Seasons - a Time for Change

Recently, the weather here was cold, rainy, and dreary in appearance. My wife and I walked outside and she said, “Did I ever mention I hate winter?” 

I smiled. I said, laughingly, “No, I did not know it.”  

The change of seasons brings along new vistas. Invariably it makes us long for our preferred season. However, each season plays its role in preparing and ushering in the next season - which may be our favorite season.

Life is full of seasons. There are seasons of growth, work, harvest, and rest. However, I have noted in my short sojourn on earth, that each one brings something else God needs me to see. 

Life, like the seasons, changes. We can shudder and resist or we can embrace and learn from God’s seasonal changes for us.

No matter the season, determine to discover what God has for you. While you may prefer one season above another, right now, He prefers this one for you. 

 

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Water Drawing

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

A beauty of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is that our soul benefits not only in eternity but also here on earth. Here our inspired prophet Isaiah writes of wells of salvation. This certainly is not inferring that there are many ways for one to be saved. Rather it is suggesting there are many locations during your sojourn where you will be refreshed. 

Three things are clear to me from this passage.

  1. Isaiah writes of the manner by which we should draw water. “With joy”
  2. Isaiah writes of the certainty of being able to draw water. “Shall ye draw water”
  3. Isaiah writes of the quantity of places to get water. “Out of the wells”

Have you a thirst today? Come not with drudgery but with delight. Praise His name for we have wells for refreshing, dug by Him, for our benefit! Let joy be your disposition as you come for refreshing. 

Wonder no longer of whether there will be water in this well. The promise is clear: “Ye shall draw water out!” What confidence we have knowing when I need refreshing I can come, knowing I will be refreshed. 

What is that you say? You came once and did not find refreshing. Two things are certain to me if that is your reply. You probably came so filled with other things you had no thirst. Furthermore, you probably came out of duty and not delight.

Know this: there are many locations from where we will discover the refreshing of our salvation. Ready your bucket and visit the well of Scripture, the well of the Spirit, and the well of Saint’s fellowship. These are just a few of the wells from which we may draw during our earthly sojourn. You will find the quantity of wells abundant and the refreshing overwhelming. 

Are you in need of refreshing today? The Wells of salvation await you!

 

 

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I Choose Joy

Habakkuk 3:18   Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Several years ago, I attended my son’s last SIGMA banquet at church. The banquet was done with Faith Baptist church’s usual panache; it was thematically a 50’s style diner. 

The fun setting stood in contrast to the nostalgic reminiscing that this was John’s last one as he would graduate soon. Kimberly, who normally would express her joy with her smiles and tears, made an unannounced decision to choose a different emotional expression for this event. She chose the path of joy. My wife’s tender spirit is among her greatest assets. Yet in her indomitable spirit, she chose joy. 

Her choosing joy made me realize how much I love her. Furthermore, it made me realize that, in any situation, we can choose any response.  I hope no matter what comes your way, you will choose joy!

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A Salt Spreader

Matthew 5:13    Ye are the salt of the earth 

In our house we have Hawaiian Red Alaea salt, Kosher salt, sea salt, and “normal people” salt. I think we have normal salt; I’d have to find it for you, but it’s here somewhere. It would be rare if we served food that was not accentuated with one of these salts. Each salt has a character, flavor, and purpose. 

In cooking, I choose a salt based on the food being prepared and its intended flavor.  Similarly, the Master Chef, God, has chosen the right salt for the right task. He chose us to be salt for the earth. It was one of the first items on the task list of God to His children.  Each of us may have a different character and flavor, but, we all have the same purpose. The earth needs our saltiness.

The only hope for man without God is for believers to be salt. Be a salt spreader!

 

 

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Cry Yet!

Zechariah 1:17    Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts…   

Many times in the ministry, we encounter an unhearing, unheeding, and unyielding people. Zechariah faced a lazy, listless, and lackadaisical people. His field was full of people who came out of the captivity, laid a foundation to the temple, and stopped working. Their malaise lasted 16 years. During this time, there was no building, no battling, and no blessings for God’s people.   

Zechariah’s contemporary Haggai had been called two months earlier to the same field. Their ministries were similar. Preach to a people who lack the desire to accomplish anything for God. Preach to a people who have strayed and drifted from God’s word, work, and will. They were to preach the people to obedience.   

