VIDEO Tired of Waiting?

Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed. Psalm 25:3

Have you ever experienced a delayed answer to prayer? Well, yes and no. It may have seemed delayed to you, but from God’s perspective it was right on time. If you’re praying about something right now, it’s important to ask God to answer according to the synchronized schedule of His perfect will. J. J. Lynch wrote a poem about this that was often quoted by V. Raymond Edman of Wheaton College:

His wisdom is sublime,

His heart profoundly kind;

God never is before His time,

And never is behind.

As we pray faithfully, God answers in His time. So let us learn in prayer to practice Psalm 27:14: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” Don’t be discouraged. Never stop praying. Keep your eyes on the Timekeeper, not on the timepiece. The Lord will turn delay into deliverance.

Delay does not forget God’s servants nor cause His faithfulness to fail; rather, it fortifies their souls and vindicates His name. V. Raymond Edman


Psalm 25 • Let me not be put to shame

Walk, Don’t Run

Walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

I’d see her welcoming the dawn each day. She was our local power walker. As I drove my kids to school, she’d be there on the road’s shoulder. Equipped with an oversized pair of headphones and knee-high, colorful socks, she walked with an alternating movement of arms and feet, always with one foot in contact with the ground. The sport is different from running or jogging. Power walking involves an intentional restraint, a reining in of the body’s natural inclination to run. Although it doesn’t look like it, there’s just as much energy, focus, and power involved as in running or jogging. But it’s under control.

Power under control—that’s the key. Biblical humility, like power walking, is often viewed as weakness. The truth is, it’s not. Humility isn’t diminishing our strengths or abilities, but rather allowing them to be reined in much like the arms and legs and feet guided by the mind of an early morning power walker.

Micah’s words “walk humbly” are a call for us to rein in our inclination to go ahead of God. He says “to act justly and to love mercy” (6:8), and that can bring with it a desire to do something and do it fast. That’s fair since the daily injustices in our world are so overwhelming. But we are to be controlled and directed by God. Our goal is to see His will and purposes accomplished in the dawning of His kingdom here on earth.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

In what circumstance have you “run ahead” of God? Do you usually view humility as a strength or a weakness? Why?

To walk humbly with You, O God, is not always easy. Train me, so that my steps are in tune with You and Your will.

Moses: Forward by Faith

Exodus 14

People don’t like to hear that living by faith guarantees hardship, but it’s true. When we choose to obey God, we will at times suffer and have to make painful sacrifices—like Moses in today’s reading.

Growing up in Pharaoh’s palace, Moses must have known that carrying out God’s command to free His people was humanly impossible—the prideful Egyptian ruler relied on Hebrew slave labor to build his storage cities (Ex. 1:11). Nevertheless, Moses did what the Lord said to do. And the slaves’ release was just the beginning. Moses then spent 40 years leading this errant people, interceding for them when they disobeyed God, and calling upon the Lord when they faced trouble.

Moses’ life may have been marked by challenge and sacrifice, but more importantly, it was shaped by an intimate relationship with God. When a new obstacle would arise, Moses turned first to God for guidance and provision. His hardships challenged his trust in himself and strengthened his faith in the Lord.

This is also true for believers today, and Scripture teaches that our trials also produce deeper intimacy with the Lord (1 Peter 4:1-2). When we accept that hardship is a part of the Christian life, we can lean on God and grow closer to Him.

Growing in Faith

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them.” (Hebrews 11:13)

All believers should hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering. A believer faces many challenges, but two seem particularly difficult to handle. First, our eternal destination cannot be seen with our physical eyes. Without something material to see or hold, our human nature is not satisfied and on occasion raises questions in our mind: “Is heaven really there?” “Am I missing out on something here on Earth?” The writer to the Hebrew Christians was aware that questions could lead to doubt, then to discouragement, and even cause some to “draw back” (Hebrews 10:38-39).

Though we cannot literally see heaven, we can “see [it] afar off” by faith. This is only done by implicitly believing the Word of the Lord. Paul said there is a special power in God’s Word enabling believers to grow “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). The fact that faith itself is the fuel to energize even greater faith is illustrated in our text verse. Noah, Abraham, and others had “seen” the promises by faith, which led them to even stronger belief until they were deeply “persuaded of them.” The promises eventually were so real to these saints that they “embraced them” like a fellow companion in their daily walk with the Lord. Only by faith do His promises become an integral part of our lives, able to guide our daily activities and long-range plans.

The second challenge we face is fear of the world’s reprisal, directed to anyone daring to not conform to its practices. This fear has stopped many believers from “confessing” their faith and is why the final step to “dying in faith” may be so difficult. Like nothing else can, being willing to publicly proclaim your belief in God’s Word builds faith and truly honors Him. RJG

Faith and Doubt

Matthew 14:22-33

IN the fourteenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus asks the sinking disciple Peter as He rescues him while walking upon the waves, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

It is true that Peter sank in his venture of faith, but he walked further upon the water than any other mere man ever walked. He sank because he saw the wind boisterous and was afraid—that is, he took his eyes off Jesus and fixed them on circumstances. Back of it all was doubt that crept in and upset the firmness of his faith.

The Christian life is a “walking upon the waves” toward Jesus. But so many believers hesitate to leave the boat; they put first this foot, then that, into the water. There is nothing to fear if we walk toward Jesus and keep our eyes fixed upon Him. And even if our faith should momentarily yield to doubt, we may sink but we won’t drown. For He is there to hear our cry and rescue us.

