Saturday, June 13, 2015


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Psalms 107:4-9
(4) Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;
(5) hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
(6) Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
(7) He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
(8) Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
(9) For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

There have been times in my life that I felt I was in a desert wilderness, all alone and could not find any "resting place" or peace with God. The desert wastes of the soul are every bit as parching as those of the physical world. What a perfect illustration of a soul that is longing for life, freedom, fulfillment, and love...all the things that make a soul satisfied. Without them, we are like one who has been walking through a hot dessert with no food or water and the heat of the sun beating down on us. We are needy creatures. We are in a place of longing that only grows greater and greater as we continue to walk in this wilderness. For the non-believer there is no satisfaction though he try to find it in more of the world's experiences, in things and in people. Three things the world tries to satisfy that longing with are "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). Yet they are never satisfied. Whatever riches or satisfaction they may acquire can be taken from them in a moment and their life is gone. How sad to settle for that momentary gratification, rather than an eternal satisfaction that will never be taken from us.

Yet even Christians don't realize that the trials in life that God allows us to go through - the wilderness times of our lives that seem to cause our souls to hunger and thirst are because we have gotten distracted from, or have not understood the life that the Lord is wanting to give us and is calling us to. We have tried to be content with some life we can make for ourselves here that makes us at least somewhat happy and comfortable. When trouble comes and plunges us into despair and we lose our happy place in this world, we begin longing for things the way they were in better times. But God doesn't want us to have things as they were or the meager life we want to make for ourselves. He is seeking so much more for us, and knows that until we lose what we have, or are in desperate circumstances beyond ourselves, we won't really see what we need to long for - for what He has for us - we won't ask for it or find it.

Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

From The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon, on Psalm 107:9:

The Lord sets us longing and then completely satisfies us. That longing leads us into solitude, separation, thirst, faintness, and self-despair, and all these conduct us to prayer, faith, divine guidance, satisfying of the soul's thirst, and rest: the good hand of the Lord is to be seen in the whole process and in the divine result. “And filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

Self-despair is a good thing if it takes our dependence off from ourselves and places it in God. Don't look back longing for the old days. Don't look back to times that were better or for what you once could do or make for yourself. Look forward for the Lord to fill your longing soul with His goodness. This is what He wants for you. The best is yet to come. He has something far better ahead than what you had. If what you had were perfect He would have left you there. He does not find pleasure in disciplining His children, but loves us enough to do it, and to take us from what we would otherwise hold onto, into something much deeper, richer, and far better. We are "His workmanship in Christ Jesus." If we are His, we are not our own. We came to Him for life, and that life must have its way in us. It is for our ultimate goodness, His goodness filling us, that we are going through the wilderness of this life.

If you are in a place of longing for better days, thank God! Don't waste it by longing for something in this world, but turn your heart to prayer and separation unto Him, realizing the longing is so that you will cry out for HIS filling and satisfaction. When that place is found in His satisfaction of the soul, we realize that no circumstance on this earth, good or bad, could ever take its place. One day the whole earth will be filled with His glory. That is hard to realize or grasp right now when we see it filled with terror, hate, lies, and violence. Evil and immorality and anti-God hostility grows and abounds and becomes more blatant and "in your face" all the time. But in the midst of that, God's goodness is contrasted all the more. This causes us to feel as though we were in a dessert, longing for His goodness and righteousness. It separates us from the world and drives our hearts to seek Him more to be filled with that goodness of the Lord, to satisfy our souls and to feed others looking for Him as well. It causes us to see how much more we need to abide in Him daily drawing our very life from Him, depending on His life in us. It causes us to hunger and thirst for righteousness and in that, He promises it will be filled. God's intent for us is always so much higher than our own pursuits and our own goals and desires. If only we would seek His face to know and understand, and trust His hand. Our stay in the wilderness would be much shorter. Faith is what enables us to draw from His well and drink freely and eat our fill at His table. As soon as our hearts turn in faith to His purposes and draw from His Word, we begin to find our longing souls being filled. But if our hearts continue trying to satisfy that longing with this world's provisions, we waste it all.

He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. (Psalms 107:7)

When we call to Him we find He has "a straight way" that leads to His dwelling place. It is the right way, the way of truth, of grace through faith, and of obedience. It is His way that is the straight way, not mixed with our own way, but it is our way given up entirely to His. In the surrender of our will in faith, we find He will lead us in His straight way to the place for our souls to dwell in peace and joy and rest. There we have a "habitation" in His presence that we find secure. We do much to find the right habitation for our bodies to be in rest, but we don't realize the habitation for our souls is really where we find that rest in security when we find it in Him. Of course our bodies need care in order to live. We need shelter, we need rest, we need food and drink, etc. But even as we feel the lack of these it should be a reminder of the lack in our soul and the need there. God knows our needs. If we seek first His kingdom, He says all these things will be taken care of.

