VIDEO His Word, Our Hope

My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in Your word. Psalm 119:81

“Can I get that in writing?” When you are shopping for a car, comparing prices between dealerships, you want a dealer’s best offer to be put in writing—including how long the price is good for. As is often said in all manner of life situations, “If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist.” But when it is in writing—the Declaration of Independence, a sales contract, a legal marriage certificate—the document provides a record of the past, assurance in the present, and hope for the future.

Some of those elements of human need—records, assurance, hope—must be part of the reason God committed His promises to writing. The result? Our Bible, the book of the story of God’s revelation and redemption of mankind. While some human documents can be violated or nullified, God’s documents never will be. Like God Himself, His Word is eternal and unchanging (Isaiah 40:8). While our soul may “faint” (grow weary with longing) for God’s deliverance during this life, His Word guarantees His love and our salvation.

But we must know what His Word says. The more of His promises we know, the greater our hope and certainty will be.

True faith is ever connected with hope.  John Calvin

John Calvin – Psalm 119:80-88 “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes”

Golden Scars

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.2 Corinthians 11:30

In the Netherlands, a group of fashion designers offer a “Golden Joinery” workshop. Inspired by the Japanese technique Kintsugi, where broken porcelain is visibly repaired with gold, participants collaborate in mending clothes in ways that highlight the mending work rather than trying to mask it. Those who are invited bring “a dear but broken garment and mend it with gold.” As they remake their clothes, the repair becomes ornamental, a “golden scar.”

Articles of clothing are transformed in ways that highlight the places where they were torn or frayed. Perhaps this is something like what Paul meant when he said that he would “boast” in the things that showed his weakness. Although he’d experienced “surpassingly great revelations,” he doesn’t brag about them (2 Corinthians 12:6). He is kept from getting proud and overconfident, he says, by a “thorn” in his flesh (v. 7). No one knows exactly what he was referring to—perhaps depression, a form of malaria, persecution from enemies, or something else. Whatever it was, he begged God to take it away. But God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).

Just as the rips and tears in old clothes can become sights of beauty as they’re remade by designers, the broken and weak places in our lives can become places where God’s power and glory may shine. He holds us together, transforms us, and makes our weaknesses beautiful.

By:  Amy Peterson

Reflect & Pray

What are some weaknesses you try to keep hidden from the world? How has God revealed His power through your weakness?

God, may all my scars become golden as You heal and repair me in ways that bring glory to Your name.

God’s Encouragement in Tough Times

Judges 7:8-15

As inhabitants of a fallen world, we oftentimes face heartache, intimidation, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But as children of God, saved and secure in Jesus, we are never beyond the reach of the Lord’s encouragement. Sometimes it comes through Scripture or the timely words of a fellow believer, but God can also use circumstances to raise our spirits and increase our trust in Him.

This is exactly what the Lord did for Gideon, who was undoubtedly feeling anxious about taking just three hundred men to fight against the mighty Midianite army. God strategically positioned Gideon to overhear an enemy soldier recounting a frightful dream about being defeated by the Israelites. This unlikely circumstance assured Gideon that the Lord was at work in this daunting situation and would give them the victory.

God graciously used that incident to strengthen one man’s confidence in Him, and He encourages His children in similar ways today. The unexpected, hopeful circumstances that show up in our darkest moments are not accidents but precious assurance builders from the Lord. When we remember past evidence of His faithfulness, we can boldly face the future, knowing that God is always with us.

Have A Full Assurance of Understanding

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” (Colossians 2:2)

There are two key aspects to this message. Our hearts need encouragement by “being knit together.” The result will produce a “full assurance of understanding” and an acknowledgment of the mystery of the triune Godhead.

The comforted hearts are to be “knit together.” The Greek term sumbibazo means “to force together, to compact.” Paul uses this term to illustrate the impossibility of teaching God anything. “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Positively, the strength of the church body comes from being “joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth” (Ephesians 4:16). Those “joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Colossians 2:19).

The result of the encouragement is wonderful: We should attain to the riches of “full assurance.” The Greek term plerophoria is only used four times: promising understanding in our text, a full assurance of the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:5) and of hope (Hebrews 6:11), and the full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:22).

