God Gives You the Capacity to Be Gentle (Galatians 5:22–23)
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he told his followers, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). And later in his ministry he characterized himself as “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Many Bible versions use the word meek for the word translated as “gentle” in Matthew 5:5. Our culture often thinks of meek as weak and spineless. Gentle, however, gives a sense of tempered strength. When Jesus angrily cleared the temple, he stayed focused on his goal, and his anger was directed appropriately. Gentleness can be strong when it needs to be.
God promises to bless those who are gentle and humble. That’s just the opposite of what we see in the world. Often those who succeed are wealthy, harsh and willing to step on anyone to get ahead. But in God’s economy those who are gentle will receive everything—the “earth” refers to the future inheritance of God’s kingdom.
When we ask for the fruit of gentleness in our lives, we are praying for an attitude of humility that, while strong, is considerate toward others. As we see in the example of Jesus, gentleness can be tough, disciplined and powerful.
God’s Promise to Me
- My Spirit grows the fruit of gentleness in your life.
- Great blessings are in store for those who are strong in their faith and gentle in their relationships with others.
My Prayer to God
Lord, thank you for dealing with your people gently, even though you are at the same time sovereign, supreme, holy and just. I want to be a person of principle, a person of strong faith, who stands firm for you, and yet a person with powerful gentleness.
Taken from Once a Day Bible Promises
Truer Knowledge Brings Greater Joy
And all the people went their way . . . to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. (Nehemiah 8:12)
The only joy that reflects the worth of God and overflows in God-glorifying love is rooted in the true knowledge of God. And to the degree that our knowledge is small or flawed, our joy will be a poor echo of God’s true excellence.
The experience of Israel in Nehemiah 8:12 is a paradigm of how God-glorifying joy happens in the heart. Ezra had read the word of God to them and the Levites had explained it. And then the people went away “to make great rejoicing.”
Their great rejoicing was because they had understood words.
Most of us have tasted this experience of the heart burning with joy when the word of God was opened to us (Luke 24:32). Twice Jesus said that he taught his disciples for the sake of their joy.
John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 17:13, “These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”
And what we mainly see in the word is the Lord himself — offering himself to be known and enjoyed. “The Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:21).
The point is that if our joy is going to reflect the glory of God, then it must flow from true knowledge of how God is glorious. If we are going to enjoy God duly, we must know him truly.
God reaffirms his covenant with Isaac. Because of a famine in the land, Isaac and Rebekah travel to Gerar.
If Looks Could Kill
When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.” But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah.
The Philistines would become some of Israel’s fiercest enemies. The Philistines were one of a number of sea peoples who had migrated from the Aegean Sea and settled in Palestine. They arrived by way of Crete and Cyprus and were mercenaries for Canaanite rulers. These people, living along the southwest coast, were few but ferocious in battle. Although friendly to Isaac, this small group was the forerunner to the nation that would plague Israel during the time of Joshua, the judges, and David. This King Abimelech was not the same Abimelech that Abraham encountered (Genesis 20–21). Abimelech may have been a dynastic title for the Philistine rulers.
Isaac feared that the Philistine men in Gerar would kill him to get to his beautiful wife, Rebekah, so he lied, claiming that Rebekah was his sister. Where did he learn that trick? He may have known about the actions of his father, Abraham (see Genesis 12:10-13 and 20:1-5). And like father, like son. Parents help shape the world’s future by shaping their children’s values. The best way to help children live right is to set a good example for them.
Your actions are often copied by those closest to you. Consider the example you are setting for your children. What values and morals are you modeling?
Streams in the Desert – May 7
He spoke a parable unto them… that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1).
No temptation in the life of intercession is more common than this of failure to persevere. We begin to pray for a certain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a week, a month; and then, receiving as yet no definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease altogether from prayer concerning it.
This is a deadly fault. It is simply the snare of many beginnings with no completions. It is ruinous in all spheres of life. The man who forms the habit of beginning without finishing has simply formed the habit of failure. The man who begins to pray about a thing and does not pray it through to a successful issue of answer has formed the same habit in prayer. To faint is to fail; then defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaithful in the reality of prayer, which is fatal to all success.
But someone says, “How long shall we pray? Do we not come to a place where we may cease from our petitions and rest the matter in God’s hands?” There is but one answer. Pray until the thing you pray for has actually been granted, or until you have the assurance in your heart that it will be. Only at one of these two places dare we stay our importunity, for prayer is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict with Satan. And inasmuch as God is using our intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when we dare cease from our petitioning. So we dare not stay our prayer until the answer itself has come, or until we receive the assurance that it will come.
In the first case we stop because we see. In the other, we stop because we believe, and the faith of our heart is just as sure as the sight of our eyes; for it is faith from, yes, the faith of God, within us.
More and more, as we live the prayer life, shall we come to experience and recognize this God-given assurance, and know when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our petitioning until we receive it.
–The Practice of Prayer
Tarry at the promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises.