VIDEO The Discipline of Hearing

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. —Matthew 10:27

Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into “the shadow of His hand” until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2). “Whatever I tell you in the dark…” — pay attention when God puts you into darkness, and keep your mouth closed while you are there. Are you in the dark right now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? If so, then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will speak while in the wrong mood— darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason for the darkness; just listen and obey. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light.

After every time of darkness, we should experience a mixture of delight and humiliation. If there is only delight, I question whether we have really heard God at all. We should experience delight for having heard God speak, but mostly humiliation for having taken so long to hear Him! Then we will exclaim, “How slow I have been to listen and understand what God has been telling me!” And yet God has been saying it for days and even weeks. But once you hear Him, He gives you the gift of humiliation, which brings a softness of heart— a gift that will always cause you to listen to God now.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The message of the prophets is that although they have forsaken God, it has not altered God. The Apostle Paul emphasizes the same truth, that God remains God even when we are unfaithful (see 2 Timothy 2:13). Never interpret God as changing with our changes. He never does; there is no variableness in Him.  Notes on Ezekiel, 1477 L


40 Matthew 10-11 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

Sending Out an SOS

I sought the Lord, and he answered me .Psalm 34:4

When the hut of a settler in a mountainous region of Alaska caught fire, the settler was left without adequate shelter and with few provisions in the coldest state in the US—in the middle of a frigid winter. Three weeks later, the man was finally rescued when an aircraft flew over and spied the large SOS he had stamped out in the snow and darkened with soot.

The psalmist David was certainly in dire straits. He was being pursued by jealous King Saul who sought to kill him. And so he fled to the city of Gath, where he pretended to be insane in order to preserve his life (see 1 Samuel 21). Out of those events emerged Psalm 34, where David cried out in prayer to God and found peace (vv. 4, 6). God heard his pleas and delivered him. 

Are you in a desperate situation and crying out for help? Be assured that God still hears and responds to our desperate prayers today. As with David, He’s attentive to our distress calls and takes away our fears (v. 4)—and sometimes even saves us “out of [our] troubles” (v. 6). 

Scripture invites us to “cast [our] cares on the Lord and he will sustain [us]” (Psalm 55:22). When we turn our difficult circumstances over to God, we can trust that He’ll provide the help we need. We’re secure in His capable hands. 

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

When have you felt peace after crying out to God? When has He rescued you from a desperate situation?

Loving Father, thank You for hearing my prayers and bringing comfort, peace—whatever I need most. And thank You especially for rescuing me from my sin.

Sunday Reflection: Turning to God in Times of Frustration

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

In the book of Hebrews, we find encouragement for God’s people to persevere and draw near to Him. (See Heb. 10:19-22.) When facing all kinds of difficulties, many of us have a tendency to power through in our own strength. But the reality is, that’s never effective—at least not for long. Instead, God wants us to come closer to Him.

All too often, our frustrations about life impact our ability to submit to God and be intimately connected with Him. Trusting our Father requires humility—we must remember He alone knows all. But we also need to keep in mind that He loves us more than anyone can grasp.

When we stay focused on Jesus, we can take comfort in knowing He’ll lead us through the hard places (Isa. 41:10-13). As you continue walking with Him, trust that He already knows what will happen in your life—and that regardless of what lies ahead, He will never leave you.

THINK ABOUT IT
• This week, set aside a few minutes of extra prayer time to ask God to reveal His care for you—especially any situations or relationships where you’ve possibly overlooked His presence. You may be surprised just how active He is in your daily life.

The Greatest Love

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2)

There are many types of love in the world—romantic love, marital love, erotic love, brotherly love, maternal love, patriotic love, family love, and love for all kinds of things—pets, food, money, sports, and on and on. But what is the greatest love?

Love is probably the greatest word of the Bible, and, by the principle of first mention of important biblical words, the first time the word “love” occurs should be a key to its use all through the Bible. Rather surprisingly, love is first encountered here in our text, speaking of the love of a father for his son, of Abraham for Isaac, the son of promise. Furthermore, the father is being told by the very God who made the promise to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice!