Matthew 6:26-34
(26) Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
(27) And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
(28) And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
(29) yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
(30) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
(32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
(33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
(34) "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Our true longing is the longing of the soul. It is a longing for God Himself and the fellowship He longs to have with us. If we don't recognize it we'll never have it filled. We'll continue longing. May the Lord teach us to turn our longings into springs of living water found in Him. "Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord." Fill us with Yourself, dear Lord, and teach us to satisfy ourselves always in You.

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Saturday, June 6, 2015


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Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)


"We pass in fact through tribulations; but we rejoice in this, because it exercises the heart, detaches us from the world, subdues the will, the natural working of the heart, purifies it from those things which dim our hope by filling it with present things, in order that we may refer more to God in all things, which, after all, are entirely directed by Him whose faithful grace ministered all this to us. We learn better that the scene in which we move passes away and changes, and is but a place of exercise, and not the proper sphere of life. Thus hope, founded on the work of Christ, becomes more clear, more disentangled from the mixture of that which is of man here below; we discern more clearly that which is unseen and eternal, and the links of the soul are more complete and entire with that which is on before us. Experience, which might have discouraged nature, works hope, because, come what may, we have the key to all, because the love of God who has given us this hope, made clearer by these exercises, is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us, who is the God of love dwelling in us."

It's pretty hard when we are in circumstances that grieve us, dishearten us, and test us to the max to rejoice. To read the words "we rejoice in our sufferings" goes against our nature and is not our natural response. In fact we find it impossible when so beaten down and worn out to even think of such a thing as rejoicing. But remember who is saying this, and by Whom He is saying it. Paul, who was persecuted, beaten, maligned by false teachers, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and left for dead more than once is by the Holy Spirit speaking these words, so we must take heed. We must learn the why behind what he says. Paul's counselor was the Holy Spirit, Who guided him through every hardship and grief and loss and trial. And that Counselor taught him the value of everything he suffered in Christ as something to rejoice over, because it was not in vain. It had a purpose, and that purpose, though higher than anything we can here and now understand, was greater than our own thoughts of the way we should see things happen in our lives. The more Paul learned Jesus, the more he rejoiced and the less the suffering hurt him. In fact he learned that in every circumstance, whether debased or abounding, having plenty or suffering loss, to be content (Philippians 4:11-14).

Here we see that our "hope in the glory of God" is what brings us rejoicing. That hope is sure and never fails and we know we have it. We will one day experience that glory. So we not only rejoice in this hope, but we are enabled to also rejoice in our sufferings in Christ, because we know that "suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." What we need to tell ourselves is this very thing when we are suffering any kind of trial. It is a time for us to exercise faith in this very word and many more.

We won't find that rejoicing comes to us automatically, or that we can do so in our flesh. We can only do so as we are abiding in His Word (reading it, believing it, and applying it to our walk). We will only find His Word true and powerful for us as we believe and obey it and put it into practice (Hebrews 4:1,2). We cannot be passive Christians when we find ourselves in great trouble or need. We do become passive when all things are going our way and things are good around us. We find we do not have to exercise much endurance or faith or hope or rejoicing. No effort is involved. Unfortunately this is human nature. Our trials are our training grounds to learn to do this. The purpose for this is our ultimate glorification with Christ. We are being prepared for Heaven, not to just have a happy life here. Contrary to what one popular teacher says, God does not want this to be your best life. If it were so, we are to be pitied more than all men on the earth! The only ones that this is the best life for are those who will never see Heaven because of their unbelief. This is the closest to Heaven they will ever come. For those who love Jesus and trust in Him alone to be their Savior, this is the closest to hell we will ever come.

There is no shortcut to growing in the grace and knowledge of God. There is no skipping over the chastisement and training He brings to our lives in order to enter into all He would have for us in knowing His great love. There is no easy road to travel on the road to godliness and Christ-likeness. There is a promise of treasure beyond our imagination at the end of it, a knowing Him and being filled with Him beyond our ability to comprehend, a love filling us that we never thought possible, and eternal promise of glory and more glory with Him forever! If we complain about the chastisement we are under still, we are not walking in faith and hope in what He has in store for us, and we waste all the opportunity He is giving us to know Him through this.

With this God what have we to fear? All is for our good. Who can conquer us?

Romans 8:28-39
(28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
(33) Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
(34) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
(36) As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
(37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
(39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May the Lord fill us with hope, rejoicing, and endurance wherever we find ourselves in our lives right now. May He give us faith to trust in all that God allows knowing it comes through His nail-scarred hands. May we see such a love as His as thee greatest thing to live for forever.

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