Answers to Life's Questions

Apr 27, 2006 at 18:13 o\clock

Make Use of God

Are we going to God with our problems ?

Make Use of God

"God, even our own God."

--Psalm 67:6

It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us, but it is stranger still how little use we make of God Himself. Though He is "our own God," we apply ourselves but little to Him, and ask but little of Him. How seldom do we ask counsel at the hands of the Lord! How often do we go about our business, without seeking His guidance! In our troubles how constantly do we strive to bear our burdens ourselves, instead of casting them upon the Lord, that He may sustain us! This is not because we may not, for the Lord seems to say, "I am thine, soul, come and make use of me as thou wilt; thou mayst freely come to my store, and the oftener the more welcome."

It is our own fault if we make not free with the riches of our God. Then, since thou hast such a friend, and He invites thee, draw from Him daily. Never want whilst thou hast a God to go to; never fear or faint whilst thou hast God to help thee; go to thy treasure and take whatever thou needest--there is all that thou canst want. Learn the divine skill of making God all things to thee. He can supply thee with all, or, better still, He can be to thee instead of all. Let me urge thee, then, to make use of thy God. Make use of Him in prayer. Go to Him often, because He is thy God. O, wilt thou fail to use so great a privilege? Fly to Him, tell Him all thy wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times.

If some dark providence has beclouded thee, use thy God as a "sun;" if some strong enemy has beset thee, find in Jehovah a "shield," for He is a sun and shield to His people. If thou hast lost thy way in the mazes of life, use Him as a "guide," for He will direct thee. Whatever thou art, and wherever thou art, remember God is just what thou wantest, and just where thou wantest, and that He can do all thou wantest.

-- C.H. Spurgeon

Apr 26, 2006 at 19:36 o\clock

Wet Feet

Are we willing to follow God wherever He leads ?

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Joshua 3:1-17 

Wet Feet

Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

Faith is getting yourself in so deep that only God can get you out. This concept of faith is readily seen in the account of Joshua and the children of Israel as they crossed the Jordan River into the promised land.

With the passing of Moses a new servant of the Lord was commissioned to lead the chosen people of God. Joshua clearly had the promise of God that He would be with the Israelites. Be strong and of good courage" (Joshua 1:6). "Only be thou strong and very courageous" (1:7). "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (1:9). "Only be strong and of a good courage" (1:18). Armed with these promises of divine assistance, Joshua immediately sent two men into the land to spy out the city of Jericho. Here the spies met Rahab the harlot and their lives were spared by her hiding them from the king's men. After three days the spies returned to Joshua and reported that all the inhabitants of the land were afraid of the mighty Jehovah and that Israel could easily enter the land and establish a beachhead there.

As a decisive leader, Joshua wasted no time in mustering the Israelite camp. Joshua rose early in the morning (Joshua 3:1) and they removed from Shittim to the Jordan River. Roaring downward toward the Dead Sea, the mighty current of the Jordan is very strong at Jericho, especially during the harvest season. Because of the melting snows in the Lebanon mountains, and the overflowing of the Jordan during the month of Nisan, crossing the river at this season was regarded in ancient times as a very extraordinary feat. It is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:15 as a heroic act on the part of the brave Gaddites. Undoubtedly the rushing waters had overflowed the banks when the two spies crossed the river a few days before. But it was altogether impossible for the children of Israel with their wives and children to cross the mighty current. What was a great obstacle for man was a great opportunity for a miracle for the omnipotent God.

After Joshua rose early in the morning and commanded the people to move to the water's edge, they abode there three days. Here they were given instructions as to how to proceed across the water and told to sanctify themselves, "for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you" (Joshua 3:5). In the morning, as commanded, the priests of Israel led the procession to the brink of Jordan's waters. Miraculously when the priest entered the water, bearing the ark of the covenant, the mighty Jordan River "stood upon an heap."

