VIDEO Don’t Run Alone – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Don’t Run Alone

Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

My husband Jack was on mile 25 out of 26 when his strength failed him.

This was his first marathon, and he was running alone. After stopping for a drink of water at an aid station, he felt exhausted and sat down on the grass beside the course. Minutes passed, and he couldn’t get up. He had resigned himself to quitting the race when two middle-aged schoolteachers from Kentucky came by. Although they were strangers, they noticed Jack and asked if he wanted to run with them. Suddenly, he found his strength restored. Jack stood and accompanied by the two women he finished the race.

Who can you encourage to persevere through difficulty today?

Those women who encouraged Jack remind me of Aaron and Hur, two friends who helped Moses, the leader of the Israelites, at a key point (Ex. 17:8–13). The Israelites were under attack. In battle, they were winning only as long as Moses held his staff up (v. 11). So when Moses’s strength began to fail, Aaron and Hur stood on either side of him, holding up his arms for him until sunset (v. 12).

Following God is not a solo endeavor. He did not create us to run the race of life alone. Companions can help us persevere through difficulty as we do what God has called us to do.

God, thank You for relationships that encourage me to continue following You. Help me to be a source of strength for others, as well.

Who can I encourage to persevere through difficulty today?

By Amy Peterson 

INSIGHT:Several unique battle plans recorded in Scripture include marching around a city and blowing trumpets (Josh. 6), surrounding the camp with torches and blowing trumpets (Judg. 7), and today’s story of raising hands (Ex. 17). While we have no record of when or why the battle plan in Exodus 17 was established, Moses’s lifted hands was clearly the deciding factor in who was winning (see v. 11). However, it wasn’t just up to Moses to keep his hands raised; the result was the same when Aaron and Hur held up Moses’s hands.

The combined efforts of Moses, Aaron, and Hur allowed Joshua to win the battle. In verses 14–16 we read something interesting about Joshua: He may not have known he was being helped. Moses instructs that the events of the battle, both on the field and behind the scenes, be written in a scroll and to make sure Joshua hears it (v. 14). Perhaps Moses intended that Joshua not think the battle was won by the strength of the army or by brilliant leadership. But it’s possible that he wanted Joshua to know he wasn’t alone in the battle, just as Moses wasn’t alone in his task.


You’ll Never Walk Alone

Light and Momentary

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:17

The apostle Paul never wrote his autobiography, but he came close in 2 Corinthians. Some in Corinth had bitterly criticized him, and the Church was divided. Paul had conflicts on the outside and fears within (2 Corinthians 7:5). In writing 2 Corinthians, he opened his heart, shared his struggles, and sought to win the support of the Church. In the process, he showed us how to manage our own struggles, writing: “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17, NIV).

Our problems seem huge to us. They can overwhelm our emotions and violate our peace. But from God’s perspective—these are biblical words—they are “light and momentary” when compared to all God is doing for us now and will do for us in the future.

Your problems are temporary, but God’s promises are eternal. His promises will outlive your problems and carry you to heaven, where there are no problems, no pain, no death, no tears.

When you read this entire chapter, you discover that his troubles were certainly not light. But Paul understood that in comparison to eternity, they were light and momentary. So is my disease. Ed Dobson

Your Response to Closed Doors

Genesis 16:1-16

God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.

Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).

Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.

Man and His Labor

“Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.” (Psalm 104:23)

The 104th Psalm is a beautiful psalm of creation and the Flood, supplemented by God’s providential care of His creatures in the post-Flood world. Our text makes man’s activity seem almost incidental in the grand scope of God’s activities on behalf of His whole creation.

Nevertheless, it reminds us of God’s first great commission to mankind concerning that creation. “Have dominion . . . over all the earth . . . to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 1:26; 2:15). This primeval mandate, though still in effect as man’s stewardship responsibility for the earth and its creatures, has been seriously impacted by sin and the curse. “Cursed is the ground for thy sake,” God told Adam; “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:17, 19).

And so it is that men and women must work, and the work often is laborious, stressful, and unappreciated. Yet, the divine rule is “that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands . . . That ye may walk honestly . . . and that ye may have lack of nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). “For . . . if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Thus, labor is necessary, even for those who don’t know the Lord. But it is far better if we work not just to earn a living but to please the Lord. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).

