I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
[Psalm 32:5-7 NKJV]
When considering for 'My Fellow Prisoners' on Sunday, and the idea of being held 'captive with Christ', we were led to the description of our Lord Jesus Christ as our 'hiding place. It seems odd to the natural mind that the Bible encourages us to come out of our caves, and yet — at the same time — seek another place to hide.
We all need a hiding place; somewhere to run to when life gets too overwhelming; a place of peace and respite from the troubles of everyday life, no matter how large or small those troubles are.
He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. [2 Samuel 17:9a NKJV]
In 2 Samuel, the hiding place is a place of security from which a murderous attack could be launched, and in another side to the same scenario, we have David and his mighty men hiding in the Cave of Adullam.
So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there.
Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men. [1Samuel 22:1-2 NKJV]
This time it was for the Lord’s purpose. Can we always tell? Not always, but maybe you can see where we are headed with this. A cave, a hiding place, is somewhere to hide and gather strength before going out into the world; into a place of danger or conflict; out to - maybe - fulfilment of a destiny. Remember Jesus, laid to rest in a cave until a supernatural force rolled the stone away and released a promise that changed everything for eternity!
Our Lord Jesus Christ offers us nothing less than that miraculous change for every one of us; but first we must be hidden in the depths of Him. We must drink of the water of His word, that we may be refreshed; we must live under the shadow of His hand that we may be nourished, and only when fully equipped with His protective armour, can we stand against the enemy’s assaults.
Our hiding place is the place of growth and maturity, which only our Saviour can provide - the only sure place of refuge and restoration; of strengthening and sustaining; our all in all.
You Are My Hiding Place -- Selah
Wednesday 30th September 2020
We can choke God's word with a yawn; we can hinder the time that should be spent with God by remembering we have other things to do. "I haven't time!" Of course you have time!
Take time, strangle some other interests and make time to realise that the centre of power in your life is the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
[Mark 15:15 NASB]
Today’s title is also the title of a recent, provocative but insightful secular book written by political commentator Douglas Murray. The book examines issues of sexuality, gender and race, arguing that much of today’s activism in social justice and identity politics is verging on a form of mass hysteria, based on ill-founded ideologies.
The book title reminded me of the account of Jesus being examined by Pilate. The record of his interrogation finishes with these sobering words, ‘wishing to satisfy the crowd … he handed Jesus over to be crucified’. The pressure of the angry voice of the crowd was too difficult for Pilate to counteract with his own sense of justice regarding Jesus.
When the rule of godly and established law is surrendered to the perceived rights of the crowd, it’s very likely that society will suffer rapid decline, a situation, I suggest, that is worryingly apparent in much of the world today. Interestingly, it was not many years after this world-changing decision by Pilate, that Jerusalem was utterly destroyed.
Today, biblical truth seems to be facing a mass of angry opposing voices, demanding adherence to ill-defined slogans of equality, diversity, inclusivity and freedom. Followers of Jesus should not be surprised, in these end days, by the strength of opposition to God’s ways, but He asks us to simply stand in a place of grace and truth with Him, believing that His ways are right.
Prayer: Father God, I ask for the strength and courage to keep going with You and not with the crowd, however challenging that may be, in a world that advocates the rights and power of public opinion, rather than biblical truth and justice. Amen.
David Cross: David is part of the Executive Leadership of Ellel Ministries, with particular responsibility for the Ellel centres in Western Europe. He is married to Denise and they have three grown up children and eight grandchildren. David has been a civil engineer and ski-touring instructor in the Highlands of Scotland. He is passionate about the teaching and practice of the healing and deliverance ministry of Jesus and has written several books: Soul Ties, Trapped by Control, God’s Covering, The Dangers of Alternative Ways to Healing (co-authored with John Berry), an A to Z Guide to the Healing Ministry, and, most recently, What`s Wrong with Human Rights? You can follow a daily thought from David on Twitter: @dmcross62
In Christ Alone - Keith and Kristyn Getty; Alison Krauss
Tuesday 29th September 2020
The next best thing to do is to ask, if you have not received; to seek, if you have not found; to knock if the door is not opened to you
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
[Romans 1:16-17 NKJV]
“as it is written.”
Here Paul is quoting from Habakkuk 2:4; Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith. To be clear, ‘his faith’ refers to ‘the just’ and not to ‘the proud’ in this sentence.
“revealed from faith to faith,”
The Amplified Bible shows this in a clearer way, translating Paul’s Greek as For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. Thus we see that God is in the process of faith-building, injecting new life into His faithful ones.
