Wednesday, September 30, 2015

That I May Know Him

"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." ~Philippians 3:7-11
Do you and I count all things loss that we may gain Christ? Are we willing to sacrifice anything--food, sleep, entertainment--to get to know Him more? How desperate are you to know Him?

This is a message the Lord has really been challenging my heart with.  You see, it is through knowing God that we gain strength.  It is by knowing Him that we gain faith and confidence for the tasks ahead.  How can we trust a God Whom we do not know?  How can we love this Savior Whom we do not know?

Do you know that God delights to be known?  

He wants you to know Him!  Jeremiah 9:24 says, "but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”"  He wants us to know Him

Jesus outlined eternal life when He prayed to His Father in John 17:3: "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."

I'm not talking about simply knowing that you died for you and rose again on the third day. 

But do you really know Him?  

Do you know Him like you know your best friend?  Could you tell me the thoughts and desires of His heart?  Do you know His character like the back of your hand?  Does just the thought of Him bring a holy fear into your heart and an equally amazing feeling of love?

In times of trouble, do you rely on the knowledge of Him, or do you turn back again to your own fears?  Is your knowledge head knowledge, or heart knowledge? Does knowing Him change everything about what you say and do?  If it doesn't then you don't truly know Him.

The Hebrew word for "know" means "to perceive; know by experience; recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess; consider; to be skillful in the knowledge of."  It is so much more than just reading a couple verses on His mercy and "knowing" that He is merciful.

This is knowledge gained through time and experience.

Proverbs 3:6 puts it this way: "In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." This word "acknowledge" here is the same Hebrew word for know! Do you know Him so well that you acknowledge Him in all your ways?

I know I have a lot of learning yet to do.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Did you hear that? Even just one of His characteristics surpasses all understanding!  Imagine learning His countless trillions of characteristics!

It is the study of a lifetime. But it is the most precious study ever.

I have been learning this week how Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  And let me tell you, that knowledge is so precious.  It has drawn me closer to Him in so many ways.

What about you?

Are you pursuing the knowledge of your Savior? Do you count all things loss to know Him Who is beyond comprehension?  Remember that although we can never fully know Him, what knowledge He does reveal to us will be beyond our wildest imaginations.  Are you willing to seek His face today so that you might get to know Him better?  He is waiting for you.

2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stand on Truth--Not Emotions

"Suddenly, I felt enveloped in a spiritual vacuum. “Lord, where have You gone? What have I said or done to grieve You? Why have You withdrawn Your presence from me?” My prayers, my expressions of worship, seemed to go no higher than the ceiling, there seemed to be no sounding board. 
I sank to the floor and quietly and purposefully began to search the Scriptures hidden in my heart . . . I quoted Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man, that He should lie . . . hath He said, and shall He not do it?” “Lord, I believe all that the Bible says. I do walk by faith and not by sight. I do not need to feel You near, because Your Word says You will never leave me nor forsake me. Lord, I confirm my faith, I believe. 
The words of Hebrews 11:1 welled up, unbeckoned, to fill my mind, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence, of things not seen.” The evidence of things not seen… evidence not seen—that was what I put my trust in—not in feeling or moments of ecstasy, but in the unchanging Person of Jesus Christ
Suddenly I realized that I was singing, “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.” I was assured that my faith rested not on feelings, not on moments of ecstasy, but on the Person of my matchless, changeless Savior, in Whom is no shadow caused by turning. ~Darlene Deibler Rose

Oftentimes the circumstances around us scream at us to deny our Lord--to doubt Him.  But remember, no matter what you are feeling, God cannot lie.  He does not change.  What He has promised He will fulfill.  That is a promise we can stake our lives on.

"Let God be true but every man a liar." ~Romans 3:4

No matter what is going on around us, remember Whom you serve.  Trust in Him, no matter what your feelings say.  The devil will try to plague your mind with lies--just as He asked Eve to doubt God's Word, so he will place questions in your mind.

