July 9, 2010 – Stanley

Gods Promise in Context Psalm 19:7-11

Yesterday we noted that believers must consider the whole counsel of God to understand His promises. For example, the Lord’s commitment to supply our needs isn’t an isolated pledge without connection to other parts of Scripture.

Trust God to provide. James opens his letter with a strong warning that those who doubt the Lord can expect nothing from Him (1:6-7). God’s trustworthiness is clear in Scripture and in believers’ lives, but our wavering confidence undermines His work.

Wait upon His timing (1 Sam. 13:9-13). King Saul took over the prophet Samuel’s duty and made a pre-battle sacrifice to God. Like so many people who manipulate circumstances and timing, Saul was dissatisfied with the results. He won the war but lost not only God’s favor but also his kingdom. No one gets what he really wants by supplying his own need.

Accept responsibility (Prov. 19:15, 20:4). God does not open a door to opportunity while we’re lying on the couch. We have to be on the lookout. If we need a job, we should be out making applications. If we want to know the Father’s direction for a hard situation, we need to be seeking Him regularly through prayer and His Word. The Lord goes before us to soften hearts, but we must do our share.

God knows our needs, and He has committed Himself to meeting every one. But He does not make promises in a vacuum. We have a responsibility to trust Him, be patient, and do our part. Then we leave it to the Lord to move heaven and earth to give us what we require.

July 9, 2010 – Begg

An Internal Disagreement

And God separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:4

A believer has two principles at work within him. In his natural estate he was subject to one principle only, which was darkness; now light has entered, and the two principles disagree. Consider the apostle Paul’s words in the seventh chapter of Romans: “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”1 How is this state of things occasioned? “God separated the light from the darkness.” Darkness, by itself, is quiet and undisturbed, but when the Lord sends in light, there is a conflict, for the one is in opposition to the other, a conflict that will never end until the believer is altogether light in the Lord.

If there is a division inside the individual Christian, there is certain to be a division outside. As soon as the Lord gives light to any man, he proceeds to separate himself from the darkness around; he withdraws from a merely worldly religion of outward ceremony, for nothing short of the Gospel of Christ will now satisfy him, and he removes himself from worldly society and frivolous amusements and seeks the company of the saints, for “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.”2

The light gathers to itself, and the darkness to itself. What God has separated, let us never try to unite; but as Christ went outside the camp, bearing His reproach, let us come out from the ungodly and be a special people. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; and as He was, so we are to be nonconformists to the world, dissenting from all sin, and distinguished from the rest of mankind by our likeness to our Master.

1Romans 7:21-23 21 John 3:14

July 8, 2010 – Stanley

Our Unmet Needs Philippians 4:19

God promised to supply all your needs, and yet sometimes fulfillment is slow in coming. What could be the problem? Perhaps you are. When our Father fails to meet our expectations, we generally look outside ourselves for the reasons. But while the Lord’s love is unconditional, many of His promises are not.

For example, Philippians 4:19 is a “family promise”—it can be claimed only by those who rightly call the sovereign of the universe “my Father.” His unlimited resources are not available to men and women who reject salvation through Jesus Christ. Moreover, when we look at the whole framework of Scripture, we see that the Lord makes our obedience a condition for His fulfilling needs (Ps. 81:10-12). He will not condone sin by blessing us while we rebel against Him.

Think of yourself as part of an army at war, which is what you are, in a spiritual sense. A top military priority is to keep the supply line open—victory is impossible if the soldiers are weaponless, cold, and starving. Our willful disobedience allows Satan to cut our supply line from the Lord. Restoring that connection is a matter of repentance. Those who walk in God’s way are protected, provided for, and satisfied (Ps. 81:13-16).

Taking a promise out of its biblical context is dangerous. And expecting God to keep a conditional pledge when we aren’t meeting its requirements is even more unwise. The Lord keeps His word but rightfully expects us to do our part. Thankfully, His yoke is light—to love, honor, and obey Him.

