David, king of ancient Israel, found himself in the midst of a confused national situation. His kingdom was torn by internal strife. Slave hated master; master hated slave. People blamed the government, and government blamed the people. David looked about him and saw that every man thought himself perfect. Each individual placed blame upon other individuals. David knew that if sinful pride continued to increase, his nation would collapse spiritually. He knew that economic depression, moral disintegration, or military defeat inevitably follow spiritual decline. So David turned to God, and it was revealed to him by the Spirit of God that the spiritual tide of his nation could rise no higher than the spiritual level of his own heart. So he fell on his knees in utter humility and prayed,Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Roger had been through a lot. He had open-heart surgery to repair a leaky valve. Then, within just a couple of weeks, doctors had to perform the surgery again because of complications. He had just begun to heal with physical therapy when he had a biking accident and broke his collarbone. Added to this, Roger also experienced the heartbreak of losing his mother during this time. He became very discouraged. When a friend asked him if he had seen God at work in any small ways, he confessed that he really didn’t feel he had.
I appreciate Roger’s honesty. Feelings of discouragement or doubt are part of my life too. In Romans, the apostle Paul says, We can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. But that doesn’t mean we always feel the joy. We may just need someone to sit down and listen to us pour out our hearts to them, and to talk with God. Sometimes it takes looking back on the situation before we see how our faith has grown during trials and doubts.
Knowing that God wants to use our difficulties to strengthen our faith can help us to trust His good heart for us.
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
By Bill Crowder
When I was a boy, I delivered newspapers to about 140 homes on two streets that were connected by a cemetery. Since I delivered a morning newspaper, I had to be out at 5:00 a.m. walking through that cemetery in the darkness. Sometimes I would be so frightened that I would actually run! I was afraid until I was standing safely under a streetlight on the other side. The scary darkness was dispelled by the light.
The psalmist understood the connection between fear and darkness, but he also knew that God is greater than those fears. He wrote, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” (Ps. 91:5-6). Neither terrors of night nor evil in the darkness need to drive us to fear. We have a God who sent His Son, the Light of the World (John 8:12).
In the light of God’s love and grace and truth, we can find courage, help, and strength to live for Him.
Lord, I come to You, the Light of the World. I want You to bring Your light into the darkness of my fears.
You need not fear the darkness if you are walking with the Light of the World.
“Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us.” Psalm 4:6
How easy it is to be deceived when we are not walking in the light of God’s Word. Charles Lindbergh tells about the time he was flying in a dense fog over Newfoundland. He noticed moisture beginning to freeze on the wings of his plane and thought, “This great adventure is going to come to an untimely end. What shall I do?”
Then, he had a moment of inspiration. He pulled his plane up and out of the fog and burst into the dazzling sunlight. Have you ever felt like you were living in a fog? Friend, He has a word of encouragement for you. You can get near to the heart of God. His light can shine even in the darkest corner of your heart.
Ask God to shine His light into the darkness of your heart. Ask Him to reveal your doubts and fears. Ask Him to reveal your sin that lies covetously in your heart. Then get ready for a blessing. Draw up close, because when you repent, He’ll reach in with healing forgiveness.
Blessed are those that can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.
One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you; I’m doing community service this week.’ The florist was pleased and left the shop.
When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.
Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you; I’m doing community service this week.’ The cop was happy and left the shop.
The next morning when the barber went to open up, there were a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.
Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you; I’m doing community service this week.’ The Congressman was very happy and left the shop.
The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.
Ever wonder what God is doing in your life, or what — if anything — he’s accomplishing through you? You aren’t alone! Many people in the Bible surely felt the same way, from Joseph as a prisoner in Egypt to Mary as a young, unwed expectant mother.
Answers may come in time … or may need to wait until we get to heaven. Meanwhile, like missionary Elisabeth Elliot, we can take comfort in this truth: “God is God. Because he is God, he is worthy of my trust and obedience.” Elliot proclaimed, “I will find rest nowhere but in his holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.”
You don’t need to be rescued from life-threatening danger or see God’s miraculous provision in the direst of financial crises to truly know the faithfulness of the Lord. God remains faithful day in and day out in the largest and smallest of circumstances.
Thomas Chisholm wrote “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” as a testament to God’s faithfulness through his very ordinary life. Born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky, Chisholm became a Christian when he was twenty-seven and entered the ministry when he was thirty-six, though poor health forced him to retire after just one year. During the rest of his life, Chisholm spent many years living in New Jersey and working as a life insurance agent. Still, even with a desk job, he wrote nearly 1,200 poems throughout his life, including several published hymns.
Chisholm explained toward the end of his life, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now. Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”
Just think, with each new day, God gives us the chance to prove His faithfulness. And throughout history, He’s never once been proven wrong, for His mercies are new every morning, no matter what.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Thomas Chisholm – 1925
Great Is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Though changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!
“I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lifted by prayer and labor by His power.
“My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, lamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.
“My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is Heaven. My road is narrow; my way rough; my companions few; my Guide reliable; my vision clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the face of an adversary, negotiate at the table of an enemy, and ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
“I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, HE WILL HAVE NO PROBLEM RECOGNIZING ME… MY BANNER WILL BE CLEAR!”
“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth
what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.” Matthew 6:8
According to an article, Henry Ford asked some engineers to box the transmissions for his Model-T Fords in certain sized boxes. He gave meticulous dimensions and material instructions for these boxes. The builders were confused, but they did as they were told.
When the transmissions were delivered, the factory workers took apart the boxes and used them for the floorboards! Mr. Ford was thinking ahead!
That’s what God does. He knows what we need even before we ask Him. We may not understand all of His ways, just like those workers who were boxing up the transmissions did not understand.
We do not live by our understanding; we live by His promises.
Is there something happening in your life right now that you don’t understand? Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and trust in the promise that He will direct your path.
By David Jeremiah
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Colossians 1:9
When President James Garfield was shot by an assassin, doctors could not determine the location of the bullet since no X-ray technology existed. While Garfield clung to life, Alexander Graham Bell worked feverishly—literally, day and night, hardly stopping to sleep—to develop a device he could use to locate the bullet so doctors could remove it. The president died before Bell’s technology was perfected. But the inventor of the telephone displayed what is necessary in the face of challenges: continual seeking for answers.
When we lack a specific knowledge of God’s will, we must do the same. Paul wrote to the Colossians that he was praying continually for them, asking God to fill them with a knowledge of His will. Persistence and asking—two things Jesus taught His disciples about prayer (Luke 11:5-11; 18:1-5).
If you are seeking God’s will, pray without ceasing and let God answer as He will. Before there are answers, there must be asking. We ask, He answers.
Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting God’s will done in earth. —Robert Law