Light In Darkness (Psalm 112:4)

Who hasn’t been through dark times of trials?  Through the midst of circumstances that try our faith, we feel alone and cannot determine the direction we should go.   I remember one such trial where I described myself as being in a boxing ring with the heavy weight champion.  It seemed as if each phase of the trial was like being pounded with lefts and right from the champ.  As a boxer in troubled cannot determine up from down, left from right or even sometimes where he is, so my trial left me dazed and staggering.

Praise The Lord for his word and the wonderful promises that it contains.  Psalm 112:4-5 says, Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.  God promises that for those, who are upright, he will provide light or direction for them in the midst of their trial.  Most believers feel that they cannot have this or deserve it because they don’t feel righteous.  What we must remember is that righteousness is both positional and practical.  Positional in that when God looks at you, he sees the righteousness of Christ.  This happened on the day that you trusted Christ as Savior.  Practical righteousness occurs as we confess sins committed and our relationship gets restored with The Lord.  What I need in order to claim the promise of this Scripture is to have Christ as Savior and to scripturally deal with my sins as they occur.

If God’s promises were to be based on our own righteousness or personal merit, nobody would ever measure up.  That is why he says, he is gracious, full of compassion, and righteous.  In the midst of the trial, God will deal with us by his grace.  God’s actions towards us will be motivated by his compassion and we can always count that he will deal with us in a righteous manner.

So while in the midst of the darkest of trials, remember your position, confess your sins and expect light or direction to shine forth.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  (I Corinthians 10:13)

If You Want It, You Must Tarry (Mark 8:1-3)

The crowd was large.  Jesus had been healing and teaching for days.  What supplies had been brought were gone, but the people stayed.  Why?  Was it because they believed he would provide food with a miracle?  That was not very likely the reason, because the disciples, who were closest to Jesus, were still struggling in that area.  So, why did they stay?

It appears that on the occasions when crowds gathered to Jesus, it was because they were in need of miracles.  Whether they lined the streets with the sick or people for themselves journeyed to where Jesus was, the purpose was for miraculous healing.  As they crowded to Jesus, some were still waiting for their chance to be healed.  This lingering lasted into the third day.  As time passed and supplies ran out, they had a choice to make: leave for food and miss the healing or endure without.  For them, the greater need was the miraculous.  They planned on enduring without food for the opportunity to have their greater need met.

As a child of God, you face the same situation today.  You are not necessarily away in a desert place with Jesus far away from food, but in the midst of life’s trials, you are like in a desert place without power and definitely without provision.  As time lingers on, what will you do?  Will your emotional needs or desires blinded you from the hope of the miraculous.  If so, you will remove yourself from sitting at the feet of Jesus and attempt to deliver yourself or you will give up in despair. But if you choose to remain, his power will be displayed.  You will see the miracle that you need.  It may not be the miracle that you want, but it will be what you need.  All you need to do, is tarry.  Tarry a little longer.  Tarry with the hope of his presence and tarry with the promise of his comfort.

Psalm 46:5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

Parent – Child Relationship (Psalm 111:7)

Everyday, The Lord is working in your life.  Regardless of whether you recognize it or not, he is.  As your Heavenly Father, his works are governed by his attributes or in other words, his works are forced to stay within the boundaries set forth by his love, mercy, and holiness.  Never are his works able to be unloving, cruel or sinful.

From this scripture, we can see that whatever he does will be in verity (trustworthiness), judgment (right) and sure (as a fostering parent).  Stop and think, is not this how we strive to treat the children we love?  Are not these qualities the same as when be grant or deny them permission, lead them in decision making, or correct wrong behavior?  When they fail to understand and question your motives, how do you feel? What do you think? And what decisions are you forced to make because of it?

God, our Father, is placed in the same position when we question what he has brought or allowed to come into our lives.  We question when sickness comes.  We question when children fail to turn out as expected.  It seems that the greater the trial, the more our hearts lean towards questioning the Father’s motives and love.

What we must recognize is that God, as a parent, is fostering or building us up.  Yes, he wants to protect us and provide for all our needs, but sometimes the greater need is something more than tangible objects or a life of ease and pleasure.  How he develops us to be thankful, to appreciate, to minister to grieving people, to be patient and to increase faith usually can only come through situations greater than our strength can bear, which we simply call trials.  A life without trials would be a life that is not growing in the most needy areas of development.

So, as you think of the trial you are experiencing now or as you face new trials, will you respond to God in the same manner as your teenager responds to your decisions that they don’t understand or will you, by faith, submit to his loving plan and allow him to do his perfect work in your life (James 1:4).

Humility Diverts Blessings To You (Mark 7:26-29)

A Greek woman from Syria came to Jesus because her daughter was demon possessed.  Because she was Greek, she was not a part of Israel.  During Christ’s ministry, the ministry focus was for the lost house of Israel and her being a gentile placed her in the lowest of categories in the social system: low because the Gentiles did not know God and their lifestyle was idolatrous and a sinful abomination to God.  With all that said, here she was seeking help from God himself.

With her being on the out with God, how did she get him to grant the request that she made by faith?    She accomplished it because she was humble.  The Lord pointed out her gentile condition and that it would be wrong to cast the Jew’s bread to dogs or to her and her people.  Her reply was not defensive, but instead in agreement with what he said and that her only possible right would be in the carelessness of the Jews with receiving the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. Her humble answer brought her the blessing she desired.

