By MARK ROBERTS OCTOBER 28, 2012
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me. Psalms 13:5-6
There are times when it's fairly easy to trust in God's love, to rejoice in his salvation, and to sing because he has been good to us. I think of times in my life when I was overwhelmed by God's blessings, when I could hardly believe how good my life was.
Yet there are other times, aren't there? Times when life is hard, when sorrow fills our hearts, when we wonder if God is even there for us. In times of suffering and struggle, can we still trust in God's love? Can we rejoice? Can we sing with gladness to him?
Psalm 13 answers these questions in the affirmative. If you only read verse 5-6, you might think that David, the composer of this psalm, was experiencing one of those times of obvious blessing. But, then there's that word..."But." It suggests a contrast between the trusting worship of verse 5-6 and the earlier portion of the psalm. Indeed, when we look back, we see that David is feeling forgotten by God (13:1). He is struggling with anguish and sorrow every day (13:2). He is seeing his enemies appear to prevail over him and he's wondering how long this will go on (13:2-4).
But, in the midst of his desperation, David pauses to confess his trust and joy in God. He sings to celebrate God's goodness. How is this possible? First, David thinks back to times when God has rescued him in the past (13:5). He remembers that God has been good to him (13:6). These memories give David confidence to believe that God will rescue him yet again. Second, David remembers what is true about God, that which is true regardless of David's current experience. God has revealed himself to be a God of "unfailing love" (13:5). At times, it's hard for us to understand the ways God expresses his love for us. Yet, the fact of God's love is bedrock for our faith, indeed, for our very existence. This love, revealed most clearly in the cross of Christ, sustains us, encourages us, enabling us to trust the Lord and even to rejoice in the midst of hard times.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever found yourself like David, struggling with difficult and painful things in life, yet able to trust God and to rejoice in him? If so, what helped you to have such faith and joy? If not, what does this suggest to you? What helps you to trust God even when your circumstances are negative?
Gracious God, thank you for David's honesty in this prayer. There are times when it does seem that you have forgotten me, times when it feels as if you are looking the other way. I'm grateful for David's example of honesty with you. It helps me to speak truthfully with you, rather than to put on a show of false religiosity.
Thank you for David's example of trusting and rejoicing even in the midst of his struggle. Thank you for the times you have enabled me to have confidence in you though I was going through difficulties. Help me, I pray, to be able to trust you no matter what, to rejoice in your goodness. May I remember how you have blessed me in the past. And may my faith in you be built on the bedrock of your revelation in Jesus Christ.
Today, Lord, I pray especially for those who are struggling to believe, who wonder if you have turned away from them. Help them to have confidence in you. Reach out to them in your mercy. Lift them up by your grace. Amen.
By Stephen Davey
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
I read a gripping story of a godly old man whose days were coming to an end. A priest went to visit him in his hospital room and noticed an empty chair beside the man's bed. He asked, "Have you had a visitor?" The man replied, "No, I haven't had a visitor. But when I became a Christian as a youth, someone told me that praying was like talking to your very best friend. When I heard that, I decided to pull up an empty chair beside me every day and invite Christ to sit and talk with me. And I just finished my conversation with the Lord."
After the man passed away, his daughter wrote of her visit to the hospital room. She said of her father:
"He seemed content, so I left him for a few hours. When I returned, I knew that he had gone to be with the Lord. But the interesting thing was that his head was not resting on his pillow. His body had turned and his head was resting on the seat of an empty hair that had been pulled up close to his bed."
Isn't that a remarkable picture? We, who are weak and frail like this dying man, have been given the opportunity to rest our head on the loving, omnipotent breast of God. Death is only a continuation of the pursuit we begin in this life to know God. That is why prayer is a taste of heaven on earth. God, in His humility and love toward us, stepped down from His heavenly throne and seated Himself upon the chair of our heart where we can intimately and personally converse with Him.
George Macdonald, the Scottish pastor who had a profound impact on C. S. Lewis, illustrated this beautifully when he said:
"I used to play a game with my two children when they were young. I would clutch some pennies in my hand and allow them to pry open my fingers to get the coins. My children would sit in my lap and work feverishly to get the money. Once they captured the coins, they would scream with delight and jump down to treasure their prize. I loved having my youngsters laugh and play while sitting on my lap—the pennies were insignificant."
Macdonald went on to apply this truth: "While God, in His grace, does give good gifts to His children, He offers us more than that . . . He offers us Himself. Those who are merely satisfied with the trinkets in the Father's hands miss the best reward of prayer—the reward of communicating and communing with the God of the universe."
As we go to God in prayer, let's remember that the greatest thrill in praying to Him is not in seeing how He will answer our petitions, nor in discovering what trinkets He might be holding in His all-powerful hand. The greatest privilege is actually being able to have a conversation with God Himself!
Perhaps prayer will become a personal conversation . . . if you pull up an empty chair.
Prayer Point: Go ahead—pull up a chair beside you right now and tell God how grateful you are for His friendship. Spend a few moments talking with Him: tell Him your struggles, your joys, your thoughts; ask Him your questions; thank Him for allowing you to have a conversation with Him, much less a personal relationship with the Lord of all the universe.
Extra Refreshment: Read John 17
2 Chronicles 16:9a
9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is completely His.
