VIDEO Senior Strength

As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Joshua 14:11

In America, when people reach the 65-70 age bracket, their thinking changes. It’s time to retire, apply for Social Security and Medicare, and transition to a different style of life. Sadly, with those changes comes a change in self-perception: My productive years are over; my strength is waning; my best years are behind me.

Who says? Certainly not Caleb! When he was 40, he and Joshua helped spy out the Promised Land (Numbers 13). Then came 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. By the time Canaan was divided among the tribes of Israel and Caleb received a portion as his inheritance, he was 85 years old (Joshua 14:10). And how did he view himself? As strong at age 85 as he was at age 40 (Joshua 14:11)! He was ready “for war”—that is, for whatever he might be called on to do.

Retirement is not a biblical word. Change and transition? Yes. But we must remain available to the Lord until the day of our harvest comes (Job 5:26).

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie ten Boom


Joshua 14:1-15, Caleb’s Reward

Peace in the Chaos

[Our] help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

Something that sounded like firecrackers roused Joanne from sleep. Glass shattered. Wishing she didn’t live alone, she got up to see what was going on. The dark streets were empty and the house seemed to be okay—then she saw the broken mirror.

Investigators found a bullet only a half-inch from the gas line. If it had struck the line, she probably wouldn’t have made it out alive. Later they discovered it was a stray bullet from nearby apartments, but Joanne was afraid to be at home. She prayed for peace, and once the glass was cleaned up, her heart calmed.

Psalm 121 is a reminder for us to look to God in times of trouble. Here, we see that we can have peace and calm because our “help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (v. 2). The God who created the universe helps and watches over us (v. 3)—even while we sleep—but He Himself never sleeps (v. 4). He watches over us day and night (v. 6), “both now and forevermore” (v. 8).

No matter what kind of situations we find ourselves in, God sees. And He’s waiting for us to turn to Him. When we do, our circumstances may not always change, but He’s promised His peace in the midst of it all.

By:  Julie Schwab

Reflect & Pray

When have you experienced God’s peace in a troubling situation? How have you seen Him help others?

Loving God, thank You for Your peace. Please continue to calm my heart in the areas of my life that feel chaotic.

Our Firm Foundation

Psalm 62

At certain moments throughout history, God literally shook the earth. The ground quaked as His Son died on the cross (Matt. 27:51), and there will be an even greater upheaval in the future when Christ returns (Zech. 14:4). 

But even in our present day, the Lord often lets the various foundations of our world shake—whether political alliances, financial systems, or other forms of human security. That’s when we can see the flimsiness of the institutions on which we’ve based our hopes. Not to mention that our personal lives can also be rocked by financial crises, relational conflicts, illness, or loss. If we’ve relied on the fragile footing of human wisdom, achievement, or pride, things may look good for a while, but a weak foundation cannot withstand the storms of life.

The believer, however, can have peace even in the midst of instability. That’s because we know God always has a purpose for the upheavals He allows to occur. Hardships have a way of shaking us out of our apathy and self-centeredness, and they serve as reminders not to trust in ourselves or the temporary institutions of this world. There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry us through any and all turmoil.

The Lord Jehovah

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

The English name usually written LORD in English Bibles stems from the Hebrew word Yahweh, the meaning of which cannot be fully put into words. Although scholars differ (some even claiming there is no real meaning to the word at all), the consensus is that it seems to be a compound of the three tenses of the Hebrew verb “to be,” implying the ever-living nature of God to which Christ was referring when He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Note also the similar implications in God’s announcement of Himself to Moses: “And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am” (Exodus 3:14).

On 49 special occasions (seven times seven), the name Jehovah is contracted to Jah. Many consider this to be an abbreviation of Jehovah, but no satisfactory explanation as to why it is so used has been offered. Perhaps a better suggestion is that this name is the present tense of the verb “to be,” and therefore the name Jah emphasizes the present activity of the Lord. In nearly all occurrences, the passages are strengthened by noting the present work of God. The first usage of the term Jah is found in Miriam’s Song upon deliverance from Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. “The LORD [Jah] is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation” (Exodus 15:2).

On several occasions, such as in our text, we see that the two names are combined, celebrating both the present and future deliveries of Jah Jehovah. “Trust ye in the LORD [Jehovah] for ever: for in the LORD [Jah] JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). JDM

The Lord Answers Prayer

Moses and Aaron were among His priests; Samuel also was among those calling on His name. They called to the Lord, and He answered them. He spoke to them in a pillar of cloud; they kept His decrees and the statutes He gave them. O Lord our God, You answered them. You were a God who forgave them, but punished their misdeeds. Exalt the Lord our God; bow in worship at His holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy (vv. 6-9).

