~Exodus 2:6-9 And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. 7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 

There are times in my life when a situation comes up and I feel it will be impossible for everything to work out well. I know that with God nothing is impossible but in my own eyes, it seems hopeless. (Luke 18:27) As I read today’s text, I fell under great conviction. Do I believe this or don’t I?

Jochebed (Moses’ mother) had delivered her baby boy. The Pharaoh had commanded the midwives to kill all the baby boys the moment they were born. Despite his order, Moses was born and Jochebed was able to keep him alive. It came to a point where he was getting too old to be kept a secret. She thought up a plan to spare his life. This mother trusted God to protect her son and did what she could on her end by preparing an “ark” to carry him safely into Pharaoh’s daughter’s hands. I wonder, do I trust the Lord with my children’s safety? Do I fret when things are out of my “control”? (Matthew 6:26-27) I can just imagine how difficult it must have been for Jochebed to let go of her precious baby boy! I can’t even begin to imagine me doing this! In order to spare his life, she had to give him up! Such love, don’t you think?

This same love for her child caused her to go to extreme measures in a seemingly impossible situation. (Hebrews 10:23) She exercised her faith in God by going forward with her plan and praying that the God of Abraham would work things out. I truly believe that God honored Jochebed’s faith in Him and rewarded her for her faith! So much so that He allowed for her to be the nurse maid who would care for her own baby! Can you imagine the joy she must have felt when Pharaoh’s daughter’s servant came to fetch her? (Psalm 5:11) Can you imagine her joy when Pharaoh’s daughter told her what was to be expected of her? Not only did Jochebed get to nurse her precious baby, but, on a side note, she was going to be paid to do so! (Psalm 32:11)

God can take a horrible situation and make it turn out for the good! (Genesis 50:20) Jochebed must have thought she would never see Moses again. But instead, she was allowed to become a part of his every day life when he would need her the most! How she must have jumped for joy once she came home with Moses! What a testimony to her faith for her family to witness.

Oh what a compassionate and loving God we serve! (Lamentations 3:22) No matter how impossible my situation may be, I can learn from these accounts in the Scriptures and know that the same God who helped Jochebed will help me! 🙂

~James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

What will happen when you are tried for your life and what you did with it? I was tried on April 1st, 1980. That is the day when in my heart I stood before God, my Judge, and admitted to Him that I was a sinner in need of salvation. I accepted Christ’s perfect work on the cross, His death, His burial and His resurrection. In return, Christ’s blood covers my sin and I am now a child of the King!

Christ is now my Advocate, my perfect Attorney, and I am no longer on trial for my sins because He has paid the price for my punishment.

On that wonderful day, I earned the crown of life, which Christ promised to me now that I love Him. I thought I loved Him before my salvation but I did not know Him.

It reminded me of the parable that Jesus preached:

~Matthew 7:21-27 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.) And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Notice the underscored portion of this text. Many will tell Jesus that they prophesied in His name, cast out devils, and done many wonderful works in His name. However, Jesus says they are workers of iniquity! One must ask himself who these people are and why they are not good enough to enter Heaven!

They appeared to do the right things, however, those things were obviously not good enough.

The verses afterward talk about the person who builds his house on the rock! The rock is not a church or a person but is in fact Jesus Christ:

~1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

~Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

How does one build his house on the Rock? The Word is revealed to us at the hour of our salvation. God sees to it:

~Romans 10:8-13 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It is not joining a particular church – it is not keeping rules and laws. God says in verse 8 that the word is nigh to us – He puts it in our hearts (the desire). That is faith – when we believe the Gospel sincerely, and confess it with our mouths, then we are saved. The Scripture says that whosoever (that means me) calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. It is not a little prayer-ette, but a sincere calling upon the God of salvation!

When this is done, then your house (your faith) is built on the Rock, Jesus Christ, and your faith is solid!

~Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

What are cataracts? According to Webster, cataracts are:

A clouding of the lens of the eye or of its surrounding transparent membrane that obstructs the passage of light.

