VIDEO Tell God Everything – Sheltering Under Pressure

I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. – Psalm 142:1

When reading the New Testament, we sometimes wonder: “Was the apostle Paul thinking of such-and-such Old Testament event when he wrote those words?” That could be the case when we see an example (Old Testament) and exhortation (New Testament) to pour out our concerns to God.

When David was anointed king, King Saul tried to kill David to block his ascension to the throne. On one occasion, David hid in “the cave of Adullam” (1 Samuel 22:1) to escape the murderous Saul. In Psalm 142, we have a record of David’s prayer to God while he was hiding from Saul. And what a prayer! Surely it is an example of what Paul wrote about in Philippians 4:6-7—don’t be anxious, but through prayers and supplications let your concerns be made known to God. And just as David was guarded in a “stronghold” while he prayed (1 Samuel 22:4), so the believer is guarded by the peace of God as we commit our concerns to Him (Philippians 4:7).

Don’t be afraid to tell God your deepest needs and concerns. By example and exhortation, the Bible encourages that very thing.

Anxiety and prayer are more opposed to each other than fire and water. J. A. Bengel

Sheltering Under Pressure | David Jeremiah | Psalm 142

Thinking Differently

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. Romans 12:2

During college, I spent a good chunk of a summer in Venezuela. The food was astounding, the people delightful, the weather and hospitality beautiful. Within the first day or two, however, I recognized that my views on time management weren’t shared by my new friends. If we planned to have lunch at noon, this meant anywhere between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. The same for meetings or travel: timeframes were approximations without rigid punctuality. I learned that my idea of “being on time” was far more culturally formed than I’d realized.

All of us are shaped by the cultural values that surround us, usually without us ever noticing. Paul calls this cultural force the “world” (Romans 12:2). Here, “world” doesn’t mean the physical universe, but rather refers to the ways of thinking pervading our existence. It refers to the unquestioned assumptions and guiding ideals handed to us simply because we live in a particular place and time.

Paul warns us to be vigilant to “not conform to the pattern of this world.” Instead, we must be “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (v. 2). Rather than passively taking on the ways of thinking and believing that engulf us, we’re called to actively pursue God’s way of thinking and to learn how to understand His “good, pleasing and perfect will” (v. 2). May we learn to follow God rather than every other voice.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe the values and assumptions that surround you? What would it look like for you to not conform to the world’s ways and to instead follow Jesus’ ways?

God, I don’t even recognize my assumptions and values most of the time. Help me to live out Your truth and Your mind in it all.

The Fruitful Giver

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Have you ever had the chance to visit Israel? There is a stark contrast between the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. The banks of the Jordan are surrounded by trees and greenery, but very little grows in the vicinity of the Dead Sea because there’s no outlet—water can only evaporate. This process leaves salt minerals behind and makes the water so salty that it’s unfit to nourish the land, which is dry and barren.

Christians are to be like rivers, not stagnant lakes. The blessings God gives us are to be shared instead of hoarded. This applies to every area of life, including our financial resources. As God’s provision flows in to bless us, He wants us to extend the blessing to those who are in need. The result is a fruitful life centered on glorifying the Lord and building His kingdom.

We never have to fear that we will run out of resources, because the Lord promises to take care of us (Matt. 6:31-33). Believers can trust Him to provide both the means to live and enough extra so we can be generous with others. Best of all, God will increase our righteousness and use us to supply the needs of fellow believers, who will thank and glorify God because of our obedience (2 Corinthians 9:10-13)

All Things Well

“And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” (Mark 7:37)

Jesus indeed “hath done all things well.” One strong evidence of His deity is this very fact. No matter how carefully we study His deeds, we can find no flaw in any of them—no deficiency, nothing He should have done differently or left undone. He never had to apologize or express regrets, as we often at least ought to do. He was always master of every situation. Peter said that He just “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

The same truth would apply—perhaps even more emphatically—to His words. He never had to speculate or equivocate: “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). Jesus never guessed about anything or merely expressed an opinion, as we frequently do. He never suggested a “possible” interpretation. Everything He taught was with absolute authority, for He was (and is) the very Word of God (John 1:1, 14).

His words occasionally were harsh and judgmental when dealing with hypocrisy and false teaching (e.g., Matthew 23:29-33), but more often were kind and forgiving. In fact, “all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Luke 4:22). Even the soldiers sent to arrest Jesus returned empty-handed, for as they said: “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).

Indeed, “his word was with power” (Luke 4:32). He was “Jesus of Nazareth…a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke 24:19). In fact, He was more than a man; He was the perfect man and the only-begotten Son of God! HMM

The Daunting Task

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. —Romans 1:16

The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.

It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room…. Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember.

That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation—apart from God.   PTP007-008

Empower us for our work, Holy Spirit, even as You empowered the early Church. Amen.

Enjoying the Benefits

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways….Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. —Psalm 128:1-2

Our contacts with civilization make our clothes dirty, greasy, sometimes spotted. The dirt is not only on our clothes; soon it is actually in them. We can shake the garment, argue with it, talk to it, read Shakespeare to it….Still it is soiled and dirty. The dirt must be loosed. The garment must be set free from its soil….

The only solution that will loose us from our sins is the blood of Jesus Christ. He loved us and freed us—washed us—from our sins in His own blood. Education, refinement—nothing else worked. But when Jesus’ blood did its work, we were free!

“Ye shall know the truth,” Jesus said, “and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)….But there must be a moral commitment. If there is not, there is no understanding. If there is no understanding, there is no cleansing.

Are you obeying the truth as it is revealed by the Spirit of God? Are you enjoying the benefits of freedom in Jesus Christ? Are you one of His true disciples? FBR066-067

Happiness is nothing but that inward sweet delight, which will arise from the harmonious agreement between our wills and the will of God. JAS147

A Clad Spendthrift

Luke 6:38

I want to be a spendthrift, Lord,

a spendthrift of my time and strength,

giving instead of withholding,

sowing instead of wanting to reap.

Don’t let me be a miser, Master,

cuddling myself to myself,

careful of every effort,

counting each step,

hoarding my physical resources

For the demands of a tomorrow that might never come.

Make me a glad spendthrift, Lord:

joyously giving my love and care,

opening the sluice-gates of my small reserves,

pouring out what little I have to give

without measure or stint,

without anxious debate,

and trust You for tomorrow.

Don’t let me shelter myself in a glass case,

fearful lest the light of day should fade me,

dreading that the hand of time should touch me,

shrinking from effort that might drain me,

saving myself up… for what?

To look nice in my coffin?

Let me give what I have to give with open hands,

offering myself to You each day for service,

happy to be used as long as life shall last,

living for You as a glad spendthrift.

For at the end, Lord,

You will not ask me what I have saved,

but what I have given.

Flora Larsson, Just a Moment, Lord