New Page is added – Spiritual Warfare 5/26/10

I have added a new section and will be updating weekly. The first lesson is an intro and was written by Sam Robbins. It is in several parts  and will take sometime to read and understand. Don’t forget to pray and do your daily devotions as well.

I hope that you will be interested and challenged by this subject. I know that I am and in this type of format I think I can get you more information and it will be more available to your in your busy schedules.

Also I added a new section for Bible research sites – They are very interesting but you must remember that, like anything, you must listen to the Holy Spirit help as you learn and to test everything you read and study. most information I have read is good, yet there always is a little garbage out there so be on your toes and if you have a question as me, e-mail or blog me.

Enjoy! – Dad

May 26, 2010 – CS

Conquering Loneliness Psalm 25:15-22

I know the pain of loneliness. I was the only child of a single mother who had to work long hours to support us. My adult life has been marked by periods of emotional isolation as well. However, God has never abandoned me to these feelings.

The Lord desires that all people feel connected to Him and to each other. And in fact, we can be quickly comforted when we respond wisely to loneliness.

The first step is to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Believing He exists is not enough. The Lord created mankind for fellowship, which is why a relationship with Him gives people a sense of oneness. The love of Christ squeezes loneliness out of the lives of God’s children.

Second, we must admit that we’re lonely. Some Christians incorrectly think they shouldn’t be susceptible to normal human feelings. But nothing in the Bible says we won’t endure emotional isolation. Not only men like David and Paul, but even the Lord Himself knew the ache of feeling deserted (Ps. 25:16, 2 Tim. 4:16; Matt. 26:40; 27:46).

Finally, we ought to develop godly friends. These are the Christian brothers and sisters who will laugh, cry, and empathize with us. Above all, believers need friends who will continually point them to God and pray over them.

We can’t deny feelings of loneliness, nor can we run from them. A person who seeks ways to escape those feelings only broadens the gap between the Lord and himself. There is just one way to close the chasm and conquer loneliness—by drawing near to the Lord.

May 26, 2010 – AB

Wear the Badge of Perserverance

Continue in the faith.

Acts 14:22

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not only a beginning in the ways of God, but also means continuing in those ways as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: He said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So under God, dear believer in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Aim higher.” The only true conqueror who shall be crowned in the end is he who continues until war’s trumpet is blown no more.

Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.

  • The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can tempt you to quit your pilgrimage and settle down to trade with her in Vanity Fair.
  • The flesh will seek to ensnare you and to prevent your pressing on to glory. “Being a pilgrim is weary work and makes me wonder: Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Can I not have at least a holiday from this constant warfare?”
  • Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the target for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: He will insinuate that you are doing no good and that you need to rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering; he will whisper, “Curse God, and die.” Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as others do, and let your lamp go out like the foolish virgins.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these doctrinal creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: Fall in with the times.”

So, Christian, wear your shield close to your armor and cry earnestly to God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.

May 25, 2010 – CS

When We Are Lonely Hebrews 13:1-5

God created humanity for companionship with Himself and each other. He doesn’t want people to suffer the emotional turmoil of loneliness. That’s why His Word contains pledges of His constant presence as well as instructions to prevent loneliness among church members.

The Lord stressed His constant presence because He knows our need for assurance, especially when we feel deserted or isolated. His vow never to forsake believers is found throughout the Bible: He spoke this comforting word to Joshua, the Israelites, and the disciples who were about to witness Jesus’ ascension (Josh. 1:5; Matt. 28:20). Some biblical saints picked up the theme in their writing as well. David often sought God’s solace (Ps. 25:16). And Paul preached that nothing compared to drawing close to Christ (Phil. 3:8). God wants every believer to implicitly trust that He is near.

The church is designed to meet our need for person-to-person intimacy. A spiritual body works much like a human body—parts are both independent and interdependent, each needing others in order to function well. We require support from our brothers and sisters in Christ. Knowing this, Paul admonished people to accept one another (Rom. 15:7), bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and avoid judging (Rom. 14:13).

