All Too Human

The trouble is with me, for I am all too human. Romans 7:14 NLT

British writer Evelyn Waugh wielded his words in a way that accentuated his character flaws. Eventually the novelist converted to Christianity, yet he still struggled. One day a woman asked him, “Mr. Waugh, how can you behave as you do and still call yourself a Christian?” He replied, “Madam, I may be as bad as you say. But believe me, were it not for my religion, I would scarcely be a human being.”

Waugh was waging the internal battle the apostle Paul describes: “I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Rom. 7:18 nlt). He also says, “The trouble is not with the law . . . [It] is with me, for I am all too human” (v. 14 nlt). He further explains, “In my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me . . . . Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (vv. 22–24). And then the exultant answer: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25).

Teach us to rely on Your Holy Spirit. Make us more like Your Son each day.

When we come in faith to Christ, admitting our wrongdoing and need of a Savior, we immediately become a new creation. But our spiritual formation remains a lifelong journey. As John the disciple observed: “Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But . . . when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).


Father, we bring our struggles to You because You know all about them, yet You love us anyway. Teach us to rely on Your Holy Spirit. Make us more like Your Son each day.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. C. S. Lewis

INSIGHT:Although we are saved by grace, we often struggle to live up to our position as children of God. However, we can turn to Christ and find His sufficient help and grace to move beyond our worst selves and to stand in Him (vv. 24–25). How does it give you confidence to know that God is still at work in your life?

The Rewards of Working Well

Ephesians 6:5-8

To help with my college expenses, I spent summers working in a textile mill. My assignment was in the bleachery, the hottest part of the complex. I did not like the work, the heat, or the tough boss, and for the first couple of weeks, my attitude reflected my unhappiness. The job wouldn’t change, I realized, but my way of thinking could. I decided to work as if the Lord was my boss, and that choice made all the difference.

The heat did not bother me anymore. The work became tolerable, and best of all, I had many opportunities to share my faith because fellow workers noticed I was different. When I returned the following summer, that harsh boss gave me a job without hesitation.

Treating our work like an extension of our service to the Lord changes our attitude. Pleasing Him motivates us to do our best and inevitably results in the believer’s contentment. A job may be challenging, frustrating, or boring, but we can be at peace instead of wallowing in negative emotions.

A servant heart can impact other employees as well. Service that is rendered with kindness, grace, and humility gets coworkers’ attention, which in turn opens up opportunities for ministry to the people with whom we spend hours each day.

Rewards for enthusiastic service on the job can take many forms—including greater personal satisfaction in our work and opportunities to reflect Christ to others. There is also the great joy of knowing that our Father is happy with our performance.

Altar Building

“And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD , who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:7)

This is the first reference to Abraham building an altar in Scripture. Building an altar and making sacrifice to God denotes total dependence and reliance on Him. It implies saying no to self and yes to God—in effect presenting one’s self in submission to God as a sinner, trusting Him for gracious handling of one’s sin, and discounting one’s value apart from His work. Building altars became a habit with godly Abraham, the “friend of God” (James 2:23), and he practiced it many times during his life (see also Genesis 12:8; 13:4, 18).

We can surmise that at an early age, Abraham’s son, Isaac, was taught this same practice. It doesn’t seem that Isaac misunderstood or debated the situation, even when he himself was identified as the sacrifice to be slaughtered (Genesis 22:9). He fully trusted and worshiped the same God, and evidently agreed with Abraham’s obedient act. Later, Isaac himself practiced altar-building at least once on his own (26:25).

Compare Abraham and his family to Lot and his family. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Lot built an altar and recognized God as worthy of worship. No doubt as a direct result, Lot’s wife, sons, and daughters totally rejected these ideas, preferring the sinful practices and mentality of Sodom. Lot was a true believer (2 Peter 2:7-8), but his lifestyle and lack of “altar-building” rubbed off on his family, to the detriment of himself and the people of God ever since.

Here is the question: Do we want to be Christians who ignore proper worship and total submission to God and have families who do likewise? We don’t build physical altars today, but we do need daily times of family prayer. JDM

“Search me, O God.”

Psalm 139

Hagar in the desert learned the omniscience of God, and exclaimed, “Thou God seest me:” it will profit us if we meditate at this time upon that solemn truth, as we find it written out at large in—

Psalm 139:1-3

Rising or resting, God beholds me. Awake or asleep, his eye is upon me!

Psalm 139:4

Not only the words on my tongue which have been uttered, but those in my tongue which as yet have not been sounded. The words I mean to speak he knows.

Psalm 139:13

The most secret parts of my being thou dost penetrate with a glance:

Psalm 139:15

Our bodily frame is like a very skilful piece of embroidery “curiously wrought;” its nerves, veins, and muscles are fashioned with divine art. At our first formation the wisdom of the Lord was present, working all things with benevolent design. He who made the watch understands it, and even thus the Creator knows all the secret workings of our souls.

Psalm 139:18

The omniscient eye is not that of an enemy, but an eye which watches over us to do us good. The Lord’s heart is never removed from his people: he thinks upon them to bless them.

Psalm 139:19

Since the Lord sees and punishes the wicked, we should not be found in their company, lest we share in their doom.

Psalm 139:20

And this they do in the Lord’s own presence, thus provoking him to his face.

Psalm 139:22

A faithful servant of God has the same interests, the same friends, and the same enemies as his Master.

Psalm 139:23-24

This is the way in which to derive gracious advantage from that attribute of God which to the sinner is full of terror. Since the Lord will pardon all the sins of believers in Jesus, we are glad that he should see them all, so that he may completely and effectually remove them.


Lord, thou hast search’d and seen me through;

Thine eye commands with piercing view

My rising and my resting hours,

My heart and flesh, with all their powers.


