The theme of our new series devotionals is an incomplete sentence, “If You Want God’s Best….” The introductory word if immediately confronts you with a choice. Do you want God’s best, or do you not? Let me share with you eight things you will need to do if you decide that you really do want God’s best. The kind of life we actually experience will be determined by the inter-play of what...
We are prone to talk about religion in general terms, without realising that the Bible offers us a very speciﬁc deﬁnition of what God accepts as genuine religion. Often God’s use of the term is quite different from ours. God’s deﬁnition is found in James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep ...
David was in deep trouble but, as so often, trouble became the source of inspiration to him. The prayer that resulted is a pattern we all need to study. In it, David provides us with four ﬁrm, unvarying reasons for believing God will answer our prayers.
The enemies of God we need to be most concerned about are not those who attack us from without, but those within our own hearts. A young man once confessed to me that he had a problem with lust. “But I rather enjoy it,” he added. “Do you think God will deliver me?” “Deﬁnitely not!” I replied. “God delivers us from our enemies, not from our friends.” We can't afford to be friends with God’s enemies
Some years ago God spoke to me through Psalm 139 about the marvel of the physical body—my own body, in particular. I became concerned that I treat this masterpiece of my body with the care and honour due to it; that I maintain it in the best possible condition to fulﬁl its God-appointed function.
How good to know that God has a purpose for each one of us! David does not say that the Lord will fulﬁl my purpose; he says that the Lord will fulﬁl His purpose for me. There is a great difference—I may have one purpose, God may have another. God does not guarantee that He will fulﬁl my purpose, only that He will fulﬁl His purpose.
We can see God's wisdom and power manifested in countless different aspects of creation. The heavens declare His glory; the oceans manifest His power; the mountains reveal His strength; the snowﬂakes illustrate His wisdom. All these marvels of creation demonstrate to us God’s greatness. But there is one thing they cannot do: They cannot make God available to us.
Many times I see God’s people crying out for His blessing and seeking it earnestly. I can sympathise with that; and yet is it not better to dwell in the place where God has commanded the blessing? Where is that place? It is where brothers dwell together in unity. To “dwell together” is much more than merely coming together for an hour or two on Sunday morning. It means sharing life together.
The psalmist describes three of the most blessed provisions of God for His people: stability, security and rest. The world craves these blessings and seeks them in various ways, but never ﬁnds them in true or abiding form. Yet there is a place where we may ﬁnd all three.
God requires all His people from every nation and every background to be concerned about the peace of one particular city: Jerusalem. For this, there is an important, practical reason. God’s purpose for this age will climax in the setting up of His Kingdom. Each time we pray the familiar words Thy Kingdom come, we are aligning ourselves with this purpose.
The strength of the Church rests on personal relationships, not on meetings or doctrines. What makes God’s people truly one is personal commitment: ﬁrst and foremost, to the Lord Himself; second, to all who are likewise committed to Him. This mortar of personal commitment holds us together even when we disagree on doctrine, or do not meet at the same time or place. It makes us friends and comrades
The Lord’s protection is from this time forth and forever. It extends throughout time and on into eternity. He protects us on each journey that we take through time. Then, when the moment comes for us to step out of time and into eternity, His presence will still be with us. He will see us safely through the narrow gates of death and out into the fullness of eternity.
I once watched a little boy being carried on his father’s arm, and I noticed how tightly he clutched his father’s lapel. After a while, however, he fell asleep and his hand slipped away from the lapel. Yet his father continued to hold him just as securely. The boy’s security did not depend on his holding onto his father, but only on his father keeping hold of him. So is our relationship with God.
The Bible promises not just peace, but great peace. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom.It means more than just the absence of strife or war. It is connected with a root that means completeness or wholeness. So peace is wholeness, completeness. A person who has peace in this sense is a complete person and leads a full life.
What comfort and assurance David offers us out of his own experience! God’s promises have been thoroughly tested.They are not mere theories, not just abstract theology. In all the different circumstances of life, they stand the test.
What is your attitude toward God’s commands? Do you fear them? Resent them? Try to get away from them? That is a foolish attitude. God gave us His commands not to create problems for us, but to solve them; not to harm us, but to help us. God’s love is in His commands. David understood that. He embraced them as the tokens of God’s love for him.