Faith that had faltered at Kadesh forty years before was now tested again. When God caused the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, it was for Israel to escape with their lives from the pursuit of the Egyptian foe. Now, however, Israel was on the march and the foe was on the other side of the river. But the crossing of the Jordan was more of an act of faith than the crossing of the Red Sea. Upon leaving Egypt the Israelites saw God part the waters before they entered them. But now the waters were not parted. Not until the soles of the priests' feet touched the water was the river rolled back. It was not an act of obedience following what God had already done, but an act of faith which caused the priests to enter the swift current of the mighty Jordan

We should never fear God's leading, even into the turbulent Jordans of our lives, for God stands behind His commands with His omnipotence. Trusting God is taking that step of faith. Trust Him today for today's step of faith.

MORNING HYMN
Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

Apr 25, 2006 at 19:14 o\clock

Watchfulness against Sin

Are we on guard against sin in our life ?

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: 2 Samuel 11:1-27 

Steps to Sin

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

A historian once observed that Abraham Lincoln died in time to be great. That is, if he had lived longer, his greatness may well have been tarnished with mistakes. David was not so fortunate. He lived to make his greatest mistake and to commit his greatest sin with Bathsheba.

David was at war with the children of Ammon, east of the Jordan River. He sent Joab his captain to seize the city of Rabbah, what is today Amman, the capital of Jordan. David remained behind at Jerusalem perhaps because he had become self-indulgent and faced a growing inclination toward enjoying the luxurious life of the royal palace. At any rate, remaining behind ultimately led to his downfall. The steps which David took to fall into sin are characteristic steps. They are identical to those taken by Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), by Achan (Joshua 7:21) and by others. Here are those steps.

First, David was strolling in the evening on the roof of his palace when he saw a beautiful woman bathing in an adjacent house. Sin always begins with sight, or some sensual exposure. The sight of sin is not sin itself. Occasionally we cannot help but look upon sin. But the second glance at what we should not see is always sin.

Second, David "sent and inquired after the woman." Had he not given in to his lust for the bathing woman, he would never have sent for information about her. In essence, he desired her and lusted after her when he knew he could not have her. The sight of sin the second time led David to illicit desire.

Third, 2 Samuel 11:4 indicates, "And David sent messengers, and took her." Like Eve in the garden of Eden and Achan at the battle of Jericho, David now actively participated in sin. These steps in the cycle of sin are universal; they cause us to stumble, as they caused David to stumble. In order to break this cycle, we must be aware that one step always leads to the next. David failed to recognize this, and it led to disgrace in the kingdom of Israel.

To have the king commit adultery was bad enough; but sin is never a private matter. It always involves others. Thus the fourth step in David's sin was to involve an innocent party in his sin. In this case the innocent party was Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba.

When Bathsheba told David that she was with child and that it was his child, he unsuccessfully attempted to divert the consequences of his sin. He demanded that Uriah be returned to Jerusalem under the guise of wanting to know how the battle was going. He sent Uriah to his house, assuming that after Uriah had spent an evening at home with his wife, everyone would assume that she was pregnant with his child. But Uriah would not enter the house. A disappointed David even attempted to get Uriah drunk so that he would go home, but to no avail. The die was cast; everyone would know that Bathsheba's child was not Uriah's.

In the morning David callously caused Uriah to be the bearer of his own death warrant to Joab (2 Samuel 11:14). According to the king's instructions, Joab placed Uriah in the heat of the battle so that he would be killed. David now added murder to the crime of adultery. This is hardly what we would expect from the man God had chosen to be king of Israel. It is what we have come to expect, however, when one lingers at the door of sin. Lingering at the door of sin is an open invitation to enter that door, and David stayed too long on the top of his roof while viewing the bathing Bathsheba. Had he fled from the presence of temptation, he would not have entered the cycle of sin. You and I must flee temptation and the presence of evil if we would remain true to God. None of us has developed a resistant strain to the bacteria of sin.

MORNING HYMN
Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin
Each vict'ry will help you
Some other to win
Fight manfully onward,
Dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus,
He will carry you through.

