My Father Is with Me – The Never-forsaking God

My Father Is with Me

You will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. —John 16:32

A friend struggling with loneliness posted these words on her Facebook page: “It’s not that I feel alone because I have no friends. I have lots of friends. I know that I have people who can hold me and reassure me and talk to me and care for me and think of me. But they can’t be with me all the time—for all time.”

Jesus understands that kind of loneliness. I imagine that during His earthly ministry He saw loneliness in the eyes of lepers and heard it in the voices of the blind. But above all, He must have experienced it when His close friends deserted Him (Mark 14:50).

However, as He foretold the disciples’ desertion, He also confessed His unshaken confidence in His Father’s presence. He said to His disciples: “[You] will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32). Shortly after Jesus said these words, He took up the cross for us. He made it possible for you and me to have a restored relationship with God and to be a member of His family.

Being humans, we will all experience times of loneliness. But Jesus helps us understand that we always have the presence of the Father with us. God is omnipresent and eternal. Only He can be with us all the time, for all time.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. When I feel lonely, help me to remember You are always with me.

If you know Jesus, you’ll never walk alone.

By Poh Fang Chia

The Never-forsaking God

He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
—Hebrews 13:5

What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears? Am I simply repeating what God says, or am I learning to truly hear Him and then to respond after I have heard what He says? “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

“I will never leave you…”— not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness, nor waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never leave me? If I have not truly heard this assurance of God, then let me listen again.

“I will never…forsake you.” Sometimes it is not the difficulty of life but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me. When there is no major difficulty to overcome, no vision from God, nothing wonderful or beautiful— just the everyday activities of life— do I hear God’s assurance even in these?

We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing— that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.

by Oswald Chambers

God’s Grace and Our Finances – Exit Strategy

God’s Grace and Our Finances

Proverbs 3:9-10

If you knew that something you desired could destroy your life, would you keep chasing after it? The Bible warns about a certain kind of pursuit that can cause one to:

1) Fall into sin.
2) Be mastered by foolish wishes.
3) Engage in activities that erode character.
4) Plunge into moral ruin.
5) Wander from faith.

In spite of these dire warnings, many people are still ruled by a longing to get rich.

There is nothing wrong with being affluent, as long as we follow God’s rules for wise living. Specifically, we are to honor Him with our money, which includes acknowledging that He is the rightful owner (Proverbs 3:9; Psalms 50:10). And we’re also to give it cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). The desire for riches becomes a sin when accumulation is among our highest priorities. If that is the case, the god we end up serving is money.

Believers are to live by grace in every aspect of their lives, including finances. That means we surrender wages, portfolio, and charitable giving into God’s hands. Furthermore, we accept what He gives as enough, even when the bank account seems low by the world’s standards. He has promised to supply our needs, so we’re to regard financial gains and losses as part of His will and plan.

I am not preaching a message that suggests godly people are rewarded with riches. Poverty and tough times are as common to believers as to unbelievers. However, the Bible promises that if we live by God’s grace, He will provide amply for whatever we need (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Exit Strategy

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Someone who sins may say, “God promises to provide a way of escape when we are tempted, but I never saw it!” That’s right—God does promise a way of escape from sin. But the apostle Paul doesn’t define the exit strategy.

Or perhaps he does. First Corinthians 10:13 comes at the end of Paul’s account of how Israel yielded to the temptation of idolatry and sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 10:6-10). He then warns the Corinthians not to fall in the same way. Immediately after saying God will provide a way of escape, Paul writes, “Flee from idolatry” (verse 14). Therein lies the common denominator for escaping temptation. When all else fails, when no other escape route is evident, . . . flee! Do whatever you have to do to exit the circumstance you are in and prevent falling into sin. Paul recommended this strategy on more than one occasion (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22).

You can’t fall into a sin from which you have fled.

You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair. Martin Luther

Recommended Reading: James 1:13-15

That Ye Might Believe

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)

The gospel of John is the one book of the Bible specifically written with the purpose of leading men to Jesus Christ and salvation. It is structured around seven specially selected miracles of creation, or “signs” (John 2:11; 4:53-54; 5:9; 6:13-14; 6:19-21; 9:6-7; 11:43-45), each requiring supernatural power as well as knowledge. The book also contains many affirmations of His deity (there are seven great “I am” statements) and many exhortations to believe on Him (e.g., John 3:16) interspersed around the seven signs. Finally, there is the detailed description of the last supper, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, climaxed by the glorious affirmation of faith by doubting Thomas, and then our text stating the purpose of the entire book.

