“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3–4).
Beloved, how often have you been in need of a kind word or a gentle touch? As you meet with the Lord daily, does He not soothe your pain with soothing words? Do you not feel His gentle embrace as you sit in His presence? Today, look for the souls who, too, hold pain, fear, and loneliness in their hearts as they struggle through another day.
Make it your assigned task to look for and seek out those who need a smile, a kind greeting, a gentle touch on their hand or shoulder. Is there someone who could use a word of thanks from tender, sincere lips?
Beloved, though your heart may be heavy, many you pass today may be carrying unbearable sorrow that you alone can relieve.
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
Have you determined to finish the course? Or has your mind predetermined when you will quit if a particular obstacle or event presents itself ahead? There is a song that kept me ever seeking and yearning to go on no matter what obstacle blocked my way: “I am determined to be invincible, till He has finished His purpose in me . . .”
The runner cannot be fixed on the winning cup to keep him going, but on the goal, determining to finish the course that is set before him.
Beloved, though your mind dreams of the day when you will stand prize in hand, let not this be your mindset alone. The man refined and disciplined is the one who will stand with his award for all to see.
“Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You” (2 Chron. 14:11).
Beloved, is this the truth of your heart? Have you come to the pure understanding in your deepest desires that “there is no one besides” the Lord? For it is there and there alone that your soul will be at peace. It is there where the Lord begins to move, where you will begin to see the salvation of the Lord. It is when you are backed up to the Red Sea, enemies pursuing, that you realize that there is no one else who can help.
Beloved, there is no one to help you, save One only—only One to help you, you who have no power and no strength. Cry out to Him, “So help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in Thee, in Thee alone.”
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars” (2 Chron. 16:9).
Beloved, is your heart completely His? For the eyes of our precious Lord are looking to lend support to those, only those, whose heart is completely His. So many have a heart for the Lord, but very few have given their heart completely over to Him.
Their heart may be divided with desires that are apart from being His alone.
The children in the desert, their hearts continued to desire many things. When their needs looked uncertain, this desire surpassed their desire for God. It is there that they questioned God’s love for them. Beloved, is your heart completely His?
“And the people spoke against God and Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food’” (Num. 21:5).
Beloved, has the Lord delivered you from bondage in order to bring you into a new land? Has He, in His wisdom and knowledge of the future, brought you by way of the desert? What are your thoughts? How have you been speaking of your Deliverer? Do you question His motives? Do you accuse Him of bringing you to this place that would cause your relationship to die? Have you thought favorably of your years of plenty, even if they were in bondage?
Beloved, if these are the meditations of your heart and mind, your time in the desert lands will be filled with highs and lows. Instead, know—really know—His plans for you.
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17–18).
Beloved, do you yearn for the joy that will be yours when the Lord brings all of His promises to pass? When your miracle stands before you?
Beloved, that joy will never come. For it is here, in the darkness and the pain, that true joy springs forth. It is here, in the midst of your trials, when the future seems uncertain, that your heart must learn to sing.
For blessings come, but many days will still be filled with the sorrows of life that accomplish much more.
Beloved, do not wait to embrace the joy that could be yours right now, as you embrace the sorrows that accomplish oh so much more.
“So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?’” (Neh. 6:3).
Beloved, once the walls were up, but before the doors and gates were in place, the enemy came to distract the builder. So often, we are determined to do this great work but fail to see this enemy tactic.
We know, when others mock our work, that it is the enemy, so we come against it. We can see when there is a blatant enemy attack. We stand against those who try to stop us by coming against us. But, when those efforts have failed, the enemy uses the very subtle tactic of peaceful distraction to put us at ease from our main work. To encourage us, by playing on our self-pity, that we should rest a bit, do something else for a time . . . and by doing so, the enemy will have turned our vision aside long enough to steal.
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4).
Beloved, when it looks like all hope is gone, are you still in the place where you will praise your precious Lord? Is it His hand you seek, or do you seek His face?
It is the disappointing times, when hopes that have not been fulfilled and look as though they never will be, that determine who is your Beloved.
If the Lord, who makes intercession for you, who died for you, who has the power to turn even a seemingly hopeless situation around suddenly . . . if He is not your all in all, if you cannot stand and praise Him, hands lifted high, then you are still estranged from your first love. Make Him your everything today and be forever changed.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).
Beloved, will you be one of the few who finishes the course? It will come with many a wound to the heart. It will come with many a wound to your pride. It will come with many a wound to the self in you. Your victory banner emerges only after the self has died a very painful, agonizing, slow death as it fights to hold on and not let you yield totally to the will and good pleasure of the Father.
Many begin, but too many never finish. Attempting to hold onto the past, they are unable to reach out and grasp the hem of His garment. Let go of all—reach out to Him and finish the course my Beloved.
“We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
Beloved, this trial that besets your soul and spirit, this that has brought such pain and anguish to your heart—it is a battle won for those who determine to be more than conquerors.
It is the plan and desire of the Lord that this test consume all that is evil in your heart and has manifested in your life. To conquer all that has infiltrated your mind and your day-to-day living. With that gone, you are free to take up the spoil left by the enemy. To come out better from this thing that tried to beset you. Beloved, you are to be more than a conqueror.
