VIDEO Empty Things – When You Haven’t Got a Prayer

Do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit…for they are nothing.  1 Samuel 12:20-21

Fifty years ago, officials of Derry, New Hampshire, sealed items in a safe and deposited them as a time capsule at the old municipal building. When the time came to open the time capsule, several people gathered to see what memorabilia it contained. Some expected to find items connected to astronaut Alan Shepard, who was from Derry. But when the safe was opened, it was empty. “I was a little horrified there was nothing in there,” said the director of the town’s library. No one knows whether the contents were stolen or if the whole thing was a hoax.1

How many people spend fifty years of their lives—or sixty or seventy or eighty—only to find they’ve been chasing empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. Satan’s philosophies are hoaxes, and he is a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

We serve a great God who deserves to be first in our life. Seek Him. Let Him fill you with His blessings that will never disappear.

In contrast to the darkness and death, tears and trauma, sorrow and stress, the blessings of God drop like quiet dew… jewels from Heaven’s treasure store.
Anne Graham Lotz

  1. Christopher Gavin, “ A New Hampshire time capsule from 1969 was opened this year. It was empty,” Boston.com, August 20, 2019.

When You Haven’t Got a Prayer – 1 Samuel 12:19-25 – Skip Heitzig

Clean Containers

Today's Devotional

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

“Hatred corrodes the container that carries it.” These words were spoken by former Senator Alan Simpson at the funeral of George H. W. Bush. Attempting to describe his dear friend’s kindness, Senator Simpson recalled how the forty-first president of the United States embraced humor and love rather than hatred in his professional leadership and personal relationships.

I relate to the senator’s quote, don’t you? Oh, the damage done to me when I harbor hatred!

Medical research reveals the damage done to our bodies when we cling to the negative or release bursts of anger. Our blood pressure rises. Our hearts pound. Our spirits sag. Our containers corrode.

In Proverbs 10:12, King Solomon observes, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” The conflict that results from hatred here is a blood feud between rivaling peoples of different tribes and races. Such hatred fuels the drive for revenge so that people who despise each other can’t connect.

By contrast, God’s way of love covers—draws a veil over, conceals, or forgives—all wrongs. That doesn’t mean we overlook errors or enable a wrongdoer. But we don’t nurse the wrong when someone is truly remorseful. And if they never apologize, we still release our feelings to God. We who know the Great Lover are to “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

By: Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What things cause you to hate? How might the hard-hearted heat of hostility eat away at our personal joy and our world’s peace?

O God, help me surrender to Your great love that covers all sins and makes me into a clean container in which You dwell in love.

Our God and His Grace

Ephesians 2:1-10

Grace is God’s favor and love shown to mankind. We can’t earn it or be good enough to deserve it. To truly appreciate grace, we must comprehend that our Father is …

Perfectly holy. God is without fault. When Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree, their connection with God was broken. Since all future generations inherited their sinful nature, every person is born with an inclination toward unrighteousness.

Just. As a result, God requires payment for sin. The penalty is death (Rom. 6:23), not just physically but also spiritually—through eternal separation from Him.

Merciful. God doesn’t treat us as we deserve but extends His grace through the Savior. Jesus lived a perfect life and fulfilled the Law. He alone qualified as the One who could satisfy divine justice. He took our place, bore our sins, and experienced God’s wrath—all so we could be reconciled to the Father.

God made this provision for our salvation while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Have you acknowledged your sinful state and received His forgiveness through faith in Jesus? Take time to express thankfulness for His grace.

Work of God’s Providence

“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.” (Psalm 65:9)

The 65th Psalm speaks especially of God’s great work of “providence” as supplementing His primeval work of creation. The latter was completed in the six days of the creation week (Genesis 2:1-3). The work of providence, however, still goes on, perpetually reminding us of God’s care for His creatures. “He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).

God’s providential concern, however, extends not only to men and women. “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle” (Psalm 104:14). “So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. . . . These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season” (vv. 25, 27). “Behold the fowls of the air: . . . your heavenly Father feedeth them” (Matthew 6:26).