We must not let our emotions control us.

"The difficulty is to keep a tight rein on our emotions. They may remain, but it is not they who are to rule the action. They have no authority. A life lived in God is not lived on the plane of the feelings, but of the will." ~Elizabeth Elliot

You MUST fight lies with TRUTH.

Know God's Word.  Memorize it. Hide it in your heart.  Just as Darlene quoted Numbers 23:19 and Hebrews 11:1 when the devil was placing doubts in her mind, so we must fight Him with Scripture.  Know God's Word and believe it with your whole heart.

God's Word IS true!

But will you believe it?  Will you stand on it? Will you place your trust in it and allow it to prove itself to you?

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Seek My Face"

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, 'Seek My face,'
My heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'”
~Psalm 27:7-8

We've been talking a lot lately about pursuing the Lord with an undivided heart and crying out to Him, and I think this verse continues in that theme.

Here the psalmist is on his voice before the Lord, crying out that the Lord might have mercy on Him.  He begs the Lord with everything in his being, desperate for more of Him.

Imagine this picture for a moment.

David.  On his face before the Lord.  Tears streaming unashamedly down his face. Passion dripping from his every word.

And then he waits.  David pauses his impassioned cry and simply listens.  And then it comes.  A still whisper.  A gentle peace.

"Seek My face."

Just three words.  But they breath out hope.  Behind those words lie a Creator Who longs for an intimate friendship with each of the precious men and women He has created.  "Seek My face," He says.  "Come and talk with Me."  "Draw near and become intimately familiar with My heart."

He calls.  He beckons.  This call was whispered to David, and it has been whispered in my own heart as well.  This summons is meant for each of us.  He wants to know you.  He wants you to know Him.  He longs to be your best Friend, your only desire.

This word here for "seek"means in the Hebrew "to seek, require, desire, exact, or request."   It implies a heart that runs to the Lord, leaving nothing back.  It devotes its entire being to this search and will keep on looking for the One it desires.

This call is for you and me.  Seek His face. Seek His presence.  “Set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God” (1 Chronicles 22:19).

How do we do this?  We must spend time with Him.  We must get to know Him, to become intimate with every detail of His character.  We must daily meditate on who He is, for as we draw close to Him, He will draw near to us.  Seeking His face means spending time before the Lord in prayer.  Approaching His throne of grace with a pure heart and seeking to learn from Him.

And as we respond, "Your face Lord will I seek," we will find something and Someone greater than our hearts could ever have imagined. We will find that our lives are completely transformed as He becomes greater and greater and everything else fades into the background.

God is inviting you to seek His face.  Will you respond?

Will you answer, "Yes, Lord!" And really seek to know Him?  Will you spend time in the Scriptures seeking to know Who He is?  Remember that if you seek, you will find (Matthew 7:7).  Will you seek the face of your Savior?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An Undivided Heart

In this world, we face so many distractions: cell-phones, televisions, the internet, Facebook, advertisements, etc. We are bombarded by every side with temptations and messages trying to steal our time.

In our own lives, our reputation, popularity, selfish pursuits, personal dreams and pursuits, all demand a portion of our time.  We all have demanding agendas with a million and one things on the to-do list.

With all this pressure and temptation, the devil whispers into our heart, Surely you don't have the time to pray...   You are too depressed and anxious to spend time with Christ—you have special circumstances and issues and you just can’t focus on Him right now...

With all these things claiming our attention, how do we respond?  With all this noise, how can we gain strength and peace?

"Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name." ~Psalm 86:11

This must be the cry of our heart.

We are bombarded from every side.  A thousand hands grab hold, trying to keep us from running to the feet of Jesus.  We cannot stand by idly and allow this to happen.  We need Jesus.  He is our only sufficiency.

Jesus is our life!

