The Promise of Light in Darkness

July 18th, 2018

How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is!
For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
What man can live and never see death?
Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah (Psalm 89:46-48 ESV)

The author was nearing the end of his life and as such was petitioning God for his own needs and desires. We do not need to search very hard to see the thoughts of his heart, for he was abundantly clear with his words He felt all alone, that God had hidden Himself, that life was too short, that life’s shortness seems to even mock us. We are scarcely born and we are quickly looking at the end of our days.

But we gain encouragement realizing that all of these questions are answered graciously and encouragingly in the grace of the New Testament. Life does not end at our physical death. We live on in Christ – not merely through the memories of those who knew us and whose lives we have touched, but we live on consciously in eternity.

Is life a riddle and its purpose too illusive? It need not be to the Christian for we learn from scripture why we are created and what we are to do with our lives. We are made for God:

Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)

And we are redeemed in Christ from sin, from purposelessness, and even from this decaying body. We are forgiven, called to know Him and to serve Him, and promised that at death we enter into eternity with Him. “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). “And this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

Throw off the skeptic’s garb and embrace God in faith, and Christ in His love for you. Let the Spirit fill you with eternal hope and joy. Look up at His love, not down at your problems. All of our problems are temporary but God’s love and our life in Him is eternal.

Daily Devotions, Dealing with Difficulties, Psalms

Today’s Blessing

July 17th, 2018

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18 NIV)

We must wait for the Lord to move and to reveal Himself. But in that waiting is found victory for today.

To wait for the Lord does not mean to apathetically sit idly by, rather it means to long for Him, to wait with expectation and desire. It is the waiting in confidence that He will come in His own time and fully redeem those that are His.

One philosophy of life sees the world in a constant state of spiritual conflict, of ebb and flow, of ups and downs, of unending spiritual turmoil. We may have seasons of victory but the evil forces is still there and will come back into power. This view of life is decidedly not the Christian view. The Christian and biblical view is that the Lord is working all things together for His ultimate and complete victory at the return of Christ.

During this Church Age we will continue to see conflicts and seasons of peace and periods of war. As Jesus said:

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All of these are the beginning of birth pains… And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and the end will come. (Matthew 24:7-8,14)

Describing these things as “birth pains” means that the troubles of this world are working toward a climactic event, the birth of God’s new kingdom, that shall be consummated with the coming of Christ. And it is in His coming and final victory that we take heart and are encouraged. When we wait on Him we live in faith and in confidence in Him and in His final victory.

But what about today? Where is God today? A beautiful statement of God’s own peace and patience is found in Isaiah 18: “This is what the LORD says to me: ‘I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place'” (Isaiah 18:4). This is not detached apathy on God’s part, but rather it is the affirmation of God’s wisdom and peace. When we are running around in panic and consternation, the Lord is Himself quiet, and seeing all He waits for the right time to act.

Waiting on the Lord requires not only faith in His ultimate victory, but also faith in His timing. This is the attitude that is called “blessed” – to simply leave things in God’s hands and wait for Him to move and to do what He alone can do. There is much that He has called us to do as we wait – to pray, to grow in our faith, to love and to worship and to witness, to share the gospel and to meet the needs of the world in Jesus’ name. But when we do not seem to see the results that we would like to see, then it is that we can still have victory by waiting in Him.

We do not merely wait for Him but also in Him. His Spirit sustains us as we trust Him and we gain strength daily. Paul wrote: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). This is the blessing of waiting in Him. Exercise faith today and thank God for His presence with you and for His ultimate victory that will be ours one day.

 

Daily Devotions, Second Coming of Christ