It is the preamble of this verse that captures my attention as I consider the work of God's people today. God calls upon Zechariah to “Cry yet.” Many a believer has been tempted to end his preaching to a people who seem to have no interest in surrendering, serving or standing for God.    

We can take courage from God’s charge to Zechariah. Have you a field that is full of unhearing, unheeding, and unyielding people? “Cry yet!” Have you a people drifting, discouraged, and defeated? “Cry yet!” Have you a place of service that seems to be forgotten, forsaken, and frustrating? “Cry yet!”   

“Cry yet!” What a challenge for all. We must “Cry yet!” because we have His Call. We must “Cry yet!” because we have His Commission. Simply, we must “Cry yet!” because of His Compassion!   

Difficult days, difficult fields, and difficult experiences do not preclude us from the task before us. Together, let us determine until His return to “Cry yet!”   

 

 

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Serenaded by the Savior

Zephaniah 3:17   The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.    

The prophet wrote of a day when the remnant and residue of God's people would experience removal of their past sorrows and the time when the trauma of their fears would be abated. What event would bring this to pass? Ah, it is “the Lord thy God who is in the midst of thee.” His arrival will be punctuated by His might. What a thought:  His might in our midst.   

The world points to the might of athletes, politicians, and nations. The day will come when the world will only have one direction to point toward.  The Lord is in our midst; their pointing will turn from a horizontal direction to a vertical one.   

Yet the greatest thrill for this servant of the Word is the rapturous thought of being serenaded by the Lord of Glory. His delivery from all evil (v15) leads to eternal moments of rejoicing over the remnant, a resting in His love and then the moment when the LORD our God releases the joy of His heart that has come from this reunion of the remnant with their Redeemer and serenades us with the song on his heart.   

The very thought of being serenaded by the Sovereign elicits hope of a day better than this one.

 

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When Correction is Needed

Ezekiel 16:1-2   Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations

During the course of my son’s child training, I let him know about his offenses. Can you imagine what would happen to my son if he never knew what he did wrong? Can you imagine what would happen if he had no one to reprove him or his actions? It would not take him very long to become lawless and eventually a law unto himself. His behavior would reveal my character flaw and my sin in not admonishing him.    

In our verse today, the Lord goes to Ezekiel and commands him to make Jerusalem, His daughter, know that her moral and ethical behavior were abominable. His very mission would offend and hurt but God knew it was necessary. Had God not sent a preacher to preach messages to her He would not be God. Correction, admonition, and exhortation are needed when God’s people go astray.    

When misbehavior arises in God’s people today, we must have preacher who will cause the people to hear what God says about their sin. Let us not run from preaching against sin. Are you a preacher, parent, or person in the light? Let us not walk in fear of reprisal when admonition from God’s word must be preached. Let us embrace this truth: God does not want His children in error. God will correct us through the preaching of His word.   

Have you a man of God who will stand and cause you to know your sin? Thank God this very day if you do! Thank God for His word; if we will but read and heed it today, it will reveal our errors.    

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Do You Believe?

Matthew 9: 28   And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea Lord.

Believing God sometimes becomes a perfunctory academic experience. We will say, “Yes, I believe God can.” The truth is that we believe the semantics of what he says. We believe the theology of what He says. We believe historically what He says. We even believe the logistics of what He says.

These men had heard of Jesus. They had heard of his ability to heal.  They knew his person, position, and power. Yet when Jesus confronted them with the all-telling question, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” They had to answer not based on what they had heard, knew, or felt. They had to give an answer from the heart. 

He questioned their personal faith. This was not what He had done for others but what He could do for them. They had to determine that they believed for themselves. Not the faith of their community. Not the faith of their family. They had to answer based on their faith.

He questioned their practical faith. This is their blindness. They could not see. They had faith to follow but now needed faith to believe they would see. They knew blindness. They knew darkness. Yet if they believed He was able to do what none other could do, they would see.

He questioned their philosophical faith. They had to take the testimony of their friends and family about this one called Jesus. They had to believe in someone they could not see. They had to take a “blind step” of faith. This challenged their known existence. 

When faced with the Divine’s question, they responded, “Yea, Lord.”