How often have you thought that you didn’t deserve the type of treatment you were getting from God or that you deserve better than what life had brought your way?  How often have you thought you were more in line to receive blessings because of your laundry list of do’s and don’t s that you keep. If I learned anything in my life, I have learned that as I grow in Christ I see myself as more sinful instead of less.  On anybody’s best day, they will never measure up to a position of deserving blessings from God.  However two things are essential for blessings to be obtained: believing faith that God can and wants to bless you and humility in your hearts as evidenced by you seeing yourself more as how God sees you.

The gentile woman had both ingredients: she went to Christ and petitioned him to cast out the demon and she humbly accepted statements about her from The Lord as being true.

Are you humble?

Lips Versus The Heart (Mark 7:6)

The measure of how much you honor God is not determined by the out pouring of your lips, but by the fruit of your the heart.  I heard somebody say that the tongue is the dip stick of the heart.  What they meant was that as you can check the internal fluids of an engine and determine its level of care by checking the oil dip stick, you could do the same by checking the heart of man by what he says.  The phrase may seem good, but it is an inaccurate statement.

According to God, you should not go by what a persons says to determine the condition of the heart.  Words are easy to say and religious works of the flesh are not battled by the flesh or the enemy, but godly fruit always faces opposition.  If you want to check on your spiritual condition, measure how often you get angry, or what response you have in your heart when you hear the name of a person who wronged you.  Count the times you said words that should have been halted, thought lewd thoughts that should have been shunned, envied a peer or looked down on someone.

How far away is your heart from God?  The true way of measuring is to take inventory of whether the fruit of the Spirit is in your life.  Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance are all manifestations of the Holy Spirit.  Your measure of spirituality is determined by how much these fruit are manifested in your life and not the words that you say.

The Effects Of Your Testimony (Mark 6:56)

Jesus’ fame was growing.  As he exited the ship, the people of the region recognized who he was and began to gather from all parts of the city those who are sick.  They placed them along the streets in hopes that he would heal them.  The Scriptures also record that people were seeking him so that they may touch but the hem of his garment and that all who do touched it were healed.

What an amazing testimony.  Where did the people get the idea that Jesus did not need to perform some healing action, but that by touching his garment they could be healed?  It came from a sickly woman’s testimony in that after spending all her wealth on doctors for healing and yet remained sick, she secretly approached Jesus believing that if she but touched his garment, she would be healed (Mark 5:27-29).  Because of her faith, many others were exercising the same faith.

This is the demonstration of what a testimony can do.  All of us have one.  Some people’s testimonies are good and others have poor testimonies.  Some have testimonies where their faith enabled them to accomplish great things or overcome huge obstacles.  While others seemed only needing to exercise faith in less critical situations.  But in all truth, each time a person exercises faith, they are accomplishing something great.

The marvelous part of the story is how effectual the testimony was of the woman who touched the garment of Jesus.  Her testimony far out reached the expectations of her decision that day.  She did not act in hopes of influencing others, but her life did.

Ask yourself, what kind of a testimony do I have?  How far is my testimony reaching?  What does The Lord think of my testimony?  What testimony am I developing as I go through my current trials?  Who is watching my testimony and who will be successful through their trails after seeing my testimony?

After answering these questions, I hope you recognize that your testimony has a greater influence for Christ than you think.

For Their Heart Was Hardened (Mark 6:50-52)

Have you ever had a problem that whenever you thought of it, your heart just quivered inside?   You may have tried to push the thought of it away, but in no time you were thinking about it again and again your heart again trembled.  The disciples experienced that same type of fear in their hearts as they saw The Lord walking on the sea.  The scriptures describe their hearts as if it were boiling water.  From that definition, we can see that trembling fear over took them.

When The Lord said, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid” and then entered the ship, the disciples were dumbfounded.  The Bible says that the reason for this was because their hearts were hardened.  When did they become hard and how did it happen with just a short time earlier they saw the great miracle of the feeding of the five thousand?  Their hearts must have become hard while in the midst of being alone on the sea and battling the storm.  As the battle raged and fearful thoughts entered their minds, their hearts became hardened: maybe to the point of faulting or accusing God.

Have you ever been there?  Whether you accused God or not, we all have experienced situations that have gripped our hearts with fear.  The way to keep from failing God by developing a hard heart is to remember the miracles that he has already done in your life.  The disciples’ hearts were hard because they considered not the miracle of the loaves or they did not put together (consider) the past miracle with the current trial.

When trouble comes, look back at what God has done in your life.  Remember the answered prayers.  Remember the sweet times of fellowship that you have had.  Remember the strength that he has provided to you as you walked through troubled valleys.  If you don’t, you will forget his goodness, you will focus on the trial and your heart will become hard and with each time that the fear returns, your heart will become even more hard.

Father, my heart is afraid.  These circumstances are greater than me and I need your help.  I know that you are good and that as part of your plan to strengthen me and to enable me to see your greatness, you have allowed this trial to occur.  Thank you for being good to me.  I remember the times that you have helped me in the past and I am always amazed by your deliverance.  Thank you, God, for loving and caring for me.