February 24, 2014 By Lyn Leahz
When your kitchen drain gets clogged up, all sorts of nasty stuff comes out. Water can’t flow through as it should, and as a result, it can’t reach its destination. The same is true in our communications with God, our heavenly Father. If our ‘prayer lines’ are clogged, our communication is greatly corrupted. We can’t hear God! Right now, more than ever, it is imperative to hear God’s voice and draw closer than ever before. Are you listening?
Be still, and know that I am God. PSALM 46:10 NIV
The word holy means “to separate.” The ancestry of the term can be traced back to an ancient word which means “to cut.” To be holy, then, is to be a cut above the norm, superior, extraordinary.… The Holy One dwells on a different level from the rest of us. What frightens us does not frighten him. What troubles us does not trouble him.
I’m more a landlubber than a sailor, but I’ve puttered around in a bass boat enough to know the secret for finding land in a storm … You don’t aim at another boat. You certainly don’t stare at the waves. You set your sights on an object unaffected by the wind—a light on the shore—and go straight toward it.…
When you set your sights on our God, you focus on one “a cut above” any storm life may bring.… You find peace.
The Great House of God
Anxiety is the enemy of a peaceful life. People go to great lengths to get rid of stress: travel ads promise vacations will sweep you away from it; gyms offer to help you “sweat it out”; and popular magazines suggest ways to lessen it by adjusting schedules or habits. The problem is that no one can adequately shift circumstances to achieve total freedom from heartache, burdens, or trouble.
However, we can have unshakeable peace during anxious times. Jesus said to seek peace in Him because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). The key is to shift our focus from the scary problem onto God, who lovingly provides whatever we need from His limitless resources and power (Ps. 50:10; Rom. 8:11).
Serenity can’t be manufactured—it’s a gift from our heavenly Father. His Spirit produces a sense of calm in believers who seek the Lord’s protection against anxiety (Gal. 5:22). The Greek word translated as guard in today’s passage literally means “to garrison about.” God wraps hearts and minds in peace, effectively safeguarding both against all-consuming worry or fear. Notice that He doesn’t make problems go away—we may still be under pressure or prone to weep, but we are cushioned against anxiety and encircled by peace as well.
Today’s verses tell us to pray rather than give in to anxiety. These words are Paul’s orders for doing battle against the stresses and troubles of this world. Prayer keeps your mind and heart garrisoned with peace. Keep trusting in God so that your defenses are strong and anxiety cannot slip in.
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)
The subject of hell is widely ignored today, even by evangelical teachers and pastors. Heaven is commonly mentioned at funerals, of course, since almost everyone attending a funeral wants to think that the deceased has gone there (assuming there turns out to be such a place). Hell is rarely acknowledged as even a possibility, on the other hand, even for mobsters or other criminals.
Nevertheless, hell is real and it is going to be more fully populated than heaven. The Lord Jesus said (and He should know!), “Broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: . . . narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
But just who are the “wicked” that will be turned into hell? According to the Bible, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). By the principle of Hebrew poetic parallelism, our text would indicate that “the wicked” are those who “forget God,” where the connotation of “forget” is “become oblivious to.”
Can whole nations become oblivious to the true God of creation—and do business and legislate and conduct all their affairs just as though God no longer existed? If so, those nations (or at least those citizens of those nations who practice such wickedness) are in mortal danger. “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross” (Psalm 119:119).
But “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) and “blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). We who trust Christ therefore surely need to work and pray earnestly for our nation, and its people, that they return to genuine love of God and His Word. HMM
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom all the building fitly framed together, growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.— Ephesians 2:20-22.
WHEN God afflicts thee, think He hews a rugged stone, Which must he shaped, or else aside as useless thrown. RICHARD CHENEVIX TRENCH.
WHAT comforts me is the thought that we are being shaped here below into stones for the heavenly temple,—that to be made like Him is the object of our earthly existence. He is the shaper and carpenter of the heavenly temple. He must work us into shape, our part is to be still in His hands; every vexation is a little chip; also we must not be in a hurry to go out of the quarry, for there is a certain place for each stone, and we must wait till the building is ready for that stone; it would put out the building if we were taken pell-mell. CHARLES GEORGE GORDON.
Oh, thrice fools are we, who like new-born princes weeping in the cradle, know not that there is a kingdom before them; then, let our Lord’s sweet hand square us, and hammer us, and strike off the knots of pride, self-love, and world-worship, and infidelity, that He may make us stones and pillars in His Father’s house. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.
Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? Job 2:10
I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. — O LORD, thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. — It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments.
He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. — Whom the LORD loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. — It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. — Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.
Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. — These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Psalm 119:75. Isaiah 64:8. 1 Samuel 3:18. Jeremiah 12:1. Malachi 3:3. Hebrews 12:6. Matthew 10:25. Hebrews 5:8. 1 Peter 4:13. Revelation 7:14.
Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be enquired of. Ezekiel 36:37
Ye have not, because ye ask not.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. — This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. — If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. — Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. — Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. — Ye shall ask in my name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me.
Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
James 4:2. Matthew 7:7,8. 1 John 5:14,15. James 1:5. Psalm 81:10. Luke 18:1. Psalm 34:15,17. John 16:26,27,24.