When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:6
Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).
A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.
The emphasis to-day is placed on the furtherance of an organization; the note is, “We must keep this thing going.” If we are in God’s order the thing will go; if we are not in His order, it won’t. Conformed to His Image, 357 R
Go . . . to the land I will show you. . . . So Abram went.Genesis 12:1, 4
When my friend Janice was asked to manage her department at work after just a few years, she felt overwhelmed. Praying over it, she felt God was prompting her to accept the appointment—but still, she feared she couldn’t cope with the responsibility. “How can I lead with so little experience?” she asked God. “Why put me here if I’m going to be a failure?”
Later, Janice was reading about God’s call of Abram in Genesis 12 and noted that his part was to “go . . . to the land [God] will show you. . . . So Abram went” (vv. 1, 4). This was a radical move, because nobody uprooted like this in the ancient world. But God was asking him to trust Him by leaving everything he knew behind, and He would do the rest. Identity? You’ll be a great nation. Provision? I’ll bless you. Reputation? A great name. Purpose? You’ll be a blessing to all peoples on earth. He made some big mistakes along the way, but “by faith Abraham . . . obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
This realization took a big burden off Janice’s heart. “I don’t have to worry about ‘succeeding’ at my job,” she told me later. “I just have to focus on trusting God to enable me to do the work.” As God provides the faith we need, may we trust Him with all our lives.
No one likes the pain of discipline, but parents know it’s necessary. In a family, there may be one child who learns lessons the hard way—through disobedience and the resulting penalty—while another child observes, learns, and does what’s necessary to avoid painful discipline.
The same is true for us as believers—we can be trained by our heavenly Father the hard way or the easy way. Because we aren’t perfect, it’s impossible to avoid all discipline, but we can lessen it. By diligently studying the Scriptures, we learn what pleases and displeases God.
The Word teaches us who God is and how He wants us to live. It also rebukes us when we sin and shows us how to correct course. Then it explains how to live in a manner worthy of the Lord. Being part of a sound biblical church is also a safeguard. We need godly people to counsel us and hold us accountable.
You needn’t fear God’s discipline. Though His correction may hurt, it brings great spiritual benefit. So whenever you sin, be quick to humble yourself, admit your wrongdoing, and turn back to the Lord with a heart of obedience.
“Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10)
There are many wonderful things awaiting us in heaven if we have trusted Christ for our salvation. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
But there are also many wonderful gifts and privileges we have right now. In the first place, we already have eternal salvation. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). That means also that we are free from any condemnation at the judgment. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
We have already been justified—that is, declared righteous with the righteousness of Christ Himself. “Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9). “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:21-22). As our text says: we right “now have obtained mercy” and right now are “the people of God” (1 Peter 2:10).
The apostle John confirms this glorious truth in a beautiful passage. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).
Finally, we have the wonderful assurance that our Lord Jesus right now is praying for us. For Christ is entered into heaven itself, “now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24), and there He “ever liveth to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25) for all those who have placed their faith in Him as their Savior and Lord. HMM
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. —Psalm 100:4
Our Lord commands us to pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest field. What we are overlooking is that no one can be a worker who is not first a worshiper. Labor that does not spring out of worship is futile….
It may be set down as an axiom that if we do not worship we cannot work acceptably. The Holy Spirit can work through a worshiping heart and through no other kind. We may go through the motions and delude ourselves by our religious activity, but we are setting ourselves up for a shocking disillusionment some day.
Without doubt the emphasis in Christian teaching today should be on worship. There is little danger that we shall become merely worshipers and neglect the practical implications of the gospel….Fellowship with God leads straight to obedience and good works. That is the divine order, and it can never be reversed. BAM125-126
Christian work must ever be subordinate to Christian worship, and our service must be under the control and inspiration of our deeper life and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. CTBC, Vol. 1/232-233
For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.—Philippians 2:13
Theologians are divided about whether the statement of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer should be translated “in earth as it is in heaven” or “on earth as it is in heaven.” We decided to examine both prepositions, and today we look at the words “on earth.”
Most commentators believe the phrase has reference to the world of human beings who have their home on this earth. In other words—us. Fantastic as it may sound, a day will dawn when this earth will be peopled with those who will do the will of God, not with resentment or resignation, but with rejoicing. That day may not be as far distant as we may think, so we ought to double our efforts in prayer and joyously become involved in bringing our lives in line with His will. One thing is sure—the more you and I conform to His will, the more quickly can His purposes for this earth be realized. John Wesley famously said: “God does nothing redemptively in this world except by prayer.” Can you see what he is saying? The purposes of God for the future will have to cross the bridge of prayer.
This raises the question: how committed are you and I to doing the will of God? Are we hindering or are we promoting the interests of His future kingdom? It is vital that we Christians, both individually and corporately, focus our prayers on this issue with fervency and passion, remembering as we do so that the more abandoned we are to the divine will, the more speedily will His purposes come to pass for the world.
O Father, in the light of this challenge today, I feel like praying: “Your will be done, on earth in me as it is done in heaven.” Grant it, I pray, for the honor and glory of Your peerless name. Amen.
“When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived. Then those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.”—Matthew 25:10
There is no substitute for spiritual preparation. Spiritual preparation equips you for unforeseen crises or opportunities. However, if you are unprepared you will be vulnerable in life’s unexpected events.
Jesus told a parable that teaches this truth. Ten virgins were awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom so that they could celebrate with him and his bride. Five of them prepared in advance and brought an adequate supply of oil for their lamps. The other five were not prepared, so they rushed out to buy additional lamp oil. While they were gone, the bridegroom arrived. The five who had planned ahead entered into the house with him, but the door was closed against the five who were not ready, and they missed the celebration.
If you are spiritually prepared when a crisis comes, you will not have to try to develop instantly the quality of relationship with Christ that can sustain you. If you suddenly have an opportunity to share your faith with an unbeliever, you will be equipped to do so. If you enter a time of worship spiritually prepared, you will not miss an encounter with God. If you are spiritually filled when you meet a person in sorrow, you will have much to offer. If you have established safeguards in your life in advance, you will not give in to temptation.
Christians lose many opportunities to experience God’s activity because they have not devoted enough time to their relationship with God. If you have not yet developed the habit of daily prayer and Bible study, why not begin now, so that you will be equipped for whatever life brings?