VIDEO Thank-Filled: For Provision

I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. 1 Kings 17:4

When Jerry Cox suffered a serious bilateral thalamic stroke, his wife, Lois, became his caregiver. She said, “For the first time in my life, I was forced to stop everything I was doing and focus on my God and the strength I now desperately needed to move forward. Over the next 22 amazing months of Jerry’s life, God worked with me, Jesus held my hand, and the Holy Spirit gave me inner strength…. My relationship with my Lord grew during those 22 months more than it had in the previous 70 years of my life.”[1] Out of the experience, she wrote Caregiving with God, and her blog entries often contain her thanksgiving lists. 

In a similar way, the Lord didn’t suspend the drought in the days of Elijah, but He did provide food for the prophet, delivered by ravens (1 Kings 17:6). Whenever we find ourselves by the Brook Cherith, the Lord will have ravens in one form or another to give us needed provisions.

We’re aware of our losses, but spiritual health depends on being thank-filled for the provisions God gives us even in difficult times.

God did not stop the struggles and affliction…. But He did draw me closer to Him every day.

Lois A. Cox

[1]“Author Reflects on Impact of Caregiving for Her Husband and Resulting Renewed Faith in Debut Memoir,” StreetInsider.com, May 3,2021.


Elijah fed by ravens

He Fills the Empty

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Psychologist Madeline Levine noticed the fifteen-year-old girl’s “cutter disguise”—a long sleeve T-shirt pulled halfway over her hand commonly used by people who engage in self-harm. When the young girl pulled back her sleeve, Levine was startled to find that the girl had used a razor to carve “empty” on her forearm. She was saddened, but also grateful the teen was open to receiving the serious help she desperately needed.

The teen in some way represents many people who’ve carved “empty” on their hearts. John wrote that Jesus came to fill the empty and to offer life “to the full” (John 10:10). God placed the desire for a full life in every human being, and He longs for people to experience a loving relationship with Him. But He also warned them that the “thief” would use people, things, and circumstances to attempt to ravage their lives (vv. 1, 10). The claims each made to give life would be counterfeit and an imitation. In contrast, Jesus offers what’s true—“eternal life” and the promise that “no one will snatch [us] out of [His] hand” (v. 28).

Only Jesus can fill the empty spaces in our hearts with life. If you’re feeling empty, call out to Him today. And if you’re experiencing serious struggles, seek out godly counsel. Christ alone provides life that’s abundant and full—life full of meaning found in Him.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

In your search for significance and excitement, what kinds of things have left you disappointed? How has Jesus made your life full?

Jesus, as I consider the full and abundant life You’ve provided for me, please help me resist turning from You to things I think will satisfy me.

Victory Over Unforgiveness

Forgiving others for their wrongdoings allows us to have genuine fellowship with them and with God

Matthew 6:1-15

Immediately after teaching His followers how to pray, Jesus warned that those who refuse to forgive others won’t be forgiven by the Father. Do not misunderstand Jesus’ meaning here—believers don’t lose their salvation when they refuse to forgive. Rather, they break fellowship with God because their attitude gets in the way of regular confession and repentance. 

Often people don’t feel like being merciful to someone who has wronged them, but forgiveness is an act of the will more than an act of the heart. Take responsibility and acknowledge your unforgiveness as a violation of God’s Word. Claim the divine mercy He offers, and ask Him to enable you to lay aside anger and resentment against others. Try praying for those who hurt you, and if God so leads, seek their forgiveness for your wrong attitude.

A resentful spirit can grow into a terrible burden that isn’t healthy to carry through life. Forgiving characterizes who we are in Christ, and it’s truly in our best interest to pardon others, even when difficult. Jesus promised to make us free (John 8:36), so choose to be liberated from your hurt.

Let God Be True

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written. That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Romans 3:3-4)

Many Christians are so intimidated by the arrogant unbelief of the supposed intellectuals of the world that they either reject or compromise or ignore the difficult teachings of Scripture. This is a grievous mistake, for all of God’s “sayings” are “justified” and He will surely “overcome” all those who presume to “judge” Him and His Word.

The only reason to believe in evolution, for example, is the fact that most such intellectuals believe it. There is no real evidence, either in the Bible or in science, for evolution or any other form of unbelief, yet many professed believers in Christ seem to have “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). Therefore they assume that God does not really mean what He says in His Word, thereby making faith in His Word “without effect.”

God’s truth is not determined, however, by taking a vote, or by the opinions of skeptics, or by metaphysical speculation. It is determined by God Himself and none other, “for the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4).

