty to transform him.

Situations that cause frustration, anxiety, and dissatisfaction are also the ones God uses to produce contentment in us. When you are fed up with your own grumbling, disappointment, and dissatisfaction, then you are ready to let the Lord teach you His new way of living–in joyous trust!

November 24, 2010 – Begg

The Danger of a Little Procrastination

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Proverbs 24:33-34

The worst of sluggards only ask for a little slumber; they would be indignant if they were accused of complete laziness. A little folding of the hands to rest is all they desire, and they have a host of reasons to show that this indulgence is entirely legitimate. Yet by these “littles” the day runs out, and the time for work is all gone, and the field is overgrown with thorns. It is by little procrastinations that men ruin their souls. They do not intend to delay for years—a few months, they say, will bring the more convenient season—tomorrow they will attend to serious things; but the present hour is so occupied and so unsuitable that they beg to be excused.

Like sands from an hourglass, time passes; life is wasted by driblets, and seasons of grace lost by little slumbers. Oh, to be wise, to catch the fleeting hour, to use the passing moments! May the Lord teach us this sacred wisdom, because otherwise a poverty of the worst kind awaits us—eternal poverty that will want even a drop of water and beg for it in vain. Like a robber steadily pursuing his victim, poverty overtakes the lazy, and ruin overthrows the undecided: Each hour brings the dreaded pursuer nearer; he doesn’t pause on the way, for he is on his master’s business and must not delay. As an armed man enters with authority and power, in similar fashion want will come to the idle, and death to the impenitent, and there will be no escape.

O that men would become wise and would diligently seek the Lord Jesus, before the solemn day will dawn when it will be too late to plow and to sow, too late to repent and believe. In harvest, it is useless to lament that the seedtime was neglected. As of now, there is still time for faith and holy decision. May we obtain them tonight

November 23, 2010 – Stanley

Resisting Fleshly Appetites EPHESIANS 2:1-7

The Holy Spirit guides believers to make wise and righteous decisions. But when Christians fail to listen, they can make choices that appeal to the flesh instead.

After the serpent spoke to Eve, she no doubt took a long look at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; 3:3). Whatever she might have thought about the tree before, she now saw it with new eyes–flesh-focused eyes. Genesis 3 tells us that the forbidden tree appealed to Eve in three ways: 1) it was good for food, 2) it was a delight to the eyes, and 3) it was desirable to make one wise.

In other words, the tree could fulfill three legitimate human appetites: the desire for tasty meals, beauty, and wisdom. There is nothing wrong with these God-given yearnings. The Lord created a variety of food and an earth packed with breathtaking sights so that people could enjoy them. He also offers the Holy Spirit as a source of His true wisdom and knowledge. In fact, it is the Spirit who teaches believers to keep fleshly appetites under control and in balance.

Meanwhile, Satan works very hard at corrupting healthy desires. He abhors seeing people’s appetites satisfied. What he wants is to watch a person lusting after a good thing until he or she is controlled by the impulse to have it.

The Devil is pleased when people make themselves slaves to a desire that–in the proper context–the Lord intended to be enjoyed freely. A believer walking in the Holy Spirit rejects gluttony, preferring desires that are within God’s boundaries instead. That’s how we get His very best.

November 23, 2010 – Begg

Nearer to God

Get you up to a high mountain.

Isaiah 40:9

Each believer should be thirsting for God, for the living God, and longing to climb the hill of the Lord and see Him face to face. We should not rest content in the mists of the valley when the summit of the mountain beckons us. My soul thirsts to drink deeply of the cup that is reserved for those who reach the mountain’s peak and bathe their brows in heaven. How pure are the dews of the hills; how fresh is the mountain air; how abundant is the provision of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem!

Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines, who do not see the sun; they eat dust like the serpent when they might taste the food of angels; they are content to wear the miner’s garb when they might put on king’s robes; tears disfigure their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. I am convinced that many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof and view the goodly land. Rouse yourself, believer, from your low condition! Discard your laziness, your lethargy, your coldness, or whatever interferes with your sincere and pure love for Christ, your soul’s Husband. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of your soul’s whole range of delight.

What fully enchants you to remain in a pit when you may sit on a throne? Do not live in the lowlands of bondage now that mountain liberty is conferred upon you. Do not be satisfied any longer with your tiny attainments, but press forward to things more sublime and heavenly. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life.

Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!
When will Thou come unto me, Lord?
Oh come, my Lord most dear!
Come near, come nearer, nearer still,
I’m blest when Thou art near.