There will be times when the world around us will be in total darkness. We will not be able to see more than a few feet in any direction. There may be unsolved problems ahead. There may be dangers around the corner. But in the midst of it all we have this guarantee: If we are sincerely obeying the Word of God as it is revealed to us in any given situation, we will never walk in the dark.
Paul and Barnabas told a newly formed Christian congregation,“ We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Do not look for a way through life that bypasses afﬂiction. If by any chance you should ﬁnd one, it would not lead you into God’s Kingdom. David certainly did not escape the stormy waves of afﬂiction, but he did have an anchor that held him ﬁrm in the....
The so-called “laws”o f the universe do not result merely from the random interplay of inanimate forces. The very word law is meaningless without a lawgiver—one who enacts and enforces the law. The laws that man discerns in the universe are the visible expression of the faithfulness of the invisible Creator. Not merely does the whole universe obey the laws of God; not merely do these laws all ...
Over many centuries man has sought through speculation and reasoning to discover the nature of God, but he has always ended in frustration. God has sovereignly chosen to reveal Himself, not to man’s reason, but to his faith. The primary channel of God’s self-revelation is the unique Book He has caused to be written, the Bible. And unique it is!
If ever a man had to face afﬂiction, it was David. Yet he did not become bitter or discouraged. In fact, looking back on it, he was grateful for it. David did not view afﬂiction as a disaster. Rather, he saw it as a kind of corrective medicine. It was something he needed to adjust his life. In the Psalms, David shares with us two vitally important lessons he learned from his afﬂiction.
When God comes onto the stage of human history, He does not descend from His throne in power and majesty and demand instant obedience. Such obedience would be motivated by fear, and would not necessarily indicate true submission from the heart. Historically, therefore, God has come among men in a variety of disguises. Those whose hearts were humble and sincere penetrated the disguise and...
When you tell someone you are a Christian, you may usually anticipate a certain kind of response: What denomination do you belong to? Once people have put me into one of their little religious “boxes,” their minds are no longer open to the issues that really matter.
From time to time in the midst of life we need to pause and consider our ways. It is easy to become so preoccupied with an endless succession of activities that we forget our overall objectives. We devote so much attention to the individual trees in our life that we lose sight of the forest that is God’s eternal purpose.
Many times in the Bible, God shaped the lives of His servants by the speciﬁc, personal promises that He gave them. In each case, the course of their lives was directed by the outworking of the promises God had made. In times of darkness, they went back to these promises and lifted them up afresh to God. Does this mean God needs to be reminded by us, in case He should forget His own words?
What does it mean to be free? Does it mean that you do anything you please at any time? We may crown self king over our lives, but we soon discover that self is only a puppet, directed by unseen powers over which it has no control. In reality, the indulgence of self is slavery to sin and to Satan.David discovered a different kind of freedom—a freedom that comes only from God.
Our attitude toward life needs to be totally positive. We cannot afford to be in any way negative or pessimistic or death-oriented. How many of us realise that life requires a choice on our part? We are not free to submit to circumstances with passive indifference and say, “What comes will come.” God sets a choice before us.
The psalmist portrays two aspects of God’s nature that seem opposite, yet are beautifully combined in Him. On one side is God’s lofty grandeur. He is enthroned on high. He humbles Himself merely to look down at things in heaven, much more those on earth. On the other side is God’s tender compassion for the poor and the needy.
The psalmist speaks of two wonderful qualities: wisdom and understanding. We need to observe a distinction between wisdom and understanding on the one hand, and cleverness and intellectual education on the other. There are many clever, educated people who do not have wisdom or understanding. It could be argued, in fact, that most of the trouble in the world today is caused by educated fools.
One of God's main titles is Lord of hosts‚ that is, “Lord of armies.” He appeared to Joshua as the captain of the Lord’s army. Scripture reveals that the present age will close with a tremendous conﬂict between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. For this, God is now gathering His army. Let's be willing to be His freewill offering!
If our praise arises merely out of our feelings or our circumstances, it will be as uncertain and ﬂuctuating as they are. Let's be encouraged by the life of David. He had taken a ﬁrm decision: No matter what happens, he is going to praise the Lord. In Psalm 108 David says: O God, my heart is ﬁxed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. Will you make the same decision today?
