Mar 23, 2015
Lumps of clay. There’s no shape, no purpose until a skilled craftsman wets his hands, throws the lump on a wheel, and begins to mold. Where we see only dirt and clay, God sees beauty, purpose, future. And He pours His heart into each one so that every creation will reflect Him.
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. —Psalm 56:3
When our children were young, taking them to the doctor’s office was an interesting experience. The waiting room was filled with toys they could play with and children’s magazines I would read to them. So getting that far with them was no problem. But as soon as I picked them up to carry them into the appointment, everything changed. Suddenly the fun turned into fear as the nurse approached with the needle for the needed shot. The closer she got, the tighter they hugged my neck. They would cling to me for comfort, probably hoping for rescue, not knowing that it was for their own good.
Sometimes in this fallen world we move from times of peace and tranquility into the painful realm of trouble. At that point, the question is, “How will I respond?” We can be fearful and wonder why God allowed this to happen to us, or we can trust that in the midst of this trouble He is doing something that in the end is for our best, even if it hurts. We would do well to remember the words of the psalmist who wrote, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Ps. 56:3).
Psalm 56 was written by David when the Philistines captured him in Gath, as stated in the superscription. One of the ironies of David’s life is that he killed the Philistine champion Goliath who was from Gath, but in fleeing from Saul he sought refuge in that same city. In both circumstances, his ultimate refuge was found in God.
Like my children, the tougher it gets, the tighter we should hug His neck. Trust Him. His love never fails!
Come quickly, Lord, to help me. Teach me to trust You in times of trouble. Remind me of Your presence and of the fact that You hold me in Your loving arms.
Cling to your heavenly Father; He is your only hope.
By Joe Stowell
The story of Daniel illustrates some key elements of obedience. We see the wise young man doing what the Lord commanded, both in the right manner and with the right timing.
Daniel knew that God’s law prohibited eating food that had been offered to idols. But he was living in captivity in Babylon—a nation that worshiped false gods—and soon faced a hard decision. King Nebuchadnezzar had ordered that the choicest of foods be sent for Daniel’s meals after first being presented to idols. Was it better to obey the Lord and risk angering the king—or to disobey God and please the ruler?
On the surface, the question for Daniel was about unacceptable food. But the underlying issue was allegiance to God. He could have rationalized breaking the divine command by telling himself he was a servant and had no choice. Instead, Daniel resolved not to eat the royal food and sought a way that would honor the Lord and keep His law.
Today, many things that our world finds acceptable are outside of God’s protective boundaries for His children. Some are not good for us, while others do not honor Him. Our desire as Christians is to obey the Lord, but our fleshly side wants to please ourselves and others. It’s important to realize that obeying God is always the right choice.
To become like Daniel, we must make a wholehearted commitment to follow the Lord and consistently apply Scripture to our decision making. Then, when challenges come, we will have the courage to obey God’s commands.
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
There are three wonderful figures in the New Testament which depict the relationship of the individual believer to all other believers and to Christ Himself. Christians are like little branches in the great vine, which is Christ. They are stones in a great building of which He is the foundation and corner stone. They are all members of the great body of which He is the head. In each case, they have been placed “in Christ,” and they derive all life and meaning from Him.
As a stone lying alone on the ground is useless and ugly, so would be a professing Christian who is not truly in Christ. But we, “as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5) as “the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Similarly, a branch without its vine and roots is lifeless. Jesus said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
The members of a body are functionless without the head to direct them. “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:18), and it is intended that we “may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together . . . maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Outside of Christ, we are useless, and lifeless, and without direction. In Him, we become a beautiful temple, a fruitful vine, and a strong body. HMM
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. —Ezra 7:10
All else being equal it is desirable that Christians, especially ministers of the gospel, should be widely read. It is a disagreeable experience to present oneself before a teacher for religious instruction and discover in less than three minutes that the said teacher should have changed places with his listeners and learned from them rather than they from him. If he is a humble man and sticks close to the small plot of ground with which he is familiar, he may, if he loves God and men, succeed in ministering to the spiritual needs of his flock. If, however, his ignorance is exceeded by his arrogance, then God help his hearers. If he boasts of his ignorance and scorns learning, show me the nearest exit! I can learn more from a child laughing on the lawn or a cloud passing overhead.
Lord, I’ll never be able to be knowledgeable in every field from which my hearers come. But help me to diligently prepare my heart and know Your Word and to declare it humbly, but with authority. Amen.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6
Why is it that the professed Christian church seems to have learned so little from our Lord’s plain teaching and example concerning human failure and success?
We are still seeing as men see and judging after the manner of man’s judgment. How much eager beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good? How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless projects that are geared to the glorification of little men? How much sacred money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh?
The true Christian should turn away from all this. No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.
God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man.
God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God or more valuable in the total scheme of things.
Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. To be accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by all who reject Him, loved by those who love Him. What greater glory could come to any man?
By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place. HEBREWS 9:12
I think most of us remember with assurance the words of the Charles Wesley hymn which was his own personal testimony:
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God!
Wesley testified here and in many other hymns to an inner illumination!
When I became a Christian, no one had to come to me and tell me what Wesley meant. That is why Jesus taught that whosoever is willing to do His will shall have a revelation in his own heart. He shall have an inward revelation that tells him he is a child of God.
Too many persons try to make Jesus Christ a convenience. They reduce Him simply to a Big Friend who will help us when we are in trouble.
That is not biblical Christianity! Jesus Christ is Lord, and when an individual comes in repentance and faith, the truth flashes in. For the first time he finds himself saying, “I will do the will of the Lord, even if I die for it!”
Lord, I pray today for friends and family who may be questioning their relationship with You. Draw them to Yourself, Heavenly Father.