November 22, 2010 – Stanley

Failing to Listen to God GENESIS 3:1-13

Today’s passage offers a picture of what happens when believers don’t listen to God. Eve knew the Lord’s instructions so well that she repeated them almost verbatim to the serpent. However, pride and fleshly appetites got the better of her, and she was deceived. Eve stopped listening to God and opened her ears to the wrong voices.

Think about how many voices we hear in a given day. Media, billboards, and even friends and family bombard our minds with ideas and philosophies. We hear vain and ungodly messages wrapped up in pretty language. It’s easy to fall prey to deception unless we keep scriptural principles always before our eyes and heart.

Eve got into trouble simply by pausing long enough to take in the serpent’s words. Satan twisted God’s meaning sufficiently to tempt her away from truth and into error. He assured Eve that instead of falling over dead, she would become like God: her eyes would open, and she would know truth!

In one way, the Devil’s words were accurate, but they weren’t true. Eve’s eyes were opened; however, the knowledge wasn’t as wonderful as the serpent implied. She was awakened to her own sinful nature and the chasm that had developed between her and God. Moreover, Eve’s physical body would undergo death as a result of her sin.

Exercise caution when messages vie for your attention. Satan, who is as crafty today as he was in Eden, dresses up deception so that it sounds like truth. But the Evil One lies when he speaks (John 8:44). Tune into God and the principles of His Word instead. He speaks only what is right.

November 22, 2010 – Begg

The Cornerstone of the Building

The power of his resurrection.

Philippians 3:10

The doctrine of a risen Savior is exceedingly precious. The resurrection is the cornerstone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the keystone of the arch of our salvation. It would take a volume to set out all the streams of living water that flow from this one sacred source, the resurrection of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But to know that He has risen, and to have fellowship with Him as such—communing with the risen Savior by possessing a risen life, seeing Him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves—this is even more precious still. The doctrine is the basis of the experience, but as the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Savior more lovely than the doctrine itself.

I would have you believe that Christ rose from the dead so as to sing of it and derive all the consolation that it is possible for you to extract from this well-affirmed and well-witnessed fact; but I beseech you, do not rest contented even there. Though you cannot, like the disciples, see Him visibly, yet I urge you to aspire to see Christ Jesus by the eye of faith; and though, like Mary Magdalene, you may not touch Him, yet you may be privileged to converse with Him and to know that He is risen, you yourselves being risen in Him to newness of life.

To know a crucified Savior as having crucified all my sins is a high degree of knowledge; but to know a risen Savior as having justified me, and to realize that He has bestowed upon me new life, having made me a new creature through His own newness of life—this is a noble style of experience. Short of it, none should rest satisfied. May you both “know him and the power of his resurrection.” Why should souls who are made alive with Jesus wear the grave—clothes of worldliness and unbelief? Rise, for the Lord is risen.

November 20, 2010 – Stanley

Our Heavenly Father MATTHEW 6:8-13

When Christ taught His disciples to pray, He told them to address God as “Our Father.” They had previously heard Jesus say, “My Father,” but now they, too, shared in that privileged family relationship. All of us who has been born again into the household of God have this same right.

Since our concepts of God are shaped by our earthly fathers, we all have different perceptions of Him, but Jesus is the only one who has a completely accurate understanding of the heavenly Father. Consider some of the ways He cares for His children:

  • Loves: God’s love is unconditional, since it’s based on His nature rather than our performance (1 John 4:16).
  • Listens: When we pray, He gives us His full attention (Ps. 55:16-17).
  • Provides: The Father assumes responsibility for meeting all our needs (Phil. 4:19).
  • Guides: He is the one who directs our path when we trust in Him (Prov. 3:5-6).
  • Protects: The Lord shields us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, sifting every experience through His sovereign fingers. (Ps. 121:1-8).
  • Stays: He’s not an absentee parent, since He’ll never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8).
  • Disciplines: The Lord disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:5-11).

Though experiences with our earthly dads may have distorted our view of the heavenly Father, we can learn to see Him as He truly is. By viewing Him through the truth of Scripture instead of our preconceptions, we will see evidence of His loving care and discover a security we’ve never known before.

Begg

Everlasting

You are from everlasting.

Psalms 93:2

Christ is everlasting. Of Him we may sing with David, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”1 Rejoice, believer, in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus always was. The Baby born in Bethlehem was united to the Word, which was in the beginning, by whom all things were made. The title by which Christ revealed Himself to John in Patmos was, “[Him] who is and who was and who is to come.”2 If He was not God from everlasting, we could not love Him so devoutly; we could not feel that He had any share in the eternal love that is the fountain of all covenant blessings. But since He was from all eternity with the Father, we trace the stream of divine love to Himself equally with His Father and the blessed Spirit.

