VIDEO Hidden with Christ – Taking Control of Our Thoughts

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:3

A businessman was often asked what he did for a living. “I sell underground condominiums,” was his serious reply. After enjoying his questioners’ puzzlement for a few moments, he would say, “Actually, I develop cemeteries—the land, the burial plots, and so on.” This amusing answer was a good ice-breaker in conversations, but it raises an interesting question: Can we live a life totally protected from all earthly circumstances? Is there a more practical way than living underground?

The apostle Paul suggested something along those lines: We are “dead,” but instead of being buried in the earth our life “is hidden with Christ in God.” That being true, it means that nothing can touch us apart from the will and purpose of God. We are protected and provided for today and every day until we go to be with Christ in eternity. It’s the same image we find in Psalm 91:2: “[The Lord] is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”

We live in a day when the future is more uncertain than ever. But if you are in Christ, you are protected and provided for in Him.


Taking Control of Our Thoughts– Dr. Charles Stanley

Asking God

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayerPsalm 6:9

When my husband, Dan, was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t find the “right” way to ask God to heal him. In my limited view, other people in the world had such serious problems—war, famine, poverty, natural disasters. Then one day, during our morning prayer time, I heard my husband humbly ask, “Dear Lord, please heal my disease.”

It was such a simple but heartfelt plea that it reminded me to stop complicating every prayer request, because God perfectly hears our righteous cries for help. As David simply asked, “Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:4).

That’s what David declared during a time of spiritual confusion and despair. His exact situation isn’t explained in this psalm. His honest pleas, however, show deep desire for godly help and restoration. “I am worn out from my groaning,” he wrote (v. 6).

Yet, David didn’t let his own limits, including sin, stop him from going to God with his need. Thus, even before God answered, David was able to rejoice, “the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer” (vv. 8–9).

Despite our own confusion and uncertainty, God hears and accepts the honest pleas of His children. He’s ready to hear us, especially when we need Him most.

By: Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What’s stopping you from asking God for His help? What help will you seek from Him today?

Dear God, as you cleanse our hearts, grant us courage to ask for Your divine help, believing that You hear us and will answer.

Immature Faith

Matthew 8:23-26

We all know that the Christian walk begins with faith in Jesus for the salvation of our soul. But faith is not a onetime act—it’s a lifelong path. And Hebrews 11:6 tells us why that journey is so important: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

The faith of new believers is immature and often restless because there isn’t yet a deep understanding of the heavenly Father. Therefore, when trials come, the tendency is to look at the problem rather than at God. But as we spend more time studying His Word and growing in our knowledge of Him, our confidence in the Lord begins to increase. The more we learn what pleases Him, the wiser our prayers become.

Another way faith matures is through trials. In today’s passage, Jesus’ disciples became frightened in a storm and cried out to Him for help. We can relate to this scenario—at one time or another, we all have found ourselves in a desperate situation with no way to extricate ourselves. And the words Jesus spoke to His disciples could probably be said to us as well: “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26).

We’d all like a problem-free life, but that’s not possible. The silver lining is that trouble can strengthen our faith in the Lord. It’s one thing to read about God’s faithfulness in His Word, but we also need to experience it in our personal life. Each time we’re able to trust the Lord during a trial, we know our faith is genuine.

Zechariah’s Visions of Horns and Carpenters

“Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:18-19)

Immediately after seeing the horsemen that were sent to determine the state of the earth, Zechariah observes four “horns” amid the myrtle trees. Zechariah is told they represent the authorities responsible for scattering the people of the two nations of Judah and Israel, destroying Jerusalem in the process as well.

The image of horns usually refers to empires in other passages of Scripture. The horns of the goats in Daniel 7 and 8 and the horns of the seven-headed dragon used in Revelation 13 and 17 are good examples. Zechariah may have understood this specific vision as a reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image recorded in Daniel 2. We would identify those horns as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. It is possible that the previous empires of Egypt and Assyria would have been included, but the context does not specify.

The purpose of this vision seems to lie in the task of the four carpenters that appear following the horns (Zechariah 1:20). The Hebrew could be better undersood by our words “craftsmen” or “artisans” since they were assigned the task to “fray [terrify] them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:21).

Even though human history seems to creep by, God will execute His plans for all nations. God’s sovereignty has “determined the times before appointed” (Acts 17:26), and He has often assured us that His Word “shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). HMM III

Sharp Blade of the Plow

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

—Hosea 10:12

The fallow field is smug, contented, protected from the shock of the plow and the agitation of the harrow…. But it is paying a terrible price for its tranquility: Never does it see the miracle of growth; never does it feel the motions of mounting life nor see the wonders of bursting seed nor the beauty of ripening grain. Fruit it can never know because it is afraid of the plow and the harrow.

In direct opposite to this, the cultivated field has yielded itself to the adventure of living. The protecting fence has opened to admit the plow, and the plow has come as plows always come, practical, cruel, business-like and in a hurry. Peace has been shattered by the shouting farmer and the rattle of machinery. The field has felt the travail of change; it has been upset, turned over, bruised and broken, but its rewards come hard upon its labors. The seed shoots up into the daylight its miracle of life, curious, exploring the new world above it. All over the field the hand of God is at work in the age-old and ever renewed service of creation. New things are born, to grow, mature and consummate the grand prophecy latent in the seed when it entered the ground. Nature’s wonders follow the plow.   PTP031-032

Lord, make me a cultivated field. Do the hard work of the farmer in my life today. Amen.

 

When the enemy shall come in like a food

When the enemy shall come in like a food, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.—Isaiah 59:19.

 

Still more and more do Thou my soul redeem,

From every bondage set me wholly free,

Though Evil oft the mightiest power may seem,

Still make me more than conqueror, Lord, in Thee.

C. J. P. Spitta.

 

Wait on the Lord in humility of heart, that thou mayest daily feel the change which is wrought in the heart and conscience by the holy, eternal, ever-living Power; and so thou mayest witness, “that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” And then thou wilt feel that this birth of the Spirit cannot fulfill the lusts of the flesh, but will be warring and fighting the good fight against them, and thus, in faithfulness to the truth, and waiting upon the Lord, thou shalt witness an overcoming, in His due time. Oh, the conquering faith, the overcoming life and power of the Spirit! We cannot but speak of those things; and cry up the perfect gift, and the power of Him, who is not only able to perfect His work in the heart, but delights so to do; and even to tread down Satan under the feet of those that wait in patience for the perfect conquest.

Isaac Penington.

 

Evening Does Brighten Into Day

“It shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Zech. 14:7

It is a surprise that it should be so; for all things threaten that at evening time it shall be dark. God is wont to work in a way so much above our fears and beyond our hopes, that we are greatly amazed, and are led to praise His sovereign grace. No, it shall not be with us as our hearts are prophesying: the dark will not deepen into midnight, but it will on a sudden brighten into day. Never let us despair. In the worst times let us trust in the Lord who turneth the darkness of the shadow of death into the morning. When the tale of bricks is doubled Moses appears, and when tribulation abounds it is nearest its end.

This promise should assist our patience. The light may not fully come till our hopes are quite spent by waiting all day to no purpose. To the wicked the sun goes down while it is yet day: to the righteous the sun rises when it is almost night. May we not with patience wait for that heavenly light, which may be long in coming, but is sure to prove itself well worth waiting for?

Come, my soul, take up thy parable and sing unto Him who will bless thee in life and in death, in a manner surpassing all that nature has ever seen when at its best.