Within thy circling power I stand;

On every side I find thy hand;

Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,

I am surrounded still with God.


A Fight Always Follows Illumination

Hebrews 10:32

Have you ever received a word from the Lord that gave you the exact direction you needed? If so, let me guess what happened next. Suddenly—BOOM! It seemed like all hell broke loose! The craziest circumstances erupted, seeming to directly challenge and assault that word you had just received from God!

If I’ve just described what you’ve gone through or what you are going through right now, be encouraged! You must be right on track! A spiritual fight usually does occur when you’ve been specially illuminated to the plan God has for your life.

In Hebrews 10:32, the Bible says, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions….” Today I want us to look at three key words in this verse: “great,” “fight,” and “afflictions.” These words describe what you and I might experience after the Lord has given us a word of instruction to illuminate us regarding His plan for our lives.

First, let’s look at the word “great.” In Greek, it’s the word mega, and it describes something very big. For instance, the word mega is where we get the word megaphone, an instrument for making a very big noise. This word mega is used by people when they speak of mega-bills, mega-problems, mega-work, and so on. By using this word, the writer of Hebrews tells us that spiritual conflicts accompanying a word of divine direction are normally not small—they’re usually mega! They’re BIG!

The second word I want you to see is the word “fight.” It comes from the Greek word athlesis and refers to a committed athlete. This undoubtedly tells you that when you receive a word from the Lord, it may throw you into one of the greatest challenges of your entire life! You’ll feel like you’ve just entered the ring and are competing for the prize!

Finally, we come to the third word, “afflictions.” It is the Greek word pathema and usually refers to mental pressure or to suffering that affects the mind. This isn’t talking about mental sickness; rather, it points to a war in your soul or an attack on your mind.


Hebrews 10:32 could thus be taken to mean:

“After you were illuminated, you endured a mega-sized ordeal that threw you into the biggest fight you ever faced in your life. But the most critical part of the struggle resulted from the unremitting assaults that literally battered your mind….”

You can be sure that if you take a stance of faith in response to a word you received from God, every possible negative thought will come against your mind. Not only will the devil try to use people and circumstances to thwart the plan, but he will also affect your mind with all kinds of negative thoughts and accusations. He’ll do everything he can to talk you out of doing what God has called you to do.

Don’t be surprised by this! You must remember that Jesus experienced this type of attack as He hung on the Cross. As He selflessly laid down His own life on the Cross, the soldiers and other criminals hurled their horrible, slanderous statements at Him. But Jesus pushed aside all the assaults that came against His soul and endured, committing His life and destiny into the Father’s hands.

So if you have received a word from God for your life, let me ask you:

  • Did you go through a mega-ordeal yourself after you were illuminated to God’s plan?
  • Did you feel you were thrown into a fight that came to challenge what God had told you?
  • Did you find that the devil tried to assault your mind and emotions with lies, accusations, and fears?

If you have been in this place I’m talking about—or if this is exactly where you are right now—then be encouraged! This is probably your clearest signal that you’ve received a real word from the Lord. You must be right on track, because the devil is terribly concerned about what will happen if you act on what God has revealed to you.

Don’t back down. Don’t surrender to the enemy’s vicious lies in your mind, his attacks against your body, his challenges to your finances, or his assaults on your relationships. Regardless of how much resistance he tries to bring against you, don’t you dare back up on that word God gave you!

If you hadn’t received a true word from the Lord, there would be nothing for the devil to challenge! The fight you face is the greatest evidence you’re right on track! Just hang on, and don’t give up! You’re clearly headed in the right direction!


Lord, as I take a stand of faith in response to that word I have received from You for my life, I realize that Satan may try to use negative thoughts to war against my mind. Thank You for alerting me to the fact that the devil may even try to use people and circumstances to thwart Your plan for my life. But I also thank You that Satan cannot stop Your plan from coming to pass! With Your Spirit illuminating my mind, I know I will be able to discern the attacks of the enemy and successfully resist each and every attack!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I boldly declare that I won’t back down! I won’t surrender to Satan’s vicious lies—his attacks against my body, his challenges to my finances, and his assaults against my relationships. Regardless of how much resistance he tries to bring against me, I will not back up on the word that God gave me. I will standfast, holding tightly to what God has promised, and the devil will be the one to throw in the towel and surrender! I will resist him until he flees and leaves me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. What are some past instances when you received direction for your life that you knew was from God?
  2. Were you bombarded with negative thoughts and pressures that tried to make you doubt the direction God gave you? How did you react?
  3. In the future, how can you respond according to the Word when these negative thoughts and pressures come against God’s direction for your life?


“I Have My Rights! They Can’t Do That To Me!”

Oh, really? You have “rights”?


Here is how Jesus viewed “rights”:

  • If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it.
  • If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff.
  • If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it.” (Luke 6:29, 30; Matthew 5:40 – The Message)

Why is it we find this teaching of Christ so difficult to accept? Let me suggest two reasons:


1. It seems so unfair. But where in the Bible does God guarantee us fairness — this side of eternity? The fact is, LIFE IS UNFAIR. Your character development is of far greater interest to God than your guarantee of “fairness”.


The story of the rich man and Lazarus powerfully reminds us that it is in eternity when God will equalize the books. (See Luke 16:19-31)


2. We might not survive if we allow people to take advantage of us.


Where is it written that you are to survive? Jesus submitted to evil people to the point of allowing them to murder Him. And He calls us to exactly the same standard of surrender:


Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.

  • When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return.
  • When He was abused and suffered He made no threats of vengeance.” (1 Peter 2:21, 23 – nas; Amplified)

QUESTION: Can we trust our Sovereign God in simply obeying His Word without rationalization? Without compromise? And leave the outcome to Him? Jesus did, and He calls us to the same quality of faith and obedience.



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