Followers

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Song in the Night


From: Our Daily Bread
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If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
My father’s life was one of longing. He longed for wholeness, even as Parkinson’s disease gradually crippled more and more of his mind and body. He longed for peace, but was tormented by the deep pain of depression. He longed to feel loved and cherished, but often felt utterly alone.
He found himself less alone when he read the words of Psalm 42, his favorite psalm. Like him, the psalmist knew a desperate longing, an unquenched thirst for healing (vv. 1–2). Like him, the psalmist knew a sadness that felt like it never went away (v. 3), leaving times of pure joy merely a distant memory (v. 6). Like my dad, as consuming waves of chaos and pain swept over him (v. 7), the psalmist felt abandoned by God and asked, “Why?” (v. 9).
And as the words of the psalm washed over him, assuring him he was not alone, my father felt the beginnings of a quiet peace enter in alongside his pain. He heard a tender voice surrounding him, a voice assuring him that even though he had no answers, even though the waves still crashed over him, still he was dearly loved (v. 8).
And somehow hearing that quiet song of love in the night was enough. Enough for my dad to quietly cling to glimmers of hope, love, and joy. And enough for him to wait patiently for the day when all his longings would finally be satisfied (vv. 5, 11).

Today’s Reflection

Lord, we know that You have carried all our suffering and will one day turn it around into resurrection life. Still, there is so much healing that we wait and long for. As we wait for that morning, help us to rest in Your song of love in the night.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Called By God


By Oswald Chambers

Called By God

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” —Isaiah 6:8

God did not direct His call to Isaiah— Isaiah overheard God saying, “…who will go for Us?” The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). That is, few prove that they are the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened. Then they hear “the voice of the Lord” continually asking, “…who will go for Us?” However, God doesn’t single out someone and say, “Now, you go.” He did not force His will on Isaiah. Isaiah was in the presence of God, and he overheard the call. His response, performed in complete freedom, could only be to say, “Here am I! Send me.”
Remove the thought from your mind of expecting God to come to force you or to plead with you. When our Lord called His disciples, He did it without irresistible pressure from the outside. The quiet, yet passionate, insistence of His “Follow Me” was spoken to men whose every sense was receptive (Matthew 4:19). If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard— “the voice of the Lord.” In perfect freedom we too will say, “Here am I! Send me.”

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Overcoming Worry


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From: Our Daily Bread
Part 1
We were excited about moving for my husband’s job. But the unknowns and challenges left me feeling anxious. Thoughts of sorting and packing up belongings. Looking for a place to live. My finding a new job too. Making my way around a new city, and getting settled. It was all . . . unsettling. As I thought about my “to-do” list, words written by the apostle Paul echoed in my mind: Don’t worry, but pray (Phil. 4:6–7).
If anyone could have been anxious about unknowns and challenges, it would have been Paul. He was shipwrecked. He was beaten. He was jailed. In his letter to the Philippian church, he encouraged his friends who also were facing unknowns, telling them, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (v. 6).
Paul’s words encourage me. Life is not without uncertainties—whether they come in the form of a major life transition, family issues, health scares, or financial trouble. What I continue to learn is that God cares. He invites us to let go of our fears of the unknown by giving them to Him. When we do, He, who knows all things, promises that His peace, “which transcends all understanding, will guard” our heart and mind in Christ Jesus (v. 7).

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Have You Ever Been Alone with God? (1)


By Oswald Chambers

Have You Ever Been Alone with God? (1)
Our Solitude with Him. Jesus doesn’t take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them. The lives of others are examples for us, but God requires us to examine our own souls. It is slow work— so slow that it takes God all of time and eternity to make a man or woman conform to His purpose. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don’t even recognize the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?
We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in our spiritual life is pride. If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we will never say, “Oh, I’m so unworthy.” We will understand that this goes without saying. But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, God will continue to close us in until He gets us alone. Whenever there is any element of pride or conceit remaining, Jesus can’t teach us anything. He will allow us to experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires— things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.

