“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 KJV. This is the greatest reason every child of God has to overcome fear. God is with us. He is our Emmanuel. Of all the things God could do for us or give to us, none are so important as His holy presence with us. When He is with us there is no reason for us to be discouraged or dismayed. With His presence, our weakness is taken care of by His divine strength. When He is with us, all the help, comfort and wisdom we need is available. May God help us to take hold of this wonderful promise! That He is not a God afar off, merely observing what we go through. Rather, He is One Who is very near in everything that we go through. And even when we face those difficult things that seem there is no way we can make it, because He is with us, we have the assurance that His strong arm will hold us up! Let us take comfort in this great truth, God is with us.
“And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: For Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” Psalm 9:10 KJV. What a powerful encouragement for us to seek the Lord! As long as we continue to seek Him, we will never be alone. People may forsake us, even governments may forsake us, but God will never abandon the seeking soul. As long as our hearts are turned towards Him, we will be seeking Him in His Word, seeking Him in personal prayer and seeking Him in worship with God’s people. It is a blessed thing when a soul truly seeks the Lord. Seeking Him means we recognize that we are not sufficient in ourselves and He has what we need. As we seek Him we discover, that not only does He have all that we need, but HE IS all that we need. Let us learn that it is not the gifts we should be seeking, but the Giver. It is not the blessings we seek, but the Blesser. Many times in God’s Word we find it is God’s desire that we seek Him. Many people have a very shallow idea of what eternal life and Heaven is. They imagine things only on a material level. But Heaven is where our hungering and thirsting souls find the One we have been seeking. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find”. Let us be those who seek Him with all of our hearts.
“Say not thou, I will recompense evil; But wait on the LORD, and He shall save thee.” Proverbs 20:22 KJV. One of the most difficult things for human beings to do, is not retaliate when we are hurt or wronged. Only the very humble soul, who walks close with the Lord, will be able to leave ‘vengeance in God’s hands’, and let Him save us. But we know from God’s Word, that we are not to return evil for evil. In fact, we are to do the opposite. We are commanded to return good for evil and to bless those who persecute us. But for us to do this requires a great trust in God. We must be absolutely sure that God’s way is best. We must know that when we commit these things to God’s hands, He truly will save us! He will save us from the anguish of soul that is consumed by a bitter spirit. He will save us from any spiritual harm that could come to our soul. And He will save us from the terrible emptiness that comes when people think they finally achieve the vengeance they have sought for. This is a tough lesson that so few seem to learn. But we can be sure that when we are willing to trust and obey, God’s grace will always be sufficient.
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV. What a powerful example David sets for us here! In one of the most distressing situations of his life, with their families kidnapped and his own men ready to turn against him, he ‘encourages himself in the Lord’. Sometimes we all face situations in our lives where there is no one close who can encourage us. But when we are walking with Jesus in a genuine personal relationship, we can always take time to encourage ourselves in Him. This means that we turn our attention away from our weakness and helplessness to His mighty strength and abundant provision. It means we quit thinking about what we can’t do and we turn our minds to what He can do. Basically, this means that we pause and make a deliberate choice to fill our hearts and minds with the truth of Who our Blessed Lord is! When we do this, it becomes the most encouraging thing we can possibly do. And soon, we begin to know, as the songwriter says, “There is no mountain so high, He cannot move it. There is no problem too big, He cannot solve it”. Let us choose, to encourage ourselves in Who our God is.
“Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”
Proverbs 19:27 KJV. These words are so much more than simply what Solomon wrote to his son. They are also God’s Words to His children. Because He is our Father Who cares so much about us, He desires that we think correctly. He does not want this ungodly world or the secular media forming the way that we think about life. His purpose is that we think Biblically, because that is the only right and safe way. It is the only way that gives us the truth about our own needs, and the real needs of all souls. It is a deception of the enemy that causes people to imagine they can take in both evil and good into their minds so they can evaluate them. The reality is, truth will only be known and recognized as we fill our minds with God’s Word. The more we become familiar with and love God’s Word, the more we will find that it is ‘a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path’. It will cause us to recognize and help to keep us from those evil ways that lead people away from God. Let us have the courage to reject all ideas that are contrary to God’s Word.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”Proverbs 18:10 KJV. We are living in a world that is looking for safety and security. Everyday people are running here and there trying to find something stable, something they can depend on and trust. But the wise man reminds us here that there is only One Refuge for man’s soul. And that is in the God Who created us and sustains us. The phrase ‘the Name of the Lord’ means all that God is. When we run to Him, we are coming to the only Refuge for our souls! He is our Shield and Defender, our Mighty Fortress wherein we find shelter. Coming to Him we come to our Strong Rock in a weary land. In Him, we find all that our hungering soul longs for. But let us not delay while others make it in! Let us not walk while others flee to Jesus Christ. The ‘running of the righteous’ is an expression of true and fervent desire because they sense danger. No matter what we are facing, day by day let us run to the Strong Tower of the Name of the Lord.
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Acts 20:32 KJV. As the apostle Paul is saying goodbye, he tells them that he is committing them to God’s care. But also, he says that he is committing them to the ‘Word of His grace’, which is the Gospel. We should know, that the same Gospel that had power to build up the early Church still has the power to build up our lives today! Thank God, the power of the Gospel message has not diminished nor changed. Too often in this shallow religious age, the Gospel is presented as something that gives us a ticket to Heaven but doesn’t bring much change to our lives. The gospel of most churches is a powerless one that leaves people in their sins and has little of the life changing, heart transforming power of the pure Gospel. But let’s be clear, the true Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation! It still has power to turn sinners into saints. It has power to build up our lives so that we can live in victory over sin, over this world and over the devil. It was this Gospel that built up the early church into a mighty spiritual army that changed the world. May we open our hearts to let the Gospel do that work in us.
“…they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11 KJV. What a wonderful thing it is when souls are truly humble and willing to receive God’s Word with a ‘readiness of mind’. This means that we listen to what God is saying with a heart that is ready to obey. We are anxious to learn about God’s will because we are ready to walk in it. Far too often, people hear sermons and read scripture with no intention of changing or being changed by the power of God’s Word. They hear words but it doesn’t affect them because they are not ready to do what God says. But when we have this ‘readiness of mind’ we will be searching the scriptures to discover more of God! We will desire to learn more about Who He is, what He’s done, and what He calls us to. We certainly will not be searching to find out an easier way or to make excuses for sin and carnal living as many do today. May God help us to receive God’s Word with a heart and mind ready to please Him.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:25 KJV. Most of the time when we read this passage we think of the miracle of the earthquake God sent and how the prisoners were loosed from their prison cells. But think about what a miracle these two men are. Beaten and bruised, unjustly and cruelly treated, thrown into the damp, dark prison and chained, they had every reason humanly to hang their heads in discouragement. But instead we find them at the very darkest time, praying and singing praises to God! That is a miracle that only God can work in the hearts of men! And thank God He still does! All throughout church history, we find these courageous examples. Men and women of great faith in God, who would not give in to self pity. They had such a love for Christ that they counted it a privilege to suffer for His sake. May God help us today in this world of suffering and woe. With His Spirit in us, we can rise above the darkness and give praise to our God.
“And whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole.” Mark 6:56 KJV. This was a common occurrence when people came to Jesus in faith. Many times in the Gospels we read that people ‘were made whole.’ Most of the time this was a physical healing, because they knew Him as a Mighty Healer. But today, we have the privilege to know Jesus as so much more than just the Healer of the body. Now we know He is the Healer of the soul! Now we know He is a Great Saviour, Who came to save us from our sins! And what great and precious promises He has given us that He will do exactly what He came to do. When we touch Him in faith, He will deliver us from the worst plague of all, which is sin. May we not give in to the unbelief of modern religion, which tells people that you can touch Jesus in faith and yet remain in your sins. May God deliver us from the watered down Gospel of this religious age, that has no power to deliver and make us whole. Thank God, it is still true, ‘as many as touch Him will be made whole’.