Memory Loss

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. —Psalm 118:1

Sometimes when we face times of trouble, we may get spiritual amnesia and forget the grace of God. But a good way of reestablishing a thankful heart is to set aside undistracted time and deliberately remember God’s past provisions for us and give thanks.

When the children of Israel found themselves in a barren, hot desert, they developed memory loss about the grace of God. They began to wish they were back in Egypt, enjoying all its foods (Ex. 16:2-3) and later complained about their water supply (17:2). They had forgotten the mighty acts of God in their deliverance and how He had showered them with wealth (12:36). They were dwelling on their current circumstances and forgetting God’s gracious past provision.

The psalmist challenges us: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 118:1). The word mercy means “steadfast love.” It refers to God’s faithfulness. He has promised to be present always to care for His children.

By remembering specific ways God has provided for us in the past, we can change our perspective for the better. God’s steadfast love endures forever! By Dennis Fisher

Wait on the Lord from day to day,
Strength He provides in His own way;
There’s no need for worry, no need to fear,
He is our God who is always near. —Fortna

Remembering God’s provision for yesterday gives hope and strength for today.

The Spiritual Search

What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? —Matthew 7:9

The illustration of prayer that our Lord used here is one of a good child who is asking for something good. We talk about prayer as if God hears us regardless of what our relationship is to Him (see Matthew 5:45). Never say that it is not God’s will to give you what you ask. Don’t faint and give up, but find out the reason you have not received; increase the intensity of your search and examine the evidence. Is your relationship right with your spouse, your children, and your fellow students? Are you a “good child” in those relationships? Do you have to say to the Lord, “I have been irritable and cross, but I still want spiritual blessings”? You cannot receive and will have to do without them until you have the attitude of a “good child.”

We mistake defiance for devotion, arguing with God instead of surrendering. We refuse to look at the evidence that clearly indicates where we are wrong. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want, while refusing to pay someone what I owe him? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? Have I refused to forgive someone, and have I been unkind to that person? Have I been living as God’s child among my relatives and friends? (see Matthew 7:12).

I am a child of God only by being born again, and as His child I am good only as I “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). For most of us, prayer simply becomes some trivial religious expression, a matter of mystical and emotional fellowship with God. We are all good at producing spiritual fog that blinds our sight. But if we will search out and examine the evidence, we will see very clearly what is wrong— a friendship, an unpaid debt, or an improper attitude. There is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says, regarding His children, “Everyone who asks receives . . .” (Matthew 7:8).

by Oswald Chambers

The Wisdom of God

“And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.” (1 Kings 3:28)

The “wisdom of God,” as attributed to Solomon, is an awesome concept, because God Himself is omniscient. Apparently Solomon was given a greater share of the divine wisdom than any others of his generation, and probably more than most of any generation.

God also gave him “largeness of heart” (1 Kings 4:29). Not only did he build and effectively rule a great kingdom, but “he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five” (1 Kings 4:32). Included in these, of course, were three divinely inspired books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), which are now in our Bibles.

Furthermore, he was a scientist, for “he spake of trees, . . . of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes” (1 Kings 4:33-34).

Sadly, in his old age, he also acquired a goodly portion of “the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 2:6) that must “come to nought,” and which led eventually to a loss of part of his kingdom.

The phrase “the wisdom of God” occurs six other times in Scripture (Ezra 7:25; Luke 11:49; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 24; 2:7; Ephesians 3:10). In the Corinthian passages, the eternal divine wisdom is being contrasted with the very temporal and often misguided wisdom of man.

In Ephesians 3:10 is found the remarkable revelation that the angels (who themselves have tremendous wisdom—note 2 Samuel 14:20) are themselves being taught “the manifold wisdom of God.” And these instructions are conveyed “by the church”—that is, by the amazing way in which God has created and redeemed man for eternal fellowship with Himself. HMM

I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel

I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel.—Exodus 16:12.

SAVE our blessings,
Master, save From the blight of thankless eye,
Teach us for all joys to crave
Benediction pure and high
Own them given, endure them gone,
Shrink from their hardening touch, yet prize them won,
Prize them as rich odors meet
For love to lavish at His sacred feet.
JOHN KEBLE.

NOTHING so hinders us in what we are doing as to be longing after something else; in so doing, we leave off tilling our own field, to drive the plough through our neighbor’s land, where we must not look to reap a harvest; and this is mere waste of time. If our thoughts and hopes are elsewhere, it is impossible for us to set our faces steadily towards the work required of us. ST. FRANCIS DE SALES.

One thing is indisputable: the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character. And we certainly can encourage the one or the other. LUCY C. SMITH.

Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life. ALEXANDER MACLAREN.

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day.John 9:4

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. — He that watereth shall be watered.

My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest: behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. — The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season. — Occupy till I come.

I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Proverbs 13:4. Proverbs 11:25. John 4:34-36. Matthew 20:1,2. 2 Timothy 4:2. Luke 19:13. 1 Corinthians 15:10.

God knows their sorrows

I know their sorrows. Exodus 3:7

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. — Touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. — Jesus being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well.

When Jesus … saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. Jesus wept. — For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

He hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death. — He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. — When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.

He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. — In all their affliction he was afflicted; and the angel of his presence saved them.

Isaiah 53:3. Hebrews 4:15. Matthew 8:17. John 4:6. John 11:33,35. Hebrews 2:18. Psalm 102:19,20. Job 23:10. Psalm 142:3. Zechariah 2:8. Isaiah 63:9.