Devotionals

May 3
Morning
In the world, ye shall have tribulation.” — Joh_16:33
Art thou asking the reason of this, believer? Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold him pure and holy. Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like him? Wilt thou easily be conformed to his image? Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect? Next, Christian, turn thine eye downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone? No, he will be always at thee, for he “goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee. Then look around thee. Where art thou? Thou art in an enemy’s country, a stranger and a sojourner. The world is not thy friend. If it be, then thou art not God’s friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Be assured that thou shalt find foe-men everywhere. When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so will the trials of earth be sharpest to you. Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within. Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself evil enough to be a sore trouble to thee, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee. He hath said, “I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee.”
Evening
“A very present help.” — Psa_46:1
Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell him all thy grief? Has he not a sympathizing heart, and can he not comfort and relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord. Art thou burdened with this day’s sins? Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it. Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again. Come to him at once for cleansing. Dost thou deplore thy weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon him? Dost thou feel naked? Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Stand not looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear. Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.” What! wilt thou not go to him, and ask him to give thee of his abundance, when he has given thee this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with him, and has made over all that he is and all that he has to be thine? There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him. He loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.
“Let us be simple with him, then,
Not backward, stiff, or cold,
As though our Bethlehem could be
What Sinai was of old.”

Love in the Mirror

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.” 1 Samuel 16:7

The overemphasis on physical attractiveness in our society is frequently damaging to self‐confidence. A case in point is the story of Peter Foster, a Royal Air Force pilot in World War II.

During an air battle, Foster was the victim of a terrible fire. He survived, but his face was burned beyond recognition. He spent many anxious moments in the hospital wondering if his family—and especially his fiancée—would still accept him. They did. His fiancée assured him that nothing had changed except a few millimeters of skin. Two years later they were married.

Foster said of his wife, “She became my mirror. She gave me a new image of myself. When I look at her, she gives me a warm, loving smile that tells me I’m okay.”

That’s the way marriage ought to work, too—it should be a mutual admiration society that overlooks a million flaws and builds the self‐esteem of both partners. Let’s become each other’s mirrors, reflecting back love and affirmation every chance we get.

Just between us…

  • When was the last time I complimented you on your appearance?
  • Is our marriage a “mutual admiration society”?
  • Would you still love me if I became disfigured like Peter Foster?
  • What do you think the Lord sees in me?
  • How can I be a better “mirror” for you?

Lord Jesus, You came to bring Your presence and Your love to all—regardless of looks or ability, of health or condition. Thank You so much! May we reflect that same enthusiastic and unconditional love to each other in our marriage. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bible Gateway

The Prayer After God’s Heart, Day 3

Today’s reading is drawn from 1 Samuel 1:1-20.

God’s Story

Hannah is childless. Her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, has several children —and Peninnah heartlessly throws that fact in Hannah’s face. On one of the family’s trips to the tabernacle for an annual festival, Hannah seeks God in his sanctuary and with desperate abandon pours out her heart to him. She pleads for a son, promising that she will dedicate the child to him. God hears her — and answers. Soon, Hannah gives birth to Samuel. His name means “God hears.”

Once Samuel is weaned, Hannah brings her God-miracle to the tabernacle, joyfully giving him back to God. Young Samuel stays with the high priest Eli at the tabernacle and grows up serving the Lord.

Eli’s two sons are immoral priests, stealing sacrificial meats and using God’s tabernacle as a site for sexual trysts. God informs Eli through a prophet that his sons are going to die.

Then the Lord calls to Samuel from inside the tabernacle. He tells Samuel that he is going to do something that will shock all of Israel. God will not tolerate evil in his holy home.

The King’s Heart

It is painfully difficult to watch the ones you love scorn you. For generations. That must have made Hannah’s prayer that much sweeter to the Lord. If he would give her a son, she would make sure that he would serve God and God alone, a God-pursuing life. And God could see Hannah’s heart. He knew she meant every word she prayed. From the heart of one of God’s daughters came a prayer directly after his.

He must have been elated the day Hannah dedicated Samuel to him. Lesser women would have attempted to use him simply to get their prayers answered, to get a son. But not Hannah. The sheer joy that spills out in her prayer of praise — as she is leaving her miracle son behind for good — reveals her sweet motives. God heard her prayers and answered her. And she is overjoyed to give Samuel back to him.

The Lord didn’t just give Hannah the gift of Samuel. He gave her three more sons and two daughters. The woman whose heart was overwhelmed with love for God was again overwhelmed with his goodness to her.

And God didn’t just make Samuel any old servant of his. He made him a prophet and Israel’s last judge — a great man who changed the course of the nation.

Insight

Hannah’s prayer of praise is very similar to Mary’s prayer of praise after Gabriel told her she was going to give birth to Jesus (see Luke 1:46 – 55). The gracious God had been lavishly good to both Hannah and Mary, and they couldn’t help but praise him.

Bible Gateway