“O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:2)
There come times in each life when loneliness overshadows like a cloud, and no one is there to listen and provide counsel. Or perhaps there is some problem so personal and intimate that it seems unfitting or too embarrassing to share with anyone else.
But God will listen! No need is so small, no place too remote, no burden too heavy that He who is the “God of all grace” and “the God of all comfort” (1 Peter 5:10; 2 Corinthians 1:3) will not listen and care. “The LORD will hear when I call unto him” (Psalm 4:3).
Young people sometimes complain that their parents won’t listen to them; wives may say their husbands don’t listen; sometimes it seems that no one will listen to our questions or ideas about anything. But “the LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Therefore, “pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8).
But how can He listen? After all, God is far away upon His throne. The risen Savior ascended far above all heavens to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. How can the Father hear when we whisper a prayer in our hearts that no human could hear?
God is indeed up there, but He is also right here! Jesus said: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). Our God is a triune God, and He can be both in heaven and in our room and even, as the Holy Spirit, within our very hearts. Of course, “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). But for those who confess and forsake their sins, “his ears are open unto their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12). HMM
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
One of the old German devotional philosophers took the position that God loves to forgive big sins more than He does little sins because the bigger the sin, the more glory accrues to Him for His forgiveness. I remember the writer went on to say that not only does God forgive sins and enjoy doing it, but as soon as He has forgiven them, He forgets them and trusts the person just as if he or she had never sinned. I share his view that God not only forgives great sins as readily as little ones, but once He has forgiven them He starts anew right there and never brings up the old sins again….
When a person makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may hang over him or her because it is hard for other people to forget. But when God forgives, He begins the new page right there, and then the devil runs up and says, “What about this person’s past?” God replies: “What past? There is no past. We started out fresh when he came to Me and I forgave him!” FBR112
Lord, this concept is so foreign to our human understanding and our human way of doing things. Your grace in forgiving—and forgetting—is beyond our comprehension. But I worship You for it today. Amen.
Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Corinthians 15:57.
Keep close to Christ, if conflict sore betide,
Stand fast, remembering He is at your side
To give you strength
In battle, and the victor’s palm at length.
German, tr. by Frances E. Cox.
If we would endeavor, like men of courage, to stand in the battle, surely we should feel the favorable assistance of God from heaven. For He who giveth us occasion to fight, to the end we may get the victory is ready to succor those that fight manfully, and do trust in His grace.
Thomas Á Kempis.
He will give the victory into thy hands, if only thou wilt fight manfully by His side, trusting not in thyself, but in His power and goodness. And if the Lord delay awhile to give thee the victory, be not disheartened, but believe assuredly (and this will also help thee to fight resolutely) that He will turn all things which may befall thee, those even which to thee may seem farthest removed from, yea, most adverse to thy success, all will He turn to thy good and profit, if thou wilt but bear thyself as a faithful and generous warrior.
“He that believeth shall not make haste.” Isa. 28:16
He shall make haste to keep the Lord’s commandments; but he shall not make haste in any impatient or improper sense.
He shall not haste to run away, for he shall not be overcome with the fear which causes panic. When others are flying hither and thither as if their wits had failed them, the believer shall be quiet, calm, and deliberate, and so shall be able to act wisely in the hour of trial.
He shall not haste in his expectations, craving his good things at once and on the spot; but he will wait God’s time. Some are in a desperate hurry to have the bird in the hand; for they regard the Lord’s promise as a bird in the bush, not likely to be theirs. Believers know how to wait.
He shall not haste by plunging into wrong or questionable action. Unbelief must be doing something, and thus it works its own undoing; but faith makes no more haste than good speed, and thus it is not forced to go back sorrowfully by the way which it followed heedlessly.
How is it with me? Am I believing, and am I therefore keeping to the believer’s pace, which is walking with God? Peace, fluttering spirit! Oh, rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him! Heart, see that thou do this at once!
So much of our day is busyness. So much busyness that, by the time the day is over and our heads hit the pillow, the
day just seems to be a big blur. Does this ever happen to you? Thank God for the precious gift of today, for today is the
day He has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad. Give thanks to Him for each minute He allows breath to fill your lungs.
Ask Him to reveal to you the things in life that you can let go of to allow yourself time for what really matters in life.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
In preparation for Xavier’s first job interview, my husband, Alan, handed our son a pack of thank-you cards for him to send out after he met with prospective employers. He then pretended to be a hiring interviewer, using his decades of experience as a manager to ask Xavier questions. After the role-playing, our son tucked several copies of his resume into a folder. He smiled when Alan reminded him about the cards. “I know,” he said. “A sincere thank-you note will set me apart from all the other applicants.”
