June 2, 2011 – Begg

A Constant Struggle

For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit, and the desires of the spirit are against the flesh.

Galatians 5:17

In every believer’s heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active and loses no opportunity of employing all the weapons in its deadly arsenal against newborn grace; while on the other hand, the new nature is always on the lookout to resist and destroy its enemy. Grace within us will employ prayer and faith and hope and love to cast out the evil; it takes to itself “the whole armor of God”1 and wrestles vigorously. These two opposing natures will never stop struggling as long as we are in this world.

Bunyan’s Christian fought Apollyon in a battle lasting three hours, but the battle of Christian with himself lasted all the way from the entry Gate to the River Jordan. The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while we are in this body: But although we are closely followed, and often in fierce conflict, we have an Almighty helper, Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, who is always with us and who assures us that we shall eventually be more than conquerors through Him. With such assistance the newborn nature is more than a match for its enemies.

Are you fighting with the adversary today? Are Satan, the world, and the flesh all against you? Do not be discouraged nor dismayed. Fight on! For God Himself is with you. Jehovah Nissi is your banner, and Jehovah Rophi is the healer of your wounds. Do not fear, you will overcome, for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on, “looking to Jesus”;2 and although the conflict is long and tough, the victory will be sweet, and the promised reward will be glorious.

From strength to strength go on;
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day.

1Ephesians 6:11
2Hebrews12:2

June 1, 2011 – Begg

A Compass for Life’s Journey     PROVERBS 3:1-6      If you’ve ever been lost in the woods, you know the concerns, confusion, and panic this situation causes. Now think what a difference it would have made to know that a compass was in your pocket.

Spiritually speaking, we have such a compass—God’s Word. But it does no good unless we let it guide us. Yet at times, we may fail to follow its direction because of . . .

1. Neglect. Sometimes we are so busy walking through life that we forget to look at God’s compass to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.

2. Pride. Oftentimes we want to determine the destiny ourselves. Relying on our own strength, understanding, and abilities, we plan our own route.

3. Distractions. God’s path of obedience isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be extremely challenging. Satan offers other trails that promise pleasure and ease if we will just ignore the compass and follow him. Although these trails seem pleasant at first, they lead to heartbreak and discouragement.

4. Difficulties. Whenever obstacles appear on the trail, our natural tendency is to try and find a way around them. But by ignoring God’s compass and stepping off the path, we’ll miss the blessings He wants to give us through the rough patches—strong faith and godly character.

Why should we wander when the Lord’s compass is available? Let Scripture be your guide on life’s journey. God promises to give you productive days and fruitful years if you follow His path. He’ll direct each step of your way, and His peace will sustain you, even during the difficult times

June 1, 2011 – Stanley

Light & Darkness

And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Genesis 1:5

Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of time in the first day? Then it should be no surprise if I have also changes in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of adversity. It will not always be the sunshine of noonday, even in my soul; I must expect at times to mourn the absence of my former joys and seek my Beloved in the night. I am not alone in this, for all the Lord’s loved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and delight. It is one of the arrangements of divine providence that day and night will not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation until we reach the land of which it is written, “there will be no night there.”1 What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.
What, then, my soul, is it best for you to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the hand of the Lord as well as good. Then work at beginning and ending your days with joy. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty in both sunrise and sunset; sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, sound your notes at all hours. Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously against the darkness of grief. Continue your service under all circumstances. If in the day your watchword is work, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour has its duty; so continue in your calling as the Lord’s servant until He shall suddenly appear in His glory. My soul, your evening of old age and death is drawing near; do not dread it, for it is part of the day, and the Lord has said in essence, “I will cover him all the day long.”

1 Revelation 21:25

May 31, 2011 – Stanley

Walking in the Word     PSALM 119:97-104     People make a lot of decisions on any given day. Most choices present themselves quickly, leaving little time to weigh pros and cons. So we “go with our gut.” However, believers who desire to walk wisely through the perils of this world require something more reliable than flesh-based instinct. We need godly knowledge and principles to guide us, which is why we must meditate on the Word.