If I was too look at today’s picture above on a bright sunny day, it would be easy to see through the trees for hundreds of feet. However, on a foggy day, my vision is clouded. It’s much like having cataracts. Both my parents had cataracts and had to have surgery. Once the patches were removed, they saw so clearly 🙂

Do you have spiritual cataracts? When you are discouraged, your spiritual eyes become clouded. Why do I say that? If you suffer from discouragement, look at your Bible reading life. ARE you reading?? Chances are you are not because you do not feel motivated to read. Cataracts are progressive. One does not develop them overnight. In fact, many times one does not know that they even have them until their vision is really clouded. It’s the same with your spiritual eyes, dear friend. You allow discouragement to come in bit by bit and then deep discouragement has arrived! What’s the remedy?

~Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Confess your sin before God and tell Him you’ve failed and have allowed your spiritual eyes to become clouded. Ask Him to create in you a clean heart and to renew your spirit! What is the result of such a prayer?

~Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

God will restore your spiritual sight as well as your joy. Don’t you love that? Noah Webster defines the word “uphold” as: To support; to sustain; to keep from falling or slipping. The Lord will keep you from falling and slipping with His free spirit! How? If you stay in the Word and allow the Word to cleanse you from the inside out, the Lord will clean your heart, renew your spirit and restore your joy, and will keep you from falling!

Oh Christian, isn’t that a beautiful picture of the love of our Heavenly Father? Won’t you put aside your blinded vision? You can – with the Lord’s help.

~2 Pet 1:4-9 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

There’s so much spiritual meat in these verses! We could spend days sitting on these and still walk away lacking  :fat:

Peter starts out these verses by telling us that we have great and precious promises. We have the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to partake in Christ’s divine nature – meaning that we have that ability to say no to sin because we no longer have sin as our master, but Christ! \o/ Praise the Lord, amen?

Peter continues in verse 5 to tell us that if we give ALL diligence to the Spirit’s fruit in our lives, we will abound (verse 7) and be fruitful in the knowledge of Christ! Christian lady, can you imagine what benefit this would be to you as you raise your children? Can you imagine the hurdles you would avoid in your marriage? The Lord says that if the fruit of verses 5 through 7 abound in you (are at work), you will not be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ! That’s powerful stuff, ladies! I honestly believe that the Proverbs 31 wife abounded in these fruit, don’t you? How else could she be so “perfect”? I always felt as though I was lacking when I compared myself to her. But now I know why!  😐 I need to abound in these fruit!!!! \o/ Thank You, Lord.

Practice makes perfect 🙂 I’m thinking of writing these fruit on a Post-It Note at my desk, on my bathroom mirror, or anywhere that my eyes rest on. This will help me to be mindful of these fruit as I go about my day. If I see them, chances are I will be more aware of practicing them 🙂 Here’s what I made up for myself 🙂

 

~Matthew 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Many times I am like Peter. I want so badly to do the right thing and follow the Lord only to find myself doubting. I set my eyes on the circumstances and take my eyes off Him. How miserably I fail when I do this. I shouldn’t judge Peter too harshly as I am no different. The Lord, in His mercy, looked on Peter as he was sinking and crying out. Christ’s mercy was shown in immediate action as He stretched out His hand and caught Peter.

~Matt 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Oh what a mercifully compassionate Saviour we serve! He holds us up when we are ready to fall. He knows that we won’t always keep our eyes fixed on Him and His mercy prevails! How grateful I am!!

~Psalm 94:18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.

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~Psalm 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

Oh Lord, may my heart be so fixed that I do not hesitate to trust in You when the billows of life are raging!

Haven’t you ever seen a Christian who is old in “the faith” as he goes through a trial? He’s steady … he glorifies the Lord … his faith is not shaken.  He reached this point in his Christian walk because his faith rested in the Lord’s care.  This Christian knows that despite the storm, his Shepherd is ever vigilant. This Christian knows that what he understands about this particular trial is only a limited view … from one piece of the pie, if you will.  But his God sees all and knows the outcome! The Lord directs the Christian when his heart is fixed on Him.

~Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

~Matthew 14:23-32 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (23) But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. (24) And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (25) And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. (26) But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (27) And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. ( 28 ) And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (29) But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (30) And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (31) And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. (32)

What a great account relating to the storms of life this is! Some are so great that we need to step back and think things out. It is then that we need to exercise our faith in the Lord as we try to figure things out.

Peter found himself in this situation. He started out well, but life’s circumstances got in the way and doubt crept in. Am I so different? Absolutely not! I have been guilty of this as well. As a result though, I have come to realize that God was right there with me and there was no need to fear. I cannot point a finger at Peter because I have so been there! Haven’t you? Peter saw the Lord and wanted to join Him on the water. I can just picture myself in this same scenario. Had I seen Jesus Christ walking toward me on the water during a horrible storm, I think I would have been excited to see Him there! I think I would have wanted to be right there by His side because I would have known that it was the safest place to be.