Loneliness can cripple a person emotionally and spiritually. Human beings are not designed to walk through this world alone. We are made for relationship, which God gladly supplies. Lest we forget that the Lord is near, He gave the Bible this consistent theme: I love you and I am with you always.

May 25, 2010 – AB

Declare Great Things

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. . . . Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them.

Luke 24:33, 35

When the two disciples had reached Emmaus and were refreshing themselves at the evening meal, the mysterious stranger who had so enchanted them on the road took bread and broke it, made Himself known to them, and then vanished out of their sight. They had constrained Him to stay with them because the day was far spent; but now, although it was much later, their love was a lamp to their feet, indeed wings also. They forgot the darkness, their weariness was all gone, and immediately they headed back the seven miles to tell the wonderful news of a risen Lord who had appeared to them on the road. They reached the Christians in Jerusalem and were received by a burst of joyful news before they could tell their own tale.

These early Christians were all on fire to speak of Christ’s resurrection and to proclaim what they knew of the Lord; they happily shared their experiences. This evening let their example impress us deeply.

We also must bear our witness concerning Jesus. John’s account of the sepulcher needed to be supplemented by Peter; and Mary could speak of something further still; the combined accounts provide us with a complete testimony from which nothing necessary is missing. Each of us has peculiar gifts and personal experiences; but the one object God has in view is the maturing of the whole Body of Christ. We must, therefore, bring our spiritual possessions and lay them at the apostles’ feet, that we may share all of what God has given to us.

Withhold no part of the precious truth, but speak what you know and declare what you have seen. Do not allow the toil or darkness or possible unbelief of your friends to dissuade you. Let us rise and march to the place of duty, and there declare what great things God has shown to our soul.

May 24, 2010 – CS

How to Have a Daniel-like Faith Hebrews 11:1-31

The apostle James challenges us to understand the connection between faith and obedience. In James 2:17, he writes that faith without works is dead. In other words, we cannot have unshakable beliefs without obeying.

Developing steadfast trust takes time. We are born spiritually through simple, childlike faith that receives Jesus as Savior. Convictions are nourished by a growing knowledge of God and a deepening confidence in Him. Experiencing His protection, provision, and power in moments of testing strengthens our beliefs. Each time Daniel’s loyalty was tested, he chose to depend on God. Sometimes the circumstances were thrust upon him—such as whether to eat food sacrificed to idols. At other times, he voluntarily initiated a difficult situation in order to help (Dan. 2:24). In each case, he followed God’s leading.

Hebrews 11 shows that obedience is critical to steadfast faith. Noah, when warned about things not seen, obeyed God and built the ark. At the Lord’s direction, Abraham left home to go to a place not yet known to him. The apostle Paul was planning to arrest Christians when he encountered the Savior. He did a complete turnaround—despite threats, beatings, and shipwrecks, he obeyed the Lord and preached the gospel.

Knowing and trusting God through His Son, experiencing His presence, and living obediently are the elements needed to develop an unshakable faith. Jesus Himself said that our work is to believe in Him (John 6:29). With the Holy Spirit’s help and our cooperation, each of us can have a Daniel-like faith.

May 24, 2010 – AB

Be Worthy

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Philippians 1:27

The apostle’s concern is not simply with our talk and conversation with one another, but with the whole course of our life and behavior in the world. The Greek word translated “manner of life” signifies the actions and the privileges of citizenship: And in this way we are commanded to let our actions, as citizens of the New Jerusalem, be worthy of the Gospel of Christ. What “manner of life” is this?

