VIDEO The Explanation For Our Difficulties

The Explanation For Our Difficulties

If you are going through a time of isolation, seemingly all alone, read John 17 . It will explain exactly why you are where you are— because Jesus has prayed that you “may be one” with the Father as He is. Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life? Since you became a disciple, you cannot be as independent as you used to be.

God reveals in John 17 that His purpose is not just to answer our prayers, but that through prayer we might come to discern His mind. Yet there is one prayer which God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22). Are we as close to Jesus Christ as that?

God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy. If we will pray, regarding our own lives, “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42), then we will be encouraged and comforted by John 17, knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom, accomplishing what is best. When we understand God’s purpose, we will not become small-minded and cynical. Jesus prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself, just as He was one with the Father. Some of us are far from this oneness; yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him— because Jesus prayed, “…that they all may be one….”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The life of Abraham is an illustration of two things: of unreserved surrender to God, and of God’s complete possession of a child of His for His own highest end. Not Knowing Whither


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Up a Tree

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Jonah 2:2

My mother discovered my kitten Velvet atop the kitchen counter, devouring homemade bread. With a huff of frustration, she scooted her out the door. Hours later, we searched our yard for the missing cat without success. A faint meow whistled on the wind, and I looked up to the peak of a poplar tree where a black smudge tilted a branch.

In her haste to flee my mother’s frustration over her behavior, Velvet chose a more precarious predicament. Is it possible that we sometimes do something similar—running from our errors and putting ourselves in danger? And even then God comes to our rescue.

Oh the heights–and in the depths–God goes to in rescuing us with His redeeming love!

The prophet Jonah fled in disobedience from God’s call to preach to Nineveh, and was swallowed up by a great fish. “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me’ ” (Jonah 2:1–2). God heard Jonah’s plea and, “commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (v. 10). Then God gave Jonah another chance (3:1).

After exhausting our efforts to woo Velvet down, we summoned the local fire department. With the longest ladder fully extended, a kind man climbed high, plucked my kitten from her perch, and returned to place her safely in my arms.

Oh the heights—and the depths—God goes to in rescuing us from our disobedience with His redeeming love!

Dear God, how we need Your rescue today!

Jesus’s death on the cross rescued us from our sins.

By Elisa Morgan 

INSIGHT

The story of Jonah is a story of the unexpected. The only character in the story who doesn’t obey God is the one the reader would expect to be obedient, the one who told the sailors, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jonah 1:9). In contrast to the fugitive prophet, the pagan sailors turn to God (v. 16); the fish did as the Lord commanded (2:10); the Ninevites (a blood-thirsty and pagan people) repented (3:5–10). But the unexpected doesn’t stop there. God goes to great lengths to teach Jonah who He is. Rather than punish the disobedient prophet who is angry at God’s mercy, God invites Jonah (and us) to contemplate the depths of His love and mercy.

When have you experienced the love and mercy of God?

J.R. Hudberg

A Comfortable Church

Isaiah 6:8

I think it’s fairly obvious that the society we live in is very self-centered, and this same characteristic can be present in a church. Whenever a local body of believers develops an inward focus, its fruitfulness in ministry begins to decrease, and each member’s Christian walk is hindered. Many believers want their church to be cozy and comfortable. They come to listen to a nice sermon, fellowship with friends, and have their needs met. But God never intended for the gathering of His people to be like a country club; He calls us to join an army that will bring the gospel into enemy territory.

An effective church—one that poses a real threat to the enemy—is a body of discipled people who have been taught the truth of Scripture, helped to mature spiritually, and trained for service. But all this is accomplished for the purpose of going out into the world, not for becoming a self-contained sanctuary of Christian comfort.

The urgency of the Lord’s command and the desperate condition of humanity should motivate us to leave the safety of our Christian fellowships and deliver the message of salvation through Jesus. To avoid this responsibility is to miss the Father’s plan for your life and the opportunity to help build His kingdom.

None of us want to waste time or energy on trivial things and thereby miss the exciting fulfillment of God’s will. He has called us, not to a life of comfortable tradition, but to an adventure of obedience. Answer His call—you’ll help fill His kingdom with people from every tribe and nation.

The Heavens Opened

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” (Revelation 19:11)

This is the final climactic reference in the Bible to God’s opened heavens. Sometimes, as in this verse, heaven is opened in judgment; sometimes in blessing. Sometimes it is the atmospheric heaven that is open; sometimes the heaven of heavens where stands the throne of God.