Apr 24, 2006 at 17:56 o\clock

Passing through Troubles

Can we find serenity in the midst of trouble ?

Title: Thou Wilt Revive Me

Author: Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Source: Streams in the Desert
Scripture Reference: Psalm 138:7 

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me" (Ps. 138:7).

The Hebrew rendering of the above is "go on in the center of trouble." What descriptive words! We have called on God in the day of trouble; we have pleaded His promise of deliverance but no deliverance has been given; the enemy has continued oppressing until we were in the very thick of the fight, in the center of trouble. Why then trouble the Master any further?

When Martha said, "Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died," our Lord met her lack of hope with His further promise, "Thy brother shall rise again." And when we walk "in the center of trouble" and are tempted to think like Martha that the time of deliverance is past, He meets us too with a promise from His Word. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me."

Though His answer has so long delayed, though we may still continue to "go on" in the midst of trouble, "the center of trouble" is the place where He revives, not the place where He fails us.

When in the hopeless place, the continued hopeless place, is the very time when He will stretch forth His hand against the wrath of our enemies and perfect that which concerneth us, the very time when He will make the attack to cease and fail and come to an end. What occasion is there then for fainting? --Aphra White

THE EYE OF THE STORM

"Fear not that the whirlwind shall carry thee hence,
Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,
Nor shrink from the whips of the terrible hail,
But pass through the edge to the heart of the gale,
For there is a shelter, sunlighted and warm,
And Faith sees her God through the eye of the storm.

"The passionate tempest with rush and wild roar
And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,
The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,
And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains,
Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,
For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.

"Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,
Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,
For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,
And the light of God's heavens, His love shall make thine,
Let no gloom dim thine eyes, but uplift them on high
To the face of thy God and the blue of His sky.

"The storm is thy shelter from danger and sin,
And God Himself takes thee for safety within;
The tempest with Him passeth into deep calm,
And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm.
Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form;
God smiles on His child in the eye of the storm."

This classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert. This first edition was published in 1925 and the wording is preserved as originally written. Connotations of words may have changed over the years and are not meant to be offensive.

Apr 20, 2006 at 18:08 o\clock

In the Power of the Spirit of God

How do we find the power to face obstacles in our life ?

Title: By Thy Spirit

Author: Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Source: Streams in the Desert
Scripture Reference: Zechariah 4:6 

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).

My way led up a hill, and right at the foot I saw a boy on a bicycle. He was pedalling up hill against the wind, and evidently found it a tremendously hard work. Just as he was working most strenuously and doing his best painfully, there came a trolley car going in the same direction--up the hill.

It was not going too fast for the boy to get behind it, and with one hand to lay hold of the bar at the back. Then you know what happened. He went up that hill like a bird. Then it flashed upon me:

"Why, I am like that boy on the bicycle in my weariness and weakness. I am pedalling up hill against all kinds of opposition, and am almost worn out with the task. But here at hand is a great available power, the strength of the Lord Jesus.

"I have only to get in touch with Him and to maintain communication with Him, though it may be only one little finger of faith, and that will be enough to make His power mine for the doing of this bit of service that just now seems too much for me." And I was helped to dismiss my weariness and to realize this truth. --The Life of Fuller Purpose

ABANDONED

Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Seeking all His fulness at whatever cost;
Cutting all the shore-lines, launching in the deep
Of His mighty power--strong to save and keep.

Utterly abandoned to the Holy Ghost!
Oh! the sinking, sinking, until self is lost!
Until the emptied vessel lies broken at His feet;
Waiting till His filling shall make the work complete.

Utterly abandoned to the will of God;
Seeking for no other path than my Master trod;
Leaving ease and pleasure, making Him my choice,
Waiting for His guidance, listening for His voice.

Utterly abandoned! no will of my own;
For time and for eternity, His, and His alone;
All my plans and purposes lost in His sweet will,
Having nothing, yet in Him all things possessing still.

