Today’s Reading

Morning

“For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.”
2 John 2

Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house–this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as he opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapped up in the assurance that the truth will be with us forever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms.

Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

Evening

“She gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.”
Ruth 2:3

Her hap was. Yes, it seemed nothing but an accident, but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone forth with her mother’s blessing, under the care of her mother’s God, to humble but honourable toil, and the providence of God was guiding her every step. Little did she know that amid the sheaves she would find a husband, that he should make her the joint owner of all those broad acres, and that she a poor foreigner should become one of the progenitors of the great Messiah. God is very good to those who trust in him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us to-morrow, but this sweet fact may cheer us, that no good thing shall be withheld. Chance is banished from the faith of Christians, for they see the hand of God in everything. The trivial events of today or to-morrow may involve consequences of the highest importance. O Lord, deal as graciously with thy servants as thou didst with Ruth.

How blessed would it be, if, in wandering in the field of meditation tonight, our hap should be to light upon the place where our next Kinsman will reveal himself to us! O Spirit of God, guide us to him. We would sooner glean in his field than bear away the whole harvest from any other. O for the footsteps of his flock, which may conduct us to the green pastures where he dwells! This is a weary world when Jesus is away–we could better do without sun and moon than without him–but how divinely fair all things become in the glory of his presence! Our souls know the virtue which dwells in Jesus, and can never be content without him. We will wait in prayer this night until our hap shall be to light on a part of the field belonging to Jesus wherein he will manifest himself to us.

Bible Gateway

NIV Devotion For Man

Tactics for the Thirsty Soul

Psalm 42:1–11

Recommended Reading: Psalm 63:1–11; Luke 22:39–46

Isn’t it amazing how the Bible talks about the soul? Scripture not only portrays what the successful, victorious and satisfied life feels like, but God’s Word also offers many examples of people who battle for their faith and grow weary.

In this psalm the songwriter longs deeply for God. Taunted by his enemies, his soul knows deep despair and turmoil. But rather than caving in to the flood of adversity, the desperate follower cries out to God. How does he wage this battle?

First, the songwriter honestly expresses his feelings to God. Rather than denying his pain, he pours out his soul (see Psalm 42:4) and brings his frustration and sense of abandonment to God (see verse 9). Second, he engages his own memory. The songwriter recalls blessed times of worship with the people of God (see verse 4), and—more significantly—he remembers God himself (see verse 6). Third, the songwriter talks to himself. Or, perhaps more accurately, he addresses his own soul. He repeats the refrain: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11). Although his adversaries taunt him and continually tell him lies, the psalmist aggressively counters their negative slurs with his own message of hope in God.

Finally, note that the songwriter wrote about his struggles. The fact that his words still exist today indicates that he battled for his soul by giving expression to his grief and hope.

If you’re engaged in a battle to make your faith real and are growing tired of the conflict, don’t give up the fight. Long for God. Thirst for him. If you feel comfortable doing so, record your struggles on paper or in a file on your computer. When you pursue God, Scripture promises that you’ll find him. Pray for God to flood your soul with relief. And don’t forget to challenge yourself in the same manner of the psalmist in Psalm 42:6 11.

To Take Away

  • Do you ever long for God so much that you feel yourself dying of thirst to experience his presence and refreshment?
  • Have you ever “preached” to your own soul? If you were to do so now, what would you say to yourself?
  • When have you sensed relief from your thirst for God? How can you repeat that experience?

Bible Gateway

Christ Is Like Sunlight

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus relates to God the way radiance relates to glory, or the way the rays of sunlight relate to the sun.

Keep in mind that every analogy between God and natural things is imperfect and will distort if you press it. Nevertheless, consider for example,

  1. There is no time that the sun exists without the beams of radiance. They cannot be separated. The radiance is co-eternal with the glory. Christ is co-eternal with God the Father.
  2. The radiance is the glory radiating out. It is not essentially different from the glory. Christ is God standing forth as separate but not essentially different from the Father.
  3. Thus the radiance is eternally begotten, as it were, by the glory — not created or made. If you put a solar-activated calculator in the sunlight, numbers appear on the face of the calculator. These, you could say, are created or made by the sun, but they are not what the sun is. But the rays of the sun are an extension of the sun. So Christ is eternally begotten of the Father, but not made or created.
  4. We see the sun by means of seeing the rays of the sun. So we see God the Father by seeing Jesus. The rays of the sun arrive here about eight seconds after they leave the sun, and the round ball of fire that we see in the sky is the image — the exact representation — of the sun; not because it is a painting of the sun, but because it is the sun streaming forth in its radiance.