If we are to be effective witnesses for Christ, we can do no better than follow this same procedure. It is most significant that this begins with a strong emphasis on the special creation of all things, with an exposition showing that Christ Himself is the Creator (John 1:1-14). The judicious use of Christian evidences (e.g., the miracles) demonstrating the truth of His many claims of deity, climaxed by the overwhelming proofs of His own bodily resurrection (John 20:1-29), all interwoven with an uncompromising emphasis on the inerrant authority of Scripture (e.g., John 5:39-47; 10:34-36) and a clear exposition of His substitutionary death and the necessity of personal faith in Him for salvation (especially John 3:1-18), all combine to make the most effective way of bringing men to an intelligent, well-grounded decision to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. HMM

Beyond Thanksgiving

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. —Psalm 145:3

The dictionary says that to admire is “to regard with wondering esteem accompanied by pleasure and delight; to look at or upon with an elevated feeling of pleasure.” According to this definition, God has few admirers among Christians today.

Many are they who are grateful for His goodness in providing salvation. At Thanksgiving time the churches ring with songs of gratitude that “all is safely gathered in.” Testimony meetings are mostly devoted to recitations of incidents where someone got into trouble and got out again in answer to prayer. To decry this would be uncharitable and unscriptural, for there is much of the same thing in the Book of Psalms. It is good and right to render unto God thanksgiving for all His mercies to us. But God’s admirers, where are they?

The simple truth is that worship is elementary until it begins to take on the quality of admiration. Just as long as the worshiper is engrossed with himself and his good fortune, he is a babe. We begin to grow up when our worship passes from thanksgiving to admiration. As our hearts rise to God in lofty esteem for that which He is (“I AM THAT I AM,” Exodus 3:14), we begin to share a little of the selfless pleasure which is the portion of the blessed in heaven.

Almighty God, I want to be one of Your admirers. Help me to pass beyond thanksgiving to lofty esteem and selfless admiration. Amen.

Attitude of Worship: Everywhere, All the Time

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

I have to be faithful to what I know to be true, so I must tell you that if you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week!

There is no such thing in heaven as Sunday worship—unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and right on through the rest of the week.

Too many of us try to discharge our obligations to God Almighty in one day— usually one trip to church. Sometimes, nobly, we make it two trips to church, but it is all on the same day when we have nothing else to do—and that is supposed to be worship!

I do not say that you must be at church all of the time—how could you be? I am saying that you can worship God at your desk, on an elevated train, or driving in traffic. You can worship God in school, on the basketball court. You can worship God in whatever is legitimate and right and good.

Surely, we can go to church and worship on one day, but it is not true worship unless it is followed by continuing worship in the days that follow. We cannot pray toward the east and walk toward the west and hope for harmony in our beings! You can name the name of Jesus a thousand times, but if you will not follow the nature of Jesus, the name of Jesus will not mean anything to you!

See to it that there is not an hour or a place or an act or a location that is not consecrated and given over to God. You will be worshipping Him—and He will accept it!

Spectator Christians

By love serve one another. GALATIANS 5:13

This we have heard: “I am a born-again Christian and I am happy that my sins are forgiven and I go to church on Sunday because I like the fellowship!”

We ask: “Do you not go to put yourself in the way of spiritual blessing?”

The answer: “No, I am saved and I do not need anything!”

We ask: “Have you offered to witness, to pray, to encourage, to assist, to participate in your church’s life and outreach?”

The answer: “No. My church seems to get along very well without my help!”

Brethren, this “nonparticipation” kind of faith is a strange parody on Bible Christianity. Men and women who say they are believers just cancel themselves out. Is it something we have learned from the sporting events?—the great majority are spectators. They come and sit!

If there is any true spiritual life within us, God will give us a gift of some kind and the humble soul will find something to do for God!

Lord, I pray for my local church today, that many “fringe” attendees will desire to participate in our church’s life and ministry.