Chipmunk Chatter – The Delight of Despair

Chipmunk Chatter
chipmunk
Fear not; I will help you. —Isaiah 41:13

I had laid out some landscape netting in my yard, upon which I was going to spread decorative stones. As I was preparing to finish the job, I noticed a chipmunk tangled up in the netting.

I put on my gloves and gingerly began clipping away at the netting. The little guy was not happy with me. He kicked his hind feet and tried to bite me. I calmly told him, “I’m not going to hurt you, buddy. Just relax.” But he didn’t understand, so in fear he resisted. I finally snipped the last restricting loop and sent him scampering home.

Sometimes humans feel entangled and react in fear to the Lord. Through the centuries, He has offered rescue and hope to people—yet we resist Him, not understanding the help He provides. In Isaiah 41, the prophet quotes the Lord as saying, “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not; I will help you’” (v.13).

As you think about your situation, how do you see God’s role? Are you afraid to turn things over to Him—for fear that He might harm you? He is good and He is near, wanting to free you from life’s entanglements. You can trust Him with your life.

In what area of your life do you need freedom? Ask the Lord to show you and to give you the faith to trust Him for His deliverance.

Faith is the best antidote for fear.

By Dave Branon


The Delight of Despair

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. —Revelation 1:17

It may be that, like the apostle John, you know Jesus Christ intimately. Yet when He suddenly appears to you with totally unfamiliar characteristics, the only thing you can do is fall “at His feet as dead.” There are times when God cannot reveal Himself in any other way than in His majesty, and it is the awesomeness of the vision which brings you to the delight of despair. You experience this joy in hopelessness, realizing that if you are ever to be raised up it must be by the hand of God.

“He laid His right hand on me…” (Revelation 1:17). In the midst of the awesomeness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. You know it is not the hand of restraint, correction, nor chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it gives inexpressible peace and comfort, and the sense that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27), full of support, provision, comfort, and strength. And once His touch comes, nothing at all can throw you into fear again. In the midst of all His ascended glory, the Lord Jesus comes to speak to an insignificant disciple, saying, “Do not be afraid” (Revelation 1:17). His tenderness is inexpressibly sweet. Do I know Him like that?

Take a look at some of the things that cause despair. There is despair which has no delight, no limits whatsoever, and no hope of anything brighter. But the delight of despair comes when “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells…” (Romans 7:18). I delight in knowing that there is something in me which must fall prostrate before God when He reveals Himself to me, and also in knowing that if I am ever to be raised up it must be by the hand of God. God can do nothing for me until I recognize the limits of what is humanly possible, allowing Him to do the impossible.

by Oswald Chambers

Joseph and His Brothers: A Picture of Mercy, Not Revenge

jacob blessing

When I was a boy, I was fascinated by the story of Joseph.

His brothers pretended he was dead and sold him into slavery, he got thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t do–and yet he rises to the top. God gives him the power to read the future from dreams, and the wisdom to make the most of it.

But really the thing that got me was Joseph’s brothers.

All right, Jacob was wrong to make Joseph his favorite; that didn’t sit well with the other lads. I got that.

But I was too young to appreciate how much trouble Joseph made for himself by telling his brothers that they were all going to bow down to him, because he’d dreamed it. How to make yourself obnoxious!

I was afraid of Joseph’s brothers. In my book of Bible stories there was a picture of them, kind of in a huddle, debating whether to kill Joseph or what. If these weren’t bad guys, I didn’t know who were. And they had the power. They had Joseph at their mercy, and could do anything to him that they liked.

Now I’m older, and there’s another part of the story that impresses me the most.

The time came when Joseph had his brothers at his mercy. He could have ordered all their throats cut, or had them all sent as slaves to the mines in the desert, and no one would have stopped him. Think of the temptation! “All right, you creeps–welcome to payback time…”

You can easily imagine what Joseph would do if he were the (ahem) action hero of a modern movie.

But what he does do is awesome. He forgives them.

“And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:19-20)

[For those who do not know the Bible, Joseph’s being sold into slavery in Egypt, and rising there to the highest office in the land, was the means by which the whole family of Israel was saved in time of famine.]

Joseph is great enough not to be seduced by his own greatness. He humbles himself before God.

A great man in this world today would be far too foolish ever to do that. “Hey! I am in the place of God, and I can do anything I want!”

