April 25 It’s Tempting…

lljostes:

We’re never done with temptations….but we have power in Jesus’ name to resist! To Him be the glory!

Originally posted on What's The Good Word?:

Judges 4:1-5:31;  Luke 22:35-53;  Psalm 94:1-23;  Proverbs 14:3-4

Imagine….A luscious three layered chocolate cake expertly frosted with thick swirls of dark, fudgey frosting.  You’re licking your lips and savoring the very last morsel–that last bit of frosting clinging to your fork.

And, you cut another piece, slightly bigger that the first one wanting to prolong the sensory rich pleasure of chocolate on your tongue.

Having made that piece disappear you reach for the knife–just one more…it’s so tempting…what would be the harm of just one…more…piece?

Hives.

It was so tempting…

That’s the light side of temptation.

Jesus experienced the dark side on the night he was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemene.  He went there to be alone with his Father to pray.  To contemplate.

He felt Satan’s presence and he warned his disciples who waited for him at a distance, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke…

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April 24 Faith Lets Go

Devotion taken from Streams In

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“Faith is….the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

True faith drops its letter in the post office box, and lets it go.  Distrust holds on to a corner of it, and wonders that the answer never comes.  I have some letters in my desk that have been written for weeks, but there was some slight uncertainty about the address or the contents, so they are yet unmailed.  They have not done either me or anybody else any good yet.  They will never accomplish anything until I let them go out of my hands and trust them to the postman and the mail.

This is the way with true faith.  It hands its case over to God, and then He works.  That is a fine verse in the Thirty-seventh Psalm:  “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.”  But He never worketh till we commit.  Faith is a receiving or, still better, a taking of God’s proffered gifts.  We may believe, and come, and commit, and rest;  but we will not fully realize all our blessings until we begin to receive and come into the attitude of abiding and taking. ~ From Days of Heaven Upon Earth.

Lord God, help us to “let go” and believe.  Help us to entrust all our burden and cares to you.  Help us to wait upon you and receive your perfect peace.  Just as Jesus steadfastly trusted in your Fatherly goodness and mercy, so may we take hold of your hand and trust all things that concern us this day to your working.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 23 In The Eye Of The Storm

Photo by Brandon Doss

Photo by Brandon Doss

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive.”

Psalm 138:7

The Hebrew word rendering of the above is “go on in the center of trouble.”  What descriptive words!  We have called on God in the day of trouble; we have pleaded His promise of deliverance but no deliverance has been given; the enemy has continued oppressing until we were in the very thick of the fight, in the center of trouble.  Why then trouble the Master any further?

When Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here my brother had not died,” our Lord met her lack of hope with His further promise, “Thy brother shall rise again.”  And when we walk
“in the center of trouble” and are tempted to think like Martha that the time of deliverance is past, He meets us too with a promise from His Word.  “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me.”

Though His answer has so long delayed, though we may still continue to “go on” in the midst of trouble, “the center of trouble” is the place where He revives, not he place where He fails us.

When in the hopeless place, the continued hopeless place, is the very time when He will stretch forth His hand against the wrath of our enemies and perfect that which concerneth us, the very time when He will make the attack to cease and fail and come to an end.  What occasion is there then for fainting?  ~ Aphra White

The Eye of the Storm

Fear not that the whirlwind shall carry thee hence,

Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,

Nor shrink from the whips of the terrible hail,

But pass through the edge to the heart of the tale,

For there is shelter, sunlighted and warm,

And Faith sees her God through the eyes of the storm.

* * * * *

The passionate tempest with rush and wild roar

And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,

The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,

And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains,

Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,

For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.

* * * * *

Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,

Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,

For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,

And the light of God’s heavens, His love shall make thine,

Let no gloom dim thine eyes, but uplift them on high

To the face of thy God and the blue of His sky.

* * * * *

The storm is thy shelter from danger and sin,

And God Himself takes thee for safety within;

The tempest with Him passeth into deep calm,

And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm.

Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form;

God smiles on His child in the eye of the storm.

Lord God, thank you for meeting us in the eye of the storm; for sheltering us, protecting us, preserving us when the tempests of our souls rage with doubts and fears.  Thank you for your peace that passes all understanding.  We give you all of our thanks and praise.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

April 22 Even Though…Yet Will I Trust Him

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“He knoweth the way that I take.”  Job 23:10

Believer!  What a glorious assurance!  This way of thine—this, it may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way—this way of trial and tears.  “He knoweth it.”  The furnace seven times heated–He lighted it.  There is an almighty Guide knowing and directing our footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy and refreshment in Him.

That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and fire for His own Israel.  The furnace is hot; but not only can we trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that when the refining process is completed (no sooner–no later) He brings His people forth as gold.

When they think Him least near, He is often nearest.  “When my spirit was overwhelmed, then thou knew my path.”

Do we know of One brighter than the brightest radiance of the visible sun, visiting our chamber with the first waking beam of the morning; an eye of infinite tenderness and compassion following us throughout the day, knowing the way that we take?

The world, in its cold vocabulary in the hour of adversity, speaks of “Providence“–“the will of Providence–“the strokes of Providence.”  Providence!  What is that?

Why dethrone a living, directing God from the sovereignty of His own earth?  Why substitute an inanimate, deathlike abstraction, in place of an acting, controlling, personal Jehovah?

