VIDEO A Hot Mess

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

Talk about “cleanup on aisle 5!” A truck in Memphis, Tennessee, hit a retaining wall and crashed, spilling its load of Bertolli alfredo sauce. The road was closed as workers struggled to clean up the sticky, high-calorie sauce and the thousands of broken glass jars.[1]

We all make messes, don’t we? Remember the time you dropped the pizza upside down on the kitchen floor? What about the time the garbage bag broke before you got it into the bin? Or that awful moment you opened your mouth and said something impulsively?

Sometimes we make a mess spiritually—yielding to temptation, neglecting our devotions, losing our temper, engaging in a habit we know is displeasing to our God. We need to guard our heart carefully and repent of sins promptly. We should also remember that God doesn’t stop loving us when we mess up. At times we might think that God’s love for us stops when we sin. But that’s not true. God compassionately loves us in spite of our sin.

Thank Him today for His compassion and love, and seek to please Him always.

No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you. Franklin Graham

[1] Jacob Gallant and Emily Van de Riet, “Messy: Truck Spills Alfredo Sauce All Over Interstate in Tennessee,” CBS11, August 31, 2022. 

2 Timothy 2 (Part 1) :1–13 • Strengthened by the grace that is in Christ

Out of the Lions’ Den

My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. Daniel 6:22

When Taher and his wife, Donya, became believers in Jesus, they knew they risked persecution in their home country. Indeed, one day Taher was blindfolded, handcuffed, imprisoned, and charged with apostasy. Before he appeared at trial, he and Donya agreed that they wouldn’t betray Jesus.

What happened at the sentencing amazed him. The judge said, “I don’t know why, but I want to take you out of the whale’s and lion’s mouths.” Then Taher “knew that God was acting”; he couldn’t otherwise explain the judge referencing two passages in the Bible (see Jonah 2Daniel 6). Taher was released from prison and the family later found exile elsewhere.

Taher’s surprising release echoes the story of Daniel. A skilled administrator, he was going to be promoted, which made his colleagues jealous (Daniel 6:3–5). Plotting his downfall, they convinced King Darius to pass a law against praying to anyone other than the king—which Daniel ignored. King Darius had no choice but to throw him to the lions (v. 16). But God “rescued Daniel” and saved him from death (v. 27), even as He saved Taher through the judge’s surprising release.

Many believers today suffer for following Jesus, and sometimes they even are killed. When we face persecution, we can deepen our faith when we understand that God has ways we can’t even imagine. Know that He’s with you in whatever battles you face.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How do you respond to the story of Taher and Donya’s commitment to Christ? How can you trust in the unlimited power of God?

Saving God, help me to trust in You when the obstacles feel insurmountable.

Pray Without Losing Heart

Don’t be discouraged when God’s answers don’t come as quickly as you want—He is up to something good Luke 18:1-8

One of the most difficult aspects of prayer is perseverance. Not only do our newly made commitments to be more consistent often fail; our willingness to continue petitioning the Lord also tends to wane with time when answers aren’t forthcoming. But God’s promise to answer His children’s prayers hasn’t proven false—even if we don’t see results as soon as we hoped. 

The Lord, who is sovereign over heaven and earth, works everything according to His purposes. With our limited human understanding, we don’t always know whether our petitions fit God’s plan or timetable. But whether He grants our requests or not, we can be certain that His way and timing are always best and for our good. 

It’s in the wait that the Lord accomplishes spiritual work in our life—training us to trust Him in the delays, rest in His wisdom to decide what’s best, and persevere in prayer as He commands. To demand immediate answers to our requests would be to act like spiritual toddlers. The ability to wait is a sign of maturity, and that’s what God desires for us. So keep praying, be patient, and persevere, because in the process, you’re becoming more like Christ.

The Battle Is the Lord’s

“And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)

These were the ringing words of faith uttered by young David as he faced the Philistine giant Goliath. Without armor, or spear, or shield, and with only a sling and five smooth stones, David confronted the nine-foot champion of the pagan army in the name of the true God, and soon the giant lay dead with his face to the ground.

The battle must always be the Lord’s. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against…the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Spiritual battles are not won by bullets, nor by ballots, nor by any human means. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength….Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 33:16, 18).

We even have a mandate to attack the enemy in His stronghold. Christ taught, “Upon this rock [of faith in Christ as divine Savior] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)

It is easy, in trying to do a work for God, to rely on human abilities and devices, but these will fail, for the battle is the Lord’s. When the battle is going well, we must not boast, for the battle is the Lord’s. When the battle is going hard, we must not despair, for the battle is the Lord’s.

He is our strength. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). HMM

“As Thou Hast Believed”

Matthew 8:5-13

IN Matthew 8:5-13 we have the account of the healing of the centurion’s servant. Centurions figure prominently in the New Testament. There was the one at the cross who said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” There was also Cornelius, the Gentile convert.

First, this centurion showed concern. He came beseeching Jesus for his servant, who was probably a favorite and a valuable man. If we are to receive anything from the Lord for ourselves or others, we must be concerned. “No man cared for my soul” might well be the text for a sermon entitled, “Who Cares?” There are salesmen selling toothpaste and hair tonic over the radio with more zeal than many of us are preaching the gospel. And now many parents and friends today are coming to Jesus with the needs of their loved ones, concerned half as much as this centurion over his servant?

