August 14, 2010 – Begg

Calm Down

I know their sufferings.

Exodus 3:7

The child is cheered as he sings, “This my father knows”; and shall we not be comforted as we discern that our dear and tender Friend knows all about us?

1. He is the Physician, and if He knows everything, there is no need for the patient to know. Calm down, you silly, fluttering heart, prying, peeping, and suspecting! What you don’t know now, you will know later; and meanwhile Jesus, the beloved Physician, knows your soul in adversities. Why does the patient need to analyze all the medicine or estimate all the symptoms? This is the Physician’s work, not mine; it is my business to trust, and His to prescribe. If He shall write His prescription in a fashion that I cannot read, I will not be uneasy on that account, but will rely upon His unfailing skill to make everything clear in the result, no matter how mysterious the process.

2. He is the Master, and His knowledge is to serve us instead of our own; we are to obey, not to judge: “The servant does not know what his master is doing.”1 Shall the architect explain his plans to every bricklayer on the job? If he knows his own intent, is it not enough? The pot upon the wheel cannot guess to what pattern it will be conformed, but if the potter understands his art, the ignorance of the clay is irrelevant. My Lord must not be cross-questioned any more by one so ignorant as I am.

3. He is the Head. All understanding centers there. What judgment has the arm? What comprehension has the foot? All the power to know lies in the head. Why should the member have a brain of its own when the head fulfills for it every intellectual office? Here, then, the believer must rest his comfort in sickness—not that he himself can see the end, but that Jesus knows all. Sweet Lord, be forever eye and soul and head for us, and let us be content to know only what You choose to reveal.

1John 15:15

August 13, 2010

God’s View of Mankind HEBREWS 2:6-18

To understand the purposes and ways of the Lord, we need to comprehend His perspective of mankind. So often, we rely on our human viewpoint instead of trying to see ourselves through His eyes. All that He does on earth is guided by His care and love for the human race. Consider three elements of God’s perspective of humanity:

Created in God’s image. Of all the creatures that the Lord fashioned, only the man and woman were made in His image. They had a mind, will, and emotions as well as a spirit, which enabled them to worship and relate to God. Being sinless and perfect, they were destined to live forever in intimate relationship with their Creator.

Corrupted by Sin. But an act of disobedience broke their relationship with the Lord. The divine image was marred by sin, which infiltrated human nature and corrupted every person born thereafter. Mankind stood spiritually dead, without hope, and condemned before a holy God.

Worthy of Redemption. Yet the Lord considered them worthy of restoration. Through the redemptive work of His Son, all who believe in Jesus are made spiritually alive again, and the broken relationship between God and man is reconciled. One day—in heaven—sin will be no more, and a perfect environment will be reinstated.

Amidst life’s pace and trials, we easily lose sight of divine viewpoint. When we’re overwhelmed by criticism, trouble, or suffering, it’s vital to recognize our worth in the Lord’s eyes. That realization can energize our service and renew our love for the One who gave Himself to bring us back to God.

August 13, 2010 – Begg

Re-Read the Promise

I will remember my covenant.

Genesis 9:15

Note the form of this promise. God does not say, “And when you shall look upon the bow, and you shall remember My covenant, then I will not destroy the earth,” but it is gloriously put, not upon our memory, which is fickle and frail, but upon God’s memory, which is infinite and immutable. “When . . . the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant.” It is not my remembering God—it is God’s remembering me that is the ground of my safety; it is not my laying hold of His covenant, but His covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God!

The ramparts of salvation are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we could imagine being left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget; but our Lord cannot forget the names of those whom He has graven on the palms of His hands. It is with us as it was with Israel in Egypt; the blood was upon the lintel and the two side-posts, but the Lord did not say, “When you see the blood I will pass over you,” but “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”

My looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus that secures my salvation and that of all His elect, since it is impossible for our God to look at Christ, our bleeding Surety, and then to be angry with us for sins already punished in Him. It is not left with us even to be saved by remembering the covenant. There is not a single thread of human effort in this fabric. It is not of man, neither by man, but of the Lord alone. We should remember the covenant, and we shall do it, through divine grace; but the hinge of our safety does not hang there—it is God’s remembering us, not our remembering Him; and hence the covenant is an everlasting covenant

August 12, 2010 – Stanley

Where Do You Go for Advice? 1 TIMOTHY 4:4-10

Because thinking shapes beliefs, and beliefs in turn determine lifestyle, a biblical mindset is vitally important in our Christian walk. Each day we choose to let either the world or God’s Word shape our thoughts. Although most of us are quick to say we believe the Bible, sometimes our actions do not match our words.