July 8, 2010 – Begg

You Are My Salvation

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalms 25:5

When the believer has begun with trembling feet to walk in the way of the Lord, he still asks to be led onward like a little child upheld by its parent’s helping hand, and he yearns to receive further instruction in the alphabet of truth. Experimental teaching is the burden of this prayer. David knew much, but he felt his ignorance and desired to be still in the Lord’s school: four times over in two verses he applies for a scholarship in the college of grace. It would be better for many professors if instead of following their own devices and cutting out new paths of thought for themselves, they would inquire for the good old ways of God’s own truth and beseech the Holy Ghost to give them sanctified understandings and teachable spirits.

For you are the God of my salvation.” Jehovah is the Author and Perfecter of salvation to His people. Reader, is He the God of your salvation? Do you find in the Father’s election, in the Son’s atonement, and in the Spirit’s quickening all the grounds of your eternal hopes? If so, you may use this as an argument for obtaining further blessings; if the Lord has ordained to save you, surely He will not refuse to instruct you in His ways. It is a happy thing when we can address the Lord with the confidence that David displays here; it gives us great power in prayer and comfort in trial.

For you I wait all the day long.” Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it is of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us

July 7, 2010 – Stanley

Faithfulness through the Ages Deuteronomy 7:8-10

God is the only One who never disappoints. From the beginning of time, His Word has remained true. Every prophecy is a promise that has been or will be fulfilled.

Perhaps the greatest of these foretellings were the ones that spoke of Messiah, and throughout the ages, God people longed for His coming. Many prophets spoke about the Anointed One (2nd Sam 7:12-16; Isa 7-14; and 9:6; Dan. 9:25 niv; Micah 5:2;). Although there was no further prophecy on the subject during the four centuries leading up Christ’s birth, when the time was right Jesus came to reconcile mankind to the Father.

Surely, people must have questioned whether the Savior would ever come. After all, 400 years is a long time to wait without any word. But, as history proves, God never falls short on His promises. He is trustworthy, even when His timetable differs from what we hoped.

Knowing this, we can read Scripture’s assurances with expectation. For instance, if we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and choose to follow Him, the Bible promises our salvation. We can rest assured that we are forgiven and redeemed. Whats more nothing can separate us from God’s love (Rom. 8:38-39), and we can trust that He will provide everything we need to accomplish His purpose in our lives.

These are but three foundational promises; the Word contains many more. Consider God faithfulness through out the Bible and in your own life and realize that He will be steadfast in the future as well. By living obediently, you can have full confidence that He will do all He has promised.

July 7, 2010 – Begg

Mandate of Mercy

When I passed by you . . . I said to you . . . ‘Live!’

Ezekiel 16:6

Believer, consider gratefully this mandate of mercy. Note that this decree of God is majestic. In our text we find a sinner with nothing in him but sin, expecting nothing but wrath; but the eternal Lord passes by in His glory. He looks, He pauses, and He pronounces the solitary but royal word, “Live.” Only God can speak in this way, dispensing life with a single syllable! Again, this decree is manifold. When He says “Live,” it includes many things. Here is judicial life. The sinner is ready to be condemned, but the Mighty One says, “Live,” and he rises pardoned and absolved.

It is spiritual life. We did not know Jesus—our eyes could not see Christ, our ears could not hear His voice—but Jehovah said “Live,” and we who were dead in trespasses and sins were quickened. Moreover, it includes glory-life, which is the perfection of spiritual life. “I said to you . . . ‘Live,'” and that word rolls on through all the years of time till death comes; and even in the shadows of death, the Lord’s voice is still heard: “Live!” In the morning of the resurrection it is that selfsame voice that is echoed by the archangel, “Live,” and as holy spirits rise to heaven to be blessed forever in the glory of their God, it is in the power of this same word, “Live.” Note again, that it is an irresistible decree.

