VIDEO Dependent on God’s Presence – Collective Weariness

Dependent on God’s Presence

 

There is no thrill for us in walking, yet it is the test for all of our steady and enduring qualities. To “walk and not faint” is the highest stretch possible as a measure of strength. The word walk is used in the Bible to express the character of a person— “…John…looking at Jesus as He walked…said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ ” (John 1:35-36). There is nothing abstract or obscure in the Bible; everything is vivid and real. God does not say, “Be spiritual,” but He says, “Walk before Me…” (Genesis 17:1).

When we are in an unhealthy condition either physically or emotionally, we always look for thrills in life. In our physical life this leads to our efforts to counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit; in our emotional life it leads to obsessions and to the destruction of our morality; and in our spiritual life, if we insist on pursuing only thrills, on mounting up “with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), it will result in the destruction of our spirituality.

Having the reality of God’s presence is not dependent on our being in a particular circumstance or place, but is only dependent on our determination to keep the Lord before us continually. Our problems arise when we refuse to place our trust in the reality of His presence. The experience the psalmist speaks of— “We will not fear, even though…” (Psalm 46:2)— will be ours once we are grounded on the truth of the reality of God’s presence, not just a simple awareness of it, but an understanding of the reality of it. Then we will exclaim, “He has been here all the time!” At critical moments in our lives it is necessary to ask God for guidance, but it should be unnecessary to be constantly saying, “Oh, Lord, direct me in this, and in that.” Of course He will, and in fact, He is doing it already! If our everyday decisions are not according to His will, He will press through them, bringing restraint to our spirit. Then we must be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R


Sermon on Isaiah 40:27-31 | “Collective Weariness” by Pastor Colin Smith

Hands-On Learning

Imitate me, as I imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

 

My six-year-old son, Owen, was thrilled to receive a new board game. But after a half hour reading the rules, he was frustrated. He couldn’t quite figure out how it worked. It wasn’t until later, when a friend came over who already knew how to play, that Owen finally got to enjoy his present.

Watching them play, I was reminded of how much easier it is to learn something new if you have an experienced teacher. When we’re learning, reading the instructions helps, but having a friend who can demonstrate makes a huge difference.

The apostle Paul understood this too. Writing to Titus about how he could help his church grow in faith, Paul emphasized the value of experienced believers who could model Christian faith. Of course teaching “sound doctrine” was important, but it didn’t just need to be talked about—it needed to be lived out. Paul wrote that older men and women ought to be self-controlled, kind, and loving (Titus 2:2–5). “In everything,” he said, “set them an example by doing what is good” (v. 7).

I’m thankful for solid teaching, but I’m also thankful for the many people who have been hands-on teachers. They’ve shown me by their lives what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ and have made it easier for me to see how I can walk that path too.

By Amy Peterson

Reflect & Pray

What lessons have you learned from those who have taught you about living for Jesus by their words and actions? What are others seeing as they view your faith in action?

God, thank You for graciously giving us mentors who can show us by example how to live for You, and thank You for giving us Your Son, the only perfect model of faith.

For further study, see christianuniversity.org/HR202 .

Learning to Wait, Ouch

Isaiah 40:29-31

Waiting for God to answer a prayer request is often stressful and frustrating. This is especially true if the issue is urgent or we’ve been praying for months or even years without any evidence of an answer. We must remember that God is working according to His timetable, not ours. He is the sovereign and omniscient ruler of heaven and earth, who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

However, this doesn’t mean He’s a cosmic despot who doesn’t care. On the contrary, He is our loving heavenly Father, who is infinitely good, wise, and powerful. He continually watches over and cares for His beloved children.

From our limited earthly perspective, however, the delay may seem pointless, trying our patience and challenging our faith. Periods of waiting are very often accompanied by fear, stress, or grief. These negative feelings could easily push us forward in search of a solution or lead us into despair. But the Lord has promised protection and provision for those who wait upon Him. If we’ll turn to Him, trusting in His wisdom and love, He will not only strengthen us to endure but will also help us mature through the process.