Where do you go when you want advice about a big decision or lifestyle choice? Websites, blogs, and the media offer a wealth of information that can be either beneficial or harmful. Co-workers, family, and friends are also readily available sources of counsel, but do they speak with worldly reasoning or godly wisdom? Our only sure resource for true and wise guidance is Scripture. Yet sadly, we do not always seek direction in its pages but instead rely on human intelligence and personal preferences.

Hebrews 4:12 describes God’s Word as “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” and piercing into the deepest parts of the soul. Those who are reluctant to surrender to its penetrating work essentially dethrone the Lord by their refusal to listen and obey. But those who are willing to be nourished by Scripture, accepting its reproof and correction, will discover the riches of a life of faith.

Letting the Word be your guide requires costly changes in thought, attitude, and behavior. Yet any lifestyle adjustments, sacrifices, or disciplines that produce godliness also result in eternal profit. A solid foundation of faith and wisdom starts with going to Scripture for direction.

August 12, 2010 – Begg

Reflections on a Rainbow

The bow is seen in the clouds.

Genesis 9:14

The rainbow, the symbol of the covenant with Noah, foreshadows our Lord Jesus, who is the Lord’s witness to the people. When may we expect to see the token of the covenant? The rainbow is only to be seen painted upon a cloud. When the sinner’s conscience is dark with clouds, when he remembers his past sin and mourns and laments before God, Jesus Christ is revealed to him as the covenant Rainbow, displaying all the glorious hues of the divine character and declaring peace. To the believer, when his trials and temptations surround him, it is sweet to behold the person of our Lord Jesus Christ—to see Him bleeding, living, rising, and pleading for us. God’s rainbow is hung over the cloud of our sins, our sorrows, and our woes, to prophesy deliverance. By itself a cloud does not give a rainbow; there must be the crystal drops to reflect the light of the sun.

So, our sorrows must not only threaten, but they must really fall upon us. There would have been no Christ for us if the vengeance of God had been merely a threatening cloud: Punishment must fall in terrible drops upon Him. Until there is a real anguish in the sinner’s conscience, there is no Christ for him; until the chastisement that he feels becomes grievous, he cannot see Jesus. But there must also be a sun; for clouds and drops of rain do not make rainbows unless the sun shines. Beloved, our God, who is as the sun to us, always shines, but we do not always see Him—clouds hide His face; but no matter what drops may be falling or what clouds may be threatening, if He shines there will be a rainbow at once.

It is said that when we see the rainbow, the shower is over. It is certain that when Christ comes, our troubles withdraw; when we look on Jesus, our sins vanish, and our doubts and fears subside. When Jesus walks upon the waters of the sea, how profound the calm!

August 11, 2010 – Stanley

Waiting in Faith PSALM 33:18-22

Our culture is not one that teaches patience. Just watch the frustration of drivers behind a car that doesn’t start moving the instant the traffic light turns green. Because of a two-second delay, tempers flare and horns honk. Living in a fast-paced culture programs us to expect everything instantly, and that includes answers to our prayers.

At times, I have been very impatient and frustrated with the Lord when He hasn’t operated according to my schedule. I’ve even tried to manipulate the circumstances so I could present Him with the solution and ask for His blessing. But delayed timing from my perspective is perfect timing from His viewpoint. An omniscient God who is the Creator and Ruler of time can never be late.