Utterly abandoned! 'tis so sweet to be
Captive in His bonds of love, yet so wondrous free;
Free from sin's entanglements, free from doubt and fear,
Free from every worry, burden, grief or care.

Utterly abandoned! oh, the rest is sweet,
As I tarry, waiting, at His blessed feet;
Waiting for the coming of the Guest divine,
Who my inmost being shall perfectly refine.

Lo! He comes and fills me, Holy Spirit sweet!
I, in Him, am satisfied! I, in Him, complete!
And the light within my soul shall nevermore grow dim
While I keep my covenant--abandoned unto Him!
--Author Unknown

This classic devotional is the unabridged edition of Streams in the Desert. This first edition was published in 1925 and the wording is preserved as originally written. Connotations of words may have changed over the years and are not meant to be offensive.

Apr 19, 2006 at 19:29 o\clock

Willingness to Obey

Are you willing to do what God asks ?

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Genesis 22:1-14 

Obedience

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Obedience to God’s call is the prerequisite to God’s blessing. If we are not willing to relinquish our own interests in compliance with God's call to duty, we should not expect His blessing automatically to be ours. To Abraham the Lord promised, "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2). Before these promises were realized, however, the patriarch had to prove his absolute obedience unto God. Four times Abraham endured the test of obedience and each time it was related to separation. Initially he received the divine call to leave kindred and country behind and journey to an unknown land. Later he found his nephew's herdsmen at odds with his own and Abraham had to separate himself once more from his kin. Still later this obedient servant of God found his wife Sarah engaged in a jealous battle with her handmaid and Abraham had to bid a sad good-bye to Hagar and his young son of the flesh, Ishmael. Each of these events tested Abraham's obedience to God and each was passed with flying colors.

However, Abraham was yet to undergo a final test of loyalty. This was to be the fourth and supreme test of separation. The Lord said, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I tell thee of" (Genesis 22:2).

Abraham's parents were long gone. Lot was gone. Ishmael was now gone. But as long as Isaac was alive, God's promise of blessing was yet intact. Now, however, was the son of promise to be sacrificed? Was he to be gone as well? You can well imagine the consternation in Abraham's heart. He had given up so much; must he give up his only son whom he loved? Reason told him no. But Abraham immediately brought his reason into the captivity of his faith. As soon as he received God's call to duty Abraham took no counsel with flesh and blood but rose early in the morning and set out with Isaac to the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:3). True obedience neither procrastinates nor questions.

The journey was upwards of sixty miles. On the third day Abraham bid the two young men accompanying them to remain behind with the donkey while he and his son went yonder to worship. Abraham grabbed the container of fire and a knife, while the wood for the burnt offering was laid upon the back of his only son, Isaac. How reminiscent this is of Abraham's greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who also bore the wood upon which He was sacrificed as a sin offering for us (John 19:17).

Once alone with his father, Isaac pointed out that they had fire and wood but no lamb for the sacrifice. In faith Abraham replied, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (Genesis 22:8). Yet as they came to Moriah, Abraham built an altar, laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his only son, gently laying him on the altar. As he raised the knife to slay his son, Abraham must have spent an agonizing eternity with his hand in the air. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord called out to him, forbidding Isaac to be slain. A ram was provided and Abraham offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. This totally unexpected ending to Abraham's personal ordeal prompted him to name that place Jehovah-jireh: the Lord will provide.

The supreme test was over. The Lord had not tempted Abraham with evil but rather provided a proving ground for his unflinching obedience. Now Abraham could indeed be the father of a great nation and be greatly blessed of the Lord. Like the patriarch, all who hear God's call to duty must tread the path of absolute obedience before we discover the many blessings along the way. "Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD, that walketh in His ways...happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee" (Psalm 128:1-2).

MORNING HYMN
But we never can prove,
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay,
For the favor He shows
And the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Apr 18, 2006 at 19:27 o\clock

Guilt & Fear

How do we deal with fear; where does fear come from ?

