VIDEO Forget Me Not: In the Face of Abundance

Remember The Lord – a wall art print done with a quote from Proverbs 3: 5-7 as an overlay on an art print I have done using a gothic oil technique of a man on a beach pondering the surf. As a Christian artist, I seek to make sure that the biblical quote I am using is a good marriage with the art print I put it on. In this particular case, when I settled on the verse I wanted to share, I thought of this art print as a match for this verse along with a black and white photograph I had just put it on. The next step was the font style and placement. That always requires a lot of trial and error and ultimately what I think looks like the best fit. I am pleased with the way this print came together.

May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us. 1 Kings 8:57

When Solomon finished building the first temple for the Lord in Jerusalem, he prayed a beautiful prayer of dedication (1 Kings 8:22-53). He then turned to the people of Israel who were gathered for the dedication and reminded them that God had given the nation rest, that He had not failed to keep a single promise He had made through Moses (verse 56). Solomon then expressed a hope: “May He not leave us nor forsake us.”

Why would God, who had blessed the people so abundantly, ever leave them? Maybe Solomon was expressing the fear felt by a sage of the times named Agur. This wise man worried about ever having such an abundance that he would forget the One who provided it and dishonor His name (Proverbs 30:7-9). Maybe Solomon was saying, “May we never forget the One who has blessed us so abundantly.”

David reminded the people that all we have comes from God (1 Chronicle 29:14). May we never forget the Source of our abundance. May we not be tempted to leave the One who promises never to leave us.

When you drink from the stream, remember the spring. Anonymous


Sermon: “Temple” from 1 Kings 8:1-66 | Unlocking the Bible

When We Don’t Understand

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:10

“I don’t understand His plan. I turned my whole life over to Him. And this happens!” Such was the message of a son to his mother when his dream to succeed as a professional athlete was temporarily derailed. Who among us hasn’t had some kind of unexpected, disappointing experience that sends our minds into overdrive with exclamations and questions? A family member cuts off communication without explanation; health gains are reversed; a company relocates unexpectedly; a life-altering accident happens.

Job 1–2 records a series of tragedies and setbacks in Job’s life. Humanly speaking, if there was anyone who qualified for a life free from trouble, it was Job. “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). But life doesn’t always work out the way we’d like it to—it didn’t for Job, and it doesn’t for us. When his wife counseled him to “curse God and die!” (2:9), Job’s words to her were wise, instructive, and fitting for us as well when things happen—big or small—that we’d rather not face. “ ‘Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (v. 10).

By God’s strength, may our trust in and reverence for Him remain, even when we can’t understand how He’s at work during life’s difficult days.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

When has your faith in God been tested? What has He used during tough circumstances to help your reverence for Him to remain intact?

Father, help me to trust You and honor You when I can’t see Your hand or understand Your plan.

How to Listen to God

Are you a good listener? It’s an essential skill in every relationship, and that includes our fellowship with God. Most of us are better at talking to Him than we are at listening. We’re quick to tell Him our needs and requests but are sometimes in such a hurry that we overlook consulting His Word to see what He has to say.

The sad truth is that many Christians would rather skip reading the Bible than skip something else in their daily routine. Yet, God’s Word is the foundation of our faith, and we need to feast on it regularly if we’re to thrive spiritually. Daily consumption of Scripture results in a transformed mind, which in turn aligns our perspective, desires, attitudes, words, and choices with the Lord’s will.

Although every verse in the Bible is inspired by God and given to us for our benefit, we won’t hear His voice unless we make His Word a priority. If we ask, He will teach us to listen and help us understand what He is saying in Scripture. Our spirit needs to be tuned to the Father, and this sensitivity develops through prayer, meditation on His Word, and a submissive heart that obeys His commands.

Questioning God

“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

Whenever one begins a question with “why,” he should realize that the answer must necessarily be theological, not scientific. Science can deal with the questions of “what” and “how,” sometimes even with “where” and “when,” but never with “why”! The “why” questions have to do with motives and purposes, even when dealing with natural phenomena. (“Why does the earth rotate on its axis?” “Why do we have mosquitoes?”) Even though we can partially explain such things by secondary causes, we finally encounter a “first cause,” and then the “why?” can be answered only by God.

The wise thing to do is simply to believe that He has good reasons for everything, whether we can discern them now or not. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). God the Creator “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11), and it is our high privilege simply to trust Him, not to question Him.

On the other hand, He often asks us: “Why?” “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Jesus asked His disciples when they thought they were in great peril (Matthew 8:26). “If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (John 8:46), He would say to those who question His Word.