Waiting on the Lord requires faith. Just because we can’t see what He’s doing does not mean that He is inactive. Our heavenly Father works outside of our visible realm, arranging and orchestrating events to bring about His plan for our lives. His work is like a seed that is planted deep in a garden—we cannot see the underground process. But just as a plant eventually appears, we can likewise trust that in time, the Lord’s ordained outcome will become evident.

The solution to whatever problem you are facing is in God’s hands. By steadfastly clinging to the truth of His love for you, His knowledge of all things, and His power over every obstacle, you can confidently walk by faith and not by sight. In time, your eyes will see proof of His faithfulness.

August 11, 2010 – Begg

Eternal Comfort

Eternal comfort.

2 Thessalonians 2:16

Comfort. There is music in the word: Like David’s harp, it charms away the evil spirit of melancholy. It was a distinguished honor to Barnabas to be called “the son of encouragement”;1 it is one of the illustrious names of one greater than Barnabas, for the Lord Jesus is the comfort of Israel. “Eternal comfort”! This is the best of all, for the everlasting nature of comfort is its crown and glory.

What is this “eternal comfort”? It includes a sense of pardoned sin. A Christian man has received in his heart the witness of the Spirit that his iniquities are put away like a cloud, and his transgressions like a thick cloud. If sin is pardoned, is that not an eternal comfort? Next, the Lord gives His people an abiding sense of being accepted in Christ. The Christian knows that God looks upon him as standing in union with Jesus. Union with the risen Lord is a comfort of the most abiding order; it is, in fact, everlasting. Let sickness prostrate us—haven’t we seen hundreds of believers as happy in the weakness of disease as they would have been in the enjoyment of blooming health?

If death’s arrows pierce us to the heart, our comfort does not die, for we have often heard the songs of saints as they rejoiced because the living love of God was shed abroad in their hearts in dying moments. Yes, a sense of acceptance in the Beloved is an eternal comfort. Moreover, the Christian is convinced of his security. God has promised to save those who trust in Christ: The Christian does trust in Christ, and he believes that God will be as good as His word and will save him. He feels that he is safe by virtue of his being bound up with the person and work of Jesus. Herein is comfort such as can be found nowhere else and in no one else!

1Acts 4:36

August 10, 2010 – Stanley

Wait for the Lord PSALM 130:5-8

Right timing is critical in a believer’s walk with the Lord. However, trusting His timing in important decisions, uncertain direction, or pressing needs is extremely difficult when everything within us cries, “Do something!” Because we want action, waiting for God seems so passive.

To wait for the Lord means to pause for further instruction while remaining in the present circumstance. It is a purposeful, expectant focus on God—a choice to be actively still and quiet in our hearts, listening for His voice and watching for His intervention. The wait is not for events to work out as we want, but rather for God’s will to be done.

The Lord’s voice often comes to us through His Word. Because this is His instruction book for our lives, quiet meditation on Scripture is essential. Sometimes when I read my Bible, a passage will jump out at me. The guidance I’m seeking is right there, almost as if it has my name written on it.

At other times, God will use changed circumstances to redirect us, or He will motivate another person to give guidance. However, always remember that any voice offering us direction must align with the Lord’s will as revealed in His Word; otherwise, it is not from Him.

The first step in waiting for the Lord is submission to His choice of how and when He will act. What are you hoping God will do? Are you seeking Him or the thing you want from Him? Because He alone knows what is best for you, let go and trust His choice.

August 10, 2010 – Begg

The Authority of Christ

The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.

Matthew 9:6

Consider here the Great Physician’s mighty power: the power to forgive sin! While He lived here below, before the ransom had been paid, before the blood had been literally sprinkled on the mercy-seat, He had power to forgive sin. Has He no power to do it now that He has died? What power must dwell in Him who to the utmost penny has faithfully discharged the debts of His people! He has unlimited power now that He has finished transgression and made an end of sin. If you doubt it, see Him rising from the dead! Behold Him in ascending splendor, raised to the right hand of God! Hear Him pleading before the eternal Father, pointing to His wounds, declaring the merit of His sacred passion!

