VIDEO Hosea 6:1-6 Song “Come, and Let Us Return to the Lord”

Jul 8, 2012

Psalm 61:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

Music Copyrighted by Esther Mui. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. Background photos © All rights reserved by publik_oberberg. Used with permission

The Two Bears – Going Through Spiritual Confusion

The Two Bears
two bears
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10

Some years ago, my wife, Carolyn, and I spent a few days camping on the flanks of Mount Rainier in Washington State. When we were returning to our campsite one evening, we saw in the middle of a meadow two male bears boxing each other’s ears. We stopped to watch.

There was a hiker nearby, and I asked him what the conflict was about. “A young female,” he said.

“Where is she?” I asked.

“Oh, she left about 20 minutes ago,” he chuckled. Thus, I gathered, the conflict at this point was not about the female bear but about being the toughest bear.

Most fights aren’t about policy and principle, or about right and wrong; they’re almost always about pride. The wise man of Proverbs swings his axe at the root of the problem when he writes: “Pride leads to conflict” (13:10 nlt). Quarrels are fueled by pride, by needing to be right, by wanting our way, or by defending our turf or our egos.

On the other side, wisdom resides with the well-advised—those who listen and learn, those who allow themselves to be instructed. There is wisdom in those who humble themselves—those who set aside their own selfish ambition; who acknowledge the limits of their own understanding; who listen to the other person’s point of view; who allow their own ideas to be corrected. This is the wisdom from God that spreads peace wherever it goes.

Dear heavenly Father, help me as I battle pride today. It’s so easy to take my eyes off You and focus on myself. Give me a humble heart.

Humility brings wisdom.

By David Roper

Going Through Spiritual Confusion
confusion rr tracks

Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask.” —Matthew 20:22

There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.

The Shrouding of His Friendship (see Luke 11:5-8). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember— He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?

The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father— as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. “Everyone who asks receives…” (Luke 11:10). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.

The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8). “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.

Sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1449 L

Oswald Chambers

Confronting Goliaths

1 Samuel 17:1-53

David’s short battle with Goliath was more than a fight between Israelites and Philistines. It was a defense of Jehovah’s name against those who doubted His supremacy. As David pointed out, the only way a boy with a sling could defeat a giant warrior like Goliath was by the Lord’s hand. And that’s exactly what happened.

In confronting Goliath, David showed real courage and faith. But we see that what drove him to face the giant was righteous indignation: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26). David believed that someone had to wipe away from Israel the reproach caused by Goliath’s insults. Since no one else would step forward, he volunteered to defend Yahweh’s name.

Modern audiences often read this story merely as a battle scene wherein an inexperienced underdog toppled an ancient superhero. We comfort ourselves that we will probably never have to deal with such a scenario. But the real story is that David stood up for God. Given how our culture scoffs at both the Father and Jesus Christ, believers will certainly spend some time in David’s sandals. The question is whether we will listen to our own flesh and silently remain in fear, or stand and represent God’s name in the way for which He’s called and equipped us.

You don’t need a theology degree to combat those who would mock God. Your “smooth stones” (1 Sam. 17:40) are the truths you have pulled from the Bible. No enemy can win an argument against Scripture. Whatever the outcome seems to be, the battle is the Lord’s, and He gives victory to the faithful.

Revival through the Word

“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:25)

Sometimes the battle takes its toll, we feel like the enemy is winning, and our soul “melteth for heaviness” (v. 28). Many psalms share these intense emotions and seek God’s face for relief and revival. These eight verses in Psalm 119 provide a concise remedy that every Christian needs sometimes.

– Open confession and supplication: “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me” (v. 26).
– Clear request for understanding: “Teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts” (vv. 26-27).
– Reaffirmation for personal witness: “So shall I talk of thy wondrous works” (v. 27).
– Bold request for spiritual strength: “Strengthen thou me according unto thy word” (v. 28).
– Request to gain victory over habitual sin: “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously” (v. 29).
– Conscious declaration of personal commitment: “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments I have laid before me” (v. 30).
– Remembering past righteous behavior: “I have stuck unto thy testimonies” (v. 31).
– Plea for God’s favor and mercy: “O LORD, put me not to shame” (v. 31).
– Expectant promise for future lifestyle of holiness: “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (v. 32).

Personal revival is as sure as the Word of God. But revival assumes our own deep desire to live in accordance with God’s Word. God will “enlarge” (fill, expand) our heart when we seek His face (Psalm 81:10). HMM III

Time Is Running Out

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. —Romans 13:12

The absence of spiritual devotion today is an omen and a portent. The modern church is all but contemptuous of the sober virtues—meekness, modesty, humility, quietness, obedience, self effacement, patience. To be accepted now, religion must be in the popular mood. Consequently, much religious activity reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain and devotion to trivial pleasures.

It behooves us to take all this seriously. Time is running out for all of us. What is done must be done quickly. We have no right to lie idly by and let things take their course. A farmer who neglects his farm will soon lose it; a shepherd who fails to look after his flock will find the wolves looking after it for him. A misbegotten charity that allows the wolves to destroy the flock is not charity at all but indifference, rather, and should be known for what it is and dealt with accordingly.

It is time for Bible-believing Christians to begin to cultivate the sober graces and to live among men like sons of God and heirs of the ages. And this will take more than a bit of doing, for the whole world and a large part of the church is set to prevent it. But “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Lord, speak to me as I pray slowly through that list of “sober virtues”—and also that list of attitudes with which much religious activity reeks. Convict me; change me; cultivate within me the “sober graces.” Amen.

Our Unworthy Attitudes

God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. (Psalm 89:7)

Being a Christian does not exempt any of us from the necessity of self examination, the necessity of dealing with injuries and unworthy mental attitudes.

I speak particularly of the attitudes and habits of many men and women who gather with us regularly as we come into the house of God to worship and pray.

Actually, as Christian men and women, we do have an appointment to meet with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Just think of the preparations we would make if we suddenly had in invitation to meet the president of the United States in the White House.

But how many of us are lacking in respect and reverence when we come into the Christian church? Among us there are thoughtless tendencies to tell jokes on the way into church; to sit in the pews and let our minds rove about like sparrows; to daydream about where we have been and where we are going.

There is a great need for us to pray for grace that will improve our mental attitudes when we gather to honor our Savior and God!

Our Healthy Attitudes

God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. PSALM 89:7

Being a Christian does not exempt any of us from the necessity of selfexamination, the necessity of dealing with injuries and unworthy mental attitudes.

I speak particularly of the attitudes and habits of many men and women who gather with us regularly as we come into the house of God to worship and pray.

Actually, as Christian men and women, we do have an appointment to meet with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Just think of the preparations we would make if we suddenly had an invitation to meet the president of the United States in the White House.

But how many of us are lacking in respect and reverence when we come into the Christian church? Among us there are thoughtless tendencies to tell jokes on the way into church; to sit in the pews and let our minds rove about like sparrows; to daydream about where we have been and where we are going.

There is a great need for us to pray for grace that will improve our mental attitudes when we gather to honor our Savior and God!

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will never insult You by treating You too casually when I go to church to worship You.