VIDEO Divine Appointments

Then [the servant girl] said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:3

It’s happening more and more frequently: Someone uses their social media accounts to put out a “Please help me find . . .” notice. Two strangers meet in a chance encounter—airplane, subway, restaurant—and then separate. Then one of them decides the encounter was meaningful, more than “chance,” and tries to find the other person. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

Such stories illustrate a point: Pay attention to every encounter in your life. For the child of God, there are no accidents (Psalm 139:16). God may (or may not) have some special purpose in every meeting. When a servant girl recommended that the Syrian commander, Naaman, consult the prophet Elisha about his leprosy, he didn’t brush her off. He took her words seriously and set out to find the prophet. And he was healed! He, a powerful official in Syria, could easily have ignored the advice of a servant girl. And he would have died with leprosy.

Be sensitive to whoever God brings across your path today. Listen for the leading of God, believing that every meeting is a divine appointment.

There is no such thing as chance or accident. Adam Clarke


2 Kings 4-5 – Miracles of Elisha

Like a Symphony

Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2:2

I surprised my wife with concert tickets to listen to a performer she’d always wanted to see. The gifted singer was accompanied by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and the setting was the matchless venue at Red Rocks—an open-air amphitheater built between two 300-foot rock formations at more than 6,000 feet above sea level. The orchestra played a number of well-loved classical songs and folk tunes. Their final number was a fresh treatment of the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.” The beautiful, harmonized arrangement took our breath away!

There’s something beautiful about harmony—individual instruments playing together in a way that creates a bigger and more layered sonic landscape. The apostle Paul pointed to the beauty of harmony when he told the Philippians to be “like-minded,” have “the same love,” and be “one in spirit and . . . mind” (Philippians 2:2). He wasn’t asking them to become identical but to embrace the humble attitude and self-giving love of Jesus. The gospel, as Paul well knew and taught, doesn’t erase our distinctions, but it can eliminate our divisions.

It’s also interesting that many scholars believe Paul’s words here (vv. 6–11) are a prelude to an early hymn. Here’s the point: When we allow the Holy Spirit to work through our distinct lives and contexts, making us more like Jesus, together we become a symphony that reverberates with a humble Christlike love.

Reflect & Pray

Who could use some encouragement from you today? How could you put the interests of others above your own, just as Jesus did for us?  

Dear Jesus, thank You for saving me. May Your Spirit transform me into Your image. In my attitude and actions, help me to take on Your humility and sacrificial love. May it result in a greater unity with other believers in my life.

How to Stay Young All Your Life

Psalm 92:12-15

Our culture is obsessed with youth. Products abound that offer better health, fewer wrinkles, and increased energy, but these address the issue of aging only in superficial ways; nothing alters the fact that our bodies grow older. Feeling old, however, is not inevitable—with the right attitude, we can be young at heart no matter what our chronological age may be. We do this by cultivating …

• A God-Centered Focus. Keep your mind on the things above rather than on earthly things (Col. 3:2). See each day as an opportunity to trust God more fully, love Him more deeply, and serve Him more joyfully.

• An Active Pursuit of Learning. Never stop learning from Scripture. Long for the Word the way a baby craves milk so you can continue to grow spiritually (1 Pet. 2:2).

• A Hopeful Outlook on Life. Let godly thinking shape your attitudes. Be joyful, thankful, and prayerful (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

• An Others-Centered Orientation. Don’t let yourself withdraw into self-absorption. Instead, invest your life in others for their spiritual encouragement and growth (1 Thess. 5:11).

Staying young while growing old begins with your mind. So never stop learning, laughing, and loving God with all your heart.

Choose Life

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Shortly before his death, Moses restated the law and the covenant between God and His people summed up in the greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Furthermore, Moses claimed that “this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven…Neither is it beyond the sea” (Deuteronomy 30:11-13). Nothing about it was hard to understand. “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deuteronomy 30:14).

Indeed, the evidence that God is Creator, Judge, Provider, and Redeemer is all around us. Our text informs us that “heaven and earth” are witnesses of God’s nature. We have more than enough information than we need in order to respond. In fact, these things “from the creation of the world are clearly seen” so that those who reject are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Indeed, to ignore the evidence of creation and the Flood, one must be “willingly…ignorant” (2 Peter 3:5). Rejection is foolishness.

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil” (Deuteronomy 30:15). The choice is between blessing (v. 16) and cursing (v. 19). All lines of reasoning point toward the God of the Bible as the one true God. “Therefore choose life,” as our text encourages us, “That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life” (v. 20). JDM

Praying For Help-Psalm 109

But You, God my Lord, deal [kindly] with me for Your names sake; deliver me because of the goodness of Your faithful love. For I am poor and needy; my heart is wounded within me… Help me, Lord my God; save me according to Your faithful love so they may know that this is Your hand and that You, Lord, have done if… I will fervently thank the Lord with my mouth; I will praise Him in the presence of many. For He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who would condemn him (vv. 21—22, 26-27, 30-31).