Peter was the only one willing to exercise his faith. The Scriptures do not show any of the others willing to walk on the water. With the storm still raging about him, Peter had enough faith to make that first step out onto the waters. Peter loved the Lord and must have known that Jesus was greater than the storm itself. He started out well. He had enough of that faith to get him started. I have heard it said that many Christians start out well but they do not end well. I surely do not want to be counted in that latter number. I want to finish well in my service for the Lord!

Peter’s faith was strong enough to make that first step onto the water. Just think about it… he was alone in this! Yes, Peter started out well. I have been in those shoes. In my early years as a new believer, I would start out in a trial and I would exercise my faith and believe that God would bring me through it.

But let’s see what happened next to Peter. The moment he saw the huge waves about him and the storm raging, he became afraid! It stands to reason that Peter could only see the waves because he took his eyes of Jesus. Had he kept his eyes focused on Jesus, the waves would not have been the center of his concentration and, therefore, seemed so terrifying. Instead Peter would have seen the joy in Jesus’ eyes because His child was trusting in Him. He would have been encouraged to continue on.

However, before we point a finger at Peter and boast of our own strength, could we actually have done any better? Have we done any better during our own trials? I know that I have failed miserably in this same area. I began my trial knowing the Lord would take care of me. However, the moment the fire was turned up a little, I took my eyes off the Lord and turned them upon my husband or a friend to help me through.

I love how this account ends. In desperation and fear, Peter cried out to Jesus and immediately Jesus rescued him (verse 31). Jesus didn’t wait for Peter to go down for the third time. Christ responded at Peter’s first cry. How many times have I waited to cry to the Father to help me? I can’t even count them all. Instead, I depended on others to comfort me during my trial when I could have gotten the perfect solace from my Heavenly Father! When we learn to turn to the Lord right away, we keep ourselves from getting discouraged because we have received His goodness and His grace.

God has given us these examples in Scriptures so that we may use them to teach us. As we read this beautiful depiction of man’s weakness and God’s grace, it should minister to us and teach us how to exercise our faith in God. When a trial comes our way, cry to God first. We need to allow the Lord to minister to us during our trials. God will respond but we must hear Him. Many times we allow ourselves to be distracted and we miss His still small voice; or we overlook a path that He has set before us and we choose the wrong one. However, if we listen intently – if we follow God’s direction, it builds our faith. God may use others, He may use His Word, He may use the Pastor as he preaches his message. But the bottom line is that God will respond when we cry out to Him.

How blessed we are to have such a compassionate God to serve! We are not alone in our trials. In the footprints of life, we will see God’s footprints ahead of us; or we will see His footprints beside us; and at times He will be carrying us. But we will never see our own footprints all alone. He will never give us a burden so heavy that we cannot carry it.

~Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The picture above was taken by Carol Meyers and used here with her permission. She has traveled to some of the most beautiful places in the world and has captured so many pictures which depict peace and tranquility. Thank you, Carol, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

~Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

What do you concentrate on when you are by yourself? Do you worry about the stock market? Do you think about how much month will be left at the end of your paycheck? Do you worry about the sickness you have and how you will make it one more day? Do you worry about your children? Whatever it is that you think about when you are alone, will more than likely tell you what kind of lifestyle you are living.

Our lifestyle usually reflects what is in our hearts. What kind of lifestyle do people see you living? Does your faith in Christ reflect in your daily walk? Yes, faith is definitely a lifestyle. (2 Cor. 5:17) Christians are new creatures and their “old” lifestyle is to be done away with. Others can see the difference between the former and the present.

When the storms of life appear, do people witness you fretting or witness you resting in the Father’s care? Or do you “inwardly” run around in circles and wonder if anyone out there cares?

~Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

We are a child of the King, oh Christian! Our Heavenly Father has us in the palm of His hand. (John 10:29) He is quite aware of what we are going through and He never sleeps. (Psalm 121:4) He will catch us when we fall – He will help us when we need it (Hebrews 13:5) – He will carry us when we can’t press on even one more step! I love the poem “Footprints in the Sand”! There have been many times where God has had to carry me – and He did!