I mention meditating on Scripture often in my writing and preaching—and for good reason. The Bible is the key to knowing God and following His will. Believers simply cannot neglect spending time poring over its words. If you want to be certain of God’s perspective on an issue, you go to the source book to fill your mind with truth.

All of us have a sort of grid around our minds. It’s made up of the principles we were taught as children, the habits we’ve formed, and the information we accept as true. New knowledge coming our way passes through that grid and is either assimilated or rejected. Think about TV commercials—those persuasive ads full of beautiful people are designed to steal past your mind’s defenses. Well, the Devil has the same goal of getting past your grid and gaining a mental and spiritual foothold.

Some of the darts that Satan aims at your mind seem harmless or even good—that’s why “going with your gut” is so dangerous. A mental grid plastered with biblical truth is essential for Christians, because it identifies and rejects whatever is sinful, poorly timed, or simply not fit for God’s children

May 31, 2011 – Begg

Courage and Triumph

And the king crossed the Brook Kidron.

2 Samuel 15:23

David passed that gloomy brook when fleeing with his sorry company from his traitorous son. The man after God’s own heart was not exempt from trouble; in fact, his life was full of it. He was both the Lord’s Anointed and the Lord’s Afflicted. Why then should we expect to escape? At sorrow’s gates the noblest of our race have waited with ashes on their heads. Why then should we complain as though some strange thing had happened unto us?

The King of kings Himself was not favored with a more cheerful or royal road. He passed over the filthy ditch of Kidron, through which the filth of Jerusalem flowed. God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. It is a great joy to believe that Jesus has been tempted in all points just as we are.

What is our Kidron this morning? Is it a faithless friend, a sad bereavement, a slanderous reproach, a dark foreboding? The King has passed over all these. Is it bodily pain, poverty, persecution, or contempt? Over each of these Kidrons the King has gone before us. “In all their affliction he was afflicted.”1 The idea that trials are an unusual experience should be banished at once and forever, for He who is the Head of all saints knows by experience the grief that we consider so peculiar. All the citizens of Zion must be free of the Honorable Company of Mourners, of which the Prince Immanuel is Head and Captain.

Although David was abased, yet he returned in triumph to his city, and David’s Lord rose victorious from the grave; so let us then be of good courage, for we also shall win the day. We will joyfully draw water out of the wells of salvation, even though we are presently faced with the harmful streams of sin and sorrow. Courage, soldiers of the Cross, the King himself triumphed after going over Kidron, and so will you.

1Isaiah 63:9

May 30, 2011 – Stanley

How to Walk Wisely     PROVERBS 28:26  Believers are to walk by faith, according to 2 Corinthians 5:7. However, with so many voices clamoring for us to follow worldly paths, we sometimes struggle to hear and apply God’s wisdom. For example, our natural impulse to withhold mercy is hard to ignore, even though the Lord demands that we forgive (Eph. 4:32).

Godly wisdom is the capacity to view things as the Lord does and to respond according to biblical principles. This discernment isn’t automatic. Yes, God’s Spirit lives inside believers to prompt them to do right. However, each individual chooses whether or not to pursue the wise way.

If a person is going to walk wisely, he or she must commit to remaining on the right path—that is, to determine in the heart, “I will follow God no matter what.” Pleasing the Lord and conforming to His likeness are always the right things to do.

Resolving to honor the Lord transforms the way that believers make decisions. Instead of following instincts or impulses, I choose to seek God’s viewpoint in a given situation. Moreover, rather than relying on other people’s advice, I choose to search Scripture for verification of what I hear Him saying to me. As a result, the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice becomes easier to discern, and those worldly shouts fade.

You have a loving heavenly Father who honors the heartfelt commitment to walk according to His will. God assumes responsibility for offering His children sought-after wisdom and enabling them to keep walking on the right path (Prov. 3:5-6). Following Him is always the best decision

May 30, 2011 – Begg

Little Sins

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards.

