Discouraged or Devoted?

…Jesus…said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. —Luke 18:22-23

Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all. Jesus says a tremendous amount to us that we listen to, but do not actually hear. And once we do hear Him, His words are harsh and unyielding.

Jesus did not show the least concern that this rich young ruler should do what He told him, nor did Jesus make any attempt to keep this man with Him. He simply said to him, “Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” Our Lord never pleaded with him; He never tried to lure him— He simply spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone.

Have I ever heard Jesus say something difficult and unyielding to me? Has He said something personally to me to which I have deliberately listened— not something I can explain for the sake of others, but something I have heard Him say directly to me? This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart. He did not go away as a defiant person, but as one who was sorrowful and discouraged. He had come to Jesus on fire with zeal and determination, but the words of Jesus simply froze him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life. I wonder what we will say when we finally make up our minds to be devoted to Him on that particular point? One thing is certain— He will never throw our past failures back in our faces.

There is nothing, naturally speaking, that makes us lose heart quicker than decay—the decay of bodily beauty, of natural life, of friendship, of associations, all these things make a man lose heart; but Paul says when we are trusting in Jesus Christ these things do not find us discouraged, light comes through them. The Place of Help OSWALD CHAMBERS

David: A Picture of God’s Sovereignty

Psalms 103:19-22

Sometimes it’s hard to understand God’s purposes for adversity. In the midst of a personal tragedy, the Lord’s sovereignty may seem like impractical and unrealistic theology. But the truth is, God works all things together for the believer’s good (Rom. 8:28).

David’s writings illustrate the importance of trusting that the Lord is in control, no matter how difficult the situation. Sometimes it’s easy to think of the biblical writers as perfect, almost Christlike figures. But David’s life was full of adversity, temptation, sin, and forgiveness.

When he was running for his life from King Saul, God spared him. When he yielded to temptation with Bathsheba, God spared him. When his son attempted to take David’s throne, God spared him and kept him as king.

Through all of these unfortunate circumstances, David discovered God was protecting and guiding him every step of the way—and using him for extraordinary purposes, despite his human failings. These experiences taught David to trust wholeheartedly in the Lord’s sovereignty.

For those of us in similar situations, the question is, Do we believe God is in control? If He’s not, then who is? In other words, if life events are random and without purpose, then to whom do we turn in trials?

In 1 Chronicles 29:12, David says that God rules over everything and His hand strengthens everyone. Have faith in the Lord’s ability to strengthen you with His sovereign hand. Though you may not always understand His reasons, you can surely trust His purposes.

Ancient Civilizations

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. . . . And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” (Genesis 10:8, 10)

The Bible is a book of history and has been remarkably corroborated by archaeology. There are other “bibles,” to be sure. One of the more famous is the Enuma Elish, a creation story from ancient Babylon written on seven tablets. In it the god Marduk battles the chaos goddess Tiamat and defeats her with super-weapons. Once Marduk becomes the leader of the gods, he makes heaven and Earth out of Tiamat’s body and humanity from Marduk’s blood and bone. Interestingly, Nimrod assumes the name Marduk in his own self-aggrandizing records.

Little wonder God identifies this place and time in history as “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5). Little wonder that God confounded the language at Babel to prevent worldwide rebellion (Genesis 11:1-9).

God’s purpose in telling us this history is twofold: He has set all nations in motion and controls history for His purposes (Acts 17:26) and has allowed humanity to continue, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

The hope of mankind lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:17-19). One day, all history from this cursed world will be wrapped up, and everything will function under the perfect holiness and flawless design of the Creator (Zechariah 14:9). HMM III

Adapted from Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis by Dr. Henry Morris III.

We Exist for Each Other

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. —Galatians 3:13

God and man exist for each other and neither is satisfied without the other. Though God is selfsufficient He has sovereignly willed to have communion with the being He made in honor next to Himself, and He takes every means to secure this communion short of coercion, which would be a violation of man’s free will….

Seen from our human standpoint redemption must rank first among all the acts of God. No other achievement of the Godhead required such vast and precise knowledge, such perfection of wisdom or such fullness of moral power. To bring man into communion with Himself God must deal effectively with the whole matter of justice and righteousness; He must dispose of sin, reconcile an enemy and make a rebel willingly obedient. And this He must do without compromising His holiness or coercing the race He would save.

How two wills set in opposition to each other, and both free, could be harmonized was God’s problem and His alone; and with infinite wisdom and power He solved it through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank You, Lord, for Your infinite wisdom and Your infinite grace, as demonstrated in the plan of salvation. Thank You for bringing me into communion with You through Your redemptive work. Amen.

Let’s Move Forward

That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

The Apostle Paul’s greatest desire was to always move forward in the knowledge and blessing of God. But some modern Bible teachers now call that kind of hunger and thirsting fanaticism, instead of desire for spiritual maturity.

These teachers assure the new Christian: “You are now complete in Christ. Just relax and be glad that there is nothing more you will ever need.”

With great desire, Paul wrote: “That I may win Christ”—and yet he already had Christ! With obvious longing he said: “That I may be found in Him”—and yet he was already in Him!

Paul humbly and intensely breathed his great desire: “That I may know Him”—even though he already knew Him!

Because he did not want to stand still, Paul testified: “I follow after; I press toward the mark. I am striving to lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold on me!”

It is very plain that the apostle had no other desire than to be completely available to God. Many of us refuse to follow his example!

We have sat at the table of the Lord’s love

We have sat at the table of the Lord’s love, and said, “Nothing but the infinite can satisfy me; I am such a great sinner that I must have infinite merit to wash my sin away;” but we have had our sin removed, and found that there was merit to spare; we have had our hunger relieved at the feast of sacred love, and found that there was a redundance of spiritual meat remaining. Yes, there are graces to which we have not attained; places of fellowship nearer to Christ which we have not reached; and heights of communion which our feet have not climbed. At every banquet of love there are many baskets of fragments left. Let us magnify the liberality of our glorious Redeemer.