Fools, because of their rebellious way . . . were afﬂicted.” That, of course, does not describe you or me! It must surely apply to people from some other group, or with some other problem. Or could it be that you and I, by our folly and rebelliousness, do sometimes bring sickness on ourselves? Yet God in His mercy comes to their help. His mercy is threefold: He saves, He heals, He delivers.
God had redeemed Israel out of Egypt. He had performed stupendous miracles on their behalf. He had made provision for them in all their desert wanderings.They had no need which He had not supplied. But Israel made two tragic errors: forgetfulness and impatience. We, too, can be tempted to despise God’s provision and feel that we know better than He does what we need. Then we begin to press our own
Israel was in the forty years of their wandering in the desert. It was a dry and barren land where there were no rivers, no streams, no pools, and where water was almost nonexistent. Yet God provided water for them in abundance. He provided it in a most unlikely way: out of a rock. It is often so in our lives. We ﬁnd ourselves in a time of barrenness when provision seems lacking. Yet God is there.
The Lord guided and protected His people Israel on their forty-year journey through the desert of Sinai. He spread out a cloud as a covering in the daytime and in the night gave them ﬁre that provided both light and warmth. It so happens that as a soldier in World War II, I made a journey of seven days and nights through that same Sinai desert. I learned something there that greatly enhanced my
When the Lord gives us a word of promise, there is a time ﬁxed for its fulﬁlment. In the meantime, it often happens that events follow a course that seems exactly opposite to what God promised. In such a situation we must do as Joseph did. We must hold onto the promise, and not be tempted to think that God has failed or forgotten.
The psalmist here describes the redemption of Israel from Egypt under Moses. Financially, the people were “laden with silver and gold.” Physically, “among their tribes no one faltered.” What had brought about this dramatic change? Just one thing: the Passover lamb. Such is the fullness of God’s redemption.
David was neither an astronomer nor a geographer, but he was certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit. Searching for some standard of measurement to express the magnitude of God’s love, he compares it to the height of the heavens. David goes on to picture the way God deals with our guilt: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” How thankful we should
The psalmist here points to one great sign that the Lord’s coming is near at hand: “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” The rebuilding of Zion must precede and prepare for the Lord’s return in glory. That is precisely what we see taking place today. The psalmist speaks also of this period as a unique generation, in which a people shall be created to praise the Lord.
Here is a picture of a man in deep dejection and loneliness. He feels his life is ebbing away like the evening shadows and there is so little time left for him. He says, “I’m withering away like grass.” Can you perhaps identify with him from some experience of your own? How would you respond?
How important it is for each of us to know the way into God’s presence! How do we enter His gates? The psalmist points out the way that God has ordained: We enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. Confronted with this requirement, we are sometimes tempted to look around us at our situation and ask: “But what do I have to thank God for? What do I have to praise Him for?”
The Psalms are full of exhortations to praise God in song. The one here quoted contains a special challenge. The Lord asks from us a new song. He never wants our praise of Him to become old or stale, or to degenerate into ritual and routine. How can we always be ready with a new song? In Ephesians 5:18–19 Paul shows us the way.
There is a beautiful progression here that brings us into the immediate presence of God. It starts with loud and jubilant praise and thanksgiving. Praise and thanksgiving lead us on to worship.Worship is not so much an utterance as an attitude. It is bowing down, kneeling—even at times prostrating ourselves before God. The pathway that the psalmist here describes takes us through praise and...
“My foot is slipping,” the psalmist cried out. He was on the verge of falling and could not save himself. But the moment he acknowledged his need, God came to his rescue: “Your love, O LORD, supported me.” Here is a pattern for each of us to remember. When our foot begins to slip and we have lost control, God does not ask us to try to save ourselves. We have only to voice our need to Him and
The psalmist here puts the Lord’s discipline before his teaching, and thus establishes one great basic principle: Without discipline, there can be no real teaching. The psalmist goes on to reveal a wonderful reward for the man who comes under God’s discipline and accepts His teaching: “You grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.”
The life of a truly righteous man is here compared to two trees: a palm tree and a cedar. Both pictures of righteousness, however, apply only to those who are “planted in the house of the LORD.” Someone has popularised the prayer: “Lord, help me to bloom where I am planted.” Unfortunately, some Christians are never willing to be planted anywhere. They are always busy but never truly committed...
