VIDEO Power and Faith

And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. 1 Peter 1:5

In her book, A Prisoner and Yet…, Corrie ten Boom told the story of how God protected her when she entered a Nazi concentration camp. She hid a Bible beneath her dress and prayed that God’s angels would surround her and let her pass unnoticed by the guards. The woman in front of her was searched, as was Corrie’s sister, Betsie, who was behind her. Corrie was not.

The apostle Peter observed there are two sides of the protection coin: God’s power and man’s faith (1 Peter 1:5). Just after Paul’s conversion to Christ, Jews in Damascus conspired to kill him. But his friends lowered him from the city wall in a basket so he could escape (Acts 9:23-25). Just days before, Christ had saved Paul for a mission to the Gentiles. He had faith that immediate death was not part of the mission!

Live your life today trusting in God’s power to protect and deliver. Be active in your faith, looking for God’s protection (2 Corinthians 10:13).

A Sov’reign Protector I have, unseen, yet for ever at hand, unchangeably faithful to save, almighty to rule and command. Augustus M. Toplady


Your Best Life: Now or Later? (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Move Your Fence

See, I am doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:19

The village vicar couldn’t sleep. As World War II raged, he’d told a small group of American soldiers they couldn’t bury their fallen comrade inside the fenced cemetery next to his church. Only burials for church members were allowed. So the men buried their beloved friend just outside the fence.

The next morning, however, the soldiers couldn’t find the grave. “What happened? The grave is gone,” one soldier told the reverend. “Oh, it’s still there,” he told him. The soldier was confused, but the churchman explained. “I regretted telling you no. So, last night, I got up—and I moved the fence.”

God may give fresh perspective for our life challenges too—if we look for it. That was the prophet Isaiah’s message to the downtrodden people of Israel. Instead of looking back with longing at their Red Sea rescue, they needed to shift their sight, seeing God doing new miracles, blazing new paths. “Do not dwell on the past,” He urged them. “See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18–19). He’s our source of hope during doubts and battles. “I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, [providing] drink to my people, my chosen [people]” (v. 20). 

Refreshed with new vision, we too can see God’s fresh direction in our lives. May we look with new eyes to see His new paths. Then, with courage, may we step onto new ground, bravely following Him.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What new thing would God like to accomplish in your life? What new ground has God led you to and what will you do with it?

Merciful God, thank You for providing fresh perspective for my life in You. Refresh my sight to see new ground to walk with You.

Gratitude in the Storms of Life

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

Jesus told us that we would have hardships (John 16:33), and He was right, wasn’t He? As unpleasant as trials are, there’s still reason for giving thanks. Yesterday, we looked at three provisions believers can count on during adversity: God’s presence, a pathway through the trouble, and potential to grow. Today, let’s explore two more.

1. Protection. God doesn’t keep believers from suffering or disappointment, but He does offer protection by staying with us in the struggle. Once we trust in Jesus, God’s Spirit indwells us and will never leave. What’s more, we have assurance that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38-39). So our ever-present God walks with us through the hardships, providing guidance and speaking truth into the situation.

2. Peace. While difficulties cause many people anxiety, God’s peace is available to His followers. This inner serenity doesn’t depend on whether circumstances improve; it’s a result of our relationship with Him. For this reason, we should be more concerned about relying on God than about fixing the problem.

As we recognize the Lord’s provision, we can genuinely express gratitude, which will fix our eyes on Him rather than on our circumstances. We may not know what the purpose is for each trial, but we do know that our God is good and trustworthy.

The Foot of Pride

“Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.” (Psalm 36:11)

The contrast in this psalm is not only between good and evil, but more specifically between the prideful man who lives without fear of God and the God in whom godly men trust.

The description of the evil man (vv. 1-4) is an apt description of a modern-day humanist. He is convinced that God, if He exists, does not intervene in the affairs of men. He therefore sets himself up as an authority, deciding right and wrong on his own arbitrary scale. He has “no fear of God” (v. 1), and arrogantly he “flattereth himself in his own eyes” (v. 2), speaking “iniquity and deceit” (v. 3). He is foolish, and even his humanitarian deeds are not good, in the ultimate sense. Furthermore, the modern-day humanist “abhorreth not evil” (v. 4), insisting that such sins as promiscuity, homosexuality, witchcraft, abortion, brainwashing of children in pantheistic evolution, etc., are, in reality, to be desired.

The contrast with God consists of a list of some of His majestic attributes in His dealing with men. “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (vv. 5-9).