Whatever our job is (assuming it is honorable), it can be regarded as serving Christ and helping to fulfill His primeval-dominion commandment, and even as helping to lead others to know Him. Therefore, whether the work is easy or hard, we should be “always abounding in the work of the Lord . . . your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). HMM

“Overcome evil with good.”

1 Samuel 24:1-7, 17-19

1 Samuel 24:1

Everybody was ready to act as a spy upon David. The saints of God are always watched by the world, and this should make them all the more careful in their conduct.

1 Samuel 24:2

Though signally disappointed on former occasions, the envious king must needs be at his cruel work again. No matter where David might conceal himself or how quiet he might remain, Saul would not let him alone. Envy can never be quiet till it has glutted its revenge.

1 Samuel 24:3

These vast cavernous places could within their dark recesses conceal vast numbers so completely, that an individual might come and go, and never know of their presence.

1 Samuel 24:1

Our best friends will mislead us if we let them. In this case, with the best intentions, David’s followers urged him on to murder, but grace restrained his hand.

1 Samuel 24:4, 5

Good men tremble at doing little wrongs, where others delight in committing great crimes.

1 Samuel 24:7

Dr. Kitto, in his Daily Bible Illustrations, forcibly describes the scene, and that which followed it: “Although under the influence of the master-hand which held back the fierce outlaws, Saul was suffered to escape unscathed from that dangerous cave, David was willing to secure some evidence of the fact that Saul’s life had been in his power. He therefore approached him softly as he slept, and cut off the skirt of his robe. No sooner, however, did Saul arise and leave the cavern, and his men begin to laugh at the ridiculous figure the sovereign presented in his skirtless robe, than David’s heart smote him for the indignity he had been instrumental in inflicting on the royal person. Yielding to the impulse of the moment—which again was right, though it might have been in common calculation, most dangerous, he went boldly forth to the entrance of the cave, and called to the king as he descended into the valley,—’My lord, the king!’ Well did the king know that voice. A thunderclap could not have struck him more. He looked up, and David bowed himself very low, in becoming obeisance to his king. He spoke. In a few rapid and strong words, he told what had happened—he described the urgency he had resisted—he held up the skirt in proof how completely had been in his hand the life he spared—saying, ‘I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my life to take it. The Lord judge between me and thee; and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.’ Behold, now that stern heart is melted. The hard wintry frosts thaw fast before the kindly warmth of his generous nature. Saul weeps; the hot tears—the blessed tears, fall once more from those eyes, dry too long.”

 

Dear Saviour, should our foes defame,

Or brethren faithless prove

Then, through thy grace, be this our aim,

To conquer them by love.

 

Kept peaceful in the midst of strife,

Forgiving and forgiven;

O may we lead the pilgrim’s life,

And follow thee to heaven!

 

Tell-Tale Signs That Bitterness Is Growing in Your Life

Hebrews 12:15

When you find yourself constantly saying something derogatory about someone else, pay attention to what’s happening! What you’re saying about that person is a tell-tale sign that some bad seed is trying to take root in your heart.

Hebrews 12:15 tells us how to recognize bad seed when it begins to produce destructive fruit in our lives. It says, “… lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you….” The words “springing up” are from the Greek word phuoo. This word depicts a little plant that is just starting to sprout and grow. It isn’t a large plant yet; rather, it’s a small seedling that is just breaking through the soil and starting to peek out at the world. However, the very fact that it’s peeking through the soil means there is a seed hidden in the soil producing this new life.

This is a very significant picture. It tells us that bitterness doesn’t overwhelm us all at once. Instead, it grows a little here and a little there until it finally becomes a huge, ugly growth that defiles our entire lives. Bitterness usually starts peeking up out of the depths of our souls in the form of negative thoughts about another person or a sour, sharp, distrusting, cynical attitude toward someone who has offended us. If the root is not quickly uprooted and removed, that bitterness will eventually become a full-blown tree that produces bitter, wounding, hurtful, and scornful fruit for everyone who eats of it.

