WORDS OF CHEER FOR DAILY LIFE – MONDAY, MAY 4, 2020

Faith versus Fear

The believer when he is brought into peace with God does not tremble at the thought of God’s power. He does not ask, “Will He plead against me with His great power?” But he says, “No, that very power, once my terror, and fear, is now my refuge and my hope, for He shall put that very power in me. I rejoice that God is Almighty, for He will lend me His omnipotence—’He will put strength into me.'” The very power which would have damned my soul, saves my soul. The very power that would have crushed me, God puts into me, that the work of salvation may be accomplished. No, He will not use it to crush me, but He will put that very strength into me. Dost see there the Mighty One upon His throne? Dread Sovereign, I see Thine awful arm. What, wilt Thou crush the sinner? Wilt Thou utterly destroy him with Thy strength? “No,” saith He, “come hither, child.” And if you go to His almighty throne, “There,” saith He, “that self-same arm which made thee quake, see there, I give it to thee. Go out and live. I have made thee mighty as I am, to do My works; I will put strength into thee. The same strength which would have broken thee to pieces on the wheel shall now be put into thee, that thou mayest do mighty works.”

Now, this great strength sometimes goes out in prayer. Did you ever hear a man pray in whom God had put strength? You have heard some of us poor puny souls pray, I dare say; but have you ever heard a man pray that God had made into a giant? Oh, if you have, you will say it is a mighty thing to hear such a man in supplication. I have seen him as if he had seized the angel, and would pull him down. I have seen him now and then slip in his wrestling; but, like a giant, he has recovered his footing, and seemed, like Jacob, to hurl the angel to the ground. I have marked the man lay hold upon the throne of mercy, and declare, “Lord, I will never let go, except thou bless me.” I have seen him, when heaven’s gates have been apparently barred, go up to them, and say, “Ye gates, open wide in Jesus’ name;” “and I have seen the gates fly open before him, as if the man were God himself; for he is armed with God Almighty’s strength. I have seen that man, in prayer, discover some great mountain in his way; and he prayed it down, until it became a very molehill. He has beaten the hills and made them like chaff by the immensity of his might.

Some of you think I am talking enthusiasm; but such cases have been, and are now. Oh, to have heard Luther pray! Luther, you know, when Melancthon was dying, went to his death-bed, and said, “Melancthon, you shall not die!” “Oh,” said Melancthon, “I must die! It is a world of toil and trouble.” “Melancthon,” said he, “I have need of thee, and God’s cause has need of thee, and as my name is Luther, thou shalt not die!” The physician said he would. Well, down went Luther on his knees, and began to tug at death. Old Death struggled mightily for Melancthon, and he had got him well-nigh on his shoulders. “Drop him,” said Luther, “drop him, I want him.” “No,” said Death, “he is my prey, I will take him!”

“Down with him,” said Luther, “down with him, Death, or I will wrestle with thee!” And he seemed to take hold of the grim monster, and hurl him to the ground; and he came off victorious, like an Orpheus, with his wife, up from the very shades of death; he had delivered Melancthon from death by prayer! “Oh,” say you, “that is an extraordinary case.” No, not one-half so extraordinary as you dream. Men and women have done the same in other cases; have asked a thing of God, and have had it; that have been to the throne, and showed a promise, and said they would not come away without its fulfilment, and have come back from God’s throne conquerors of the Almighty; for prayer moves the arm that moves the world.

“Prayer is the sinew of God,” said one, “it moves His arm;” and so it is. Verily, in prayer, with the strength of the faithful heart, there is a beautiful fulfilment of the text, “He will put strength in me.”

Not only in prayer, but in duty, the man who has great faith in God, and whom God has girded with strength, how gigantic does he become! Have you never read of those great heroes who put to flight whole armies, and scattered kings like the snow on Salmon? Have you never read of those men that were fearless of foes, and stalked onward before all their opposers, as if they would as soon die as live? I read of a case in the old kirk of Scotland, before that King James who wished to force “the black prelacy” upon them. Andrew Melville and some of his associates were deputed to wait upon the king, and as they were going with a scroll ready written, they were warned to take care and return, for their lives were at stake. They paused a moment, and Andrew said, “I am not afraid, thank God, nor feeble-spirited in the cause and message of Christ; come what pleases God to send, our commission shall be executed.” At these words the deputation took courage, and went forward. On reaching the palace, and having obtained an audience, they found his majesty attended by Lennox and Arran, and several other lords, all of whom were English. They presented their remonstrance. Arran lifted it from the table, and glancing over it, he then turned to the ministers, and furiously demanded, “Who dares sign these treasonable articles?” “We dare,” said Andrew Melville, “and will render our lives in the cause.” Having thus spoken, he came forward to the table, took the pen, subscribed his name, and was followed by his brethren. Arran and Lennox were confounded; the king looked on in silence, and the nobles in surprise. Thus did our good forefathers appear before kings, and yet were not ashamed. “The proud had them greatly in derision, yet they declined not from the law of God.” Having thus discharged their duty, after a brief conference, the ministers were permitted to depart in peace. The king trembled more at them than if a whole army had been at his gates; and why was this? It was because God had put His own strength into them to make them masters of their duty. And you have some such in your midst now. Despised they may be; but God has made them like the lion-like men of David, who would go down into the pit in the depth of winter, and take the lion by the throat and slay him. We have some in our churches—but a remnant, I admit—who are not afraid to serve their God, like Abdiel, “faithful amongst the faithless found.” We have some who are superior to the customs of the age, and scorn to bow at mammon’s knee, who will not use the trimming language of too many modern ministers, but stand out for God’s gospel, and the pure white banner of Christ, unstained and unsullied by the doctrines of men. Then are they mighty! Why they are mighty is because God has put strength in them.