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 43:1-18 Genesis 43:15 Acts 24:16 

Guilt Produces Fear

Genesis 43:1-18

Jacob reluctantly let his sons take Benjamin to Egypt, and he gave them instructions as to what they should take along so they might be well received.

The sons did as Jacob instructed. They "took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph" (Gen. 43:15).

When Joseph saw his brothers--and Benjamin with them--he commanded the ruler of his house, "Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon" (v. 16).

Then conscience did its work again. The brothers had such guilt concerning Joseph that anything caused them to greatly fear--especially in the strange land of Egypt.

The ruler of Joseph's house "did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph's house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph's house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses" (vv. 17,18).

The brothers had been so brave before when they sold Joseph into slavery, but now even hospitality brought fear to them. When a person is guilty of sin, almost everything brings fear to him.

"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men" (Acts 24:16).

Apr 12, 2006 at 23:55 o\clock

God's Love and Patience

Does God really care about our lives ?

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Jeremiah 7:1-34 

Love and Patience

Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.

There is no greater contrast in all the Bible than the love and patience of God with the general disregard for that love and patience by men. Perhaps this theme is more clearly seen in the prophecy of Jeremiah than in any other. Jeremiah is one of the most colorful figures in Hebrew history. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that we know more about his personality and character than we do about any other Old Testament prophets. Called of God when he was but a child (Jeremiah 1:6), Jeremiah knew personally the love and patience of God and prophesied for Jehovah for nearly half a century. His concern was to bring Israel back to God in repentance and faith. Tragically, he stood in the mainstream of an ungrateful people who were rushing to certain destruction, yet they sought not God.

Jehovah was so concerned for His people that He commissioned Jeremiah to "stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD" (Jeremiah 7:2). God would not permit His people to face imminent destruction and death without the opportunity to repent and be restored. Jeremiah's task was to stand between the Jews and certain destruction.

In a delightful picture of the concern of Jehovah for His people, Jeremiah 7 twice indicates that God did not simply commission the prophet and then withdraw Himself from interest in the Jews. Jeremiah 7:13 says, "And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up and speaking but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not." It is natural for anyone who has loved ones facing pending danger to show diligence in dealing with it. The same is true for Jehovah God. It is no impassive God who is seen here. God takes a profound interest in His people. This indicates that God is not disengaged from His people or the affairs that affect them. He mourns over their sin and rejoices in their salvation. Still they do not heed His call for repentance and thus He must deliver them into the hand of the enemy.

The expression of Jehovah's rising early is strengthened in verse 25. Here He reminds His people, "Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them." It is not the prophets alone who are said to rise early with the message of repentance, but God Himself. Day after day, He rises to recommission anew these prophets with their life-changing message.

And what will be Israel's response to this consistent love and concern of Jehovah? Joshua 7:26 indicates, "Yet they hearkened not unto Me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck; they did worse than their fathers." What a contrast! God calls and commissions prophets to bring His message to a wayward people. He rises early every morning and sends forth His prophets. Still, day after day, His people do not hearken unto Him but harden their necks and become even more stubborn in their sin.

Today God is just as concerned about us as He was about Old Testament Israel. He showers His mercy on us as He did on them. He warns us of our sin as He warned the Jews. And much like them, we do not listen, nor do we heed the warnings of those whom He has raised to call us to repentance. Remember, before we arose early to seek God today, He had already risen to prepare this day for us. In response to His great love and concern for us, let us serve Him faithfully today.

MORNING HYMN
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heav'n to earth come down;
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter ev'ry trembling heart.

Apr 11, 2006 at 23:25 o\clock

Finding Joy in God

What's the best way to find happiness ?