Think about it for a moment.  Our reputation will not last.  Our Facebook page will not last.  Our movies will not last.  Our personal pursuits will all fade away.  We are wasting our time on these things!  Instead of investing ourselves in such fleeting "pleasures," could we allow ourselves to find the utmost pleasure in the King of kings?

What do you think would happen if we spent all our free time with Him--reading His Word, communing with Him, memorizing Scripture, etc.  How do you think you would change?  Remember that the things that we spend time with are the things we become like.  If we spend time with Jesus, we will find ourselves becoming more and more like Him!

May we echo the cry of Ed McCully:  "I have one desire now—to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it." 

Oh, that we might have an undivided heart, devoted to one and only one purpose: Knowing, loving, and serving our precious Lord.

What does that look like on a practical level?

Examine your schedule.  Keep a time log--writing down exactly what you do with each minute of your day, for two weeks.  At the end of those two weeks sit down and examine your schedule.  Where could you cut out time? Do you find yourself watching two hours of news every evening? Cut it out (remember who is more precious, Jesus Christ or the television).  Do you spend 3 hours on Facebook?  Set a timer for yourself at 30 minutes a day (or something like that) and stick with it.  Do you sleep in till 8:30?  Wake up a little earlier!

Trust me, although what you cut out may seem hard at first (and it will be), keep your eyes fixed on the goal: Jesus Christ.  As you spend more time in His presence, you will learn to value and love your time with Him more and more.

But what do you actually do with all that new free time?  

Here are a few suggestions:

-Pray.  Keep a journal and record all the requests you can think of.  It may be a little hard at first to pray for thirty minutes or an hour, but as you persevere, you will find it gets easier and easier.  Pray through the Psalms. Pray for your country, the persecuted, and the unsaved.

-Read the Bible.  John is one of my favorite places to start with.  Record your findings in a journal.

-Memorize Scripture.  Pick a few verses that combat a particular temptation you are facing and commit them to memory.  Spend time thinking about what those verse mean and allow your heart to abide in them.

-Read missionary biographies.  These stories help encourage and inspire you in your own faith.  Some of the men and women who have gone before you served the Lord with an undivided heart. Learn from their lives.

Ask the Lord to lead you and guide you. Ask Him to give you an undivided heart.

And He will.  He invites you to come away with Him.  To be entirely His.  And in His presence you will find joy you never knew possible.  You will find love you thought couldn't exist.  And you will find a Savior worthy of all your praise.  May you be blessed with an undivided heart.

Note: I do not have this all together.  My heart is so wicked, and so divided.  But how much I long for an undivided heart.  I am in this journey with you.  I have made many mistakes, and the Lord is working just as much on me as He is on anyone else.  Oh, for an undivided heart in my own life!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Encouraging Others With Scripture

1 Thessalonians 4:18 says, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

What does this author mean?  

Paul refers to how, as Christians, we must comfort each other with the words of Scripture. 

That word “comfort” means “to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in a way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, admonishment, beseeching, etc.” So not only does it imply encouragement and spiritual rejuvenation of life, but also exhortation and instruction. Colossians 3:16 says that God’s Word is the perfect tool to accomplish this mission:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

God’s Word is the perfect tool for admonishing and encouraging one another in the Lord.  Why?

Because God’s Word has the power to encourage believers. 

 It was designed to encourage and admonish others. Unlike our mere words, the Holy Bible has the power of the Spirit of God living inside it. It can pierce hearts. In fact, according to Isaiah, it will not return void.

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

And so what is the purpose of God’s Word? 2 Timothy 3:16 reveals the answer:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”

These words have been given for instruction and encouragement in the way of righteousness.

Acts 20:31 adds, “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

According to this verse, God’s Word has the power to build us up. It has the power to build other believers up as well. It is our job, as commanded in Scripture, to share these powerful verses with others. Then we get to watch as God uses those verses to transform hearts and minds.

In Isaiah 50:4, the prophet Isaiah reveals that the Lord has inspired him to speak encouragement into the lives of others.
“The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.”

