Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Week Sixteen - Forever Gracious

As we navigate life's storms, I want to share some beautiful truths about God's eternal ways. These truths, which have comforted me in my own journey, remind us that we are not alone. They are like a compass, guiding us toward His wisdom and graciousness.

Spurgeon writes with such eloquence that I may quote directly at times. He is commenting on Habakkuk 3:6, which reads, "His ways are everlasting." 

God is the same yesterday as He is today. He never changes. While we vary and shift, God is eternal, everlasting, and always true. His steadfastness brings us great comfort. When we face scary times, we can rest ourselves in these truths. They are anchors in the storms of life. 

When I faced cancer a few years ago, God placed 2 Timothy 4:17 on my heart, and it sustained me. "Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me." Keeping my eyes on His perfection, eternal love, and graciousness enabled me to walk that path in greater comfort and deep assurance. If you are in a storm today or looking for hope, take time to consider today's thoughts.

We can rest ourselves in the gracious consistency of God:

1. Because the Lord's ways are the result of wise deliberation. I love Ephesians 1:11. It has become a stalworth for me. He, God, "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Nothing takes Him by surprise or happens that He has not foreseen. He factors our every moment into His ways. Just meditate on that and see if that doesn't amaze you. All things, everything, nothing is outside His awareness, but it is used within His will to accomplish His plan.

2. His ways are the outgrowth of an immutable character. God's attributes are fixed and settled. He is the Eternal One, gracious, faithful, and wise. He acts according to His nature. He knows no shadow of turning. So when you read His Word, you can believe His promises are true. He will not change. He does not lie. He is faithful and consistent to the nth degree. He always loves you. He is always faithful to you. He is always watching over you. These things do not change because God does not change.

3. His ways are the embodiment of irresistible might. Spurgeon writes, "The earth is said, by the prophet, to be cleft with rivers, mountains tremble, the deep lifts up its hands, and sun and moon stand still, when Jehovah marches forth for the salvation of His people. Who can stop His hand, or say to Him, 'What are You doing?' " God has irresistible might. Beyond our comprehension. What does that mean for you? It means God is your defender. No weapon fashioned against us can stand. (Isaiah 54:17) And I love Proverbs 21:30 & 31, "There is no wisdom nor understanding or counsel against the Lord. The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord." Our forever gracious Lord is strong in might and wisdom. He is our unconquerable deliverer; nothing can withstand Him. Proverbs 18:10 reads, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." Oh, how safe we are in the mighty hand of God! 

4. His ways are the manifestation of the eternal principles of right. His Word will stand. His Word is truth, eternal truth. While "evil breeds decay and involves ruin, the true and the good have about them a vitality which ages cannot diminish." We are eternally secure because we have placed our faith in the eternal principles of God. He will never act outside these principles. We might not understand what He is doing, but that does not change the truth that God is always right and works by wise, unchanging, powerful, and eternal principles. His plan is for final justice. He will make all things right in the end.

These truths are of great comfort in a world spinning to its end. They bolster the souls of the saints in times of storm and uncertainty. Those who know Christ as Saviour can rest solidly in God's forever gracious ways.

So today, if you are facing a storm or deep in the midst of one, grab hold of the anchor of these truths and let Him be your eternal shield. He is forever gracious.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Week Fifteen - Leave a Well in the Valley

A dear friend, Dale Peterson, wrote a book called Leave a Well in the Valley. In it, he recounts God's path through ups and downs, lessons learned, and faith that carried him through. 

A few years ago, my friend Becki and I began reading books written in the 40s by a woman named Marjorie Wilkinson. She wrote in a simple and homespun way to encourage others to follow Christ. 

And in the 1600s, a man named Jeremiah Burroughs wrote two works that have blessed my heart: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment and An Exposition of the Beatitudes. Comfort and instruction from others often prove serviceable to our spiritual growth. 

These writers, and many others, left a well in the valley for our encouragement. When we read of their journey, we know they have been there before us and dug a well for our supply. These road signs of pilgrims gone before help us see the footprints of faith. How thankful can we be for those who took the time to log their journey?

Proverbs 13:22 reminds us, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." This verse isn't just about material wealth but the legacy of faith we leave behind. Money and lands may pass away, but a spiritual inheritance is eternal. We may not all write books, but we can all share our testimonies of the Lord's faithfulness with our children and grandchildren. This is how we leave a well in the valley for them, a source of spiritual nourishment that will never run dry. 

In Deuteronomy 6, we are not just encouraged but urged to speak of the Lord freely and frequently in our homes. Our conversations about God should flow as naturally as water from a well. I can still hear the words of my grandparents as they shared their salvation stories, the times when the Lord intervened in their lives, and the prayers they fervently offered and answered. These memories I now pass on to my children and grandchildren, creating a legacy of faith and leaving a well in the valley for them to draw from.

What are you leaving for others? A well full of faith and encouragement or a dry valley? 

Psalm 78:6 reads, "That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children." Do you see the idea? Each generation is responsible for leaving a well in the valley for the next.

Today is a good time to start digging!

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Week Fourteen - Making Jesus Glad

I'm not necessarily a people-pleaser, but I love making people happy. Sometimes, in my desire to create happiness, I overdo it a bit and become annoying or interfering, even if my main motivation is to create happiness. 

I got to thinking about this a bit when I read Spurgeon's comments on a little phrase found in Psalm 45:8, which reads, "They have made thee glad." He challenged his readers to think about how to make Jesus glad and offered four beautiful suggestions.

We can gladden the heart of our Saviour by expressing our love. Just as we love to hear words of loving affirmation, Jesus, too, longs to hear our sweet whispers in His ear.  "I love thee, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh, my soul rejoice," as the songwriter wrote. 

I know our efforts to love Jesus will never outweigh God's love for us, but our expressions comfort us and delight our Lord. Have you told Him you love Him today?

Our praise gives Him joy. The melody of our heart flowing with deepest gratitude becomes a sweet-smelling savor.  It is called the fruit of our lips in Hebrews 13:15-16. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."  Well pleased, meaning gratified entirely. When we recognize and praise the Lord for all He does and who He is, He finds joy and gladness.

Our gifts, used for His glory, bring Him joy. God loves to see us lay our time, talents, and substance upon the altar. The loving motivation that springs from such sacrifices gladdens His heart. Our lowly offerings and humble service, done from a heart desiring to please the Saviour, are of great reward.

And Spurgeon's final suggestion was that our holiness brings joy to Jesus' heart. It is like frankincense and myrrh to Him. Spurgeon writes, When you "forgive your enemy, you make Christ glad; distribute of your substance to the poor, and He rejoices; be the means of saving souls, and you give Him to see of the travail of His soul; proclaim His gospel, and you are a sweet savor to Him; go among the ignorant and lift up the cross, and you have given Him honor. " When our lives are lived in holiness, all heaven rejoices.

So today, dear friend, how will your life bring joy and gladness to your Saviour? How will you express your love? Will your tongue sing and speak praise? Is there a gift or service motivated by a heart desiring to please your Lord? And is your life living in holiness before Him so all can see the Light?