Then, to those who doubt His deity, the apostle Paul, speaking in His name, asks: “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8). As the popular chorus goes: “God specializes in things thought impossible!” Our God is omniscient and knows what’s best; He is omnipotent, so He can do it. He is all-loving and will surely do what’s best for those who trust Him. HMM

“The Light of the World”

John 8:12-59

AFTER the touching incident of the woman taken in adultery John records our Lord’s discourse on light and freedom (8:12-59). Our Lord declares Himself to be the light of the world. We who believe are also the light of the world (Matt. 5:14), but our light is the reflected light of Christ.

In John’s great passage, Jesus offers the double witness of Himself and the Father (verse 18). He tells the Pharisees they will die in their sins (verse 21) because they do not believe in Him (24). We are condemned already (John 3:18), we are under the wrath of God (John 3:36), and we shall die in our sins if we believe Him not. It is not drunkenness or immorality, but simple unbelief that sends men to hell.

Again and again in this chapter (verses 24, 25, 28) Jesus makes the claim to be the Christ. The truly ideal life is described in verse 29: “And He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” Companionship and conformity! But He follows this statement with “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” appending it in verse 36 with “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Some had believed on account of His words in verse 29, but He made it clear that first contact must be followed by continuance. Looking into the law of liberty must be followed by continuing therein (Jas. 1:25).

The Pharisees prided themselves upon their Abrahamic descent, but our Lord calls them children of the devil (verse 44). Advocates of the modern “fatherhood of God” idea would do well to ponder this verse. Here were Jews, men of God’s favored race, claiming “one Father, even God” (verse 41), but our Lord speedily smashes that claim with His flaming response. Soft preaching today stands in need of revision according to John 8.

Then follows a clear claim to sinlessness, which no mere man could dare to make (verse 46). Again He tells them they are not of God, and follows this with His staggering claim that those who keep His sayings shall never see death. The opposition grows more bitter with every exchange of words. They reply that even Abraham died—and yet He is claiming to be greater than Abraham. This leads to the climax when our Lord declares, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Here is one of the most stupendous claims of the Christ in the four Gospels. Notice, He does not say, “Before Abraham was, I was.” He links Himself with the Eternal “I Am That I Am” of the Old Testament.

It is no wonder that the Pharisees tried to kill Him. Here were the religious people of that day—strict in observing the law, proud of Abraham and Moses—being told that they were children of the devil and that One stood among them greater than Abraham, living before Abraham, and that Abraham saw Christ’s day by faith and was glad! One wonders what He would say today if He were among us with audible voice, for Pharisaism is still with us. Would not men who pride themselves upon the Fatherhood of God be called again the children of the devil?

It’s OK to Feel It

When I heard these words, I sat down and wept.—Nehemiah 1:4

Why is it necessary to know how to cope with disappointment? Because if it is allowed to reverberate in our hearts, however much we pretend with our minds that we do not care, our true feelings will prevent us from moving upward toward the peaks of God “with all four feet.” Our back feet will not track where our front feet have been positioned, and thus we will miss our step on the steep slopes that lead us upward to closer fellowship with God.

The first thing we should learn about disappointment is this—it’s OK to feel it. The worst possible thing we can do with any problem that arises in our lives is to refuse to face it and feel it. Yet this is a typical response made by many Christians to life’s problems.

I once counseled a young, unmarried woman who had gone through some bitter disappointments both in her childhood and in her adolescent years. Such was the pain these disappointments brought that the only way she could cope with them was to turn her mind to something else. She toyed with the idea of drink, sensual pleasures, and several other things, but because she possessed a deep commitment to Christ, she decided to enroll in a Bible correspondence course. As we talked, it became clear to me that in doing this, her primary goal was not to learn more about Scripture but to relieve the pain of disappointment that was reverberating in her heart. Bible study became a way to escape from her problems rather than what it should have been—a way to confront them.

Prayer

Father, help me to see that You have made me in such a way that I function best when I go through problems rather than around them. Show me that maturity means being in charge of my feelings, not my feelings being in charge of me. Amen.

Further Study

Jnh 1-4; Pr 16:32; Eccl 7:9

Why was Jonah disappointed?

How did demandingness come into it?

A Summer Reverie

Acts 17:27-28

God is near—so very near!

I see Him in the rising of the sun,

in the glow of an open fire,

in the busy scurrying of a little mouse,

in the radiant beauty of a wild flower.

God is near—I know He’s near!

I hear Him in the stillness of the early dawn,

in the plaintive cooing of a dove,

in the carefree laughter of a child,

in the patter of the rain on parched ground.

It must be true that God is near!

I feel Him in the companionship of many friends,

in the unqualified love of my family,

in the tender, prodding voice of conscience,

in the inspiring wisdom of His word.

Yes, God is near—so very near!

And yet, although His love I see,

a timeless question puzzles me.

With evidence like this about,

how can it be that men still doubt?

Dorothy E. Breen, It’s Beautiful!