The Lord has dramatically steered my passage through life. In high school I wanted to attend a particular college, but God chose Moody Bible Institute. If I hadn’t listened to his voice, I probably wouldn’t have met Karen!

After Moody, I planned to study at Juilliard, but God wanted me at King’s. If I hadn’t obeyed, I probably wouldn’t be involved in the world of Christian music.

After college I had my sights set on graduate school at Columbia University, but God led me to Dallas Theological Seminary. If I had followed my own inclination, I probably wouldn’t have written this book!

These career turning points all came out of wrestling matches with the Lord. It is only as I look back that I can see the providential hand of God on our lives.

Our Lord has a history of answering the prayers of his saints. In ancient times Moses (Exod. 3-4), Aaron (Exod. 4:27-31; 7:6), Hannah (1 Sam. 2), Samuel (1 Sam, 3), and Nehemiah (Neh. 1) called on the name of the Lord, and he answered. They were rewarded for their obedience. Though God punished Israel for misdeeds, he also forgave them and regularly answered their prayer.

Why don’t more people pray more often, believing that God really hears and answers? Maybe it’s because they have bought into the system that claims we are self-sufficient beings, perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves, and, at the extreme, that we’re even evolving into gods! Yet it only takes one turning point like mine, one gigantic crisis, one moment of unresolved conflict to realize how frail and vulnerable we are. We need him every hour!

Personal Prayer

Dear Lord, I know you hear and answer today just as you did in the days of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. May I always call on you rather than relying on my puny human resources.

Evil Is Bad for Us

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.—Romans 12:9

In considering the words “Do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” here we concentrate on “deliver us from the evil one.” Notice it is not a prayer for deliverance from this or that type of evil, but from evil itself. To Jesus, evil was evil in whatever form it came—whether in the evil of the flesh or the evil of the disposition, whether in the individual will or in the corporate will. Evil was never good, and good was never evil.

Someone has pointed out that the word “evil” is the word “live” spelled backwards. Evil, then, could be said to be anti-life. Non-Christians are finding out how not to live the hard way. They think they know better than God and follow a way of their own choosing, only to find, like the rats in the scientific experiments who go down the wrong path, that there are wires at the end which carry electric shocks. These shocks are of various kinds: neuroses, inner conflicts, as well as some forms of physical illness.

Society is concerned about a disease called sexual herpes which is spread through sexual permissiveness. God has made it impossible for us to live against His design or harm ourselves without His protest. And He protests because He loves us.

We can decide to have done with evil. The best way to deal with evil is to keep away from it, hence the prayer “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I say again, evil is bad for us, and good is good for us.

Prayer

My Father, You who made me for good, because goodness is good for me, help me to abstain, not only from evil, but from the very appearance of it. For Your own dear name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 39; 1Co 10:6; 1Th 5:22; 1Pt 3:11; 2Tm 2:22

How did Joseph resist temptation?

What did Paul advise Timothy?

Christ’s Last Beatitude

John 20:29

Scattered throughout the resurrection stories in the Gospels are wonderful statements of Christ. Shining among the words of the risen Lord is Christ’s last beatitude.

We all know the beatitudes in our Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. No doubt, as He taught the crowds which followed Him wherever He went, He uttered other beatitudes. But His last beatitude, which we treasure for its contemporary relevance, was given in the Upper Room in Jerusalem one week after His resurrection.

Jesus had come to the Upper Room especially for the disciple Thomas, who has been labeled throughout history as “the doubter.” Now, we should not be too hard on Thomas, because he wasn’t much different from you or me.

He had given his support wholeheartedly to Jesus throughout His years of ministry. But his hopes had been dashed as he saw Jesus arrested and ignominiously hung upon a cross. His dreams shattered, he had gone off in despair.

In his sadness, he had gravitated back to the disciple band, to discover them in a state of excitement. They told him the staggering news that Jesus was alive, and had come to that very room.

Thomas was incredulous, unconvinced. Perhaps with bravado, with the air of one who doesn’t lose his head in an emotionally charged atmosphere, he calmly says, “Seeing is believing. I have to see for myself the nail marks, the wounds. Even to touch Him, before I will believe He is alive.”

When Jesus came for Thomas, the testimony of his senses was not needed. In that thrilling moment he believed, and from his lips came the joyous confession,

“My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). A confession so deep that Thomas went on to do service in which he gave his life for the sake of Christ.

Looking at the kneeling Thomas, Jesus spoke His last beatitude. They were words for us today: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

(John 20:29). What blessing has come to the multitudes of people down the centuries who, never having seen Christ, have believed and found Him to be their living, loving Savior and Lord.

Jesus understands us each one. He wins us, not by coercion, but by His steadfast love. And when we confess Him as Lord, the rich blessings of His presence follow us through all our days.

Eva Burrows, The War Cry