When You Have to Say Goodbye

1 John 3:14

During my life I have been faced with many serious problems, but the most difficult thing I have ever faced was when I had to take my wife to a nursing home, and my daughter and I said goodbye to mother and wife. As we closed the glass doors behind us, she pulled on them, trying to open them and we heard her calling, “Open the door, I want to go with you!” But there was no handle on the inside.

My daughter and I tried to comfort each other. It couldn’t have gone on any longer. We could still see her coming home that time in the police car. Somewhere along the way she had gotten lost and couldn’t make herself understood to the people around.

The most difficult period was in the beginning. At first you don’t realize what is happening; you are surprised by changes in behavior. Then you are amazed by attitudes and reactions which until then you had never seen. In the course of the illness we had tried everything. We tried to bring help in, but she wouldn’t accept it. Sometimes she became aggressive, and then of course, no one would come back. Wietske was no longer Wietske; she had become another person.

When my daughter and I arrived back home we both sat and cried. We agreed that our loved one did not deserve such a goodbye. And we remembered the many times goodbyes were said in a dignified and warm manner. But at this goodbye there were no speeches, no flowers, no encouraging words. Was this how a faithful career as an officer in The Salvation Army was to end?

Of course I missed her. I visited her often. So many things were fading away. Sometimes we would sing the songs of years gone by. There was only one song she still remembered. It was our favorite song, and we sang it two or three times. The Dutch song seemed to be engraved on her heart. “Lord I Am Thankful That By Your Grace I Am Your Child.” It broke our hearts to hear her trying to sing it, and yet, somehow, it comforted and encouraged us.

After all, one of the most essential truths of Christianity is that it is our faith that keeps us going. For a Christian doesn’t live to die, but dies to live. Life with a capital L—a life in which there will be no more goodbyes.

Reinder Schurink, The War Cry

VIDEO Hung on Nothing – Job

He hangs the earth on nothing. Job 26:7

In his book, Taking Back Astronomy, Dr. Jason Lisle wrote, “This verse expresses (in a poetic way) the fact that the earth is unsupported by any other object—something quite unnatural for the ancient writers to imagine. Indeed, the earth does float in space. We now have pictures of the earth taken from space that show it floating in the cosmic void. The earth literally hangs on nothing, just as the Bible teaches.”[1]

Creation reveals God’s majesty to us. We can see His handiwork in the tiniest creatures He has made, but it’s the vastness of the universe that truly boggles our mind. The Bible says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). 

The Lord has surrounded us with His majesty—the blades of grass beneath our feet, the twinkling stars above our head. We’re surrounded by His beauty and grace, which should always remind us of His power and glory.

How majestic is His Name!

As in all things, the Bible is absolutely correct when it teaches about the universe.

Jason Lisle

[1]Dr. Jason Lisle, Taking Back Astronomy (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2011), 28.

Job RC Sproul

Turn on the Light

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

As my husband and I prepared for a cross-country move, I wanted to ensure that we kept in touch with our grown sons. I found a unique gift, friendship lamps connected by wireless internet, which can be turned on remotely. When I gave the lamps to my sons, I explained that their lamps will turn on when I touch my lamp—to provide a shining reminder of my love and ongoing prayers. No matter how great the distance between us, a tap on their lamps would trigger a light in our home too. Though we knew nothing could replace our more personal moments of connection, we could be encouraged by knowing we’re loved and prayed for every time we turned on those lights.

All God’s children have the privilege of being light-sharers powered by the Holy Spirit. We’re designed to live as radiant beacons of God’s everlasting hope and unconditional love. When we’re sharing the gospel and serving others in the name of Jesus, we become brilliant spotlights and living testimonies. Every good deed, kind smile, gentle word of encouragement, and heartfelt prayer produces a beaming reminder of God’s faithfulness and His unconditional and life-transforming love (Matthew 5:14–16).

Wherever God leads us, and however we serve Him, we can be used by Him to help others shine His light. As God, by His Spirit, provides the true illumination, we can reflect the light and love of His presence.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you be a light for Christ, intentionally expressing His love to those in your sphere of influence this week? How can you shine a light on God’s love as you serve people who don’t know Him?

Loving Father, please fuel me with Your perfect truth and love so I can shine a spotlight on You by loving You and others wherever I go.

Passionate Obedience

Acts 5:17-42

Yesterday, we studied passionate obedience and how it develops over time. The apostles reached the pinnacle of submission. Without being compelled by fear or the hope of reward, they faced shame, pain, and death. Why? Because they loved Christ too much to stay quiet.

People who receive salvation and then sit back, content that they’ll go to heaven when they die, have missed the point. Salvation isn’t just about heaven; it also allows us to be used for God’s glory here on earth. He lives through us, expressing His life-changing truth so that we can impact others. The only hindrance is the restriction we set on our own usefulness.

Limitations and passionate obedience can’t coexist. Life might seem easier if we choose when to obey God, but that type of existence won’t ever prove totally satisfying. Instead, we will tend to wonder why the Lord doesn’t use us or bless us more.

Passionate obedience begins with commitment. Our dedication may at first be based on the promised reward, which is acceptable because blessing is part of obedience. But as we mature, we’re likely to experience increasingly difficult challenges relative to our submission. And then our devotion also grows until we, too, can rejoice when we suffer for Jesus’ name.

Creation and the Constellations

“Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” (Job 9:8-9)

The book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. It is not surprising, therefore, that it contains a number of references to creation and the Flood, for these great events were still relatively fresh in the thinking of Job and his contemporaries. The first of these creation references in Job is our text above, and it is remarkable that it centers especially on the stars and their constellations. Still another constellation is mentioned in Job 26:13: “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.” Finally: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:31-33). The term “Mazzaroth” actually means the 12 constellations of the Zodiac.

