VIDEO The Prayer Tent

Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp. Exodus 33:7

When a creative mother in Chicago noticed her son was anxious during the pandemic, she came up with a biblical solution. Together they made a prayer tent—a homemade pup tent—and set it up in a corner of the boy’s bedroom. Whenever he felt afraid, he could go there, read his Bible or kids’ devotional book, pray, and feel enclosed in safety.

The idea originated with Moses. In Exodus 33, when Moses was frazzled by the idolatry of the children of Israel, he “took his tent and pitched it outside the camp.” This wasn’t the famous Tabernacle, which would be built later. This was an ordinary tent. Some translations use the word “tabernacle,” but that’s simply another word for tent. This was an ordinary tent, yet whenever Moses entered it, the presence of the Lord descended and met with him. 

You may want to literally build a prayer tent for yourself or your children. But truly, any quiet spot where we enter God’s presence in prayer is a special place of safety. The Lord longs to be with us, to hear us, and to answer our prayers.

At the place of prayer, Jesus waits for you, did you meet Him there, did you pray it through? Hymnist William C. Poole


Exodus 32:30-33:23 – 2011 – Skip Heitzig

She Did What She Could

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Mark 14:8

She loaded the plastic container of cupcakes onto the conveyor belt, sending it toward the cashier. Next came the birthday card and various bags of chips. Hair escaped from her ponytail, crowning her fatigued forehead. Her toddler clamored for attention. The clerk announced the total and the mom’s face fell. “Oh, I guess I’ll have to put something back. But these are for her party,” she sighed, glancing regretfully at her child.

Standing behind her in line, another customer recognized such pain. Jesus’ words to Mary of Bethany echoed in her mind: “She did what she could” (Mark 14:8). After anointing Him with a bottle of expensive nard before His death and burial, Mary was ridiculed by the disciples. Jesus corrected His followers by celebrating what she had done. He didn’t say, “She did all she could,” but rather, “She did what she could.” The lavish cost of the perfume wasn’t His point. It was Mary’s investment of her love in action that mattered. A relationship with Jesus results in a response.

In that moment, before the mom could object, the second customer leaned forward and inserted her credit card into the reader, paying for the purchase. It wasn’t a large expense, and she had extra funds that month. But to that mom, it was everything. A gesture of pure love poured out in her moment of need.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

In what unexpected ways has Jesus helped you? What might you do—not all, but what—to love Jesus back in a need you see today?

Father, open my eyes to see You inviting me to do what I can do today.

The Right Response to Loneliness

Psalm 27:7-14

I’ve known the pain of loneliness and emotional isolation during my lifetime, but God has never abandoned me to these feelings. Over the years, He’s taught me to draw near to Him rather than give in to self-pity and despair. 

We can’t deny feelings of loneliness, nor can we allow ourselves to wallow in them. Today’s psalm reveals how David dealt with his sense of isolation.

He cried out to the Lord (Psalm 27:7). God is near to the brokenhearted and hears our prayers.

David remembered the Lord’s help (Psalm 27:9). Even in despair, we should make an effort to recount God’s past faithfulness to us.

He asked God to guide and teach him (Psalm 27:11). Instead of withdrawing into self-pity, we must go to God’s Word to learn His ways.

David believed He would see God’s goodness (Psalm 27:13). Confidence in God’s goodness helps us look beyond our current emotions.

He waited for the Lord (Psalm 27:14). In His time, God will bring us out of the shadow of isolation.

Although loneliness is painful, it’s also an opportunity to draw near to the Lord. Instead of turning inward, use it to grow upward.

Sowing and Sleeping

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:42)

When a believer’s soul and spirit leave the body and return to the Lord, it is significant that the New Testament Scriptures speak of the body not as dead but as sleeping. For example, Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep” (John 11:11). This state is not “soul sleep” as some teach, for “to be absent from the body, [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). The body is sleeping—not the soul.

Similarly, when the believer’s body is laid in a grave, Paul speaks of this act not as a burial but as sowing! “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1 Corinthians 15:35-38).

Just as a buried grain of wheat brings forth a fruitful plant, so the old, sin-corrupted, aching body of human flesh, sown in the ground, will some day come forth “fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21), in which “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). When a believer’s body is sown in the ground, God will soon reap from it a body of glory that will last for eternity. HMM

The Kingdom in Parable

Matthew 13:31-35, 41-46

AFTER the parables of the sower and the tares, our Lord gave several shorter parables about the kingdom. Much argument has raged about the interpretation. The mustard seed and leaven, for instance, are largely held to describe the outward and inward growth of the kingdom from small beginnings to tremendous magnitude, reaching over all the world.