These encouraging words have been recorded for us in the Scriptures. The same words that had the power to give “a word in season to him who is weary” has the power even today to encourage and comfort believers in the trials and afflictions that they may face.

Indeed, many times throughout Psalm 119, David highlights the importance of the Scriptures to restore and encourage his soul. He says, “This [God’s Word] is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has given me life” (Psalm 119:50).

In fact, David points out that “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” (Psalm 119:92) God’s Word was the very thing that gave comfort to his soul. It can do the same in our lives as well.

Sometimes in affliction, the pain or wrong thinking can blind our thoughts to the truth of God’s Word. A friend who knows truth can share truth with that one that they may have missed. This is a scriptural principle and is very beautiful. God’s Word was created to encourage and comfort the weary soul.  Let us use the tools that God has given us for encouragement frequently to inspire those around us to wholeheartedly pursue Christ.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why Memorize Scripture -- Testimonies

I have always found it helpful to hear testimonies from other believers who have walked the road before me in this memorization journey. A testimony has great power, especially when we are discouraged. So that is what I would like to do now.

This is the story from a young lady about how she first began memorizing: 

“I grew up in a Christian home, so my parents always had me memorizing Scripture from a young age. In middle school, I started Awanas, which is a youth Bible program that involves much memorization. However, the thing that prompted me to start memorizing of my own initiative — not because my parents or youth leaders told me to — was because of my youth pastor's testimony. He talked about how he had memorized Philippians and how now, whenever he counsels people, he always turns to Philippians because he knows it so well and it's on the forefront of his mind. That story made a huge impact on me — I wanted to know the Bible like that and have that help for witnessing to others or even when battling temptations personally.”

Another daughter of the King shares how she and her sister have been encouraged through Scripture memory: 

“For me personally, it's encouraging to know Scripture because my sister and I can talk about things in the bible and verses we've learned and encourage each other or help each other with questions we have.”

Emilie shares why she believes we should memorize Scripture: 

“Memorizing Scripture will make God's word more available to you - you may not always have a Bible with you when you're at that party and someone asks you about what you believe in or you just need a verse to remind you of something. Constantly reading and rereading Scripture to memorize it will make you mull over it more, and certain words and phrases you only skimmed before may pop out at you. Most importantly (in my opinion), it allows the Holy Spirit to constantly have "weapons" available in your mind to battle the sin inside. Books can be taken away, but not your mind.”

One 23-year-old shares her struggles with memorization and how God has helped her overcome them: 

“Sometimes I get behind on reviewing verses; they just build up until I have so many to review that it is really discouraging to think about it. Because of this, there have been a couple times I took a really long ‘break’ from memorizing. But God is faithful and when He sees that the time is right He encourages me through other peoples' testimonies, through reading the Bible, through sermons, or other mediums to get back to memorizing. Lately He's been showing me a more practical side of memorization--being able to use promises of the Bible in praying for people--which has kept me motivated so that the review doesn't pile up.”

The same girl tells about her discovery while memorizing God’s Word: 

“People say that the more you memorize, the easier it becomes. I never realized the truth in that until I had been memorizing for a while. I was finishing up the book of James, and for about a week I was taking 50-minute long walks and memorizing as I walked. I was memorizing 12 verses at a time that way! That's when it hit me--when I first started memorizing, there's no way I would have been able to do that. So the more you practice the easier it really does get.”

Here’s an inspiring story of how memorization impacts our every decision: 

“The most significant time I can think of was when I was looking for guidance in making an important decision. I had already made a choice that I thought was in accordance with God's will, but this particular day I just felt very unsettled in that choice and felt very strongly that I had to fast and pray all that morning until I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what God's will was. So I went to a nearby park and spent all morning there, praying and thinking and writing and reading the Bible. At one point as I was writing out once again the pros and cons, a Bible verse that I had memorized a couple weeks before came to mind. I decided that when I was finished I would look it up and read the context, as it really seemed to have nothing to do with my situation. But when I did look it up and read in context, God was really able to speak to me through that passage, and I left the park around noon with a certainty about what choice I needed to make. And God was able to give that to me because of that verse I had memorized.”