What about you? Do you believe God can take this dark situation in which you are surrounded and bring you to light? Do you believe God is able to do for you what He has done for others held hostage by this same problem?

May I repeat the Lord’s question? “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” God’s ability is never in question; it is generally our faith that comes into question.

 

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The “Demas Strategy”

2 Timothy 4:10   For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…

“Don’t waste your life!” I heard the preacher exclaim with passion. The preacher of the church I visited in Florida had lost yet one more family to the world and was not going to keep losing families anymore. This family had walked closely, worshipped frequently, and witnessed regularly. Though they had surrendered their time and talents to the Lord, they failed to yield their will to Him. 

Satan saw this before this preacher did. Satan led a full assault on this family. In a couple of weeks’ time, the family was out of church, into drugs, and distant from the One they claimed to love and serve. What happened? 

Though you do not know this family, I believe you could replace the elements with ones mentioned above with ones more familiar to your heart. Satan has not grown weary of using this ploy to dissuade God’s people in their service for Him. Satan used the Demas strategy to entice them away. 

This verse reveals the sad story in just fifteen words. It reveals to us Satan’s “Demas Strategy.” Satan used the seduction of the world to entice him away.

  • He offered Demas “Easier Times.” Let go of his responsibilities in the ministry. 
  • He offered Demas “Easier Living.” Look around and see the treats of this present world.
  • He offered Demas an “Easier Future.” Leave it all and head 425 miles south to Thessalonica.

Whom do you care about that is having a Demas experience? Find him and warn him. Find him and work with him. Find him and engage in a prayer war for him. 

What did you say? You say your friend fell to Satan’s Demas Strategy? He can come home from Thessalonica! The road home is long, rough, and will leave many scars, but he can return home. 

Oh, but you say, “Preacher, I am the Demas. I thought that the easier times, easier living, and easier future Satan offered would be worth it and they’re not. What can I do?” You can come home from Thessalonica! The path you took to Thessalonica is the same path home. Start today!

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My Portion

Lamentations 3:24    The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore, will I hope in him.

“Portion…” I was preaching the other night and came across this verse and it struck me in a very deep way. I enjoy eating. I enjoy it a lot. So portion is a word I do not need a whole lot of dictionary digging to affirm its meaning in my heart. 

Immediately when thinking upon the word portion, I consider someone cutting a pie. The cutter looks around the table sizing up the eater he is cutting for and then factors in the other eaters at the table while considering the supply of pie. Sometimes the recipient begins to get a look of apprehension on his face as the cutter seems to be running out of pie. 

The person cutting the pie understands and says, “Don’t worry; I have more pies in the kitchen. You will get a piece!” 

Oh, how that brings hope to the hungry table dweller. When it comes time for my piece to be cut, I begin to look with earnest attention. You see, this piece being cut is my portion. What hope charges through me when I consider the portion coming my way. This portion is the piece that is mine!

Our writer spoke of the Lord being his portion. He is the piece that is mine. What a comfort in this world in which we live where hope seems to ebb and flow as the tides of the sea! I have a portion in this life. The Lord is my portion. He is the piece that is I can count on with all that gets served to me in this life. 

Let hope grow once again. He, the Lord of Glory, is the piece that is coming our way!

 

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A Light Bearer

Matthew 5:14   Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 

As a child, I lived in fear of the dark. I am not sure why, but I did. I wanted a nightlight, or a door opened partway, or small lamp left illuminated. I laugh about it now, but it was a real and present danger to me. I dreaded the darkness. Now, as an adult, when it is time for sleep, the darker the room, the better the sleep. As for my fear of the dark, it is nonexistent.

When God first chose to start the timeline of man’s history, He spoke to this very matter; it was His first order of business. He did not act from fear; He was motivated by the truth that if anything is going to get done, there must be light. In creation, His first deed was “let there be light.” Yet again, at Calvary when darkness reigned, He saw to it that light would shine from out of darkness. 

People around us live in darkness. They need the Light. Christ’s words to us obligate us to turning on the lights in world. His words are clear: “ye are the light of the world.” In the verses following, He shares that there is public light work and personal light work. Note His illustrations. We are to be like cities on the hill, our public light work. Then there is the personal light work; He speaks of lighting candles in rooms. 