Saul of Tarsus is on the road to Damascus to arrest the saints of the living God. A voice is heard from heaven, and a light is seen above the brightness of the sun, and Saul is crying out, “Who are you, Lord?”1 This decree is of free grace. When sinners are saved, it is only and solely because God will do it to magnify His free, unpurchased, unsought grace. Christians, see your position—debtors to grace; show your gratitude by earnest, Christlike lives; and as God has called you to live, see to it that you do so in sincerity.

1Acts 9:5

July 6, 2010 – Stanley

Our Faithful Father 2 Timothy 2:11-13

All of us experience times when circumstances feel unbearable, prayers appear to go unanswered, and God seems distant. When that happens, we may wonder if He is the same as we once believed Him to be.

During such periods of helplessness, faith falters for some people yet grows stronger for others. What is it that can cause such opposite responses to suffering?

The key is simply one’s understanding of and trust in God’s faithfulness. This term means that the Lord never changes–He always does what is right, remains true to His promises, and is 100 percent reliable. In other words, we can trust our almighty God, regardless of our situation or attitude.

Our understanding of God relates to this concept. Do we trust Him enough to obey, even when obedience seems foolish? Are we so confident He hears and answers prayer that we consistently bring requests before His throne, even when we don’t see an immediate response? Are we daily sacrificing our selfish desires and patterns of living because we believe His promise of eternity, joy, and peace? An answer of “no” may indicate a deficient understanding of God’s character. That’s why reading the Bible is so important—through Scripture’s countless illustrations of our Father’s attributes, we learn who He is and increasingly trust Him.

Thankfully, the Lord’s faithfulness does not depend upon our circumstances, our feelings, or even our own faithfulness. He is true to His Word and true to Himself. How would your life look different if you had complete confidence that God was trustworthy and unchanging?

July 6, 2010 – Begg

Count Your Trespasses

How many are my iniquities and my sins?

Job 13:23

Have you ever really weighed and considered how great the sin of God’s people is? Think how heinous is your own transgression, and you will find that not only does a sin here and there tower up like an alp, but that your iniquities are heaped upon each other, as in the old fable of the giants who piled Pelian upon Ossa,1 mountain upon mountain. What an aggregate of sin there is in the life of one of the most sanctified of God’s children! Attempt to multiply this, the sin of one only, by the multitude of the redeemed, “a great multitude that no one could number,”2 and you will have some conception of the great mass of the guilt of the people for whom Jesus shed His blood. But we arrive at a more adequate idea of the magnitude of sin by the greatness of the remedy provided.

It is the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only and well-beloved Son. God’s Son! Angels cast their crowns before Him! All the choral symphonies of heaven surround His glorious throne. “God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”3 And yet He takes upon Himself the form of a servant and is scourged and pierced, bruised and torn, and at last slain; nothing but the blood of the incarnate Son of God could make atonement for our offenses.

No human mind can adequately estimate the infinite value of the divine sacrifice, for although the sin of God’s people is great, the atonement that takes it away is immeasurably greater. Therefore, even when sin rolls in like a flood, and the remembrance of the past is bitter, the believer can still stand before the blazing throne of the great and holy God and cry, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised.”4 While the recollection of the believer’s sin fills him with shame and sorrow, its very darkness serves to show the brightness of mercy; guilt is the dark night in which the fair star of divine love shines with serene splendor.

1The giant sons of Iphimedia who tried to reach Olympus by piling Mt. Pelian on Mt. Ossa (The Odyssey).

2Revelation 7:9 3Romans 9:5 4Romans 8:34

July 5, 2010 – Stanley

A Nation Gone Astray Isaiah 59

The principle of sowing and reaping applies not only to individuals but also to nations. A country that ignores or rejects God and His Word will suffer the consequences of that choice. Though Israel had once honored the Lord, it went astray during the days of the prophet Isaiah and suffered the dire results of turning from the heavenly Father.

