A Plate of Experiences

I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. JEREMIAH 29:11

Last night during family devotions, I called my daughters to the table and set a plate in front of each. In the center of the table I placed a collection of food: some fruit, some raw vegetables, and some Oreo cookies. “Every day,” I explained, “God prepares for us a plate of experiences. What kind of plate do you most enjoy?”

The answer was easy. Sara put three cookies on her plate. Some days are like that, aren’t they? Some days are “three-cookie days.” Many are not. Sometimes our plate has nothing but vegetables—twenty-four hours of celery, carrots, and squash. Apparently God knows we need some strength, and though the portion may be hard to swallow, isn’t it for our own good? Most days, however, have a bit of it all.…

The next time your plate has more broccoli than apple pie, remember who prepared the meal. And the next time your plate has a portion you find hard to swallow, talk to God about it. Jesus did.

The Great House of God

Wisdom for Good Health

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

God cares deeply for the physical bodies that He’s given His children. Let’s review some simple ways to look after yourself physically.

First, pay close attention to what you eat. Your body will use whatever food you give it—whether good or bad—as fuel. The decision about what kind of fuel to consume is yours alone. When you fill your body with the wrong things, you are limiting its efficiency, energy, and overall potential.

Second, exercise is vital to a healthy body. You may say, “Well, I just can’t do that.” Yes, you can; it is a matter of discipline. You may not enjoy exercise, but your body needs it. If all you can do is walk, then walk!

Third, wisdom about health requires examining your attitude. How’s your outlook regarding yourself, your life, and other people? A positive attitude affects the body by freeing it of stress.

Finally, spending time in prayer and Bible study affects physical well-being. You were created to be in relationship with God; it only makes sense, then, that actively engaging in this relationship and realigning your mind and spirit toward Him can have beneficial effects on the body He created for you.

Many people attempt to separate spiritual life from the physical. This is not what God intended. If you truly believe your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), then you must realize that failing to maintain your health is both a physical and a spiritual problem. What is the Lord saying to you about the way you care for your body?

Prayer for All Men

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” (1 Timothy 2:1)

The book of 1 Timothy consists of various charges (1:18-19) to Paul’s disciple Timothy. The first charge (2:1-8) concerns prayer in the church. The fact that Paul mentions it “first of all” (v. 1) indicates that he felt it of primary importance. Note the four types of prayer in our text verse.

Supplications, or perhaps petitions, referring to one’s personal needs: We must recognize our continued dependence on God’s provision. “The effectual fervent prayer [same word] of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Prayers: This is a general term with a number of applications, but foremost it indicates reverence for and worship of the one to whom the prayers are offered. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8).

Intercessions: This word implies a personal bequest on an intimate basis, as child to father. The only other occurrence of the word regards the eating of food that “is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5).

Giving of thanks: When we give thanks, we recognize that our blessings are undeserved. “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever” (Revelation 7:12).

These types of prayers, which should probably be understood as representing all types of prayers, should be made “for all men,” specifically those in authority (v. 2) and for the unsaved (v. 4). Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will present our prayers to the Father (v. 5) and insure that He will answer them as He sees best. JDM

He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver

“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” (Mal. 3:3.)

OUR Father, who seeks to perfect His saints in holiness, knows the value of the refiner’s fire. It is with the most precious metals that the assayer takes the most pains, and subjects them to the hot fire, because such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass releases its alloy or takes perfectly its new form in the mould. The old refiner never leaves his crucible, but sits down by it, lest there should be one excessive degree of heat to mar the metal. But as soon as he skims from the surface the last of the dross, and sees his own face reflected, he puts out the fire.—Arthur T. Pierson.

“He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Tho’ we fain would have said Him ‘Nay,’
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire—not the Master’s hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o’er the fire, tho’ unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment’s pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure.”

But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him

“But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him.” Luke 24:16

The disciples ought to have known Jesus, they had heard His voice so often, and gazed upon that marred face so frequently, that it is wonderful they did not discover Him. Yet is it not so with you also? You have not seen Jesus lately. You have been to His table, and you have not met Him there. You are in a dark trouble this evening, and though He plainly says, “It is I, be not afraid,” yet you cannot discern Him. Alas! our eyes are holden. We know His voice; we have looked into His face; we have leaned our head upon His bosom, and yet, though Christ is very near us, we are saying “O that I knew where I might find Him!”

We should know Jesus, for we have the Scriptures to reflect His image, and yet how possible it is for us to open that precious book and have no glimpse of the Wellbeloved! Dear child of God, are you in that state? Jesus feedeth among the lilies of the word, and you walk among those lilies, and yet you behold Him not. He is accustomed to walk through the glades of Scripture, and to commune with His people, as the Father did with Adam in the cool of the day, and yet you are in the garden of Scripture, but cannot see Him, though He is always there.

And why do we not see Him? It must be ascribed in our case, as in the disciples’, to unbelief. They evidently did not expect to see Jesus, and therefore they did not know Him. To a great extent in spiritual things we get what we expect of the Lord. Faith alone can bring us to see Jesus. Make it your prayer, “Lord, open Thou mine eyes, that I may see my Saviour present with me.” It is a blessed thing to want to see Him; but oh! it is better far to gaze upon Him. To those who seek Him He is kind; but to those who find Him, beyond expression is He dear!

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, etc..

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, etc.” Matthew 6:9

This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, “Our Father.” There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, “I will arise, and go unto my Father.” This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father “in heaven,” and ascends to devout adoration, “Hallowed be Thy name.” The child lisping, “Abba, Father,” grows into the cherub crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of filial love and reverent adoration—”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God—”Give us this day our daily bread.”

Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:” and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, “Lead us not into temptation.” The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. “Forgive us our debts,” that is justification; “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms.

As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.” We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of His dominion there shall be no end. Thus from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul. Lord, teach us thus to pray.