(Psalm 37:7a) Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself …

Tumultuous Waves

~Matthew 14:25-32 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

How many times have we been on fire for the Lord and willing to go to any lengths to serve Him?  Then, the minute the turbulent storms of life appear, we take our eyes off the Saviour, and we see our circumstances.  Fear sets in and we begin to sink.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened to Peter had he not looked around to see the storm around him but had focused on Christ instead.  Would Peter and Jesus have walked on the water to the ship to meet up with the others?  Instead, he began to sink and cried out for Jesus to save him.  The Word says that Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and caught Peter.  Jesus asked him why he had doubted?

What a lesson for me to learn!  As I go through my storms in life, I will feel as though I am sinking and all alone when I take my eyes off Christ and place them on my circumstances.  Thank You, Lord, for giving me the peace that You will immediately stretch forth Your hand and catch me!!  What comfort this brings to me!

And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done. Luke 8:51-56

What stood out to me in today’s text was what happened to those who were scorning the Lord. Do you see it? The Lord put them all out – they missed out on the blessing of what was to come. Remember, these were the same people who were bewailing the maiden’s death. Usually, people who are in mourning are more “open” to spiritual matters but these people were not. Their hearts were hardened.

What can we learn from today’s text? I’ve often wondered how many blessings I’ve missed out on because of my lack of faith. 🙁 I’m sure it’s more than I care to know about. But a scorner is someone who denies the opportunity for salvation. (Proverbs 19:29)

We see many “either/or” opportunities in the Scriptures. God’s word does present us with situations that are either back or white, righteous or unrighteous, etc. For example, the saved and unsaved are compared to wheat and tares (Matthew 13:40); believers and unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14); Heaven or Hell (Luke 16:23, Matthew 25:41).

All these examples lead to a choice which must be made by each and everyone of us.

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Matthew 12:30

Each day I make a choice – whether to say no to sin or to say yes. The born-again believer has the choice to say no because he has the power to resist temptation. (I Corinthians 10:13) The unbeliever, however, cannot say no to sin because he does not possess the Holy Spirit of a Holy God. (Romans 6:14)

To the unbeliever, however, the only choice left to make on this earth is whether or not to accept Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven.

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12

Your heart’s condition will determine what choice you make. Are you a scorner – one whom Christ will “put out” and cast into the Lake of Fire at the Great Judgment? Or are you one who will have faith and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31)? It’s a choice based on the condition of your heart!

But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him. Luke 8:23-25 (KJV)

How many times have you heard a message or read a devotional on this topic? Until we, individually, go through a time of testing of our faith, we read or listen with ears of indifference. I speak from experience, I’m sad to say. For example, we know of someone who is going through a testing and we claim this verse for them! But because we have not been through such a severe testing, we really do not claim the verse for us! I hope that makes sense to you, reader.

Good examples of today’s text in modern-day terms are the recent tumultuous storms which hit the South and the Midwest. If you are one of those who did experience these storms, you will be able to place yourself right smack in the middle of today’s text! In fact, what if Christ had been right there in the flesh while you were fretting. I’m sure it felt as though He was asleep while you were going through the storms! What if Christ turned around and made the floods disappear or the tornadoes vanish in your presence? Luke 8:25 says that the Lord commanded the winds and water! Now, don’t these verses mean a whole lot more to you since you personally experienced nature’s fury? Sure it does – you can picture it in your mind’s eye quite vividly!I’ve been through a flood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1983 – it was a very scary event in my life. I was a new believer in the Lord Jesus at the time. He used this tragedy to draw me closer to Him – I learned to trust in His care. What about those who have notbeen through a natural phenomenon such as this?

With this in mind, where are you today, dear friend? Are you being tested? Are there storms in your life where the winds are fiercely blowing and the water’s waves are beating against you? Are you crying out to God, “Lord, save me!”? Does everything in life seem to be falling apart at the seams? Is your life’s “boat” filling with water and it seems as though you’re sinking? Dear one, you are not alone! This statement may not bring you comfort but let this statement bring you comfort: This same Jesus who calmed the storm in the Book of Luke WILL calm your storm!

