Sunday, February 27, 2011

False Conclusions

When the children of Israel received the report of the tall men of Eshcol they were terrified, they refused to go up, and immediately concluded that God hated them. How could He love them if He had taken them out of Egypt only to deliver them over to giants to be wiped out? (see Deut. 1:27.)

It looked like a logical deduction, based on what little human evidence they had. But of course they were totally ignoring far more important and trustworthy evidence: the promise of God. He had promised a rich land, a Father’s care, and everything they would need en route.

We look backwards at the “good old days,” and bemoan our losses; we look around us to the many threats to our security, and tremble with fear. Our conclusions are false. God has not forgotten us. He does not hate us. He is taking us to a rich land if we will only trust and obey instead of making things complicated for ourselves.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Even In Temptation

It is easy to feel that God has left us alone or turned His attention elsewhere when we are being tempted. The reality of the enemy’s presence can dim the sense of God’s. But Scripture tells us that Jesus was “led by the Spirit up and down the wilderness and tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:2). I imagine the presence of Satan seemed at times nearly overpowering to Jesus (remember, He was a man, tempted exactly as we are tempted), and He summoned against him the Sword of the Spirit: “Its is written.” The Spirit had not left Him for a moment, even though the enemy was terribly present, and when the wilderness experience was over, we are told, “Jesus, armed with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee” (Luke 4:14).

I do most desperately need that assurance today ---the assurance that no matter how powerful the temptation of the enemy may be, and no matter how watery-weak I know myself to be (e.g., I can’t concentrate in prayer, or I react with sudden anger to something somebody does), the Holy Spirit has not left me alone. He is here to guide me through my “wilderness,” and to arm me, as He armed Jesus, with His power.

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Choose To Be Strong and Resolute

When the Lord commissioned Joshua to take over from Moses the leadership of His people, these were the words of the commission: Be strong, be resolute.

God appealed directly to the man’s will. When a man’s will lines up with God’s, that is faith. Joshua could have chosen to disobey, but the choice was to be strong or to be weak, to be resolute or to vacillate. Obedience would mean, for Joshua and for all of Israel, what it always means for any of us: Life, Nothing less than Life. God was not asking an impossible thing. He never does, for what He asks (or what He commands) He will certainly enable us to do. He was not appealing to Joshua’s temperament or moods or natural inclinations, but to his will. Would he obey? Would he accept the charge to be strong and resolute? He would and he did.

The task God has for us today is not the leadership of a great tribe, but, whatever it is, we must choose to be strong----in His strength----and to be resolute-----by His grace. When we bring our wills, wholly under the divine strength and that amazing grace, who can estimate the possibilities of such a union?

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Choose the Better

Mary and Martha had made choices. It seems that Martha may have chosen a menu that was too elaborate. A simple one would have sufficed, and left her time to sit down with Jesus and Mary. Mary’s choice was better.

Sometimes our difficulty arises from unreasonable expectations ---of ourselves, of what we can accomplish in a given time, or of others, of their abilities and temperaments. We stew over failure (again ---ours or others’) instead of quietly giving it over to Christ, thanking Him for His strength in place of our weakness, and then simply going on in peace.

“O Lord, make us, we implore Thee, so to love Thee that Thou mayest be to us a Fire of Love purifying and not destroying” (Christina Rossetti).

The Music of His Promises by Elisabeth Elliot