Check The Oil

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. —Psalm 5:3

When I helped our daughters learn to drive, I included a little instruction on basic auto maintenance. We visited a local service station where they learned to check the oil every time they put fuel in the car. Today, years later, they often remind me of my six-word slogan, “Oil is cheap; engines are expensive.” Adding a quart of oil is nothing compared to replacing an engine.

Maintenance is also important in our spiritual lives. Taking time each day to read the Bible, pray, and listen to God is a key element in avoiding a breakdown. In Psalm 5, David wrote, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You” (v.3). In the following verses he poured out his heart in praise, thanksgiving, and requests to God.

Many people find it essential to begin every day with the Lord. Before checking email, catching the news, or eating breakfast, they find some quiet moments alone to read a portion of God’s Word, praise Him for His greatness, thank Him for His love, and seek His guidance. Others spend time reading and praying at different times of the day.

It’s not magic—it’s maintenance, as we ask the Lord each day to fill our hearts with His presence on the road of life.

Give me a strong desire, O Lord, to look into Your
Word each day. Help me hide it in my heart so that
I might not stray from Your truth. Feed me and
teach me about Yourself and Your will for me.

The roots of stability come from being grounded in God’s Word and prayer.

When We Suffer

John 16:33

Scripture teaches a number of practical lessons about suffering. First, it’s okay to ask for a different road, as Jesus did, but we should choose God’s will above all. Our best response to adversity is, “God, what do You want me to learn?”

Second, on the night He was betrayed, Jesus asked close friends to stay awake and pray. We need support and godly relationships, especially during trials. Genuine friends will speak truth kindly and encourage us in Christ. They will also faithfully lift us up in prayer.

Third, it’s natural to struggle with prayer when pain is intense. During those times, a simple “Help me,” is sufficient. God wants us to acknowledge His Lordship, but He does not expect us to have perfect words. He knows what we need before we ask, and He is able to give us far more than that.

Fourth, we should resist the temptation to blame. Jesus was betrayed and rejected, yet He asked God to forgive those who crucified Him. Likewise, we shouldn’t blame others for our hurt. By turning to God during tough times, we’re choosing to trust His ultimate authority. Our Father may not have caused the hardship, but He allowed it. And He will use it for His glory and our good.

The key to suffering is remembering that God is in control and always with His children. In love, He allows pain, but He also places a limit on its length and intensity. You do not hurt apart from the presence of Him who will sustain, help, and eventually bring you through your distress.

Filthy Dreamers

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 1:8)

The King James translators supplied the term “filthy” for the dreamers that Jude denounces because of the “likewise” that introduces their condemnation. The prior verses had condemned certain angels and the populations of Sodom and Gomorrha because of their perversion of God’s sexual design.

These dreamers not only “stain” the flesh but have become so arrogant that they give “no standing” to any authority and “blaspheme” those who have any “glory.” Not even Michael the archangel had that kind of attitude; Jude notes in the next verse that Michael didn’t rebuke Lucifer when he was carrying out God’s mission for Moses’ body. Some people are way out of line!

Jude’s whole message is focused on those who are attempting to resist, undo, damage, distort, or otherwise disrupt the work of God’s people. In the context, these dreamers are not merely inattentive fools who wander in and out of churches seeking some personal “fulfillment,” they are enemies within—those who may have positions of influence and who are actively seeking to hurt the ministry and mission of God’s Kingdom.

Peter calls them “presumptuous” and “selfwilled,” no better than “natural brute beasts” who mouth off about “things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Peter 2:10-12). Strong words, but a fitting description of those who would dare to set themselves against the omnipotent and omniscient Creator. As David so aptly says: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

Dialogue with these dreamers is futile. The solution is: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). HMM III

Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice

Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice; let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee.—Psalm 5:11. That they might have My joy fulfilled in them” selves.—John 17:13.

GOD desires us to live as close as we can to the life that Jesus Christ lived. That is the broad avenue to perfect happiness. Most of us know by experience that in proportion as we have followed Him, we have found happiness. And we know by still larger experience that as we turn away from Him the world gets dark, and life ceases to be worth living. GEORGE HODGES.

Each soul has its own faculty; it can help in some way to make the world more cheerful and more beautiful. This it is which makes life worth living. If we are living only for ourselves, our own amusement, luxury, advancement, life is not
worth living. But if we are living as co-workers with Christ, as fellow-helpers with God, as part of the noble army of martyrs who bear witness to the truth in all time, then our lives are full of interest. This gives sweetness and strength to all our days. JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. — He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. — LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. — Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heaven.

Who is a rock save our God? — They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. — Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. — Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.

Philippians 4:6,7. Psalm 142:3. Job 23:10. Psalm 90:1. Isaiah 25:4. Psalm 18:31. John 10:28. Psalm 119:116. Hebrews 6:19.

Fear not; I am the first and the last

Fear not; I am the first and the last. Revelation 1:17

Ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, but ye are come unto mount Sion, … to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. —Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. — We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, aud his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. — The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? — Who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

Hebrews 12:18,22-24. Hebrews 12:2. Hebrews 4:15,16. Isaiah 44:6. Isaiah 9:6. Habakkuk 1:12. 2 Samuel 22:32.