  • In the first place, the Gospel is very simple. So Christians should be simple and plain in their habits. There should be about our manner, our speech, our dress, our whole behavior that simplicity that is the very soul of beauty.
  • The Gospel is preeminently true. It is gold without dross; and the Christian’s life will be lusterless and valueless without the jewel of truth.
  • The Gospel is a very fearless Gospel; it boldly proclaims the truth, whether men like it or not. We must be equally faithful and unflinching.
  • But the Gospel is also very gentle. We see this in Jesus: “a bruised reed he will not break.”1 Some professing Christians are sharper than a thorn-hedge; such men are not like Jesus. Let us seek to win others by the gentleness of our words and deeds.
  • The Gospel is very loving. It is the message of the God of love to a lost and fallen race. Christ’s command to His disciples was, “Love one another.” We need more real, hearty union with and love for all the saints, more tender compassion toward the souls of the worst and vilest of men!
  • We must not forget that the Gospel of Christ is holy. It never excuses sin: It pardons it, but only through an atonement. If our life is to resemble the Gospel, we must shun not merely the grosser vices, but everything that would hinder our perfect conformity to Christ.

For His sake, for our own sakes, and for the sake of others, we must strive day by day to let our manner of life be more in accordance with His Gospel.

1 Matthew 12:20

Sunday May 23, 2010 – Bible Study

Spiritual Warfare Day by Day

The state of the World right now is so not good (understated with extreme sarcasm)

We are farther away from God and being a real “Christian” nation than we have ever been.

This is normally where there is a long list on stats and info etc…   – no time and no need. Bottom line is that we are in worse shape than you can imagine. To some extent we are all blinded, deceived and unaware of what is going on around us. But deep down inside you know what is going on. What is happening all around us, you know it because it’s true. Listen to the confirmation of the Holy Spirit when you think on this subject.

Look closer to home, your home, then our church. Then the neighborhood around you, our city and Island. Our State and our country. Lastly the world as a whole. So – look close – do you see it?

Decay, Rust, Rot, Mold, yuck, filth and sickness -I could list more names but why, no need. You get the point!

Can we stop it, are we to try? – Jonah – Is anyone being called to be a Jonah?

What about just saving our family and hitting the road – Noah – ready to build and Ark?

Or just give up – The ten spies – “The enemy is too big and too scary and we can’t do it – wahhhh”

You might not be able to accept it or get a grip on this idea about how bad things are, yet, you have to try.

These are the last days – the signs are there – so much that we are numb to them; if you’re not looking then it doesn’t get noticed. We pass over them and look at things that interest us, side track us and keep us to busy to care.

Are you drifting away? (It has been foretold in the scriptures that many believers would “turn away”)

Open your eyes, listen with your ears, feel with your heart and pay attention to the Holy Spirit.

You know that this is not going to be easy.  The time of deception has to stop; we must wake up to the reality of the world and prepare for evil nasty things. What are we to do?

Let’s think about what we have been told. Draw close to God, study more, pray more listen to the still quiet voice.  Change, think different, look at things different.  Change; increase your trust and more faith.  Change – Change – Change – All true for me and you. So will we – do we want to, can we really do it?

It really is like what the pastor has been preaching to us – We gotta Change! What did he say in his message today. Look at your notes, think about the scriptures. A holy Living sacrifice pleasing to God. We need to Please Him! No more Cains – time to be Ables  and give our best.

Time to step up to the Plate

The question for each one of you, and me too, Is what kind of change needs to happen?

What kind of change is simple to illustrate, you are doing something the way the world does it and you need to CHANGE it to the way God wants you to do it – GODS WAY!

We need to have a line drawn in the sand. Stay on this side, in the world, comfortable and in your box. Or you can cross the line and fulfill your purpose in doing God’s will, to please Him and give Him your Best.

What is it gonna take to push you over this line.

Here is the line and what will you do; move now, get close to God.

What makes us change – Example – Mom tested her high blood sugar and it was a very high reading and it scared her, it was scary so she had to change.

This tells me there are two ways that this is gonna happen;

1 – We decide to change and follow up and really do it.

2 – Or something bad happens and scares us into change and then we do it so the bad thing won’t happen again.

Now as the head of the household I can say – For me and my house we will follow the Lord – and I am.

I am making plans for this…

Are you ready to commit yourself

Part of those plans is that every saved person in the House is accountable to God for their relationship with Him and now your gonna have to do something about it!

