Call Upon God

For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9


We think of life as relative calm broken up by occasional periods of trouble. But the opposite may be more true: Life is troublesome relieved by occasional periods of peace. That is not pessimistic; it is realistic. It parallels what Eliphaz said to his troubled friend, Job: “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Perhaps the most personal and private trouble we ever experience is loneliness.

The psalmists often had to listen to the echo of their own prayers as they cried out to God from a place of isolation. Even if others are around, we can feel lonely if we forget that God is always there. We don’t know who wrote Psalm 116, or in what circumstances, but the situation was dire: “The pains of death surrounded me, . . . I found trouble and sorrow” (verse 3). During his isolation and fear, the psalmist called out to God: “O LORD I implore You, deliver my soul!” (verse 4) And God answered: “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful” (verse 5).

No trouble is greater than God’s power. Loneliness is a fiction since God is always with us. Call upon Him today and He will hear you, and draw near to you.

Life and trouble are married together.  Thomas Watson

God Honors Our Commitment to Him

Daniel 1:1-21

Daniel and his friends faced the same dilemma that we do today—how to live a holy life. At times, our society seems to accept Christian values and standards, but that’s not always the case. Our challenge is to live under God’s authority while remaining in submission to the law of the land. But what if we are forced to choose between the two? Our first inclination should be to seek the Lord’s guidance before marching forward.

Had Daniel bluntly declared, “I won’t eat this food!” he wouldn’t have lasted long, and we wouldn’t have the book of Daniel in the Bible. But the Lord gave him the wisdom to humbly seek permission from the person who was in a position of authority over him. God honored the young man’s commitment and provided a way for him to live righteously in a pagan world.

We tend to hold up Daniel and his three friends as extraordinary people who lived amazing lives. But they were regular people, just like us. Have you ever wondered what the Lord could do in the life of an ordinary person like you or me? The determining factor is not the individual’s greatness, but rather his or her commitment to a heavenly Father who can do remarkable things in a life fully devoted to Him. That’s the kind of person God is looking for.

Although we don’t know all that God could do in and through us if we radically committed ourselves to Him, the thought of missing out on His plans should be enough to motivate us to obey. On arriving in heaven, we don’t want to discover blessings were forfeited because we weren’t fully devoted to Him.

Three Appearings of Christ

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)

The wonderful promise of this text actually refers to the third appearing of Christ. The New Testament speaks of His past appearing, His present appearing, and His future appearing. These three appearings are all set forth in one fascinating passage of Scripture, Hebrews 9:24-28, where three different Greek words are used in reference to the three appearings.

1. His past appearing. “Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Here the Greek word is phaneroo, meaning “become apparent after being hidden.” His appearing had been prophesied since the beginning of the world (Luke 1:67-70), and finally He had come.

2. His present appearing. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). The Greek word here is emphanizo, which means “manifest or declare openly.” He is now our “advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), where He “also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).

3. His future appearing. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). The Greek in this case is optomai, meaning “gaze at face to face.”

Our text (Colossians 3:4) speaks of His future appearing at the Second Coming. However, here the Greek for “appear” is again phaneroo, the same as used for His past appearing in Hebrews 9:26, as discussed above. This usage assures us that His future appearing will be just as real to us as His past appearing was to His first disciples. And when He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory! HMM

David was encouraged by the Lord his God

1 Samuel 30:1-13, 15-18

David again stepped aside from his right position, and went over to Achish the Philistine king, who received him kindly. War soon arose against Israel, and David was expected to march against his own people. When we walk by sight and not by faith, we are sure to be placed in embarrassments ere long, and so was David! Out of this difficulty the Lord delivered him, for the Philistine lords distrusted him, and therefore Achish sent him back to Ziklag, the city which he had allotted to him as his dwelling-place; but the Lord took care to chasten him, for on his return to Ziklag a sad scene awaited him.

1 Samuel 30:4

A sad sight to see strong men weep like women, but who would not do so in such a case.

1 Samuel 30:5, 6

Some time before, he had said, “There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines,” but having proved the vanity of all human helps, he turns unto the Lord his God. How different from Saul, who at this time was looking to Satan for aid, and consulting the witch of Endor.

1 Samuel 30:7

It was well that David kept the priest and the ephod always near him, or they would have been carried off with the rest. Whatever we lose, let us hold fast to Christ and his word.

1 Samuel 30:8

David proved that the God of truth may be trusted, and that the heart which waits upon the Lord will be comforted.

1 Samuel 30:9, 10

They were not all equally strong, neither are all the followers of the Lord Jesus equally full of grace. Yet our great leader is full of tenderness, and does not disdain to give the feeblest a share of the spoil.

1 Samuel 30:13

Servants are to be cared for in their sickness. Only a heathen master would desert his servant because of illness.

1 Samuel 30:15-18

Thus faith was honoured, and the clouds of trouble poured forth showers of mercy. To our faith the same blessings shall be granted.


The ‘Morons’ of the World Are God’s Kind of People!

1 Corinthians 1:26, 27

If you feel that you just aren’t smart enough to be used by God, then today’s Sparkling Gem is written just for you! Get ready, because you’re about to be abundantly blessed when you see exactly whom God delights in choosing and using to do mighty things in His name! In First Corinthians 1:27, the apostle Paul writes, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise….”