From the New Testament (see Hebrews 11:17-18), we know that this entire scene is a remarkable type of the heavenly Father and His willingness to offer His own beloved Son in sacrifice for the sin of the world. This tells us that the love of this human father for his human son is an earthly picture of the great eternal love of the Father in heaven for His only begotten Son.

And that means that this love of God the Father for God the Son is the ultimate source of all love, for that love was being exercised before the world began. When Jesus prayed to His Father the night before His sacrificial death, He confirmed this great truth; “for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world,” He prayed (John 17:24). Indeed, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and the eternal love within the triune Godhead is the fountainhead of all true human love here on Earth. HMM

Confirming Signs

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with mem, and confirming the word with signs following. —Mark 16:20

Such words as these in the second chapter of Hebrews stand as a rebuke to the unbelieving Christians of our day: “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:4). A cold Church is forced to “interpret” such language. She cannot enter into it, so she explains it away. Not a little juggling is required, and not a few statements for which there is no scriptural authority, but anything will do to save face and justify our half-dead condition. Such defensive exegesis is but a refuge for unbelieving orthodoxy, a hiding place for a Church too weak to stand.

No one with a knowledge of the facts can deny the need for supernatural aid in the work of world evangelization. We are so hopelessly outclassed by the world’s superior strength that for us it means either God’s help or sure defeat. The Christian who goes out without faith in “wonders” will return without fruit. No one dare be so rash as to seek to do impossible things unless he has first been empowered by the God of the impossible. “The power of the Lord was there” is our guarantee of victory.   PTP012-013

May the power of the Lord be with me in my ministry, so that I might not be “outclassed by the world’s superior strength.” Amen.

No Twilight Zone

He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

—John 3:36

Some teachers have tried to enshroud Jesus in a pink fog of sentimentality. But there is really no excuse for misunderstanding Him. He drew the line as taut as a violin string. He said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30)….

At that great day when He judges mankind, Jesus says He “shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” The one group “shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (25:32, 46). Those statements leave no twilight zone, no in-between.

Consider the benefits promised to the true disciples. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). No one can know truth except the one who obeys truth….Truth is in the text, but it takes the text plus the Holy Spirit to bring truth to a human soul. FBR063-064

God has solemnly told us in His Word that there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Only Jesus can save. MM056

God’s Valentine

John 3:16

The wedding of an older couple was the topic of a television soap opera conversation.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Raquel.

“Wonderful?” asked Rita.

“Yeah. It’s so romantic. Just think, at their age! There’s hope for us all!”

Everyone loves a wedding, even if many of them do result in marriages that end in tears a few years later.

A wedding is always a time of hope. Never mind “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” At a wedding everyone is optimistic. After all, the two participants are in love aren’t they?

Love will certainly be on the agenda for a lot of people this Valentine’s Day. Men and women around the world will be saying it with flowers, chocolates, cards, and helium-filled balloons, and personal classified ads in the newspapers.

“I love you,” they will declare.

And for a great many of them it will be a case of “at their age, too!”

Raquel is right. It is romantic. And there is hope for us all.

The world needs more love—love between individuals that will spill over into love for others, love even for the unlovely and the unloved, love such as that demonstrated in the life and teaching of Jesus.

Jesus was taken in by no one. He knew people’s faults, but He also saw the good in them. And He loved them for it. And, as the New Testament records, time and again people responded to His love. They wanted to be what He showed them they were capable of becoming.

Valentine’s Day is a good day to start following Jesus’ example. As the song says, “You’re nobody until somebody loves you.” John 3:16 reminds us that God loves the world, each one of us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one arid only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And that makes everybody a “somebody!”

On this Valentine’s Day, when love for others is expressed, let us respond more than ever to that greatest love of all, the marvelous love of God for us, by committing more of our life to Christ. It’s a gift that promises eternal and matchless returns.

That’s why, as Raquel said, there’s hope for us all!

Charles King, The War Cry, U.K.