How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see what Job saw (in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly hope lay prostrate at his feet)–no hand but the divine.  He saw that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans–he saw it behind the lightning flash–he saw it giving wings to the careening tempest–he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled home.

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;  blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Thus, seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of ashes, could say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.”   ~ Macduff

Lord God, On this side of Heaven we encounter trials of all kinds.  We may be experiencing a “goading” trial right at this very moment.  And in this very moment, you are with us.  Thank you for your faithful presence, comfort and strength.  Grant us grace to live out this day by faith and before we close our eyes this night may we say, “blessed be the name of the Lord!”  May we give thanks for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who endured the greatest trials for us so that we may always have hope.  In His dear name we pray, Amen.

Originally posted on The River Walk:

Not About Falling

So be very careful to love the Lord your God. (Joshua 23:11)

Read: Joshua 22:21 – 23:16, Luke 20:27-47, Psalm 89:14-37, Proverbs 13:17-19

Relate: There’s a consistently used quote that has seen an abundance of variations, “You can’t help falling in love. It just happen.” One of those variations comes from Nancy Ann Healy: “Love is like an undertow. You can fight it with every ounce of energy you have; it is far more powerful than you, and it inevitably sweeps you under.” In My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult talks about that “undertow” this way: “The bottom line is that we never fall for the person we’re supposed to.” There’s a problem with this concept of love which is best explained by Yakov Smirnoff: “Falling in love is a chemical reaction. But it wears off in about a year.”

To all three, and the multitudes who embrace this concept of love…

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April 21 Boundless

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

“And being absolutely certain that whatever promise He is bound by, He is able to make good.”  Romans 4:21

We are told that Abraham could look at his own body and consider it as good as dead without being discouraged, because he was not looking at himself but at the almighty One.

He did not stagger at the promise, but stood straight up unbending beneath his mighty load of blessing.  Instead of growing weak he waxed strong in the faith and grew more robust; the more difficulties became apparent, glorifying God through His very sufficiency and being “fully persuaded” (as the Greek expresses it) “that he who had promised was,” not merely able, but–as it literally means “abundantly able–munificently able, able with an infinite surplus of resources, infinitely able “to perform.”

He is the God of boundless resources.  The only limit is in us.  Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small; our expectations are too limited.  He is trying to lift us up to a higher conception, and lure us on to a mightier expectation and appropriation.  Oh, shall we put Him in derision?  There is no limit to what we may ask and expect of our glorious El-Shaddai; and there is but one measure here given for His blessing, and that is “according to the power that worketh in us.”  ~ A.B. Simpson

Climb to the treasure house of blessing on the ladder

made of divine promises.  By a promise as by a key open the door to the riches of God’s grace and favor.

Lord God,  we come to you this day with our prayers and petitions:  prayers for healing, for patience, for forgiveness, for mercy, for blessings.  We thank and praise you that in Jesus Christ our Lord you have fulfilled the greatest promise of all–one made to Adam and Eve and threaded throughout all of history–to send us a Savior.  We thank and praise you for Jesus our Redeemer and Lord!  We know, Lord, that you will hear all of our prayers for Jesus’ sake.   Thank you for your boundless grace!  In Him, Amen!

April 17 A Studied Blow

Image by Pierce Brantley

Image by Pierce Brantley

Devotion taken from Streams In The Desert compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Several years ago there was found in an African mine the most magnificent diamond in the world’s history.  It was presented to the king of England to blaze in his crown of state.  The king sent it to Amsterdam to be cut.  It was put into the hands of an expert lapidary.  And what do you suppose he did with it?

He took the gem of priceless value, and cut a notch in it.  Then he struck it a hard blow with his instrument, and lo! the superb jewel lay in his hand cleft in twain.  What recklessness! what wastefulness! what criminal carelessness!

Not so.  For days and weeks that blow had been studied and planned.  Drawings and models had been made of the gem.  It’s quality, its defects, its lines of cleavage had all been studied with minutest care.  The man to whom it was committed was one of the most skillful lapidaries in the world.

Do you say that blow was a mistake?  No.  It was the climax of the lapidary’s skill.  When he struck that blow, he did the one thing which would bring that gem to its most perfect shapeliness, radiance and jewelled splendor.  That blow which seemed to ruin the superb precious stone was, in fact, its perfect redemption.  For, from those two halves were wrought the two magnificent gems which the skilled eye of the lapidary saw hidden in the rough, uncut stone as it came from the mine.

So, sometimes, God lets a stinging blow fall upon your life.  The blood spurts.  The nerves wince.  The soul cries out in agony.  The blow seems to you an appalling mistake.  but it is not, for you are the most priceless jewel in the world to God.  And He is the most skilled lapidary in the universe.

Someday you are to blaze in the diadem of the King.  As you lie in His hand now He knows just how to deal with you.  Not a blow will be permitted to fall upon your shrinking soul but that the love of God permits it, and works out from its depths, blessing and spiritual enrichment unseen, and unthought of by you.  ~ J. H. McC.

Not a single shaft can hit,

Till the God of love sees fit.

Heavenly Father, I am glad that I am in your loving hands!  Make me, mold me, shape me as you will.  For Jesus’ sake,   Amen.