We are obligated to be light bearers. We must bear it in our personal work and our public work. Are you balanced in this? When you are one-on-one, do you turn on the lights? When you have moments of public ministry, do you let your light shine.

Are you the brightest light bearer for Him?

 

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A Gospel Goer

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. . .

Years ago, I stood at the gate of a Romanian grandmother who had spent her days behind a wooden fence. The fence was symbolic of the confinements of her life. The economy, the uneasiness of transitioning from communism to democracy, and the hardships of living in such a rural setting all affected her life.

The day I arrived with a group of three, including a translator, we called out across the fence. She came to the gate and we exchanged greetings. We gave her the gospel and her first copy of the Word of God. She embraced it and thanked us.

That day, I was well reminded of the significance of being a Gospel goer. How many people live without knowledge of God, His Word, and salvation? The confinements of life must not shield us from going and prevent them from hearing. It is clear: we must be Gospel Goers!

Our investments in missions do not exempt us from going ourselves. How much Gospel Going do you do? How many people have you taken the Gospel to inside the fences of their lives and told them the way of salvation? This woman never was the same as the day we came and brought light to her heart, home, and village.

Would God assess your life and call you a Gospel Goer?

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20

 

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On the Rock

Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

When I was a boy, our family lived in both Utah and Colorado. I remember as a family we went to the desert to explore. These memories are special to me. 

These journeys to the desert and wilderness allowed us time to explore and relax. I remember finding rock formations that beckoned us to climb to the summit. We would choose one.  We climbed up to get to the top of the rock. In our minds, we felt that if we were on top of the rock, we could conquer anything. 

Summiting these high places changed my siblings and my perspective; we saw things differently. Climbing to the top of the rock changed the perception of ourselves; we felt stronger. Standing on the rock brought me closer to my sibling; we felt closer. 

In our topic verse this day, the Lord has just told Moses he was going to get water for a thirsty murmuring people. These thirsty people were ready to stone Moses. Yet God was ready to stand by Moses. Moses was simply carrying out what God wanted him to do. God was not going to allow one of His leaders to be hung out to dry by a rebellious people. He was going to stand on the rock with Moses.

Moses knew this clearly; he was not going to a place of ministry by himself. He was going to a place where God would be standing on the rock towering over him. 

Standing on the rock with God changed Moses’ perspective on the situation. Ascending to the top of the rock changed Moses’ perception of himself. But the greatest effect had to be this: standing on the rock with God changed his partnership with God. He was closer to Him.

Have you felt burdened in your place of ministry? If you are where God sent you, He is upon the rock. Serve Him with this confidence. When you are standing on the rock with God, you are in His presence. You have access to His power. You have His protection.

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Treasures in your Sack

Genesis 43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.

Joseph came from a dysfunctional family. There were sibling rivalries, rejections, and false accusations. Due to unresolved issues from childhood, Joseph's brothers despised him. 

The plot of Joseph's story was not just about dysfunction. Joseph's story had a subplot. The subplot was the story of Divine Providence. Our verse today brings us a moment in the life of Joseph that brings the plot to light.

Divine Providence placed Joseph in the proper place at the right moment. God arranged for Joseph to be in the position to sustain and secure God’s people before a famine. Now in the midst of a famine, God brings Joseph’s past to the present. His brothers arrive and he must deal with them. 

Human imagination can easily fill the task list of things he could do to them. Retaliation, retribution, and recrimination all seem justified. However, while any of these may come to Joseph’s mind, they are not what he chose to do.

Instead, Joseph chose to let God overrule his human reasoning. Character and submission to God’s will have a way of producing that kind of choice. He chose to bless his brothers who had misled their father, maligned his name, and seemingly misdirected his life’s path. Joseph did so by giving God the glory in his stewardship of the matter.

Joseph could have easily reconciled any decision to retaliate on his brothers. However, he did not. Joseph rose above life’s injustices. His compassion transcended his sibling’s mistreatment of him. His character buoyed him in a sea of false accusations.

Joseph had his brothers escorted to his house. Surely, the brothers feared that the events of the past had returned to haunt them. The images of lies to their father, the mistreatment of their brother, and the betrayal of family for money all must have run through the cinema of their minds.