I plan on helping you, with scriptural advice, ideas and projects that will bring you closer to God.

I have to work on my own and our families as a whole, you need to work on yours and I will help if you want.

I will set aside time  for you to sit and talk with me so we can figure this stuff out.

We go start going forward this week, the time is right now. Amen!

May 22, 2010

Unshakable Faith Daniel 1:1-20

Daniel had unshakable faith. His belief in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under four different kings and faced many challenges.

Knowing God and trusting Him are the two key elements of deep faith. Daniel, who was part of the Israelite nobility, apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity, his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that had been sacrificed to idols, he took a great risk by requesting other food. God caused the official to show favor to him (Dan. 1:5-9). Like Daniel, we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what pleases our heavenly Father (Col. 1:10).

Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said, but he also trusted God to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness, he was demonstrating his confidence in the Father. And his friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—had unwavering belief as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace, but they trusted that He would do what was right (Dan. 3:16-18).

Barriers to unshakable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way—I don’t have to ask God), and self-sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord.

May 22, 2010 – AB

The Kaleidoscope of Christ’s Beauty

Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved.

Song of Songs 1:16

From every angle our Well-beloved is most fair. Our various experiences are meant by our heavenly Father to provide new vantage points from which we may view the loveliness of Jesus. How friendly are our trials when they allow us a clearer view of Jesus than ordinary life could afford us! We have seen Him from the mountain peaks, and He has shone upon us as the sun in His strength; but we have seen Him also from the lions’ dens, and even there He has lost none of His loveliness. In the experience of suffering and pain, from the borders of the grave, we have turned our eyes to our soul’s spouse, and He has never been other than “beautiful.”

Many of His saints looked upon Him from the gloom of dungeons and from the martyr’s flames; yet they never uttered an ill word of Him, but died extolling His surpassing charms. To keep our gaze on the Lord Jesus is noble and pleasant employment. Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Savior in all His works and to perceive Him matchless in each? To shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh combinations of matchless grace? In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on His throne, in the garden and in His kingdom, among thieves or in the midst of cherubim, He is everywhere glorious in His beauty.

Examine carefully every little act of His life and every trait of His character, and He is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic. Judge Him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh Him as you please, and He will not be found wanting. Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved, but rather as ages revolve, His hidden glories will shine with even more inconceivable splendor, and His unutterable loveliness will continually ravish all celestial minds.

May 21, 2010 – AB

God’s Provision

There is grain for sale in Egypt.

Genesis 42:2

Famine pinched all the nations, and it seemed inevitable that Jacob and his family should suffer great want; but the God of providence, who never forgets the objects of electing love, had stored a granary for His people by giving the Egyptians warning of the scarcity and leading them to treasure up the grain from the years of plenty. Little did Jacob expect deliverance from Egypt, but there was grain in store for him.

Believer, though all things are apparently against you, rest assured that God has made a reservation on your behalf; in the roll of your griefs there is a saving clause. Somehow He will deliver you, and somewhere He will provide for you. Your rescue may come from a very unexpected source, but help will definitely come in your extremity, and you will magnify the name of the Lord. If men do not feed you, ravens will; and if the earth does not yield wheat, heaven will drop manna.

Therefore be of good courage, and rest quietly in the Lord. God can make the sun rise in the west if He pleases and can make the source of distress a channel of delight. The grain in Egypt was all in the hands of the beloved Joseph; he opened or closed the granaries at will. And so the riches of providence are all in the absolute power of our Lord Jesus, who will dispense them generously to His people. Joseph was abundantly ready to help his own family; and Jesus is unceasing in His faithful care for His brethren.

Our responsibility is to go after the help that is provided for us: We must not sit still in despondency, but stir ourselves. Prayer will bring us quickly into the presence of our royal Brother. Once before His throne we have only to ask and receive. His stores are not exhausted; there is still grain: His heart is not hard; He will give the grain to us. Lord, forgive our unbelief, and this evening constrain us to draw largely from Your fullness and receive grace for grace.

