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.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
[Romans 8:31-35 NKJV]
What then shall we say to these things? 'These things' are all that was stated in the earlier part of Paul's discourse, including the oft-quoted and often misunderstood line "And we know that all things work together for good", which needs qualification with the completing words "to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
In the verses quoted in our header; Paul asks seven questions, and makes only two statements, which are:
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" is a question, and Paul is putting a case together to convince us of something which is a matter of belief. It is only true for you if you believe. There is that word 'if' again. Yet, even in the questions there is the implicit Bible fact, that this is true regardless of whether your rational mind believes it or not. Paul says that he "is persuaded", but this is not a question of "on balance I shall think this way"; more, that it is an incontrovertible fact, just as two plus two equals four, or in the spirit, seven questions plus three Bible imperatives reveals the ten of God's perfect order*.
The reality behind Paul's words is the certainty of God's truth being unveiled; being released in the most powerful God-inspired way, leading to the conclusion; the third Bible fact in this sequence ...
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[Romans 8:37-39 NKJV]
* "It has been already pointed out that ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order, commencing, as it does, an altogether new series of numbers. The first decade is the representative of the whole numeral system, and originates the system of calculation called "decimals," because the whole system of numeration consists of so many tens, of which the first is a type of the whole.
"Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete." [E W Bullinger: 'Number In Scripture']
Nothing Can Separate — Labyrinth by David Baloche
Wednesday 23rd September 2020
The secret of sacramental discipleship is to be so abandoned to the disposition of God in us that He can use us as broken bread and poured-out wine for His purpose in the world, even as He broke the life of His own Son to redeem us.
At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
[Daniel 12:1-3 NKJV]
This 'End Time' prophecy from the Book of Daniel, has, like so many prophetic voices attracted a huge variety of interpretations. What is meant by this or that utterance? The only answer that can be relied upon is in the Bible itself. Daniel has difficulty with the Archangel Michael's prophecy to him, so he relates the answer that is given to him:
Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?” And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
“But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”
[Daniel 12:8b-13 NKJV]
It seems that whatever the trouble may be, The Lord's people need patience and must wait, knowing that in the end will be an inheritance and rest. Blessed is he who waits.
Intriguingly, a time frame is given between the setting up of the abomination of desolation and the end of the days - between one thousand two hundred and ninety days and one thousand three hundred and thirty five days. This would appear to be forty-five days, which on the basis of Scripture numerology speaks of 'preservation', 'the temple' and 'pillars'.
From what I have read on this subject, Daniel 12 is the resolution of a number of prophetic visions building a revelation which shows the statement in Daniel 8:14b; "then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” In other words, The Lord is working - He will have His Holy church; His temple made without hands, but that the work requires our patience, for God is doing this in His time. Blessed is he who waits. As the song says, There may be trouble ahead, but while there's music and moonlight and love and romance, let's face the music and dance. Wait on the Lord.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
[Matthew 5:11-12 NKJV]
A Shelter In The Time of Storm
Lyrics by: Vernon John Charlesworth Music by: Ira David Sankey
Performed by: Ray Walker & the Dallas Adult Christian Choir
Monday 21st September 2020
"The Lord is my rock," my encircling guard. Where did the Psalmist learn this truth? In the school of silent waiting upon God. The Rock of Ages is the great sheltering encirclement; we are watched over by the mother-guardianship of God.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART
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