The word “foolish” is from the Greek word moraino. It depicts someone who is dull, dense, or slow. It was used in New Testament times to portray a person who was stupid or foolish— hence, a fool. It could also picture a person who is mentally ill or mentally deranged. The word moraino was used derogatorily to make fun of people or to put them down for being intellectually inferior. It comes from the same word from which we get the word moron. My thesaurus gives these other synonyms for a “moron”: idiot, imbecile, halfwit, numskull, dimwit, dunce, blockhead, dope, ignoramus, lamebrain, jerk, or twerp!

The truth is, no one is an idiot in God’s view. But the world often has a scathing opinion and view of people whom God chooses. It is simply a fact that the world regularly ridicules us as being nitwits, lamebrains, and idiots. This is precisely the way the word moraino was used in Paul’s time, depicting people whom the world scorned, made fun of, and treated with contempt.

Because much of the Early Church was comprised of servants and slaves, most of the people in the local congregations were very uneducated, uncultured, clumsy, crude, awkward, and unpolished. It wasn’t that they were stupid. They had simply never been exposed to or taught about manners, culture, and refined behavior. Reared and treated as servants since birth, they’d never had a need to know these skills. As a result, it is a historical fact that the vast majority of the Early Church was uncultured.

Although there was a logical reason why many of the early believers were so uncultured, this lack of polish made them look stupid in the world’s eyes. In fact, at first the Roman Empire looked upon Christianity as the religion of stupid, poor people because it grew so rapidly among the lower slave classes.

Yet Paul says, “… God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…” (1 Corinthians 1:27). The word “confound” is the Greek word kataishuno. It means to put to shame, to embarrass, to confuse, to frustrate, or to baffle. The word “wise” is the word sophos, referring to those who are naturally brilliant, intellectually sharp, or especially enlightened. Paul is saying that God calls people whom the world considers morons in order to put to shame, embarrass, confuse, frustrate, and baffle those who think they’re so smart!


Taking all these Greek words into consideration, an interpretive translation of First Corinthians 1:26, 27 could read:

“God selected people who are idiots in the world’s view; the world sees them as imbeciles, jerks, real twerps. Yet God is using them to utterly confound those who seem smart in the world’s eyes.”

If anyone has ever called you an idiot—if you’ve ever been called a stupid imbecile, a jerk, or a twerp—it’s time for you to rejoice! This makes you a candidate! You are exactly the kind of person God wants to use!

So don’t let anyone put you down or make you feel badly about yourself. A lack of education, culture, or polish has never stopped God from using people who have a willing heart. If your heart is right and you are willing for God to use you, you are the very one He is seeking right now! Just say, “Lord, here I am! I’m ready to be used!”


Lord, I thank You for choosing to use people like me! I realize that I may not have the education, skills, culture, or high-level training that others may possess, but I do have a heart to be used by You. I want You to take me and use me for Your work in this earth. Today I surrender to You anew, asking You to take me and to use me mightily in this life!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I am exactly the kind of person God wants to use! My heart is right; my attitude is willing; and I deeply desire for God to use me in a special way in this life. I am willing to learn and ready to be corrected. I want God to shape me to become a mighty instrument in His hands. Because of my attitude and willing heart, God is going to use me mightily to further His Kingdom on this earth!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Have you accepted God’s call on your life?
  2. If yes, what do you believe He has called you to do? What do you know about the special, unique plan He has for you that He doesn’t have for anyone else?
  3. If you haven’t accepted your unique calling yet, what is stopping you today from saying yes to the Lord and stepping into the glorious future He has planned for your life?

If anyone has ever called you an idiot—if you’ve ever been called a stupid imbecile, a jerk, or a twerp—it’s time for you to rejoice! This makes you a candidate! You are exactly the kind of person God wants to use!


The Real Reason Most Of Us Fail To Spend Consistent Time With God

It’s not lack of discipline. But lack of appetite. If we don’t have a hunger for God it is because our affections have been drawn away to other loves. To name a few:

  • Rabid materialism — The rush and the seduction of acquiring and indulging. (1 Timothy 6:10)
  • Sexual fantasies and indulgence. (Genesis 6:1, 2, 5, 6; 2 Samuel 11:1-4; Job 31:7, 9; 2 Peter 2:14)
  • “Success” — That frenetic dash to achieve; “win”; make a name for oneself. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11)
  • Seeking the approval of others. (Matthew 22:16; Luke 16:15; Acts 5:29; Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4)

Recently a young professional shared with me the dryness of his times alone with God. He said that the Scriptures seemed flat. Irrelevant. He then explained that in his job, he and a team of analysts routinely submit reports to their superiors that affect company policy. It is a common practice, he informed me, to shade the reports in a manner that will put the team members in a favorable light with their higher-ups. If he chooses not to go along, his career is put in jeopardy. So play along he does.


Is there any doubt as to why he has little appetite for the things of God?


Last night I dined with a businessman who, for the past 3 years I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to motivate to spend consistent time with God. We’ve had “quiet times” together, talked about priorities, personal discipline, how to meditate on the Word. You name it. All to no avail.


John,” I asked, “hows your time with God?” Embarrassment, fumbling. Then, “Dwight, I wont lie to you. Its not very good.” Yet this man spends 10 hours a day in his career, and untold hours in church work. But he will not carve out personal time with God.


Let’s be honest. We find time to do what we really want! So the issue is not discipline, but appetite.


If we cannot recognize the value of simply being alone with God, as the beloved, without doing anything, we gouge the heart out of Christianity.


QUESTION: How would you evaluate your appetite for spending time with Christ? Are you eager? Or is it obligatory? If your times with God are the blahs, what do you think is the root cause?