Song of Songs 2:15

A little thorn can cause much suffering. A small cloud may hide the sun. Tiny foxes spoil the vineyards; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These small sins burrow in the soul and fill it with what is hateful to Christ, and thus our comfortable fellowship and communion with Him is spoiled. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable.

Jesus will not walk with His people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”1 Some Christians rarely enjoy their Savior’s presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Are you a child of God, and yet satisfied to live without seeing your Father’s face?

What! You are the spouse of Christ, and yet content to be absent from His company! Surely, you have fallen into a sad state, for the pure spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate when he has left her.

Here is the question: What has driven Christ from you? He hides His face behind the wall of your sins. That wall may be made up of little pebbles as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: And the sea that divides you from Christ may be filled with the drops of your little sins; and the rock that almost wrecked the vessel of your life may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of your little sins.

If you would live with Christ and walk with Christ and see Christ and have fellowship with Christ, pay attention to “the little foxes that spoil the vineyard, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Jesus invites you to go with Him against them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with Him to the hunting.

1John 15:10

May 28, 2011 – Stanley

God Is Always In Control    ISAIAH 45:5-7     I admit that I often don’t understand why bad things happen. Even so, I believe that God has a purpose for everything He does or permits. My faith is rooted in the biblical principle that says the Lord is sovereign (Ps. 22:28). He is in absolute control of this universe, the natural and political climate of this earth, and my life and yours.

When we are in the midst of a trial, it is hard to resist crying out, “God, Why is this happening?” Sometimes we get the answer and sometimes we don’t. What we can be sure of is that nothing happens by accident or coincidence. He has a purpose for even our most painful experiences. Moreover, we have His promise to “cause all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).

Seeing in advance how the Lord will work evil or hurt for our benefit is very difficult, if not impossible. My limited human perspective doesn’t allow me to grasp His greater plan. However, I can confirm the truth of this biblical promise because the Father’s good handiwork appears all through my pain, hardship, and loss. I have experienced Him turn mourning into gladness and have seen Him reap bountiful blessings and benefits from my darkest hours.

As believers, we must accept that God won’t always make sense to us. Isaiah teaches that His ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isa. 55:9). He sees the beautifully completed big picture. We can rely on the fact that God is in control, no matter how wildly off-kilter our world seems to spin

May 28, 2011 – Begg

Your Troubles will End Soon

Whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8:30

Here is a precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor or suffering or unknown, but for your encouragement take a moment to review your calling and the consequences that flow from it, and especially the blessed result spoken of here. As surely as you are God’s child today, so surely will all your trials soon come to an end, and you shall be rich to an extent that is hard to imagine.

Wait awhile, and your weary head will wear the crown of glory, and the worker’s hand shall grasp the palm-branch of victory. Do not bemoan your troubles, but rather rejoice that before long you will be where no longer “shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.”1 The chariots of fire are at your door, and it will take only a moment to transport you to the glorified. The everlasting song is almost on your lip. The portals of heaven stand open for you.

Do not think that you can fail to enter into your rest. If He has called you, nothing can divide you from His love. Distress cannot sever the bond; the fire of persecution cannot burn the link; the hammer of hell cannot break the chain. You are secure; that voice which called you at first shall call you yet again from earth to heaven, from death’s dark gloom to immortality’s unuttered splendors. Rest assured, the heart of Him who has justified you beats with infinite love toward you. You will soon be with the glorified, where your portion is; you are only waiting here to be made ready for the inheritance, and with that done, the wings of angels shall carry you far away, to the mount of peace and joy and blessedness, where

Far from a world of grief and sin,
With God eternally shut in,

you shall rest forever and ever.

1Revelation 21:4

May 27, 2011 – Stanley

Why Does God Allow Evil?    GENESIS 2:15-17    When Christians discuss how and when evil entered the world, they most often point to the serpent’s temptation of Eve. But in fact, we must go back a bit further to the moment when God planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By offering Adam and Eve a choice between obedience and rebellion, the Lord allowed for evil to enter His perfect creation.

