VIDEO Will You Go Out Without Knowing?

He went out, not knowing where he was going. —Hebrews 11:8

Have you ever “gone out” in this way? If so, there is no logical answer possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the most difficult questions to answer in Christian work is, “What do you expect to do?” You don’t know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually examine your attitude toward God to see if you are willing to “go out” in every area of your life, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in constant wonder, because you don’t know what God is going to do next. Each morning as you wake, there is a new opportunity to “go out,” building your confidence in God. “…do not worry about your life…nor about the body…” (Luke 12:22). In other words, don’t worry about the things that concerned you before you did “go out.”

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you “go out” in complete surrender to Him until you are not surprised one iota by anything He does?

Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is! Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to “go out” in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to “go out” through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Awe is the condition of a man’s spirit realizing Who God is and what He has done for him personally. Our Lord emphasizes the attitude of a child; no attitude can express such solemn awe and familiarity as that of a child.  Not Knowing Whither, 882 L


Abraham: Fact-Checking Your Future – Hebrews 11:8-19 – Skip Heitzig

Fresh Start Effect

[Put] on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:10

When Bryony turned thirty, she was sad to still be in a sales job she’d never liked. She decided it was time to stop procrastinating and find a new career. For David, New Year’s Eve had him looking in the mirror vowing this would be the year he lost weight. And for James, it was watching another month pass without his angry outbursts decreasing. Next month, he promised himself, he would try harder.

If you’ve ever vowed to change at the start of a new month, new year, or a major birthday, you’re not alone. Researchers even have a name for it: the fresh start effect. They suggest that at calendar points like these we’re more prone to assess our lives and try putting our failures behind us to start over. Wanting to be better people, we long for a fresh start.

Faith in Jesus speaks powerfully to this longing, offering a vision of what our best selves can be (Colossians 3:12–14) and calling us to leave our past selves behind (vv. 5–9). It offers this change not by decisions and vows alone, but by divine power. When we believe in Jesus, we become new people, and God’s Spirit works in us to make us whole (v. 10; Titus 3:5).

Receiving salvation in Jesus is the ultimate fresh start. And it doesn’t need to wait for a special calendar date. Your new life can start right now.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How have you seen the fresh start effect at work in your life? What’s stopping you from receiving God’s gift of a new life now?

Jesus, I give up my own plans to follow Yours. Please give me a fresh start!

To gain a better understanding of the Bible this year.

Sunday Reflection: What Lies Ahead

God opens doors for us, in the hope that we will walk through

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Take a moment to imagine a doorway. Perhaps you envision the entrance to a cozy cabin, or maybe you picture a massive entryway fit for a palace. Regardless of how the image looks in your mind’s eye, what it symbolizes is an opportunity.

God offers each of us a life worth living, though sometimes that means trusting Him and stepping into the unknown. When we encounter such a door, we don’t have to be afraid but can walk through it with confidence, knowing that if our heavenly Father is involved, He has a plan for us once we’re on the other side. (See Jer. 29:11.) What’s more, He Himself goes before us to prepare the way. 

This year, be on the lookout for the doors of opportunity God puts before you. And remember, they very well may not be where you expect—He has a way of using unlikely situations or people, after all (Heb. 13:1-2). So be listening for Him to direct you, and commit to living with your heart and spiritual eyes wide open. 

Think about it

• How can you become more sensitive to the many opportunities God will place in your life this year? 

The Hallelujah Psalms

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.” (Psalm 146:1)

The last five chapters in the book of Psalms (146–150) comprise what might be considered a great “Hallelujah Chorus” to this “Hallel” book—the “book of Israel’s praises,” as the book of Psalms was called by the Israelites.

Each psalm in this five-psalm group both begins and ends with an exclamatory “Praise ye the LORD,” or, in the Hebrew, “Hallelujah!” This word occurs 22 times in the book of Psalms. This is significant in that the Hebrew language has just 22 letters, suggesting to us that the very purpose of language is for God to reveal His Word to man and for man then to respond with thanksgiving and praise to God.

It is further significant that the letters of the Greek language in the New Testament begin with “alpha” and end with “omega,” and that Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, has reminded us that “I am Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:11; 22:13). The Greek word “Alleluia” occurs just four times in the New Testament, all at the great congregation in heaven that will assemble at the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:1-6, 9). This may also well be what is called “the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23).

There, along with “an innumerable company of angels,” all the redeemed saints of all the ages will gather to rejoice and give thanks and “praise our God, all ye his servants” (Revelation 19:5). It seems possible—even probable—that these five Hallelujah psalms will constitute the testimonies of praise and thanksgiving that will be sung by this great congregation in the presence of the Lamb. The book of Psalms then closes with the great exhortation: “Let every thing that hath breath [or ‘Spirit’] praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). HMM

Second Movement—In Major

Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and be meditates on it day and night (Psalm 1 v. 2).