“To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
Beloved, many days and hours are spent wondering and imagining how we can effectually gain the love that we lost. We try persuasion, kindness, reason—all to no avail. There is only one way, one means to conquer the love that was lost, one way to turn them back to you, and that is for them to see Christ in you.
Our Lord drew people to Himself from the heart of love He possessed. No sin to offend, no words unedifying. But how do we attain this kind of drawing? By seeking not the Father’s hand to return your lost love, but by seeking His face. In that face you will find His heart.
“Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
Beloved, loneliness and yearning for your lost love can consume and overwhelm your entire being, making you totally unaware of your Savior’s presence. He has promised to be with you.
Beloved, have you taken the time to sit in His presence? Have you poured out your love for Him with tears, with the same fervency and frequency as you have for your lost love? Or have you determined in your sorrow that your aim is to recapture the one who was lost?
Beloved, there is One who is sweeter, One who is with you. Take His hand. Give Him your love.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’. . . And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?’” (Matt. 26:36, 40).
Beloved, hast thou no one upon whom you may count in these dark and uncertain hours? No one who will listen and understand your immense pain and loneliness?
There is One, only One. Our Lord had no one who stood by Him and stayed loyal to Him, no one who would pray as He needed them to.
This is the One, the only One who understands. He is the only One who has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. He will keep His promises when others have broken theirs, since His Word is truth. Lean on Him. He will never let you down.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).
Beloved, has the pain, which you daily bear, caused you to fight back, or have you settled into quiet agony? Our Lord said of Himself that He was meek and lowly. It is there, amidst the meekness, the lowliness, that you will find the rest you long for in your soul. We must learn from Him. Though His life was filled with pain and rejection, though no one held Him in high regard even though He be the Son of God, yet He bids us to walk the same way in our trials, sufferings, and betrayals—meekly and lowly. Beloved, you’ll not be alone. You will be yoked with Him.
“And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while’” (Mark 6:31).
Beloved, are you alone in your life and in your endeavors? This is the place where all go to meet their God. Amidst those who care, love, and understand us, there is no awareness of God. It is alone and in loneliness that the sweet communion with God is found.
Abraham resided in the desert, unlike his nephew who lived in Sodom. It wasn’t until Moses had spent his forty years in the desert alone that he had the relationship with the Almighty that gave him what he needed to free his people and guide them forty years to the promised land. God has a way of altering our circumstances to bring us alone with Him. It is there we find the mysteries and our strengths. Enjoy your desert and find Him.
“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by” (Ps. 57:1).
Though winds may blow or rains pour down from dark skies, though the deepest of snows and frigid gusts wail, those who are safe inside a warm shelter feel none of their effects.
Beloved, have you sought the shelter of the Almighty? Have you drawn close enough to benefit from the shadow of His wing? Why do you stay outside rather than sitting warm, close to the fire He has prepared for you? Why do you venture out to see the fierceness of the storm, when He can at once, if He desires, say to the storm in your life, “Peace. Be still.” Instead, wait, be still, and rest here in the shadow of the Almighty.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Is. 41:10).
Beloved, it is through fear that you are most vulnerable to attack. The enemy watches and waits for any sign of fear in which to infiltrate the walls of your heart in order to destroy you. Fear if an impending date or meeting. Fear of the future if a miracle does not occur. Fear of being alone.
But perfect love casts out all fear. This perfect love is only found in Him who was and is perfect. With all your love given, open up your heart wide to receive the perfect love that will flood your heart, that will cast out all your fear.
“[Cast] all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
Beloved, cast all the cares and worries, the reasoning, and the plans on the seas. Release them to know how He cares for you. Every decision, every wonder—give it to Him and feel the release of weight that you have been carrying. So light will you feel, so refreshed will you be, so changed will be your demeanor that all will notice the joy that springs forth when in your presence!
Why carry the cares of the world when He has asked you to cast them all on Him? Do it now. Do it every time you feel the weight of a decision or a thought. Give it to Him, Beloved—do it now.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4 KJV).
Beloved, all of us are destined to walk “through” shadow and death situations. Our goal must be to stay close to the Shepherd who shields and guides us. Many experience such fear that in the midst of the darkness they lose their way. They stay in the valley, accepting that it is God’s will that they stay and suffer. Not so! It is our heavenly Father’s desire that we walk through, hand in hand, with our Savior. This is the way we will learn to be like Him, by walking with Him. It is there we learn not to fear. Not to fear circumstances, knowing He is always with us. Not to fear man, for He is there to shield us from all harm.
Take His hand, Beloved, and walk through.
“He answered and said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’” (Dan. 4:25).
Beloved, the believer is able to survive and even prosper in the midst of flames of torment, injustice, and persecution that consume unbelievers. We are able to walk in, heads held high, confident that our God, whom we serve, is more than able to deliver us. But even if He doesn’t deliver us, we know and have confidence that the fires were chosen for us.