What is the thing in your life that you ﬁnd hardest to manage—the thing you most often ﬁnd yourself short of? Many people would probably be inclined to answer, Money. But in my experience, there is something much harder to manage—something I am much more often short of. It is, Time! I ﬁnd time is the hardest thing in life to manage properly. For this reason, the stewardship of time is the ...
There is a difference between time and eternity—a difference of kind, not merely of duration. The mountains were born. The earth and the world were brought forth. All that is in the past tense. But when the psalmist turns to God he says, “From everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Not, “You were God,” but,“ You are God.” In God past, present and future all meet.
Do we truly desire success in our walk with God? Then we must give careful heed to these words of David, for he focuses on two essential requirements. Here is the crucial issue: that we have an undivided heart. We can have no conﬂicting loyalty, no second option. All our springs must be in God; all our expectations must be from Him. It is not God plus something; it is God alone.
Every human soul longs for one thing: a home. A homeless person is an unhappy person—in fact, a lost person. The psalmist cries out in agony, “Lord, even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest for herself. I need a home, too!” The sparrow and the swallow whom the psalmist describes have set a pattern for every lost, confused soul. The place they have chosen for a home is near God’s altar
For those who walk by faith, there is an ongoing tension between two kinds of life. One is visible and external, the other invisible and eternal. The external is fading; it is impermanent. But there is something inside every believer that is eternal. It is an inner source of strength not subject to the weaknesses and ﬂuctuations of our physical body.
It is possible to be lonely in the midst of a crowd. It is possible to be lonely in a big city. In fact, that is the worst form of loneliness—to be surrounded by people and yet cut off from them by an invisible barrier you do not know how to break through. Yet loneliness is not God’s plan for man’s life. He wants to take us out of our loneliness and to set us in the family of God. He wants to give
One thing the Bible teaches clearly is that God tests His people. If we wish to belong to the people of God, then we must be prepared to be tested. One vivid picture of the way God tests us, used many times in Scripture, is that of a metalworker purifying silver. In Bible times such a man would place the silver in a metal container over the hottest possible ﬁre. Then, as the silver began to melt
It often happens that in a counselling session with some troubled soul—someone, perhaps, who is struggling with a broken marriage or a total breakdown of their health—I have to tell that person very honestly, “I don’t have the answer to your problem. I can’t tell you exactly what to do. But one thing I can tell you: God hears and answers prayer.”
How important it is to have your own personal revelation of God! Not just to rely on what somebody else has told you, or what you have read in a book, or even what you have heard in church. All that may be good, but it is not sufﬁcient. There must come a time when you experience God for yourself—when you come to know Him ﬁrsthand, when you have such a revelation of God that nothing less than God..
There are two opposite errors into which we may fall. On the one hand, if we suggest that salvation depends on something more than God, we dishonour Him and discredit His all-sufﬁciency. On the other hand, if we look for salvation in anything less than God, we will look in vain. But when God Himself becomes our salvation, then the other associated blessings follow: rest, strength, protection and h
I was facing great personal disappointment and sorrow. It seemed indeed that the waves and billows of God were going over my soul. I was on my way from the United States to hold a series of meetings in Australia. Seated in a jet aeroplane six miles above the Paciﬁc, I opened my Bible at random to the words, “From the ends of the earth I call to you.” I thought to myself...
God is taking note of everything you go through. A record is being kept in God’s book of all that you suffer for righteousness’ sake. Even your tears are not shed in vain. They are tears of grief and loneliness, but not of despair. There is a future to them. At present they are tokens of suffering, but one day each tear will become the theme for a song of praise.
David does not make false claims for himself. He does not say, “I will never be afraid.” Rather, he acknowledges: “There may come times when I will be afraid. But when those times come, I will know what to do. I will trust in God and I will praise His Word—His sure, unfailing Word. Trusting and praising will overcome my fear.”
God looks to the motives and to the attitude of the heart. What does He look for there? “A broken spirit,” David tells us, “a broken and contrite heart.” These are strange words to our ears these days. What does it mean that God desires a broken spirit? Does He want to beat us down and humiliate us? No, I am sure that is not His purpose. What, then, is a broken spirit?