The wicked with his “foot of pride” will ultimately fall (vv. 11-12). But we can pray as David prayed, “O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart” (v. 10). JDM

Call To Worship-Psalm 113

Hallelujah! Give praise, servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised both now and forever. From the rising of the sun to it’s setting, let the name of the Lord be praised (vv. 1-3).

Musically inclined or not, have you ever pictured yourself in heaven, singing with the angelic choir? You may not be able to carry a tune now, but if you’re a believer, your voice will blend one day with countless millions of others in a glad “hallelujah!”

The word hallelujah comes from two beautiful Hebrew words: hallel, “praise,” and jah, referring to “Yahweh, ” Jehovah. Hallelujah means “praise the Lord.” Taken from the hallel, a collection of songs sung at the great Jewish festivals—Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles—Psalms 113-118 are music for a heavenly choir performance. Our Lord joined in shortly before his death (Mark 14:26).

This psalm begins and ends with an exhilarating call to worship. Praising the Lord is a divine imperative, not an option for the servants of God. You can’t plead a case of laryngitis or skip rehearsal. The command is clear. Praise the Lord— “now and forevermore” from “the rising of the sun to it’s setting” (vv. 2-3).

Only Yahweh—whose name was too sacred even to be uttered aloud by ancient worshippers—is worthy of continual praise. Yet how blithely and flippantly we speak that glorious name. As we moved toward colloquial speech in our prayers, sermons, and lyrics, we need to guard against irreverence and disrespect. We need to speak his sacred name as if we were breathing a prayer.

Am I praising him continually—by every action of my life as well as with my vocal chords? Am I praising him in front of my children as well as in private moments of meditation? It’s time for the angelic choir rehearsal to begin! He’s coming soon!

Personal Prayer

Beginning now, O Lord, keep me accountable for my praise to you. Let it be unending… beginning now!

Overcoming Frustration

We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair … Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.—2 Corinthians 4:8,16

Learn how to deal with frustration. Time and time again, I have sat with people who have said: “What’s wrong with me? I feel so low spiritually. I am not involved in sin. Why does my Christian life feel so stale?” On many of these occasions, I have observed that the problem contributing to their feelings of spiritual staleness was an inability to cope with frustration.

One of the most radiant Christians I have ever met was a seed salesman in West Wales whose name was Mordecai Price. Crippled in both his lower limbs by poliomyelitis, he drove a hand-controlled car and would make his way to outlying farms to sell seed to the farmers. Sometimes it would take him an hour just to get out of his car and open a farm gate—but he persevered nevertheless.

One day I said to him: “Don’t you get frustrated by your condition? How do you keep going like this when many others would have settled for a lifetime of invalidism and inactivity?” My friend has gone to be with the Lord now, but his reply has lived on in my heart for over thirty years: “I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ—even the project of poliomyelitis.” He had learned how to make his frustration fruitful. When you and I can learn how to turn the ugly into the beautiful, and the evil into the good, then frustration will never get a hold on us. The secret of living is the secret of using. Learn this, and you will never be frustrated again.

Prayer

O Father, teach me how to turn the ugly into the beautiful, the evil into the good, and take every project prisoner for Christ. I ask this for Your own dear name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

2Co 4:1-10; 10:5; Ps 44:5; Rm 8:35-37

What was Paul’s testimony?

What does it mean to be “more than a conqueror”?

God in the Present Tense

Matthew 1:23

Many names and titles are ascribed to our Lord in the Scriptures. They describe not only what He has done, but what He is. Not only the spiritual benefits of the past, but what He can do in us and for us in the present.

Among the names and titles of God’s Son is one of particular significance to His followers—Emmanuel—given centuries before His birth in the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14): “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”

The fulfillment of that promise is found in Matthew 1:23: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us.’ “

“God with us”—now! The Present tense!

He is as close as the whisper of His name. Not in some far-off celestial computer center operating the machinery, but cradled in human hearts and minds.

He was Immanuel—God with us—in the cradle, eliciting the usual human expressions of adoration, love and admiration which come from any group looking upon a newborn baby. No doubt, He kicked and waved His little arms as if to invite doting visitors to take His pudgy little hand in theirs, and to speak in the high-pitched voice which uninhibited baby admirers are prone to use. There in a crude cradle in a Bethlehem stable He was God with us.

He was Immanuel—God with us—on the cross. There were those who recognized Him, even there, as “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14) who had “pitched his tent” among them for 33 years. Incarnational living comes through acceptance of the message of the cross, and the sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior.

He is Immanuel—God with us—as the Comforter. Our Lord’s promise is still relevant: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16, 18).

Jesus further reinforces the truth of his abiding presence in Matthew 28:20:

“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Robert A. Watson, The War Cry