When a nation begins ignoring biblical commands and principles, truth becomes relative as false philosophies and “liberated thinking” take root. Leaders tend to consider themselves advanced and intellectual, but in reality, if they are separated from God, their thinking is foolish and their understanding darkened (Eph. 4:17-18).

A society always behaves according to its belief system, so the inevitable result of skewed thinking is sin. Once sin becomes acceptable in the eyes of the people, sensuality and self-gratification dominate as restraint is lifted. The baser nature of man emerges in the form of immorality, greed, and violence. Injustice reaches its peak when laws permit the killing of the most helpless and innocent of all its citizens—unborn children. Even if the majority of citizens disapprove of the injustice and immorality, unless they act, that nation will continue its downward spiral into depravity.

Our ultimate hope, of course, is in our coming King who will reign on earth with righteousness and justice. But the church must still awaken to its responsibility to be salt and light in a depraved world. Each generation is called to be alert and active during its appointed time on this earth.

July 5, 2010 – Begg

Rest Upon the Rock

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:4

Seeing that we have such a God to trust, let us rest upon Him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief and endeavor to get rid of doubts and fears, which spoil our comfort, since there is no excuse for fear when God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father, who has never failed us and who never will.

It would be good if doubting was banished from the household of God; but it is to be feared that old Unbelief is as nimble today as when the psalmist asked, “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?”1 David had not tested the mighty sword of the giant Goliath for long, and yet he said, “There is none like that.”2 He had tried it once in the hour of his youthful victory, and it had proved itself to be of the right metal, and therefore he praised it ever afterwards.

Even so should we speak well of our God; there is none like unto Him in the heaven above or the earth beneath. “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?”3 There is no rock like the rock of Jacob, our enemies themselves being judges. So far from tolerating doubts to live in our hearts, we will take the whole detestable crew, as Elijah did the prophets of Baal, and slay them over the brook; and for a stream to kill them at, we will select the sacred torrent that flows from our Savior’s wounded side. We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been placed where we could not find in our God all that we needed. Let us then be encouraged to trust in the Lord forever, assured that His ever-lasting strength will be, as it has been, our deliverance and comfort.

1Psalm 77:7 21 Samuel 21:9 3Isaiah 46:5

July 3, 2010 – Stanley

A Nation That Honors God Psalm 72

Because government is instituted by God as His minister for good (Rom. 13:4), it functions best when leaders honor and obey Him. Throughout Israel’s history, God commended those kings who obeyed His laws and worshiped Him alone. The course of the entire nation was influenced by each king’s beliefs and behavior. Since this principle is still applicable today, righteous leaders have a tremendous potential to affect their nations for good. The Lord will guide and support those who fear Him and seek His wisdom and direction for their decisions.

As important as rulers are in determining a nation’s future, its citizens also play a vital role, especially in democracies where leaders arise from within the populace. An unrighteous constituency rarely elects a godly leader. Yet Christians who share their faith and raise children in God’s ways can have a tremendous impact on their nation’s values and, thereby, on its choice of rulers.

When both leaders and citizens value the Word of God, laws will be enacted which line up with biblical principles and commands. Every instruction in Scripture is given for our protection and benefit. By aligning our laws with God’s, justice will triumph as the helpless are protected, the guilty are punished, and the innocent are vindicated.

When comparing this ideal to your reality, you might feel discouraged. But no matter what the condition of a nation, you can make a difference in your circle of influence by living righteously in an evil culture and reaching out to share the good news of Christ with a world that has lost its way.

July 3, 2010 – Begg

Suffer And Reign

If we endure, we will also reign with him.

2 Timothy 2:12

We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ and with Christ if we are not in Christ. Beloved friend, are you trusting in Jesus only? If not, whatever you may have to mourn over on earth, you are not suffering with Christ and have no hope of reigning with Him in heaven. Neither are we to conclude that all a Christian’s sufferings are sufferings with Christ, for it is essential that he be called by God to suffer.

