VIDEO Deep Breathing

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV

Sheila Walsh, Christian author and worship leader, said that when she learned to trust the Lord, she felt she was finally able to “exhale.” Can you relate to that? When we don’t trust the Lord in any given difficulty, the entire burden is on us. We’re tense, and our lungs are tight. But when we roll our burden onto the Lord’s shoulders, we are finally able to exhale.

A life of faith is one of breathing deeply, being filled with the Holy Spirit’s oxygen, and learning to relax and smile. The word blessed means, among other things, “happy.” The Hebrew and Greek terms go far beyond mere human happiness, but a joyful spirit is certainly part of what that wonderful word means.

Jeremiah, who wasn’t known for having a naturally happy personality, learned the joy of trusting, and he said, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”

Now take a deep breath and think about that.

Whether Jesus calms the storm or calms us in the storm, His love is the same, and His grace is enough. Sheila Walsh


The God Who Knows All, Jeremiah 17:9-10 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Loving Others with Our Prayers

This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

 

“Are people still praying for me?”

That was one of the first questions a missionary asked his wife whenever she was allowed to visit him in prison. He had been falsely accused and incarcerated for his faith for two years. His life was frequently in danger because of the conditions and hostility in the prison, and believers around the world were earnestly praying for him. He wanted to be assured they wouldn’t stop, because he believed God was using their prayers in a powerful way.

Our prayers for others—especially those who are persecuted for their faith—are a vital gift. Paul made this clear when he wrote the believers in Corinth about hardships he faced during his missionary journey. He “was under great pressure,” so much that he “despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). But then he told them God had delivered him and described the tool He’d used to do it: “We have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers” (vv. 10–11, emphasis added).

God moves through our prayers to accomplish great good in the lives of His people. One of the best ways to love others is to pray for them, because through our prayers we open the door to the help only God can provide. When we pray for others, we love them in His strength. There’s none greater or more loving than He.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How do you love others with your prayers? In what ways can you encourage prayer for those who are persecuted for their faith?

Loving and Almighty God, thank You for the amazing gift of prayer and the ways You move through it. Please help me to pray faithfully for others today!

For help in your prayer life, read Jesus’ Blueprint for Prayer at DiscoverySeries.org/HJ891

God’s Purpose

Romans 8:28-30

What is the purpose of life? Throughout human history, people have been trying to answer that question. Books have been written on the subject, and philosophers have postulated many answers. But for Christians, God’s purpose is concisely outlined in today’s passage.

Believers are called according to His purpose and are foreknown by Him. God’s foreknowledge is much more than His ability to see future events in advance. It also includes bringing to pass what He has chosen to do for those He has called. He has predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This will be fully accomplished in the resurrection, but until then, God is progressively transforming His children right now. These are the ones He calls, justifies (declares righteous), and ultimately glorifies.

If you are a Christian, this is God’s purpose for you. That means everything He allows into your life is designed to shape you into a glorious reflection of Christ. Although you cannot fully understand how God brings about salvation and how believers are responsible to respond in faith, there is great comfort in knowing that He who began this good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).

Good Bounty from the Word

“Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.” (Psalm 119:17)

Materialism is so prevelant that it is sometimes difficult to not associate words like “bounty” or “blessing” with earthly riches. This psalmist wasn’t concerned with physical prosperity but rather that God would reveal to him what his own heart sought—“that I may live, and keep thy word.”

He requested spiritual insight: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (v. 18). Without hint of greed or self-centered aggrandizement, he only longed to understand the “wondrous” insights of the torah (law). We lack “bounty” if we neglect studying God’s inerrant Word.

We often forget that we are “stranger[s] in the earth” (v. 19). Once adopted into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5), our citizenship (Philippians 3:20) is transferred from this earth to God’s “city” (Hebrews 11:10). Thus, the psalmist begged for God not to “hide” the commandments from him because his “soul breaketh for the longing” (v. 20) he had, in every season, for the judgments of God’s Word.

