VIDEO On the Road

The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives. Proverbs 16:17, NIV

Officers in Oklahoma pulled over a man last year with expired registration tags and got a surprise. He didn’t have a valid driver’s license, the vehicle was stolen, and there was an open bottle of whiskey in the car. That’s not all. He had a gun, a cannister of radioactive uranium, and a live Timber rattlesnake in the vehicle—and a passenger who was a convicted felon.

A lot of people are traveling down the highway of life with dangerous baggage. We enjoy making our own decisions, but our choices should be based on what God desires for us. Isaiah 35:8 says, “A highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it” (NIV).

Are you carrying around too much baggage?

May the Lord get us through life wisely with godly choices. Let’s travel a Highway of Holiness for His glory. The highway of the upright avoids evil and has no room for the serpent in the car.

Those who travel the “Highway of Holiness” do not care as much for the things of this life as their eyes are set on a greater goal—making it into Jesus’ loving arms inside of heaven. Mike and Susan Blankenship


Proverbs 16

Friendship Bench

Today's Devotional

The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.  Exodus 33:11

In the African country of Zimbabwe, war trauma and high unemployment can leave people in despair—until they find hope on a “friendship bench.” Hopeless people can go there to talk with trained “grandmothers”—elderly women taught to listen to people struggling with depression, known in that nation’s Shona language as kufungisisa, or “thinking too much.”

The Friendship Bench Project is being launched in other places, including Zanzibar, London, and New York City. “We were thrilled to bits with the results,” said one London researcher. A New York counselor agreed. “Before you know it, you’re not on a bench, you’re just inside a warm conversation with someone who cares.”

The project evokes the warmth and wonder of talking with our Almighty God. Moses put up not a bench but a tent to commune with God, calling it the tent of meeting. There, “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Joshua, his assistant, wouldn’t even leave the tent, perhaps because he so valued his time with God (v. 11).

Today we no longer need a tent of meeting. Jesus has brought the Father near. As He told His disciples, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Yes, our God awaits us. He’s our heart’s wisest helper, our understanding Friend. Talk with Him now.

By: Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What worries consume your thoughts today? As you talk to God about these concerns, what good thoughts about Him can you focus on instead?

Dear God, thank You for encouraging our hearts with noble thoughts of You. When we’re sick with worry, point our minds back to You.

Go to the Ant

Proverbs 6:6-11

If you’ve ever battled ants in your kitchen, you might describe them as stubborn. But to someone struggling to stay on course, these tiny creatures seem determined, or even inspiring. In fact, ants have several characteristics people admire, including preparation, cooperation, perseverance, diligence, and unity.

Ants are but one example of how much we can learn from the world God created—it contains bountiful evidence of His character and values. Knowing this, Jesus directed His followers’ attention to the birds so that they might consider the folly of anxiety (Matt. 6:25-26). Birds do not reap or gather grain but instead assume their food will be supplied as it always has been. This observation of nature demonstrates that the Lord who provides for birds can be trusted to meet His people’s needs as well.

While godly wisdom is rooted in Scripture and sought through prayer, we shouldn’t overlook the lessons unfolding right outside the front door. Ask God for eyes to see His principles in the natural world. Then take every chance to grow in understanding, both inside and outside your house.

Haste Often Makes Waste

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16)

This is one of the great Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, promising a Savior who would be the sure foundation of the eternal temple of God; yet it was 700 years before the promise was fulfilled. God did not “make haste,” but His promise, nevertheless, was sure. No doubt many believing Jews wondered why it was taking so long, but in the “fulness of the time” (Galatians 4:4), Christ came.

It is so easy to rush ahead of God instead of waiting for His leading. With good intentions and admirable zeal, Christians plan great programs, establish new organizations, promote legislation, and become involved in a thousand-and-one good activities, all in the name of Christ and His kingdom. Such activism is urgent, they believe, because the time is short. Nuclear war is coming; maybe even Christ is coming; and we must hurry.

But the Scripture says: “Therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18).

We must not fail to follow when He really leads through His Word, but all too often undue haste results in confusion and collapse. When our text is quoted by Peter (1 Peter 2:6), the phrase “make haste” is rendered by “be confounded,” or “be ashamed.” It is not honoring to God for Christian projects and activities to “be confounded,” so Christian believers must be careful not to “make haste.” “Wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalm 27:14). HMM

Have The Habit of Holy Thought

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

—2 Corinthians 10:5

What we think about when we are free to think about what we will—that is what we are or will soon become….

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….

The best way to control our thoughts is to offer the mind to God in complete surrender. The Holy Spirit will accept it and take control of it immediately. Then it will be relatively easy to think on spiritual things, especially if we train our thoughts by long periods of daily prayer. Long practice in the art of mental prayer (that is, talking to God inwardly as we work or travel) will help to form the habit of holy thought.   BAM044, 046-047

Take control of my thoughts and move me along in the development of the habit of holy thought. Amen.

 

Not Here to Fool

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.

—John 16:8

 

The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also called the Spirit of Truth, has not come into this world to fool around. He will be found wherever the Lord’s people meet, and in confirming the Word and the Person of Jesus Christ, He will demand moral action!

It is for that reason that when a man goes to a gospel meeting he never knows when the last shred of excuse will be stripped from his naked, trembling conscience forever. Men may joke and play—even about sacred and spiritual matters—but the Spirit of God is in dead earnest!

God is still speaking in this lost world and one of His voices is the presence of the Holy Spirit, convicting a lost human race of such weighty matters as sin, righteousness and judgment. While the Holy Spirit continues in His ministries, we know that this lost world is not yet a forsaken world. EFE025-026

The very fact that the Holy Spirit has left the love and joy of heaven and made His residence for nearly 2,000 years in this uncongenial world, places His sacrifice alongside that of Jesus Christ in His incarnation and redemption. WCC019

 

The Spirit-Filled Life

Galatians 5:22

What is a normal Christian? What picture comes to your mind? Perhaps you picture a person who attends church, gives to charity every now and again, lives a respectable life, and goes about his business no different from the average man in the street. Sad to say, our society equates the nominal Christian with a normal Christian. But in fact, the nominal Christian lives a sub-normal Christian life.

What then is a normal Christian? A normal Christian is one who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The normal Christian, the Spirit-filled Christian, is one in whom the Spirit takes complete control.

At Pentecost, when the disciples received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they gave vent to this power in them. Onlookers were amazed and mistakenly thought the disciples were drunk. Peter had to repudiate that charge, saying they were exuberant because they were filled with the Spirit.

The Spirit-filled life overflows with joy. It characterized the early disciples; it was a hallmark of the early-day Salvationists. The Spirit of God enables us to have joy and give thanks always and in all circumstances.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). This ninefold fruit of the Spirit expresses the Spirit-filled life. These qualities are found in the life of our Lord, so to be Spirit-filled is to live the life of Christ. A Spirit-filled person is a reproduction of, or a manifestation of, the life of Christ.

We value the fellowship with believers in the place of worship, but if our faith is to mean anything at all it has to be expressed in life’s relationships outside the church as well. The effects of the Spirit-filled life are felt in our homes and in the society in which we live. It has its effects on the relationships of husband and wife, parent and children. Spirit-filled Christians apply Christian principles in the home, the office, the school, at work, in society.

For the Spirit to fill us, there first needs to be a self-emptying of self, sin and pride. Fullness comes at the point of full surrender. The Spirit of God, when He takes full control, revolutionizes us and the society in which we live.

Ah Ang Lim, The Salvationist Pulpit