VIDEO Living in Confidence

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man…. For the Lord will be your confidence…. In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence. Psalm 118:8; Proverbs 3:26; 14:26

A psychologist in Melbourne, Australia, told ABC Everyday that “keeping promises ‘is an incredibly important aspect’ of maintaining a healthy and secure relationship—and ‘that applies to all forms of relationships whether it be romantic, intimate, professional, or parental.’” Broken promises “can lead to trust rupturing, which can very quickly fracture a relationship.”[1]

If you’re suffering the pain of ruptured trust, here’s a comforting fact: God keeps His promises to His people! Even when we don’t know how He can do it, we can trust Him because of the fidelity of His nature. He Himself is our confidence. He “is not slack concerning His promise” (2 Peter 3:9).

Remember, it’s important to read the Bible carefully, taking every promise in its context. We shouldn’t twist God’s words to mean whatever we want. But when we have accurately understood one of His promises, we can stand on it and rejoice with confidence!

God does not change, nor do the glories of His person and the salvation He engineered for us. God’s promises are as dependable as He is. Sheila Walsh

Psalm 118 – The Chief Cornerstone

God’s Powerful Presence

The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng. Psalm 68:11

In 2020, celebrations marked the one hundredth anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Old photographs show marchers with banners emblazoned with the words of Psalm 68:11: “The Lord giveth the word. The women that publish the tidings are a great host” (asv).

In Psalm 68, David describes God as the One who leads the oppressed from their captivity (v. 6), refreshing and renewing His weary people from His bountiful riches (vv. 9–10). In this psalm’s thirty-five verses, David references God forty-two times, revealing how He’s constantly been with them, at work to rescue them from injustice and suffering. And a mighty throng of women proclaim this truth (v. 11).

Whether the women who marched for voting rights fully understood all that Psalm 68 was declaring, their banners proclaimed a timeless truth. God, the “father to the fatherless” and “a defender of widows” (v. 5), goes out before His people leading them to places of blessing, refreshment, and joy.

Be encouraged today, remembering that God’s presence has always been with His people, and in a special way with the vulnerable and suffering. As in the past through His Spirit, God is still powerfully present with us today.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced God’s care during a difficult struggle? What encouragement does that bring you?

Father, thank You for Your constant presence in my life, guiding me and fighting for me when I face suffering and injustice.

The Riches of God’s Grace

There are marvelous blessings available for each child of God—today Ephesians 1:1-14

Imagine an elderly couple living in a dilapidated farmhouse. They can barely afford a few groceries and the medications they need. There isn’t even enough money to keep the heat on all winter. Shortly after they both die, a huge deposit of oil is discovered on the old homestead. All their years of poverty were lived out sitting on top of untapped wealth. 

Sadly, many Christians go through life like that elderly couple. They’ve distilled Christianity down to its most basic parts: God saved me, and someday I’ll go to heaven. Spiritually poor Christians fail to tap into the reservoir of God’s grace that’s available right now. There’s no reason to wait until heaven to start enjoying the riches of His favor, which He’s already lavishing on us.

True riches are not measured by your bank account but by the abundance of God’s grace. You’ve received Christ’s righteousness, forgiveness of sins, adoption as God’s child, the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and an eternal inheritance. As a joint heir with Christ, you have access to God’s riches, which include unspeakable joy, unconditional love, and peace beyond understanding. Don’t wait until heaven; tap into these divine blessings every day of your life, beginning today. 

The Flame of Gifts

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6)

The apostle Paul uses more unique words in his writings than any other Bible author. Such is the case with the verb anazopureo, translated as “stir up” in our text for today, which is a compound of three Greek terms.

Ana, a primary preposition and adverb, is most often translated as “again” or “each,” depending on its context. Zoon is a frequently used noun meaning “life” or “living creature.” And pur is a root word meaning “fire” or “fiery.” Since it is only used this one time in the Scriptures, the translation is a bit difficult to coin an adequate English word or phrase for.

“Bring the fire alive (again)” is certainly implied from the syntax. “Make each fire alive” would emphasize the implied multiplicity of gifts. The tense indicates an ongoing process, and the direct object (the gift) seems to emphasize the need for Timothy’s action—since God gave Timothy the special leadership gift(s) when Paul personally ordained Timothy.

Paul’s first letter to Timothy implies that the young disciple had allowed the “fire” to grow weak in his ministry. Difficulty, discouragement, or doubt can attack anyone. Apathy, pessimism, worry, or lack of confidence can spin into lack of support or encouragement from friends or coworkers. Whatever the cause, the results are the same.

