VIDEO Sustained!

Sustain me, my God, according to your promise…. Uphold me. Psalm 119:116-117, NIV

Do you need someone to sustain you today? The word sustain literally means “to be held up.” Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus sustains all things by His powerful word (NIV). If He sustains all things, He can certainly sustain you. God’s Word is living and powerful, and we can turn to it during any circumstance we face.

When King David was running from a rebellion staged by his son, Absalom, he found himself in a desolate corner of the desert. But he said, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me” (Psalm 3:5). 

In Psalm 55:22, he wrote, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

When Paul’s ship sank in Acts 27, all the men were saved, some by clinging to timbers and pieces of wood. We can cling to God’s unsinkable promises, and they will sustain us. He will hold us up by His powerful promises. The Lord will sustain you today.

I know, perhaps as well as anyone, what depression means, and what it is to feel myself sinking lower and lower. Yet at the worst, when I reach the lowest depths, I have an inward peace. Charles H. Spurgeon

Joseph: Because God Meant It for Good (Selected Scriptures)

The Way of Faith

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me.” Judges 7:2

In a 2017 World Cup qualifying match that pitted the US against Trinidad and Tobago, the Soca Warriors shocked the world when they beat the US men’s national team, a team ranked considerably higher. The upset eliminated the US team from the 2018 World Cup.

Trinidad and Tobago’s victory was so unexpected in part because the United States’ population and resources dwarfed those of the small Caribbean nation. But those seemingly insurmountable advantages weren’t enough to defeat the passionate Soca Warriors.

The story of Gideon and the Midianites features a similar upset, one between a small group of fighters and a large army. The Israelite army actually had more than thirty-thousand fighters, but the Lord whittled the army down to just three hundred warriors so the nation would learn that their success was dependent on God—not the size of their army, the amount of money in their treasury, or the skill of their leaders (Judges 7:1–8).

It can be tempting to put our trust and confidence in things we can see or measure, but that’s not the way of faith. Though it’s often difficult, when we’re willing to depend on God, to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), we can go into situations with courage and confidence, even when we feel overwhelmed and unqualified. His presence and power can do amazing things in and through us.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

When have you faced seemingly insurmountable odds? Whether you tasted victory or defeat, how did you experience God’s provision for you?

God, when life gets challenging, help me learn to rely more and more on Your mighty power and grace.

When We Say Yes to God

Luke 5:1-7

Teaching people to swim begins with a simple lesson—they must put their face in the water. That first little step helps a person get comfortable in the water and is critical for all swimming skills. In the same way, following God begins with a small act of obedience. It may seem insignificant or unrelated to the task at hand, but that’s where God wants us to start.

When Jesus asked to borrow a fishing boat, it must have seemed like just an ordinary request. Peter had no idea it would open the door to ministry and a remarkable adventure with the Lord. Saying yes to God in the small things is essential to discovering His purpose for us, and what’s more, our obedience will also often cause others to benefit. Peter’s compliance with Jesus’ next small request—to let down his nets one more time—resulted in two boatloads of fish, which was more than enough for all those with him.

Obedience to God may appear unreasonable at times—like a carpenter asking a professional fisherman to try once more, even though he had been fishing without success all night. But obeying the Lord can lead to divinely ordained opportunities and blessings for us and others. How do you respond to God’s requests? Does the word “yes” come quickly?

Immediate Results

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22)

Sometimes we don’t get to see the results of our work or choices soon enough to suit us. But on one occasion, a man’s choice and resulting action were given immediate attention, and the effects of that attention even now rule the universe.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6).

The result of Adam’s deliberate sin—“Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14)—was immediate and total punishment upon Adam and Eve, and through them on all humanity (Genesis 3:14-19). “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). “For the creature [or ‘creation’] was made subject to vanity [that is, ‘futility’], not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope” (8:20).

This “bondage of corruption” (v. 21) placed upon the entire creation, now known to science as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is known to all of us as the basic tendency of life. Everything is in the process of death and decay. This law will one day be removed; but until then, we, like the groaning, travailing creation of our text, “groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (v. 23).

Although we recognize now that “the wages of sin is death,” we can be very thankful that the story doesn’t end there, for “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). JDM

The Faith of God

Mark 11:22

OUR Lord, in the presence of the withered fig tree, said to His disciples: “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). Really He said, “Have the faith of God.” Then He went on to say, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Now here is a bona-fide promise in black and white, and if we actually believed these words, our lives would be revolutionized until we would almost need to be introduced to ourselves! What kind of faith is this?