May 21, 2010 – CS

The Hidden Causes of Anxiety Psalm 94:19-22

Experiences affect how people think about themselves and what they choose to believe. Sometimes negative events create a hurtful thought pattern that can play in a person’s brain like a continuous tape loop. When that tape gets switched on, it triggers anxiety in the heart of the listener. Shutting it off permanently requires faith in the Lord.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Suppose that little Tina’s efforts to do well were often rejected by her parents. She heard, “You can do better than that” or “Your sister did much better at your age.” Tina rarely received praise for a job well done. Now an adult, she refuses to apply for a job promotion, even though her boss is encouraging her to do so. Why? Because she fears being found inadequate. Tina may not be able to name her fear, but it certainly holds her back.

There are several other potential root causes of anxiety. An exhaustive list would not fit here, but the following are a few of the more common ones:

  • A belief that one can’t reach a set standard
  • Guilt over past sin
  • An erroneous idea of God as a punisher
  • Attitudes instilled during childhood

Even if one or more sounds familiar, don’t despair. These roots can be yanked out.

When feeling anxious, ask yourself what produced the uneasiness. Knowing which incidents nurture fear can point you to the underlying cause. Let God help you reject the unhealthy thought pattern and replace it with assurance that those who listen to Him live free from the dread of evil (Prov. 1:33).

May 20, 2010 -CS

Strength for the Fearful Isaiah 41:9-13

I recommend that believers underline Isaiah 41 in their Bibles and meditate on it often. When one of God’s people is seeking an anchor in turbulent times, this is the right passage for the job. Here, Isaiah writes about the source of Christians’ strength.

In verse 10 alone, the Lord promises strength, help, and protection. Moreover, He gives two commands: “do not fear” and “do not anxiously look about you.” Among Satan’s subtle and successful traps is the art of distraction. The Evil One knows that fear can choke faith. He works hard to make unsettling circumstances a person’s sole focus. Once a believer’s attention is diverted from God, natural human tendencies take over. In the absence of prayer and worship, anxiety and doubt grow unobstructed.

Staying focused on God can be hard. The flesh prefers to seek security by thinking through all possible angles: our tendency is to weigh what we think could happen against what “experts” say will happen, and then to evaluate possible ways of preventing our worst fears from coming true. Instead of becoming more confident, we begin to realize how powerless we are.Thankfully, we serve an almighty God who says, “Surely I will help you” (v. 10). You can count on Him.

When we focus on our circumstances, we’re actually choosing to feel anxiety and doubt. But these emotions don’t belong in a believer’s daily life. Instead, let’s decide to trust in the promises God has given us. He’s filled His Word with scriptural anchors to keep His children steady in the faith.

May 20, 2010 – AB

Blocked

Run to the Bands of Love

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love.

Hosea 11:4

Our heavenly Father often leads us with the cords of love; but how slow we are to run toward Him! How reluctantly we respond to His gentle impulses! He leads us to exercise a more simple faith in Him; but we have not yet learned to trust like Abraham. We do not leave our worldly cares with God, but, like Martha, we burden ourselves with much serving. Our meager faith brings leanness to our souls; we do not open our mouths wide, though God has promised to fill them.

Does He not this evening lead us to trust Him? Can we not hear Him say, “Come, My child, and trust Me. The curtain is opened; enter into My presence, and come boldly to the throne of My grace. I am worthy of your complete confidence; cast your cares on Me. Shake yourself from the dust of your cares, and put on the garments of joy.” But, sadly though called with tones of love to the blessed exercise of this comforting grace, we will not come.

At another time He leads us to closer communion with Himself. We have been sitting on the doorstep of God’s house, and He invites us into the banqueting hall to eat with Him, but we decline the honor. There are secret rooms not yet opened to us, which Jesus invites us to enter, but we hold back.