Doubt manifests itself in many forms. Some people doubt whether they are saved. God’s Word has given us definite assurances of salvation—and to doubt our salvation, after we have trusted Christ, is simply to doubt God. We say we are doubting self, but really we doubt God—for salvation does not depend upon self but upon God. Such passages as Acts 16:31, 2 Timothy 1:12, John 3:16, 36, and the whole book of First John, as well as many other passages, give us God’s clear word of certainty. And if we are not certain that we ever trusted Christ truly for salvation, we can trust Him at any moment and be certain!

An old saint, who lay dying, moaned that in his feeble mental condition he had forgotten all the promises of God and could recall none of them. “But God has not forgotten,” wisely suggested the old minister who sat beside him. How precious that, though we forget, God does not!

Some doubt the doctrines and teachings of the Word and find it hard to believe some of the Bible. There is much there which I cannot understand, but none that I do not believe. I know that if I cannot understand a passage that does not mean that it cannot be understood. Doubt was the serpent’s weapon in Eden. He raised a question: “Yea, hath God said?” In His wilderness temptation our Lord met the adversary with “Yea, God hath said!” There are too many question-mark Christians—and not enough of the exclamation-point kind!

Many more are bothered not so much with doubt of salvation or of the Scriptures but practical doubt in everyday matters. Peter believed in Christ, but he broke down here in a practical crisis. Theoretically we believe Romans 8:28, reading it some pleasant summer afternoon under a shade tree in a hammock. But when trouble, sickness and death arrive, is our theoretical faith actual?

Peter took his eyes off Jesus. We must keep “looking unto Jesus” and “consider Him… lest we be wearied and faint in our minds.” Doubt spoils the faith-life. We shift from Christ to circumstance. Like the Samaritan woman, we argue that “the well is deep” (John 4:11). Like Martha, we reason that “he has been dead four days” (John 11:39). Like the Emmaus disciples, we reason that “this is the third day” (Luke 24:21). Against all that comes our Lord’s challenge: “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”

Believing is seeing.

Four Simple Words

The woman … went into town, and told the men, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!”—John 4:28-29

In the true Christian heart, sharing is instinctive. What was the instinct of the woman at the well as soon as she had received salvation? It was to share what she had found with others.

What I am saying will cause some people to feel guilty, especially those who do not find it easy to share their faith. It is not that we should go out and accost everyone we meet with the message of salvation, but we do need to be alert for every opportunity and to take advantage of it.

The four words which most succinctly summarize the gospel are each found in the Scripture passage before us today. They are these: “come … see … went … told.” We get a firsthand knowledge—”come and see”—and then the instinctive impulse takes over—”go and tell.” And if there is no “go and tell” impulse, then perhaps the “come and see” impulse is not ours, or at least it has ceased to hold a commanding place in our lives.

A woman once wrote to me following something I had written in Every Day with Jesus and said: “I had a real experience of God and refused to share it with anyone, so it died.” How sad. J. B. Phillips’ translation of 2 Corinthians 9:10 is luminous: “He who gives the seed to the sower …” See the inference? He gives seed only to the one who uses it—the sower. If we won’t use the seed, then we won’t get it. Our powers are either dead or dedicated. If they are dedicated, they are alive with God. If they are saved up or conserved, they die.

Prayer

O Father, I ask not for an experience of You—I already have that. I ask rather for the courage to share it with others. Give me some seed today, and help me to sow it in prepared hearts. For Your own dear name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

1Pt 3:1-16; Ps 66:16; Isa 63:7

What must we always be prepared to do?

How did Isaiah and the psalmist do this?

The Privilege of Stewardship

Galatians 4:7

Get a bunch of Christians together to talk about stewardship and their conversation flows naturally into the language of obligation: “It is giving back to God what we owe Him.”

This is true. But stewardship is rooted in the rich soil of privilege, not the rocky soil of obligation. The Apostle Paul wrote, “So then, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since you are His son, God will give you all He has for His sons” (Galatians 4:7 GNB).

This is where stewardship begins: in the family of God into which we have been adopted in Christ, in the realm where gifts are more important than obligations. In this soil true stewardship thrives. It is a matter for sons and daughters, not slaves.

God responded to man’s hopeless condition by coming in the person of Jesus. It was the supreme act of love, with the cross as proof. Did God want us to feel obligated because of what He had done? Of course not. He wanted us to feel loved, and He trusted in the strength of His love to draw us to Him. How we invest our lives (our stewardship) is not firstly how we respond to divine orders, but rather how we are drawn by love.

Yes, God is the owner and we are the managers (stewards) of His resources. But that reality is contained in a greater reality: God is our Father and we are His family. He is not interested in asserting ownership and squeezing the last ounce of legal obligation out of us. He is interested in having us in the family where we can find fulfillment.

Stewardship is the forfeiture of ownership and therefore the way to true happiness. It opens the door to one of the greatest privileges of the Christian life: freedom from the power of possessions. Christian stewards have this freedom because they have a family that shares and a God who gives.

Consider also what activates the Christian’s labor: the needs of others. This motivation characterizes the family of God. You will remember that in the early Jerusalem Church, “There was not a needy person among them… for [distribution was made] to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:34, 35).

The most important thing to say about this matter of stewardship is that it is a splendid privilege granted to God’s own: the privilege of owning nothing—and therefore having everything, and the privilege of giving to others.

Philip D. Needham, The War Cry