Much Yet to Do

March 2, 2018

“Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” (Joshua 13:1)

There is no set “retirement age” for the Christian, for there is always “yet very much land to be possessed.” Joshua had survived 40 years in the wilderness, then led in the long hard conquest of Canaan, and was now at least 80 years of age. Not only was he “old and stricken in years,” but God even told him he was old! But instead of allowing him to settle down to enjoy a few retirement years in his hard-won new home, God sent Joshua out once again for further conquests.

That must always be the case with those who love and serve the Lord. There is still much Scripture to study and learn, many people yet to reach with a gospel witness, many with whom to share God’s love and comfort, much money yet to be earned to give to missions. Even those who must retire from active service or become confined at home still have much praying to accomplish.

No one who knows the redemptive love of Jesus Christ is ever too old to possess more “land” for the Lord. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing” (Psalm 92:12-14).

Old age eventually comes to everyone who survives youth and middle age, but that does not mean it is time to quit. “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come” (Psalm 71:17-18). HMM

From Institute for Creation Research

How to Develop Humility, Day 7

Habit: Character Formation

Today’s reading is drawn from 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Galatians 5:13.

After the dedication of the temple, God appears to Solomon at night and tells him that if the people “will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

We know we need to humble ourselves before God. But what does that mean, and what does it require? Let’s look at some of the ways we can develop humility:

Fight pride and self-doubt — Humility allows us to see ourselves in proper relation to God and neighbor, leading us to an accurate self-assessment. We fail to humble ourselves when we develop an inaccurate view of ourselves because of either pride or self-doubt — both enemies of humility that we must battle. As Greg Willson explains:

“Pride and self-doubt are really two sides of the same coin. One believes that we know better than God does, the other believes that he isn’t good or powerful enough to change us. Neither makes much of God, effectively bringing him down below us. The prideful and the self-doubters both believe they’re better than God, they just show it in different ways.”*

Use truth as the primary tool — The primary means we humble ourselves is by learning what God has to say about us. When you search the Scriptures, make note of all the things — both positive and negative — God has to say about mankind. Only by learning God’s truth can we acquire the self-knowledge necessary to develop humility.

Surround yourself with people who will exhort and rebuke you — We need people in our lives who will provide an honest assessment —praising us for our virtues and chastising us for our failings.

Serve others — Humility is not just about agreeing to an idea of who we are, but rather it is self-knowledge gained through experience. The surest way to gain such experiential knowledge is by serving others (see Galatians 5:13). Through service, we learn that our God-given talents and abilities make us different, but not better, than our neighbor.

PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: Humility is a virtue developed by constantly seeking to see ourselves as God sees us.

* Mike Cosper, Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013).

Bible Gateway

What Will You Suffer For?, Day 7

Bible Gateway

Today’s reading is drawn from 1 Peter 3:17 and 1 Peter 4:19.

Observation

Suffering is not optional. We might wish it were. We spend millions of dollars to avoid it, ignore it and get immunized for it, but we can never be immune from it.

We mostly think of suffering as negative. And much suffering is synonymous with the consequences of sin or ignorance. But sometimes good comes from pain and suffering. A child is born into the world through pain. When we get a speck of dirt in our eye, pain signals us to do something about it before it does damage. When we have a virus, the pain signals a need for rest or medication before the disease turns into something deadly.

Pain and suffering are inevitable. However, Peter tells us in 3:17 that since we are going to suffer, we are to suffer for doing right. We can choose what we suffer for. We can suffer because we are doing evil, or we can suffer to give life.

Application

We can suffer as a result of stupidity. We can suffer as a result of sin. Or we can choose to suffer. We can suffer for speaking the gospel or defending it. We can suffer for doing the right thing even though we are mocked or misunderstood. We can suffer by biting back angry words when something unfair occurs to us. We can choose to suffer with others when they are hurting, and it forces us to pray, learn, act and minister.

Prayer

Father: I pray that when I suffer — and it is inevitable that I will — I will suffer in doing the right and the good. If I suffer, let me do so with a contrite heart — a heart that desires to follow you.

The Holy Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, Day 7

Bible Gateway

Prophecy

Today’s reading is drawn from 1 John 4:1-3.

The entire Bible is a product of the Holy Spirit, who is not only “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13), but “the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). The verb “to prophesy” (derived from Greek preposition pro and verb phemi) means “to speak forth before.” The preposition “before” in this use may mean 1) “in advance” and/or 2) “in front of.” Thus, “to prophesy” is a proper term to describe the proclamation of God’s Word as it forecasts events. It may also describe the declaration of God’s Word forthrightly, boldly, or confrontingly before a group or individual—telling forth God’s truth and will. So, in both respects, the Bible is prophetic: a Book that reveals God’s will through His Word and His works, as well as a Book that reveals God’s plans and predictions.

This text defines the witness or testimony of Jesus Himself as being synonymous with, or at the heart of, the spirit of prophecy. These words not only define Scripture; they also confine all utterances that claim to be true prophecy: Jesus Christ will be at the center of it all, as He is in the whole Bible. 1) The Old Testament exists to reveal Christ (Luke 24:27; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10–12); and 2) the New Testament is inspired by the Holy Spirit for the same purpose (John 14:26; 16:13–15).