For there in the midst of the fire He blesses us—first with His presence, for we are never alone. Yet, the blessings go on. For there in the midst of the flames, even though it would destroy most, it is there that all that had us bound is burnt away, leaving us loosed with arms high to praise Him. Glory!
“And the satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them” (Dan. 3:27).
Beloved, have you seen the destruction of those who have faced abandonment and rejection from those they loved, which, like you, have left you in fear? Fear that you, too, would suffer such harm when all is over? Beloved, do not accept this sentence. It is far from him who trusts the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
The youths who walked in the fiery furnace that was seven times hotter—so hot that it caused the men who threw them in at the king’s command to be consumed—these youths walked out with out any harm done to them. Not even the smell of smoke rested upon them.
“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (Matt. 23:26).
Beloved, so many of us have been so busy cleaning the outside of our cup but have failed to clean the inside. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the religious people, for the way they lived. Has He rebuked your lifestyle too? Have you found in the midst of this trial in your life that you cared more about what others saw, rather than being sure that the inside, the person unseen, was also clean?
Our Father has set us aside to purify the inside, to rub and disinfect our hearts and motives. To refocus our attention to what matters—being intimate with Him. Not personal gain or praise from others, but a deep and abiding oneness with our Savior, Lord and Lover.
“Save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” (Mark 15:30).
Beloved, you may have opportunity when others will try to convince you to save yourself, but fight this temptation. Jesus, our example, heard these words as He hung upon the cross. He refused to use the power He had, in the middle of incredible and agonizing pain, to save Himself. Others mocked Him as He suffered. Others will mock you, too, in your pain.
But it was in enduring to the end that brought the victory that would save all who call upon His name. Not until His words rang out—“it is finished”—would our Lord turn from the course that was set before Him. Neither can you, if you want to see the glorious resurrection of your relationship. Save not yourself, but wait until it is finished.
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).
Beloved, are you suffering because you cannot feel the presence of the Lord? Has darkness covered your soul and brought with it the question of whether God has forsaken you? Has the devil whispered in your ear, as he whispered in Gideon’s, “If God be with you, why then has this come upon you?”
Yet, the Lord said Himself, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And He cannot lie.
However, he who whispers in your ear, not only is he the father of lies, but he can do nothing except lie. In this dilemma, we put our faith in things unseen and believe that there is One who is always with us, yet invisible. Speak to Him. Not only is He there, but He is listening.
“Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance” (Ps. 32:7 KJV).
Beloved, do you hear the beautiful song that the Lord sings to your heart? It is a song of deliverance sung especially for you. It may seem faint, but, if you will be still and turn your hearing toward Him, you will hear it. You will notice the more you take time to listen, the closer and more distinct the melody becomes.
Only God has the song of your deliverance. You cannot sing it yourself, though many have tried and have ended up disappointed and embarrassed. Nor can another sing this song for you. Only One, your Savior, has a special song that He will sing just for you. Listen . . .
“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold” (Job 42:10).
Beloved, Job had lost every blessing He had. He had not sinned to cause the series of calamities to unfold like great, devastating hurricanes blasting into his life, no doubt unexpectantly. Nevertheless, they came to test and mold this lover of God. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In His final hours, just before his “dawn” finally came, Job faced possibly his greatest test—forgiveness. Forgiving, and then praying for those who mocked and ridiculed him while he was in the midst of the most horrendous suffering anyone had ever suffered until that day. And yet, he prayed for his “friends,” and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.
“Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you” (Job 22:21).
Beloved, these sound words are so true. First, yield to Him. Give Him the “right of way” in your life. Let Him be first. Follow Him, yielding to His gentle prompting.
Those who are forever “unaware” of His presence can never yield to His gentleness. Never is His leading harsh, pushy, or demanding. Always the Lord will allow you to lead if you take the initiative. Yet, soon you find you again have taken the wrong way and must again cry out to Him for help, for Him to lead you back to the correct path. Instead, yield and be at peace with Him. It is only there that the good you seek will come to you.
“And he went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you’” (2 Chron. 15:2).
Beloved, so many fool themselves into thinking that God is nowhere to be found in their distress. But He promises to “let you” find Him.
As children, we may have played hide-and-seek with our parents, or maybe we have played it with our children or grandchildren. Though the child may not be capable of truly finding the one he seeks, the adult will “let him” find him.
Beloved, we must seek Him in order for Him to “let us” find Him. If we seek our own way, if we seek others—this, too, He will let us find. This will cause us to forsake Him, and lo, He also said He will forsake us as well.
Beloved, seek Him.
“However, the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver” (2 Sam. 24:24).
Beloved, God said that David was a man after God’s own heart. Are you, too, after His heart? David was so in love with the Lord that he refused taking the threshing floor without paying for it. How different we are today! We long and seek earnestly for that which we don’t pay for. We want God to turn our situation with our husband around, now, or we sulk and entertain thoughts that God has forsaken us.
Beloved, we have so little to give to Him who has given us everything! Let us have a true heart of giving to the One we love. Let us glory that finally we have this to offer Him—“suffering for the sake of Christ,” something that costs us everything.