Author: Mary Wilder Tileston
Source: Joy and Strength
Scripture Reference Psalm 89:16 

Choosing Happiness

In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day.
PSALMS 89:16

Now first to souls who thus awake
Seems earth a fatherland:
A new and endless life they take
With rapture from His hand.
The fears of death and of the grave
Are whelmed beneath the sea,
And every heart, now light and brave,
May face the things to be.
FRIEDRICH VON HARDENBERG

HAPPINESS, let us understand this well, is as truly our portion here as above; it cannot fail to fall within the lot of those who have chosen for their portion Him whose nature is one with infinite, unalienable Joy. God, in communicating Himself to the soul, of necessity communicates happiness; and all souls in union with Him have returned to their central rest, and are happy, in exact proportion to the closeness and fulness of their union,--happy, in other words, by so much as they have within them of God.
DORA GREENWELL

HAPPINESS, Heaven itself, is nothing else but a perfect conformity, a cheerful and eternal compliance of all the powers of the soul with the Will of God.
SAMUEL SHAW, 1669

Apr 10, 2006 at 19:22 o\clock

God's Training

How does God train us to be useful for Him ?

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Hebrews 12:1-11 James 1:4 Job 5:17 

Training Through Chastening

Hebrews 12:1-11

If you are now going through testing, there are three things you should especially remember.

First, God's way is the wisest way. Training is always accompanied by some type of hardship.

Even athletes realize they cannot properly train without giving up some of the pleasures of life and enduring the hardship of training. God trains us through chastening.

Second, God's time is the best time. God was working out His purpose through Joseph. It was impossible for Joseph to realize it at the time, but later he could look back and see that God's time had been exactly right--everything had worked out.

But imagine the lonely years of waiting. God does not act too early nor too late. He is never in a hurry but accomplishes things in His own time.

Too many of us either lag behind or run ahead of God's time. But we need to remember that the clock of divine providence keeps strict time. Because of our circumstances it may appear to be slow at times and fast at others, but the all-wise God knows precisely when to act.

Third, God's grace is sufficient. He will give us the grace we need to be patient.

James 1:4 says, "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." The word "perfect" means "mature" or "complete." God is seeking to teach us valuable lessons so we will be mature believers.

"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty" (Job 5:17).

Apr 8, 2006 at 18:31 o\clock

God Understands our Deepest Hurts

How do we deal with heartaches in our life ?

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 40:9-15 Hebrews 4:14-16 Psalm 103:13-14 

God Knows Our Heartaches

Genesis 40:9-15

Having assured the chief butler that he would be restored to his former responsibility, Joseph urged him, "But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon" (Gen. 40:14,15).

These verses reveal the heart and thoughts of Joseph. They show how human he really was. But his trials were inhuman; they were extremely hard to bear.

There was nothing wrong with Joseph's seeking release, but he found that waiting for God's time is often one of the hardest things to do. Joseph was not rebuked by God for seeking his release because God knew the heartache Joseph had.

Regardless of what you are going through, God understands your deepest emotions; He knows how you feel.

Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust" (Ps. 103:13,14).

Apr 7, 2006 at 19:13 o\clock

Strength for Today

What do we do when we are overwhelmed ?

Author: Mary Wilder Tileston
Source: Joy and Strength
Scripture Reference Psalm 142:3 

All At Once

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path.

PSALMS 142:3

THE work which we count so hard to do,
He makes it easy, for He works too;
The days that are long to live are His,--
A bit of His bright eternities;
And close to our need His helping is.

SUSAN COOLIDGE

DO not yield to the temptation of looking at everything at once, as if everything would happen at once, and all the events of the day be crowded into an hour. Do not thus forecast, but take each thing as it comes to you, and look upon it as the present expression of the will of God concerning you; then regard the next in the same way, and thus receive your day piece by piece from Him who will remember always when He gives you work to do, that you need strength to do it.

Often, when you have almost fainted in spirit, the thought comes, "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, what shalt thou do with the horsemen?" Put it from you, it is a faithless thought; if you need more strength, you will have it, be sure of that; or the call to greater exertion may never come to you. Your business is with the present; leave the future in His hands who will be sure to do the best, the very best for you.
PRISCILLA MAURICE

Apr 6, 2006 at 18:34 o\clock

God's Faithfulness

Does God ever give up on us ?