Shame on our cold hearts! We are but poor lovers of our sweet Lord Jesus, not fit to be His servants, much less to be His brides, and yet He has exalted us to be bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, married to Him by a glorious marriage-covenant.

Herein is love! But it is a love that takes no denial. If we do not obey the gentle leadings of His love, He will send affliction to drive us into closer intimacy with Himself. He is determined to bring us close to Him. What foolish children we are to refuse those bands of love, and in doing so to bring upon ourselves painful discipline, which He exercises for our good!

May 19, 2010 CS

Troubled? Try Praise! Deuteronomy 20:1-4

A lot of negative emotions accompany hardship: frustration, despair, fear, and doubt. People ruled by those feelings often make poor choices. This is why I recommend that you decide now to respond to troubled times the way the Israelites did: with praise. Even in the darkest hours, worshipping God fills the heart with joy and the mind with peace. A believer who is filled in this way can wisely keep a commitment to obey the Lord no matter what.

Worshipping the Lord enlarges our vision. By doing so, we begin to see how He is at work in the world, perhaps in ways and places we never noticed before. More particularly, we see what God is doing in our situation and notice areas where He requires our obedience.

Our human tendency is to plot a course through a situation toward the easiest solution. But believers who strike out on their own do not mature in faith. Moreover, they miss out on the blessings of following the Lord’s plan. Stopping to praise can divert us from the easy way out and direct us to the right path—namely, the way of God’s will. Taking a step forward in faith can be frightening. However, believers are completely safe risking their whole future on the Lord’s faithfulness. He has never disappointed anyone!

It’s hard to despair while honoring the Lord for His love and strength. We can dispel doubt by recalling His past faithfulness—and ease frustration by committing our future plans to Him. Praise is not the obvious reaction to hardship, but it is the wisest response.

May 19, 2010 AB

Answers to Prayer

And he asked that he might die.

1 Kings 19:4

It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who would be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire and be translated and not see death, should thus pray, “Take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though He always does in effect. He gave Elijah something better than what he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him. It was strange that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel’s threat as to ask to die, and yet it was so kind on the part of our heavenly Father not to take His desponding servant at his word.

There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask and do not receive because we ask wrongly. If we ask for that which is not promised—if we run counter to the spirit that the Lord would have us cultivate—if we ask contrary to His will or to the decrees of His providence—if we ask merely for selfish gratification and without a concern for His glory, we must not expect that we will receive. But when we ask in faith, without doubting, if we do not receive the precise thing for which we asked, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. As one remarks, “If the Lord does not pay in silver, He will in gold; and if He does not pay in gold, He will in diamonds.” If He does not give you precisely what you ask for, He will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will be happy to receive in its place.

So, dear reader, be much in prayer, and make this evening a time of earnest intercession, but be careful what you ask for!

May 18, 2010 – Charles Stanley

Praise in Troubled Times 2 Chronicles 20:1-25

Faced with his nation’s certain demise, King Jehoshaphat responded with worship. Read his prayer in today’s passage, and you may find it difficult to separate the petition from the praise. Going deeper than familiar expressions like “hallelujah” and “praise the Lord,” his prayer celebrates God’s personhood and extols His virtues.

Furthermore, the king led the nation in glorifying God for His past redemption. As the Israelites focused on the Lord (and away from the incoming armies), the people recalled anew how He had intervened, sometimes dramatically. This was exactly what God had told the Israelites to do—to instruct their children about His ways so they could honor Him every day (Deut. 6:7). This builds courage and strengthens faith.

The people’s praise paved the way for their complete dependence upon Him. The odds of the small Israelite army beating the united force of three enemies were slim. However, in the people’s worshipful state of mind, they could admit their weakness and await divine intervention. God gave them an outrageous solution to the problem: to do nothing. Even so, Israel was spiritually prepared to go against human reason and obey. God loves it when we throw ourselves upon His mercy, because then His power can be released in its fullness.

God is also willing to lead you to victory in troubled times. The Israelites’ story is recorded in His Word so that all believers may apply its principles. Bend your heart and mind toward the Lord, and He will enlarge your vision of who He is and what He can do on your behalf.

