Two of the readings this week that I particularly enjoyed - comforting, encouraging, but also challenging. From Beside the Still Waters devotional (an Amish Mennonite publication)...
Be Still (Read: Psalm 46)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. - Psalm 46:1
We live in a day and a society of much noise and very little quiet. Satan is making good use of opportunities to drown out the still small voice of the Holy Spirit in the conscience. Consider Psalm 46 and listen to all the noise. The earth is removed and the mountains are carried into the sea. The waters roar and are troubled. The mountains shake with their swelling. The heathen rage and the kingdoms are moved. God speaks and the earth melts. He breaks the bow, cuts the spear in sunder, and burns the chariots with fire. Yet amid all the noise we find the words, "Be still, and know that I am God."
When the children of Israel had left Egypt and were approaching the Red Sea, they were pursued by Pharaoh's army and expected nothing but certain death. But Moses made the profound statement, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exodus 14:13). To be still in the midst of a crisis is contrary to human nature, yet God's servants are called to quietly trust Him at such times. "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart" (Psalm 27:14).
Noise, noise, noise! From cell phones, radio, and television; from news outlets, social media, computer games, and other sources. It's all designed to take up our time and drown out the still small voice that cannot be heard in the strong wind, fire, and earthquake (1 Kings 19:11-12).
Try each day to have some quiet time with God. Read His Word and allow it to speak to you. Move away from all the noise, listen to the voice of God, and meditate on His goodness. You will be greatly blessed.
Denver Yoder - Somerset, OH
Hopeless (Read: Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 10:1-15)
And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel - Mark 16:15
Recently a prison inmate shared his testimony as follows: "After being genuinely converted to the Christian faith, I felt our Lord urging me to witness to the many lost and lonely men around me. One man, however, was so vile and dangerous that I mentally wrote him off as hopeless, and I determined to spend my efforts on others that I thought would be more receptive to the Gospel. But several weeks later I heard him tell another man that he was fed up with his rotten lifestyle and wanted to change. He asked, 'Do you think that God could possibly help me?'"
As I reflected on what my friend wrote, I realized that our witnessing can often be subconsciously controlled by the response we expect from people we want to reach out to, instead of by a burden for their deep need. None of us likes when someone opposes or ridicules us, but often these are the people who are most desperate not only for the truth but also for some compassion and understanding. Zacchaeus, Mary Magdalene, the Gardarene demoniac, and the Syrophoenician woman probably didn't seem like very good prospects to the early disciples, but Jesus knew their heart's hunger and reached out to them in love.
The bizarre hairstyles and weird ornaments that are so commonplace today are often evidence of a heart crying for something solid and enduring in the decadent and frightening society around us. It doesn't take much perception to observe that since people in general have rejected a loving God in favour of pleasure and self-will, not only the family structure but also the very foundation of our entire nation is steadily crumbling. As Christians we have the answers, so let us all be faithful in proclaiming it.
Pete Lewis - Halsey, OR