Note that He is not their heavenly Father, He is your heavenly Father—yet He feeds them! He is merely their maker and provider; yet a single sparrow “shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29).

He even provides for the inanimate creation, “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). The omnipotent God of creation is thus the ever-sustaining and ever-caring God of providence.

Still, some choose not to believe, even though “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen . . . so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). HMM

Your Personal Discipline

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

—1 Corinthians 9:25

 

Another trap into which the preacher is in danger of falling is that he may do what comes naturally and just take it easy. I know how ticklish this matter is and, while my writing this will not win me friends, I hope it may influence people in the right direction. It is easy for the minister to be turned into a privileged idler, a social parasite with an open palm and an expectant look. He has no boss within sight; he is not often required to keep regular hours, so he can work out a comfortable pattern of life that permits him to loaf, putter, play, doze and run about at his pleasure. And many do just that.

To avoid this danger the minister should voluntarily impose upon himself a life of labor as arduous as that of a farmer, a serious student or a scientist. No man has any right to a way of life less rugged than that of the workers who support him. No preacher has any right to die of old age if hard work will kill him.   GTM094-095

Help us to work hard and faithfully, driven by a sense of passion. Amen.

 

I Am the Sum of My Thoughts

Casting down imaginations…and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

—2 Corinthians 10:5

 

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. What has he thought about when free to think of what he pleased? Toward what has his inner heart turned when it was free to turn where it would?

When the bird of thought was let go did it fly out like the raven to settle upon floating carcasses or did it like the dove circle and return again to the ark of God? Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves we can discover not only what we are but what we are going to become.

We’ll soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts. BAM046-047

It is possible to have our whole life so possessed by the Holy Spirit that our very thoughts and intuitions will come to us in quietness and simplicity, with the consciousness that they have been touched by His thoughts and illumined by His light, that we are walking continually with our Father, and receiving constantly the testimony that we please God. CTBC, Vol. 2/093

 

Deal Face to Face

1 Corinthians 13:12

Could anyone question the assertion that there is a great deal more sorrow in the world than joy? A pall of sorrow covers the world. We learn from this statement of Paul, first, that no soul is left totally in the dark. Though as “through a glass darkly,” (1 Cor. 13:12 KJV) yet we see. Abundant mercy has swung in the conscience a lamp which gleams in every man’s path and has fastened a guiding star in the horizon of every man’s soul.

Second, I learn in this “glass darkly” that this world’s clearest and best vision is but a misty and imperfect one. How sadly too many have lost their hold of God simply because they could not trace the full meaning of His dealings, either concerning themselves or those dear to them. How much safer and better do we remember that it was within the planning of God’s love that we should not know now, but know hereafter. This world is not our home—it is a place of sojourn.

Lastly, I see that there is to be an inestimable and indescribable difference between our present day and our eternal tomorrow. We are to enter into His presence; we are to look upon His countenance, nothing between—no glass, no cloud, no time intervening—but “face to face” with Jesus! Now the beclouded view, then a fadeless shining! Now the tumult and the strife, then the rest and eternal life! Now the weeping and the sighing, then the song and the tearless eyes! Now the children dying, then no more parting! Now the graves’ hearts breaking, then the resurrection greeting! Morning with an eternity in it!

Oh, the transforming touch of that hour! We shall find our bereavements; they will meet us as reunions. We shall find our loss rebounding in eternal gain. We shall find our hidden struggles crowned in open victory. We shall find the complete fulfillment of every promise of the Bible, verifying the fondest dreams of the saints. The gates of strife will be closed behind us, the boundary crossed, the veil torn, the morning broken.

Sight unequaled, sound unparalleled, light unrivaled, as the heavenly orchestra catches the strain of the numberless multitude and bursts in with the chorus of the Hallelujah anthem. Oh, it is the “face to face” time! No one can describe the glory. The redeemed break out as every eye is cast on the wounded hands, the riven side, the thorn-pierced brow of the conquering Lord.

Evangeline Booth, Love Is All