If we are rash and imprudent and run into positions for which neither providence nor grace has fitted us, we ought to question whether we are not rather sinning than communing with Jesus. If we let passion take the place of judgment, and self-will reign instead of scriptural authority, we shall fight the Lord’s battles with the devil’s weapons, and if we cut our own fingers we must not be surprised. Again, in troubles that come upon us as the result of sin, we must not dream that we are suffering with Christ.

When Miriam spoke evil of Moses, and the leprosy polluted her, she was not suffering for God. Moreover, suffering that God accepts must have God’s glory as its end. If I suffer that I may earn a name or win applause, I shall get no other reward than that of the Pharisee. It is required also that love for Jesus and love for His people should always be the mainspring of all our patience. We must manifest the Spirit of Christ in meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness.

Let us search and see if we truly suffer with Jesus. And if we do suffer in this way, what is our “slight momentary affliction”1 compared with reigning with Him? Oh, it is so blessed to be in the furnace with Christ, and such an honor to stand in the jail with Him, that if there were no future reward, we might count ourselves happy in present honor; but when the recompense is so eternal, so infinitely more than we had any right to expect, shall we not take up the cross with enthusiasm and go on our way rejoicing?

12 Corinthians 4:16

July 2, 2010 – Stanley

Prayer Makes a Difference 1 Timothy 2:1-8

After observing the godless condition of our nations, we readily recognize the need for change. But God’s solution for our predicament is surprising. Paul instructs Timothy to establish some priorities in the church, and top on the list is prayer “for kings and all who are in authority” (v. 2). The reason for our petitions is so that we can live tranquil and godly lives and thereby have unhindered opportunities to tell others about the Savior (v. 2-4).

Paul would never have given this command to Timothy if he didn’t believe that the church’s prayers made a difference in achieving God’s purposes for their nation. Our problem is not with the Lord’s promise or power, but with our lack of faith. By focusing on the enormity of the problems or the power of those in office, we lose sight of our sovereign God who waits for us to ask for His intervention.

Political policies and legislation are not ultimately determined in conference rooms and governmental chambers, but in prayer closets. The voices that shape the direction of a nation are not necessarily those that ring out in legislative halls, but those that approach the throne room of God with bold faith (Heb. 4:16). As the church believes and prays, the Lord will respond.

Knowing that God can change a country, you may be wondering why He has waited so long. Maybe He is asking you a similar question: “Why have you waited so long to pray?” Every authority on earth can be touched by the power of prayer if we are willing to ask and believe God.

July 2, 2010 – Begg

Cry to the Lord

To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

Psalms 28:1

A cry is the natural expression of sorrow, and a suitable utterance when all other modes of appeal fail us; but the cry must be alone directed to the Lord, for to cry to man is to waste our entreaties upon the air. When we consider the readiness of the Lord to hear and His ability to aid, we shall see good reason for directing all our appeals at once to the God of our salvation. It will be in vain to call to the rocks in the day of judgment, but our Rock attends to our cries.

“Be not deaf to me.” Mere formalists may be content without answers to their prayers, but genuine suppliants cannot; they are not satisfied with the results of prayer itself in calming the mind and subduing the will—they must go further and obtain actual replies from heaven or they cannot rest; and those replies they long to receive at once—they dread even a little of God’s silence.

God’s voice is often so terrible that it shakes the wilderness; but His silence is equally full of awe to an eager suppliant. When God seems to close His ear, we must not therefore close our mouths but rather cry with more earnestness; for when our note grows shrill with eagerness and grief, He will not long deny us a hearing. What a dreadful case we would be in if the Lord should become forever deaf to our prayers. “Lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.” Deprived of the God who answers prayer, we would be in a more pitiable plight than the dead in the grave and would soon sink to the same level as the lost in hell. We must have answers to prayer: Ours is an urgent case of dire necessity; surely the Lord will speak peace to our agitated minds, for He never can find it in His heart to permit His own elect to perish.

