Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me. Psalm 143:10
Earlier this year, a Baptist pastor in Hong Kong, Chu Yiu-ming, 75, was convicted for his preaching and advocacy of democracy. He turned the courtroom into a pulpit, and the Hong Kong Free Press printed his sermon. Pastor Chu preached Christ, spoke for freedom and liberty, and ended his remarks saying, “We have no regrets, we hold no grudges, no anger, no grievances. We do not give up. In the words of Jesus, ‘Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!’ (Matthew 5:10) Oh Lord, who is merciful and just—to you I entrust my life, may your will be done!”1
We never know when life will deal us a bitter blow, but we have examples of thousands of believers—like Joseph and Chu Yiu-ming—who have been abused, yet show us how to overcome life’s detours by trusting in God’s providence and promises.
That’s why we don’t give up, but instead we say, “Lord, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
At this very moment, my heart tells me that with this defendant’s dock, I have found the most honourable pulpit of my ministerial career. The valley of the shadow of death leads to spiritual heights. Chu Yiu-ming
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice.
2 Timothy 1:5
Long before the decisive moment when Billy Graham came to faith in Christ at age sixteen, his parents’ devotion to Jesus was evident. They’d both come to faith while growing up within a family of believers. After their marriage, Billy’s parents continued that legacy by lovingly nurturing their children, including praying and reading Scripture and attending church faithfully with them. The solid foundation Graham’s parents laid for Billy was part of the soil God used to bring him to faith and, eventually, to his calling as a bold evangelist.
The apostle Paul’s young protégé Timothy also benefited from a strong spiritual foundation. Paul wrote, “Your sincere faith . . . first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). This legacy helped prepare and steer Timothy’s heart toward faith in Christ.
Now Paul urged Timothy to carry on this faith tradition (v. 5), to “fan into flame the gift of God” within him through the Holy Spirit, who “gives us power” (vv. 6–7). Because of the power of the Spirit, Timothy could fearlessly live for the gospel (v. 8). A strong spiritual legacy doesn’t guarantee we’ll come to faith, but the example and mentoring of others can help prepare the way. And after we receive Jesus as Savior, the Spirit will guide us in service, in living for Him, and even in nurturing the faith of others.
By: Alyson Kieda
Reflect & Pray
Who or what did God use to help to lay the foundation for your faith? How can you help to do this in someone’s life today?
God, thank You for the believers who helped shape my faith. Help me to rely on Christ’s Spirit for the strength to boldly witness for You.
When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.
Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.
As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. Today’s passage from Psalm 86 starts with an urgent cry for help, followed by a reminder to the heavenly Father that David belongs to Him. Then he recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him (vv. 3-5). These characteristics are the basis for trust.
Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.
“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” (Exodus 17:6)
This amazing provision of drinking water for the Israelites in the midst of a barren wilderness is surely one of the most remarkable miracles of creation recorded in Scripture. Furthermore, it was not a one-time event but somehow continued to provide water for them during the entire 40 years they spent in the desert. God provided daily water just as He provided their daily bread. “Our fathers . . . did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1, 3-4).
The provision was an act of pure grace on God’s part, for even after God created the manna for them, the people were about to stone Moses (Exodus 17:4). But their complaint was really against God, so God “stood before” Moses as he smote the rock at Horeb, and a great spring of water burst forth.
This is the first mention of the word “rock” in Scripture, and it is surely significant that the apostle Paul calls this rock a type of Christ. Just as Moses smote the rock with the same rod of judgment that he had used to smite the river in Egypt (Exodus 7:20; 17:5), so Christ had to be “smitten of God” (Isaiah 53:4) because of our sins before He could fulfill His promise: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).
But once our Rock was smitten, the water of everlasting life was made available freely to all who will drink. The very last invitation of the Bible is: “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Then, “whosoever drinketh . . . shall never thirst” (John 4:14). HMM
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
Although the human mind stubbornly resists and resents the suggestion that it is a sick, fallen planet upon which we ride, everything within our consciousness, our innermost spirit, confirms that the voice of God is sounding in this world—the voice of God calling, seeking, beckoning to lost men and women!…
Sacred revelation declares plainly that the inhabitants of the earth are lost. They are lost by a mighty calamitous visitation of woe which came upon them somewhere in that distant past and is still upon them.
But it also reveals a glorious fact—that this lost race has not been given up!
There is a divine voice that continues to call. It is the voice of the Creator, God, and it is entreating them. Just as the shepherd went everywhere searching for his sheep, just as the woman in the parable went everywhere searching for her coin, so there is a divine search with many variations of the voice that entreats us, calling us back. EFE003, 008
Thank You, Father, for Your grace that continues to call so patiently. Lord, You’re calling some today with whom I could have the privilege of sharing the gospel. Give me a sensitivity today to opportunities where I might be Your human voice. Amen.
Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.—Proverbs 16:20.
This world of ours is a happy world, so that God is our end, so that we can say to Him, “Thou art my God.” Then everything takes new hues of joy and love. Our daily comforts have a soul in them, for they abound in thanksgiving; our daily infirmities or crosses have a special joy in them, because they are so tenderly fitted to us by the medicinal hand of our God; the commonest acts of life are full of deep interest, because their end is God; daily duties are daily joys, because they are something which God gives us to offer unto Him, to do to our very best, in acknowledgment of His love. It is His earth we walk on; His air, we breathe; His sun, the emblem of His all-penetrating love, which gladdens us. Eternity! Yes, that too is present to us, and is part of our joy on earth. God has given us faith to make our future home as certain to us, as this our spot of earth; and hope, to aspire strongly to it; and love, as a foretaste of the all-surrounding, ever-unfolding, Almighty love of our own God.
These are in prophecy the words of Messiah in the day of His obedience unto death, when He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. He was confident in divine support, and trusted in Jehovah.
O my soul, thy sorrows are as the small dust of the balance compared with thy Lord’s! Canst thou not believe that the Lord God will help thee? Thy Lord was in a peculiar position; for as the representative of sinful men — their substitute and sacrifice — it was needful that the Father should leave Him, and cause Him to come under desertion of soul. No such necessity is laid upon thee: thou are not bound to cry, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Did thy Saviour even in such a case still rely upon God, and canst not thou? He died for thee, and thus made it impossible that thou shouldst be left alone; wherefore, be of good cheer.
In this day’s labors or trials say, “The Lord God will help me.” Go forth boldly. Set your face like a flint, and resolve that no faintness or shamefacedness shall come near you. If God helps, who can hinder? If you are sure of omnipotent aid, what can be too heavy for you? Begin the day joyously, and let no shade of doubt come between thee and the eternal sunshine.
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