The comfort of a committed life. It’s God’s promise to His people.
The patriarchs…apostles…and apostles are witnesses. Job speaks for them all. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”
A loving heavenly Father stands guard at your heart’s door. When adversity comes…He will allow through that door only what will serve His eternal purposes.
This is the key to the comfort of the committed life.
The promise of comfort is rooted in the character of God – always loving and kind. And when you don’t understand His ways…you can trust His heart.
This is why the Apostle Paul could declare: “In every thing give thanks…”
Comfort will be yours as you surrender to the perfect will of God.
The view from the top. But…the way up is not always easy.
It has been said that the harder the climb…the better the view.
It’s a life principle. The ascent through adversity is hard…but the insight into God’s sufficient grace is always worth the climb.
In retrospect…Paul said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness…”
That’s the view from the top.
Fragrances always flow out of crushings. Adversity precedes triumph. Dawn comes after the night.
So…where are you on the ascent? You may feel exhausted…broken…and in pain – but the summit is just ahead.
And…the view will be breath-taking.
The burden of sin. It is a load carried by every person.
It’s the shame…pain…and anxiety experienced by all of humanity – the awareness that something is wrong deep in the soul.
You can deny it…ignore it…dismiss it – but it is ever present.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
The angel’s declaration to Joseph is a glorious truth: “…you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The Prophet Isaiah said: “…and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
But…the work of the Savior must be received by every person. And…it is repentance that opens the heart to receive the gift of salvation.
Only Jesus can lift the heavy load and set you free.
Facts and fears. There is often a disconnect between the two.
Facts are conclusions based on information that is observable and verifiable. Fears are often based on what is imaginative and unsubstantiated.
The fear of the dark is largely based on imagination. The same is true of most fears. This is why information is an effective way to dispel fear.
Satan is the author of the disconnect between fear and fact. He uses imagination…suppresses information…and thereby creates chaos in people’s lives.
The Apostle Paul wrote “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
It is the Holy Spirit that clarifies what is factual…and exposes fear based on imagination. The Spirit of truth uses fact to dispel fear.
The secret place. That’s where you are to dwell.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
This is the place where values are defined…character is forged…and a relationship with God is cultivated. If the secret place is strong and healthy…all of life will be good.
Your public side is what is visible and witnessed by others. Your secret side is your relationship with God in the deep place of the soul.
It’s the place of exchange – where you surrender all of your inadequacies…and receive in exchange His all-sufficiency.
When your public side meets challenges…that’s when you must return again to the secret place. It is there you will find new perspective…and abundant healing.
Return always to the secret place.
What’s in your hand? That’s what God wants to use.
Don’t shoot for the stars – like being a high-profile minister…recognized as being a creative genius. No…just begin to use what is in your hand.
The pattern in Scripture is clear. It’s the loaves and fishes of a little boy…the collected vessels of a needy widow woman…the five stones from a brook.
It’s always what’s in your hand.
It may be your contagious smile…your frequent calls to needy friends…your investment in God’s work. That’s always where it starts — what is already in your hand.
All the Holy Spirit needs is what is in your hand. He will take it…multiply it…and use it in ways beyond your imagination.
What’s in your hand?
Satan’s finger of accusation. And…it can be pointed toward you.
The Prophet Zechariah witnessed just that…when he saw Satan accusing Joshua the priest.
In his despondency…the priest went about in filthy garments. It is suggestive of the depths of a great inner struggle.
The Lord said: “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!…Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Satan’s purpose is to strip away every sign of dignity and self-worth. He oppresses and destroys.
So if Satan’s’ finger of accusation is pointed toward you…ask the Lord to rebuke him.
That will open the door to a life of victory.
Wiped out. What do you do then?
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, through there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls…”
For a farmer…that’s being wiped out. The Prophet Habakkuk’s description is graphic.
And it happens in our day. Everything collapses. What once was is no more. You’re wiped out.
So what does the prophet say you should do? “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
When you are wiped out…and are a person of faith…you still have what matters most – a personal relationship with the Lord.
So today – rejoice…regardless.
Angry with God. But…He is never to be faulted.
Jonah preached to the Ninevites: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”
But…the Ninevites repented — and God saved the city.
This turnabout infuriated the prophet: “But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.” Jonah felt betrayed.
God explained His change of mind: “Should I not be concerned about that great city?” It was a demonstration of God’s compassion and love.
How do you respond…when you see evil people who repent enjoying the favor of God?
Or…when you look at your circumstances in life – do you feel tempted to fault God?
At some point…everyone must come to a place of resignation to the will of God. That’s the way to a life of peace and joy.
The marketplace. God keeps His eye on what happens there.
Amos describes what was happening in his day among the dealers in the wheat market.
They were “…skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales…selling even the sweepings with the wheat.”
They were “…buying the poor with silver…”
God saw what was going on. “I will never forget anything they have done.” And God is still looking…and not forgetting.
Honesty is the expression of a pure and righteous heart. It is an observable measurement of personal integrity…an indispensable attribute.
So be careful. It’s easy to cut corners…take advantage…and be guilty of defrauding others.
Let honesty be an essential quality of your character.