In today’s text, we see that the sailors were in “jeopardy” and yet Christ was asleep on the ship. (Luke 8:23) We can interpret this in two ways. (1) Christ is the Creator and, therefore, knew that His creation would not, in fact could not, overtake the Creator. (Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, Revelation 4:11) (2) Christ wanted to give His disciples an opportunity to prove their faith in Him: He asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25) Obviously, these same disciples had been walking with Him and had witnessed the miracles Christ had performed. They had a foundation because they were eye witnesses to incredible events. I think our faith is proven when we are tested, don’t you? We can witness real life blessings from the Lord but through trials and afflictions, we are (or should be) more tender to God’s word and we glean from its wisdom. (Psalm 119:71) Either way you look at these verses, both are a blessing!

This same Lord and Saviour is still there, like a true friend! (Exodus 33:11, 2 Chronicles 20:7, Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 22:11, Song of Solomon 5:16, James 2:23) This same Jesus, who stilled the winds and waters, can still your storms. This same Jesus, is your Friend and loves you! I came across a great quote (author unknown), “Jesus may not calm the storm but he will calm the sailors in the midst of the storm.” How very true! (Psalm 55:16-23, 1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 4:12)

Yes, dear one, you may be going through the worst storm of your life but the same Shepherd who calmed the storm for his disciple is there for your storm as well. (1 Peter 5:7) Whether He removes the circumstances or calms your troubled spirit during the trial, you can trust Him through it all. I love the hymn below – the words are so powerful and express the very heart of this author! I pray you are blessed and that your storm be stilled or your spirit calmed as you go through whatever trial you are experiencing!

Till the Storm Passes By
Words and Music by Mosie Lister
copyright 1958

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place.
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try,
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.

Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

~Exodus 2:6-9 And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. 7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.

There are times in my life when a situation comes up and I feel it will be impossible for everything to work out well. I know that with God nothing is impossible but in my own eyes, it seems hopeless. (Luke 18:27) As I read today’s text, I fell under great conviction. Do I believe this or don’t I?

Jochebed (Moses’ mother) had delivered her baby boy. The Pharaoh had commanded the midwives to kill all the baby boys the moment they were born. Despite his order, Moses was born and Jochebed was able to keep him alive. It came to a point where he was getting too old to be kept a secret. She thought up a plan to spare his life. This mother trusted God to protect her son and did what she could on her end by preparing an “ark” to carry him safely into Pharaoh’s daughter’s hands. I wonder, do I trust the Lord with my children’s safety? Do I fret when things are out of my “control”? (Matthew 6:26-27) I can just imagine how difficult it must have been for Jochebed to let go of her precious baby boy! I can’t even begin to imagine me doing this! In order to spare his life, she had to give him up! Such love, don’t you think?

This same love for her child caused her to go to extreme measures in a seemingly impossible situation. (Hebrews 10:23) She exercised her faith in God by going forward with her plan and praying that the God of Abraham would work things out. I truly believe that God honored Jochebed’s faith in Him and rewarded her for her faith! So much so that He allowed for her to be the nurse maid who would care for her own baby! Can you imagine the joy she must have felt when Pharaoh’s daughter’s servant came to fetch her? (Psalm 5:11) Can you imagine her joy when Pharaoh’s daughter told her what was to be expected of her? Not only did Jochebed get to nurse her precious baby, but, on a side note, she was going to be paid to do so! (Psalm 32:11)

God can take an horrible situation and make it turn out for the good! (Genesis 50:20) Jochebed must have thought she would never see Moses again. But instead, she was allowed to become a part of his every day life when he would need her the most! How she must have jumped for joy once she came home with Moses! What a testimony to her faith for her family to witness.

Oh what a compassionate and loving God we serve! (Lamentations 3:22) No matter how impossible my situation may be, I can learn from these accounts in the Scriptures and know that the same God who helped Jochebed will help me! 🙂

~Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I see three points in this beautiful verse spoken by Jesus.  Jesus said,

1. “Except ye be converted,” – Converted from what TO what?

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Hence:

~John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

2. “become as little children,” – Childlike faith – ahh, what innocence!  You can tell a child anything and he will believe you! Jesus wanted people to believe Him without dwelling on or pulling from their religious upbringing. Jesus wanted the people to take His words through faith instead of relying on what they had heard from others.

~Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

~Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

God’s Heaven is filled with people who have trusted their salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Like a child, these people have discarded self-righteous religion to trusting in Christ’s righteousness and His alone! The Holy Spirit wanted to emphasize the point so much so that He reiterated the words from Matthew 19:14 in Mark and Luke as well.