God knows His own people and seeks to draw each one away from the paths of wickedness, such as those described in Romans 1:18-32, and in Habakkuk 2:5-20. For both Paul and Habakkuk, the major part of their writing is focussing on what the Lord is saving us from; details of the sin nature that He can and will lift us out of.
I well remember that before coming to faith, asking myself “Do I need to do this? After all, you need to have faith to have faith, don’t you? Life seems OK without this.” And then ...
I can only assume that The Lord whispered in my ear the thought, “How do you know?” That question dogged me for months, until I accepted that the only way to know if God is good or not, is to follow Him in faith ... and having seen, I can testify that He is good and just and worthy of all and more than I can ever give.
If you follow Christ — having faith in Him — you find the way of the just, which brings life. You are living by faith. Hallelujah!
The Just Shall Live By Faith — Majesty Music
Monday 28th September 2020
“Abide in Me,” says Jesus, in spiritual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make life what it is.
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
[Romans 16:7 NKJV]
In Romans 16, Paul sends greetings to a long list of believers, nearly thirty of whom he mentions by name, among all the saints who are with them. It may seem odd that he reserves his greetings until the end of the letter, but Romans 16 is really Paul’s personal statement to those he knows in Rome and of lesser significance than the great pronouncement on Christian faith, which is chapters 1 to 15.
Among those named are Andronicus and Junia who were in Christ before me. These he names as my fellow prisoners and of note among the apostles. Verse 7 has engendered much debate as to Paul’s meaning; principally regarding his fellow prisoner, Junia and her status. Is she a ‘he’ (as the name could refer to either male or female); and are they both apostles, or merely considered highly by the apostles? We cannot know, and really this is only of academic interest. The point, surely, is that Paul considers Andronicus and Junia worthy of special mention among the saints.
Placing them together in one verse tends to suggest that they were a husband and wife team and that Paul knew them well enough to recognise their faithful walk with The Lord; and as such they were fellow prisoners, or ‘co-captives’ with him in Christ. They may genuinely have a shared experience of imprisonment for their faith, but we have no record of that for Andronicus and Junia.
Such a great testimony and a wonderful encouragement for them; but also for us. When we, as fellow captives, encourage one another in faith; lifting one another in prayer, and opening our hearts to one another in phileo love, we are keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ. We find ourselves casting off selfish concerns, worries and anxieties. We feel the Father’s love envelope us as part of the body of Christ. Paul adds these words to his greetings:
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all.
Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
[Romans 16:17-20 NKJV]
We can all rejoice at having been prisoners, set free by Jesus to make our calling and election sure.
So fellow prisoners, remember
That we may know captivity
There's a purpose in the calling
For it is the Lord who sets the prisoners free
from the song 'Fellow Prisoners' by Michael Card
Fellow Prisoners — Michael Card
Sunday 27th September 2020
Every time you venture out in the life of faith you will find something in your common sense cares that flatly contradicts your faith. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him?
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.
[Psalm 27:8-9 NKJV]
“Seek My face,” says The Lord, and my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
In the next line comes Do not hide Your face from me! There seems an element of uncertainty here. A firm decision to seek His face, followed by the doubt or worry that He might conceal Himself.
Psalm 27 is a personal favourite. It begins with confidence, but then dissolves into asking Him to live up to that confidence — which is not confidence at all — and resolves in the statement, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
I do not know what is been revealed here, but I sense - or maybe The Holy Spirit is revealing — that in the course of the Psalm there is a shift in attitude; a move from confidence to humility. “I would have lost heart ...“, instead of, “... “my heart shall not fear” So what changed?
The centre of the Psalm (literally) revolves around verses 7 and 8:
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
That change from exuberant confidence to humble trust came about pivotally on that commitment to seeking — not just Him — but His face. This is a move from emotion to spirit reality, an understanding of Him at the deepest level; a move from self-centred to Jesus-centred. We all need to come to that place.
It comes by meeting Jesus face-to-face. That is the intimacy He desires for each one of us; knowing the close detail of one another; looking into His eyes and experiencing the inseparable connection of incredible love — the love that will not let you go — for it is through the eyes that we see the heart of one another.
Turn your eyes towards Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus — Hillsong
OSWALD CHAMBERS — RUN TODAY’S RACE
Saturday 26th September 2020
A great point is reached spiritually when we stop worrying God over personal matters or over any matter. God expects of us the one thing that glorifies Him—and that is to remain absolutely confident in Him, remembering what He has said beforehand, and sure that His purpose will be fulfilled.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART