“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Lord, give me the grace to trust in Your power to ultimately prevail in the midst of the challenges of life. May my trust in You be rewarded by the power of Your overcoming strength.
The power of God within you is greater than the pressure of troubles around you!
“All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” — Mark 4:28
Since our Lord has commissioned us to “Go and bring forth fruit,” it is understandable that as we pray, or as we do kingdom business, that we would prefer quick or immediate action. But Jesus is reminding us of how “kingdom growth” occurs. As surely as it is true that the words we speak in prayer are heard, and as surely as the promises of God we claim are seed, so just as certainly it takes time for those promises sown in prayer to come to fruition. The parallel is beautiful: we sow as God’s Word is laid hold of in faith; we water with prayer and praise; His love and grace provide the sunshine—and the fruitfulness of harvest will come!
Isaiah explained that we are all like sheep (Isa53:6). We tend to go our own way, yet we desperately need the sure direction of a shepherd. Psalms 23 describes the trustworthiness of our Good Shepherd. He cares for us (v.1); He provides for our physical needs (v.2); He shows us how to live holy lives (v.3); He restores us, comforts us, heals us and bountifully blesses us (v.3-5); and He will not abandon us (v.6).
What a comfort to know that God gently but firmly leads us! He does so through the urging of the Holy Spirit, the reading of His Word and through prayer. God is the reliable leader we need.
The Lamb who died to save us, is the Shepherd who lives to guide us.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” — 1 John 1:7
Within community, there is a mutuality, a common holding of resources, a sharing of what we have together in our walk in the light of our Lord. Some tend to feel that we have nothing of resource to offer our brothers and sisters in Christ. Some also feel that our brothers and sisters in Christ have nothing to offer us. According to the Scripture, neither of these positions is God’s will for us. If nothing else, we have their source of a heart with which to love, ears with which to listen, and hands with which to care.
Love is an action of serving others. Jesus would’ve said in John 13 that He “loved His own who were in the world” to the end. Throughout the chapter, He demonstrates in practical terms what that love means.
If we are to love others and obey the commandment of our Lord, we are to serve one another. We must lay down the garments of our own pride and of our own comfort, and we must pick up the towel of humility and service, looking for opportunities to actuate the call of our Lord to love (read “serve”) one another.
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” — James 1:25
James explains that we are not only to “continue in” the Word, but we are also to give ourselves in ministry. It is this two-pronged focus—the Word and the work—that brings about that perfect maturity and soundness in our lives.
We give ourselves to the reading and study of the Word. Then we ask the Lord to open doors of ministry to us. He wants to bring His perfection to our lives today.
“You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.” Nehemiah 9:13
Unlike man-made laws, God’s laws are never arbitrary or inconsistent. God’s laws come directly from the Creator’s hand and are, in essence, a “how-to” book for the human race!
Are we facing one of life’s uncertainties? The answer is in the Word. Is there something in our lives that needs to be fixed? When we don’t know what to do, we look it up in the manual!
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” — 2 Cor 3:18
God’s Word to a mirror but describes the picture seen as no less than the Lord Jesus Himself. Thus, the Bible shows us Christ’s likeness in order that we may measure our conduct and character against His and allow God to shape us into Christ’s image.
Today, ask the Lord to use His Word in your life so that you will be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).
We are all too inexperienced to try to make it through life without a guide. God’s Word is that guide. Psalm 119 unfolds the manifold features of God’s Word, showing how dynamically and practically it will assist us in all of life’s circumstances. Verse 105 explains how God’s Word lights the way, giving direction for each step (“to my feet”) and giving wisdom for long-range plans (“to my path”). Joshua links the regular application of God’s Word to life as the most certain way to success in living (Josh. 1:8).
Today, let us allow Proverbs 6:23 to remind us that the reproofs of God are essential and for life. Let God’s Word guide, correct, instruct, lead, teach, and confirm. Do not hasten ahead without it—ever.