The phone rings, and you answer. A sullen voice informs you of a tragedy. Your heart is so heavy that you feel paralyzed by anguish. What do you do?
Bad news, danger, and pain all cause us to seek assistance. As believers, we lean on the almighty God, who is more than able to help, no matter what has befallen us. At those moments when we are sideswiped by life’s circumstances, we should cry out to Him.
In the Bible, crying out refers to speaking audibly with great emotion concerning an urgent need. God invites us to use this form of prayer to communicate that we desperately need His mercy.
It takes both faith and humility to share our heart’s concern aloud. Crying out, then, is a way for God’s children to express trust in the Lord’s ability and willingness to help. By calling upon Him with such urgency, we also lay down our pride and any attitude of self-sufficiency.
The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. In Psalm 3:4, for example, David wrote, “I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain.” When we call aloud for help in Jesus’ name, we invite His power into the situation. Remember that there is strength in just speaking His name.
When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be allowed to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.
“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6)
This admonition to be strong and of “good courage” (Hebrew amass) is given some ten times in the Old Testament, plus another nine times using a different word (chasaq). The first occurrence of amass is in Deuteronomy 3:28, where it is translated “strengthen”: “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”
Christians today surely need good courage to face a dangerous world with all its temptations and intimidations, but nothing today could compare to the challenge facing Joshua. Trying to lead a nondescript multitude of “stiff-necked” desert nomads into a land of giants and walled cities would surely require courage beyond anything we could imagine today.
But Joshua had access to invincible resources, and so do we. “Be strong and of a good courage,” God told him. “Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).
Giants and walled cities are no match for the children of God when He goes with them, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
God did go with Joshua, and the Israelites defeated the giants, destroyed the walled cities, and took the land. And we have the same promise today, for “he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Courage is really another name for faith, and “what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:21). HMM
The men who could commit this murder without shame were, nevertheless, great sticklers for every point of ceremony, whatever cruelty it might involve. This proves that riles and ceremonies leave men as dad as they find them. Romanists, with a thousand pompous performances, yet rejoiced in the burning of pious men and women, and invented racks and tortures for them. Let this teach us to mind most the spiritual requirements of the gospel, and remember that the religion which does not change the heart and teach us to be merciful is good for nothing.
This was done to hasten death. Verily, the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
And he that saw it bare record that is to say, John himself
He was sure of what he saw, he was under no delusion, he asserts it with the utmost confidence.
The two secret but true followers of our Lord now came out in their true colours. The cross is the great revealer of the thoughts of men’s hearts. Blessed are they who are not ashamed of Christ Crucified.
Their jealous hatred led them to mar their own Sabbath and Passover by appeals to a heathen ruler. Little did they know of that spiritual Sabbath-keeping, which makes us lay aside our cares and even our own thoughts upon the hallowed day of rest.
Thus, unwittingly, helping to secure testimony for the resurrection such as none could gainsay. It was now impossible for his body to be stolen, and if he came forth it must be by supernatural power. Oh, blind Jews, thus to ensure their own confusion! Blinder yet are they who believe that Jesus rose, and yet do not put their trust in him.
If any man… consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is proud, knowing nothing. (1 Timothy 6:3-4)
First I become indignant and then I become sad when a person to whom I am trying to give spiritual counsel tells me: “Well, I am trying to make up my mind whether or not I should accept Christ.”
This scene is taking place in our society over and over again, as proud adamic sinners argue within themselves: “I don’t know whether I should accept Christ or not.” So, in this view, our poor Lord Christ stands hat-in-hand, shifting from one foot to the other, looking for a job—wondering whether He will be accepted!
Is it possible that we proud humans do not know that the Christ we are putting off is the eternal Son; the Lord who made the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein? He is indeed the One, the Mighty One!
Thankfully, He has promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be. But the idea that we can make Him stand while we render the verdict of whether He is worthy is a frightful calumny—and we ought to get rid of it!
“He hath cast out thine enemy.” Zeph. 3:15
What a casting out was that! Satan has lost his throne in our nature even as he lost his seat in Heaven. Our Lord Jesus has destroyed the enemy’s reigning power over us. He may worry us, but he cannot claim us as his own. His bonds are no longer upon our spirits: the Son has made us free, and we are free indeed.
Still is the arch-enemy the accuser of the brethren; but even from this position our Lord has driven him. Our advocate silences our accuser. The Lord rebukes our enemies, and pleads the causes of our soul, so that no harm comes of all the devil’s revilings.
As a tempter, the evil spirit still assails us, and insinuates himself into our minds; but thence also is he cast out as to his former preeminence. He wriggles about like a serpent, but he cannot rule like a sovereign. He hurls in blasphemous thoughts when he has opportunity; but what a relief it is when he is told to be quiet, and is made to slink off like a whipped cur! Lord, do this for any who are at this time worried and wearied by his barkings. Cast out their enemy, and be thou glorious in their eyes. Thou hast cast him down, Lord cast him out. Oh that thou wouldst banish him from the world!