Thursday, February 22, 2007 4:00 a.m.
Sometimes God puts us in His “Boot Camp” in order for us to learn of Him and have a hunger for Him. In God’s Boot Camp He teaches us to be dependent entirely on Him, and Him alone. We are to hunger and thirst after God and His righteousness. God’s Boot Camp strips us of all that once sustained us, all that we leaned upon, all that we once looked to for strength and stability. After we are brought to the empty bowl and the dry well, we reach out and hunger and thirst for God. John Piper wrote,”When God is the supreme hunger of your heart, He will be supreme in everything. And when you are most satisfied in Him, He will be most glorified in you,” (A Hunger for God). Right now I feel like I am in God’s Boot Camp, stripped of all security and comfort. I now must learn to rely on God’s security and comfort, and nothing else.
Thought for Today: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6).
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 4:15 a.m.
The rich young ruler was a seeker of eternal life; yet, he missed it. He asked Jesus, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). The Lord said, “…sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22). God knows our heart, and if we love something more than we love Him, “that” is our God. The rich young ruler’s God was his riches. In order for him to sell all and follow Jesus would have meant that he would have to sell his families’ fortune that had been in his family for generations. And if he did that, he would most likely be disowned by his family. He was a seeker, but he went away lost. He was not willing to pay the cost. There is always a cost. One must be willing to give up all, and sometimes that can be a big order; but, we must give up all in order to gain all.
Thought for Today: Jesus said, “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25).
Thursday, December 7, 2006 8:45 a.m.
At the age of 19, Amy Carmichael, together with her six brothers and sisters started a family magazine they called Scraps. Each one of the children chose a fictitious name. “Norman became ‘Namron,’ Ernest became ‘Oddfellow,’ Eva became ‘Lulu,’ Ethel became ‘Atom,’ Walter became ‘Blanco,’ Alfred became ‘S.S.I.’ (which stood for Silly, Silly Idiot) and Amy, not surprisingly, became ‘Nobody”’ (A Chance to Die, p. 38). Each one of the children wrote something for the family magazine and occasionally drew drawings and cartons. The family rose every morning at 4:50 a.m. and were very disciplined in their work and studies. The fictitious name of Amy Carmichael really spoke to me. After her brothers and sisters had all chosen a name, when asked who she was, Amy said “Nobody”. We are all “Nobody”. The only “Somebody” is God. Isaiah 40:12 reminds us of this fact. It demonstrates the greatness of God and the weakness of man. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, [Nobody, but God] Who hath meted out heaven with a span, [Nobody, but God] Who hath comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, [Nobody, but God] Who hath weighted the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” [Nobody, but God] (Isaiah 40:12). Only God can do these things. Only God is “Somebody.”
Thought for Today: “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket…” (Isaiah 40:15).
Friday, December 1, 2006 4:00 a.m.
Matthew 13:1-52 gives us seven Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.
- The mystery of the sower. (Matthew 13:3-8).
- The mystery of the tares among the wheat. (Matthew 13:24-30).
- The mystery of the mustard seed. (Matthew 13:31-32).
- The mystery of the leaven. (Matthew 13:33).
- The mystery of the hidden treasure. (Matthew 13:44).
- The mystery of the pearl. (Matthew 13:45-46).
- The mystery of the drag-net. (Matthew 13:47-48). All of these mysteries represent the gospel and Christians in this present world. They all began with Jesus’ ministry, and they will end with the harvest, which is the end of the world. The parables of the mysteries of the kingdom differentiate the good seed from the bad seed. The good wheat from the tares. The good fish from the bad fish. In the end, God sends His angels to separate the good from the bad. Matthew 13:49 says, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.” The good shall be gathered into heaven and the bad shall be cast “into the firy furnace.” (Matthew 13:50). Thought for Today: “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:43).
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:15 p.m.
Behind our house is a corn field. Right now the farmer is harvesting the field. It reminds me of what Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24). Only if it dies, it brings forth fruit. We must die to ourselves daily. This is hard to do. We want to enjoy ourselves and have our needs met. But Jesus says that we are to look to the needs of others. We are to esteem others better than ourselves. We are to serve others. Jesus Christ is that corn of wheat that fell into the ground and died. He was “ground in the mill of suffering” (C.I. Scofield) for our sake. We, too, are to die daily in order to bring forth much fruit. Jesus said, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25).