Next, he showed contrition. He told the Lord, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof.” Today people argue, “I didn’t ask to be born; God ought to save me.” We read such signs as “Your soul will be saved if you make it worth saving.” But if we are to be blessed by Jesus we must come as beggars, deserving nothing. Jacob, faced with a crisis, prayed, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant” (Gen. 32:10). John the Baptist was a fearless preacher, but he could say of Jesus, “Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.” The prodigal son had to be humbled to say, “I am not worthy to be called thy son.”

Then the centurion showed confidence. He asked Jesus merely to speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus said, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” Faith is the only hand that can receive anything from God. Without faith, we cannot please God. Jesus complimented this man’s faith; Jesus always told those whom He blessed that their faith had done it. We keep thinking that there is some other key to blessing, but it is simply according to our faith.

Then the centurion obeyed Jesus and went his way. He showed conformity to our Lord’s command. He took the word for the deed and went home to find it so. Hannah took God’s word and went her way with her countenance no more sad (1 Sam. 1:18). When Jesus cursed the fig tree, He did not stay there to see whether it died or not. He went His way, and when He came back it was dead. He used that to instruct His disciples that when they prayed they were to believe they had what they prayed for and they would have it (Mark 11:24). We say that God is able to help us, and we hope He will, but Jesus says God has done the thing we ask for in faith and we are to go on believing it. As the lepers went they were cleansed, and so are we.

Finally, there was confirmation. When the centurion reached home, he found the servant healed. Of course he did! It is always as the Lord says. When the Zarephath widow obeyed Elijah, I read, “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord which he spake by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:16). When the disciples went to prepare the place of the Lord’s Supper, they found as He had said. It is always so. The faith which believes shall see!

“Abide in me.”

Genesis 5:21-24

Our reading leads us to think upon that eminent saint of the antediluvian church, Enoch, the seventh from Adam.

Genesis 5:21-24

Here it is worthy of notice that the sacred writer says once that Enoch “lived;” but he changes the word and writes Enoch “walked with God” thus teaching us that communion with God was Enoch’s life, and truly so it ought to be ours. He was not a mere talker about God, but a walker with God. This holy patriarch lived in unbroken intercourse with the Lord for three hundred years, not now and then visiting with God, but habitually walking with him. This is a point of great difficulty. To draw near to God is comparatively easy; but to remain in undivided fellowship, “this is the work, this is the labour.” Yet the Holy Spirit can enable us to accomplish even this. Continued communion is what we should aim at, and we should not be content with anything short of it.

Some excuse themselves from seeking after unbroken fellowship with God because of their calling, their circumstances, and their numerous engagements. Enoch had the cares of a family upon him, and he was also a public preacher, and yet he kept up his walk with God: no business or household cares should make us forget our God. Society with God is the safety of saints, it is their solace and delight, it is their honour and crown. More to be desired is it than gold, yea, than much fine gold. Happy was Enoch to enjoy it so sweetly, and so continuously. The long intercourse of this good man with his God ended in his being borne away from earth without death to that place where faith is lost in sight. He did not live like others, and therefore he did not die like others.

Paul tells us a little more concerning this holy man, and we will gather up the fragments of his history which remain on record, that nothing may be lost.

Hebrews 11:5, 6

Hebrews 11:5, 6

Faith was the spring from which his communion was derived. Works do not make us walk with God; but faith brings us into his presence, and keeps us there. It is very likely that Enoch’s pious conversation did not please men, but that little mattered since it pleased God.

Jude 14, 15

From Jude we learn that Enoch had an eye to the coming of Christ. The pure in heart who see God are the seers of their age, and look far ahead of others. What Enoch saw he told forth for the warning of others, and it is our duty to do the same, that sinners may be led to flee from the wrath to come.

Jude 14, 15

How important is the doctrine of the advent of the Lord from heaven, since so early in the world’s history one of the holiest of prophets proclaimed it. There must surely be some very powerful influence in this truth, since the greatest teachers of it mentioned in Scripture were also among the most eminent for close fellowship with heaven. Enoch “walked with God” Daniel was a “man greatly beloved” and John was “that disciple whom Jesus loved.” O Lord, if the expectation of thy coming will make us walk with thee, be pleased to fill us with it.

Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear,

It is not night if thou be near,

Oh! may no earth-born cloud arise

To hide thee from thy servant’s eyes.

Abide with me from morn till eve,

For without thee I cannot live;

Abide with me when night is nigh,

For without thee I dare not die.


A Calamity: Accepting This World As Our Home

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

Of all the calamities that have been visited upon the world, the surrender of the human spirit to this present world and its ways is the worst—without doubt!

No oriental monarch ever ruled his cowering subjects with any more cruel tyranny than things—visible things, audible things, tangible things—rule mankind.

That we who were made to communicate with angels and archangels and seraphim and with the God who made them all—that we should settle down here as a wild eagle of the air come down to scratch in the barnyard with the common hens—this I say is the worst of anything that has ever come to the world!

It seems incredible that we who were made for many worlds should accept this one world as our ultimate home.

Man was made in the image of God and is now a fallen being that has left its place in the celestial world and has plummeted down like a falling star. Now, in this world, he has all but forgotten the place from which he came.

That is why the devil sees to it that we seldom get alone with time to think and meditate on the reality of the other world. For when a man really gets alone, he senses often that this life in this world is not the answer—it is not the end.

Actually and simply, a Christian is one who dedicates himself to God to inhabit another and better world!