Dungeon of Bitterness

“When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.” MARK 11:25

Bitterness is its own prison. The sides are slippery with resentment. A floor of muddy anger stills the feet. The stench of betrayal fills the air and stings the eyes. A cloud of self-pity blocks the view of the tiny exit above.

Step in and look at the prisoners. Victims are chained to the walls. Victims of betrayal. Victims of abuse.

The dungeon, deep and dark, is beckoning you to enter … You can, you know. You’ve experienced enough hurt … You can choose, like many, to chain yourself to your hurt … Or you can choose, like some, to put away your hurts before they become hates …

How does God deal with your bitter heart? He reminds you that what you have is more important than what you don’t have. You still have your relationship with God. No one can take that.

from HE STILL MOVES STONES

Moments that Sustain Us

Psalm 145:1-13

When difficulties arise, what’s your main focus—the problem, its impact on you, or its effect on others? David’s writings reveal him following God’s plan for meeting troubles: meditating on the Lord’s sufficiency and will. The result was strength and hope for his soul.

The focusing of mind and spirit on the Lord is a critically important discipline in the believer’s life. Through the Psalms, David not only poured out his troubles to the Lord but also continually turned his attention back to the Father. God is always at the heart of biblical meditation.

Circumstances can be valuable prompts for meditating if we match a character quality of the Lord to our dilemma. Because David’s relationship with God was built on trust, his instinct was to deal with trials by anticipating divine help and victory. For example, his impending fight with Goliath brought to mind God’s past and present deliverance power (1 Sam. 17:37). Facing a different kind of danger—King Saul’s murderous threats and advances—David chose to dwell on the attribute of protection: he visualized God as his refuge and fortress (Ps. 91:2). Mourning the loss of loved ones, he allowed God’s presence and comfort to fill his heart and mind (1 Sam. 30:3-6).

Our main resource for meditation is the Word of God. Throughout its pages, His character, works, and purposes are clearly displayed. When the next difficulty comes, use it as an opportunity to meditate on some aspect of our triune God. From this will come strength and hope to sustain you.

Blessed in Christ

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)

This little phrase, “in Christ,” conveys a world of doctrinal truth with great blessing to the believer. Positionally speaking, God has actually “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). God in effect sees us as “in Christ,” and this wonderful position, at God’s right hand, implies great honor.

It is well to note similar phrases throughout Scripture. Paul assures us that we were “chosen . . . in him before the foundation of the world” (1:4), “accepted in the beloved” (1:6), and “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (2:10).

He is the one “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance” (1:11), and “in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (2:22). We have the glorious future promise that God will “gather together in one all things in Christ” (1:10), “according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (1:19-20).

Therefore, in our exalted position in Him, in the heavenly places, we do indeed enjoy “all spiritual blessings.” This doctrinal truth provides us with the incentive and power to live a practical Christian life that is genuinely consistent with our high calling and position in Him.

This is the basis of the many New Testament exhortations to the believer to live daily “in Christ.” For example, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Colossians 2:6). Therefore, since “ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. . . . For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). HMM

Thou art my hiding-place, Thou shalt preserve me from trouble

Thou art my hiding-place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.—Psalm 32:7.

FEAREST sometimes that thy Father
Hath forgot?
When the clouds around thee gather,
Doubt Him not.
Always hath the daylight broken,—
Always hath He comfort spoken,—
Better hath He been for years
Than thy fears.
KARL RUDOLPH HAGENBACH.

IT is the indwelling Presence of God, believed in, trusted, reverenced, recollected, which ought to become the support to meet every case of trouble. The soul finds rest from its perplexities, as it turns from what perplexes and disturbs it, to fix its gaze and hope and purpose on Him. If there be a pressure of distress, or anxiety, or care, or perplexity of any kind, a heavy burden weighing down the spirits, then let the soul look off for a moment from itself, and from the trying object, to God.

The recollection of His presence within, ever abiding, continually renewed by perpetual communion, would secure to the soul, if duly and constantly cherished, an habitual life of rest. T.T. CARTER

What harm can happen to him who knows that God does everything, and who loves beforehand everything that God does? MADAME SWETCHINE.

He feedeth among the lilies

He feedeth among the lilies. Song of Songs 2:16

Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. — If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. — I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. — The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. — Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. — Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Matthew 18:20. John 14:23. John 15:10. Song of Songs 4:16. Song of Songs 5:1. Galatians 5:22,23. John 15:8. John 15:2. Philippians 1:11.

The Lord will provide

The Lord will provide. Genesis 22:14

God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. — There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God. — Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death.

My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. — He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. — The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusteth in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth: and with my Song of Songs will I praise him.

Genesis 22:8. Isaiah 59:1. Romans 11:26. Psalm 146:5. Psalm 33:18,19. Philippians 4:19. Hebrews 13:5,6. Psalm 28:7.