July 1, 2010 – Stanley

He’s Got the Whole Word in His Hands Daniel 2:20-22

How many of us have listened to the global or national news and wondered, What in the world is going on? Without a firm foundation of biblical truth, we can easily be overcome with fear and despair. Despite the upheaval in political and financial realms, Christians can find peace in the knowledge that our God is sovereign over every nation and ruler on earth.

Though the future of a nation appears to be in the hands of its rulers and lawmakers, an omnipotent hand is orchestrating a good and glorious plan: the Lord is the one who “removes kings and establishes kings” (v. 20). Ultimately, every governmental leader is put into office, not by voters, political campaigns, or personal abilities, but by the hand of God.

Nothing that the Lord does is carried out in isolation. He’s working all things according to His divine plan. We tend t think to think that a ruler has to be righteous for God to use him, but Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the Lord can direct the heart of any national leader wherever He wishes. In fact, He describes two pagan kings – Nebuchhadadnezzar and Cyrus – as “My servants” (Isa. 44:28). Unbeknownst to them, God guided their paths to fulfill His purposes for Israel.

When the news threatens to dislodge your peace or cause despair, remember who holds the nations in His hand. God

July 1, 2010 – Begg

In the Cool of the Day

. . . The sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

Genesis 3:8

My soul, now that the cool of the day has come, retire awhile and hearken to the voice of God. He is always ready to speak with you when you are prepared to hear. If there is any slowness to commune, it is not on His part, but altogether on yours, for He stands at the door and knocks, and if His people will but open, He rejoices to enter. But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord’s garden? May I venture to hope that it is well trimmed and watered and is bringing forth fruit fit for Him? If not, He will have much to reprove, but still I pray Him to come to me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in His wings.

Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites You earnestly and waits for You eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in Your matchless character! Come, O my Father, who is the Gardener, and deal with me in Your tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and saturate my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears! O that He would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to Him, and every other thought is hushed.

I am only asking what He delights to give. I am sure that He will condescend to have fellowship with me, for He has given me His Holy Spirit to abide with me forever. Sweet is the cool twilight, when every star seems like the eye of heaven and the cool wind is as the breath of celestial love. My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in loving-kindness, for You have opened my ear and I am not rebellious

June 30, 2010 – Stanley

It Is Good to Be Afflicted Psalm 119:71-76

David rejoiced in affliction because trials added to his knowledge of God. Lessons in the Lord’s constancy, grace, and provision were more valuable to him than a sack of money. Moreover, David’s heart and spirit were enriched as well.

Affliction acts as spiritual fertilizer on a believer’s faith. David’s radical pursuit of the Lord developed while he was running from a murderous king. The years between his victory over Goliath and his ascension to the throne were physically demanding and emotionally draining. Yet the challenges molded the future king into a wise leader, a cunning warrior, and a humble servant of God.

David’s psalms reveal that his struggles taught him dependence on God (Ps. 4), perseverance (Ps. 13), and many other valuable spiritual traits. The Lord also provided comfort even as He stretched the warrior-poet’s faith (Ps. 86:17). As God intended, David’s words offer solace to others who must walk through misery.

By means of affliction, God molds His children into comfort carriers (2 Cor. 1:4). The message we offer is the one we learned in our trials: God is enough. He is sufficient to meet needs when the pit is deep, the obstacle high, or the suffering prolonged. Moreover, our own life proves that hardship makes Christians stronger and wiser.

Second Corinthians 2:14 tells us that believers are a sweet aroma on the earth. Those whom God leads to triumph over affliction become the fragrance of His care to a hurting world. We carry cheer to the discouraged, relief to the hurting, and the message of Christ’s love to all.