What power to forgive is here! He ascended on high, and He gave gifts to men. He is exalted on high to give repentance and forgiveness of sins. The most crimson sins are removed by the crimson of His blood. At this moment, dear reader, whatever your sinfulness, Christ has power to pardon, power to pardon you, and millions just like you. A word will speak it. He has nothing more to do to win your pardon; all the atoning work is done.

He can, in answer to your tears, forgive your sins today and make you know it. He can breathe into your soul at this very moment a peace with God that passes all understanding, which shall spring from perfect remission of your many iniquities. Do you believe that? I trust you believe it. May you even now experience the power of Jesus to forgive sin! Waste no time in applying to the Physician of souls; hasten to Him with words like these:

Jesus! Master! hear my cry;
Save me, heal me with a word;
Fainting at Thy feet I lie,
Thou my whisper’d plea has heard.

August 9, 2010 – Stanley

Relying on the Spirit in Our Work EZRA 4:1-5

Israel’s enemies were clever in their fight against rebuilding the temple. First, they offered to help. What better way to cause things to go wrong than to get involved in the work? When their aid was rejected, they set out to discourage the workers and make them afraid. They even hired counselors to fight against the Israelites. The opponents were successful in stopping the work.

Yesterday, we saw that God wanted the work carried out in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The people were also to reject self-reliance and instead look to the Lord. He offered them encouragement and hope by promising to take care of the mountain of opposition before them. Sometimes that means He will remove the problem; at other times He walks us through it.

We, too, are to rely steadily on God’s Holy Spirit. Doing so will allow us to:

  • Patiently love our spouse when there is turmoil in the home.
  • Wisely guide our children toward godliness in our self-centered culture.
  • Follow scriptural principles about giving, saving, and spending in a society that urges us to get what we want now.
  • Experience divine contentment in our current circumstances—single or married, employed or out of a job, healthy or sick.
  • Do God’s work His way.

Being led by the Spirit is to characterize how we work (Gal. 5:16). While that mindset is counter-cultural and not pleasing to the flesh, it’s the only way to live as a child of God. Seek out others who are trying to practice dependence on the Spirit, and spur each other on to live it out.

August 9, 2010 – Begg

Transformed by Grace

He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

Mark 16:9

Mary of Magdala was the victim of a fearful evil. She was possessed not just by one demon, but by seven. These dreadful inmates caused much pain and pollution to the poor frame in which they had found a lodging. Hers was a hopeless, horrible case. She could not help herself, and no human power could set her free. But Jesus passed that way, and without being asked and probably while being resisted by the poor demoniac, He uttered the word of power, and Mary of Magdala became a trophy of the healing power of Jesus. All seven demons left her, left her never to return, forcibly ejected by the Lord of all.

What a blessed deliverance! What a happy change! From delirium to delight, from despair to peace, from hell to heaven! Immediately she became a constant follower of Jesus, listening to His every word, following His winding steps, sharing His busy life; and in all this she became His generous helper, first among that band of healed and grateful women who ministered to Him out of their means. When Jesus was lifted up in crucifixion, Mary remained the sharer of His shame: We find her first watching from a distance and then drawing near to the foot of the cross. She could not die on the cross with Jesus, but she stood as near to it as she could, and when His blessed body was taken down, she watched to see how and where it was laid.

She was the faithful and watchful believer, last at the sepulcher where Jesus slept, first at the grave where He arose. Her loyalty and love made her a favored beholder of her beloved Master, who deigned to call her by her name and to make her His messenger of good news to the trembling disciples and Peter. Grace found her useless and made her useful, cast out her demons and gave her to behold angels, delivered her from Satan and united her forever to the Lord Jesus. May we also be such miracles of grace!

August 7, 2010 – Stanley

Doing God’s Work God’s Way ZECHARIAH 4:6-7

As God’s people, we’re called to do His work wherever we are. Because we’re His children, all of our labor has a spiritual component—our actions, attitudes, and speech testify about Him.

The Israelites had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, but many people opposed their efforts. Their detractors used a variety of tactics to prevent them from succeeding (Ezra 4:1-5). After a while, discouragement set in, and eventually, the opposition forced them to stop the work. Like the Israelites, we may be under great pressure and unable to discern how to keep going. God told their leader, Zerubbabel, how to proceed, and we are wise to follow His counsel: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit (Zech 4:6).