When the Lord leads you into the “waiting room,” He wants you to keep in step with Him. If you become impatient and try to run ahead, you’ll miss whatever He has for you, whether lessons or blessings or something else. Delays are not easy, but when His answer finally comes, you’ll discover that your patience and trust in Him have grown.

Prepare to Meet Thy God Today

“Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” (Amos 4:12)

There is only one thing that everyone can know for sure. Not even death and taxes are certain, for some will never die. But “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).

Even those who don’t believe in God, those who ridicule His Word, those who disobey His laws, those who worship false gods—everyone must some day meet God. There is no better advice than: “Prepare to meet thy God!”

If anyone should ask what God, the answer is the true God, the Creator. Not the false gods of pagan pantheism, not the natural systems and processes of evolutionism, but the one and only God of creation. He is the one who knows the thoughts of man and “maketh the morning darkness” (Amos 4:13) for all who reject or ignore Him. The word here for “darkness” is used only one other time in Scripture and is synonymous with hell—“a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness” (Job 10:22).

In the coming judgment, “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). The message of Amos needs to be heard in every generation: “Prepare to meet thy God!” For “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment” (Psalm 1:5), and the judgment is sure: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” and for those who die unprepared, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 9:27; 10:31).

The only way to come into His presence prepared, of course, is through Jesus Christ, who is Himself the Lord of all the hosts of heaven. HMM

Dry Rot of Nonexpectation

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

—Acts 6:7

The church is afflicted by dry rot. This is best explained when the psychology of nonexpectation takes over and spiritual rigidity sets in, which is an inability to visualize anything better, a lack of desire for improvement.

There are many who respond by arguing, “I know lots of evangelical churches that would like to grow, and they do their best to get the crowds in. They want to grow and have contests to make their Sunday school larger.” That is true, but they are trying to get people to come and share their rut. They want people to help them celebrate the rote and finally join in the rot. Because the Holy Spirit is not given a chance to work in our services, nobody is repenting, nobody is seeking God, nobody is spending a day in quiet waiting on God with open Bible seeking to mend his or her ways…. But more people for what? More people to come and repeat our dead services without feeling, without meaning, without wonder, without surprise? More people to join us in the bondage to the rote? For the most part, spiritual rigidity that cannot bend is too weak to know just how weak it is.   RRR008-009

Lord, not more people, but more of You. Let me wait upon You, keep me faithful, send Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good

Do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee.—Judges 10:15.

 

Dear Lord, whose mercy veileth all

That may our coming days befall,

Still hide from us the things to be,

But rest our troubled hearts in Thee.

Harriet McEwen Kimball.

 

Peace of heart lies in perfect resignation to the will of God. What you need is true simplicity, a certain calmness of spirit which comes from entire surrender to all that God wills, patience and toleration for your neighbor’s faults, and a certain candor and childlike docility in acknowledging your own faults. The trouble you feel about so many things comes from your not accepting everything which may happen to you, with sufficient resignation to God. Put all things, then, in His hands, and offer them beforehand to Him in your heart, as a sacrifice. From the moment when you cease to want things to be according to your own judgment, and accept unconditionally whatever He sends, you will be free from all your uneasy retrospects and anxieties about your own concerns.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

Have You Looked For Him

“Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb. 9:28

This is our hope. He to whom we have already looked as coming once to bear the sins of many will have another manifestation to the sons of men; this is a happy prospect in itself. But that second appearing has certain peculiar marks which glorify it exceedingly.

Our Lord will have ended the business of sin. He has so taken it away from His people, and so effectually borne its penalty, that He will have nothing to do with it at His second coming. He will present no sin-offering, for He will have utterly put sin away.

Our Lord will then complete the salvation of His people. They will be finally and perfectly saved, and will in every respect enjoy the fullness of that salvation. He comes not to bear the result of our transgressions, but to bring the result of His obedience; not to remove our condemnation, but to perfect our salvation.

Our Lord thus appears only to those who look for Him. He will not be seen in this character by men whose eyes are blinded with self and sin. To them He will be a terrible Judge, and nothing more. We must first look to Him, and then look for Him; and in both cases our look shall be life.

 

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