Allison (A different one) offers these words of encouragement: 

“Stay strong! The benefits of memorization far outweigh those of relying on a paper Book. You will benefit immensely in your spiritual life, as well as benefitting others. Never give up on God. If you are having a difficult time, persevere. As you memorize, it becomes easier and easier as you get to know God's Word more deeply. Be it memorizing, reciting, studying, or simply reading, you will never regret a single moment spent in His Word.”


“Do not quit! It is easy to quit, but very hard to re-start. And Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us to 'Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth...' If we wait until we're grown-ups, we'll only have less time, money, etc. And always do it to Christ's glory!! 'And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ' (Colossians 3:23-24).”

I pray that you have been inspired and encouraged today. I echo the words above, don’t give up! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Crying out to God

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise."
~Psalm 51:17

"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit." ~Psalm 34:18

The Lord has been teaching me a lot lately about drawing near to Him with a humble heart and crying out to Him.

As I have studied the life of Jesus in the first twelve chapters of John, the Lord has taught me one thing in particular: 

The Lord never forces Himself on us. 

He went into the temple and waited for the people to come to Him to be taught.  He asked the diseased man if he wished to be healed instead of just healing him.  Stories like these (and so many more) demonstrate how Jesus does not force His healing on us, rather He waits for us to approach Him and cry out to Him.

As I've been memorizing in the Psalms, I've seen over and over again how the Lord has strengthened David's heart.  But it is only after he has thrown himself at His feet and cried out to Him.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..."

Have you ever wondered what it means to be "poor in spirit," as Jesus mentions as blessed in the beatitudes?  As I have meditated on this verse over the past week, the Lord has shown my heart that it means to mourn our own worthlessness.  To be humble in spirit.  To be broken over our own sin and horrible natures.  To thoroughly despise our pride and self-centeredness.

James 4 speaks so well on this topic:

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (vs. 8-10).

If we desire the Lord to work in our lives, we must not approach Him in our own strength. We must not be proud of what we have done (for it is as filthy rags).  

Rather, we must poor our hearts out before Him and beg our merciful Father for mercy.

We must cry out to Him from desperation.

How can we cry out to the Lord?  How can we apply these verses about a broken heart?  What if our heart doesn't feel very broken?  I have felt the same way myself many times, but the Lord has taught me to passionately plead with Him to make me know my own sin and desperate.  To make me thoroughly hate myself (for indeed, there is nothing to love). And to make us completely desperate for Him.  

And when we do this, He will answer.  

He is in this thing with you.  He longs for you to draw near to Him and He delights in answering your prayers.  But He won't push Himself on you.  He waits patiently for you to really and truly want Him from the bottom of your heart.  To be desperate for Him.  And when you cry out from a broken and contrite heart, He will answer.

Let us cry out to Him in desperation, and He will answer!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let Us Know Jesus

Peter.  A great man of God.  One of Jesus' closest disciples.  A witness of the transfiguration of Jesus.  A guest at the last supper.  This man observed Jesus intimately.  He knew Him as only a handful knew Him.  He talked with Him and learned from Him.  He watched Him preform miracles and bring the dead to life.  He watched his beautiful Savior be beaten to shreds, mocked and cursed, and then hung on a tree in the most painful of deaths.

He knew this Jesus.

Do we?

Do you know Him well enough to take a beating for Him?  

Peter did.  According to historical records, Peter was crucified for the sake of His Savior. And when he was nailed to that cross, he asked to be crucified upside down, considering it too great an honor to die the way His precious Lord did.  How well he must have loved the Lord Jesus Christ to consider it too great an honor to die in the same position.

He knew this Jesus.