3. “shall not enter into … heaven.” – Jesus did not mince words – He didn’t say they might not enter … He said they shall not enter into heaven.

You can’t argue with God! If He says no, He means no!

Salvation is not difficult at all – Christ told us that we must become as children in order to receive it. It is when people begin to add religious caveats to an already simplified act that things get complicated and twisted into a myriad of rules and restrictions. Christ’s salvation is so simple, a child can understand it. In fact, a child’s innocence accepts this simplicity without question. Christ is God – He left Heaven to come to earth to take on the form of man – He led a sinless life and died so that He could take on our penalty for sin – He arose from the dead three days later – He ascended into Heaven where He awaits His return to reign as King.

Since Adam and Eve, man has had the desire to worship God and get to Heaven by his own merit. However, it is not about anything WE do.

~Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

It is ALL about everything Christ did.

~Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Allow the Holy Spirit of God to work in your heart and renew that childlike innocence so you can see how uncomplicated the plan of salvation truly is.

Remember, if Jesus said little children could understand, then just how complicated can it be?

~Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

Not all depression revolves around our spiritual condition, I have found. My husband is a recovering cancer patient and the chemotherapy and radiation messed with his immune system. He was low on all vitamins and minerals, as well as various hormones. The body is an intricate network and when one part is out of whack, it can play havoc on a person. Once my husband was nursed back to health by a wonderful naturopathic doctor, the depression subsided.

But let’s talk about depression with the physically healthy Christian. The terminology for depression in Scripture was the word “fainting.”

~Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

When one is weak in his faith, worry sets in.  One loses hope of a solution to their circumstances.  The new believer has the zeal that comes with new found faith. However, that new zeal wears down because of the cares of this world, unless the new believer has grounded himself through the living words of the Scriptures.  He will find himself falling into the depression trap and his hope will wear thin. Some stay in the trap longer than others – some are quick to recognize their weak spiritual condition and remedy it by drowning their sorrows in the Word of God (not alcohol, drugs, or any other distractions of the world).

Our sins can lead us to depression.  When we get in a blue state of mind and we don’t keep it in check, we will find ourselves depressed before we know it. How do we keep ourselves in check? We do moral inventory – keep our list of sins short with the Lord – acknowledging each one and striving toward eliminating them from our lives.  Romans 14:23 tells us that whatever is not of faith is sin.  If our faith is weak and we do not exercise our faith like we do a weak muscle, we sin against God.  The result of this is sadness, blueness and depression.  We do not rely on God to take care of our circumstances.  We do not hope for His work in our lives.  Instead, we look to ourselves to take care of the problem or we look to outside worldly help.

~Lamentations 3:39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

We do not have to worry about eternity but we will be “spanked” by the Lord if we continue in habitual sin. For example, if you are still smoking as a born-again believer, surely you don’t think that God would keep you from lung cancer or some type of lung ailment, right? This is where moral inventory is good. When the Lord brings a sin to mind or you know right off that you have sinned, get it behind you, confess it, forsake it and move forward. Dwelling in our past mistakes can lead us to depression.  However, the Christian who has confessed and forsaken his sin must press forward and look to Christ to strengthen him during his weak and dark moments.  Dwelling on our circumstances is not a sign of faith.  Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by the Word of God.  So Christian, dig into your Scriptures and build your faith so that you do not faint in difficult times.

Luke 18:1 encourages us to pray so that we do not faint. What a great remedy! If our thoughts are focused on prayer, they are removed from the current circumstances. When we are discouraged and depressed, it is because we have lack of hope. But the born again Christian has more to hope for than the lost soul! Take charge of your thought life and focus on your hope!

~Psalms 146:1-10 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

Christian, if you are one of those who struggle with blueness or depression, train yourself to read the Psalms that encourage the heart and the soul. Train yourself to dig into God’s Word!   Feed yourself with the Living Waters of the Word of God. God’s Word is alive and can encourage and strengthen the weak! Christ promised us that He will help us through our burdens. Why not take Him up on His offer?

~Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

~Mathew 23:23 Woe unto you, … hypocrites! for ye pay tithe …, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

My life growing up was spent attending church and following my parents’ example. I followed their religion because it was the thing to do. I didn’t question it – I just did it. It was no different in Christ’s day. The Jewish religion had the same type of followers as I claimed to be.