Thus, God not only created the stars but arranged them in star groupings that could be used for “signs, and for seasons” (Genesis 1:14). Since God does nothing without a holy purpose, we can be sure that these sidereal signs were not to be used as astrological signs. God’s Word, in fact, forbids the practice of astrology (e.g., Isaiah 47:12-14). The constellations must all in some way have testified of the coming Savior. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Before the Scriptures were given, the testimony of God’s primeval promises had somehow been written indelibly in the heavens for those in Earth’s earliest ages who had eyes and hearts to see. HMM

Seeing the Invisible

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. —1 Corinthians 2:10

We must press on in the Holy Spirit. If we do not see beyond the visible, if we cannot touch that which is intangible, if we cannot hear that which is inaudible, if we cannot know that which is beyond knowing, then I have serious doubts about the validity of our Christian experience.

The Bible tells us: “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).

That is why Paul goes on to remind us that God has revealed these mysteries to us by the Holy Spirit. If we would only stop trying to make the Holy Spirit our servant and begin to live in Him as the fish lives in the sea, we would enter into the riches of glory about which we know nothing now. FBR152-153

What I am trying to describe here is the sacred gift of seeing the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal. BAM094-095

Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. POG073

A Golden Daybreak

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

No matter what our condition, the Bible speaks to it. For the distressed or depressed, God has a message of hope. Wrote James Stewart, “God does not mock His children with a night that has no ending; and to every man who stands resolute while the darkness lasts, there comes at length the vindication of faith and the breaking of the day.”

The last chapter of the Old Testament, with its promise of the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, and the last chapter of the New Testament, with its announcement of the Bright and Morning Star, gives us God’s Word about the breaking of the day. In that hope, we lift up our hearts.

The focus of our hope is the Lord Jesus, and the fulfillment of it was not completed during His first visit to earth. He will come again, and the hope of His return shines most brightly in times of darkness. In the gloom of this present era, let us keep our eyes on the eastern horizon, to watch for the dawn.

Jesus came to a world shrouded in darkness. Our world is still wracked by the anguish of its self-inflicted disease of sin. The Bible declares that the human race is fallen, corporately sinful and all alike condemned. Ours is a sad solidarity of weakness and wickedness, with separation from God as the consequence of our folly.

During World War II seven Jewish refugees were sheltered beneath the Cologne Cathedral in Germany at the invitation of the archbishop there. They hid for some time in that basement before they could flee. After they had left, it was found that during those grim days they had written messages on the walls of their shelter. Among the graffiti were these words: “I believe in the dawn, even though it be dark; I believe in God, even though He is silent.”

I too believe in the dawn. I am confident of the eventual breaking of God’s new day, the fulfillment of His program for the world. Today, men love darkness rather than light, and in the darkness we are beset by terrorism and war and violence. But when Christ comes again, he will bring light and peace.

Let us look beyond the darkness, and look with hope for the golden daybreak when Jesus will come in triumph and glory.

Edward Read, I Believe in the Dawn

VIDEO Always Just – Elihu Speaks and God Speaks

As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Job 37:23

We’ve all heard young children say it: “But that’s not fair!” And we may have said it ourselves. Life is filled with “unfair” moments. Tragedies, disasters, genocides, and more lead us to ask why God allows such things to happen. The Old Testament character, Job, certainly had grounds for such a complaint.

What Job ultimately discovered is that fairness is not the issue. Rather, justice and righteousness are. Was it fair for Job’s family and livelihood to be destroyed for seemingly no reason? Not on the surface. But beneath the surface (which Job didn’t see until the end of his deep dive into God’s character), God was being just in His judgments and His use of power. It was more important for Job to know God than to have his life of smooth sailing be undisturbed. At the beginning of Job’s saga, he was angry with God for being unfair. By the end, He was worshiping God as the all-powerful Creator and Judge of all things (Job 42:1-6).

God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). But even when we don’t understand His ways, we can trust in His character.

There is nothing that I have done that can stand the touchstone of God’s justice. John Bunyan

Job 32-42 Elihu Speaks and God Speaks

Like Jesus

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:29

As a boy, theologian Bruce Ware was frustrated that 1 Peter 2:21–23 calls us to be like Jesus. Ware wrote of his youthful exasperation in his book The Man Christ Jesus. “Not fair, I determined. Especially when the passage says to follow in the steps of one ‘who did no sin.’ This was totally outlandish . . . . I just couldn’t see how God could really mean for us to take it seriously.”

I understand why Ware would find such a biblical challenge so daunting! An old chorus says, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus. My desire, to be like Him.” But as Ware rightly noted, we are incapable of doing that. Left to ourselves, we could never become like Jesus.

However, we’re not left to ourselves. The Holy Spirit has been given to the child of God, in part so that Christ can be formed in us (Galatians 4:19). So it should come as no surprise that in Paul’s great chapter on the Spirit we read, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God will see His work completed in us. And He does it through the Spirit of Jesus living in us.

As we yield to the Spirit’s work in us, we truly become more like Jesus. How comforting to know that’s God’s great desire for us!

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What attribute of the fruit of the Spirit would you like to live out to a greater degree? (see Galatians 5:22–23). What will help you do so?

Father, I long to be more like Your Son but so often fall short in word, thought, or deed. Forgive me, and help me to yield to the work of Your Spirit so that Jesus might be formed in me.

For further study, read Free in the Spirit at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0307.

A Passion to Obey

Romans 6:16-23

A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.

Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.

Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.

All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.