VIDEO Those With Us, Blindspots

CIRCA 1900: A colorfully illustrated temperance bible study card from circa 1900 reads, “Elijah’s Spirit On Elisha. 2 Kings 2: 6-15. How much more shall your heavenly father give the holy spirit to them that ask him?” (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

So [Elisha] answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16

Only heaven will reveal the times in our life when God protected us without our even being aware that we were in danger. Like when Moses led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt and took them deep into the Sinai desert instead of directly to the Promised Land of Canaan. Exodus 13:17-18 says he led them that way so they wouldn’t encounter the ferocious Philistines, be defeated in battle, and return to Egypt. We wonder if they ever realized just how many times God protected them.

When the Syrian army was poised to attack Israel, Elisha’s servant was rightly concerned. When he asked the prophet what they should do, Elisha told him that there was an army larger than the Syrian army on their side. And God opened the servant’s eyes to see the hills filled with horses and fiery chariots. Indeed, God’s heavenly, angelic forces were adequate to keep Israel safe from harm. It’s easy to forget that God’s resources are greater than the world’s.

If you are facing a situation today in which you feel outnumbered or under-resourced, don’t despair. Heaven’s resources are yours, whether visible or not.

Did you never let go to God for safeguard, driven by outward Storms, and there find unexpected fruit? John Owen


Elisha- Where are your blindspots (2 kings 6:8-23) (7/29/18)

From Mess to Message

Tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you. Mark 5:19

Darryl was a baseball legend who nearly destroyed his life with drugs. But Jesus set him free, and he’s been clean for years. Today he helps others struggling with addiction and points them to faith. Looking back, he affirms that God turned his mess into a message.

Nothing is too hard for God. When Jesus came ashore near a cemetery after a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee with His disciples, a man possessed by darkness immediately approached Him. Jesus spoke to the demons inside him, drove them away, and set him free.

When Jesus left, the man begged to go along. But Jesus didn’t allow it, because He had work for him to do: “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you” (Mark 5:19).

We never see the man again, but Scripture shows us something intriguing. The people of that region had fearfully pleaded with Jesus “to leave” (v. 17), but the next time He returned there, a large crowd gathered (8:1). Could the crowd have resulted from Jesus sending the man home? Could it be that he, once dominated by darkness, became one of the first missionaries, effectively communicating Jesus’ power to save?

We’ll never know this side of heaven, but this much is clear. When God sets us free to serve Him, He can turn even a messy past into a message of hope and love.

Reflect & Pray

What has Jesus set you free from? How can you share with others what He’s done for you?

Beautiful Savior, I praise You for Your amazing power! No darkness can stand against You! Help me to walk in Your light today

God’s Provision

Matthew 14:22-33

We all face trials. Realistically, if you’re not currently in a storm, you’re either just getting out of one or about to enter one. Thankfully, we serve a good God who always provides—including during the dark periods of life. Today’s passage tells of a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee. Let’s look at three ways Jesus provides for us today just as He did for the disciples then.

1. Presence. God is with every believer through His indwelling Holy Spirit, and He promises never to leave (John 14:16-17; Heb. 13:5). This is a great gift because it gives a sense of comfort, courage, and confidence.

2. Pathway. He blesses Christians with guidance through trouble. Jesus is in total control of our storm and will use it for His purposes. We may not understand, but we can trust Him to lead us and accomplish good.

3. Potential. He offers believers the ability to grow. Hardships are exercises in trust and times to learn more fully who God is and how great His power and love are.

No one enjoys trials, but we can be grateful for God’s hand in our life and the ways He will use us. Hardships are opportunities to trust the Creator and know Him better

God Is Love

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

God is clearly “the Lord, the righteous judge” (2 Timothy 4:8), but He is also “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11). Not only in our text verse but also in another place, we are reminded that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Of all the attributes of God, His nature of love is the most definitive. God is love!

It was not His omnipotence nor His omniscience that constrained Him to create men and women in His image. It must have been His nature of love, the desire for fellowship with beings like Himself. There is not much revealed on this question—only hints. “I have created him for my glory” (Isaiah 43:7). “The LORD hath made all things for himself” (Proverbs 16:4).

But fellowship is a two-way relationship and requires freedom to choose on the part of both. When man volitionally broke that fellowship, sin came into the world and God’s creation purpose was to all appearances set aside.

But God is love! He had not only a plan of creation but also a plan of salvation already in process. He “saved us,… according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

And so “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us” (1 John 3:1). God is, indeed, a God of love! HMM

How Does A Godly Person Act?-Psalm 112

Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. Good will come to a man who lends generously and conducts his business fairly… The wicked man will see [it] and be angry; he will gnash his teeth in despair. The desire of the wicked will come to nothing (vv. 4-5, 10).