When we encounter obstacles, our tendency may be to figure out the solution for ourselves. This attitude of self-reliance is not appropriate for God’s children. While an independent spirit is prevalent and even admired in our culture, it is contrary to the way Scripture tells us to live. Dependence on the Holy Spirit is to characterize our way of life: giving up control and allowing Him to direct our actions will result in doing God’s work His way. Our lives won’t be free of trouble, but we will experience many victories through Him.

When we’re depending upon God’s Spirit, certain things will be evident: without Him, we would fail, and our constant companions would be worry and distress. But with Him, we receive true wisdom and divine power. Then, peace and joy accompany us, even amidst hardship (Gal. 5:22-23).

August 7, 2010 – Begg

Satan Hinders Us

Satan hindered us.

1 Thessalonians 2:18

Since the first hour in which goodness came into conflict with evil, it has never ceased to be true in spiritual experience that Satan hinders us. From all points of the compass, all along the line of battle, in the advance party or in the rear, at the dawn of day and in the midnight hour, Satan hinders us. If we work in the field, he seeks to break our implements; if we build a wall, he tries to cast down the stones; if we are serving God in suffering or in conflict—everywhere Satan hinders us. He hinders us when we are first coming to Jesus Christ. We had fierce conflicts with Satan when we first looked to the cross and lived. Now that we are saved, he tries to prevent our growth in Christian character. You may be congratulating yourself: “So far I have walked consistently; no one can challenge my integrity.”

Beware of boasting, for your virtue will soon be tested; Satan will direct his energies against the very virtue for which you are most famous. If you have to this point been a firm believer, your faith will soon be attacked; if you have been meek like Moses, expect to be tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips. The birds will peck at your ripest fruit, and the wild boar will dash his tusks at your choicest vines.

Satan is sure to hinder us when we are faithful in prayer. He hinders our persistence and weakens our faith in order that, if possible, we may miss the blessing. Satan is equally vigilant in obstructing Christian effort. There was never a revival of religion without a revival of his opposition. As soon as Ezra and Nehemiah began to work, Sanballat and Tobiah were stirred up to hinder them. What then? We are not alarmed because Satan hinders us, for it is a proof that we are on the Lord’s side and are doing the Lord’s work, and in His strength we will win the victory and triumph over our adversary

August 6, 2010 – Stanley

The Key to Life’s Good Things PSALM 34:1-10

Most men and women desire “the good life,” which they picture as a measure of material success, a minimum of troubles, and a degree of happiness. To achieve this dream, some people live simply in a quiet setting, while others work long and hard to amass financial security. Yet, satisfaction and contentment remain elusive for many. That’s because the real key to the good life is to seek hard after our heavenly Father.

In pursuing the Lord, we are to have a relationship-oriented goal—that is, to grow in intimacy with Him. Increasing our knowledge and understanding of His character will deepen our connection to Him.

As we study God’s Word, His Holy Spirit will open our minds and hearts so that we can comprehend the Lord’s beauty and perfection. That will lead to our rejoicing over His kind, compassionate nature and the depth of His love for us (Eph. 3:17-19). Our minds will be in awe of His just and merciful character that enables Him to be both a righteous judge and our all-sufficient advocate (Job 16:19).

The better we know the Lord, the closer we will want to draw near. What’s more, studying His commands and implementing them in our life will also strengthen our relationship with the Creator.

The key to the abundant life is found in pursuing God. He wants us to know Him in increasing measure, give Him first place in our lives, and do what pleases Him. Then He will give us the good things of life—namely, everything that fits into His plan and purpose for us.

August 6, 2010 – Begg

No Exemptions

May the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and amen!