If you and I could see into our own hearts as David saw into his, we would each recognise the same condition. The effects of sin have been so disastrous that we have no remedy. It is no good trying to repair, to adapt, to reform. There is only one remedy left to us. We can do as David did.
God desires “truth in the inward parts.” That is the very opposite of religious externalism. Our fellow human beings may perhaps be impressed or deceived by this, but not God! It is here that each of us needs to examine himself: Am I truly open with God? Am I transparent in my relationship with Him? Do the words I speak really express what I feel in my heart?
Here is the divine way out of trouble. Just now you may be in the midst of it. Everything is going against you, and you cannot see any way out. But listen to what the psalmist says: The way out is up—to God. “Sacriﬁce thank offerings . . .” That sounds senseless, but try it anyway! A sacriﬁce always costs you something. To start thanking God in such a situation goes against the grain. But it is as
Nations are in an uproar; kingdoms are falling. There is a clash of weapons; war is imminent. Then, in the midst of it all, God intervenes. He brings all the frenzied activity of the nations to a standstill. To His own people, He says:“ Be still, and know that I am God.” We dare not permit the confusion in the world around us to disturb our own spirits. No matter how great the pressures, we must..
It was the attitude of Jesus in the matters of righteousness and wickedness that caused God to promote Him. There is no neutrality in these matters. The righteousness that God approves leaves no room for compromise with wickedness. This uncompromising righteousness is crowned with joy that comes from the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
God is eternal, unchangeable. That is why it is possible to have joy even when we cannot feel happiness or pleasure. Joy comes directly from God Himself. Just like God, joy is eternal, unchangeable, unaffected by situations or circumstances. But joy is released only at the altar. We have to make up our minds, as David did, that we will go to God, to the altar—the place of sacriﬁce...
There is a thirst of the soul, a deep inner longing of man’s whole being, that cannot be satisﬁed with anything less than God Himself. Perhaps you, too, have tried many sources, but have come away still unsatisﬁed. If so, it is important for you to understand two things...
When David refers to burnt offering and meal offering and sin offering, he is speaking about the externals of religion. He is saying, in essence, that these by themselves are not sufﬁcient. We may attend to all the externals, yet miss the part that really matters. We need to hear the voice of God, speaking to us directly and personally. When God opens our ears and we in turn surrender our lives...
Do you want God in charge of your situation, your problems, your whole life? There are three simple steps that lead to this. First, commit your way to the Lord. That is a single decisive act. Committing your way to the Lord is like depositing money in a bank. You hand your money over to the teller, take your own hands off it, and obtain a receipt for it. Second, trust also in the Lord. Commitment
I once heard someone ask this question: “Do you enjoy your religion, or do you endure it?” To the majority of people, religion is something to endure, a kind of painful duty. However, that is not how God wants us to experience Him. The Westminster Confession, the basic doctrinal statement of the Presbyterian Church, says: “The supreme duty of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
We come to God for refuge because we are oppressed, because we cannot handle our problems. We take refuge in the shadow of His wings. But once we are there under His shadow, we discover that He has provided much more for us than mere refuge. He has provided a feast. He has provided abundance. We feast on the abundance of His house. Not only that, but He gives us to drink of “the river of His deli
Do you believe in angels? I do! I believe there are myriads and myriads of good angels who are given charge over God’s people. The writer of Hebrews tells us that all angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). I am glad to know that wherever I go, there is an angel of God that encamps around me, ready to rescue me.
All through the Bible God reveals Himself as the healer of His people. To Israel, after their deliverance from Egypt, He declared, “I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). This could be translated: “I am the LORD your Doctor.” Twelve centuries later He afﬁrmed, “I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6). To Christians in the New Testament...
These are the two distinctive marks of God’s temple: verbal worship proclaiming His glory, and inner meditation focused on His unfailing love. Whenever we meet these conditions, whenever our whole being cries,“ Glory to God!” and all our thoughts are focused on His unfailing love, then we become God’s temple. It may be in an automobile, or an ofﬁce, or a kitchen.
