VIDEO God’s Compass

Sept 1, 2016

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God of Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a

Most people know the story of the little boy who was frightened by a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. He called out to his mother who reminded him that Jesus was with him. “I know Jesus is with me,” the child said, “but I need Jesus with skin on.”

We might say the same thing to the apostle Paul who tells us about the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation”—even though we can’t see Him and even though He doesn’t shield us from pain. What does it mean to be comforted by God? It obviously doesn’t mean we will be spared any discomfort, unpleasantness, or injury. The apostle who wrote of God’s comfort suffered greatly for that same God (2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 11:16-29). And think of Jesus Himself. God’s comfort comes from knowing that He is with us in the midst of our trouble. It comes from knowing that our trouble is not by chance—that God has a purpose in all things (Romans 8:28-29).

If you are in trouble today, center your hope on the God of all comfort who will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5).

Talk with us, Lord, Thyself reveal, while here o’er earth we rove; speak to our hearts, and let us feel the kindling of Thy love.  Charles Wesley

Seeking God’s Will

1 John 5:14-15

Parents train their children to do many tasks—from knowing which clothes match to handling money. As Christians, we are blessed to have an omniscient and mighty heavenly Father who is willing to make His way known to us. He wants to reveal what to do in every situation and, in fact, promises this: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). Let’s explore how to discern God’s will at each crossroad of life.

The first step is to make sure that we have repented of all known sin in our life. Listening to the Lord while holding onto iniquity is like trying to use a foggy and unreadable compass. After confessing and repenting, we can ask for direction.

Next, we should read Scripture regularly with a seeking, open heart. The Bible is like a lamp on a dark path (Psalm 119:105).

The last step involves God’s indwelling Holy Spirit—the wonderful gift our Father has given each of His children. The Spirit provides truth and guidance as we read the Word and pray. We should listen patiently for His leading, which is often communicated quietly to our heart as we spend time with the Father.

When asking the Lord to reveal His will, we shouldn’t expect instant answers. The discipline of waiting builds character, and besides, rushing the process may lead to a path that misses God’s best. Take the time to seek Jesus’ plan for your life, remembering He’ll provide all you need to follow Him.

Isaac’s Life of Contrast

“And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:27-28)

Isaac’s early life became the biblical picture of Christ (Genesis 22:7-9). Not only did Isaac lay down his life voluntarily, but he continued to show great evidence of God’s presence and promise. He had personal instruction in faith from Abraham (Genesis 18:19) and had been given direct evidence of God’s sovereignty in his life (Genesis 24:67).

Even before the birth of his sons when he was 60 years old, Isaac interceded for Rebecca and the children (Genesis 25:21). It is certain that he had firsthand knowledge of God’s plan for the boys (Genesis 26:2-53; 28:1-4), yet in spite of his knowledge, Isaac “loved Esau” (our text).

He knew that God had chosen the younger child to rule (Genesis 25:23). He knew that Esau was an ungodly man (Genesis 27:46), and he knew that Esau had married pagan wives (Genesis 26:34) in spite of God’s command to the contrary. But Isaac was determined to give the birthright to Esau. The single reason Scripture cites for Isaac’s irrational behavior was that he loved Esau and the savory meat Esau brought in from hunting (Genesis 27:1-4).

Isaac finally gave the blessing to Jacob, but he would have blessed Esau; he would have gone against God’s command, and he “trembled exceedingly” when he knew that he had been overruled by God (Genesis 27:30-33). Ultimately, Isaac submitted to God and instructed Jacob in righteousness (Genesis 28:1-5). The pain in Jacob’s life, the agony of Rebecca’s separation from her son, and the torn testimony of Isaac were all caused by an incorrect “love.” HMM III

“I am a stranger with Thee.”

Genesis 12:1-8

Genesis 12:1-3

God had elected Abram, and therefore in due time he called him, and so separated him unto himself. All the chosen seed must in this be conformed to the father of the faithful.

Genesis 12:4

The grace which chose him made him obedient, and he left all at the divine command. Only in the separated life could he inherit the blessing, and therefore he cheerfully forsook all to follow his Lord.

Genesis 12:5

It is not enough to set out, we must persevere to the end.

Genesis 12:6

Though the land was given to the patriarch by promise, yet he did not actually possess a single foot of it. Unbelief would have reckoned this to be a very shadowy inheritance; but faith is the substance of things hoped for, and makes us content to wait. The Canaanite is still in the land, yet we rightly reckon that all things are ours.

Genesis 12:8

The patriarch was careful to maintain the worship of God wherever he might be placed. Go where we may, let us not forget to render devotion and obedience to God.

Hebrews 11:8-10

The secret of Abram’s prompt action may be seen in—

Hebrews 11:8-10

Abram had to come out from idolatrous Chaldea, and so must we be separate from the world which lieth in the wicked one. He became a pilgrim and a sojourner, and so must we. This is not our rest, ours is a pilgrim’s life, we are wanderers till we reach the city which hath foundations. He pitched his tent and wandered up and down in the land as a stranger, but he was no Canaanite: here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. He who finds a rest here has none in heaven.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

2 Corinthians 6:18

Oh, that the Lord may make us, as a family, separated unto himself.

 

We’ve no abiding city here;

Then let us live as pilgrims do:

Let not the world our rest appear,

But let us haste from all below.

 

We’ve no abiding city here;

We seek a city out of sight:

Zion’s its name—the Lord is there;

It shines with everlasting light.