Whenever I think of a man of God, I inevitably think of my Dad. A man marked by conviction, consistency, and energy, he has been my greatest role model.

A man of great strength and generosity, he derives enormous pleasure from being involved with people. He has stood behind my music and has been a real encouragement to me. He is living proof of the paradox in Christianity that, when you give much, it will be multiplied to you (Luke 6:38). His happiness is in direct relation to his active caring for others.

Dad has rock-solid faith. Even when my Mom died, he was unflappable. So deep were his spiritual roots that, when the winds of adversity blew, the branches of that mighty oak swayed, but the taproot held firm. “He will not fear bad news” (v. 7). Because his faith is steadfast, his security system could not be taken away. He is acutely aware that the Lord has already conquered the worst possible thing that can happen. His phobias and icy fears melt in the warm sunshine of God’s love. Unlike secular man who “will gnash his teeth in despair” (v. 10), my Dad is part of the unshakable kingdom.

The French have an interesting word, creneau. It means “hole” or “opening.” To be successful, a businessman has to look for holes or openings in the marketplace. There is a huge creneau in the Christian marketplace for godly leaders who have the strength to be role models. The world desperately needs such persons—joyous and prosperous (effective), compassionate and generous, stable and secure. These attributes belong to the kingdom man!

Personal Prayer

Lord, I want to be a kingdom man! I’d like to model for others what my father has modeled for me.

Full Surrender

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.—2 Corinthians 3:17

Modern approaches to the subconscious can do no more than throw the pale light of information into it. The message of the Bible, however, is not merely information but transformation: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” So if the Spirit of the Lord is within us, there is freedom from the conflict between the conscious and the subconscious.

If such a freedom is possible, why do so many live out their lives in conflict? Because they have never appropriated the power and presence of the Spirit available to them and channeled Him into the deeper regions of their personality through self-surrender. God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit will never barge their way into any area of the personality. They come in when we put up the white flag of surrender and, by a conscious act, agree to their residing and presiding within us.

It’s surprising how many Christians say with the conscious mind, “I surrender all,” and yet with the subconscious say, “I want some areas for myself.” We must take ourselves in hand and decide whether or not we want the Holy Spirit simply to evangelize certain areas of our personality, or whether we want Him to occupy our entire being. If you haven’t properly settled this issue, then ask yourself today: “Am I just kidding myself when I say I want to be filled with God? Is there a part of me that says, ‘Come in,’ while another part of me says at the same time, ‘Keep out’?” The Holy Spirit only comes into the areas where He is freely admitted.

Prayer

O Father, I think You have put Your finger right on my problem. Perhaps the reason I have never felt the Holy Spirit’s full control is because deep down I never wanted it. But now I do. My whole being cries out for its rightful Lord. I surrender now. Amen.

Further Study

Jms 4; Gl 2:20; Rm 6:6; 2Tm 2:11

Where does strife come from?

What was Paul’s testimony?

The Kindness of God

Titus 3:4-5

A part from the bold intervention of reconciling mercy, a spiral of violence may quickly accelerate even into furies of mass murder and ethnic cleansing. Witness the vain efforts of United Nations peacekeepers to hold opposing forces at bay long enough to find a path to peace.

This kind of thing can begin in ordinary human relationships, in families and marriages, as well as in communities and nations. The Bible states that the coming of God’s own Son into our world was to break the cycle of angry reprisals in order to bring about peace with one another and with our heavenly Father. “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”

(Titus 3:4-5). In loving kindness and tender mercy, God has moved toward us, risking our rejection and anger against His sinless Son, in order finally to embrace us in His love.

God’s kindness was displayed in stark contrast to the meanness of the situation into which Jesus was born. Excessive taxation and the cruel exploitation of their Roman oppressors fed smoldering resentment among the common people. A petty king’s paranoia sent ruthless goon squads into the surrounding countryside to brutally murder defenseless children in an attempt to destroy the presumed future heir to his throne. Before the drama of Jesus’s birth was fully played out, His own parents found themselves homeless, poor and refugees fleeing for their very lives.

Sadly the world has not changed much over the centuries. Nineteen million people are currently acknowledged to be refugees on our planet. Frantic efforts are underway to stop the senseless killing of innocent civilians in ethnic clashes in Europe and Africa, while fresh violence breaks out elsewhere. Children have become the most numerous, as well as the most helpless, victims of such wars. Family violence is tearing communities apart. Children are abused, abandoned and aborted. AIDS claims ever more victims. The streets of some of the world’s most sophisticated cities have become virtual battle zones. Into this cauldron of cruelty and human anguish stepped the kindness and love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

We might have expected an angry God of judgment. But it was kindness, loving kindness, that appeared. God’s kindness created a whole new world of possibility for every person, family, community and nation. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NRSV).

Paul A. Rader, The War Cry