VIDEO Vision and Darkness – Can We Know if God is Real?

Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a “darkness” that comes from too much light— that is the time to listen. The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all of his self-sufficiency was destroyed. He grew past the point of relying on his own common sense. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. There is never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him (see Isaiah 50:10-11).

Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in myself and other people of God? Do I trust in books and prayers or other joys in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am Almighty God…”— El-Shaddai, the All-Powerful God (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

To those who have had no agony Jesus says, “I have nothing for you; stand on your own feet, square your own shoulders. I have come for the man who knows he has a bigger handful than he can cope with, who knows there are forces he cannot touch; I will do everything for him if he will let Me. Only let a man grant he needs it, and I will do it for him.” The Shadow of an Agony, 1166 R

 


Can We Know if God is Real? – Nabeel Qureshi

When God Intervenes

Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm. Psalm 105:15

In a poem titled “This Child Is Beloved,” Omawumi Efueye, known affectionately as Pastor O, writes about his parents’ attempts to end the pregnancy that would result in his birth. After several unusual events that prevented them from aborting him, they decided to welcome their child instead. The knowledge of God’s preservation of his life motivated Omawumi to give up a lucrative career in favor of full-time ministry. Today, he faithfully pastors a London church.

Like Pastor O, the Israelites experienced God’s intervention at a vulnerable time in their history. While traveling through the wilderness, they came within sight of King Balak of Moab. Terrified of their conquests and their vast population, Balak engaged a seer named Balaam to place a curse on the unsuspecting travelers (Numbers 22:2–6).

But something amazing happened. Whenever Balaam opened his mouth to curse, a blessing issued instead. “I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it,” he declared. “No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The Lord their God is with them; . . . God brought them out of Egypt” (Numbers 23:20–22). God preserved the Israelites from a battle they didn’t even know was raging!

Whether we see it or not, God still watches over His people today. May we worship in gratitude and awe the One who calls us blessed.

By: Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

How often do you stop to consider the daily protection God extends over you? What does the knowledge that He saves you from unseen dangers mean to you?

Father in heaven, forgive us for the many times we take Your care and protection for granted. Give us eyes to see how much You bless us.

Sunday Reflection: The Blessing of God’s Timing

It’s frustrating to desire something—a solution, position, experience, relationship, or possession—but sense the Lord saying “no” or “not now.” This is especially difficult as Christians in a culture that tells us it’s possible to have anything we want, if only we’ll work harder or sacrifice more. This fundamental belief has led to all kinds of heartache, from workaholism to exploitation and dishonesty. It doesn’t matter how, the underlying message says, as long as we get what we want.

But the truth is, God never promises that we will have everything we want or always be comfortable. In fact, He never even suggests we’re entitled to any of that. Instead, what He promises is to complete the work He’s begun in us: to restore, reward, and make us the people He created us to be. Compared to that, what do any of our earthly desires matter?

Think About It
• Can you remember a time when you’ve wanted something but couldn’t have it? How did you feel? Did you behave differently as a result?

• Have you ever felt impatient with God? What could it look like to let Him work in His own timing?

Thoughts of your Heart

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6)

These two verses, describing the incurable wickedness of the antediluvian world that finally brought on the global Flood, contain the first two of over a thousand occurrences of the word “heart” in the Bible. Note the contrast: man’s heart was evil; God’s heart was grieved.

Both the Hebrew and Greek languages treated the heart as the center of a person’s being, the seat of all feelings and thoughts, and we do the same in English. The writers knew that the heart was a physical organ, with its function of circulating the blood as basic to physical life. Leviticus 17:11, among other Scriptures, notes that “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” but only rarely was the word used thus in Scripture. Nearly always the word is used symbolically in reference to the deep essence of a person’s being. It is also used occasionally to refer to the innermost part of physical objects (e.g., “the heart of the earth,” as in Matthew 12:40).

In this first occurrence, it refers to the “thoughts” of the heart. Somehow, before one thinks with his mind, he thinks with his heart, and these deep, unspoken thoughts will determine the way he reasons with his brain. Jesus confirmed this in Mark 7:21: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts.”

How important it is, then, to maintain a heart that is pure. In fact, in sharp contrast to the first occurrence of “heart” in the Old Testament referring to man’s evil thoughts, the first occurrence in the New Testament is in the gracious promise of Christ: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). HMM

Stay In That Secret Place

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

—Psalm 5:3

 

Retire from the world each day to some private spot, even if it be only the bedroom (for a while I retreated to the furnace room for want of a better place). Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God’s presence envelops you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God, and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don’t try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind—short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories and bright sayings. Learn to pray inwardly every moment. After a while you can do this even while you work. Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life. Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration.   OGM128-129

Lord, direct me today to those things that would most enhance my walk with You, and enable me to serve You better. Amen.

 

Practice the Presence

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

—Psalm 16:8

 

The scriptural way to see things is to set the Lord always before us, put Christ in the center of our vision, and if Satan is lurking around he will appear on the margin only and be seen as but a shadow on the edge of the brightness. It is always wrong to reverse this—to set Satan in the focus of our vision and push God out to the margin. Nothing but tragedy can come of such inversion.

The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in. The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf; they have but to stay close to the shepherd….

The instructed Christian…will practice the presence of God and never allow himself to become devil-conscious. BAM043

Brother Lawrence…wouldn’t pick up a straw from the ground but for the love of God. When he was dying…[h]e said, “…When I die I won’t change my occupation. I have just been worshiping God for 40 years on earth, and when I get to heaven I’ll just keep right on doing what I am doing.” COU116

 

Prayer of Dedication

Philippians 3:10

 

Lord, I pray that I may know Thee,

Risen One, enthroned on high;

Empty hands I’m stretching to Thee,

Show Thyself to me, I cry.

 

Show Thyself to me, show Thyself to me,

That I may reveal Thy beauty;

Show Thyself to me.

 

All that once I thought most worthy,

All of which I once did boast,

In Thy light seems poor and passing,

’tis Thyself I covet most.

 

Give Thyself to me, give Thyself to me,

That I may show forth Thy power;

Give Thyself to me.

 

Only as I truly know Thee

Can I make Thee truly known;

Only bring the power to others

Which in my own life is shown.

 

Show Thy power in me, show Thy power in me,

That I may be used for others;

Show Thy power in me.

 

Ruth Tracy, The Salvation Army Song Book

 

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