June 30, 2010 – Begg

An Impossible Promise

Ah, Lord God! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Jeremiah 32:17

At the very time when the Chaldeans surrounded Jerusalem, and when the sword, famine, and pestilence had desolated the land, Jeremiah was commanded by God to purchase a field and have the deed of transfer legally sealed and witnessed. This was a strange purchase for a rational man to make. Caution could not justify it, for it was buying with hardly a probability that the purchaser would ever enjoy the possession. But it was enough for Jeremiah that his God had instructed him, for he knew with certainty that God will be justified of all His children. He reasoned thus: “Lord God, You can make this plot of ground useful to me; You can rid this land of these oppressors; You can make me sit under my vine and my fig-tree in the heritage that I have bought; for You made the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for You.” There was a majesty in the early saints, who dared to do at God’s command things that human reason would condemn.

Whether it be a Noah who is to build a ship on dry land, an Abraham who is to offer up his only son, a Moses who is to despise the treasures of Egypt, or a Joshua who is to besiege Jericho for seven days, using no weapons but the blasts of trumpets, they all act upon God’s command, contrary to the dictates of human reason; and the Lord gives them a rich reward as the result of their obedient faith. Would to God we had in contemporary Christianity a more potent infusion of this heroic faith in God. If we would venture more upon the naked promise of God, we would enter a world of wonders to which as yet we are strangers. May Jeremiah’s place of confidence become ours—nothing is too hard for the God that created the heavens and the earth.

June 29, 2010 – Stanley

God Is With Us in Hard Times Genesis 41:14-44

The Bible is relevant for every situation. Although the details of our circumstances probably differ from those described in Scripture, God’s Word still applies.

From the life of Joseph, we get a glimpse of what it means to have God with us in hard times. First of all, the young man’s faith strengthened, helping him place loyalty to the Lord above his personal welfare. For example, when Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph, he refused, saying he would not sin against God (Gen. 39:9).

Second, the Lord’s presence meant that Joseph prospered right where he was—as a slave in Potiphar’s house and as a prisoner in a foreign jail. In both situations, those in charge recognized God’s favor was upon Joseph. So they gave him great responsibility and authority (vv. 3-4, 21-22).

Third, during times of suffering, Joseph gained invaluable life lessons that prepared him for the future. As a slave and prisoner, Joseph learned ways to handle responsibility, the details of Egyptian culture, and the importance of keeping God first.

An additional blessing was the opportunity to be a witness to the Lord’s power and sufficiency. When brought before Pharaoh to interpret his dream, Joseph said he could not do it but testified that God could (41:16).

We can see our faith grow by relying on our heavenly Father the way Joseph did. When we give God His rightful place in our lives as Lord, His presence will strengthen us to resist temptation. Then we, too, will be equipped to do kingdom work and ready to proclaim His greatness to those around us.

June 29, 2010 – Begg

Trust in God Alone

And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.

2 Chronicles 32:31

Hezekiah was growing so inwardly great and priding himself so much upon the favor of God that self-righteousness crept in, and because he trusted in himself, the grace of God was for a time, in its more active operations, withdrawn. If the grace of God were to leave the best Christian, there is enough sin in his heart to make him the worst of transgressors. If left to yourselves, you who are warmest for Christ would cool down like Laodicea into sickening lukewarmness: You who are sound in the faith would be white with the leprosy of false doctrine; you who now walk before the Lord in excellency and integrity would reel to and fro and stagger with a drunkenness of evil passion. Like the moon, we borrow our light; bright as we are when grace shines on us, we are darkness itself when the Sun of Righteousness withdraws Himself.

Therefore, let us cry to God to never leave us. “Take not Your Holy Spirit from me! Do not withdraw from us Your indwelling grace! Have You not said, ‘I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day’?1 Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when we’re in the valley so that we do not grumble against Your humbling hand; keep us when we’re on the mountain, so we do not lose our balance by being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited in our wisdom, we may therefore prove greater fools than those who are young and silly; keep us when we come to die, in case at the very end we should deny You! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us working, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need You, O our God!”

1Isaiah 27:3

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