Psalms 72:19

This is a large petition. To intercede for a whole city needs a stretch of faith, and there are times when praying for one man is more than we can handle. But how far-reaching was the psalmist’s dying intercession! How comprehensive! How sublime! “May the whole earth be filled with his glory.” Not a single country is exempt even if it is crushed by the foot of superstition; this does not exclude a single nation however uncivilized. For the terrorist as well as for the civilized, for all places and races this prayer is uttered: It encompasses the whole circle of the world and omits no one. We must be up and doing for our Master, or we cannot honestly offer such a prayer. The petition is not asked with a sincere heart unless we endeavor, with God’s help, to extend the kingdom of our Master.

Are there not some who neglect both to pray and to work? Reader, is it your prayer? Turn your eyes to Calvary. Look at the Lord of Life nailed to a cross, with a crown of thorns upon His brow, with bleeding head and hands and feet. What! Can you look upon this miracle of miracles, the death of the Son of God, without feeling within your heart a marvelous adoration that language never can express? And when you feel the blood applied to your conscience and know that He has blotted out your sins, you are not a man unless you jump from your knees to cry, “May the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen, and Amen!”

Can you bow before the Crucified in humble adoration and not wish to see your Monarch Master of the world? You only pretend to love your Prince if you do not desire to see Him the universal ruler. Your piety is worthless unless it leads you to wish that the same mercy that has been shown to you may bless the whole world. Lord, it is harvesttime; put in Your sickle and reap

August 5, 2010 – Stanley

The Good Life PSALM 100

We all know of people who suffer from deteriorating health, financial reverses, and other troubles. How are we to process such situations in terms of what Scripture teaches about God’s goodness and the expression of His benevolence towards us?

First, God’s character is perfect, and everything He does is right (Deut. 32:4 NIV). He is “compassionate and gracious, . . . and abounding in lovingkindness” (Ps. 103:8). By His very nature, God is good. Second, our heavenly Father expresses His goodness based on His purpose of conforming us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). From the Lord’s perspective, everything that fits into His plan is beneficial for us.

The greatest demonstration of the Lord’s goodness is seen in His Son’s life and death. Jesus left His heavenly home, took on the form of man, suffered, and died in our place so we might be forgiven (Phil. 2:6-8). Because of what our Savior endured, we have been adopted into God’s family, and heaven is our eternal home.

At the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples could not see anything beneficial in it. They knew only great sorrow. But we understand that God gave His own Son so that He might accomplish our salvation (Rom. 8:32).

Our definition of the good life would probably include material success, good health, and the absence of trouble—things that make us happy right now. But God has an eternal perspective, and He always works to fulfill His long-term plan for us. We can trust in His goodness, even in dark times.

August 5, 2010 – Begg

An Obligation of Testing

Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here?

Numbers 32:6

Family brings its obligations. The people of Reuben and the people of Gad would have been unbrotherly if they had claimed the land that had been conquered and had left the rest of the people to fight for their portions alone. We have received great benefits as a result of the efforts and sufferings of the saints in years gone by, and if we do not make some return to the Church of Christ by giving her our best energies, we are unworthy to be enrolled in her ranks. Others are bravely combating the errors of the age or excavating the dying from amid the ruins of the Fall, and if we fold our hands in idleness we put ourselves in danger. The Master of the vineyard inquires, “Why do you stand here all day doing nothing?” What is the lazy man’s excuse?

Serving Jesus becomes the duty of all because it is cheerfully and generously rendered by some. The toils of devoted missionaries and fervent ministers shame us if we continue to sit in laziness. It is the residents of “easy street” who are tempted to run from trials: They would like to escape the cross but still wear the crown; to them the question for this evening’s meditation is very relevant. If the most precious are tested in the fire, are we to escape the crucible? If the diamond must be cut and fashioned on the wheel, are we to be made perfect without suffering? Who has commanded the wind to stop blowing because our ship is on the ocean? Why should we be treated better than our Lord?

The firstborn endured suffering, so why not His younger brothers? It is a cowardly pride that would choose a soft pillow and a silk couch for a soldier of the cross. Far wiser is the one who first resigns himself to God’s will and then as he grows in grace learns to delight in it. So he picks berries on the path of duty, gathers lilies at the foot of the cross, and like Samson discovers honey in the lion.