The first such mention refers to the world-destroying Flood of Noah’s day when “the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). The second mention, however, speaks of blessing. God had “opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat” (Psalm 78:23-24). The windows of heaven rained down the waters of death, while the doors of heaven rained down the bread of life! Ezekiel also saw the heavens opened in judgment (Ezekiel 1:1), but God told Malachi, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse . . . and prove me now . . . if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

At the baptism of Jesus, the heavens were opened and men heard the great testimony of the Father concerning His beloved Son (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21). Jesus promised Nathanael, “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open” (John 1:51), and Stephen and Peter actually saw the heavens open (Acts 7:56; 10:11).

Finally, the apostle John reported that “a door was opened in heaven” (Revelation 4:1), and he saw the Lord on His throne—12 specific references (four in the Old Testament, eight in the New) to the opened heavens. HMM

If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and he shall drink

John 7:25-39

John 7:25, 26

There were various opinions and conjectures. All those who had come up to the feast were interested in him. Jesus always creates a stir; men cannot remain indifferent, but must take one side or the other in reference to him. The dauntless manner in which our Lord faced the crowd led many to ask whether, after all, the rulers were not afraid of him.

John 7:27

There was a vague notion current among the Jews that the origin of the Messiah would be veiled in mystery—a notion in which there was a large amount of truth, hence their knowledge of the family at Nazareth was a stumbling-block in the way of their receiving the claims of Jesus.

John 7:28-31

Well might they make the inquiry. If men will not have Christ for a Saviour, what sort of a Saviour would they have?

John 7:33, 34

They need not be in a hurry to put him away, for he would soon be gone.

John 7:35

There was such a large-heartedness about his teaching that it was adapted for all mankind, and a sense of this may have caused much of the irritated feeling of the Jews towards him.

John 7:36-39

Jesus kept in the background till the fitting moment, and then he came boldly forward to deliver one of the freest and fullest gospel discourses upon record. On a day when no servile work might be done, and consequently no water could be drawn, he freely proclaimed his salvation. His grace is free, it is effectual in its operation, and its results are abiding, elevating, purifying, and saving. Faith receives the grace of God, and the soul lives. Without money and without price the boon of eternal life is bestowed. Let us bless that dear Redeemer who at this moment still cries aloud, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”

 

The Saviour calls, let every ear

Attend the heavenly sound;

Ye doubting souls, dismiss your fear,

Hope smiles reviving round.

 

For every thirsty, longing heart,

Here streams of bounty flow,

And life and health and bliss impart,

To banish mortal woe.

 

Ye sinners, come; ’tis mercy’s voice,

The gracious call obey;

Mercy invites to heavenly joys;

And can you yet delay?

 

Dear Saviour, draw reluctant hearts,

To thee let sinners fly,

And take the bliss thy love imparts,

And drink, and never die.

 

Yes God Is Sovereign

We are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 5:20)

Oh, how I wish that I could adequately set forth the glory of the One who is worthy to be the object of our worship!

I do believe that if our new converts—the babes in Christ—could be made to see His thousand attributes and even partially comprehend His being, they would become faint with a yearning desire to worship and honor and acknowledge Him, now and forever!

I know that many discouraged Christians do not truly believe in God’s sovereignty. In that case, we are not filling our role as the humble and trusting followers of God and His Christ.

And yet, that is why Christ came into our world. The old theologians called it “theanthropism”—the union of the divine and human natures in Christ. This is a great mystery and I stand in awe before it!

The theanthropy is the mystery of God and man united in one Person—not two persons but two natures. So, the nature of God and the nature of man are united in this One who is our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Song of Confidence

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.   Ps. 138:7

Wretched walking in the midst of trouble. Nay, blessed walking, since there is a special promise for it. Give me a promise, and what is the trouble? What doth my Lord teach me here to say? Why this “Thou wilt revive me.” I shall have more life, more energy, more faith. Is it not often so, that trouble revives us, like a breath of cold air when one is ready to faint?

How angry are my enemies and especially the arch-enemy! Shall I stretch forth my hand and fight my foes? No, my hand is better employed in doing service for my Lord. Besides, there is no need, for my God will use His far-reaching arm, and He will deal with them far better than I could if I were to try. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” He will with His own right hand of power and wisdom save me, and what more can I desire?

Come, my heart, talk this promise over to thyself till thou canst use it as the song of thy confidence, the solace of thy loneliness. Pray to be revived thyself, and leave the rest with the Lord, who performeth all things for thee.

 

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