My outer shell (my flesh and bones) had the appearance of being a religious person. But once I got around my friends or by myself, my true sinful nature came out. I think we can all say that this is true at some point in our lives. The Jewish law was a schoolmaster and, as Christ points out in today’s verse, involved judgment, mercy and faith. The New Testament covenant that Christ brought is the same: judgment, mercy and faith.

Judgment:

~John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Mercy:

~John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Faith:

~Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

I was a hypocrite. I lived one kind of life at church – pious, self righteous, and lost as lost could be. Outside of church, I did what came naturally and that was to sin! My nature had not changed!

However, thirty years ago today, I was presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that I had never heard before. It did not involve anything that I could do to earn my salvation. But it did involve acknowledging that only Christ could provide that salvation because He is the One who died on the cross, paid the price for my sins, and opened the door for me to be born again! Thank You, Lord!

~John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Gleaning Gold

~Psalm 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Nuggets of Truth

Like the Sermon on the Mount where Christ gave us the Beatitudes, this verse begins with “Blessed is.” Whenever I see these words, I pay attention. I want God’s blessings, don’t you? Today’s verse encourages us to trust in the Lord. Furthermore, in so doing we shall be blessed.

I realize that this is easier said than done – especially when a believer is going through an extremely difficult trial. However, when we trust the Lord during our trials, we are not busy worrying. Trusting God is an action of the heart. We acknowledge that the trial is beyond our control and not one ounce of effort on our part is going to change things. Once we relinquish our worries and leave the unknown to God, peace follows.

God promises to direct us no matter how complicated or impossible our trial seems to be. With this, He provides this wonderful peace that goes beyond comprehension. The believer no longer has to struggle with life but has the Creator at His side directing him along the way. The Master fulfills the well-known Proverb and provides His child with comfort and peace.

Refining the Gold

No matter how difficult life gets, and it will get harder, we know that our God walks alongside us. As the wonderful piece “Footprints” points out, there are even times when He carries us due to our weariness. We must build on this trust after each trial. We must look back at the previous trials and see God’s hand at work in our lives. When we do this, we can see just what He brought us through. This reflection will build our trust in Him.

To the young believer, I encourage you to make these two verses your life’s verse. As daily problems and trials come your way, apply these verses. Repeat them and ask the Lord to guide you. Pour out your heart to Him and tell Him that you don’t understand and you don’t know what to do. God will provide peace in the midst of the storm. The more the young believer applies these verses to his life, the more he will turn to the Lord immediately with all his burdens and trials!

~Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

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~Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were called hypocrites because they allowed their Jewish traditions to supersede God’s commandments. They added law after law that even they could not keep – which added extra burdens on the people which were not intended by God. They got to the point where their “reasoning” took over and their hearts took a back seat.

Today’s “religions” are no better. They quote great philosophical texts as the basis of their belief system, however, they have strayed from the Word of God. If Christ said the Pharisees were transgressing God’s Word by their traditions, how much more the religious leaders today? We have all the Scriptures to use as our guide and teacher yet religious leaders insist on following their church fathers rather than Christ.

There will come a day when we shall all be judged according to the Word of God. Were we born again of the Spirit according to John 3:3-6? Or were we busy reasoning spiritual matters out by someone’s interpretation of the Bible? It is our own responsibility to search out the things of God, not someone else’s. No one will stand by you at the Judgment Day to take your side, unless you are truly born again.

~Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Truly born again – just what does that mean? It means that you made a conscious decision to repent from your sins and accept Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as payment for the penalty of your sins. No one else can pay that penalty but you or Christ. It is your decision. When one is truly born again, he has a desire to change for the better.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

He has a desire to serve the Risen Saviour. However, the one who “claims” he is born again but only did so as lip service, does not have this desire. His desire remains with the world and he desires to continue sinning. I’ve often wondered how many professing Christians are out there desiring to sin or not caring whether they sin or not. This is not being truly born again.

~Matthew 22:13-14 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

There is nothing wrong in doing moral inventory on your life. We all should. This keeps us close to the Saviour’s side if we are truly born again. But for those who have not changed spiritually, moral inventory is the Holy Spirit’s way of convicting you. He desires to woo you and to lead you to salvation. Don’t be as the Pharisees trying to live religion through reason. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and yield to His calling.