Do we?  I have been really challenged over this past week.  As I examined my own heart, I realized that I didn't really love Him enough to willingly take a beating for Him and to voluntarily be crucified upside down rather than the same way He was murdered.

Oh, how I long to know my Savior and King as Peter knew Him.

To walk with Him daily.  To bring every matter before Him.  To dwell upon the things that He has done for me.  To study His words.  To learn of His character.  To read His Scriptures.

This Jesus took a beating for you and me.  He gave everything He had for us on the cross.  He laid down His precious life and shed His pure blood for us.  For us!

What is this God like, Who would love us so much?  What makes His heart beat so longingly to know us and to be known by us?  This King gave up everything He had to draw us to Himself.

Let us cry out for more of Him.

May we never be satisfied with the little we really know of Him, but pursue Him ever more.  Until we are willing to joyously die for His sake, let us get to know Him more.  He will reveal Himself to us.  He will show Himself worthy of our entire lives.  We must only seek to know Him.

James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

Jeremiah 33:3 "‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’"

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Persistence In Prayer

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Jesus taught us to be persistent in our prayer life.

Sometimes, God answers prayer immediately, even before we say “amen.” Other times, the Lord asks us to persist in prayer until the answer comes. Sometimes that means days. Sometimes months. And sometimes even years.

Consider Elijah, who prayed one time and fire came down from heaven on Mt. Carmel. This was an instant answer to prayer.  But it took him three times of prayer before God resurrected the dead son of the widow. 

And Elijah prayed seven times before God sent back rain on the earth during that time of drought.

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” ~James 1:17-18

Elijah was an amazing man of prayer. He prayed, and trusted God’s timing. Let us take a lesson from his example and persist in prayer, even when we don’t see an answer. An answer will come, if we ask in faith.

George Muller lived a life that was one of the greatest demonstrations of answered prayer. When he died, he had 50,000 documented answers to prayer! How amazing! According to his records, five thousand of those requests were answered on the day he asked them. Of course, that means 90 percent of the time, George Muller just kept waiting and praying. He prayed for 63 years for one man to come to Christ before that man ended up doing so!

Like Elijah, George Muller learned that we can trust the Lord. He said,

“Don’t let yesterday’s seemingly unanswered prayers stop you from praying in faith today.”

Wait on the perfect timing of the Lord, my friends. Keep praying. He will wait until He is most glorified in your situation… so don’t give up. You can wait on the Lord and trust His timing. Keep on praying.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Time In Prayer

“Let us never forget that the greatest thing we can do for God or for man is to pray. For we can accomplish far more by our prayers than by our work. Prayer is omnipotent; it can do anything that God can do! When we pray God works. All fruitfulness in service is the outcome of prayer — of the worker’s prayers, or of those who are holding up holy hands on his behalf. We all know how to pray, but perhaps many of us need to cry as the disciples did of old, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ ” ~Unknown

"The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'" ~Hudson Taylor

Time spent in prayer will yield more that that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as god’s messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.” ~Andrew Murrey

Friday, September 4, 2015

Teach Us, LORD

"Blessed are You, O LordTeach me Your statutes." ~Psalm 119:12

Remember the author here. Assuming that it is David, this guy has some experience. In fact, elsewhere in this psalm he says, "I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts" (Psalm 119:99-100).  He is not ignorant when it comes to the Scriptures.

And yet, he cries out to the Lord to teach him the Scriptures.

How amazing!  He knew so much, and yet, in his knowledge, he knew how much he had yet to learn.  And he turned to exactly the right place to attain his knowledge.  The blessed Lord.  The first part of this verse reminds us of who the Lord is.  He is blessed. He is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.  He alone is worthy of being blessed.

And so, David turns to this blessed Teacher.

Indeed, the Lord will be our teacher.  He says, 
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;I will guide you with My eye" (Psalm 32:8).
In Isaiah 48:17 God speaks, saying,
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
'I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.'"
God is our teacher.  He has promised to teach us in the way we should go.  

