OPEN YOUR HEART

LORD, my Rock, I call out to you for help. PSALM 28:1

How did Jesus endure the terror of the crucifixion? He went first to the Father with his fears. He modeled the words of Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid, I will trust you.” Do the same with yours. Don’t avoid life’s Gardens of Gethsemane. Enter them. Just don’t enter them alone. And while there, be honest. Pounding the ground is permitted. Tears are allowed. And if you sweat blood, you won’t be the first. Do what Jesus did; open your heart.

And be specific. Jesus was. “Take away this cup,” he prayed (Luke 22:42). Give God the number of the flight. Tell him the length of the speech. Share the details of the job transfer. He has plenty of time. He also has plenty of compassion.

He doesn’t think your fears are foolish or silly. He won’t tell you to “buck up” or “get tough.” He’s been where you are. He knows how you feel.

And he knows what you need.

from TRAVELING LIGHT

What God Has Done

You have been saved by God’s grace. EPHESIANS 2:5

Read slowly and carefully Paul’s description of what God has done for you: “When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless” (Col. 2:13– 15).

As you look at the words above, answer this question. Who is doing the work? You or God? Who is active? You or God? Who is doing the saving? You or God?

He Still Moves Stones

He Is Able

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Despite man’s arrogant pride, he is utterly unable to save himself or to make himself acceptable to God. Neither is he able to keep himself saved nor, above all, is he able to defeat sin and conquer death.

But God is able! The word “able” (Greek dunamai) is closely related to the word for “power” (Greek dunamis), both speaking of God’s spiritual dynamics. He is all powerful, His ability is without limit, and His power “works in us”!

Therefore, “he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25). Because the gospel of Christ is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), God “is of power to stablish you according to my gospel” (Romans 16:25).

Even when great troubles and sorrows and temptations come, He is able. “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). He “is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

In fact, He is able to meet every need of our lives and even to use us in His service. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Finally, “he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). That day will surely come, but then He will give us bodies of glory, for “he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21). HMM

To be left alone with Him is a foretaste of Heaven!

“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” (Gen. 32:24.)

LEFT alone! What different sensations those words conjure up to each of us. To some they spell loneliness and desolation, to others rest and quiet. To be left alone without God, would be too awful for words, but to be left alone with Him is a foretaste of Heaven! If His followers spent more time alone with Him, we should have spiritual giants again.

The Master set us an example. Note how often He went to be alone with God; and He had a mighty purpose behind the command, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray.”

The greatest miracles of Elijah and Elisha took place when they were alone with God. It was alone with God that Jacob became a prince; and just there that we, too, may become princes— “men (aye, and women too!) wondered at” (Zech. 3:8). Joshua was alone when the Lord came to him. (Josh. 1:1.) Gideon and Jephthah were by themselves when commissioned to save Israel. (Judges 6:11 and 11:29.) Moses was by himself at the wilderness bush. (Exodus 3:1-5). Cornelius was praying by himself when the angel came to him. (Acts 10:2.) No one was with Peter on the house top, when he was instructed to go to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:9.) John the Baptist was alone in the wilderness. (Luke 1:80), and John the Beloved alone in Patmos, when nearest God. (Rev. 1:9.)

Covet to get alone with God. If we neglect it, we not only rob ourselves, but others too, of blessing, since when we are blessed we are able to pass on blessing to others. It may mean less outside work; it must mean more depth and power, and the consequence, too, will be “they saw no man save Jesus only.” To be alone with God in prayer cannot be over-emphasized.

“Ifchosen men had never been alone,
In deepest silence open-doored to God,
No greatness ever had Veen dreamed or done.”

Jesus your representative long before He appeared upon the stage of time

“Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2

The Lord Jesus had goings forth for His people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was “from everlasting” that He signed the compact with His Father, that He would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of His people; it was “from everlasting” that He gave Himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of His head to the sole of His foot He might sweat great drops of blood, that He might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting.

Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus “from everlasting.” Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but His delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did He think of them; from everlasting to everlasting He had set His affection upon them.

What! my soul, has He been so long about thy salvation, and will not He accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will He lose me now? What! has He carried me in His hand, as His precious jewel, and will He now let me slip from between His fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were digged, and will He reject me now? Impossible!

I am sure He would not have loved me so long if He had not been a changeless Lover. If He could grow weary of me, He would have been tired of me long before now. If He had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, He would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am His everlasting and unalienable inheritance, given to Him by His Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.

Continually exposed to change

Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation.” Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hillside, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, His cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire.

They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sickly today and well tomorrow; he may be in happiness today, tomorrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.