I Love You Anyway music video by Holly Star
I Love You Anyway music video by Holly Star
And [Job] took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Job 2:8
Job’s story is universally known. He endured a series of catastrophes in his personal life until he ended up sitting, alone, on an ash heap scraping his boils with a scrap of pottery. How can it come to that? The truth is, we don’t have to go through Job’s dreadful experiences (Job 1–2) to feel we have landed in a similar place: afflicted and alone.
If we are going to identify with the beginning of Job’s story, we must also identify with the middle and the end. Throughout his quest to understand God’s reasons for his afflictions, Job never lost confidence in God. And in the end his spiritual eyes were opened to see God in a way he had never seen Him before: sovereign, omnipotent, and gracious. Job’s life was restored; he was wiser and deeper than he otherwise would have been. Trouble did in Job’s life what it will do in our life if we will give God the benefit of the doubt. If we will but believe that God is with us and working out His perfect will, we will never doubt His presence in spite of our circumstances.
Don’t let circumstances determine how you see God. Conform your circumstances to God, not God to your circumstances.
Shall light troubles make you forget weighty mercies? John Favel
The value we place on something determines how we treat it. For instance, you probably wouldn’t give much thought to caring for an old shoebox. Yet if someone placed $10,000 inside before handing you that same cardboard container, you’d likely rearrange your day to protect it against damage or theft.
Once we realize the worth of Scripture, we no longer read merely out of obligation. Instead, we hunger for its revelation and life-changing power.
Here’s how you can prioritize God’s Word so that it impacts your heart and behavior. First, turn to it daily with eager expectation for what the Lord will reveal. Second, meditate upon the Word by thinking about what you’ve read and absorbing its meaning and implications. Third, study God’s truth. There are a variety of ways to do this. For example, follow a specific word through the Old and New Testaments by using a concordance or search engine. Or study an entire book by dissecting one chapter at a time. Fourth, believe what the Lord says. Fifth, obey. In other words, take what you read and apply it to your life circumstances. This often requires courage and discipline. Sixth, share what you’ve learned. Doing so will encourage others while strengthening you and sinking the lesson deep in your heart.
The Bible may look like just another book. But it is living truth that can protect and guide, pierce and encourage. It holds the story of Christ’s sacrifice and our salvation, so we can eventually dwell with the Lord in heaven. The way that we look to and depend on God’s Word will reflect to others the value we place on it.
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:18)
It is a tragedy for a person to have blinded eyes but infinitely worse to have a blinded heart. No one ever willfully chooses to be sightless, but spiritual blindness is a product of the human will.
After Christ had given sight to the man born blind, the Pharisees still refused to believe, so Jesus said to them, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. . . . If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:39, 41).
Like these ancient intellectuals, it often seems that modern intellectuals are incurably blind. They profess to teach science and philosophy of the highest complexity, but their understanding is darkened and their hearts are blinded when it comes to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul says: “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
Even very religious people, people who believe in God as Creator, may blind themselves when confronted with the truth that the Creator must also become their Savior. “But their minds were blinded . . . even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart” (2 Corinthians 3:14-15).
Nevertheless, Christ came as “the light,” and when anyone will simply in faith “turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16), and the gospel will “shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). HMM
2 Samuel 7:18
overwhelmed with gratitude he entered the Lord’s tabernacle and reverently sat down and worshipped
2 Samuel 7:18
This is the common feeling of all the Lord’s kings and priests. They wonder why they should be chosen, and they adore the sovereign grace which elected them.
2 Samuel 7:19
Do men act thus? No, for as far as the heavens are above the earth, so high are the Lords ways above man’s ways. He blesses divinely and not after the stinted measure of man’s charity.
2 Samuel 7:20
This is our comfort, that when our souls are too full for utterance the Lord reads our feelings. If words fail us, God hears the songs or the sighs of our hearts.
2 Samuel 7:21
He disclaims all merit, and ascribes all to the gratuitous bounty of God. He was a free-grace man. He placed the crown upon the right head, and gave glory to God alone.
2 Samuel 7:22
There is none like the Lord, and there are no people like his people. Faith deals with matters which are altogether unique, therefore our gratitude should prompt us to unusual deeds of service. If we receive more than others, we must do more than others.
2 Samuel 7:23, 24
This is a delightful reflection. God’s choice of his people is not temporary, but eternal. He never changes in his relation to his people.