My mind is the key to my happiness, joy, and personal meaning. I am “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). I must delight in the magnificence of the law. I must revel in the glory of biblical truth so that it shapes my thinking and changes my life.

I must meditate on it, fantasize about it, and be imaginative with it. I often struggle with low self-esteem and feel inadequate. But I know that when I’m weak, the Lord gives me strength. My source of strength and adequacy is the Lord, not myself. As I learn to pray more honestly, I will apply the Word more personally. Inspired by the Word, my life will burst forth with song.

What made the ancient Jews distinctive from the surrounding nations? The magnificence and glory of the Mosaic Law. What will make my life ring true today in the modern world? God’s truth, the Holy Scripture! I must move beyond a cognitive perception of it and relate it to my total personality. I must delight in it!

Personal Prayer

Heavenly Father, I’m moved by the lyric poetry of your Word.

May my life become a motif of praise as I learn to love your truth.

A Contemporary Lyric

Psalm of My Life

Like worthless chaff the wind blows away,

Scorched by the bright desert sun through the day,

No root below, no fruit borne above,

My life was thirsting for rains of His love.

While roaming far away on my own,

I stood with sinners with hearts cold like stone,

I sat with scoffing cynics at play,

Until my life changed direction one day.

While meditating day and night,

His Word brought pleasure and highest delight,

It quenched my thirst and nurtured my soul,

It satisfied me and made my life whole.

Then, like a lovely well-watered tree,

Nourished by rivers that flow endlessly,

Weighed down with luscious fruit from His hand,

My full life prospered for Him in the land.

Words and music by Don Wyrtzen © 1975 Singspiration.
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God’s Great Intolerance

Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath.—Psalm 2:5

Wrath is not a defect in the divine character; rather, it would be a defect if wrath were absent from Him. Those who see God’s wrath as petulance or retaliation, inflicting punishment just for the sake of it or in return for some injury received, do not really understand it. Divine wrath is not vindictiveness; it is divine perfection, issuing forth from God because it is right.

Human beings tend to make God in our own image. He made us in His image, but we want to return the compliment, and it is there that so often we go wrong. Instead of reasoning from the divine down to the human, recognizing that sin has marred the divine image within us, we reason from our fallen condition and project our own feelings and ideas onto God.

Thus, when thinking of the wrath of God, we tend to look at what happens in our own hearts when we get angry, and we imagine God to be the same. But divine anger must never be confused with human anger. Most of what goes on in our hearts whenever we are angry is a mixture of unpredictable petulance, retaliation, hostility, and self-concern. God’s anger is always predictable, always steadfast, and always set against sin. We must never forget that God’s nature is uncompromisingly set against sin. We may tolerate it; He never.

Sin has been defined as “God’s one great intolerance,” and for that we ought to be eternally grateful. As His children we ought to rejoice that He will not tolerate anything that is harmful to us.

Prayer

O Father, what a change comes over me when I realize that Your wrath is not so much directed at persons as at the sin that demeans and destroys them. You are not against me for my sin, but for me against my sin. I am deeply, deeply grateful. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 5:1-6; 11:5; Hab 1:12-13; Zch 8:16-17

How did the psalmist express God’s great intolerance?

What does the Lord hate?

On the Windward Side of Grace

2 Corinthians 9:8

I have always been grateful for the phrase “turning over a new leaf when thinking about new year’s resolutions. There’s not a new leaf to be found in January. Thankfully, they’re all buried under a blanket of snow, and we’ll not have to worry about turning over any new vegetation until at least March or April!

Like most people, I must confess to a certain reticence when it comes to change. Old routines and habits are comfortable, predictable. The unknown is unnerving, however bright a prospect might seem.

I suppose it’s not so much change that bothers us as the certain dread that comes with something unfamiliar entering our lives. It’s interesting to note the frequency of the phrase “fear not” in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, every time you turn over a new leaf of Scripture, it is “Fear not!”

How do we survive the unpredictability of life? The poet lamented, “O God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small!” Perhaps our first step to victory is to recognize the finiteness of our present situation and to place our trust in the reliable and changeless—in God.

When we recognize that it is God who underlies the thoughts and movements and melodies of life, we learn to look at change in a new way. New possibilities, challenges, dreams. Some fresh wind or bright flower, some strain of music before unheard.

If ever there was someone pressed and oppressed by the exigencies of life, it was the Apostle Paul. He not only coped, he triumphed, for he had set his course on a fixed, immovable point—the glory of God whose very nature is victory. Witnessing to that fact, he advised: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).

No matter what comes into our lives, we don’t need to wonder about our destination. “O God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small.” Perhaps the writer was not aware that God is in the boat with us. And there lies our victory.

If we’ve set our sails on the windward side of His grace, it is precisely His great sea that will bring us to safety—to a harbor where under each new leaf is some new treasure He has prepared for those who follow Him.

Marlene Chase, The War Cry