He remembered God’s swift justice against the “cursed” (v. 21) who “err” (wander, stray) from the Word, since the “princes” (chiefs, leaders) of the land resisted his effort to obey God (v. 23). Nontheless, he was determined to demonstrate his “delight” in the “counselors” within God’s testimonies (v. 24).

Many who claim to be evangelicals today boldly scorn those who trust that “every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5). May God keep us from “the fear of man” (Proverbs 29:25) and embolden our resolve to “worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). HMM III

Our God in Our Midst

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

—Exodus 33:14-15

 

In what I have to say I may not be joined by any ground swell of public opinion, but I have a charge to make against the church. We are not consciously aware of God in our midst. We do not seem to sense the tragedy of having almost completely lost the awareness of His presence….

Revival and blessing come to the church when we stop looking at a picture of God and look at God Himself. Revival comes when, no longer satisfied just to know about a God in history, we meet the conditions of finding Him in living, personal experience….

Modern mankind can go everywhere, do everything and be completely curious about the universe. But only a rare person now and then is curious enough to want to know God.   MMG121-122, 127

Oh Lord, show me Your glory. I don’t want to be satisfied with just a second-hand picture of You; I want to sense Your living presence with me. I long to know You. Amen.

 

A Life in Harmony

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

—Colossians 3:17

 

The Bible is among other things a book of revealed truth. That is, certain facts are revealed that could not be discovered by the most brilliant mind. These facts are of such a nature as to be past finding out. They were hidden behind a veil, and until certain men who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit took away that veil no mortal man could know them.

This lifting of the veil of unknowing from undiscoverable things we call divine revelation.

The Bible, however, is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon those facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages. OGM025-026

Out of His goodness, God made us. Out of His goodness, He keeps us. When the man had sinned, He redeemed us again out of His goodness. JIV045

 

Love Story

Hosea 1-3

 

Hosea is the second greatest love story in the Bible, second only to the story of Christ. Hosea is the prophet of grace, the St. John of the Old Testament. This is the gospel according to Hosea.

God speaks to Hosea and humankind through the personal tragedy of the prophet. His grief becomes a doorway of discovery for the world to see a portrayal of the grace of God. The deeper insights and lessons of life are often given in the crucible of suffering.

Hosea is shocked as he walks into his home. His three children are unattended. He calls for his wife Gomer, but there is no answer. She is nowhere to be found.

He had been warned that this would occur. God had instructed him: “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife” (Hosea 1:2). She would become symbolic of God’s message to Israel. In response, Hosea had married Gomer and three children were born of their marriage.

Israel, like Gomer, had been unfaithful and said, “I will go after my lovers”

(Hosea 2:5). They were bold and willful in their pursuit of sin. But God, after their needed chastisement, in unfailing love, tenderly renews His covenant with them:

“I will betroth you to Me forever” (Hosea 2:19).

Hosea goes in search of his faithless wife who had abandoned her home, husband and children for a life of shame. He finds her where she has sold herself in adultery, and from the slave market he buys her back. In loving discipline and restoration to chastity, he reconciles her to himself.

When Gomer abandoned her home and family and went after other lovers, Hosea could have given her a written notice of divorce and been done with her. Or, according to the law of the land, he could have had her stoned to death as an adulteress. He did not seek his legal rights but instead paid the price for her redemption.

It is the love story of each of our lives. We have been called to be the bride of Christ, His Church, to be pure and faithful. But we have left Him in search of other loves. We have flirted with and gone after other gods. But God, the divine Lover of our souls, has searched to bring us back to Himself. He has paid the terrible price of our redemption on Calvary.

We are Gomer on the auction block of sin. Satan bids for our soul. But when all seemed lost, God sent Jesus Christ into the marketplace. He bid the price of His precious blood. There was no higher bid than that. He made the scarlet payment on Calvary for our eternal redemption.

Henry Gariepy, Light in a Dark Place