God Blesses You When You Worship (Luke 10:42)
How easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking that God is mostly interested in our spiritual activity. Helping this person, serving on that committee, leading a Bible study, assisting with another church project. All of these things may be important, but God wants us to be with him more than he wants us to do things for him.
When Jesus showed up at her door, Martha rushed into the kitchen and began frantically to whip up a world-class feast. Mary stopped everything she was doing and parked herself in the living room at the feet of Jesus. She lingered in his presence, listening to him, enjoying him, adoring him. When Martha got irritated at her sister, Jesus gently rebuked Martha. He then praised Mary for her priorities.
What about you? Is your tendency to work first or worship first? According to Jesus, your top concern should be to focus on him. When you do, you find a blessing that will never be taken away.
God’s Promise to Me
- I will bless those who love me and worship me.
My Prayer to God
Christ Jesus, you hold Mary up as a model of following you. O Lord, our task-oriented world tends to view “get it done” people like Martha in highest regard. And sometimes I buy into this kind of thinking—that spiritual busyness is next to godliness. The top priority you want to see in each of your people is a heart that loves you and longs to be with you. Change me, Lord.
Taken from Once a Day Bible Promises
Authentic vs. Phony Faith
Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await him. (Hebrews 9:28)
The question before us all is: Are we included in the “many” whose sins he bore? And will we be saved by his coming “for salvation”?
The answer of Hebrews 9:28 is, “Yes,” if we are “eagerly awaiting him.” We can know that our sins are taken away and that we will be safe in the judgment if we trust Christ in such a way that it makes us eager for his coming.
There is a phony faith that claims to believe in Christ, but is only a fire insurance policy. Phony faith “believes” only to escape hell. It has no real desire for Christ. In fact, it would prefer it if he did not come, so that we can have as much of this world’s pleasures as possible. This shows that a heart is not with Christ, but with the world.
So the issue for us is: Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course? That is the question that tests the authenticity of faith.
So let us be like the Corinthians who were “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7), and like the Philippians whose “citizenship was in heaven, from which also [they] eagerly waited for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
That’s the issue for us. Do we love his appearing? Or do we love the world and hope that his appearing will not interrupt our worldly plans? Eternity hangs on this question.
Streams in the Desert – May 28
Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, “unless you bless me.” Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” “Why do you ask my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. (Gen 32:26,29)
Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb was out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.
We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.
What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessing by force from God? It is never the violence of wilfulness that prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degree that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we get the blessing.
—J. R. Miller
An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher (illustrating “soul-cling” as a hindrance to prevailing prayer): “My little boy was very ill. The doctors held out little hope of his recovery. I had used all the knowledge of prayer which I possessed on his behalf, but he got worse and worse. This went on for several weeks.
“One day I stood watching him as he lay in his cot, and I saw that he could not live long unless he had a turn for the better. I said to God, ’O God, I have given much time in prayer for my boy and he gets no better; I must now leave him to Thee, and I will give myself to prayer for others. If it is Thy will to take him, I choose Thy will—I surrender him entirely to Thee.’
“I called in my dear wife, and told her what I had done. She shed some tears, but handed him over to God. Two days afterwards a man of God came to see us. He had been very interested in our boy Frank, and had been much in prayer for him.
“He said, ’God has given me faith to believe that he will recover—have you faith?’
“I said, ’I have surrendered him to God, but I will go again to God regarding him.’ I did; and in prayer I discovered that I had faith for his recovery. From that time he began to get better. It was the ’soul-cling’ in my prayers which had hindered God answering; and if I had continued to cling and had been unwilling to surrender him, I doubt if my boy would be with me today.
“Child of God! If you want God to answer your prayers, you must be prepared to follow the footsteps of ’our father Abraham,’ even to the Mount of Sacrifice.” (See Rom. 4:12.)
Job has lost everything and is in despair. His three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, come to him and sit with him in silence for seven days (Job 2:11-13). But then they speak. Here Eliphaz offers his perspective.
“Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed? My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.”
Although God later rebuked Eliphaz for being wrong in his advice to Job (Job 42:7), not all Eliphaz said was in error. It is true that those who promote sin and trouble will eventually be punished. It is false that anyone who is good and innocent will never suffer.
Although Eliphaz had many good and true comments, he made three wrong assumptions: A good and innocent person never suffers; those who suffer are being punished for their past sins; and Job, because he was suffering, had done something wrong in God’s eyes.
What about you? Do you assume that everyone gets what they deserve? Do you see other people’s suffering and wonder what they did to deserve it? Do you experience your own suffering and wonder what God is punishing you for?
Be careful in assigning blame when you see someone suffering or when you experience it in your own life. We can come up with explanations as Eliphaz did, but maybe God has something he wants to do in us or through us.