“And shall I hold on to the end?” says the believer. Yes, thou wilt, for God’s strength is in thee. “Shall I be able to bear such-and-such a trial?” Yes, thou wilt. Cannot Omnipotence stem the torrent? And Omnipotence is in thee; for, like Ignatius of old, thou art a God-bearer; thou bearest God about with thee. Thy heart is a temple of the Holy Ghost, and thou shalt yet overcome. “But can I ever stand firm in such-and-such an evil day?” Oh, yes you will, for He will put His strength in you!

I was in company, some time ago, with some ministers; one of them observed, “Brother, if there were to be stakes in Smithfield again, I am afraid they would find very few to burn among us.” “Well,” I said, “I do not know anything about how you would burn; but this I know right well, that there never will be any lack of men who are ready to die for Christ.” “Oh!” said he, “but they are not the right sort of men.” “Well,” said I, “but do you think they are the Lord’s children?” “Yes, I believe they are, but they are not the right sort.” “Ah!” said I, “but you would find them the right sort, if they came to the test, every one of them; they have not got burning grace yet. What would be the use of it.” We do not want the grace till the stakes come; but we should have burning grace in burning moments. If now a hundred of us were called to die for Christ, I believe there would not only be found a hundred, but five hundred, that would march to death, and sing all the way. Whenever I find faith, I believe that God will put strength into the man; and I never think anything to be impossible to a man with faith in God, while it is written, “He will put strength in me.”

Cæsar could not swim the Tiber, accoutred as he was; and dost thou hope to swim the Jordan with thy flesh about thee? No, thou wilt sink then, unless Jesus, as Æneas did Anchises, from the flames of Rome, upon his shoulders, lift thee from Jordan, and carry thee across the stream, thou wilt never be able to walk across the river; thou wilt ne’er be able to face that tyrant and smile in his face, unless thou hast something more than mortal. Thou wilt need then to be belted about with the girdle of divinity, or else thy loins will be loosed, and thy strength will fail thee, when thou needst it most. Many a man has ventured to the Jordan in his own strength; but oh! how he has shrieked and howled, when the first wave has touched his feet! But never weakling went to death with God within him, but he found himself mightier than the grave. Go on, Christian, for this is thy promise, “He will put strength in me.”

“Weak, though I am, yet through His might,

I all things can perform.”

Go on; dread not God’s power, but rejoice at this, He will put His strength in you; He will not use His power to crush you.

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Divine Decree

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

We’ve talked about the powerful influence others have on the way we see ourselves. Yet we should always remember that true value is granted by the One who created us in the first place. There is no greater sense of self‐worth than knowing that He is acquainted with me personally; that He values me more than the possessions of the entire world; that He understands my fears and anxieties; that He reaches out to me when no one else cares; that He can turn my liabilities into assets and my emptiness into fullness; and that He has a place prepared for me—one where earthly pain and suffering will be but a dim memory.

Indeed, the Lord of the universe places so much value on us that He gave His life to save us. What a fantastic message of hope and encouragement for those who are broken and discouraged! This is self‐worth at its richest—dependent not on the whims of birth or physical attractiveness or social judgment, but on the decree of our loving Lord.

Just between us…

  • Do we base our self‐image on the Lord’s divine decree?
  • What is it that really makes you feel valuable?
  • Do I let you know often enough how much I value you?
  • How can I better show how much I appreciate you?
  • How can we remember that our worth as human beings is determined not by what we do or how we look or what we own, but by the fact that we are children of God?

Lord, we want so much to view ourselves and others from an eternal perspective. May we build our lives together on Your grand scheme, not on what is temporary and insignificant. Help us to live each day by the truth of Your divine decree. Amen.

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

God’s Rules

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“Be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely.” Leviticus 25:18

James was driving his three young children over a snowy mountain pass. Suddenly their van hit a patch of black ice. James felt a sickening sensation as the van veered across the oncoming lane, smashed into a snowbank, and skidded on its side for thirty yards before finally coming to a stop. Shaken and fearing the worst, James looked behind him—and was relieved to see all three children still strapped snugly in their seat belts, none the worse for their rough ride. He was so thankful he’d followed the rules for seat belts that day.

