Feb 23, 2008
Feeling a Drought? Look UP!
Feb 23, 2008
Feeling a Drought? Look UP!
Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. —Hebrews 10:35
There is an old adage that says, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” It’s wise not to take on more responsibilities than we can handle. At some time, however, we will likely feel overwhelmed by the size and difficulty of a task we have agreed to do.
This can happen even in our walk of faith in Christ when our commitment to God seems too much to bear. But the Lord has an encouraging word for us when our confidence wavers.
The writer of Hebrews urged his readers to recall the courage they demonstrated during the early days of their faith (10:32-33). Despite public insults and persecution, they aided believers in prison, and they joyfully accepted the confiscation of their own property (vv.33-34). With that in mind, he says, “Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (vv.35-36).
Our confidence is not in ourselves but in Jesus and His promise to return at just the right time (v.37).
It is God’s power that enables us to continue in our journey of faith. Recalling the Lord’s faithfulness in days past stirs our confidence in Him today. By David C. McCasland
When life becomes a heavy load,
An upward climb, a winding road,
In daily tasks, Lord, let me see
That with me You will always be. —D. DeHaan
Trusting God’s faithfulness stirs up our confidence.
After not listening to God, Adam and Eve found themselves in a terrible predicament. Their first reaction was to cover up rather than “fess up.” Fig leaves can never hide the root problem of sin (Gen. 3:7), but even today, we still try this approach. Instead of acknowledging and confessing sin, we frequently look for a quick fix to the situation.
Adam and Eve’s second response was to avoid God. They knew they were guilty of disobeying, but instead of coming to Him to reestablish their relationship, they hid from Him in fear (v. 8). We often do the same thing when sin breaks our fellowship with the Lord. Have you ever found yourself avoiding prayer and time in the Scriptures because you were struggling with sin and feelings of guilt?
A third reaction was to try and avoid personal responsibility by blaming others (vv. 12-13). Shifting guilt to another person can’t remove it. We are each responsible before God for our actions, regardless of the circumstances or who else is involved.
Despite Adam and Eve’s sin and their evasive ways of handling it, the Lord came to them (v. 9). Our sin is never large enough to keep Him away; God still calls to us and asks, “Where are you?” He knows what we have done and why, but He questions us so that we can come to realize our desperate state.
Never let guilt or shame keep you from the Lord. He seeks those who have made a mess of their life and speaks to them through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. Forgiveness and a restored relationship await all who are willing to listen, confess, and repent.
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.” (1 Peter 1:14)
A graphic figure of speech often used in the Bible is the attribution of character traits to parental inheritance.
In our text, those who honor God’s laws are called “obedient children”—a term conveying the same sort of message as “children of light, and the children of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:5), as well as “children of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38). In contrast, note Ephesians 5:6: “Because of these things [that is, the sinful practices listed in Ephesians 5:3-5] cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” A definitive passage is 1 John 3:10: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
Those who are “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3) can, of course, become children of God by the new birth. This becomes the greatest of all incentives toward a godly life. The biblical terms “regeneration” and “born again” are widely misused today, but they represent wonderful, life-changing realities: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
Therefore, as in our text, we must no longer “fashion” ourselves according to our former lusts, but according to our new life. “Be not conformed [same Greek word as ‘fashioned’] to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). No longer in darkness and ignorance, we now “have light” as the “children of light” (John 12:36) and the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) as children of wisdom (Matthew 11:19). We now have the very highest of all callings, as children of God, and we must “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Ephesians 4:1). HMM
The God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people. Blessed be God.—Psalm 68:35.
I WILL meet distress and pain,
I will greet e’en Death’s dark reign,
I will lay me in the grave
With a heart still glad and brave;
Whom the Strongest doth defend,
Whom the Highest counts His friend,
Cannot perish in the end.
COULD we but live more entirely in the unseen Presence, and trust to the unseen support,—and if lonely, or disappointed, or depressed, turn more quickly to God, fully confident of His all-embracing care, believing in His perfect love, the tender sympathy with which He ever regards us, how different life would be from what it ordinarily is! Yet we doubt not that Divine support is assured to us, if we seek to do what is pleasing in His sight. If the end we desire comes not, yet there is rest in the assurance that we have told Him all, and left it to Him to do what He wills. T. T. CARTER.
How reasonable it is to trust ourselves to the keeping of infinite love, and infinite wisdom, and infinite power! THOMAS ERSKINE.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. — Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 28:2-6. Psalm 119:105. Psalm 17:4. Deuteronomy 13:14. Psalm 32:8.
Thou art my portion, O Lord. Psalm 119:57
All things are yours; … and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. — Our Saviour Jesus Christ … gave himself for us. — God gave him to be the head over all things to the church. — Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD. — I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. — O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintamest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
1 Corinthians 3:21,23. Titus 2:13,14. Ephesians 1:22. Ephesians 5:25,27. Psalm 34:2. Isaiah 61:10. Psalm 73:25,26. Psalm 16:2,5,6.