VIDEO Spreading Our Wings

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. Isaiah 40:31, NLT

In her classic book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah Whitall Smith wrote, “Is there no way, then, of escape for us when in trouble or distress? Must we just plod wearily through it all, and look for no relief? I rejoice to answer that there is a glorious way of escape for every one of us, if we will but mount up on wings and fly away from it all to God. All creatures that have wings can escape from every snare that is set for them if only they will fly high enough, and the soul that uses its wings can always find a sure ‘way of escape’ from all that can hurt or trouble it.”[1]

Because Jesus Christ is our eternal hope, we can mount up to Him on the wings of eagles—surrendering every situation into His hands and trusting Him with every issue. He will bless us from now until eternity and usher us into everlasting blessings to follow.

We might name our wings the wings of Surrender and of Trust. Hannah Whitall Smith


Verse of the Day – Isaiah 40:31 | Life Without Limbs

The Whatevers

Brothers and sisters, whatever . . . is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Every Friday evening, the national news my family views concludes the broadcast by highlighting an uplifting story. In contrast to the rest of the news, it’s always a breath of fresh air. A recent “good” Friday story focused on a reporter who had suffered from COVID-19, fully recovered, and then decided to donate plasma to possibly help others in their fight against the virus. At the time, the jury was still out on how effective antibodies would be. But when many of us felt helpless and even in light of the discomfort of donating plasma (via needle), she felt it “was a small price to pay for the potential payoff.”

After that Friday broadcast, my family and I felt encouraged—dare I say hope-filled. That’s the power of the “whatevers” Paul described in Philippians 4: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (v. 8). Did Paul have in mind plasma donation? Of course not. But did he have in mind sacrificial actions on behalf of someone in need—in other words, Christlike behavior? I’ve no doubt the answer is yes.

But that hopeful news wouldn’t have had its full effect if it hadn’t been broadcast. It’s our privilege as witnesses to God’s goodness to look and listen for the “whatevers” all around us and then share that good news with others that they may be encouraged.  

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

What’s a “whatever” story that’s encouraged you lately? Who might want or need to hear your story?

Father, I know that behind whatever is excellent and praiseworthy is You. I love You.

A Life of Integrity

Psalm 15

In today’s Psalm, David describes a life of integrity—it is marked by truthfulness, righteousness, and honesty. To develop and maintain this God-pleasing lifestyle, we must …

• Formulate beliefs based on Scripture. Our need for a Savior, Christ’s death on our behalf, salvation by faith alone, and the Father’s gift of eternal life are foundational truths upon which to build our life. As we align our thinking with God’s Word, our identity and priorities should flow from these tenets.

• Submit to Christ’s lordship. Jesus commands us to deny ourselves and follow Him (Mark 8:34). Wholehearted commitment to Him helps us choose righteousness over temptations.

• Build relationships with godly individuals. The influence of mature Christians strengthens our dedication and obedience to the Lord.

• Acknowledge our mistakes. Everyone misses the mark at times. We are to confess any known sin to God (1 John 1:9) and turn away from the wrong behavior. We must also ask for forgiveness from anyone we have wronged.

God understands our struggle to resist temptation and choose righteousness, and He has sent His Holy Spirit to help us live with integrity. Ask Him today to help you embody the values in Psalm 15.

For Thy Name’s Sake

“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3)

In this psalm of misery and mercy, we see David’s testimony. “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness” (Psalm 31:1). His faith was strong, but afflictions and opposition were on all sides. He appeals to God for relief (Psalm 31:2) and is confident of the reply and that that reply will reflect God’s omnipotence and grace. His total trust was in this benevolent God. “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (v. 5), which, of course, was quoted by Christ at the moment of His death on the cross (Luke 23:46).

But note David’s grounds for appeal to God for action: “For thy name’s sake,” as recorded in our text. David’s heartfelt desire here is more than merely relief from his persecution, as desperate as was that need, but for the glory of God and the honor of His name.