Joseph’s house steward allayed their fears with a statement that represents divine providence, protection, provision, and promise. The steward told the men, “God gave you treasures in your sacks.” He explained Joseph’s ruse. Their hearts were comforted and shortly Joseph’s identity was revealed. 

The steward of Joseph makes a wonderful point worth noting. He told them their bill for the food they received was paid. There was more than food in the sacks they carried. In their sacks were both earthly and eternal treasures. The steward identified it was God –– their God and their Father’s God –– who placed those treasures in their sacks. Truly the steward’s statement is a statement of God’s gift, goodness, and grace to unworthy travelers. 

God puts treasures in our sack. Our sacks contain treasures that represent God’s gifts, goodness, and grace to us. You’re right; we don’t deserve such treasures! But our Savior loves us unconditionally. What great treasure!

I encourage you to look through your sack and rejoice in the treasures He’s left for you. Perhaps it will be the treasure of His Word; maybe it will be the treasure of his presence or miraculous provision you’ll discover. No matter the discovery, just enjoy and embrace His treasures for you today.

What? You say you have no treasures today? You say you only have sacks of burdens? I say you know not of which you speak! Your burden is laden with treasures. Look again I say! Look again and discover His treasure in your sack.

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I Left This Out

Judges 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;

Have you ever left something in a place for a purpose? In our home, I am the one who likes to leave things out so they can be easily spotted, retrieved or simply to remind me that something needs to be done. Yet there is someone else in our home that is committed to putting things away. (Whether I am through with them or not!) I always have a reason I have left something out. That “other someone,” who has a reason to put things away, often ignores my reasons for leaving it out in the open.

In our today’s verse, God has left something “out” in the open for a reason. The children of Israel needed proving. So God left enemies in the land (3:1) to prove Israel. He wanted Israel to know how to battle because many had not known the battling from the previous generation. {It is interesting to note that not only had the children of Israel not known the Lord, (2:10) they also did not know how to battle.} 

God left some enemies in the land to help them to know the blessing of battling. Have you been complaining about the battles you have had to fight? Are the struggles you’re facing all your children ever hear about? Stand up! The battles you are facing are not for you alone. Teach your children the warfare of the Christian. Determine in your heart that your children will know the ways of warfare of God’s people.

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A Faith Keeper

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

 “Save this for me,” the little niece said to her uncle as she handed him the teacup.

 “How long do I need to keep this?” he asked coyly. 

She said, “Until it’s over.” 

So the uncle held the teacup until the niece returned. Upon her arrival, she asked, as only a five-year-old girl could inquire, “Do you still have it? Is it the same as it was when I left it? Did you let anyone touch it? Did you let anything happen to it?”

As the niece handed the cup to the uncle, so the people of God have been handed a cup of truth. It is a cup that must be preserved and passed on to the next generation. It is to be handed to those who follow as it was handed to us. 

The saints in the tribulation will be noted for their faith keeping. Jude wrote that we must contend for the faith. Faith Keepers must make their stand and keep that which has been entrusted to them. As the niece asked the uncle, I ask you the same about the faith. “Do you still have it? Is it the same as it was when I left it? Did you let anyone touch it? Did you let anything happen to it?”

Be a faith keeper.

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A Perceived Testimony

1 Samuel 9:6 And he said unto him, Behold, now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.

Jim Bakker. Jimmy Swaggert. Robert Tilton. These are men who once claimed to be amongst the ranks of men of God who are now held in disdain for their illicit actions. Sad, isn’t it? It would be easy to write off these men and say, “Well, they are Charismatics; their bad doctrine bred bad morals.” 

Yet amongst the ranks of fundamentalism, we have our own hall of shame. Though lesser known on the national scale, regionally we hang our hearts and heads when hearing of their moral disintegrations. These are men who left their marriages and ministries in pursuit of money, mistresses, or mysteries. These are men who proved to be Servants of Self, instead of Servants of the Savior. Though the trend seems to be amplified in our day, we must recall that there are men who are not of this way! There are still men who are of Godly rank and reputation. 

A young Saul was certain of one thing the day he was searching for his father’s donkeys. He knew that in the city of Zuph he could find a man of God. In his mind, he was confident that if he could find God’s man, he could find the direction he needed. He went to Zuph and found Samuel. 

