Devotional


“All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘he trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’

“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts,”  (Ps 22:7-9).

As Easter nears, remember that Jesus always trusted God during the incarnation.  From his mother’s womb, from his mother’s breasts.   And remember, ‘no deceit was found in his mouth’… ever. 

Jesus’s trusting of God allowed God’s will to be accomplished through his life.  God’s will was his death. 

Sometimes if circumstances seem unjust, unfair, overwhelming- not as a cause of disobedience but a result of obedience – it may be God’s hand moving to bloom the fruit of fruition. 

William Cowper, a sickly saint acquainted with a suicidal darkness noted on the mysterious movements of God, “His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.  The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.”

Don’t lose hope of the divine flower of God bringing his work to completion in your life.

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I stumbled upon this remedy for treating depression a couple years ago from “The Dr.” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones), and it has done my soul well.  May it do the same for you:

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact thyat you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?  Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning.  You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc.  Somebody is talking.  Who is talking to you?  Your self is talking to you.  Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself.  “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks.  His soul has been depressing him, crushing him.  So he stands up and says: “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.”

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God,” (I Cor 10:31).

At a recent meeting, I saw a mock sketch of the church budget:

  • 30% building fund
  • 20% facilities maintenance
  • 25% missions and community outreach
  • 25% staff salaries

20% of every offering dollar going to repalce light bulbs and clean toilets and take out garbage?  Could we just run this off of volunteers? 

“Well no,” the pastor said, “in my experience that hasn’t worked.”

For the gospel to be preached and taught on a regular basis, order and structure is a really valuable thing.  To have gas, electric, phones puts the church in touch with the community and a place for the community to come in and fellowship.

Then it hit me.  Not all of my life is prayer or small groups or Sunday sermons or teaching Bible lessons.  Those are good things, but there are bills to be paid, a house to be maintained, etc.  In everything of life, do it to the glory of God.  It cleared my conscience of the guilt of not spending more time in the Bible when I need to fix a broken appliance or do laundry or do some little things, but those are part of the ~20% of my budget to maintain my life.  Aside from that, there’s the physical body to be a steward of as “You are not your own, you were bought for a price,” and “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” 

So though I’m a little slow, I’m learning and having my conscience cleared to be ok doing some of the more mundane things in life.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:31-32a). 

Perhaps in this act, by Peter being sifted like wheat, Jesus agreed to the terms of Satan, that the hypocrisy might be filtered from Peter’s life.  So, by the pulverizing and filtering of this man did Jesus purify and use him, ground to a powdery consistency, to spread his kingdom.  So does he rid Paul of grounds for boasting by allowing a demon to torment him and tell the apostle, “my power is sufficient for you… my power is perfected in weakness.” 

And so does He take us, with this, that, or another pride or boast, leavened through the life, and purify the heart.  Praying for our faith and holding us sure as the enemy assaults, in some hour of darkness, does he then pull out the leaven from the broken pile of dust that would not be extracted from the whole life.  So does brother James admonish and encourage disciples to “be joyful when facing trials of many kinds” and Paul encourage us that, “suffering ends in hope, filled with the love of God.”  And it says, “no discipline at the time seems pleasant, but later it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness,” because the purifying is humiliating and painful.  But later, when we have a more fair estimation of ourselves, do we thank God and enter into trials with, or at least learn to come from them in hindsight, with joy. 

“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered,” Isaiah tells us.  Make it look like God is in a vice and can’t get escape, as Peter watching his master betrayed, and we are robbed of hope and curse and deny.  But God’s always was and always is the power and he knows what he is doing.  And his power, even in it’s foolishness, is wiser than the wisdom of men.  Follow him and let him do the sifting and disciplining, and trust him with what he is doing.  Amen