The violent enemy David so vividly portrays here spews forth curses until he wears them like a black shroud about himself. I have a hard time condemning David for feeling the way he does about this guy! In fact, I admire his honesty.

David is in no condition to avenge or even to protect himself from further insult and injury. He simply doesn’t have the resources, physically or emotionally. His body is weakening because of fasting and lack of appetite, and his gaunt appearance serves only to bring on more ridicule.

Realizing his helpless condition, David’s prayer is upfront, candid, and forthright. He submits to the Lord’s sovereignty, appealing to his goodness and love and asking for deliverance.

The key to his prayer resounds like the chord from a great organ echoing in an empty cathedral: “Let them know that it is Your hand and that You, Lord, have done it” (v. 27). Now David’s true motives are clearly seen. By a supernatural work of the Lord, his enemies will know the Source of real power!

I am sometimes guilty of trying to crank up a worship experience without an intense awareness of any supernatural work of God in my life. An honest, vulnerable appraisal provides the rich soil for God to work creatively. I wonder how often my own self-deception, denial, and defensiveness have kept me from a deep work of God in my life. Real need motivates intense prayer. Passionate prayer prompts the Holy Spirit to produce miracles. When I experience a miracle—God’s unmistakable touch on my life—I burst out in genuine praise!

Personal Prayer

O God, I too extol you. You work daily in my life and continually meet my needs, and I can’t help bursting out in praise to your name!

The God of All Grace

But by God’s grace I am what I am.—1 Corinthians 15:10

Is it any wonder that throughout the history of the Christian church, men and women have found the thought of grace so overwhelmingly wonderful that they seemed unable to get over it? Grace was the constant theme of their prayers, their preaching, their writing—and their hymns. Take this for example:

Great God of wonders, all Thy ways

Display the attributes divine;

But countless acts of pardoning grace

Beyond Thine other wonders shine;

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?

Or who has grace so rich and free?

Many have fought to uphold the truth of God’s grace, accepting ridicule and loss of privilege as the price of their stand. Paul waged war against the legalists in the Galatian churches over this matter, and the battle to uphold this great truth has gone on ever since. Augustine fought it in the fourth and fifth centuries, as did the Reformers in the sixteenth.

I sense that the church once again is in danger of losing out to legalism as more and more Christians get caught up with doing rather than being. Talk to people about what they are doing, and they are with you at once; talk to them about who they are being (who they really are), and their attitude is one of deferential blankness.

The church of Jesus Christ is in a sad state when it can’t say with conviction and meaning, as did the apostle Paul: “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

Prayer

God of all grace, give me grace to feel my need of grace. And give me grace to ask for grace. Then give me grace to receive grace. And when grace is given to me, give me grace to use that grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

2Co 1:1-12; 6:1; Gl 2:21

Where was Paul’s boast rooted?

What was Paul’s warning to the Corinthians?

Walk As Jesus Did

1 John 2:6

A disciple who had known Jesus in the days of His flesh could give no better advice to Christian converts than to point them to His Lord. This counsel should not be written off as too generalized or too vague. Holiness is born of a relationship to God which will express itself in Christlikeness.

This definition, sound in doctrine, or if you like, in theory, is of the greatest possible assistance in practice. For the One whose example we are bidden to follow was touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

He was in all respects tested like as we are. To remember this will save us from writing off the life of holiness as unnatural, as if all it could do was to turn out a species of plaster saint in a stained-glass window setting. We do not have to cease being human in order to live the life of holiness.

No one should be fearful of the experience of holiness or deem it prudent to keep it at an arm’s length. This state of grace will not deprive us of any worthwhile element in any of the relationships of life. This holds good of the boy/girl relationship which will be kept wholesome. The parent/child relationship will be included as well, for here we shall be given grace to be what we would have our children become. This will embrace the husband/wife relationship as well for this will be strengthened and enriched. Two people who truly love God and one another will forge a bond that cannot lightly be broken.

Nor can the man to man relationship be excluded, for in this we shall be able to manifest that personal integrity which is an incontrovertible sign of holiness of heart and life. For holiness is not primarily a matter of the emotions but the outworking of a Christian character which can ennoble every aspect of our lives.

Catherine Booth wrote to William before they were married: “The more you lead me up to Christ in all things, the more highly shall I esteem you and, if it be possible to love you more than I do now, the more shall I love you.” Those two young Victorians knew that their affection for one another would not be diminished, but enhanced, by their mutual love for their Lord.

It must be said once again, no one is required to cease to be human in order to learn how to be holy. Rather is it as we grow in the experience of holiness that we learn how satisfying our human relationships can be.

Frederick Coutts, The Splendor of Holiness