When God sets out to teach man, He chooses His students on the basis of character—not intellectual ability, or academic degrees, or social standing. He looks for an inner attitude of the heart toward Himself: reverent submission and respect. Furthermore, God sets the curriculum. He teaches such a man “in the way that he [God] shall choose.” Often this is not the way we would choose for ourselves
It is important to realise that the presence of our enemies cannot keep us from enjoying God’s complete provision for us. Sometimes, however, we are tempted to take our eyes off the Lord and focus on our enemies. Then we begin to say, “If it were not for my enemies, I know that God would bless me and provide for me.” Instead our attitude should be, “Because of my enemies I am expecting God’s best.
What tremendous conﬁdence David had! What absolute security! “I shall not lack.” There will never arise a needi n my life for which I shall not have the supply, no matter what the need may be. What was the secret of David’s assurance? Is it possiblef or you and me to share that assurance? David’s secret is very simple, very clear: “The LORD is my shepherd.”
Here is an insight that can revolutionise our attitude toward prayer and worship: The throne upon which God sits is the praises of His people. In heaven God already has a throne that is established forever. But when He leaves His heavenly throne to come among His people on earth, then our praises become His throne.
Sometimes the shortest sentences state the most important facts. “The LORD lives!” God is alive! This one simple statement is more signiﬁcant than all the complicated formulae in all the books of theology that have ever been written. As long as God lives, no situation is hopeless and no problem is...
The way we relate to God determines the way God in turn relates to us. Do we desire to prove God’s faithfulness? The way to do this is to cultivate faithfulness toward God. The measure in which we open ourselves to God determines the measure of God’s fullness that He, in turn, makes available to us. If there are no reservations on our side, there will be none on God’s side either.
I do not believe there is anything else that can fully satisfy the human heart, except God Himself. Our ideas and our concepts are so limited, and so inadequate to apprehend God. But there is coming a day when we will awake clothed in His righteousness, not in our own, to stand faultless before His throne and to see Him face-to-face. And then we will be satisﬁed!
How good it is to know that you have access to the counsel of the Lord! When you have come to the end ofy our own ability, when you have reasoned everything out and it still makes no sense, when you ﬁnd yourself at an impasse in your life and you do not know which way to turn, remember that the Lord is the Wonderful Counsellor! Go to Him. Commit your problem to Him. Open your heart to Him—for He..
And the words of the LORD are ﬂawless, like silver reﬁned in a furnace of clay, puriﬁed seven times. PSALM 12:6 Do you perhaps wonder at that statement, knowing that these words have come to us through human agents, men who were weak and fallible, and who made many mistakes? To answer this question, David presents us with a vivid picture...
What isyour place of refuge? Are you disturbed when people challenge you? Or when you look around at the turmoil and instability of the world in which we live? Jesus warned us that, as this age draws to its close, we will “hear of wars and revolutions,” and that“ men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:9, 26). All this teaches us that we need a place of
When we look up at the vastness of the heavens and consider their millions of galaxies, our earthly globe seems just a tiny speck of dust in the totality of the universe. Confronted by this vastness, we feel small and insigniﬁcant, weak and helpless. God does not measure everything by numbers or dimensions. He has another scale of values, according to which—as Jesus Himself told us—one human soul
Throughout the Book of Psalms David refers continually to his enemies. Few men had more enemies than David. Persistently they pursued him and surrounded him, seeking his destruction. He survived only because he learned the secret of dealing with his enemies. We, too, like David, are surrounded by enemies, though ours are primarily in the unseen spiritual realm.
David was sure of one thing: God blesses the righteous. We need to be no less sure. Today many sources to which we looked for security and certainty have failed us. Trusted political and ﬁnancial institutions are crumbling around us. But there is one thing in life that is still sure: God blesses the righteous. This simple, unchanging fact has important practical implications for the way we live.
How does your day begin? Do you start with a scramble, with a ﬂurry, trying to do three different things at one time? Do you ﬁnd yourself often short of breath and short of temper, impatient with your wife or your husband, scolding the kids, anxious, unable to cope? Take a lesson from David: “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice.”
There is a kind of disillusionment in the air—a pervasive sense of pessimism. This is particularly true in the realm of politics. There is a dearth of conﬁdence in leadership, the aftermath of an agonising series of mismanaged crises that have passed over us in recent decades. Yet there is an answer to the question “Who can show us any good?”—an answer that is still valid today.
