VIDEO Leap of Faith – The Lord Himself will go before you

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Last year, an apartment building in France caught fire, trapping two brothers, aged three and ten, several floors above the ground. A crowd gathered, and the boys had to jump into the arms of those far below them. The older boy dropped his little brother into the crowd while thick, black smoke billowed from the apartment. Then the ten-year-old hesitated. The crowd yelled for him to jump, and, gathering all his courage, he leaped into the air. Both boys were caught, and neither was harmed. 

We never know when we’ll have to exercise sudden courage. When we put ourselves in the ten-year-old’s shoes, we wonder whether we’d have the courage to leap off a burning ledge. But God gives us courage like He gives us grace—just when it’s needed. If you’re facing something frightening, take courage. “Be strong and of good courage.” Don’t be afraid, for the eternal God is your refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms.

When your knees are knocking, it might help to kneel on them. Anonymous 

Deuteronomy 31-32 – The Lord Himself will go before you

Snow Muse

He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,” and to the rain shower, “Be a mighty downpour. ”Job 37:6

Named for a tough blue-collar neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, the grassroots musical group Over the Rhine sings about a transformation that took place each year in the city. “Whenever we’d get our first real snowfall of the year, it felt like something sacred was happening,” explains band co-founder Linford Detweiler. “Like a little bit of a fresh start. The city would slow down and grow quiet.”

If you’ve experienced a heavy snowfall, you understand how it can inspire a song. A magical quietness drapes the world as snow conceals grime and grayness. For a few moments, winter’s bleakness brightens, inviting our reflection and delight.

Elihu, the one friend of Job who may have had a helpful view of God, noted how creation commands our attention. “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways,” he said (Job 37:5). “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ ” Such splendor can interrupt our lives, demanding a sacred pause. “So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor,” Elihu observed (vv. 6–7).

Nature sometimes seizes our attention in ways we don’t like. Regardless of what happens to us or what we observe around us, each moment—magnificent, menacing, or mundane—can inspire our worship. The poet’s heart within us craves the holy hush.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

What events or things motivate you to ponder God’s greatness and creativity? How can you experience His wonder in your ordinary moments today?

Father, help me to see Your hand in everything today. Give me a heart to appreciate Your amazing works.

The Assurance of Our Salvation

1 John 5:1-13

Many Christians struggle with doubts about their salvation. As they look at their failures, they question whether they’re truly saved. The apostle John wrote his first epistle to assure believers of their eternal security. Throughout the book, he gives three tests by which professing believers can evaluate themselves to see if they are truly in the faith.

1. The Word Test. Genuine Christians believe what Scripture says about Christ—that He is God’s Son, who came in the flesh to die for mankind’s sins.

2. The Witness Test. The Holy Spirit indwells true believers. They experience His transforming work, and He gives them a deep, abiding conviction that they belong to Christ.

3. The Walk Test. Christ’s life flows through His followers and will be evident in their words, attitudes, and actions. The sins they once loved are now repulsive to them, and obedience to Christ is the new direction of their life.

While we can’t be 100 percent certain about the authenticity of anyone else’s faith (Matt. 7:21), God doesn’t want His true children wavering in uncertainty about their own. That’s why John’s first epistle says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, emphasis added).

Thy Precious Blood

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:…And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:14, 20)

John introduced Jesus to the world at His baptism by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was known prophetically as a lamb even before then. “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). He fulfilled the lamb role in His sacrificial death for the sins of mankind: “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). The third verse of “There Is a Fountain” continues that picture.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.

The precious Christology passage of Colossians 1:13-20 identifies Christ as Creator, Redeemer, and King. As Creator, His redemptive work included the ransom of His creation, lost and shackled in sin. There will come the time when all of redeemed mankind will gather around His throne “saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).

They will be joined by all in creation to sing His praises. “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). JDM

Know I’ll Be in Trouble

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. —1 Thessalonians 2:2

It is good for us to remember how strong [God] is—and how weak we are. I settled this issue a long time ago. I tell you I have talked to God more than I have talked to anyone else. I have reasoned more with God and had longer conferences with God than with anybody else.

And what did I tell Him? Among other things, I told Him, “Now, Lord, if I do the things I know I should do, and if I say what I know in my heart I should say, I will be in trouble with people and with groups—there is no other way!

“Not only will I be in trouble for taking my stand in faith and honesty, but I will certainly be in a situation where I will be seriously tempted of the devil!”

Then, after praying more and talking to the Lord, I have said, “Almighty Lord, I accept this with my eyes open! I know the facts and I know what may happen, but I accept it. I will not run. I will not hide. I will not crawl under a rug. I will dare to stand up and fight because I am on your side—and I know that when I am weak, then I am strong!”   ITB146

Lord, I’m convicted by Tozer’s statement that he has “talked to God more than [he has] talked to anyone else.” Help me to talk with You more. Amen.

Called to Be Good, Not Great

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things. —Matthew 12:35

Every pastor knows…the plain people who have nothing to recommend them but their deep devotion to their Lord and the fruit of the Spirit which they all unconsciously display. Without these the churches…could not carry on.

These are the first to come forward when there is work to be done and the last to go home when there is prayer to be made. They are not known beyond the borders of their own parish because there is nothing dramatic in faithfulness or newsworthy in goodness, but their presence is a benediction wherever they go.

They have no greatness to draw to them the admiring eyes of carnal men but are content to be good men and full of the Holy Spirit….

When they die they leave behind them a fragrance of Christ that lingers long after the cheap celebrities of the day are forgotten….

It remains only to be said that not all men can be great, but all men are called to be good by the blood of the Lamb and the power of the Holy Spirit. GTM100, 102

Come unto God, unite yourself to God, and the doing power you have is infinite! JAS275

The Impossible Made Possible

Matthew 19:26

We have a God who specializes in things hardly possible. The Lord asks us to do the impossible and then He gives us the power to do it. It happened again and again during Jesus’ lifetime.

Do you remember the man with the withered hand? Jesus came into the synagogue and said to him, “Stretch out your hand” (Matt. 12:13). He asked him to do the one thing that he couldn’t do. But when the man stretched out his hand in obedience, he found the power was there.

Do you remember the paralyzed man at the pool, an invalid for 38 years? Jesus saw him and told him to do the one thing that was impossible. “Get up, take your mat and walk” (Mark 2:9). And he did.

Lazarus, the beloved friend of our Lord, had been dead four days when Jesus arrived at the tomb. Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43). To command a dead person to come to life was surely asking the impossible! But Lazarus came out of the tomb.

Then there was the occasion on the hillside when Jesus told a group of ordinary people to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). A small group of apostles to go to the uttermost parts of the world to make disciples of all nations? Surely this was mission impossible!

It is a principle, a Scriptural truth, that the Lord asks the seeming impossible thing and then gives us the power to do it. But there is a second principle. We have to initiate some action for that power to become available from on high.

If that man with the withered hand had held back from Jesus’ command, there would have been no miracle. And the invalid man might have thought,

“I’ve tried for 38 years to walk.” But as he stepped out in faith, the power was there. And power was available for Lazarus also.

The great Augustine said, “Without God, we cannot. And without us, God will not.” You have a God who asks you to do the impossible, but who gives you the power to do it. Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will find that the power will always be there.

John Larsson, The War Cry