VIDEO A Journey of Love

Servanthood is a pure expression of love. 1.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:9

It is no surprise that the apostle Paul used marriage to illustrate the bond between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). The most basic explanation is because both are based on a relationship. Just as saying “I do” at the altar is only the beginning in a marriage, saying “I believe” to Christ is only the beginning of that relationship as well.

Married couples will agree: Marriage is a never-ending journey. Couples spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of a spouse’s life and personality. True love means always seeking to love a spouse better and more deeply. Likewise, entering into a relationship with Christ means the same—spending a lifetime getting to know Him and learning to love Him better and more deeply. Just as spouses seek to demonstrate their love for one another, so we pursue an ever-deeper knowledge on how to please the One who died and now lives for us.

Loving for a lifetime is a daily journey. Think of ways you can show your love for Christ today in thought, word, or deed.

The child of God has only one dread—to offend his Father. The child of God has only one desire—to please and delight in him.
Charles Bridges

Best Shelter from the Storm

When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Exodus 33:22

As the story goes, in 1763, a young minister, traveling on a cliffside road in Somerset, England, ducked into a cave to escape the flashes of lightning and pounding rain. As he looked out at Cheddar Gorge, he pondered the gift of finding shelter and peace in God. Waiting there, he began to write a hymn, “Rock of Ages,” with its memorable opening lines: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”

We don’t know if Augustus Toplady thought about Moses’s experience in the cleft of a rock while writing the hymn (Exodus 33:22), but perhaps he did. The Exodus account tells of Moses seeking God’s reassurance and God’s response. When Moses asked God to reveal His glory to him, God answered graciously, knowing that “no one may see me and live” (v. 20). He tucked Moses into the rocks when He passed by, letting Moses only see His back. And Moses knew that God was with him.

We can trust that just as God said to Moses, “My Presence will go with you” (v. 14), so too we can find refuge in Him. We may experience many storms in our lives, as did Moses and the English minister in the story, but when we cry out to Him, He will give us the peace of His presence.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

As you look back at various seasons of your life, how do you see God’s loving presence during the storms? How do you experience His presence today?

Father God, help me to trust that You’re with me, even during the storms of life.

Godly Responses to Anger

Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 16:32

We live in a fallen world where sin is rampant, injustice is common, and conflicts abound. So there are plentiful opportunities to sin in anger. Although we cannot change many of these situations, altering our responses to them is possible.

Situations like struggling economies and natural disasters cause widespread frustration, but difficulties with people can present challenges on a more personal level. When hurt by someone’s words or actions, we may be tempted to hurl a caustic reply or simmer with resentment. Yet as believers, we’re to follow Jesus’ example: “While being reviled, He did not revile in return … but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Today’s verses from the book of Proverbs emphasize the value of being slow to anger. This is especially important when facing a verbal attack. Quiet listening protects us from speaking rashly and offers the opportunity to ask God for help in responding as Christ would.

A calm, gentle reply can defuse a tense situation, but without taking time to process what was said, few of us will be able to answer wisely. When we are slow to anger, we can gain understanding of the situation and the hidden motives that a hot-tempered person can’t objectively comprehend.

Such a response is unnatural, but that shouldn’t surprise us since the One who modeled it is supernatural. Our priorities need to change if we’re to emulate Jesus. Love and understanding must supersede the need to defend ourselves, and preserving the relationship must replace safeguarding our rights. So be calm in all situations, and let Christ be your defender and protector.

Lo, I Come to do thy will

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” (Hebrews 10:7)

These marvelous words (in Hebrews 10:5-7) are an interpretive quotation from Psalm 40:6-8, which in turn was being cited prophetically as the testimony of the eternal Son of God as He prepared to leave heaven and “the bosom of the Father” (note John 1:18) to descend to Earth to become also “the Son of man,” with no “where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

He first took up residence on Earth in the womb of Mary, then in a manger, then a house in Bethlehem, then somewhere in Egypt until the death of King Herod, who had tried to kill Him, then in the home of his foster father in a despised village, eventually on a cross on which His enemies would impale Him, and finally for three days in a borrowed tomb.

And all this, amazingly, was to do the will of His Father in heaven, which He fully understood would include the terrible death of the cross. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17).

We can never comprehend such love—only believe it and receive it. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Now we can testify with Paul “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God [His faith, not ours!], who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

But anyone who ignores that love should note this sobering truth: “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). HMM

Carnal Desire to Make Good

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

—2 Corinthians 4:5

Our Lord died an apparent failure, discredited by the leaders of established religion, rejected by society and forsaken by His friends. The man who ordered Him to the cross was the successful statesman whose hand the ambitious hack politician kissed. It took the resurrection to demonstrate how gloriously Christ had triumphed and how tragically the governor had failed.

Yet today the professed church seems to have learned nothing. We are still seeing as men see and judging after the manner of man’s judgment. How much eager-beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good. How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless projects that are geared to the glorification of little men. How much sacred money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh.

The true Christian should turn away from all this. Especially should ministers of the gospel search their own hearts and look deep into their inner motives. No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.   BAM058

Lord, deliver us from pride. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 

Fear none of those things

Fear none of those things which thou shall suffer.—Revelation 2:10.

Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for Thy law is my delight.—Psalm 119:77.

 

O Blessed life! the heart at rest

When all without tumultuous seems;

That trusts a higher Will, and deems

That higher Will, not mine, the best.

William Tidd Matson.

 

Nothing is so trying to nature as suspense between a faint hope and a mighty fear; but we must have faith as to the extent of our trials, as in all else. Our sensitiveness makes us often disposed to fancy that we are tried beyond our strength; but we really know neither; our strength to endure nor the nature of God’s trials. Only He who knows both these, and every turn of the hearts which He has made, knows how to deal out a due proportion. Let us leave it all to Him, and be content to bear in silence.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

It is not the sunny side of Christ that we must look to, and we must not forsake Him for want of that. Oh, how sweet a thing were it for us to learn to make our burdens light, by framing our hearts to the burden, and making our Lord’s will a law!

Samuel Rutherford.

 

That’s Right We Are Never Alone

“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken.” Isa. 62:4

“Forsaken” is a dreary word. It sounds like a knell. It is the record of sharpest sorrows, and the prophecy of direst ills. An abyss of misery yawns in that word “Forsaken.” Forsaken by one who pledged his honor! Forsaken by a friend so long tried and trusted! Forsaken by a dear relative! Forsaken by father and mother! Forsaken by all! This is woe indeed, and yet it may be patiently borne if the Lord will take us up.

But what must it be to feel forsaken of God? Think of that bitterest of cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Have we ever in any degree tasted the wormwood and the gall of “Forsaken,” in that sense? If so, let us beseech our Lord to save us from any repetition of so unspeakable a sorrow. Oh, that such darkness may never return! Men in malice said of a saint, “God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him.” But it was always false. The Lord’s loving favor shall compel our cruel foes to eat their own words, or, at least, to hold their tongues.

The reverse of all this is that superlative word, Hephzibah — “the Lord delighteth in thee.” This turns weeping into dancing. Let those who dreamed that they were forsaken hear the Lord say, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”