A Legacy for the Lord – The Delight of Despair

A Legacy for the Lord

Did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.Malachi 2:15

Jane, 18, a widow with two small children, descended into deep depression. One day while walking along a river with thoughts of suicide, she heard a ploughman on the other bank. As he began his work in the fields, he whistled Christian hymns and something about his spirit touched Jane. If a simple ploughman could display such enthusiasm for the mundane work of his life, why couldn’t she? Armed with a new perspective, Jane returned to Dublin where she answered the call to follow Christ. She began praying earnestly for her children and for the next twelve generations who would follow her.

Among the results? Her son, Grattan, became a minister and helped trigger the 1859 revival in Ireland. From his descendants alone have come a host of Christian workers who have traveled the world with the Gospel, including the noted Christian author Dr. Os Guinness.1

Through our faithful witness, we can bless future generations to come. Let’s strengthen our homes and produce, by His grace, a legacy for the Lord.

A Single Thought: Wherever life takes us, our witness goes too—it is the legacy of a believer in Jesus Christ.

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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.

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Reality Of God’s Love

2 Corinthians 11:23-33

Does anything prevent you from feeling confident that God loves you? Perhaps you are convinced some sin from your past blocks His love. In that case, think about Paul. He violently persecuted Christians before he himself finally turned to the Lord. If such a man knew God loved him, would that help you realize you, too, are loved?

Whatever your experiences are, Paul probably encountered something you can relate to. Yet he kept spreading his message of hope: God loves us and sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins.

Maybe you wonder how a God of love could allow you to be hurt or abused. Or possibly you feel alone and unlovable. Paul endured beatings and imprisonment for preaching the gospel, his friends abandoned him, and he was even shipwrecked. But if Paul was able to have faith that God loved him, won’t you believe that God loves you as well?

Whether your situation is unfair, painful, or humiliating, the fact that it happened doesn’t mean God has stopped loving you. Sometimes we face difficulty because He is polishing our rough edges and molding us into His image. Other times trials instigated by Satan are allowed in our life through the Lord’s permissive will. Either way, God is working everything out to our good, according to His individualized purpose for each believer (Rom. 8:28).

The key to accepting the truth of God’s unconditional love is to focus on Him, not circumstances. When you’re learning of Him, talking with Him, and sharing your life with Him, trust and faith naturally replace doubt and fear.

The God Who Saves Us

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2)

What a testimony given by David to his God! In this single verse, there is a sevenfold ascription of praise to the Lord for His great salvation. Each testimony can be appropriated also by all who trust Him.

My Rock: The word used here does not mean a stone or even a boulder but a mighty monolith, immovable and impregnable.
My Fortress: This word refers to a great bulwark—a stronghold. The Hebrew word is essentially the same as Masada, the high butte where the Jews resisted the Roman armies after the destruction of Jerusalem.
My Deliverer: “Our God is able to deliver,” even from the fiery furnace, the den of lions, and from the armies of Saul.
My Strength: This is another word often translated “rock,” this time a rugged, craggy one, most appropriate as a symbol of great strength.
My Buckler: The small, movable shield used to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
The Horn of Salvation: This striking Old Testament symbol is even repeated in the New Testament (Luke 1:69) and applied to the coming Savior, referring either to the “horns of the altar” where fleeing sinners could cling for refuge or to the fighting horns of a strong beast.
My High Tower: Here the word is not for a man-made tower but for a natural, high, topographic eminence, suitable both for watching and for defense.

The great promises of salvation and security in Christ are timeless. The words that brought such hope to David are still a comfort to believers today. He is still “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10) to all who trust Him. HMM

The Source of All Power

O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? —Deuteronomy 3:24

God is the source of all the power there is. There isn’t any power anywhere that doesn’t have God as its source, whether it be the power of the intellect, of the spirit, of the soul, of dynamite, of the storm or of magnetic attraction. Wherever there is any power at all, God is the author of it. And the source of anything has to be greater than that which flows out of it.

If you pour a quart of milk out of a can, that can has to be equal to or greater than a quart. The can has to be as big as or bigger than that which comes out of it. The can may contain several gallons, though you may pour out only a quart. The source has to be as big or bigger than that which comes out of it. So if all the power there is came from God— all the power—therefore, God’s power must be equal to or greater than all the power there is.

Lord, why do we worry and fear so much when we are the dear children of the One who has such power? Strengthen me today with the promise of Your power. Amen.

Unholy, Unrighteous, and 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 life-long struggle with the flesh and it will be obvious

Concerning the consciousness of evil

Concerning the consciousness of evil in the past of our lives and the tendency to wrongdoing in our nature, the Bible is very clear, and it is most admirably explicit as to God’s way of removing this barrier to our future progress. In Holy Scripture we see a most wise and gracious method for the putting away of guilt, without injury to the divine justice. The atonement offered by the Lord Jesus, who is the essence of the revelation of God, is an eminently satisfactory solution of the soul’s sternest problem. Our feeling is that God, the universal Ruler, must do right, and must not, even for mercy’s sake, relax the rule that evil done must bring evil as its consequence.