Don’t Forget

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God. —Deuteronomy 8:11

I don’t agree with those who rail against material things and say that owning stuff is inherently evil. And I have to admit that I’m a consumer—often tempted to pad my pile of treasures with items I think I need.

But I do recognize that one of the dangers of owning a lot of stuff is that it can lead to spiritual loss. The more we have and the more we feel as if we have all we need, the more prone we are to forget our need for God and even our desire for Him. Yet, ironically, everything we
have comes ultimately from God, who “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).

Sadly, our enjoyment of God’s provisions might just mean that we end up loving the gift and forgetting the Giver. This is why, when God was getting ready to give His people a life full of bounty in the Promised Land of good and plenty, He warned, “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God” (Deut. 8:11).

If God has allowed you to enjoy material abundance, remind yourself where it came from. In fact, all of us, whether rich in this world’s goods or not, have much to be thankful for. Let’s heed the warning not to forget the Lord and praise Him for His abundant goodness.by Joe Stowell

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
—Rhea F. Miller. © Renewal 1950. Chancel Music.

Love the Giver more than the gifts!

LOADED WITH LOVE

Lord, you are kind and forgiving and have great love for those who call to you. PSALM 86:5

It’s time to let God’s love cover all things in your life. All secrets. All hurts. All hours of evil, minutes of worry. The mornings you awoke in the bed of a stranger? His love will cover that. The years you peddled prejudice and pride? His love will cover that. Every promise broken, drug taken, penny stolen. Every cross word, cuss word, and harsh word. His love covers all things.

Let it. Discover along with the psalmist: “He … loads me with love and mercy” (Psalm 103:4). Picture a giant dump truck full of love. There you are behind it. God lifts the bed until the love starts to slide. Slowly at first, then down, down, down until you are hidden, buried, covered in his love.

“Hey, where are you?” someone asks.

“In here, covered in love.”

from A LOVE WORTH GIVING

They That Wait upon the Lord

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

This is one of the best-loved promises of the Bible, for it is easy to grow weary and faint in our mortal bodies, even when doing the work of the Lord. The answer, we are told, is to “wait upon the LORD.”

But what does this mean? The Hebrew word (gavah) does not mean “serve,” but rather to “wait for” or “look for.” It is translated “waited for” the second time it is used in the Bible, when the dying patriarch Jacob cried out: “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD” (Genesis 49:18).

The first time it is used, surprisingly, is in connection with the third day of creation, when God said: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place” (Genesis 1:9). That is, the all-pervasive waters of the original creation, divided on the second day of creation, now are told to wait patiently, as it were, while God formed the geosphere, the biosphere, and the astrosphere, before dealing again with the waters.

Perhaps the clearest insight into its meaning is its use in the picture of Christ foreshadowed in the 40th Psalm. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

“The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary” (Isaiah 40:28), and His gracious promise is that we can “renew our strength” (literally, “exchange our strength,” our weakness for His strength!) by “waiting upon |Him|.” We wait patiently for Him, we gather together unto Him, we look for Him, we cry unto Him, we trust Him, and He renews our strength! HMM

The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11.)

THIS was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God’s will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement. To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life—to be able to say in such a school of discipline, “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?”—this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point. Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer.—Dr. Charles Parkhurst.

To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and there is no true fellow feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him.

We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.

The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.

The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.

“Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it.”

The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.

A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench.” Matthew 12:20

What is weaker than the bruised reed or the smoking flax? A reed that groweth in the fen or marsh, let but the wild duck light upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed. Then look at the smoking flax—what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true, but it is almost smothered; an infant’s breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame.

Weak things are here described, yet Jesus says of them, “The smoking flax I will not quench; the bruised reed I will not break.” Some of God’s children are made strong to do mighty works for Him; God has His Samsons here and there who can pull up Gaza’s gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men, but the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passer by; a little fearful flock. If temptation comes, they are taken like birds in a snare; if trial threatens, they are ready to faint; their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave, they are drifted along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows—weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight.

Yet, weak as they are, and because they are so weak, they have this promise made specially to them. Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and lovingkindness! How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus—so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him; though He might well chide us for our weakness, He rebuketh not. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoking flax no damping frowns.

The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory

“The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory.” Deuteronomy 5:24

God’s great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of Himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why He bringeth His people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.

They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see His “wonders in the deep.” Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by.

Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.