God’s name and reputation are at stake when His children are being persecuted. Indeed, the national leaders of Israel had frequently prayed for God to act on the same grounds (for example, see Exodus 32:12). Even in the New Testament we are encouraged to pray in that name: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Even though we are always warranted in using this plea in our praying, we must do so in recognition of and submission to the fact that there are limitations. God will never contradict His nature or His Word, and in His sovereignty He knows better solutions to each problem than we can ask for. His greater plans must always take precedence. But when these prerequisites are recognized and accepted, the prayer in His name and for His glory is the one that prevails. JDM

All Glory, Laud, and Honor — Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all nations! Glorify Him, all peoples! For great is His faithful love to us; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Hallelujah! (vv. 1-2).

I’ve never been invited to the White House, President Gerald Ford, however, was presented a copy of our musical, I Love America, and wrote a wonderful letter, extolling that patriotic work.

Psalm 117 is a miniature invitation to people everywhere. The purpose is praise; the place wherever God’s people gather. The reasons for this adulation are given in verse 2. The Lord is to be praised because of his great love and his abiding faithfulness.

The Lord is to be worshipped for who he is—for his character, for his attributes. His covenant love (hesed) is loyal and eternal; it is not subject to mood swings and emotional vacillation. His faithfulness is based on truth (emet). Because the Lord’s Word is true or reliable, he is faithful. Loving and faithful. What an apt description of our Lord! The psalmist’s response is again, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”

Whatever my mood today, I know my Lord is loving and faithful. Whatever adverse circumstances I face today, I know my Lord is loving and faithful.Whatever rejection may come my way today, I know my Lord is loving and faithful. Whatever physical ailment I experience today, I know my Lord is loving and faithful. Whatever business reverses occur today, I know my Lord is loving and faithful. Whatever domestic tension I feel today, I know my Lord is loving and faithful. Why worry and fret? He invites me to remember that he is loving and faithful. Praise the Lord!

Personal Prayer

Lord, I may he unpredictable and moody, but you can be counted on to be loving and faithful.. .no matter what!

A Watershed Truth

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.—2 Corinthians 13:13

That great Christian, Francis Schaeffer, said that he would have remained an agnostic if it weren’t for the doctrine of the Trinity. It was this, he claimed, that gave him the answer—the only answer—to the theme of unity and diversity.

The question I have been asked most often about the Trinity is this: Why didn’t God make clear the truth of the Trinity in the Old Testament, rather than leaving it as something to be deduced in the New Testament? I usually answer like this: Before God could entrust His people with the knowledge of His essential Threeness, He had to lay deep in their minds a piercing conviction of His Oneness. The Bible begins in monotheism (belief in one God), but soon after the Fall comes polytheism (belief in many gods). Which god is the real God? Not until belief in one God was laid deep in the consciousness of the Jewish nation was God ready to reveal more clearly to mankind the sublime truth of the Trinity.

Dr. George Smeaton says: “The biblical idea of the Trinity is the heart of the unique message of Christianity. To explain this mystery is not our province. Ours is simply to conserve the mystery.” Those who call themselves Christians yet reject the doctrine of the Trinity will soon latch onto some other error. It is a strange thing, but I have observed it as a fact of the Christian life that when this truth is modified or pushed aside, it is as if the door is opened to the inrush of all kinds of absurd ideas, bizarre theories, and half-truths.

Prayer

Father, help me hold fast to this sublime truth, and enable me to see that though something is above reason, it is not necessarily against reason. Blessed Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—I worship You. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 14:8-21; 17:22

How did Jesus depict the Trinity?

What did Jesus confirm?

Sons of God

1 John 3:1

Now are we the sons of God!

Unfinished, uncompleted;

But He who reigns within our hearts

Shall never be defeated,

Till by His Spirit He refines

The work He has begun,

And in our human faces shines

The beauty of His Son.

Now are we the sons of God!

Resembling in our fashion

The first-begotten Son of God

In purity and passion.

His holiness, His humbleness,

Sincerity serene,

Shall by His Spirit’s presence

In our lesser lives be seen!

Now are we the sons of God!

In spite of human failing;

The pow’r of God at work in man

Is everywhere prevailing.

Imperfect samples of His grace

We still proclaim His story;

Incarnate in the sons of men

Are glimpses of His glory.

Now are we the sons of God!

The fam’ly likeness bearing

The followers of the Son of God

His saviorhood are sharing.

Blind to their selfish wantings

And disdainful of disaster,

In selfless service they become

A little like their Master.

John Gowans, O Lord Not More Verse!