Others believe, however, that the mustard seed represents the rapid but abnormal growth of Christendom, with false believers like the fowls finding refuge in its branches. The leaven is held to represent evil—working in and permeating the visible church with false doctrine. Some may hold this view of the leaven in order to obviate the other alternative—of its teaching “world conversion.” But it should not be necessary to draw universal conversion from the phrase “till the whole was leavened.” For the gospel has permeated the world with the influence of its Christ, although, certainly, the world will not be converted. Nor does the meal become entirely leaven. The statement, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven” makes it hard for some to believe, however, that it would have been so worded if leaven means “false doctrine.”

The parable of the treasure is held to represent Christ, for whom we give up and suffer the loss of all things that we may win Him. Others hold that Israel is the hid treasure and that our Lord buys or redeems it with His own blood. Israel is hidden or lost in the present age, scattered throughout the world. One day the nation is to be reclaimed and restored.

The pearl is also held to typify Christ, while men seek goodly pearls. He who seeks this pearl must give up all to possess it. Again, others hold that the Church is meant, Christ being the merchantman who gave Himself for the Church that He might present it to Himself (Eph. 5:25-27). It is held that the Church, like the pearl, is formed by secretion; not mechanically but vitally, through a living one, Christ, who adds to His Church.

The dragnet again sets forth the fact that good and evil will be collected into the professing Church, to be separated at the end of the age. The truth of a final separation has been obscured in these days but there is no room in these parables for the idea that “gradually all men will be won by the gospel” and the world will be Christianized. “The morning cometh and also the night”; the good grow better, the bad worse.

Our Lord concluded by saying, “Therefore, every scribe which is instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (v. 52). All who are instructed in the Scriptures should draw forth old truths and new applications, adaptations to meet every need. What a storehouse of treasure has he who is well stocked with the bounty of the Book!

Living Water

Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again … the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.—John 4:14

John 7:38 says, “The one who believes in Me … will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” The Amplified Bible translates this passage: “He who believes in Me … From his innermost being shall flow continuously springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him were afterward to receive.”

Are our lives truly like this? Do fresh springs flow out of us day after day? If not, why not? The answer is simple—there can be no outflow unless there is an intake. This is the rhythm of the Holy Spirit—intake and outflow. If there is more intake than outflow, then the intake stops; if there is more outflow than intake, then the outflow stops. The doors open inward to receive, only to open outward to give.

When we come to talk about life in the Spirit, we are not to think in terms of a reservoir which has only limited resources. Life is a channel, attached to infinite resources. The more we draw on these resources, the more we have. There is no danger of exhausting one’s resources. We do not have to hold back—for the more we give, the more we have.

Living on the overflow is what many of us lack today. A sign could be put up over our individual and collective lives saying, “Life Limited.” According to Jesus’ promise, however, when the Spirit comes, life is unlimited: “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” Not rivulets, not trickles, not brooks, not streams—but rivers. Rivers!

Prayer

O God, help me to link my channel to Your infinite resources. Flow through me until I become a flowing river—no, an overflowing river. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 10:34-38; 1Co 3:16; 6:19; 2Tm 1:14

How did Peter link Christ’s work with that of the Spirit?

What has God made us to be?

The Ministry of Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Comfort is a great biblical word. Presumably the word appears often in Scripture because our frailty requires that we be reassured and strengthened so frequently. It is significant that the Greek word which is translated “comfort” in the New Testament shares the same root as the name for the Holy Spirit, who is so often known as “the Comforter” (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit is much more than a Comforter, but He is that, and He fulfills the role wonderfully well.

The Greek word means “calling to one’s side,” and it is the Holy Spirit in all His power, and with all His resources who draws alongside us. He comes to strengthen us, help us to handle our problems and stresses.

James Moffatt’s translation of verse is helpful because he moved from the statement that the Father is the “God of all comfort” to the personal affirmation, “who comforts me in all my distress.” Sooner or later the pressures of life require that we stand firm when others crumble or would, at least, be perplexed or resentful. The reason for our strength and stability is the fact that the comfort which God alone can give is available to us, and we have learned how to draw on Him as our prime resource. He “comforts me in all my distress.”

Who can better comfort another than the person who has been comforted? Those people who have walked the dark, lonely road of grief and learned that through the Holy Spirit Christ has been a comforting companion on the way are well qualified to give support. Credibility is a vital element in helping others. We listen to those who have experienced suffering and sorrow—the people who “do understand” because they are familiar with the doubts, darkness, pain and, wonderfully, the comfort of God.

Paul was writing out of deep personal experience as he shared with the Corinthians. He had the mindset which enabled him to turn difficulties into opportunities and blessings, and he knew that he was qualified to comfort other people because he himself had been comforted. He recognized this as an important ministry both for himself and others to exercise.

When we belong to Christ, we belong to God and we belong to each other. This special relationship means that comfort and encouragement are lovely ministries that we can, and should, fulfill.

Harry Read, Words of Life