HONEST EVALUATION

LORD, teach me what you want me to do, and I will live by your truth. PSALM 86:11
Guide me in your truth, and teach me, my God, my Savior. PSALM 25:5

Raise your hand if any of the following describe you: You are at peace with everyone. Every relationship as sweet as fudge. Even your old flames speak highly of you. Love all and are loved by all. Is that you? You have no fears. Call you the Teflon toughie. Wall Street plummets—no problem. Heart condition discovered—yawn. Does this describe you?

You need no forgiveness. Never made a mistake. As square as a game of checkers. As clean as grandma’s kitchen. Is that you? No?

Let’s evaluate this. A few of your relationships are shaky. You have fears and faults. Hmmm. Do you really want to hang on to your chest of self-reliance? Sounds to me as if you could use a shepherd.

from TRAVELING LIGHT

Humility Leads to Blessing

Luke 14:7-11

The Lord promises to exalt believers who live humbly, but we often look at our circumstances—job situation, finances, or lack of material things—and question whether He’s coming through on this pledge.

However, it’s important to view things from His perspective rather than the world’s. While God may choose to give us material blessings, such benefits are hardly comparable to the greater rewards He longs to bestow, like a deeper understanding of who He is, or prayers answered beyond all imagination.

Certain attitudes prevent our receiving the Father’s intended blessings: Impatience. We want it now and are unwilling to trust that God is in control.

Insecurity. We feel that if certain things don’t happen, we simply cannot continue.

Identity in the wrong things. We feel good about ourselves only if we are a success by societal standards. Ignorance of the Word. We decide for ourselves what is right.

Impure motives. Discontent or jealousy causes us to push ahead of God and use manipulation to get our way.

Impulsiveness. Without asking God, we assume every seeming opportunity is a door He has opened.

Ingratitude. Lack of thankfulness for what He’s given skews our perspective.

Notice these obstacles all start with “I”! Humility doesn’t come naturally. It requires deliberate, ongoing effort to remain in God’s presence so we can see how worthy He is of our total submission. Begin by “bowing” your heart before the Lord and surrendering everything. Then wait patiently for His promised blessing.
InTouch

Walking in the Midst of the Sea

“But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Exodus 14:29)

Liberal theologians, always seeking naturalistic explanations for biblical miracles, have attempted to explain this Red Sea crossing as a shallow fording of what they call the “Reed Sea” at the extreme northern end of the Red Sea. The biblical description, however, is clearly of a mighty miracle—not merely of a wind driving the shallow waters seaward. Instead, it describes a great path opened up through deep waters, supernaturally restrained as a wall on both sides of the wide freeway, deep enough to drown all the hosts of Pharaoh when the waters later collapsed.

The crossing was, of course, over a narrow northern arm of the Red Sea, enabling the Israelites to cross into the wilderness of Shur (Exodus 15:22), but it was nevertheless a great miracle. Such a miracle required nothing less than the creative power of God, creating some unknown force or energy powerful enough to hold the deep waters as stationary walls against the force of gravity which was straining mightily to bring them down.

Later generations always looked back on this event as the great proof of God’s divine call of Israel. The “song of Moses,” composed after the deliverance, noted that “the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea” (Exodus 15:8).

Fifteen centuries later, the apostle Paul recalled the mighty miracle in these words: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; . . . Now all these things . . . are written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:1, 11). HMM

Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest… Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14, 16.)

OUR great Helper in prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Advocate with the Father, our Great High Priest, whose chief ministry for us these centuries has been intercession and prayer. He it is who takes our imperfect petitions from our hands, cleanses them from their defects, corrects their faults, and then claims their answer from His Father on His own account and through His allatoning merits and righteousness.

Brother, are you fainting in prayer? Look up. Your blessed Advocate has already claimed your answer, and you would grieve and disappoint Him if you were to give up the conflict in the very moment when victory is on its way to meet you. He has gone in for you into the inner chamber, and already holds up your name upon the palms of His hands; and the messenger, which is to bring you your blessing, is now on his way, and the Spirit is only waiting your trust to whisper in your heart the echo of the answer from the throne, “It is done.” —A. B. Simpson.

The Spirit has much to do with acceptable prayer, and His work in prayer is too much neglected. He enlightens the mind to see its wants, softens the heart to feel them, quickens our desires after suitable supplies, gives clear views of God’s power, wisdom, and grace to relieve us, and stirs up that confidence in His truth which excludes all wavering. Prayer is, therefore, a wonderful thing. In every acceptable prayer the whole Trinity is concerned.—J. Angell James.

What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt?

“And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor?” Jeremiah 2:18

By sundry miracles, by divers mercies, by strange deliverances Jehovah had proved Himself to be worthy of Israel’s trust. Yet they broke down the hedges with which God had enclosed them as a sacred garden; they forsook their own true and living God, and followed after false gods. Constantly did the Lord reprove them for this infatuation, and our text contains one instance of God’s expostulating with them, “What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of the muddy river?”—for so it may be translated. “Why dost thou wander afar and leave thine own cool stream from Lebanon? Why dost thou forsake Jerusalem to turn aside to Noph and to Tahapanes?

Why art thou so strangely set on mischief, that thou canst not be content with the good and healthful, but wouldst follow after that which is evil and deceitful?” Is there not here a word of expostulation and warning to the Christian? O true believer, called by grace and washed in the precious blood of Jesus, thou hast tasted of better drink than the muddy river of this world’s pleasure can give thee; thou hast had fellowship with Christ; thou hast obtained the joy of seeing Jesus, and leaning thine head upon His bosom. Do the trifles, the songs, the honours, the merriment of this earth content thee after that? Hast thou eaten the bread of angels, and canst thou live on husks?

Good Rutherford once said, “I have tasted of Christ’s own manna, and it hath put my mouth out of taste for the brown bread of this world’s joys.” Methinks it should be so with thee. If thou art wandering after the waters of Egypt, O return quickly to the one living fountain: the waters of Sihor may be sweet to the Egyptians, but they will prove only bitterness to thee. What hast thou to do with them? Jesus asks thee this question this evening—what wilt thou answer Him?

The earnest of our inheritance

The earnest of our inheritance Ephesians 1:14

Oh! what enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and on Jesus alone. Yet the realization which we have of Christ’s preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at the best. As an old writer says, “‘Tis but a taste!”

We have tasted “that the Lord is gracious,” but we do not yet know how good and gracious He is, although what we know of His sweetness makes us long for more. We have enjoyed the firstfruits of the Spirit, and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fulness of the heavenly vintage. We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption. Here we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from Eshcol, there we shall be in the vineyard. Here we see the manna falling small, like coriander seed, but there shall we eat the bread of heaven and the old corn of the kingdom.

We are but beginners now in spiritual education; for although we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less can we put sentences together; but as one says, “He that has been in heaven but five minutes, knows more than the general assembly of divines on earth.” We have many ungratified desires at present, but soon every wish shall be satisfied; and all our powers shall find the sweetest employment in that eternal world of joy. O Christian, antedate heaven for a few years. Within a very little time thou shalt be rid of all thy trials and thy troubles. Thine eyes now suffused with tears shall weep no longer.

Thou shalt gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendour of Him who sits upon the throne. Nay, more, upon His throne shalt thou sit. The triumph of His glory shall be shared by thee; His crown, His joy, His paradise, these shall be thine, and thou shalt be co-heir with Him who is the heir of all things.