Now, you are probably asking the very question that plagues many people, believers and unbelievers alike: Why does a loving God allow evil? Some unsatisfactory answers have been put forward over the years—for example, that the Lord doesn’t care or that He’s helpless to prevent evil. Such responses contradict what God says about Himself in Scripture (Rom. 5:8; Ps. 47:8). The truth is, our loving Father wields absolute authority over this world.

God had a purpose for letting wickedness enter the world. The Tree of Knowledge was a testing ground. Adam and Eve had to choose between rebellion and love, evil and righteousness, disobedience and obedience. Because the Lord desired love from the human beings He created, He had to offer a choice. Genuine love is given freely. The alternatives were either to skip the whole creation process or to program mankind like robots to give Him glory and praise.

The Lord gives two assurances regarding evil. First, His purpose is not for us to sin (James 1:13). He desires that we live with righteous intent so that evil can find no room in our hearts. Second, when we are touched by evil, He will cause the experience to work for our good (Rom. 8:28)

May 27, 2011 – Begg

Mephibosheth’s Example

So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

2 Samuel 9:13

Mephibosheth was not an attractive guest at the royal table; yet he had an open invitation because King David could see in his face the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may exclaim to the King of Glory, “What is Your servant, that You should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” But still the Lord invites us to share intimately with Him, because He sees in our countenances the remembrance of His dearly-beloved Jesus.

It is on account of Jesus that the Lord’s people are dear to God. Such is the love that the Father bears to His only begotten that for His sake He raises His lowly brothers and sisters from poverty and exile to enjoy the king’s court, noble rank, and royal provision. Their deformity shall not rob them of their privileges. Lameness is no bar to sonship; the disabled is as much the heir as if he could run like a gazelle.

Our ability to enter may be impaired but not our right of entry. A king’s table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel feast we learn to rejoice in infirmities because the power of Christ rests upon us. Yet serious disability may spoil the journey of the best-loved saints. Here is one feasted by David, and yet so lame in both his feet that he could not go up with the king when he fled from the city and was therefore maligned and injured by his servant.

Saints whose faith is weak and whose knowledge is limited are great losers; they are exposed to many enemies and cannot follow the king wherever he goes. This disease is frequently the result of a fall. Bad nursing in their spiritual infancy often causes converts to fall into a despondency from which they never recover, and sin in other cases brings broken bones. Lord, help the lame to leap like the hart, and satisfy all Your people with the bread of Your table!

May 26, 2011 – Stanley

When a Nation Turns Its Back on God      2 CHRONICLES 33:1-25   Hezekiah was a god-fearing king who brought about reformation among the Israelites. His son Manasseh, however, was an evil ruler. He had watched his father walk with God and live according to Scripture. Yet he chose to ignore the Lord.

Manasseh worshipped false gods, even to the point of sacrificing his sons by fire in order to praise Molech. He practiced much evil—including witchcraft and sorcery— and led Israel astray, thereby provoking God to anger. The king, along with the people, paid a high price for his rebellion.

This story illustrates the Lord’s intolerance of a nation’s disregard toward Him. Now consider our country. We, too, are a nation that pushes God aside—one that has turned away from the only true God and embraced idols. Perhaps these aren’t statues of stone, but we worship money, sports ability, fame, and reputation, to name a few.

The United States of America was founded on biblical principles with the intent to guarantee freedom of worship. But over time, we have removed the Lord from many aspects of public life. Prayer in schools, for instance, was deemed unconstitutional. What was once a “nation under God” has turned into a country that tolerates a growing number of sins and yet belittles absolute truth.

If a nation turns its back on the Lord, His judgment is inevitable unless the people repent and make Him Lord once again. As believers, our responsibility is to pray that God would draw the heart of our country back to Himself—and to help the gospel and truth spread through our land

May 26, 2011 – Begg

Do You Care Too Much?

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.