The Greek synonym plerophoreo identifies “sure belief” among us (Luke 1:1), being “fully persuaded” of God’s promises (Romans 4:21). We should be “fully persuaded” in our own mind (Romans 14:5) while making “full proof” of our ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). All of this makes our testimony “fully known” in the world (2 Timothy 4:17). Perhaps the goal of “full assurance” is that we “may speak boldly, as [we] ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:20). HMM III

Godliness Is Not Always Valued

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. —Matthew 25:21

After more than thirty years of observing the religious scene I have been forced to conclude that saintliness and church leadership are not often synonymous….

Were the church a pure and Spirit-filled body, wholly led and directed by spiritual considerations, certainly the purest and the saintliest men and women would be the ones most appreciated and most honored; but the opposite is true. Godliness is no longer valued, except for the very old or the very dead…. The Christlike, the self-forgetting, the other-worldly are jostled aside to make room for the latest converted playboy who is usually not too well converted and still very much of a playboy….

The wise Christian will be content to wait for that day. In the meantime, he will serve his generation in the will of God. If he should be overlooked in the religious popularity contests he will give it but small attention. He knows whom he is trying to please and he is willing to let the world think what it will of him. He will not be around much longer anyway, and where he is going men will be known not by their Hooper rating but by the holiness of their character.   MDP097-099

Help me to focus on “holiness of… character” whether I’m valued by people or not. Amen.

The Holy Spirit Acts Just Like Jesus

God, who is rich in mercy…even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. —Ephesians 2:4-5

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life and light and love. In His uncreated nature He is a boundless sea of fire, flowing, moving ever, performing as He moves the eternal purposes of God.

Toward nature He performs one sort of work, toward the world another and toward the Church still another. And every act of His accords with the will of the Triune God. Never does He act on impulse nor move after a quick or arbitrary decision.

Since He is the Spirit of the Father He feels toward His people exactly as the Father feels, so there need be on our part no sense of strangeness in His presence. He will always act like Jesus, toward sinners in compassion, toward saints in warm affection, toward human suffering in tenderest pity and love. POM071

What Christ did for us on the cross, the Spirit must do in us as a personal experience. CDP095

He has offered us Himself as the life and power to be obedient and to be holy, and nothing less than his own perfect example should ever satisfy our holy ambition! LCL060

A Saving Faith

Romans 10:9

I am going to speak of faith in the evangelical or saving sense—not faith as used sometimes to denote the whole of Christianity, or to represent a system of truth, but faith when it is used to set forth that act of the soul which translates it out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God—that living, powerful, transforming principle in the soul of the believer which enables him to live in obedience to God—the faith that saves.

What is this faith? It is not a mere mental perception or conviction of the truth. Saving faith is not intellectual perception of the truth. There are hundreds of drunkards who believe thoroughly in sobriety. I have known of many who have believed that abstinence was the finest thing in the world; nevertheless, you found them drunk every Saturday night just the same. Their faith in sobriety had no practical effect on their lives! This is an illustration of a mere intellectual perception and approval of a truth without any corresponding effect upon the heart.

Saving faith is not mere feeling on the subject of religion. But if it is neither intellectual perception nor conviction of the truth, nor mere feeling about the truth, what is it?

I like to let one Scripture explain another, so I want to remark that the word translated “faith,” or “belief,” as used in the saving sense, is, in several other places in the New Testament, translated “commit,” or “committal,” the giving of one’s self to another.

What is faith? It is giving myself up to God, “risking” myself, risking my all, for this life and for the next, on the truthfulness and the goodness of God, and daring to live and act contrary to everybody around me, as if all that God has said were true!

Faith is, all through the Scriptures, represented as a voluntary thing. It is a thing you can do or leave undone. Faith must be a voluntary committal of your heart to Him. God wants your heart. Then He will enlighten your intellect. Faith is a thing of the heart, hence the philosophy of the Scripture, which says, “For with the heart man believes unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10 KJV).

Dare you not pledge yourself to His throne and link yourself on to His almightiness? He waits for your choice. He knocks at the door of your heart. He woos your love.

Catherine Booth, Life and Death