August 4, 2010 – Stanley

Growing in Faith HEBREWS 5:12-14

Our Father in heaven desires that we grow spiritually from infancy to maturity. He puts us in a school of faith, so to speak, teaching us to follow Him. Yesterday, we talked about the discipline of listening to God. Today, let’s look at four more practices necessary for living a life in Christ.

First, the Lord desires that we obey Him. Some of His teachings are easy to follow, while others are difficult. Choosing our own way might feel good at first, but the end result is always regret. On the other hand, every act of obedience builds faith.

Second, the Lord teaches us to depend upon Him. In fact, He sometimes calls us to action in areas that seem humanly impossible. For instance, forgiving an atrocious act feels beyond our ability. But when we cannot achieve what He requires, we rely upon His strength to enable us.

Third, our heavenly Father wants us to wait upon Him. We want everything to happen according to our preferences and timetable, but manipulating circumstances only makes a mess. God’s way is best, and He desires for us to trust and be patient.

Fourth, Scripture teaches us to confess failures, repent, and learn from them. God doesn’t expect perfection, but He does want to see a healthy response to shortcomings.

The heavenly Father wants His children to have abundant, meaningful lives. For this reason, He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell, equip, and empower believers so they can reach their God-given potential. We can choose to cooperate with this plan or to live independently of His best.

August 4, 2010 – Begg

Lessons From the Field

I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail.

Haggai 2:17

How destructive is the hail to the standing crops, beating out the precious grain upon the ground! How grateful we should be when the corn is spared so terrible a ruin! Let us offer to the Lord thanksgiving. Even more to be dreaded are those mysterious destroyers—fungus, rust, and mildew. They turn the ear into a mass of soot or render it putrid or dry up the grain, and all in a manner so beyond all human control that the farmer is compelled to cry, “This is the finger of God.” Innumerable, minute fungi cause the mischief, and if it weren’t for the goodness of God, the rider on the black horse would soon scatter famine over the land. Infinite mercy spares the food of men, but in view of the active agents that are ready to destroy the harvest, wisdom teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The curse is everywhere, and we are in constant need of the blessing. When blight and mildew come, they are chastisements from heaven, and men must learn to deal with them accordingly.

Spiritually, mildew is not an uncommon evil. When our work is most promising, this blight appears. We hoped for many conversions, and instead we find a general apathy, an abounding worldliness, or a cruel hardness of heart! There may be no blatant sin in those for whom we are working, but there is a deficiency of sincerity and decision that is sadly disappointing. We learn from this to depend upon the Lord and the necessity of prayer so that no blight will fall upon our work. Spiritual pride or laziness will soon bring upon us the dreadful evil, and only the Lord of the harvest can remove it. Mildew may even attack our own hearts and shrivel our prayers and dampen our zeal. May it please the great Gardener to avert so serious a calamity. Shine, blessed Sun of Righteousness, and drive the diseases away

August 3, 2010 – Stanley

The Requirements of Faith GENESIS 12:1-8 The moment we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, we enter into a life of faith. That is, we live by the assurance that God is all He claims to be and will do all He promises. Salvation is instantaneous, but it takes a lifetime to learn and understand what that entails.

So as soon as we are saved, God begins the process of sanctification, teaching us to be like Him. This is a process, as it takes time to learn to walk by faith, trusting what we cannot see.

Even with God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us, we nonetheless battle our “flesh.” We desire to do what God says and to see as He sees, but because we have behavior patterns left over from our old sinful nature, we will falter and do things in our own strength, according to our own rationale. We must choose daily to follow His way.

One of the most important ways to grow in godliness is by learning to listen to our Father. Since doing so is not a natural tendency, self-discipline is needed. It is best to set a specific time each day to meditate upon God’s Word. Eagerly expect Jesus to speak to you, and listen to what He is saying. Write notes in your Bible with the date and what the Lord has impressed upon you. Then, apply the truth you learn, and observe the results.

Hearing God’s voice and being in tune with His Spirit are a vital part of walking in faith. But these things don’t just happen; they require determined persistence. As with physical exercise, the more we strengthen our spiritual “muscles,” the more the process becomes part of who we are

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