Psalms 55:22

Care, even when addressed to legitimate matters, if it is carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. Again and again Jesus exhorted His followers to avoid anxious care. The apostles reiterated the call; and it is one that cannot be neglected without involving transgression: For the very essence of anxious care is imagining that we are wiser than God and putting ourselves in His place as if we could do for Him what He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of things that we imagine Him forgetting; we work to take upon ourselves a heavy burden, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us.

Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption that intrudes upon His province, is all sinful. But more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. If we cannot calmly leave our affairs in God’s hand but attempt to carry our own burden, we will be tempted to use wrong means to help ourselves. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counselor and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the broken well instead of to the fountain, a sin of which Israel was guilty in the past.

Anxiety makes us doubt God’s loving-kindness, and so our love to Him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and in this we grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers are hindered, our consistent example spoiled, and our life one of self-seeking. Such lack of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple faith in His promise we cast each burden as it comes upon Him and are “not . . . anxious about anything”1 because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him and strengthen us against temptation. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”2

1Philippians 4:6
2Isaih 26:1

May 25, 2011 – Stanley

When We Ignore God    JAMES 4:17    Have you ever felt ignored? Everyone longs for love, acceptance, and attention, but perhaps a friend or close relative has shown little interest in you or what you have to say. Such treatment is hurtful and can lead to feelings of inadequacy.

There’s something even worse, though, than displaying no concern for others: disregarding God. Yet all of us have done this. One way we disregard Him is by failing to obey when we know His instructions. For example, if we are feeling cornered, we can be tempted to justify a white lie, but once falsehood has left our lips, we’ve ignored the Lord. The same principle holds true when we sense His leading but do not follow. And unless we discipline ourselves to spend time with our Father in His Word and in prayer, we are neglecting Him again.

The consequences are painful. For one thing, neglect grieves God because He is our heavenly Father, who desires closeness with each of His children. We also miss out on the best for our lives. Since connection with the Lord is like being “plugged into” the source of life, ignoring Him will mean missing out on His best for us. And then we shortchange ourselves out of fulfilling the purpose for which He created us—glorifying Him. And remember, we eventually will be held accountable for our actions.

How are you choosing to live—do you heed what the Almighty says, or are you living with your own set of standards? Your conscious choices affect your walk with Jesus. If you tune your spirit to listen and discipline yourself to obey, you will enjoy great intimacy with the Lord

May 25, 2011 – Begg

When Do You Pray?

Do not forsake me, O Lord!

Psalms 38:21

We frequently pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we are prone to forget that we need to pray like this at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we need always to pray, “Do not forsake me, O LORD!” “Hold me up, that I may be safe.”1

A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts immediately off course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer today, “Do not forsake me. Father, do not forsake Your child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, do not forsake Your lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Farmer, do not forsake Your crops, lest they wither and die. ‘Do not forsake me, O LORD,’ now or at any moment of my life. Do not forsake me in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Do not forsake me in my sorrows, lest I murmur against You. Do not forsake me in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon and fall into despair; and do not forsake me in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Do not forsake me, for without You I am weak, but with You I am strong. Do not forsake me, for my path is dangerous and full of snares, and I cannot do without Your guidance. As the hen does not forsake her brood, so You, O Lord protect me, and permit me to find my refuge in You. ‘Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.’2 Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!'”3

Forever in our cleansed breast,
May Thy Eternal Spirit rest;
And make our secret soul to be
A temple clean and pure for Thee.

1Psalm 119:117
2Psalm 22:11
3Psalm 27:9

May 24, 2011 – Stanley

The Impact of Prayer    1 THESSALONIANS 5:17-18   Prayer is the lifeblood of an intimate relationship with the Father. But believers often have questions about its power and effectiveness. Don’t hesitate to take your queries to the Lord, dig into Scripture for answers, and seek the counsel of a trusted spiritual mentor. Prayer is too important to neglect.

Will God’s plans fail if I don’t pray? God is not subservient to believers or dependent upon their prayers. The time we invest in speaking with Him involves us in the work that He is doing in our lives and in the world, but He will carry on without us. Laboring alongside the Lord is our privilege.