2 Samuel 7:25
These last words contain the essence of prayer—”Do as thou hast said.” The only solid foothold for faith is God’s word. When a sinner comes before God, he must have nothing else to rely upon except this—”Do as thou hast said.” If we cannot plead a promise we cannot ask in confidence; but with God’s word before us, we know that his faithfulness will make it good, and therefore we are very bold.
2 Samuel 7:26, 27
What we find promised in God’s word we may most fitly find it in our hearts to pray for. Has the Lord said it? then let us seek it.
2 Samuel 7:28, 29
Pleading the promises is the sinew and muscle of prayer. As we bring promissory notes to those who have signed them, so should we bring the promises of Holy Scripture before the Lord, and entreat him to make good his word. Let us continually cry to him—”Do as thou hast said.”
Lord, for thy name’s sake! such the plea,
With force triumphant fraught,
By which thy saints prevail with thee,
By thine own Spirit taught.
Oh, for thy name’s sake, richly grant
The unction from above;
Fulfil thy holy covenant,
And glorify thy love.
All over the world, the golden rule of real estate is location, location, location. Property situated in the best areas is most desirable because it has the greatest value and demands the highest prices. Even though residences in other areas may be more beautiful and even have larger yards, they simply can’t demand the same high prices as residences situated in better locations.
My family and I live minutes from the Moscow Kremlin where the seat of government resides and where the beautiful Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral are located. Apartments here are older and smaller, but this area is in the very center of Moscow and is considered prestigious because it is so close to the seat of power. Therefore, property and rental values in this area are much higher.
I recently drove outside the city limits to see the fabulous new homes being built by Russia’s brand-new, emerging middle class. When I asked how much these homes could be purchased for, I was stunned to discover that their selling price is a fraction of what smaller apartments cost in the neighborhood where we live. However, if we lived outside the city, we would have to fight traffic for an hour and a half every morning on the way to the office; then we’d have to do it all over again every night on the way home! That’s another reason why the homes located outside the city are cheaper. Living near the center of the city is much easier, more convenient, and more productive.
As I drove back into the city after looking at these country homes, I started thinking about the contrast between living inside and outside of the city. As I pondered this subject, I found my mind going to Hebrews 11:6, which says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him….”
The word “without” comes from the Greek word choris, which means to be outside of something, such as someone who lives outside the perimeters of a city. It is a comparison between being outside or inside something—for example, in the house or out of the house; in the yard or out of the yard; or in the car or out of the car. The word choris depicts someone who is out of not in, a specific location.
Because this word is used in connection with faith, the writer of Hebrews is letting us know that we can live in faith or out of faith. This means faith must be a real place that has borders, perimeters, and boundaries. Just as you can live in the city or out of the city, you can live in faith or outside of faith. The determining factor is your obedience to the assignment God has given you. God wants you to be located at the address of faith—for this is the location He deems the most valuable and profitable for your life.
Hebrews 11:6 could be accurately rendered:
“When you live outside of faith—living beyond its boundaries and perimeters—you make it impossible to please Him….”
To determine if you are in or out of faith, you must ask yourself these questions:
That place where God called you; that place requiring your obedience, faith, and patience; that place where you are confident God wants you to be working and functioning—that is the address of faith where God wants you to live. As long as you stay “in” that place where God told you to be, you are “in” faith and you therefore please God. But the day you give up and move “out” of that place of faith, you are moving to cheaper territory that God doesn’t value as highly—a location where you will experience the hardships and inconveniences of poor choices and defeat.
The entire eleventh chapter of Hebrews is about men and women who lived “in” faith. They each received a word from God for their lives or for their generation. Although it was difficult to do, they held tightly to their mandate from Heaven. As a result, they changed their generations and pleased God. Faith was the location where they lived—and because they stayed in that place where God had called them to be, they brought great pleasure to Him.
But the only way to stay “in” faith is to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus! The devil will try to discourage you from being steadfast and faithful. He’ll orchestrate situations to make you take your eyes off Jesus and to fill you with worry and fear. If you let the enemy’s plan work, it won’t be long before your bags will be packed and you’ll be changing locations—moving “out” of faith to low-level areas of defeat where you will not please God.
But you don’t have to let that plan work! You never have to leave the address of faith where God wants you to live! Just refuse to allow the devil to persuade you to fix your eyes on the circumstances. Don’t take the enemy’s path that leads straight “out” of faith.