It is God’s faith, not ours. We cannot stir up mountain-moving faith. It is the same faith by which we believe unto salvation (Eph. 2:8). The faith by which we live is the faith of the Son of God, not merely faith in Him (Gal. 2:20). Yet the sinner must will to believe; when he does, God gives him faith to believe. This same faith he must now exercise, and it increases by exercises. And don’t forget that it is nourished on the Word of God: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). “Many of them which heard the word believed” (Acts 4:4).

This faith desires: “What things soever ye desire.” Only those who hunger and thirst after righteousness really are filled, and only those who really desire great things from God ever get them. There is no real concern today, no burden to see mountains move!

God’s faith forgives. Our Lord goes on to say in Mark 11:25-26 that we are to forgive, and that if we forgive not, our Father will not forgive. We can pray with confidence toward God only when our hearts condemn us not, and an unforgiving spirit does not make for a conscience void of offense.

Then God’s faith asks: “Every one that asketh receiveth.” We are told to ask, seek, knock, which means progressive praying that moves on with importunity until it gets what it seeks. Here is no superficial sentence-praying, but real supplication and intercession.

God’s faith wills. Jesus said to the Syrophenician woman, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28). When we are fully yielded to God, He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). He wills through us the things that are in His will, and such things of course we receive.

God’s faith commands: “Whosoever shall say, Be thou removed.” God has told us to command Him concerning the work of His hands (Isa. 45:11). When we pray the prayer of faith we may come boldly, for we speak with the authority of another.

God’s faith believes. Having asked and commanded, it believes it shall receive. Like Hannah, the believer goes away with his countenance no more sad, resting in the Lord. Like Abraham, he staggers not at the promise of God. God’s faith never fails. We are plainly promised that we shall receive. God’s faith will remove any mountain God wants moved. A life utterly yielded, fed on the Word, with sin confessed, seeking God’s glory—in such a life God will plant a mighty faith that will move mountains.

Devout Realists

Wicked behavior is detestable to kings, since a throne is established through righteousness.—Proverbs 16:12

The confession and acknowledgement of God’s goodness is evident when we consider the time when the Israelites first settled in Canaan—the period of the judges—and the monarchy. Throughout these years the same pattern repeated itself over and over again—disobedience led to warnings, repentance, and appeals to God for mercy. The words “You” and “them” draw attention to the interaction between God and His people in Nehemiah 9:31: “You did not destroy them or abandon them.”

This review of their national history provides every one of the Jews listening with encouraging evidences of what God has done in the past, the awesome consequences of ingratitude, and the inevitability of punishment if sin goes unconfessed. But most important of all, there is hope for the future. And that hope is based on the unchanging character of God. They see in the present a product of the past and the seed of the future. Their anticipation now is that the knowledge of past events will help them avoid the evil and follow the good, which is Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 10:6 and 11.

One person has said: “We have no light to illuminate the pathway of the future save that which falls over our shoulder from the past.” Reflecting on what God has done for us in the past enables us to have a clearer perspective on the present and the future. A biblical approach to history makes us neither wide-eyed optimists nor downhearted pessimists. We become devout realists, for we see God at work in all things and triumphing over everything.


O God, help me build into my life times for reflection on the way in which Your goodness has been with me in the past. For I see that by contemplating this I draw hope and encouragement for the future. Answer my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 23:1-6; Lk 22:35-38; Neh 9:26-31

As you read the psalm, reflect on God’s dealings with you.

How will devout realists react to different situations?

In The Secret of Thy Presence

1 Thessalonians 5:17

In the secret of Thy presence,

Where the pure in heart may dwell,

Are the springs of sacred service

And a power that none can tell.

There my love must bring its offering;

There my heart must yield its praise;

And my Lord will come revealing

All the secrets of His ways.

In the secret of Thy presence,

In the hiding of Thy power,

Let me love Thee, let me serve Thee

Every consecrated hour.

More than all my lips may utter,

More than all I do or bring,

Is the depth of my devotion

To my Savior, Lord and King.

Nothing less will keep me tender,

Nothing less will keep me true;

Nothing less will keep the fragrance

And the bloom on all I do.

Blessed Lord, to see Thee truly,

Then to tell as I have seen,

This shall rule my life supremely,

This shall be the sacred gleam.

Sealed again is all the sealing,

Pledged again my willing heart,

First to know Thee, then to serve Thee,

Then to see Thee as Thou art.

Albert Orsborn, The Beauty of Jesus