 

The Dead-End Places Of Life

2 Corinthians 1:9

Although we don’t like to admit it, we all occasionally run into dead-end places in our lives where we don’t know what to say, what to do, where to turn, or even how to pray. Sometimes it seems like we’ve hit a dead-end—in other words, it seems like everything is finished, over, and done with! If you’ve ever been in a place like this, you know what a hard place this can be!

Through these kinds of experiences, you and I discover that in our own strength, we are no match for some of life’s problems. That’s why we must learn to depend on the power and wisdom of God!

The apostle Paul tells us that he, too, went through this kind of learning experience when he found himself face-to-face with life-threatening situations in his own ministry. In Second Corinthians 1:9, he says, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” Paul was definitely at one of those dead-end places that we’re talking about today. In fact, the situation he faced was so acute that he compared it to a sentence of death. That’s dramatic language!

Notice the word “sentence” in the verse above. It is taken from the Greek word krino. This word krino normally refers to a jury who just handed down their final sentence in a court of law. You could say that the word krino denotes a verdict or a sentence pronounced as the result of a court trial.

After all the evidence is presented and the judge has examined all the facts, a final verdict is issued by the court. This is exactly the word that Paul uses in this dramatic verse. In using such a word, Paul is telling us that so much evidence and so many problems were stacked up against him and his companions, by all appearances it looked like there was no way for them to escape or even to survive. It looked like they had hit a dead-end; everything for them seemed to be finished, over, and done with!

  • Have you ever had a time in your life when it looked like it was the end of the road for you and your dreams?
  • Did you think there was no way out?
  • Did it look like there were so many problems stacked against you that you’d never survive what you were facing?

This is precisely what Paul must have felt when he was facing overwhelming problems in Asia. He used the Greek word krino to let us know that as far as he was concerned, there was only one possible outcome for his life—death!

 

In essence, Second Corinthians 1:9 could be translated:

“As far as we were concerned, the final verdict was in, and the verdict demanded our deaths….”

But in spite of how it looked, Paul didn’t die, nor did he fail at fulfilling the job God had given him. It may have looked like it was the end of the road, but it was really the beginning of a new supernatural flow of divine power into Paul’s life. That’s why he went on to say that through it all, he learned not to trust in himself, but in God who raises the dead.

Paul had been under such intense pressure that he felt death was unavoidable. Then right from the midst of this horrible situation, God’s power was released and Paul was rescued! Paul said it was as if he and his companions had been raised from the dead.

When you don’t know what else to do and when you have no one else to turn to, that’s usually when God’s resurrection power begins to operate in you to the greatest measure! You see, there’s no such thing as no hope. As long as there is a loving Heavenly Father you can call on, there is still hope for you! If you learn to rely on Him, that dead-end place in your life that you’re facing right now can become a new beginning!

So call out to your Heavenly Father right now. Expect Him to release His resurrection power on your behalf to turn your dead-end situation around!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I have found that in my own strength, I am no match for life’s problems. I thank You for revealing this to me today. From this day forward, please help me turn to You immediately when I come up against a dead-end place in my life. I ask You, Lord, to help me fully surrender each of these areas to You so You can have full access to them and raise them, one by one, from the dead. Please show me Your life-giving power today.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that God’s resurrection power is released on my behalf to turn all dead-end situations in my life around! I do not trust in my own efforts or human thinking but in God and His life-giving power. I choose to partake of this power today by releasing every dead-end place to the Lord. I trust Him to perfect that which concerns me, and I look to see His power made manifest this day in my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you think of other people who faced impossible situations, but later experienced the delivering power of God that changed their situation?
  2. Can you name Bible characters who learned to rely on God and experienced the same delivering power?
  3. What kind of faith confessions can you start speaking to get your faith in gear and to release God’s supernatural power into your situation?

 

I Want A Principle Within

I want a principle within,

Of watchful, godly fear,

A sensibility of sin,

A pain to feel it near.” (Charles Wesley)

The Principle Within is that commitment to absolute INTEGRITY… To uncompromising, honest living that squares with the character of God as revealed in Scripture.

If you abide in My wordyou will know the truthThou dost desire truth in the innermost being.” (John 8:31, 32; Psalm 51:6)

How would I know if I am living by that “Principle Within”? Here are three specifics:

  • Motives: I am resolved that in my dealings with people, there will be no hidden agenda: No manipulation of others toward my own ends.

Let your love be without hypocrisy.” (Romans 12:9)

  • Impressions: I am resolved to not knowingly allow any impressions about myself or my business that do not square with reality: No shading of the truth. No delaying of payments. No cutting of corners on the quality of service or on the quality of the product.

Yououtwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy… ” (Matthew 23:28)

  • Speech: I am resolved to discipline my conversation in such a way that the verbalization and the reality are precisely the same:

Whatever you have to say let your yes be a plain yes and your no be a plain no — anything more than this has a taint of evil.” (Matthew 5:37 Phillips Translation)

Wesley went on to write:

Help me the first approach to feel

Of pride or wrong desire:

To catch the wandering of my will,

And quench the kindling fire.

Principled men and women who are determined to adhere to that godly “Principle Within” are sensitive to the slightest inkling of compromise within their breast. QUESTION: “Are you man or woman enough to belong to that rare breed of principled disciples of Christ in an age of unprincipled people?” I know you are!