May 18, 2010 – Alistair Begg

Later

Hebrews 12:11

How happy are tested Christians, later. There is no deeper calm than that which follows the storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain?

Victorious banquets are for well-accomplished soldiers. After killing the lion we eat the honey; after climbing the Hill Difficulty,1 we sit down in the arbor to rest; after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the passing hulls of the ships upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them “later.” It is peace, sweet, deep peace, that follows the horrible turmoil that once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls.

Consider, then, the happy condition of a Christian! He has his best things last, and therefore in this world he receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are “later” good things, hard plowings yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and he becomes full by being emptied; if, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what will be the full vintage of joy “later” in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world’s days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how will he extol Him before the eternal throne! If evil be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?

Oh, blessed “later”! Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross for the crown that comes afterwards? But here is work for patience, for the rest is not for today, nor the triumph for the present, but “later.” Wait, my soul, and let patience have her perfect work.

1Pilgrim’s Progress

May 17, 2010

The Affliction of Paul 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

It’s easy to assume that problems in biblical days looked totally different from those facing us today. So you might wonder what a first-century missionary can teach us about triumphing over adversity.

Though Paul’s culture was quite different from ours, some things remain the same—like temptation, hardship, persecution, and sin. Satan never changes either. Therefore, when the apostle wrote of being burdened beyond his strength, he had experience to back up his words.

Paul “despaired of life,” but he trusted in a God who raises the dead. In other words, he believed the Lord would sustain him during that season of conflict. How could he be certain? Paul learned to trust the Lord during affliction in the same way that we do: he was thrown into high-pressure situations with impossible odds and yet saw God triumph. We understand divine power when we reach the limits of our own strength and feel God’s supernatural energy kick in.

Divine strength is more than adequate to overcome worldly hardships, satanic temptations, and consequences of sin. That isn’t to say believers can avoid all sorrow and pain. Rather, we have the promise that God will meet our needs in every heartache and trial (Phil. 4:19). Our faith grows stronger when we trust Him in times of affliction.

God’s strength is available to all believers who confess their weakness and inadequacy. Sometimes a troubled soul has only enough stamina left to admit, “Father, I absolutely cannot. If You don’t, it is simply not going to happen.” In effect, we throw ourselves upon God and wait for Him to keep His promise.

May 17, 2010

God’s Chosen Servants

You are my servant, I have chosen you.

Isaiah 41:9

If we have received the grace of God in our hearts, its practical effect has been to make us God’s servants. We may be unfaithful servants, we certainly are unprofitable ones, but yet, blessed be His name, we are His servants, wearing His uniform, eating at His table, and obeying His commands. We were once the servants of sin, but He who made us free has now taken us into His family and taught us obedience to His will. We do not serve our Master perfectly, but we would if we could. As we hear God’s voice saying unto us, “You are My servant,” we can answer with David, “I am your servant. . . . You have loosed my bonds.”1

But the Lord calls us not only His servants, but His chosen ones—”I have chosen you.” We have not chosen Him first, but He has chosen us. If we are now God’s servants, it wasn’t always so; the change must be ascribed to sovereign grace. The eye of sovereignty singled us out, and the voice of unchanging grace declared, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”2 Long before time began or space was created, God had written upon His heart the names of His elect people, had predestinated them to be conformed unto the image of His Son, and ordained them heirs of all the fullness of His love, His grace, and His glory.

What comfort is here! Having loved us for so long, will the Lord then reject us? He knew how stiff-necked we would be, He understood that our hearts were evil, and yet He made the choice. Our Savior is no fickle lover. He does not feel enchanted for a while with some gleams of beauty from His church’s eye and then afterwards reject her because of her unfaithfulness. No, He married her in old eternity; and He hates divorce! The eternal choice is a bond upon our gratitude and upon His faithfulness, which neither can disown.

1Psalm 116:16 2Jeremiah 31:3

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