God has rules for our journey through life, too. They’re called the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3–17). Each bears truth and wisdom designed by the Creator to guide and protect you and your children from harm. They are: 1) Worship no other gods than the Lord. 2) Do not make idols for yourselves. 3) Do not misuse the name of the Lord. 4) Observe the Sabbath as a holy day. 5) Honor your father and mother. 6) Do not murder. 7) Do not commit adultery. 8) Do not steal. 9) Do not give false testimony against your neighbor. 10) Do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

You will pass on thousands of lessons to your kids over the course of childhood. If you keep these ten at the top of the list, your family will feel the touch of God’s hand: “He who respects the commandment will be rewarded” (Proverbs 13:13, rsv).

Before you say good night…

How well do you and your children know the Ten Commandments?

Is your family living by each of them?

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for Your holy instruction. Thank You for laws that show Your eternal love for each member of our family. May we persevere in passing on all of Your commandments to our children. Amen.

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

Women Of The Bible

WOMEN OF THE BIBLEMichal

Her name means: “Who Is Like God?”

Her character: A woman of strong emotions, she was unable to control the important circumstances of her life. Forcibly separated from two husbands, she lost her father and her brother, who were savaged by their enemies.
Her sorrow: That she was ensnared in the drawn-out battle between Saul and David.
Her joy: Though short-lived, she enjoyed a passionate love for David.
Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 18:20-29; 19:11-17; 2 Samuel 6:16-23

Her Story

Scene One

Michal stretched herself across the window’s edge. Leaning out as far as she dared, she could see her husband running through the night shadows, his movements swift and lithe, like a young stag evading its predators. Even if her father, the king, pursued with an army, she was confident he would not catch her David.

She had loved the shepherd boy since the day he had calmed Saul’s troubled soul with his harp playing. After he defeated the hideous Goliath with only a sling and a stone, all Israel fell in love with him. But it was for her alone that David had slain two hundred Philistines—to prove his worth.

She turned from the window, grateful for the chance to have aided her husband’s escape. Quickly she dressed one of the household idols, placing it in their bed and topping it with goat’s hair to make it look like a sleeping David. She was ready for her father’s men when they came pounding on her door.

“David is ill,” she told them.

So they returned to King Saul, who immediately ordered them back, saying, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.”

Discovering the ruse, Saul confronted his daughter: “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?”

Michal lowered her eyes and replied, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’ ” She held her breath, certain her father would never swallow so bold a lie.

Scene Two

Nine years or more have passed. Michal glanced out the window, arms folded tightly against her breast, observing the scene below. David, now the king, had entered Jerusalem, leaping and dancing as the ark of the covenant was carried into Jerusalem. He looked ridiculous to Michal, more like a romping goat than a great king.

David offered the sacrifices and blessed the people. Then he entered his own house to bless it. But Saul’s daughter met him with scornful eyes: “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

“It was before the Lord, who chose me,” he replied, “rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

Her Story

Twice, Michal stood at a window observing David. In the first scene, Scripture paints her as David’s wife, in the second as Saul’s daughter. In fact, her attitude is so changed that we feel perplexed, watching her as she watches David. To understand what may have shaped Michal’s heart in the intervening years, we need to find a corridor connecting the two windows, a passageway that somehow led from love to scorn.

Michal may have expected her separation from David to be a short one, her idealism forging a happy ending to their fairy-tale love. Perhaps she believed David would find a way to protect her from her father’s wrath. Was she shocked when real life intervened and her father punished her by marrying her to another man? Did her bitterness grow during David’s long absence? Had she finally made peace with her new marriage only to be torn from her husband when David demanded her back after Saul’s death? Did she question God’s judgments, identifying more with the dead than the living after her father perished in a desperate battle with the Philistines?

Perhaps Michal’s bitterness swelled to rage when she realized she had always been someone else’s pawn, a mere woman manipulated by powerful men. Her own father used her, promising her to David in hopes she would prove a snare to him. And, finally, one of her brothers handed her back to David after Saul’s death, further legitimizing David’s claim to the throne. A princess, then a queen, she was still a slave.

Michal’s story is tragic. Throughout the difficult circumstances of her life, we see little evidence of a faith to sustain her. Instead, she is tossed back and forth, her heart left to draw its own bitter conclusions. In the last scene with David, we see a woman blind with scorn, making the very mistake God cautioned the prophet Samuel against in his search for a king to succeed the wayward Saul: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The truth is, God is the only one who can see into the depths of anyone’s heart, including Michal’s. He knew everything that had happened, both good and bad. Still the story of Michal seems to indicate that she grew to be more like Saul than like David. As such, she reminds us that even victims have choices. No matter how much we’ve been sinned against, we still have the power to choose the attitude of our heart. If we cast ourselves on God’s mercy, asking him to help us, he cannot refuse. Even in difficulty, he will dwell in us, shaping our own wayward hearts into the likeness of his own.

Her Promise

Michal’s contempt for true worship can be contrasted with David’s love of worship. He worshiped God with abandon, with a true heart. His devotion was so deep, so real, it had to be expressed in the most extravagant praise and in dancing “with all his might.” That’s the sort of worship God is looking for from his people, and he responds with a promise to bless.

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