Thought for Today: “If I refuse to be a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies (‘is separated from all in which it lived before’), then I know nothing of Calvary love.” (Amy Carmichael, IF, p. 74).
Friday, November 10, 2006 4:20 a.m.
The Formula for Happiness is found in Psalm 37: Fret not, Trust in the LORD, Delight thyself in the LORD, Commit thy way unto the LORD, Rest in the LORD, Cease from anger, Wait on the LORD.
Fret not: Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” (Psalm 37:1).
Trust in the LORD: “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” (Psalm 37:3).
Delight thyself in the LORD: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4).
Commit thy way unto the LORD: “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”(Psalm 37:5).
Rest in the LORD: “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:…” (Psalm 37:7).
Cease from anger: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:…” (Psalm 37:8).
Wait on the LORD: “Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land:…” (Psalm 37:34).
Thought for Today: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23).
Friday, November 3, 2006 3:40 a.m.
Have you ever looked through a pinhole in a curtain or in a piece of paper? A pinhole is very tiny; but yet, you can see through it. That is the way we see God right now, through a pinhole, darkly; but someday, we shall see Him face to face.”For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; put then shall I know even as also I am known.” (I Corinthians 13:12). As the Israelite’s had to cover Moses’ face with a veil because his face was too bright to look upon, so it is now with God. He is too bright to look upon. We only see the hinder part of His glory. God said to Moses, “Thou canst not see my face…” (Exodus 33:20). But He said, “And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:22-23). Right now we only see the hinder part of God’s glory as though looking through a pinhole. Pinholes are: love shown to others, caring for those in distress, helping those in need, encouraging those that are down, and holding up those that are weak. We all need to see through the pinholes; but, right now my pinholes are clogged. Lord, please open them.
Thought for Today: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Corinthians 13:13).
It was still dark out as the three women hurried down the winding pathway. Each was carrying an alabaster box of precious ointments. Beams of moonlight streamed through the olive trees making just enough light for them to see. Among themselves they whispered, “…Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3). But when they arrived at the tomb the stone had already been rolled away. Their first thought was that someone had stolen the body of their Lord. Overwhelmed with grief, the other two women left, but Mary Magdalene stayed. She stood alone outside the sepulchre weeping, and as she wept, she stooped down and looked inside the tomb and there she saw, “two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” (John 20:12). “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?” And she said, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:13). Then she turned around and there was Jesus standing beside her, but she did not recognize him. “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” (John 20:15). Supposing him to be the gardener she said, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20:15). “Then Jesus said unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” (John 20:16). Jesus comes to us in our darkest time of need and says our name. When we hear his voice we need to turn and look at Him and say, Rabboni, Master.
Thought for Today: “The soul that hears Christ’s voice, and is turned to him, calls him, with joy and triumph, my Master.” (Matthew Henry).
Monday, October 23, 2006 3:50 a.m.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then we were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (II Corinthians 5:14-15). Because Christ died for us we are to live for him, and not for ourselves. Our self is our greatest enemy. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). How true this is. “For that which I do I allow not: For what I would, that do I not: but what I hate, that do I.” (Romans 7:15). My greatest enemy is me. “…the Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). That is why Paul says in I Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.” We must die daily to ourselves. This is hard to do, but the love of Christ, that means His love for us, causes us to do so. He loved us enough to leave his Kingship in heaven and came to earth, and die for us so we could be reconciled unto God. Because He did this for us, we should be motivated to live for Him.
Thought for Today: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).
Saturday, October 14, 2006 8:00 p.m.
Moses knew he was the deliverer from the beginning, but he tried to do it in his own strength. He had not been discipled by God yet. He had the vision, but God had the plan. God had to train him first; so, He sent him to feed sheep. After forty years of feeding sheep in the wilderness God called him. But instead of feeling ready, as he did at the first, he said, “Who am I, that I should go…?” (Exodus 3:11). He had to get to the place where he would not go in his own strength; but instead, would go in God’s strength. Have you had a vision and you thought you knew what God wanted you to do, only to find yourself in the wilderness feeding sheep? When you are thoroughly discouraged, that is when God calls. When you feel totally inadequate to accomplish your vision, God says, “Go!” It is then, and only then, you are ready to go forth in God’s strength and not your own.
Thought for Today: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14).