For those who stay in faith, there is a reward. That is why Hebrews 11:6 says that God is a “rewarder.” For those who continually live at the address of faith—who refuse to be moved by circumstances; who adamantly reject any inclination to throw in the towel and to give up; who rebuff any temptation or pull to let go of the word God gave them—it is just a matter of time until their faith is rewarded. They will receive the full manifestation of what they believe!
Hebrews 11:6 goes on to say that God “… is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” You see, it takes diligence to stay in faith! It will require you to be focused, concentrated, and committed to the end. When circumstances try to knock you “out” of faith, you must have a fierce, unwavering commitment that you are not going to leave where God called you.
The reason most people fail is that they weren’t really committed from the very beginning. That’s why the devil eventually found a way to move them “out” of that place of faith. One great man of God said, “Anything that ends in a fizzle had a flaw in it from the beginning.” So make sure there are no fatal flaws in you that will knock you out down the road!
I assure you that if you see anyone consistently living at the address of faith, that person has persistently pursued that goal. You see, living “in” faith cannot be a sideline issue in your life. It must have your complete, undivided attention. For you to stay “in” faith, you must be constant. You definitely must be persistent. Your commitment to live and walk in faith must be unbending and immovable.
Make the decision that there is no turning back from where God has called you. God promises that if you stay “in” faith, there is a glorious reward awaiting you in the near future. It’s only a matter of time until the full manifestation of what you believe will come into view!
So make every effort to stay at your address of faith. You are living in the most valuable, beneficial place for your life. You are living where God can bless you!
Since location determines everything else, why don’t you take a few minutes today to assess your life? See if you are properly located “in” or “out” of faith. If you find that you are “out” of faith, make the goal of getting “in” faith your most important priority. The outcome of every other area of your life will be determined by this one decision!
Lord, help me stick with the assignment You have given me for my life. I know that is where I am supposed to be—and I know that is what I am supposed to be doing. Forgive me for vacillating back and forth, in and out, backward and forward. I am asking You to help me become single-minded, concentrated, and focused in my determination never to move out of faith again. I want to live at the address of faith, for I know that is where I will please You the most. Holy Spirit, empower me to push aside every distraction of the devil and to remain fixed and focused on doing exactly what God has instructed me to do.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that I live “in” faith. Although Satan tries to use situations to distract me and dissuade me from staying in faith, I have resolved that I am never moving from the place where God has called me to be. I will never relinquish the dream He has put in my heart. I will stay in this place; I will use my faith; I will be steadfast, unwavering, and committed to seeing His promises come to pass in my life. Because I have made this decision, I am a person who pleases God!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
The other morning as I walked from my guest house out to the street to catch a ride, I passed by a family of five sleeping on a cardboard mat. Throughout the day I was plagued by the memory of that family.
The next morning I again passed this family who were just rising from their night on the street. A short distance away I noticed a street vendor dispensing bowls of food to passersby. Motioning to the family, I asked if they might be interested in eating breakfast. Without hesitation they ran toward me to take up my offer. Moments later, as they were devouring their food, I caught a ride and was off to a hotel for a breakfast appointment. On a whim, while waiting for my guest, I picked up a copy of the British news magazine, The Economist.
It then occurred to me that the cost of purchasing the magazine was about the same as feeding that family of five. For the family, sharing my loose change meant a few hours of relief from hunger; for me it spelled a couple of hours of informed reading.
I don’t know about you, but I am vexed when it comes to the issue of the poor. If I loved them as myself, would I have as many toys? Or live at a level so excessively beyond such economically marginalized people? Just how do I process Jesus’ statement:
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33, 34)
Certainly God will reward us if we reach out to the poor, and punish us if we don’t:
“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” (Proverbs 28:27) (See also Deuteronomy 15:10; Proverbs 19:17; Psalm 41:1-4; Isaiah 58:7; James 2:14-26)
Four truths come to mind as I wrestle through this difficult issue:
1. Jesus did not attempt to meet everyone’s needs. (John 5:1-8)
2. Helping others is to be on a priority basis. (Galatians 6:10)
3. Surely I must help others if I possess the capability. (Proverbs 3:27, 28; 1 John 3:16-18)
4. Jesus placed high value on sacrificial giving. (Mark 12:41-44)
QUESTION: When we do meet Jesus at the Judgment, will He view our earthly sojourn as one characterized by greed, or generosity? (1 Corinthians 5:9, 10) (See also Romans 14:10; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:24, 25)