https://www.fairviewdurant.com/heart-with-cross-3_edited-1-image/

God Wants You to Know Him – Exodus 9:15, 16

We find wonderful insight and wisdom in the great historical event when God delivered His people, Israel, from bondage in Egypt. In the initial events God revealed His power and wisdom by inflicting Egypt and the Egyptian King Pharaoh with Ten Plagues. One of the great insights occurs when God reveals His intentions by informing Pharaoh that He could simply put forth His hand and remove him and his nation from the Earth. Instead, though, God uses ten plagues to reveal His power and His name to Pharaoh, His people, Israel, and to all people through the ages.

The purpose of the ten distinct plages was to demonstrate God’s power that they and us might know Him; that we might marvel at His faithfulness, love, knowledge, and power. 

When we are young and carefree; when we are enjoying the excitement and bloom of youth and joy coats our anticipation of the future, it is hard to think that life could be anything but grand and glorious. When our lives have not yet been touched by disappointment, difficulty, disease, death, and disillusionment, we are prone to think life is thrilling and great and happy. And then … without warning … as though you pass through an invisible membrane or barrier, some monstrous event explodes in your life – loss of a job, inflation threatens to destroy us, disease attacks our body, hurricanes, tornados, accidents ravage our lives, and then death knocks on our door. Life unravels. Life is not fun. Life is not joyful, Life is, in fact, hard. It is at those times when we need to know how to relate to God and how to find purpose in this monstrous thing that has entered into our life.

Take heart in your trials because they are the chosen instrument whereby God will work in your life to amend your attitude, configure your character, widen your wisdom, fine tune your focus, and forge your faith (James 1:2-12). God the Father wants you to know Him, to understand His limitless power and resources, and to be assured of His love, so He has arranged a display of His greatness on the platform of your trials. Charles Stanley wrote, “The trials in your life have been allowed to tarry because your heavenly Father wants you – and others – to see Him in action.”

Here is a power thought: when trouble calls on you, you call on God.

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 134].


Read more...

Gethsemane Moments – Matthew 26:36-46

  When Jesus faced the central purpose of HIs time on Earth – to give Himself to death on a Cross as a payment for our sins, yours and mine – He retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. This event in the life of our Lord …

  1. Is Historically and Apologetically Instructive – Today, the Basilica of The Agony is a Christian church that enshrines the rock and physical place  where Jesus prayed. A Basilica is a shrine, church, and is so named because it enshrines something and also because of its architectural design.

 

  1. Gives us insight to the price He paid just for us – He was in anguish and agony when He went there to offer prayers to prepare for His sacrifice on the Cross. The word Gethsemane means oil press. It was a physical place where they pressed olive seeds to extract the oil we all like. It was symbolic of the truth that our Lord was about to be “pressed” on the Cross; He was about to suffer horrendously as He endured the malignity of men whom He Himself created, suffered the brutality of the physical beatings he took, and agonized under the Father’s frown as He judged our sins in the body of His only dear Son, Jesus.

 

  1. Counsels us on what to do when we experience Gethsemane moments. We, too, will experience Gethsemane moments in our lives; times when we suffer anguish and agony because of trials that are too deep for us, too painful for us, too agonizing for us. And when these Gethsemane moments come, we too, must go to our prayer closets for many hours of prayer to acquire the Father’s strength and wisdom to deal with those “agony moments” that threaten our happiness and well-being.

    Charles Stanley wrote, “If the perfect, sinless Son of the living God found it necessary to pray repeatedly, then there’s nothing wrong when we must do so as well.” In our sleepless nights, agonizing, fearful times when we wonder if we will survive, when life scares us and threatens us, when lifelong goals hang in the balance, we must do what our Lord modeled for us to do and that is to go the Father in agonizing prayer for comfort, peace, wisdom, courage, and direction.

    And know this: the Lord has been touched with the feeling of our infirmities, so He knows exactly how we feel and when we approach His throne, He will give us mercy and grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:13-15).

“My hope is in Jesus because He always welcomes us into His presence.” 

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 113]

 

 


Read more...

Wisdom for The Rough Patch

Matthew 21:1-11

The Lord here fulfilled yet another prophecy spoken by Zechariah that the King would come mounted upon a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) which was one of hundreds of attesting signs regarding His identity, the Savior King, Jesus Christ. The people, believing He came to deliver them from Roman oppression to set their nation free, paid tribute to Him by spreading palm branches in the street before Him as He entered Jerusalem and shouting the Messianic blessing [unbeknownst to them], ” …Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord …” (Psalm 118:24-26).

  But in a couple of days, their hopes were squelched. Jesus was crucified, died, and they buried Him in a tomb. Believing they would finally be set free from the government oppression of the Romans, their hearts were bitterly disappointed. Disillusionment racked their souls as they scattered to their homes. Jesus wasn’t who they thought He was; and He would not set their nation free.

  But, three days later when He rose from the dead, they began to understand that His was a greater plan than simply setting the nation of Israel free. His plan involved setting sinners everywhere and throughout the ages free from the power, penalty, and punishment of their sins, giving those who repented of their sins and came to Jesus by faith the certain hope of eternal life.

  The last two years of my life, although filled with the Father’s peace, have been confusing to me. Desiring to be strongly on mission with the Lord as I have been before, I nevertheless seem to be in a holding pattern. Waiting. Yearning. Listening. Waiting. It is important to note that we, too, often misunderstand the plan of the Lord. We come to a rough patch in life, a time when we don’t understand His plan for our lives. Our plan is foiled, a dream dies unfulfilled, we don’t know what is happening and why, so we are perplexed, confused, maybe even disillusioned.

  Remember that His ways are not our ways and HIs thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, 9).  Remember, faith is built in the rough patch. Faith is tried when we do not see nor understand. We must simply stand on the Father’s Word and trust in the Lord. Stand on the solid rock of His Word in spite of what you see or don’t see. Charles Stanely said, “He has a way of resurrecting your dreams in a manner far beyond your imagination that is bound to make you truly joyful.” [1]

1. Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 109.


Read more...