“I would rather go to heaven doubting all the way, than be lost through self-confidence.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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(Mar 10:14) But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mar 10:15) Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. (Mar 10:16) And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Why would the Lord Jesus say that we could not be saved unless we came with the faith of a little child? What are the qualities of a little child that makes this statement so interesting? I think of my own children and what I went through as a parent. Everything my husband and I said to them were words of gold. They did not question it – they just absolutely knew that what we said was the truth. We could have told them the sky was green and they would have believed it. We were their heroes and no one could convince them otherwise. That is the faith of a child.

I also think of how our children never came to us asking for clothing or where their next meal was going to come from. They knew that Mommy and Daddy would take care of them. In fact, it was not even something they thought about. They did not think about tomorrow and what lay in store for them. They trusted (unknowingly) in their hearts that their parents would care for them and take care of all their needs.

If a Ph.D. in Theology came to my child and started a conversation about the comparisons between the Tabernacle of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ, my child would look at him as if he had two heads! 🙂 But tell a child that his little “fib” was actually a lie and God’s Word says that lying is a sin, he will understand that. He will also understand that no one with sin can get into Heaven. When he has reached the age of reasoning, he will know and understand that his lie is a sin and all those who sin will not go to heaven but will go to hell. He will be able to understand that he must ask Jesus to come into his heart and he needs to repent – try not to do those sins again. That can be understood by a child. That is why Jesus said that all must come to Him with the faith of a child. Both my sons received Christ at an early age. My oldest was 6 and my youngest was 9.

Major religions of today complicate the simple plan of salvation and add burdens that are far to weighty for a child and they are wrong. (Mar 9:42) And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. If a young child cannot understand it, then it cannot be what Christ was talking about. Notice in Mark that Jesus said, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter”! Those are strong words from the Lord Himself! Those words were directed to Pharisees and all religious leaders who thought themselves more learned. We see this in most religions where there is emphasis on the leaders being more spiritual than the followers. If God’s Word cannot be understood by a child, then Jesus is a liar and none of us can be saved. That is utter nonsense when compared to Christ’s words in Mark! The religious leaders who tell you that they know more than you really don’t. They strain at a gnat and swallow a camel! (Matt 23:24) The Word says that we do not need to be taught by them. That is God’s job and He will teach us through His Holy Spirit. (1 Jn 2:27) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. Is it any wonder that formalized religion does not want you to dig in the Bible for yourself?

Jesus said that we must come to Him with the faith of a child so why would He add countless doctrines to the basic plan of salvation? He wouldn’t. A little child would grow to understand the teachings of his church eventually but he would not understand them all at the moment of salvation. I hope this makes sense to you. You must see that there is nothing more to salvation in Christ then to repent and be saved. All other teachings come afterwards and are not necessary to enter the gates of Heaven.

So back to the faith of a child – Jesus related the salvation experience to that of a child – He wants us to realize that it is not complicated! He has given us the basics in His Word. John 3:3 says we must be born again. When we accept the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, we are born again – we are saved from eternal damnation. Our old nature dies and our new nature comes alive in Christ through His Holy Spirit! Did I understand all of this when I got saved? Absolutely not! I learned what happened to me as I grew spiritually. But at the time of my salvation, I did what I knew I had to do. I knew I was a horrible sinner in need of a Saviour. I knew that nothing I could possibly do would get me into Heaven. I knew that Jesus Christ is God and He came in the flesh to die for my sins and there was no other way to Heaven but by accepting Him as my Saviour. I knew that I had to repent – to turn away from my sinful ways and accept Jesus as my Saviour. A child can understand this concept. He knows that he has sinned if he told a lie or if he disobeyed his parents. This is an easy thing for a child to understand. The child can also understand that after he asks Jesus into his heart, he will have to stop lying and will have to obey his parents. The simplicity of the Gospel is evident even to a little child. Why do you think Christ used these words in Mark?

In other words, salvation is not blabbing a few words in a prayer and being saved. Unfortunately, there are many people in this world who have done this and they have not changed but are living like the devil just as they were before they blabbed their little prayer. One must repent! Repentance means a turning away from one way of life to another. If the sinner was a thief, he is to steal no more. If he was a compulsive liar, he is to lie no more. If he was living with someone without being married, he would need to leave that situation and be chaste until marriage. True salvation brings about a change according to 2 Cor. 5:17. Some people change faster than others but there will be change. To say otherwise makes God’s Word a lie and we know that God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2b)

God’s Word has been given to us so that even the little child can understand it and accept it. It does not need to be complicated by the weights of formalized religion.

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