Hebrews 12:15 shouts its warning: If you don’t stop these attitudes, they will eventually “trouble you.” The words “trouble you” are from the Greek word enochleo, which means to trouble, to harass, or to annoy. It refers to something inside that bothers and upsets you so much, you are constantly pestered by thoughts about it. In fact, your whole life is stalked by these hassling, troubling thoughts. What you allowed to take root and to fester inside your soul has now become a major nuisance to your peace, keeping you upset and emotionally torn up all the time.

  • Do you have a grudge against someone that just gnaws away at you all the time?
  • Every time you see that person, do you feel something sharp and ugly inside?
  • When you hear about that person being blessed, do you wonder how God could possibly bless him when he did such an ugly thing to you?
  • Do negative thoughts like these pester and bother you all the time?

If you relate to the questions I just asked you, then watch out! It may mean that a root of bitterness is growing inside you and that bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness are starting to hound and stalk you wherever you go!

You need to get a grip on yourself and let the Holy Spirit help you permanently rid yourself of these feelings; otherwise, you’ll end up troubled, annoyed, and terribly upset. You’ll lose your peace, forfeit your joy, and toss aside your victory. Friend, you don’t want to take this path! It’s too painful, too hurtful, and costs you too much in your walk with God.

So if you find yourself constantly saying something derogatory about someone else, pay attention to what’s happening! That is a tell-tale sign that some bad seed is trying to take root in your heart that could potentially grow into a major issue that hassles your whole life. Don’t let it happen! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you jerk out those roots from the soil of your heart so you can stay free!

The Holy Spirit is willing, ready, and waiting to help you grab hold of those roots of bitterness and pull them clear out of your life. All He needs is your invitation, so why don’t you go ahead and ask Him to assist you right now?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to please forgive me for allowing negative thoughts about others to consume me. Even though I don’t like what they did to me, I have no right to be bitter and resentful. I realize now that I am acting just as ugly inwardly as they acted outwardly. In Your eyes, my sin is just as bad as theirs. I am truly sorry for allowing these attitudes to grow inside me, Lord. To the best of my ability, I turn right now from the wrong thoughts that have been consuming me, and I choose instead to speak well of those who have offended or hurt me. Holy Spirit, help me uproot those wrong feelings from my heart and replace them with love and forgiveness.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that my heart is free of bitterness, resentment, strife, and unforgiveness. God’s Spirit lives in me, and He doesn’t allow me to keep living with wrong attitudes in my life. He speaks to me when I begin to think poorly of others; He convicts me of every wrong attitude; and He helps me bring my thoughts under His control. Because my mind and emotions are controlled by the Spirit of God, I think only positive thoughts about those who are near or around me. If any negative thoughts about someone else try to enter my mind, the Holy Spirit quickly helps me recognize them and bring correction to the way I am thinking!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Is there one particular person or group of people you find yourself constantly speaking badly about? Why do you feel the need to speak so derogatorily about that person or group? What does this reveal about the condition of your own heart?
  2. Has God been trying to deal with you about your attitude toward that person or group of people? Be honest!
  3. Would you have to honestly admit this bitterness or unforgiveness has affected the level of joy you once experienced in the Lord? It’s difficult to be filled with joy when you are “eaten up” on the inside with negative thoughts about someone else. If you are being hounded by hassling thoughts, what do you plan to do about your condition?

 

A Spiritual Lift

Could you use a spiritual lift about now? Then consider this prayer:

 

O Holy Spirit of God, visit now this soul of mine, and tarry within it until eventide.

 

[“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… ” (Isaiah 40:31)]

 

Inspire all my thoughts, – [“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)]

 

Pervade all my imaginations, – [“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8b)]

 

Suggest all my decisions. – [“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)]

 

Lodge in my wills most inward citadel[“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:6)]

 

Order all my doings. – [“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)]

 

Be with me in my silence[“In quietness and trust is your strength… ” (Isaiah 30:15b)]

 

In my speech, – [“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt… ” (Colossians 4:6b)]

 

In my haste, and in my leisure, – [“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)]

 

In company, and in solitude, – [“Be still, and know that I am God… ” Psalm 46:10a)]

 

In the freshness of the morning[“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14)]

 

In the weariness of the evening. – [“My soul yearns for you in the night… ” (Isaiah 26:9a)]

 

And give me grace at all times to rejoice in Thy mysterious companionship.[“Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him… ” (Psalm 64:10a)]

 

 

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