VIDEO The Morning of Joy

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

The sixteenth-century poet, St. John of the Cross, wrote a poem titled Dark Night of the Soul. While his poem was about the search for ultimate union with God, the title has come to be illustrative of those periods in which the joy and light of God is dim, if not hidden. Every Christian goes through occasional “dark nights” in their journey of faith.

Scripture does not hide the reality of dark periods in the faith life. Almost every major biblical character went through periods of doubt or suffering—but always to emerge into the light of God’s presence and joy (for example, Psalm 32). David seems to have this theme in mind in Psalm 30 when he says: “Weeping may endure for a night.” But he also knew that, just as morning follows night, “joy comes in the morning” (verse 5). David wrote, “You put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (verse 11).

Are you currently in a dark night of the soul—or do you know someone who is? Keep walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and look for the morning of joy to come.

 

Only to sit and think of God, oh what a joy it is!  Frederick W. Faber


Psalm 30 • Joy comes with the Morning!

On the Bubble

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you . . . into his wonderful light.  1 Peter 2:9

A news article in May 1970 contained one of the first uses of the idiom “on the bubble.” Referring to a state of uncertainty, the expression was used in relation to rookie race car driver Steve Krisiloff. He’d been “on the bubble,” having posted a slow qualifying lap for the Indianapolis 500. Later, it was confirmed that his time—though the slowest of those who qualified—allowed him to compete in the race.

We can feel at times that we’re “on the bubble,” uncertain we have what it takes to compete in or finish the race of life. When we’re feeling that way, it’s important to remember that in Jesus we’re never “on the bubble.” As children of God, our place in His kingdom is secure (John 14:3). Our confidence flows from Him who chose Jesus to be the “cornerstone” on which our lives are built, and He chose us to be “living stones” filled with the Spirit of God, capable of being the people God created us to be (1 Peter 2:5–6).

In Christ, our future is secure as we hope in and follow Him (v. 6). For “[we] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light” (v. 9).

In Jesus’ eyes we’re not “on the bubble.” We’re precious and loved (v. 4).

By:  Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

Trust in the Wait

Psalm 33:13-22

Waiting on God stretches our trust in Him, especially when we are urgently longing for His intervention or guidance in a situation. From our earthly perspective and with our limited knowledge, it may seem as if He doesn’t care, but that is far from the truth.

God uses times of waiting to strengthen our trust in Him, and reminding ourselves of His character and abilities helps build confidence in our Father. So as you wait, remember:

• The Lord has all-encompassing knowledge of every detail of your circumstances.
• He has complete understanding of the motives and intentions of everyone involved in your situation.
• God’s power is greater than all your efforts to solve your problems. Neither you nor anyone else can thwart His plans.
• His eye is always on you during the wait, and He is your help and protection.
• His lovingkindness continually rests upon you.

Whenever you’re overcome with a sense of urgency or uncertainty, remember who God is and what He has promised to do for you. Although He may not work everything out as you desire, it will be according to His perfect wisdom and for your good—and in this you can rejoice.

There Are Stewardship Conflicts

“Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:6-8)

The commission to rule over Earth was never withdrawn from humanity by the Creator. That dominion mandate implies authorization for the following human enterprises:

  • Discovery of truth—science, research, exploration
  • Application of truth—agriculture, engineering, medicine, technology, etc.
  • Implementation of truth—commerce, transportation, government, etc.
  • Interpretation of truth—fine arts, literature, theology
  • Transmission of truth—education, communication, homemaking

When that authority was first delegated by the Creator, Earth was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). However, Adam’s failure in his first assignment created an ongoing conflict with humanity’s efforts on every front. Now, the “whole creation groaneth” (Romans 8:22) as the very ground from which all things are made conflicts with the environment (Genesis 3:18). Sin and death are the conditions of existence (Romans 5:12), and ignorance of God’s ideas, apart from God’s revelation, is rampant (1 Corinthians 2:14). Humanity’s drive is to serve ourselves, not God or others (Ephesians 2:1-3), and the ability to obey comes only through God’s new creation (Ephesians 4:17-24).

One day, all these wrongs will be righted with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Until that day, our mandate remains as stewards over Earth. HMM III

Being At Ease While the World Burns

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

—2 Corinthians 5:20

 

The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.

Until that time the earth remains a disaster area and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency….

To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease while the world burns….

I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of man!   RDA, Jan. 17.

I’m too often at ease and consumed with my self-interests, Lord. Open my eyes to see the tragedy of friends and acquaintances on their way to a Christless eternity. Do it for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 

Things Seen and Unseen

The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

—2 Corinthians 4:18

 

Indeed it may be truthfully said that everything of lasting value in the Christian life is unseen and eternal. Things seen are of little real significance in the light of God’s presence. He pays small attention to the beauty of a woman or the strength of a man. With Him the heart is all that matters. The rest of the life comes into notice only because it represents the dwelling place of the inner eternal being.

The solution to life’s problems is spiritual because the essence of life is spiritual. It is astonishing how many difficulties clear up without any effort when the inner life gets straightened out.

If half the time we spend trying to fix up outward things were spent in getting our hearts right, we would be delighted with the result. NCA082-083

Christ will not dwell in our hearts, if we fill our hearts with things which He hates….To do wilfully and knowingly what God hates, destroys faith, and hope, and love. JAS133

 

Those Pop Quizzes

Romans 14:11-12

School was usually good, except for the dreaded pop quizzes. It was like the teacher had radar, for she always knew when we were most unprepared.

“All right, class. Put away your books and take out a piece of paper. We are going to have a pop quiz.”

“It’s not fair. We aren’t ready. We haven’t had a chance to study,” we’d moan.

“You are supposed to know the material and be ready whether we have a test or not.”

Since there was no reasoning with her and there were only so many times we could tell the school nurse that our malaria was flaring up again, all we could do was take the test and pray that we remembered the work.

It is important to be prepared, for living is one test after another. Some are multiple choice (good, better, best) while others are more true/false, right/wrong. Some are judgment questions—if a tractor trailer is doing 65 mph on the interstate and I have my old Chevy van with zero acceleration power, can I make the merge without being demolished? How can I relate to our teenage kids and still keep my sanity?

Still others are essay questions that test how well you know yourself and know the Lord as your Savior and guide. In those tests of integrity, when no teacher is looking and there is no answer key, it is important to be prepared. We will not receive a grade but will be called to explain what we have done with our lives on the final exam of life.

Scripture tells us that, “Every knee will bow before Me [Jesus] and every tongue will confess to God. So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12). And for that test, we never know the time or the day so we can’t wait until the night before and cram for it. We must be ready at all times.

It also tells us that we should be ready to offer answers to those who are searching. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15). The hope that we have is in Jesus as our Savior and friend who saves from sin and has changed our lives. And if you ask me why, I’ll tell you.

A. Kenneth Wilson, The War Cry