O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
In his book Timeless Healing, Harvard medical professor, Dr. Herbert Benson, recalls seeing the epic movie Lawrence of Arabia in a theatre in 1962—a film set in the scorching deserts of the Middle East during World War I. Because the original film was nearly four hours long, there was an intermission halfway through. Benson recounts how, at the intermission, moviegoers descended on the concession stand for cold drinks after watching nearly two hours of heat, sand, and wind!1
The moviegoers weren’t dying of thirst, but they felt like it. Such can be our experience when we go through difficult times. We feel like the psalmist—parched in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. But there is spiritual water available through the Spirit as Christ announced at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:37-39). Our thirst is quenched when we worship the One who sent His Spirit to meet our every need: “Thus I will bless You while I live” (Psalm 63:4).
Are you in a dry and barren place today? Drink deeply of the Spirit and be refreshed through worship.
Worry and worship are mutually exclusive.
God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him
To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. Psalm 136:16
In 2015, a woman discarded her deceased husband’s computer at a recycling center—a computer that had been made in 1976. But more important than when it had been made was who made it. It was one of 200 computers hand built by Apple founder Steve Jobs, and was worth an estimated quarter of a million dollars! Sometimes knowing the true worth of something means knowing who made it.
Knowing that it’s God who made us shows us how valuable we are to Him (Genesis 1:27). Psalm 136 catalogs key moments of His people—ancient Israel: how they had been freed from captivity in Egypt (vv. 11–12), journeyed through the wilderness (v. 16), and were given a new home in Canaan (vv. 21–22). But each time a moment of Israel’s history is mentioned, it’s paired with this repeated refrain: “His love endures forever.” This refrain reminded the people of Israel that their experiences weren’t random historical events. Each moment had been orchestrated by God and was a reflection of His enduring love for those He’d made.
Far too often, I allow moments that show God at work and His kind ways to simply pass by, failing to recognize that every perfect gift comes from my heavenly Father (James 1:17) who made me and loves me. May you and I learn to connect every blessing in our lives to God’s enduring love for us.
Reflect & Pray
How can we better remember the Source of life’s blessings? What hinders you from doing so?
Heavenly Father, please don’t allow even one blessing that You’ve given pass by without me recognizing that it came from You, and You alone!
1 Kings 11:1-11
We all think there are certain things we’d never do: I’d never cheat on my spouse, I’d never steal from an employer, I’d never betray a friend, etc. While uttering the words, we’re confident that we’d live up to them. What believers often don’t realize is that the journey from “I’d never” to “I did” is made up of small steps, each one a compromise.
A young, spiritually fervent Solomon might have said, “I’d never be a lust-driven slave to false gods.” Yet he ended his life with a multitude of wives and lovers who demanded his allegiance to their deities. Neglecting the laws and principles of the true God cost him dearly.
Solomon knew the warnings against marrying foreigners: “They will turn your sons away from following [God] to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you” (Deut. 7:4). But the political advantages of an alliance with Egypt convinced him to compromise those high standards (1 Kings 3:1). The fact that God didn’t instantly react to Solomon’s rebellion may have made rationalizing the next marriage even easier—after all, a nation was more secure if its king’s harem included daughters of potential enemies. But just as God foretold, Solomon’s thousand-strong harem lured his heart away. He broke a divine covenant and forfeited his family’s claim to Israel’s throne.
God’s commands are meant to protect us from sin and heartache. Compromise can look tempting and even advantageous, but taking one step off the high road makes the next step even easier.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
This great promise has been an immeasurable source of strength and comfort to Christians, especially during times of trial. It is specifically directed, however, only to those who are “the called.”
Recognition of those who are “the called” is best achieved through their synonymous description as “them that love God.” There are also numerous other Scriptures that further describe them. There are two Greek words (each occurring 11 times) that specifically refer to those who are members of this select group: One of these words is kletos (“called”); the other is klesis (“calling”). Another very important term is ekklesia, meaning “called out,” which occurs 115 times and is almost always translated “church.” That is, a true church is composed of people who have been specially called by God out of the world system, then joined together in a local church to fulfill the purposes of their divine calling.
“Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26). No I.Q. test, or physical exam, or social standing is used as a criterion; neither are any human achievements. “[God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
God’s call was strictly by grace, according to His own eternal purpose! The means by which God calls is the gospel: “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). No wonder, then, that we can know that all things work together for good on behalf of those whom God has called, and who therefore love God! HMM
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.
No one whose senses have been exercised to know good and evil but must grieve over the sight of zealous souls seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit while they are yet living in a state of moral carelessness or borderline sin. Such a thing is a moral contradiction. Whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.
At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self-deception and the judgment of God. “Be ye holy” is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth. POM102
Father, deliver me from “moral carelessness” and “borderline sin.” I commit myself today, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to a holiness of life that will be pleasing to You. Amen.
Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say Rejoice.—Philippians 4:4.
Rejoice in hope and fear,
Rejoice in life and death,
Rejoice when threatening storms are near,
And comfort languisheth:
When should not they rejoice
Whom Christ His brethren calls,
Who hear and know His guiding voice
When on their hearts it falls?
To “give thanks to Him for all things,” is, indeed, a very difficult duty; for it includes giving thanks for trials of all kinds; for suffering and pain, for languor and weariness; for the crossing of our wills; for contradiction, for reproaches; for loneliness; for privations. Yet they who have learned submission will not find it a hard duty; for they will so entirely love all that God wills and appoints, that they will see it is the very best thing for them. Hereafter they will see all the links of the chain, and how wonderfully even those have fitted, which at the tide seemed to have no adaptation or agreement. This belief enables them to praise Him, and give thanks now for each thing, assured that as it has been, so it will be, that the God of love will do all things well.
“My people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord.” Jer. 31:14
Note the “my” which comes twice: “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness.”
The kind of people who are satisfied with God are marked out as God’s own. He is pleased with them, for they are pleased with Him. They call Him their God, and He calls them His people; He is satisfied to take them for a portion, and they are satisfied with Him for their portion. There is a mutual communion of delight between God’s Israel and Israel’s God.
These people are satisfied. This is a grand thing. Very few of the sons of men are ever satisfied, let their lot be what it may; they have swallowed the horse-leech, and it continually cries, “Give! give!” Only sanctified souls are satisfied souls. God Himself must both convert us and content us.
It is no wonder that the Lord’s people should be satisfied with the goodness of their Lord. Here is goodness without mixture, bounty without stint, mercy without chiding, love without change, favor without reserve. If God’s goodness does not satisfy us, what will? What! are we still groaning? Surely there is a wrong desire within if it be one which God’s goodness does not satisfy.
Lord, I am satisfied. Blessed be thy name.