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 39:13-23 Hebrews 13:5 John 10:28 

God Never Deserts His Own

Genesis 39:13-23

What a lie Potiphar's wife told about Joseph! He had refused her invitation to sin because he did not want to dishonor God, and now through her lie God was seemingly being dishonored anyhow.

When Potiphar heard his wife's report, he became very angry. He took Joseph and "put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison" (Gen. 39:20). Could this be the reward Joseph received for his faithfulness to God?

Although everything seemed to be going against him, the Bible emphasizes that "the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison" (v. 21).

Even though Joseph's situation seemed hopeless, God never left him for one moment.

We, too, have the assurance of God's Word: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). In the original language, this phrase is very emphatic: "I will by no means leave you nor will I by any means forsake you."

God will never leave us helpless nor abandoned. Therefore, "we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (v. 6).

Do you have this confidence? Regardless of how adverse your circumstances are, as a Christian do you know that God will never desert you?

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

Apr 5, 2006 at 19:01 o\clock

God's Distinctions

How does God separate the righteous and the unrighteous ?

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Exodus 8:1-32 

God's Separation

And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

In a great many respects the righteous and unrighteous appear to be treated alike in this life. God "maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). However, lest the righteous begin feeling sorry for themselves, we must not forget that a day of separation is coming when the Shepherd will divide His sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33). The sun will not forever rise on the unrighteous.

But if we look more closely, even in this life God puts a division between His people and those of the world. Satan complained that God had made a hedge around Job. Solomon said that the Lord "is a shield to those who walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of justice, and preserveth the way of His saints" (Proverbs 2:7-8).

A prime example of the Lord's protection for His people is the plagues of Egypt. After his death, there arose a king over Egypt who knew not Joseph. The Israelites became slaves with taskmasters set over them to afflict them. Moses was called of God to lead the Jews out of this land of bondage and into the promised land. But when Moses and Aaron confronted the Egyptian king about letting God's people go, the pharaoh only increased the burden on the Jews. The ruler hardened his heart and there began in Egypt a series of plagues the likes of which have not been seen since anywhere in the world.

First, their water supply turned to blood. Then frogs covered the land. Next, it was the plague of lice or gnats. After this the Lord said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh" (Exodus 8:20). The man of God warned the Egyptian king that if he would not let God's people go, the land would become black with flies.

These were not ordinary houseflies but horseflies. They are described by the historian Philo and other travelers as a very severe scourge. More numerous and annoying than houseflies, these gadflies fasten themselves to the human body, especially around the edges of the eyelids, and suck blood from the agonized victim. They would swarm and fill the houses of the Egyptians causing severe pain and distress.

But here for the first time an additional promise is made. God said He would set apart the land of Goshen, where His people Israel dwelt, and absolutely no swarm of flies would enter there. A division between God's people and the people of Egypt was to be formed. In fact, this division meant redemption. God would redeem Israel and protect them from the devastating swarm.

The Bible clearly indicates the purpose of this division was "to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth." God's setting apart of the land of Goshen was calculated to impress the worldly Egyptians that Jehovah alone is God. This was no trick of Egyptian magic; it was the direct intervention of God in human affairs. Jehovah caused a plague to fall on the unrighteous and peace to fall on the righteous.

Even today the Lord is separating a people for His name. The believer is set apart as a testimony to the world that Jehovah is God and He is in absolute control of the universe. God's people are to be a distinct and blessed group, in the world but not of it. We are set apart from the penalty of sin that plagues the world around us. Likewise we are set apart unto service for the God who saved us. Let's praise Him today for His grace in our behalf.

MORNING HYMN
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home!

Apr 4, 2006 at 19:05 o\clock

Obedience thru Suffering

What about adverse circumstances in our lives ?