As our Lord always was, so also He is forevermore. Jesus is not dead; “he always lives to make intercession for them.”3 Resort to Him in all your times of need, for He is always waiting to bless you. Furthermore, Jesus our Lord ever shall be. If God should spare your life to fulfill your full course of threescore years and ten, you will find that His cleansing fountain is still opened, and His precious blood has not lost its power; you will find that the Priest who filled the healing font with His own blood lives to purge you from all iniquity. When only your last battle remains to be fought, you will find that the hand of your conquering Captain has not grown feeble—the living Savior shall cheer the dying saint. When you enter heaven you shall find Him there bearing the dew of His youth; and through eternity the Lord Jesus will still remain the perennial spring of joy and life and glory to His people. You may draw living waters from this sacred well!

Jesus always was, He always is, He always shall be. He is eternal in all His attributes, in all His offices, in all His might and willingness to bless, comfort, guard, and crown His chosen people.

1Psalm 45:6 2Revelation 1:8 3Hebrews 7:25

November 20, 2010 – Begg

Seek Shelter

The rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs.

Proverbs 30:26

Conscious of their own natural defenselessness, the rock badgers resort to burrows in the rocks and are secure from their enemies. My heart, be willing to learn a lesson from these feeble folk. You are as weak and as exposed to peril as the timid badger; be as wise to seek a shelter. My best security is within the fortress of an unchanging Jehovah, where His unalterable promises stand like giant walls of rock. It will be well with you, my heart, if you can always hide yourself in the bulwarks of His glorious attributes, all of which are guarantees of safety for those who put their trust in Him.

Blessed be the name of the Lord, I have so done and have found myself like David in the cave, safe from the cruelty of my enemy. I do not have to wonder how blessed it is to trust in the Lord, for long ago, when Satan and my sins pursued me, I fled to the cleft of the rock Christ Jesus, and in His wounded side I found a delightful resting-place. My heart, run to Him afresh tonight, whatever your present grief may be. Jesus feels for you; Jesus consoles you; Jesus will help you. No king in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the rock badger in his cliff home.

The master of ten thousand chariots is not one bit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain’s cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenseless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. They cannot need any more and need not wish for more. The badgers cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already. I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His Spirit has revealed it, and here again tonight I enter it and am safe from every foe

November 19, 2010 – Stanley

The Ultimate Father-Son Relationship JOHN 5:19-20God is called by a variety of names in the Bible, and each one sheds light on an aspect of His nature. Jesus’ favorite title for Him was Father. Surprisingly, this name for God is used only 15 times in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, it’s recorded 245 times!

Many of God’s names speak of His majestic and lofty attributes that separate Him from mankind, but Father conveys intimacy. Jesus used this name not only because He was God’s Son, but also to help people realize that Jehovah isn’t some unapproachable Deity gazing down on them from a distance. Rather, He is their loving heavenly Father, who cares about them and wants to be involved in their everyday lives.

Throughout His time on earth, Christ revealed by example what this kind of love relationship was like. He depended completely on His Father for daily direction, power, and provision and obediently carried out every instruction. He often left the demands of ministry just to find a secluded place to be alone with Jehovah. We know Jesus successfully conveyed the riches of this relationship to His disciples, because in John 14:8, Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father”–he wanted to know Him the way Christ did.

Do you long for that kind of intimacy with God? He wants to relate to you as a Father to His child, and He’s given you the privilege of drawing near to Him. In fact, He chose you before the foundation of the world and waits with open arms for you to enter His loving embrace

November 19, 2010 – Begg

Seek Him in Trouble

Oh, that I knew where I might find him.

Job 23:3

In Job’s extremely trying circumstances, he cried for the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is to see his Father’s face once more. His first prayer is not “Oh, that I might be healed of the disease that now spreads through my body!” nor even “Oh, that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property returned to me from the hand of the thief!” The first and foremost cry is, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, who is my God, that I might come even to His seat!” God’s children run home when the storm comes. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. “He who has made God his refuge” might serve as the title of a true believer.

A hypocrite, when afflicted by God, resents the infliction and, like a slave, would run from the Master who has scourged him; but not so the true heir of heaven, who kisses the hand that struck him and seeks shelter from the rod in the heart of the God who frowned upon him. Job’s desire to commune with God was intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation.