Notice Saul’s perceived testimony of the man of God. Saul said, “There is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.” Saul was confident when he found God’s man he would find three things.

1. His identification will be heavenly. “There is a man of God”

2. His integrity will be honorable. “He is an honorable man”

3. His instructions will be helpful. “All that he saith cometh surely to pass”

The wise reader would also discover in Saul's simple statement the needed reputation for every preacher today. Oh, how we need to realize that men of God today are in the majority, not the minority. 

You say, “I am not a man of God but I sit under the ministry of God’s man.” I urge you to hold him up! Hold him high before the Lord. Protect him from the subtle attacks of money, would-be-mistresses, and the unexplored mysteries of sin. 

Every man of God I know starts out the ministry to finish not fail. But failures come. Let us help keep the testimony of the men of God as Saul stated it “There is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can show us our way that we should go.”

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Grace in the Wilderness

Jeremiah 31:2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Wilderness. The very word seems ominous. Stark horizons, barren landscapes, and waterless wells mark this place. The traveler who trods this soil will remember the hopelessness of this habitat. Only cacti bloom here; the birds that fly here are predators. The trees are bereft of vegetation. There are no indicators of life; it is just as its described; it is a wilderness. 

The believer will sometimes find himself in the wilderness. Sometimes it is a wilderness of his own making. Other times it is a wilderness of God’s choosing. Yet wherever the wilderness or however you arrived there, know this: our wildernesses are not without God’s knowledge nor His grace. 

God had Israel, both northern and southern kingdoms, in a place of purification. God wanted a righteous spirit to replace their rebellious spirit. In the previous chapter, God made it clear He would rid them of their wickedness. Yet in the same prophecy, God stated that those who remained, after the purging by the Assyrian’s sword, found grace in the wilderness.

Your way may be in the wilderness at the moment. Lift up your head; redemption is near. There can be grace in your wilderness. You may think that this wilderness has just graves, but know this: this wilderness has grace too.

Whatever your wilderness, grace can be found in it.

 

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Hindrances

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.    

You know there is nothing more frustrating than being hindered when you want to move forward. Have you ever had a day when everything you try to do seems like you are walking into a brick wall? You try to avoid the wall by navigating around it and you walk right back into the same wall. It seems as if every attempt to move forward is hindered.    

Yesterday, I had one of those days. I finally realized (after about five stubbed toes and squished noses) that it was time to step away and figure out what was hindering my forward motion. Clearly, the Lord wanted me to learn something from Him.   

After this experience, though unrelated to this verse, I began thinking about the hindrances that come in my walk with the Lord. As a husband of 14 years, I’ve seen a few times when disagreements arose with my wife. (Incidentally, I have learned now, that no matter what the issue, it is MY fault [smile]) Those kind of disagreements, if left unresolved, create a larger problem than the one in his earthly home.   

If a husband leaves these disagreements unresolved, he will run into a brick wall in his communication with God. God is looking out for my wife. He has her best interest in mind. God wants my wife’s husband to learn his wife’s ways, to honor her worth, to remember her status in the family of God. The penalty for not doing this is a brick wall in his prayer life. Oh, that he would learn!!!   

 

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Who do you hate?

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

This verse seems hard to assimilate. We know the times that Christ instructed us to love each other as believers as well as our neighbors. However, here we have Christ issuing a warning to followers. If you are coming to Christ for service, your love for Him must be so fervent that all others loves will seem as hatred.

However, most people I have spoken to considering God’s call for the ministry have expressed a concern over how others around them may feel if they respond to God’s call. They say, “Well, I would go but my Dad and Mom…” Or “I would go but my Siblings…” Or “I would go but I wanted to do __________ with my life.” 

Your coming for His service is voluntary. However, there is one requirement: you must love Him more than anyone you know, anything you wanted to do, and anywhere you ever wanted to go! Does this describe your love of Christ? Are you amongst those that will claim your desire to serve him and yet will juggle their life’s loves to keep yourself, your friends, and family happy? Are you amongst those that seek to please your spouse as your chief priority only to abandon Christ?

Is your love for Christ so earnest that all other loves can only be valued as hatred? If not, adjust your relationships to people, places, and things so He is your chief love!

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