When the manager called to hire Xavier, he expressed gratitude for the first hand-written thank-you card he’d received in years.
Saying thanks makes a lasting impact. The psalmists’ heartfelt prayers and grateful worship were preserved in the book of Psalms. Though there are one hundred and fifty psalms, these two verses reflect a message of thankfulness: “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1–2).
We will never be able to finish expressing our gratitude for all God’s wonderful deeds. But we can start with a sincere thank you through our prayers. We can nurture a lifestyle of grateful worship, praising God and acknowledging all He’s done and all He promises He’ll do.
Reflect & Pray
What would you like to thank God for on this day He’s made? How can writing down prayers of thanks help us cultivate a spirit of gratitude in all circumstances?
Generous and loving God, please help us acknowledge the countless and wonderful ways You work.
Stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening. 1 Chronicles 23:30
At fifteen, Martin Greenfield was seized by Nazi soldiers and sent to Auschwitz, where he was put to work scrubbing Nazi uniforms. When he damaged one of them, he was beaten. “A nice man pulled me aside,” he said, “and taught me how to sew and [to make] a simple stitch. It was my first tailoring lesson.” Martin was eventually liberated by American soldiers, though his family perished. Immigrating to the United States, Martin became a tailor. Today he’s known as the best suit-maker in the America, and among his customers are presidents of the United States. The primary attitude in Greenfield’s life is thanksgiving. “Everything I am or will ever be I owe to God and the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the US Armed Forces who fought and died to liberate me…. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.”1
Our Lord Jesus came to liberate us from sin, death, and hell. He equips us to serve Him and uses us to bless others. He clothes us with righteousness. Everything we are or ever will be, we owe to Him. Let’s be overwhelmed with gratitude and say “Thank You” to Him every day.
We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction. Harry Ironside
Indeed the hour is coming…that you will be scattered… —John 16:32
Jesus was not rebuking the disciples in this passage. Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life. The disciples were scattered to their own concerns and they had interests apart from Jesus Christ. After we have the perfect relationship with God, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our faith must be exercised in the realities of everyday life. We will be scattered, not into service but into the emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness, to know what internal death to God’s blessings means.
Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our own choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. Until we have been through that experience, our faith is sustained only by feelings and by blessings. But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life.
“…you…will leave Me alone.” Have we been scattered and have we left Jesus alone by not seeing His providential care for us? Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings of God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself. The sense of God’s blessings is fundamental.
“…be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need.
by Oswald Chambers
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
—1 Corinthians 6:11
I do not know all of the Savior’s reasons for choosing the woman at the well. I know that His revelation of Himself to her constituted an everlasting rebuke to human self-righteousness. I know that every smug woman who walks down the street in pride and status ought to be ashamed of herself. I know that every self-righteous man who looks into his mirror each morning to shave what he believes to be an honest face ought to be ashamed of himself….
Jesus was able to see potential in the woman at the well that we could never have sensed. What a gracious thing for us that Jesus Christ never thinks about what we have been! He always thinks about what we are going to be. You and I are slaves to time and space and records and reputations and publicity and the past—all that we call the case history. Jesus Christ cares absolutely nothing about anyone’s moral case history. He forgives it and starts from there as though the person had been born one minute before. FBR103-104
Again I worship You today, great God, for Your matchless grace. No matter what my past, thank You, thank You, thank You, that “Jesus Christ cares absolutely nothing about anyone’s moral case history.” Amen.
Whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected, hereby know we that we are in Him.—1 John 2:5.
I have called you friends.—John 15:15.
The hands that tend the sick tend Christ j the willing feet that go on errands of love, work for Christ j the words of comfort to the sorrowful, and of sympathy to the mourner, are spoken in the name of Christ—Christ comforts the world through His friends. How much have you done for Him? What sort of a friend have you been to Him? God is working through His people; Christ is succoring through His friends—it is the vacancies in the ranks of His friends wherein the mischief lies: come and fill one gap.
Arthur F. Winnington Ingram.
It is true that love cannot be forced, that it cannot be made, to order, that we cannot love because we ought, or even because we want. But we can bring ourselves into the presence of the lovable. We can enter into Friendship through the door of Discipleship; we can learn love through service; and the day will come to us also, when the Master’s word will be true, “I call you no longer servant, but friend.”
Through His will, loved and done, lies the path to His love.