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Luke 16:10 Genesis 39:1-6 

A Life of Faithfulness

Genesis 39:1-6

One of the great lessons that Joseph learned in Egypt was the lesson of obedience through suffering. He did not understand the mysterious circumstances, but he allowed God to be his circumstances.

Because of this, God also became his basic environment--Joseph lived in the sphere of the spiritual even though he was a slave in the house of Potiphar.

There was idolatry and corruption all around him, but Joseph was able to remain sensitive to sin and to grow even stronger in his confidence in God because his attention was fixed on God.

Joseph was only 17 years of age, but because of his simple trust in God, he performed his duties as a slave to the utmost of his power. He was indwelt by the Spirit; therefore, it was God's power that gave him the ability he needed.

Instead of complaining, Joseph faithfully served as a slave. This was because he was serving not just a Gentile master--he was serving God.

Joseph's life of faithfulness was obvious to Potiphar. God's Word says that Joseph's "master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand" (Gen. 39:3).

Even unbelievers are able to discern the Spirit-filled laborer. Do those who work closely with you see your faithfulness and observe that God is spiritually prospering your life?

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." (Luke 16:10).

Apr 3, 2006 at 16:14 o\clock

Christ's Resurrection

Did Jesus Resurrect ?

The most powerful sign of all that Jesus is who he claims to be, namely the Son of God, is his resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). This is a question with huge implications: Did it happen? Is the Resurrection story the great exception to the "usual dreary end of human life?"Many now consider the Resurrection to be one of the most sure and certain events of history. A critical debate on the question "Did Jesus rise from the dead?" took place recently between world-renowned atheistic philosopher, Dr. Anthony Flew, and New Testament scholar and Christian, Dr. Gary Habermas. A panel of five philosophers from leading universities judged the outcome. What was the conclusion? Four votes for Habermas. None for Flew.[1] And one draw. Flew was judged to have retreated into philosophical sophistry while evading the widely-acknowledged historical facts cited by Dr. Habermas.

TWELVE WIDELY-ACKNOWLEDGED HISTORICAL FACTS

These facts (per Habermas) include:[2] 

  1. Jesus died due to the rigors of crucifixion.

  2. Jesus was buried.

  3. Jesus' death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.

  4. Many scholars hold that Jesus' tomb was discovered to be empty just a few days later.

  5. At this time, the disciples had real experiences that they believed to be literal experiences of the risen Jesus.

  6. The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify with Jesus, to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection, even being willing to die for this belief.

  7. The resurrection was central to their message.

  8. The resurrection was proclaimed in Jerusalem where the empty tomb was. As a result...

  9. The church was born and grew...

  10. ...with Sunday the primary day of worship.

  11. James, Jesus' skeptical brother, was converted by the resurrection. [See: "James" in the WebBible Encyclopedia]

  12. Paul, the great persecutor of Christianity, was converted by the resurrection (Acts 9:3-9, 17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1)

So momentous was this single event in the First Century that its effects have been described as a "widening circle of ripples" from a "boulder crashing into the pool of history."[3] In one of the oddest turns in history, a message centering on a dead "criminal" (1 Corinthians 1:23) came to be proclaimed as "good news." Equally amazing was the extent of the Empire-wide transformation following its proclamation. The impetus for this message was the conviction that the same Jesus who was crucified was now alive again. These facts are admitted even by knowledgeable skeptics.[4]

The Resurrection story of course has had its critics, even from the very beginning. From the account of the first guards in Matthew 28:11f, all the way to the present, there have been efforts to explain away his resurrection. Each new attempt, however, is more perverse than those which came before,[5] while still failing to account for the range of indisputable facts.

Let us now consider...

Here are the SIX SKEPTICAL OBJECTIONS most frequently used by critics of Christ's resurrection. Click on each to learn more.

  1. Christ's resurrection was a myth, not history.

  2. The Resurrection stories full of contradictions.

  3. Miracles are not possible.

  4. The body was stolen.

  5. Jesus only fainted and then recovered from his wounds.

  6. The witnesses were just "seeing things."

http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t008.html