We can quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) so that we no longer sense His leading. We can even grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), bringing conviction to us in an effort to bring repentance and restoration. Such discipline is not pleasant but is necessary (Hebrews 12:11). But if we are to live in active joy while serving the Lord, we must “stir up” the gifts that He has carefully given us. HMM III

“As Thou Hast Believed”

Luke 7:1-17

OUR Lord, having healed elsewhere, returns to Capernaum and brings blessing at home as well as abroad (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). A Roman centurion comes to Him on behalf of a sick servant. How we ought always to come to our Lord on behalf of others—and not only of the high and mighty but even of servants, the despised and lowly! This centurion had lived up to the light he had; he had befriended the Jews and built them a synagogue. Such men always find more light.

His humility is shown in that he thought himself unworthy to have the Lord under his roof. That spirit also always gets a blessing. He recognizes that just as he has men under his authority, so the Lord has authority over disease. Alas, we today do not believe He can and will work wonders; we see no authority beyond the purely natural. There is little recognition of the sovereignty of our Christ over every problem.

In the simple faith of this centurion our Lord saw a prophetic type of Gentiles being saved while the unbelieving Jews would be cast out (Matt. 8:10-12). How true that is in this present church-age is evident to us all.

Jesus commanded the centurion, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” It reminds us of His statement to the blind men: “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). Our faith is the measure of our blessing. As we believe, we receive. How naturally follows the conclusion here: “And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” We blame many things for our meager, pale and tasteless lives today, but we simply do not believe His word enough to go our way. We must see before believing, whereas these believed and then went forth to see the wonder wrought.

Next day, our Lord entered Nain and met a widow’s son being carried to burial. A procession of life met a procession of death. Many people, we read in the account (Luke 7:11-17), were in each procession. It is not recorded that the widow solicited aid, but the Lord saw her and had compassion. With the simple word “Arise” He raised the dead. Three raisings are recorded in the Gospels. One had just died, the daughter of Jairus; this young man was on the way to burial; and Lazarus had been dead four days. But the Lord raised all three, and, although the details differed, each could say, “Once I was dead, but now I live.” Is it not so in conversion? Elijah and Elisha had raised the dead with great wrestlings, but here our Lord simply calls the dead to life.

Of course, after such an event the people would be in fear and glorify God, but most of the response, doubtless, was of that superficial sort that will not believe unless it sees signs and wonders. Often we think that if Jesus were among us today working such miracles, men would believe—but not so. Skeptics would offer their explanations, the magicians would produce their counterfeits, and sinful men would go on their way, loving darkness rather than light. More blessed are they who see not, yet believe and, believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Job 28

Let us read Job’s famous passage upon the search after wisdom, and in order that we may see its beauties we will read it in an accurate translation; arranged as it should be in parallel lines.

Job 28:3-4

The following verses describe the operations of mining, and the hazards of the miner.

Job 28:3-4

That is to say, having no use for their feet in descending the shaft, they swing in mid air.

Job 28:5-9

The solid rock is broken, and the kills are undermined by those who search for precious metals. Their tunnels pierce the centre of the Alps, and tear out the bowels of the hills.

Job 28:10-11

Miners take great care to prevent the water from breaking in upon them so as to flood the mines, and by such care they are able to penetrate into earth’s deep places, and reveal her secrets.

Job 28:12-17

Glass in ancient times was a costly article, used only for splendour and luxury, but however precious it might be, wisdom far excels it.

Job 28:28

Job comes to the same conclusion as Solomon, who said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” True religion is priceless beyond all the treasures of earth. Seek it first, ye children and young men; for then shall you be truly rich. Jesus is the Captain of the mine of wisdom, and he will show you the lodes of precious knowledge.

In vain we search; in vain we try;

Till Jesus brings his gospel nigh;

‘Tis there such power and glory dwell

As save rebellious souls from hell.

Let men or angels dig the mines,

Where nature’s golden treasure shines;

Brought near the doctrine of the cross,

All nature’s gold appears but dross.

A Great Need Among Us: More Reverence

…Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28

The theory held in some churches seems to be that if the service is unplanned the Holy Spirit will work freely.

Now that would be true if all the worshipers were reverent and Spirit-filled. But mostly there is neither order nor Spirit, just a routine prayer that is, except for minor variations, the same week after week, and a few songs that were never much to start with and have long ago lost all significance by meaningless repetition!

We of the nonliturgical churches tend to look with some disdain upon those churches that follow a carefully prescribed form of service, and certainly there must be a good deal in such services that has little or no meaning for the average participant—this not because it is carefully prescribed but because the average participant is what he is.

The liturgical service is at least beautiful, carefully worked out through the centuries to preserve a spirit of reverence among the worshipers. In many of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear!

The whole Christian family stands desperately in need of a restoration of penitence, humility and tears. May God send them soon!