VIDEO Lions in the Road

My soul is among lions. Psalm 57:4

In John Bunyan’s classic story, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian was traveling toward the Celestial City when he saw two lions on the road ahead of him. They were hungry and angry, and they appeared ready to attack and kill any passerby. Christian stopped in fear and studied them from a distance. Finally he saw they were both chained, one on each side of the road. Christian had a conversation with himself. He told himself not to be afraid of the lions, for if he stayed in the middle of the road they couldn’t hurt him. It was simply a test of his faith, he said. And in this way, he advanced. Though the lions roared on his left and right, they couldn’t touch him.

From time to time on our journey through life, we pass down the same road. The lions are still there, and we’re apt to fear. But the trials of life are there to test and strengthen our faith. When we stay in the middle of God’s highway of holiness and advance forward, we are safe and we are strengthened.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.

Robert Keene, in the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation”

Psalm 57 • In the shadow of your wings I take refuge

Sweeter than Honey

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

On Chicago Day in October 1893, the city’s theaters shut down because the owners figured everyone would be attending the World’s Fair. Over seven hundred thousand people went, but Dwight Moody (1837–1899) wanted to fill a music hall at the other end of Chicago with preaching and teaching. His friend R. A. Torrey (1856–1928) was skeptical that Moody could draw a crowd on the same day as the fair. But by God’s grace, he did. As Torrey later concluded, the crowds came because Moody knew “the one Book that this old world most longs to know—the Bible.” Torrey longed for others to love the Bible as Moody did, reading it regularly with dedication and passion.

God through His Spirit brought people back to Himself at the end of the nineteenth century in Chicago, and He continues to speak today. We can echo the psalmist’s love for God and His Scriptures as he exclaims, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). For the psalmist, God’s messages of grace and truth acted as a light for his path, a lamp for his feet (v. 105).

How can you grow more in love with the Savior and His message? As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, God will increase our devotion to Him and guide us, shining His light along the paths we walk.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

In what ways does your life change when you read the Bible regularly? How could you ensure you don’t lose this practice in the busyness of your daily life?

Gracious God, You’ve given me the gift of Scripture. Help me to read it and digest it, that I might serve You faithfully.

An Illusion of Control

Daniel 4:28-37

We like to believe we’re in charge of our life, but when trouble inevitably comes our way, we’re reminded that’s not true. Yet even in times of difficulty we quickly try to regain control. In an attempt to put all the pieces back together, we may resort to manipulating circumstances or people, devising strategies, or using our own efforts to fix matters.

Helplessness is one of the means God uses to break pride and produce humility. This was certainly true in Nebuchadnezzar’s life. He was a very proud Babylonian king whom God humbled through the loss of his reason. He came out of the experience a changed man who worshipped and praised the Lord, recognizing that God alone controls everything in heaven and on earth. 

Think about your response when you are powerless to change a bad situation. Do you blame God or praise Him? Do you submit to whatever He allows or try to find your own way out of it? Or are you like Nebuchadnezzar, whose life was transformed by increased understanding and reverence for the Lord? Weakness is an opportunity to rely on almighty God and see how He will work out His good plan and mature you in the process.

Sweeter than Honey

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:10-11)

Knowledge and judgment that are motivated by love (Philippians 1:9) are directed very carefully to certain end products that will fulfill our Lord’s design and desire for His adopted sons and daughters while they are still on Earth.

A repository of facts can be nothing more than a curiosity and is often an arrogant distraction. A growing intellectual ability must be useful. It is no different in God’s kingdom. Our knowledge and judgment must be used to “approve things that are excellent.”

Paul’s challenge to the Roman church was that they use their minds to “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). To his young son in the faith, Paul insisted that Timothy study to show himself “approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

The “proving” (testing, affirming) has a twofold goal: that our life on this earth would be “sincere and without offence” and that we would be “filled with the fruits of righteousness.” Purity and productivity are earthly spiritual goals that are reiterated many times in the Scriptures. They, of course, are mere reflections of the holiness that our Lord creates in us when we are born again (Ephesians 4:24), but they are nonetheless an often-repeated demand for those of us who claim a kinship with Christ Jesus.

The Bible sums it up this way: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). HMM III

We Languish for Men

Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. —Acts 21:13

The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men—bold men….

We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above.

This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.   OGM011-012

Lord, what would it take for me to be that kind of man? Do in me whatever work You need to do today, that I might die to the allurements of the world and serve You with high motives. Amen.

Outpourings and More Outpourings

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. —1 John 1:7

God desires to advance His work among men by frequent outpourings of the Spirit upon His people as they need them and are prepared to receive them….

The Bible…encourages us to expect “showers of blessing” and “floods upon the dry ground.” It was impossible for the outpouring which came at Pentecost to affect persons who were not present or congregations not yet in existence.

The Bible does not sponsor [the] chilling doctrine of once-for-all blessing. It is obvious that the spiritual benefits of Pentecost must be prolonged beyond the lifetimes of the persons who were the first to receive them….

In brief, the teaching of the New Testament is that the outpouring at Pentecost was the historic beginning of an era which was to be characterized by a continuous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. PTP049-051

The Holy Ghost comes with the light of truth in one hand, so to speak, and the blood of Christ in the other. What the light reveals, the blood cleanses. CDL106

If My Feet Have Faltered

Psalm 27:4

Savior, if my feet have faltered

On the pathway of the cross,

If my purposes have altered

Or my gold be mixed with dross,

O forbid me not Thy service,

Keep me yet in Thy employ,

Pass me through a sterner cleansing

If I may but give Thee joy!

All my work is for the Master,

He is all my heart’s desire;

O that He may count me faithful

In the day that tries by fire!

Have I worked for hireling wages,

Or as one with vows to keep,

With a heart whose love engages

Life or death, to save the sheep?

All is known to Thee, my Master,

All is known, and that is why

I can work and wait the verdict

Of Thy kind but searching eye.

I must love Thee, love must rule me,

Springing up and flowing forth

From a childlike heart within me,

Or my work is nothing worth.

Love with passion and with patience,

Love with principle and fire,

Love with heart and mind and utterance,

Serving Christ my one desire.

Albert Orsborn, The Beauty of Jesus