When they finally did bow down and honor him, Joseph raised them up again. And that is awesome.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

by Lee Duigon

http://barbwire.com/2015/05/18/0655-joseph-and-his-brothers-a-picture-of-mercy-not-revenge/

A Provoked Spirit

“They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” (Psalm 106:32-33)

This terse passage summarizes the tragic events described in Numbers 20:1-13. If ever a religious leader had a right to be provoked with an ungrateful and complaining flock, Moses did. Finally, after years of privation in the wilderness, the people complained once too often, and Moses could take it no longer (or so he thought). In anger, he rebuked the rebels and smote the rock, taking credit himself for God’s miraculous provision of water. As a result, God rebuked him, and he was not allowed to enter the promised land.

It is all too easy, in times of pressure and inconsiderate selfishness all around us, to rise up in “righteous indignation” and, like Moses, “spake unadvisedly with [our] lips.” This is surely one of Satan’s most common devices. Such verbal assaults may be well deserved and may seem to give personal satisfaction for a time, but they are usually counterproductive in the long run and very hurtful to one’s testimony for Christ to those so assaulted (imagine Peter trying to witness to Malchus after he had sliced off Malchus’ ear in anger!). Unfortunately, “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

The Lord Jesus Himself is the ideal example in this difficult realm for “he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). He could have called ten legions of angels to destroy His tormentors, but instead He prayed: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Let us not be easily provoked to so-called righteous indignation. “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). HMM

Use Your Head!

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. —Hebrews 5:11

Many a preacher would like to challenge the intellectual and thinking capacity of his congregation, but he has been warned about preaching over the people’s heads.

I ask, “What are people’s heads for? God Almighty gave them those heads and I think they ought to use them!”

As a preacher, I deny that any of the truths of God which I teach and expound are over the heads of the people. I deny it!

My preaching may go right through their heads if there is nothing in there to stop it, but I do not preach truths which are too much for them to comprehend. We ought to begin using our heads. Brother, you ought to take that head of yours, oil it and rub the rust off and begin to use it as God has always expected you would. God expects you to understand and have a grasp of His truth because you need it from day to day.

Lord, help me to use my head, to be willing to be stretched intellectually by Your Holy Spirit. Use me to stretch others as well. Amen.

Find Something Better Than Spiritual Curiosity

…I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

If the only interest we have in the deeper spiritual life is based on curiosity, it is not enough—regardless of our education or scholarship!

In our day we have seen a great revival of interest in mysticism, and supposedly a great interest in the deeper life. But I find that much of this interest is academic and is based on curiosity. We become interested in aspects of the deeper Christian life much as we become interested in mastering the yo-yo or folk songs or dabbling in Korean architecture or anything else that intrigues us. You can go anywhere now and buy a book about the deeper life because there are curious persons who are swelling the market.

It has been suggested that we should not “waste our time” in trying to help those who are merely curious. But I differ at this point, because it is Jesus’ blood that makes the difference and it is because of this hope by the blood of Jesus that any of us may be worthy to listen.

We must leave the sorting out to God! The testing in the matters of spiritual life is by the Spirit of God, not by pastors and preachers. We dare not withhold the open secret of the victorious life because there are those who are merely curious and without true desire.

Unholy, Unrighteous, Unhappy

And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. ROMANS 5:12

All of history and the daily newspaper testify that the human race lies in ruin— spiritually, morally and physically.

The long parade of gods, both virtuous and obscene, and a thousand varieties of vain and meaningless religious practices declare our spiritual degeneration, while disease, old age and death testify sadly to the completeness of our physical decay.

By nature, men and women are unholy; and by practice we are unrighteous. That we are also unhappy is of small consequence.

But it is of overwhelming importance to us that we should seek the favor of God while it is possible to find it, and that we should bring ourselves under the plenary authority of Jesus Christ in complete and voluntary obedience.

To do this is to invite trouble from a hostile world and to incur such unhappiness as may naturally follow. Add the temptation of the devil and a lifelong struggle with the flesh, and it will be obvious that we will need to defer most of our enjoyments to a more appropriate time!

Loving Father, there is nothing more important to do while we are alive than to accept You as our Savior. I pray especially today for believers in hostile countries, that their inner joy in knowing You will override any pain that is inflicted upon them or their families.