The patriarch turned away from his sorry friends and looked up to the heavenly throne, just as a traveler turns from his empty water jug and makes a beeline for the well. He bids farewell to earthborn hopes and cries, “Oh, that I knew where I might find my God!” Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else. Turning away with bitter scorn from earth’s hives, where we find no honey but many sharp stings, we rejoice in Him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to realize God’s presence with us. Only let us enjoy His smile, and then we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for His dear sake

November 18, 2010 – Stanley

Strength Comes with Waiting ISAIAH 40:28-31

Exhaustion is a by-product of over committed schedules and never-ending responsibilities. In an effort to accomplish all that is expected, we often try to move faster and cram in more by multitasking. But in the process, we end up emotionally and physically fatigued. The Lord offers a radically different mode of living and grants renewed strength and stamina.

Those who wait upon the Lord are promised His supernatural energy. In fact, Scripture says it will surpass the natural strength and endurance of the young. Access to this divine power is achieved not by moving faster but by going slower, stopping to take time to focus on the Father, seek His direction, and ask for His strength to accomplish what He is calling you to do.

Earlier in my life, I wore myself out by impatiently pushing ahead, trying to do ministry in my own way and time. Since then, I have learned that when I pause and humble myself, admitting that I have no strength without Him, the Lord sustains me with both emotional and spiritual energy. There is no human explanation for what God is willing and able to do in a yielded human body. His Holy Spirit is like the wind beneath our wings, enabling us to soar like eagles.

The next time you are at the point of exhaustion, take some time out to focus on the Lord. Are you walking in step with Him, or have you gone ahead on your own? Align your pace with His, and take the energy He freely offers to those who walk obediently in His will.

 

November 17, 2010 – Stanley

Why Wait? PSALM 25:4-5

On life’s road, crucial decisions are like intersections that call for a choice of direction. If we barrel through without seeking the mind of Christ, the road we pick may lead to regret and heartache. Although the Lord is ready and willing to offer clear direction, He doesn’t always give it quickly. Knowing that He has very good reasons for withholding immediate instruction can help us wait patiently at the intersection for His guidance.

At times God leaves us in our confusion because He wants to get our attention. When everything is running smoothly, we tend to forget the Lord. But uncertainty draws us back to Him like a magnet. By aligning our steps with His and walking in submission to the Spirit, we open our ears to hear His voice.

Our waiting time is God’s preparation time. In bringing about His sovereign purposes, He may put us on hold while He coordinates events to line up with His will. Sometimes the Lord has work to accomplish in us before we are ready to handle what He has planned for our future. If we instantly received His direction, we would never grow in faith. Spiritual maturity is evidenced in the ability to wait in peaceful confidence, trusting that in His time, we will know what to do.

If impatience tempts you to jump ahead of God’s timing at a crossroad of decision, you risk stepping outside of His will and missing His blessings. But by waiting until He gives clear direction, you will walk in His peace with certainty, instead of stumbling around in anxiety and confusion.

November 17, 2010 – Begg

Everyday Dangers

He who splits logs is endangered by them.

Ecclesiastes 10:9

Oppressors may enforce their will on poor and needy men just as easily as they can split logs of wood, but they better be careful, for it is a dangerous business, and a splinter from a tree has often killed the woodsman. Jesus is persecuted in every injured saint, and He is strong to avenge His loved ones. Success in treading down the poor and needy is a thing to be trembled at: If the persecutors do not face immediate danger, they will face great danger in the end.

To split logs is a common everyday business, and yet it has its dangers. So then, reader, there are dangers connected with your calling and daily life that it will be good for you to be aware of. We do not refer to hazards by flood and field or by disease and sudden death, but to perils of a spiritual sort. Your occupation may be as humble as log splitting, and yet the devil can tempt you in it. You may be a domestic servant, a farm laborer, or a mechanic, and you may be greatly shielded from temptations to the bigger vices, and yet some secret sin may undo you. Those who live at home and do not mingle with the rough world may still be endangered by their very seclusion. The one who thinks himself safe is safe nowhere! Pride may enter a poor man’s heart; greed may reign in a cottager’s bosom; uncleanness may venture into the quietest home; and anger and envy and malice may insert themselves into the most rural dwelling.

Even in speaking a few words to a doorman we may sin; a small purchase at a shop may be the first link in a chain of temptations; the mere looking out of a window may be the beginning of evil. Lord, how exposed we are! How shall we be saved! To keep ourselves is a work too hard for us: Only You Yourself are able to preserve us in such an evil world. Spread Your protection over us, and we, like little chickens, will cower down beneath You and feel ourselves safe!

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