Someone to Talk To

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1

According to the federal government, Americans spent $135 billion on “behavioral health” services in 2005. That includes medicine, counseling, hospitalization, and more. Part of that big number represents people who just needed “someone to talk to.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2010 that there were 156,300 mental health counselors—so the amount spent on face-to-face counseling is no small number.

And it can be money well-spent. Professional counselors can be objective and clear when life feels subjective and confused. But let us not forget that we have a “Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6, NASB) in the person of Jesus Christ. Prayer to the Father through our Advocate-Counselor should be our first step when we lose clarity in life. The Spirit of God is also a Counselor (John 15:26; 16:7, NIV). Father, Son, and Spirit are available at any hour and for any reason with infallible guidance. The only cost is time in prayer.

Talk to friends and counselors when necessary. But don’t fail to talk to God in prayer and seek His counsel first.

Most Christians learned at an early age how to talk to God, but they did not learn to listen as well.
Gordon MacDonald, from Men of Integrity

The Good Life

Psalms 100

We all know of people who suffer from deteriorating health, financial reverses, and other troubles. How are we to process such situations in light of what the Scriptures teach about the Lord’s goodness and the expression of His benevolence towards us?

First, God’s character is perfect, and everything He does is right. (See Deut. 32:4.) He is “compassionate and gracious … and abounding in lovingkindness” (Ps. 103:8). By His very nature, God is good. Second, our heavenly Father expresses His goodness based on His purpose of conforming us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). From the Lord’s perspective, everything that fits into His plan is beneficial for us.

The greatest demonstration of our Father’s goodness is seen in His Son’s life and death. Jesus left His heavenly home, took on the form of man, suffered, and died in our place so we might be forgiven (Phil. 2:6-8). Because of what our Savior endured, we who have trusted in Him are adopted into God’s family, and heaven is our eternal home.

At the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples could not see anything beneficial in it. They knew only great sorrow. But we understand that God gave His own Son so that He might accomplish our salvation (Rom. 8:32).

Our definition of the good life would probably include material success, good health, and the absence of trouble—things that make us happy right now. But God has an eternal perspective, and He always works to fulfill His long-term plan for us. We can trust in His goodness, even in dark times.

The Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge of God

“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)

One of the most amazing of the divine attributes is God’s omniscience. He not only understands all the complexities of relativistic science and higher mathematics, He ordained them in the first place! The same applies to every other discipline of study and activity.

And He knows all about each of us! “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:1-2).

As far as human knowledge is concerned, it is vital to know that “the fear of the LORD” is the very foundation of “knowledge” and of “wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). All the greatest scientists of the past acknowledged that they were seeking merely to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”

How foolish it is to ignore or to oppose God! There are only four places in the Bible that speak of God laughing (Psalm 2:4; 37:13; 59:8; Proverbs 1:26), and each of them describes His response to such folly.

Instead, we should marvel at all the wonders of His creation and providence. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

Our text verse above (Colossians 2:3) is actually referring explicitly to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten and eternal Son of God. It is He who has given us access to the Creator God and therefore access to the divine knowledge and understanding. Part of the still-effective dominion mandate (Genesis 1:26, 28) is to learn what we can about God’s creation, always remembering that Jesus insisted that—no matter what unbelievers say—“the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). HMM

Your Divine Visitation

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. —John 14:26

We desperately need a divine visitation—for our situation will never be cured by sermons! It will never be cured until the Church of Christ has suddenly been confronted with what one man called the mysterium tremendium—the fearful mystery that is God, the fearful majesty that is God. This is what the Holy Spirit does. He brings the wonderful mystery that is God to us, and presents Him to the human spirit….

We will never know more about God than the Spirit teaches us. We will never know any more about Jesus than the Spirit teaches us, because there is only the Spirit to do the teaching. Oh, Holy Spirit, how we have grieved You! How we have insulted You! How we have rejected You!

He is our Teacher, and if He does not teach us, we never can know. He is our Illuminator, and if He does not turn on the light, we never can see. He is the Healer of our deaf ears, and if He does not touch our ears, we never can hear. Churches can run for weeks and months and years without knowing anything about this or having the Spirit of the living God fall upon them. Oh, my heart, be still before Him, prostrate, inwardly adore Him!

Holy Spirit, free us from our ignorance. I bow before You now and ask you to heal our deaf ears. Amen.

Thank God for His Conviction

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth; and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! (Proverbs 15:23)

Modern mankind can go anywhere, do everything and be completely curious about the universe. But only a rare person now and then is curious enough to want to know God. We do not thank God enough for seeking us and finding us and making it possible for us to say to His invitation: “Jesus, I come!”

I have meditated often on the Holy Spirit’s quiet dealing with the heart of this untaught lad when I was only 17. We had a neighbor—I only knew him as “Mr. Holman”—and I had heard that he was a Christian.

One day we happened to be walking on the sidewalk together, and he said, “I am glad to have a chance to talk with you. I have been wondering if you are a Christian?”

I told him, “No, I am not a Christian. But I thank you for asking and I am going to give it some serious thought.”

After that, I heard a man preaching on a street corner. He quoted Jesus’ invitation, “Come unto Me,” and the sinner’s prayer, “Lord have mercy on me!” Those were the two things that bumped me into the kingdom of God. Sometimes it takes a very little word to stir an unnoticed desire for God and His truth!

The host that feeds at Jehovah’s table is countless

Though the host that feeds at Jehovah’s table is countless as the stars of heaven, yet each one has his portion of meat. Think how much grace one saint requires; so much that nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day; and yet the Lord spreads his table, not for one, but many saints; not for one day, but for many years. The guests at mercy’s banquet are satisfied, nay, more “abundantly satisfied;” and that not with ordinary fare, but with fatness, the peculiar fatness of God’s own house; and such feasting is guaranteed by a faithful promise to all those children of men who put their trust under the shadow of Jehovah’s wings.