Does my prayer (or lack thereof) impact God’s work? I believe that Scripture indicates the answer to this question is both yes and no, depending upon the situation. There are times when God’s purpose is set. He is in control and has determined the best course. In the Old Testament, the Lord often prophesied what He would do and then brought those events to pass.

In other cases, “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). There are some good things that He holds back until we put out prayerful hands to receive them. But because God is a loving Father, He also pours our blessings that we wouldn’t even think to request.

Believer’s prayers have tremendous impact, particularly on their own faith and life. Do you understand what an awesome privilege it is to kneel before the all-powerful Father and know that He listens and will respond? God loves to be good to His children and answer their prayers

May 24, 2011 – Begg

Your Cold Prayers

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer.

Psalms 66:20

In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance–as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, who sees things clearly, must surely weep over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly.

Remember, Christian, how cold your prayers have been. When in your closet you should have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead your petitions have been faint and few–far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith that cries, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Yet, how wonderful to know that God has heard these cold prayers of yours, and not only heard, but answered them.

Reflect also how infrequent have been your prayers unless you have been in trouble, and then you have gone often to the mercy-seat: But when deliverance has come, what happened to your constant supplication? Yet, even though you have stopped praying as you once did, God has not stopped blessing. When you have neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of His glory has remained visible between the wings of the cherubim. How marvelous that the Lord should pay attention to our intermittent spasms of prayerfulness that ebb and flow with our needs. What a God He is to hear the prayers of those who come to Him when they have pressing concerns but neglect Him when they have received a mercy; who approach Him when they are forced to come but who almost forget to address Him when benefits are plentiful and sorrows are few.

Let His gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that from now on we may be found “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”1

1Ephesians 6:18

May 23, 2011 – Stanley

Why Believers Pray     PSALM 103:19-22  Recognizing that God is sovereign prompts some questions about the nature of prayer. Specifically, many people have asked me, “If the Lord is in control, why does He expect us to pray?”

Prayer brings us into cooperation with what God has purposed to accomplish. He desires to involve believers in the work that He is doing in the world and in their lives. We aren’t to sit around when there is kingdom building going on—there isn’t a single scripture to support the idea that we relax while the Lord works all things to His good pleasure. In fact, the opposite is true.

In John 17:11, Jesus asked God to protect the disciples by the power of His name (NIV). Did He think they might lose their salvation or drift from their commitment? Absolutely not. Jesus was God in human flesh. He knew exactly what was going to happen—how these men would spread the gospel and remain faithful even unto death. Jesus was taking part in the Father’s plan for His followers by interceding for them.

God certainly can build His kingdom without believers’ input or help. But a relationship develops depth and intimacy when the Lover and His beloved share an interest. Praying and working alongside our Lord grows our faith and strengthens our trust in His power.

Talking with almighty God is a privilege. The Lord created you to love Him and be loved by Him. Prayer is how that connection gets nurtured and developed. Our Father calls us to communicate with Him so He can draw us close to His heart and involve us in building the kingdom

May 23, 2011 – Begg

He Begins and Completes

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.

Psalms 138:8

It is clear that the confidence that the psalmist expresses is a divine confidence. He did not say, “I have enough grace to perfect that which concerns me–my faith is so steady that it will not falter–my love is so warm that it will never grow cold–my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it.” No, his dependence was on the Lord alone. If we display a confidence that is not grounded on the Rock of ages, our confidence is worse than a dream; it will fall upon us and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion.

The psalmist was wise; he rested on nothing less than the Lord’s work. It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is He who has carried it on; and if He does not finish it, it never will be completed. If there is one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness that we must insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence–what the Lord begins, He completes. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do.

Unbelief insinuates: “You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil of your heart–you can never conquer sin; remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that beset you–you will be certainly allured by them and led astray.” True, we would certainly perish if left to our own strength. If by ourselves we navigate the most frail vessels of our lives over so rough a sea, we might well give up the voyage in despair; but thanks be to God, He will complete that which concerns us and bring us to the desired haven. We can never be too confident when we confide in Him alone, and never too eager to have such a trust

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