So I commend this great Person to you that you might trust in him and love him and worship him. He is alive and sitting at the right hand of God with all power and authority and will one day come in great glory. He has that exalted place because he is himself God the Son.

Bible Gateway

Why Would You Let This Happen, God?

Lysa TerKeurst October 25, 2018
LYSA TERKEURST

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” 1 Kings 19:3a (NIV)

There are three filters of truth through which I process life events:

1. God is good.

2. God is good to me.

3. God is good at being God.

This is my starting place when looking at circumstances both wonderful and hurtful. These truths help me consider good things God might be doing, even with realities that don’t feel at all good. They bring me back to the goodness of God as the starting place for my continued trust in Him. These truths help settle my runaway fears and chaotic emotions when feelings beg me to question, Why would you let this happen, God?!

I’m not saying this is easy. I’ve had some really heartbreaking things happen in my life over the past couple of years. I had so many ideas of how my life should go, including notions of what a good God would and would not allow into my life.

I said I trusted God, but in reality, I think I trusted in the plan I thought God should follow. And when my life took shocking turns so far from my expectations, my soul shook. My peace evaporated. And everything in me wanted to run and hide and stop trusting God.

This is where we find Elijah in 1 Kings 19. If you’ve never read 1 Kings 18, I highly recommend it. It’s a chapter where we see God use Elijah to prove to the nation of Israel that He’s the one true God in a miraculous and powerful way. Elijah must have been on a high, seeing God do what he expected God to do. And in essence, Elijah looked good himself as the “prophet who won the showdown at Mount Carmel.”

But oh, how quickly things can change. How quickly Elijah’s absolute trust in God evaporates with one death threat from Queen Jezebel. First Kings 19:3a tells us, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”

The events taking place in 1 Kings 18 and then 1 Kings 19 are both spectacular and sobering. Spectacular as we see the Lord magnificently prove His supremacy and might to all of Israel. Sobering in that, in spite of God’s tremendous showing of power, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel are not overthrown, and Elijah ends up running for his life into hiding.

Why was Elijah fearful and in despair? I have a feeling his desperation came from the same soul-shaking place I mentioned earlier — unmet expectations. Elijah probably assumed Ahab and Jezebel’s unholy reign would come to an end after the mighty feat of the Lord. Yet, that was not the outcome, and in that place of unfulfilled expectation, fear ultimately crumbled faith.

Even though Elijah experienced the miracle on Mount Carmel, he still succumbs to the fear of persecution. Elijah flees into the wilderness, exposing the truth that even a great prophet like Elijah is still human and falls terribly short in terms of both faith and affection for the Lord.

Even so, the Lord deals graciously and gently with Elijah — drawing him close with a whisper and giving him instructions of what to do next.

God doesn’t fix things the way Elijah thinks they should be fixed, but He does lead him. And isn’t it interesting the Lord leads him back through the wilderness? (1 Kings 19:15) After all, that’s often where God takes His people to teach them His perspective that blooms into deeper faith.

The Lord gives Elijah a second chance to face the same struggles before he ran and hid, except this time with right perspective and faith.

Elijah sees God’s plan is good — even if it isn’t the way Elijah would have written it himself. And the same is true for us. God’s plans don’t have to match our plans for them to still be good.

What can we personally take away from studying these events in Elijah’s life?

Perspective is the key to trusting God. And so often the clarity we need to see things from God’s perspective happens in the wilderness experiences we all wish we could avoid.

Maybe the three truth-filters which helped me can help you in whatever life circumstances that seem unfair, unreasonable or hurtful beyond what you can bear. Let God whisper His truth that He is good. He is good to you. And He is good at being God.

Father God, I’m so thankful You don’t condemn me for my fears. Instead, You have given me the gift of Your perspective-shifting, lie-sifting, head-lifting Truth. Help me use Your Word to preach truth to my own soul when I start to doubt Your goodness. Teach me how to use it as the powerful and effective weapon it is when the enemy tries to convince me I have been forgotten and forsaken. Let it remind me that You see me, You love me, and I am safe — both in Your hands and in Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Have you found yourself asking, “Why would You let this happen, God?!” Find the hope your heart needs in the midst of deep disappointment by recognizing there’s purpose in the process God is working out in your life. Sign up for Lysa TerKeurst’s FREE 5-day devotional “Why Isn’t God Answering My Prayer?” here.

You can pre-order Lysa’s new book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, today — and receive the first three chapters along with other exclusive resources that won’t be available once it releases. Get your copy now!

CONNECT:
Find out if Lysa is speaking in a town near you soon here.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are there any situations that have been stirring up fear in your heart? How can the three filters Lysa uses help you process the hard realities of life right now? Join in the conversation here.

© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
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