Oh, how foolish we are to turn to human wisdom! 

We seek wisdom from experienced physicians, trained theologians, and trusted teachers.  We consult books by doctors and pastors.  Yet, how seldom we turn to the very best (and only good) Teacher: God? How often do we face a problem, an issue, a dilemma, and open the Scriptures, whispering "Teach me, Lord"?

What would happen if we only turned to Him for wisdom?

His wisdom is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" (James 3:17).  As we turn to the Lord to grant as wisdom, He will lead us in a prosperous and successful path, a path that leads to death, instead of life (as is the outcome of our own heart's path).

Not only will the Lord lead us in wisdom in our own life's path, but He will also be our Teacher concerning the Scriptures.  If we ask Him, He will open the words of this holy Book and implant them deep within our heart (James 1:5).

So let us turn, with a humble and ready heart to Him.  Teach us, Lord.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

God's Word is our Life

“And he said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 32:46).

In some of the other translations, we are commanded to “Take to heart all these words.”  Take to heart is synonymous with memorization.  For the fourth time in the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord instructs us to memorize His Word.

Matthew Henry said of verses 44-47 in his concise commentary: “Here is the solemn delivery of this song to Israel, with a charge to mind all the good words Moses had said unto them. It is not a trifle, but a matter of life and death: mind it, and you are made for ever; neglect it, and you are forever undone. Oh that men were fully persuaded that religion is their life, even the life of their souls!”  This is not merely something of light importance, this truly is a matter of life and death.  These words are our life as the 47th verse says:

“For they are not meaningless words to you but they are your life, and by them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”

They are our life!

One of the lies that the devil delights to plague us with is that memorization is futile, that God’s words are meaningless.  Yet, looking from an eternal perspective, Moses shows us that these words are indeed not empty, meaningless alphabetic letters stuck together forming what appears to be words.  No!  These words are as air to us, they hold the key to our lives. I read a quote once by an unknown author that said:

THIS BOOK (The Bible) contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.  Its doctrines are immutable.  Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy.  It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.  It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter.  Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.  Christ is its grand object; our good is its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.  Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.  It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgment, and will be remembered forever.  It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

How amazing are the Scriptures!  

Anatoli Shcharansky can certainly testify to this. Shcharansky, a dissident Soviet Jew, was detained while his wife fled Russia for freedom in Israel. He wished to join her, but was instead imprisoned.  He spent long years in prison camps and work camps, during which time Shcharansky was stripped of all his personal belongings.  All that is, except a small copy of the Psalms.  He refused to part with it, which once cost him 130 days in solitary confinement.  These words were the only source of life, and he would not let go of them for the world.  Finally, after twelve years in prison, he was offered freedom.  As Shcharansky walked from the guards who had been his captors to those who would escort him to freedom, the guards tried one last time to confiscate his last remaining possession.  Even that close to the freedom he had not experienced in twelve years, he would not give it up.  He fell to the ground and refused to walk another inch without it.  Those words had kept him alive during those long years, and he knew he would need them just as much in the years to come.

What about you?  Are these words your life giving supply?  

Or are you doubtful, wondering how anyone could treat pages of a Bible as food?  I challenge you all, test the Scriptures.  See if they truly are so.  Resolve to memorize a book of the Bible.  Don’t just do it because you “have to” but resolve to delight in the task.  See if these words become your life, your satisfaction.  Watch as before your very eyes the Word takes on a whole new meaning.  You too can learn to love the Scriptures enough to agree with Moses that “they are not meaningless words to you but they are life.”

Now look at verses 44 and 45:

“Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and recited all the words of this song in the presence of the people. After Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel,”

This man had backing.  He wasn’t just saying this because it was what the Lord had told him.  He knew it to be true.  He had the entire Scriptures memorized, and in recitable condition.  How many people today can boast of that?  And based on his intimate experience with the Word of God, he could testify that these words were his life.  Can you?