One of the beautiful revelations of Scripture is that sleep is a gift of God for those He loves. David found himself under tremendous pressures, surrounded by enemies on every side, his very life threatened. He speaks of “tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” Yet in the midst of it all he knows the blessedness of untroubled, restful sleep. He gives two reasons...
Blessed; the opening word of the Psalms contains the essence of all that is to follow. The blessings they unfold ﬂow in two directions: from God to man, and from man back again to God. David goes on to sum up the blessedness promised to man in one brief, expressive sentence: “Whatever he does prospers.” How can you be such a person—blessed of Gods o that whatever you do prospers?
We need faith to receive all God has prepared for us. In Romans 10:17, Paul said that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (KJV). In the original Greek there are two different words that are normally translated “word.” One is logos; the the unchanging Word of God. It is God’s counsel, settled in eternity before time began. Rhema is the way that the Holy Spirit makes this...
Mary said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” That’s the only advice she gave us concerning Jesus. Those of you who are mothers or might be mothers I just want to ask you. Would you like to be a mother like Mary? Would you like to make a real consecration of yourself to the Lord as a mother or a prospective mother?
The hardest test in life is success, but Mary passed the test. She was a sinner, contrary to what many people proclaim today. She had to bring her sin offering. They didn’t have enough money to bring a lamb, so all they could bring was two turtledoves. So they were a poor family. And you know what it says about Jesus? Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor.
Wwe release the Holy Spirit when we respond to the word of God. The Holy Spirit is available but He doesn’t come into our lives, He doesn’t do for us what we need until we release Him through the word. Remember, don’t seek the Spirit apart from the Word, because it’s through the Word that the Spirit is released.
In some ways Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a pattern for all of us, not just for mothers. There’s so much we can learn from her. When the angel came to her, Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” That simple phrase, released the greatest miracle ever. Do you realize when you have the word, when you have its promises, all you have to do is...
What do you believe or feel was the greatest miracle that ever took place in the life of a human person? Salvation? That’s wonderful, but if the other miracle hadn’t taken place, salvation would never be available. I would suggest it is the conception of Jesus in the womb of virgin Mary. There is no other miracle that even approaches that when you consider that God Himself, in the person of Jesus
During my service with the British army in World War II, I lay sick with a chronic skin infection in a military hospital in Egypt. The doctors did not have the means to cure me. I said to myself, “I know that if I had faith, God would heal me.” Then I always added, “But I don’t have faith.” One day, I red Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
If we had complete and unreserved faith in three aspects of God’s nature—His goodness, His wisdom, and His power—then we would never disobey God. Only two attitudes toward God are possible: faith that unites us to Him or unbelief that separates us from Him. Each excludes the other. The writer of the book of Hebrews quoted Habakkuk’s prophecy, confronting us with the two alternatives:
The primary sin, of which the whole world is guilty, is unbelief. This is the basis of all other sins. The writer of Hebrews reminded us that a whole generation of God’s people came out of Egypt under Moses, but they never entered the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Instead, they perished in the wilderness. Most Christians tend to view unbelief as something regrettable, but harmless...
If you were asked what we need to do to please God, what would you say? I guess few of us would offer the answer that Scripture gives in Hebrews: And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6). More often, people try to please God on some basis other than faith: by morality, by...
'Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.' I want to emphasize how important it is to keep the word of God in your heart—to ponder it, to take time meditating on it, to consider what it means, how it applies in your situation. How do you hide God’s Word in your heart? Memorize it.Do you have ammunition when Satan comes with all his doubts and accusations against God?
God’s provision for His people is corporate. He does not treat us simply as isolated individuals, but as members of a single body, bound to one another by strong ties of mutual commitment. God’s supply is able to reach every part of the body, and no member suffers lack. But if the joints are not working properly—that is, if the members are not rightly related to one another—then there will be
Jesus set the pattern for the walk of faith and we are invited to follow. You might at first be tempted to say, “But that was Jesus! I can’t expect to be like Him!” However, Jesus Himself told us otherwise. In John 14:12, He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also.” If you still hesitate to accept this challenge, it may be because you do...
The whole Bible abounds with both assurances and examples of God’s ability to provide for His people’s needs, even in situations where there is no human or natural source of supply. However, it must be emphasized that abundance does not necessarily depend on money or material possessions. Abundance means simply that God supplies all that we need—with something to spare for others.