Friday, January 11, 2019

I Need to Know You Care


By: Kathy Collard Miller
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Recently, I felt anger rise within me when my husband, Larry, had promised several times to help me with a computer problem. Although the problem didn’t really affect my work much, it still seemed like I needed help right then!
“Larry, I really need you to help me.”
“Okay, Kath. No problem. I can’t right now but I’ll help later.”
Later came and went along with several other “laters.” Each time, my anger increased. But then as I prayed asking the Lord why it bothered me so much, I realized I wasn’t so much bothered by the delay as feeling like Larry didn’t really care about me and my needs. I remembered what happened when the disciples felt like Jesus didn’t care for them. Here’s the story.
On that day, when evening had come, he [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)
I can certainly understand the disciples’ terror. Even though most of them were seasoned fishermen, this storm was obviously way beyond their comfort zone and they knew the danger. The Sea of Galilee was famous for sudden windstorms and many of their friends had most likely perished. Plus, the boat was not just taking on water — it was “already filling.” As they looked around for help, what did they see? Jesus asleep on a cushion. The man who should have been the first to take care of them was completely oblivious to their need and fear.
After waking him, they asked, “Teacher, don’t you care we are perishing?”
Their question is often what our heart is crying out to know: do you care? We can be tempted to express it through emotional outbursts because we’re afraid we’ll hear, “No, I don’t care because you don’t deserve it.” As my anger showed the other day, my heart was actually crying out, “Show me you care about me! Maybe my anger, distress, or craziness will get your attention!”
After Jesus calms the storm and the danger is past, the disciples are filled with wonder and awe. They rightly ask, who is this who can calm the wind and sea? If they had asked that question at the beginning, they wouldn’t have become distressed. Because the answer is: “This is no surprise to Jesus. Even though he seems to be asleep on a cushion, he hasn’t stopped loving us or caring for us because he is the powerful and omniscient God. We can trust whatever reason he is allowing this.”
When you feel like you’ve asked Jesus, “Do you care?” he isn’t upset about your question but he does want you to hear, “Child, I do care! Trust me. I know exactly what I’m doing and it’s for your good and my glory.”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Overcoming Worry


From: Our Daily Bread
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Discover more about putting your worries to work for you, rather than allowing them to consume you as you read these 5 reflections from Our Daily Bread.
Part 1
We were excited about moving for my husband’s job. But the unknowns and challenges left me feeling anxious. Thoughts of sorting and packing up belongings. Looking for a place to live. My finding a new job too. Making my way around a new city, and getting settled. It was all . . . unsettling. As I thought about my “to-do” list, words written by the apostle Paul echoed in my mind: Don’t worry, but pray (Phil. 4:6–7).
If anyone could have been anxious about unknowns and challenges, it would have been Paul. He was shipwrecked. He was beaten. He was jailed. In his letter to the Philippian church, he encouraged his friends who also were facing unknowns, telling them, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (v. 6).

Do Not Worry      Matthew 6

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What Kind of Savior Is He?


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From: Our Daily Bread

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66
Last year, friends and I prayed for healing for three women battling cancer. We knew God had the power to do this, and we asked Him to do so every day. We’d seen Him work in the past and believed He could do it again. There were days in each one’s battle where healing looked like it was a reality, and we rejoiced. But they all died that fall. Some said that was “the ultimate healing,” and in a way it was. Still the loss hurt us deeply. We wanted Him to heal them all—here and now—but for reasons we couldn’t understand, no miracle came.
Some people followed Jesus for the miracles He performed and to get their needs met (John 6:2, 26). Some simply saw Him as the carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55–58), and others expected Him to be their political leader (Luke 19:37–38). Some thought of Him as a great teacher (Matthew 7:28–29), while others quit following Him because His teaching was hard to understand (John 6:66).
Jesus still doesn’t always meet our expectations of Him. Yet He is so much more than we can imagine. He’s the provider of eternal life (vv. 47–48). He is good and wise; and He loves, forgives, stays close, and brings us comfort. May we find rest in Jesus as He is and keep following Him.
Thank You, Jesus, that You are the kind of Savior we need. Wrap us in Your love and bring us confident rest in You.
I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” Psalm 31:14