Wait Patiently on the Lord #574

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. (Psalm 40:1-2, NKJV)

The ability to be patient and in the face of trials and trouble is a mark of mature faith. Such patience shows trust that the Lord is concerned in us and that He attends to our petitions for relief. Knowing that God does not abandon His faithful ones gives comfort to the weary and hope in the midst of sorrow. Christians have the assurance that the Lord will never fail nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6). Such confidence strengthens our heart to daily “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). Be patient. Remain faithful. God will deliver you and set your feet on solid ground.

Come and Walk in the Light of the Lord #573

5  O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they are pleased with the children of foreigners. (Isaiah 2:5-6, NKJV)

Judah and Jerusalem had turned away from Jehovah, the only true source of truth and guidance. Because they listened to and trusted in pagan soothsayers and refused to listen to God’s word, God would now leave His people exposed to divine judgment. (Read Isaiah 2:5-22 for a fuller picture of Jerusalem’s sins and God’s promised punishment.) Like Jerusalem of old, Christians must choose whether to walk in the light of the Lord or in the darkness of the world’s error (1 Jno. 1:6-7). When Christians turn to false sources of knowledge and wisdom to guide them, they walk in the darkness of sin and fall under God’s promise of eternal punishment (1 Jno. 1:6; Jno. 12:48). With Isaiah we exhort, “Come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

Husbands and Wives #572

18  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. (Colossians 3:18–19, NKJV)

God arranged the roles of husbands and wives in marriage. He mandates and obligates husbands to practice honoring love toward their wives. He mandates and obligates wives to show submissive respect toward their husbands. The wife who respects her husband is more readily held in esteem and honor by her husband. The husband who acts in love toward his wife is more likely to receive her kind affection instead of the bitterness that grows out of selfish neglect. Husbands and wives “feed” off of each other. How you treat your spouse has a direct effect on how he or she treats you. Each must bear their responsibility before God to fulfill the role He gave them. By doing so, both influence the other for what is right and good in God’s sight.

“Just the facts, please” #571

The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17, NKJV)

The one who defends himself is not always right. Indeed, all the facts must be heard to make a righteous judgment. But, without thought of objectivity, fairness and kindness, the gossiping talebearer notoriously takes one side of an issue and spreads it around as if it were the whole truth. Frequently biased in heart, this person hears one side of a story, soaks it in “as gospel truth” and then spews it out. Many are harmed by such recklessness. How very unwise it is to decide an issue without hearing all sides of the matter (see Prov. 18:13). So, be willing to be examined by others to be sure you are right. Additionally, be careful to thoroughly examine a situation before reaching a conclusion. By doing so you will save yourself and others much trouble.

The Mystery Revealed #570

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:7–10, NKJV)

 The gospel reveals God’s great mystery of redemption. Divine plans and purposes that had been established by God before time are exposed and explained in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The New Testament of Christ is the product of divine wisdom and power; the wisdom of eternal truth and the power to redeem sinners. Only God could conceive such a plan. The Son of God gave His life to fulfill God’s plan. The Spirit of God has revealed God’s plan to the whole world. The gospel is God’s definitive statement of His power and wisdom (1 Cor. 1:21-25). Do you believe?

A House Divided #569

23  So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?  24  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25  And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26  And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.” (Mark 3:23-26, NKJV)

Division produces destruction. Jesus stated and applied the chaos principle to the charge that he cast out demons by the power of the devil. This principle applies to a nation. No nation can long be united when strife and fighting exists among its citizens. This principle applies to a marriage. Husbands and wives who complain, argue and fight against each other inject bitterness and resentment into their home, killing goodwill. This principle applies to a local church. When brethren are preoccupied with quarrels and disputes, confusion reigns and unity is destroyed. Be diligent to establish and maintain godly unity that is built upon truth and animated by love.

Thank God for His Goodness #568

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:8–9, NKJV)

A most common sin is ingratitude toward God. Failure to thank God for His vast goodness is a terrible indictment of one who has been taken over by selfish disrespect. God gives good gifts to us all, from life itself and food to sustain it, to offering us eternal life in His Son. The Lord God does not fail to fill up every soul who longs for His presence and provisions. Since we are the recipients of abundant blessings from God’s hand, let us pause each day to think on His greatness and to thank Him for His goodness. Count your many blessings. Name them one by one and see what God has done.

Accept both Good and Adversity #567

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9–10, NKJV)

Job had already lost his possessions (including thousands of head of livestock), his servants, and all ten children. Grief and sorrow engulfed him, yet he maintained his reverence and humility before God (Job 1).  Now, his good health is replaced with open sores from head to foot. His wife has had enough and foolishly urges him to curse God. He has lost her support, too. Yet, he did not sin against God with his words. We may be more like Job’s wife than we want to admit. We gladly receive God’s good blessings. But, does our faith falter and fail when faced with life’s adversities? Take time today to evaluate how you respond to trials in your life. And remember, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Prov. 24:10). Use Job as a constant reminder to avoid sin and always “bless the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21-22).

“Why are you so fearful?” #566

37  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:37–40, NKJV)

The devil tempts disciples to second guess the Lord and think He does not care when we face trials and trouble (v. 38). When we yield to this temptation of doubt, fear grows and faith declines. The Lord teaches us not to let the storms of life overwhelm us. Trust the Lord when the tempest rises and the billows roll. Take comfort in prayer and His presence. He will not fail you. Yes, He cares. He also cares that you keep your faith through the storm. Do not be fearful, but believe.

Why Are You Ashamed? #565

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16, NKJV)

Christians may be ashamed of the gospel for any number of reasons; none of which are valid before the Almighty. For some, the gospel is too “simple”. They are ashamed of its lowliness; they desire to be significant in the eyes of the world. For others, the gospel is too plain. These are impressed by pomp and ceremony, ritual and rites, and its simple plan of salvation (believe, confess faith, repent and be baptized) is not flashy enough for them. For these, worship must be an extravaganza exciting the senses, an amazing “experience” of sound, lights, action. It seems that worship “in spirit and in truth” is too dull for them (Jno. 4:23-24). Others are ashamed of the gospel’s demands. They want to continue living selfishly in sin rather than standing up for Jesus and being different from the world. These prefer to blend in with their surroundings. The gospel calls upon us to stand up and stand out, without shame, because Christ Jesus died for us and we now live for Him. Glory in the cross; never be ashamed of the gospel (Gal. 6:14). It alone is God’s power to save you.