In life it is easy to plod our way along and forget the truth that God is intimately involved in His creation. When teaching the multitudes, Jesus observed the anxiety of people and pointed to the sparrow as an illustration. “Consider the sparrows,” Jesus said. “They don’t sow, reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” He then reminded the people that God cares more for them than for the sparrow.
Problems are part of life. Storms come to every person. Yet when we see the hand of God working in our lives, storms lose their punch and anxieties lose their grip on our hearts. But there is one key to experiencing God’s power – our heart needs to be completely His. In the book of James we are told that a double-minded person is unstable in all their ways and can expect nothing from the Lord. A double-minded person is someone tossed back and forth by the cares of this life. They follow God, but then something turns their hearts back and they follow their own ways. They can never see God’s hand because they are not willing to stand firm long enough to see God work through any situation. Each time we take the reins from God, we steer away from where God is going. So how can we ever expect to receive what God is giving?
In Hebrews 10:38, the Lord says, “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” All of these things agree together. When you and I look at life, we are not facing our circumstances; we are standing on the path of God. The path leads to where God is taking us and the promises stored up for us. These promises are the things God earnestly desires to give us. The greater of these promises is the personal character being created within us that has eternal significance. And eternal merit.
Through faith we boldly step into the unknown, not because we are confident in our own strength, but rather, we are confident in the Lord. He leads us through each situation with the purpose of showing His power, shaping our character, and shaking loose the things in our lives that prevent us from running with endurance. Those who turn back miss the pleasure of God – and the goodness He will reveal to us and in us. Consider this wonderful passage in Psalm 33:13-15
13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
Of course, this is the Old Testament times, but how much more true is this today. In the ancient world before Christ came, God worked in the lives of His people without the intimacy of close fellowship. Now that Christ has purified us, we are called the temple of the Holy Spirit. Beyond the cross, we have something the saints of old did not have. Now God’s dwelling place is within the hearts of His people. Therefore, how much more true is the promise that God fashions our hearts individually.
God is intimately involved in your life, shaping your character, and considering all your works. When the people asked Jesus to tell them how to do the works of God, He said, “This is the work of God, that you believe upon Christ.” This is the works God considers in your life. Do you believe on Him and walk by faith? Will you go where He is leading? Will you let go of the things God is removing so nothing can hinder you from receiving all God has in store for you?
This is the loyal heart – the heart that is completely His. The heart that does not turn back, but yields completely to the will and leading of God will find the secret counsel of God (Psalm 25:14). Then you will see God show Himself strong on your behalf. What a promise! The power of God doesn’t rest on the talented, wealthy, and respected personality. God’s power rests on the heart that is fully surrendered to Him. This means anyone can experience God’s best and His fullness of joy. But we can’t have His best without first letting go of our lives. God is drawing your heart. Let go and trust where He leads, and find the individual work God has planned for your life. Then you’ll have no regrets.
Written by Eddie Snipes
“Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’” ~ Luke 23:34
When you’ve been hurt or offended, sometimes it’s tempting to hold on to unforgiveness. But we have to remember, when people wrong us, our battle is not against flesh and blood. In other words, that person who hurt you is not the real enemy. The Bible says that your adversary is the devil, and he knows that if you don’t forgive, your prayers won’t be effective. Unforgiveness puts up a barrier in your life to the power of God. In fact, if we don’t forgive others, we can’t be forgiven by God. However, when you choose forgiveness, you open the door for God’s healing power to flow through you!
Disarm the enemy in your life today by choosing forgiveness. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who wrong you. Look at what Jesus did—when He was betrayed, beaten, mocked and disrespected, He chose to forgive. Follow His example, and open the door for victory in every area of your life!
A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for forgiving me and giving me new life. Today I choose to extend forgiveness to others. I bless those who have wronged me and ask You to heal every broken place in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Source: Joel Osteen
First, may Our Most Risen Christ be upon all of you my Brothers and Sisters in Christ in reading this:
Let's reflect a second.............. Suffering is "A lot" like this..........Let's say a mother takes her young child to the doctors office and then the nurse escorts the mother and her young child to the exam room. As the young child sits on the exam table she starts to cry and panic. The child's fear is confirmed when the mother tells her that she must get a "Shot!" This "Shot" is going to prevent any illness that may be around later in life and will make you stronger. The mother goes onto say to her young child
"Whom she Loves with her whole heart and soul", that "Yes, the shot is going to hurt and there will be some pain, but my child, I Love you! You must understand that by getting this shot, it is only going to make you stronger. So, please my child, know that I LOVE YOU and once you get through the pain, you will be a much stronger person."
Holy Scripture (The Word of GOD), is very clear and it is through out the Bible that suffering is a "Grace" and it will make us STRONGER!!
"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am Strong." -2 Corinthians 12:10
Then Jesus said to them "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." -Matthew 16:24
I have said for years and I do mean I HAVE SAID THIS for years, that satan "Is" going to get at you to make you suffer in your marriage, job, finances, your children, the health of a loved one or your health, trying to pay the bills and the list goes on. There are so many ways we ALL suffer and carry our Crosses in this life. But these ARE our Crosses and through them, Our Most Risen Christ has PROMISED us that the eternal reward that awaits us is "Unfathomable" to us to even try to understand the: PEACE, JOY, LOVE THAT AWAITS US!!! AND "Yes" the pain of our Cross is like getting the shot but it "Will" make us Stronger and the suffering is only "Temporary." BUT the PEACE, JOY, LOVE IS FOREVER!!!
~Arrow your brother in Christ