Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Psalm 42:11

" 'Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.' "

Some of the most needed sermons we hear are the ones we preach to ourselves. When thoughts arise that are contrary to the Lord's will and Word, when our flesh rises up in rebellion against the Lord's discipline, or when our emotions flare out of control, then it is time to speak sternly to our spirit, even as the psalmist here exhorts himself to hope in God!

No matter how long we have walked with the Lord, no matter how mature we are in the faith, no one is immune to times of discouragement, doubt, or even despair... no one is exempt. Even one of the caliber of John the Baptist, of whom our Lord said among those born of women none was greater, reached a point where he sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord Jesus if He indeed was the Expected One, or should they look for someone else (Luke 7:19)! There is comfort in the fact that the Lord Jesus did not rebuke John for this lapse of faith. He knew John's situation, and He knew John's heart.
Come to think of it, He knows our situation and heart, as well, doesn't He. In truth, much of His work of sanctification is revealing our heart to us, granting the grace to confess the sin we see there, repent, and move on, becoming more and more conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus.

Father, teach us how to speak to our soul, as did the psalmist. Grant the wisdom from Your Word as well as Your Blessed Holy Spirit to teach Your truth to our heart when needed most. You know how easily our silly heart is deceived and swayed by the enemy and his cohort the world... deepen our determination, strengthen our resolve to declare aloud Your pure Word which never fails in the matter for which You send it! Praise to Your Name! I plea this in the risen Name of Your Sovereign Son, the Lord Jesus, Amen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Luke 17:32

"Remember Lot's wife."

Possible lessons:

*Our eyes follow our heart.
What our heart desires, our eyes will seek out. Although she was walking away, her heart still longed for Sodom and Gomorrah. Proverbs 4:23 comes to mind: "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." And how differently the story would have concluded had she obeyed v. 25: "Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you."

*Her curiosity was, in fact, rooted in distrust and unbelief, leading to disobedience.
With a response similar to Eve's in the garden of Eden, Lot's wife must have felt that God was withholding something from her; that there was no good reason why she shouldn't see the destruction of the cities for herself. Impugning the truthful character of both God and His angelic messenger (Genesis 19:17), she looked back, with the direst of results.
Only in eternity will we know what tragic and terrible spiritual (as well as physical) sequences and consequences resulted from our reluctance and refusal to take God seriously.

*Ignoring God's warnings of discipline results in certain punishment.
Both she and Lot had been shown great grace in multiple warnings: in verse 13, twice they are told by the angel that Sodom is to be destroyed. Again in verse 15 they are warned. In verse 16 their hands are seized, out of the Lord's compassion, and they are led outside the city. Still they do not want to go! God grants Lot's request to settle in Zoar, yet on the way there she felt she could not resist a backward look, despite all the warnings.

NOTE: neither she nor Lot had been told exactly what would happen if she looked back. Perishing as a pillar of salt had not been mentioned.

LESSON: when we sin, we cannot predict the severity of the result, either. Some among the Corinthian fellowship who took the Lord's supper unworthily found this to be so (I Corinthians 11:29, 30). We serve a thrice-holy God, Who does all His good pleasure as He sovereignly chooses.

"Father, as Your children we can easily take Your grace for granted, becoming comfortable with sin as we are lulled into complacency. Forgive such arrogance, Father, and warn us again by bringing Lot's wife to remembrance, to walk in a manner worthy of Your holiness. Cause us to trust You when You say, "No, wait." Cause us to faith You when You say, "I will provide. It will be enough." May we take You seriously in ALL You say.
In the Lord Jesus' Name I ask,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Prayer

I would intercede for a choice sister in the faith as she ministers to her loved one through dreadful days and difficult nights. The enemy of her soul is no doubt doing all he can to discourage and dismay her heart-- I plea Your blessed Spirit would speak peace and assurance of love to her spirit incessantly, especially in the night hours, when needed most.
Strengthen her resolve in times of tiredness, Father, bolstered by Your Spirit's bringing promises from Your Word to her remembrance.
Be pleased to grant her wisdom & discernment in her use of time, balancing her various family responsibilities so that her heart is free of guilt, one of the enemy's choicest tools.

You've shown Yourself so faithful on her behalf times without number in the past, Father... plainly proving that Your power is perfected in weakness... minister Your grace afresh, I plea, in this time of protracted stress.
Beloved Lord, I would that You move in such a way that others would sense and be aware that it is You who are accomplishing this, and thereby gain the credit and glory! Bear witness to Yourself, through her actions, attitudes, and countenance, that You, and You alone, are the only true and living God!
May Your living reality be manifest through her simplest acts, resonating through her words, resulting in Your perfect will accomplished in her loved one's life.
All to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose Name I pray,