To be “spiritual” is to be very practical and down-toearth. It starts with what we do with our bodies. We are also required to “eat from faith.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:31). This is a rather strange phrase. How can we apply it in a practical way? First of all, we must acknowledge our dependence on God for our food. We receive it as a gift from Him. Second, as a logical consequence, we thank...
The verb “live” is one of the most all-inclusive words we can use. Everything we do at any time is included in living: eating, drinking, sleeping, working, and the innumerable other activities in life. Through faith, every one of these commonplace activities can become a way to express the life of God that we have received within us. We are often prone to assume that the mundane actions of daily..
Probably no attribute of God is more persistently emphasized throughout the Scriptures than His trustworthiness. In the Old Testament there is one special Hebrew word reserved for the attribute: chesed. In the English versions of the Bible, this word is variously translated “goodness,” “kindness,” “lovingkindness,” “mercy,” and so on. However, none of these translations fully expresses its meaning
In Psalm 37:5, David said, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Two things are here required of us. The first is an act: “commit.” The second is an attitude: “trust.” God is working out the thing that we have committed to Him. It is the continuing attitude of trust on our part that keeps the channel open through which God is able to intervene in our lives and work
A spiritual gift is both imparted and received by a single, brief transaction. It tells us nothing about the nature of the person who exercises it. On the other hand, spiritual fruit expresses the nature of the life from which it proceeds; it comes only as the result of a process of growth. Gifts express ability, while fruit expresses character. Which is more important?
In 1 Corinthians 12:7–11 Paul lists faith as a spiritual gift, but it is also a spiritual fruit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22–23, KJV). What is the difference? And which is more important? Picture a Christmas tree and an apple tree side by side...
Faith has its origin not in man, but in God. It is an aspect of God’s own eternal nature. Through the gift of faith, the Holy Spirit imparts a portion of God’s own faith, directly and supernaturally, to the believer. Jesus challenged His disciples to receive and exercise this kind of faith, just as He himself had done. He toldl them that with faith of this kind they would not only be...
The Holy Spirit Himself, dwelling in a believer, is invisible. But by these gifts operating through a believer, the presence of the Holy Spirit is made manifest to human senses. Paul established two important practical points concerning these gifts. First, they are distributed solely at the...
Many people who say, “I believe God will heal me,” really mean, “I hope that He will heal me tomorrow.” That is not faith, because faith is not for tomorrow; faith is something that we have now. If we keep directing our expectation toward the future, we are substituting hope for faith. The key to obtaining what we ask from God is to receive it by faith at the very moment we petition Him. Doing...
True Christian optimism is not unrealistic. Optimism must be based firmly on the statements and promises of Scripture. For example, in Romans 8:28, we are told, “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” If God is working all things together for our good, what room is left for anything but optimism?
Faith is never static. A person who truly believes will be changed by what he believes. Everything that finally decides the course of our lives proceeds from our hearts (see also Proverbs 4:23). Mental acceptance of truth is not faith. True biblical faith proceeds from the heart and determines the way we live.
Faith lifts us above the realm of our own abilities and makes God’s possibilities available to us. As we maintain a relationship with God through faith, we are enabled to endure and to overcome the tests and the hardships that confront us in our daily lives.
If we walk by sight, we do not need faith. If we walk by faith, we do not need sight. Each excludes the other. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” But the Bible reverses the order: First we must believe, then we will see. If we cannot believe that we will see the goodness of the Lord, we will despair. The thing that keeps us from despairing is not what we see, but what we believe.
In secular speech we speak of faith in many contexts. We can talk about having faith in the economy, in a medicine, or in a political leader. But in the Bible faith is related solely and exclusively to two realities we cannot see with the natural eye: to God and to God’s Word. And you need that faith to understand this world!
Faith! Who can fully measure or express the potential represented by that short, simple word? It is not too difficult to accept that all things are possible to God. Can we equally accept that all things are possible to the one who believes? This is what Jesus told us. It means that, through faith, the things that are possible to God are made equally possible to the one who believes.
There are four steps you must take to experience acceptance with God. The first thing is to forgive every person who has rejected you or harmed you in any way. Second, you must lay down the negative results of rejection: bitterness, resentment, hatred, rebellion. These attitudes are poisonous; they will infect your entire life. They will cause deep emotional problems and, quite likely, physical...