Therefore, as our text commands: “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” The very criterion of truth is the Word of God. It is good to explain God’s Word to those open to its truth, but never to explain it away by some compromising accommodation to current scientism. “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160). The Lord Jesus confessed, unreservedly, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and so should we. HMM

Legacy Of Praise

He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both people and animals. He sent signs and wonders against you, Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his officials. He struck down many nations and slaughtered mighty kings: Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan. He gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to His people Israel (Psalm 135 vv. 8—12).

Two Hebrew words are linked to the concept of inheritance—yaras, which means “to become an heir” or “to take possession,” and nahal, which indicates “giving or receiving property.” The Lord promised an unbelievable inheritance to Israel, and modern Israel’s expansion is motivated by a strong belief in this ancient right.

A forty-acre farm or $100,000 in bonds could never be compared to the inheritance of Israel. God’s people inherited “many nations” (v. 10)! And the legacy lives on, to be fulfilled only when the Lord returns to reign in the new Jerusalem!

Again the historical events surrounding Israel’s inheritance are catalogued—the “signs and wonders” God sent against the Egyptians, culminating in the killing of their firstborn (v. 8); God’s leadership in the occupation of Canaan, including his divine intervention in the overthrow of heathen kings (vv. 11-12).

I share in this legacy of love and praise, I’ve been delivered from sin and have received God’s gift of grace. I’ve felt his work in my life as he overthrows bastions of fear, insecurity, and depression. I’ve known the joy of walking in green pastures with my Lord. I’ve sensed his breath on my soul and have been inspired to compose songs and musicals to his glory. And someday I’ll enter into the promised rest of Israel to enjoy his forever!

Personal Prayer

Lord, as you performed signs and wonders in Israel, please work supernaturally in my life and bless me with your inheritance of peace.

The Glory

Hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.—James 2:1

Can you think of anything that could occupy our attention more profitably than considering how to become more like Jesus? The central condition of this is the “unveiled face.” As the Scripture says, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2Co 3:18).

Notice, however, that we must lift the veils if we are to be transformed. When Jesus was crucified, the veil of the temple was rent in two, symbolizing the fact that the heart of the universe was laid bare as redemptive love. Since God has unveiled Himself in Jesus, so we in response ought to unveil our faces, drop our masks, gaze in wonder—and in the gazing, be made like Him. It may be that there will be many veils that you will have to lift—veils of dishonesty, hypocrisy, legalism, pride—but I assure you that when they go, He comes.

Just think—we who are born of the dust of the earth are being gradually transformed into the most beautiful image this planet has ever seen: the image of Christ. What a destiny! The wonder of that transformation can only be explained by one word—”glory.” The drabness, staleness, and dullness of life is replaced by living that has freshness in it. Can we live continuously like that? Yes—in His strength. “Grace” and “glory” are often connected in the New Testament. Take the grace, and you get the glory. What a way to live. Glory! Glory! Glory!

Prayer

Father, help me to lift every veil in my life so that the light of Your countenance may shine through. You are Light and You want to make me light. Let Your radiance steal into every darkened corner of my being now and forever. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 1:10-14; Col 1:6; 2Pt 3:18

What were the characteristics of Christ’s glory?

Make them the characteristics of your own life.

A Letter of Recommendation

2 Corinthians 3:3

A young boy walked into a drugstore and asked to use the telephone. “Hello, Dr. Anderson,” he said after dialing. “Do you want to hire a boy to cut the grass and run errands for you? Oh, you already have a boy? Are you completely satisfied with him? Okay thanks, Doctor.”

As the boy turned to leave the druggist said: “Just a minute, son. If you are looking for work I could use a boy like you!”

“Thank you, sir, but I have a job,” the boy replied.

“But didn’t I just hear you trying to get a job from Dr. Anderson?”

“No sir,” was the reply. “You see, I’m the boy who is working for Dr. Anderson. I was just checking up on myself.”

It is natural to be concerned about what others think of us. A good reputation is never achieved easily, and once gained, must be treasured as a valued possession. Indeed, someone once said that reputation is the only thing you take with you when you die. Shakespeare echoed that sentiment in Othello when he wrote:

Who steals my purse steals trash …

But he that filches from me my good name,

Robs me of that which enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

For Christians, though, a reputation does more than simply reflect the person. It reflects the Lord we love. We must be living letters of recommendation for Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul reminds believers that they are “a letter from Christ… written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3). It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Christians become living testimonies to divine truth.

Jesus Christ was the “Word made flesh” (John 1:14). So we must make the gospel tangible to the world around us. It’s our responsibility, and it is an essential part of successful Christian living. Through God’s Holy Spirit, we must live our lives such that, when friends and acquaintances comment that they can “read us like a book,” we’re sure it’s the right one.

Kenneth G. Hodder, The War Cry