By Boyd Bailey
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” Revelation 5:1-2
We are blessed when we seek counsel from the wise, but when we receive direction from Almighty God in His word, we can rest secure. The Bible is the baseline for our beliefs and behavior. It is the first and the final say for faith-based living. A day without scriptural intake for our spirit is like missing three meals for our body. God’s word nourishes our soul, is a trailblazer for truth, and leads us into His very best for our life.
In the right hand of God as He sits enthroned—He holds the scroll of Scripture—His word in general and this Revelation prophesy in particular. The Lord’s precious words are sealed seven times and are kept in safe keeping waiting on the only worthy Lamb of God to open them. The counsel of God will be revealed and the mystery of His love and judgment clarified by Christ. Even today—the Holy Spirit is our guide into all truth, so we may confidently follow Jesus.
“Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” Isaiah 8:20
You endure as you learn and apply the enduring word of the Lord to your life. Have you encountered a roadblock in parenting? If so, scripture has insight into how to see exactly how to love your child at their point of need. Are you experiencing an unreasonable individual at work or in your family? The Bible gives instructions in how to unselfishly serve those who are full of themselves. Come to Christ and listen to His voice, as He speaks to you through His word.
A word from the Lord gives hope in the face of discouragement, wisdom for understanding, and courage to confront injustice. Scriptures planted in the human heart are seeds of faith for the soul. Hide in your humble heart the life giving word of God and you will be able to give life to others. What does God think? This is the first question for followers of Jesus Christ. And fortunately for His children, His Holy Spirit brings to life the pages of His word in prayer. Study to know the truth, and listen to apply the truth. Scripture gives stamina to your faith.
“He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:21).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me Your ways through Your precious and precise Word.
By Shana Schutte
There are times in all of our lives when our faith has been tested through trials. During these seasons, we may question God’s love, or His ability and desire to help us. It’s during these challenges that what we choose to believe about God and His love will shape how we navigate our difficulty.
Several years ago I watched a documentary on television on the beautiful, late Farrah Fawcett that detailed her battle with cancer. In one scene she was speaking with her father, and he said he was praying for her or, as he put it, “talking to the man upstairs” and asking Him for healing. Farrah asked her dad why God doesn’t always answer prayer—and her dad replied that sometimes God is just too busy.
Too busy? How can anyone trust a god who is too busy so He ignores them, or is not powerful enough to manage the affairs of the world?
In 1967 seventeen-year-old Joni Eareckson Tada dived off a rock into shallow water, broke her neck, and became a quadriplegic. She also believed that God was too busy and that He had abandoned her. Joni thought that just as she was getting ready to dive into the water, God had become distracted with someone else’s problems and turned His back. Thankfully, Joni is now a trophy of God’s grace and a shining light of His love.
Late author C. S. Lewis believed a different lie about God after his wife’s death. At the time, he chronicled his painful feelings in a very transparent book titled A Grief Observed. Lewis didn’t believe that God was too busy but rather that He was cold and distant:
Meanwhile, where is God? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. . . . There are no lights in the windows. . . . Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?
During trials, when our feelings scream lies about who God is, when our emotions betray our faith and tell us that God is passive, weak, busy, mean, unloving, or cold and distant, Scripture shouts that He is loving, involved, and all-powerful.
I’m learning that this walk with the Lord is quite the adventure. Not much is certain. There will be twists and turns. Peaks and valleys. Storms and sunshine. However, the certainty is God. He doesn’t change in these unforeseen circumstances. He isn’t caught by surprise. It’s not like He has to have a crisis strategy. He’s sovereign. And I know we say that all the time, but I’m coming to truly, internally, deeply, trust it.
And it’s this one verse in a particulate story that reminded me that My God is over all things and our uncertainty is opportunity for the certainty of His character and His sovereignty to be made known.
There is a man by the name of Elijah—one of God’s trusted servants and prophets to the people of Israel during the time where evil reigned because of the Kings. I love his story because of how real our humanity is and how we have to trust Him for our daily survival.
1 Kings 17 is a great example. Elijah had just finished telling Ahab, king of Israel at the time, that a great drought was going to take place there. Right after, the Lord tells Elijah to run and hide east of the Jordan where He tells him that there will be a brook he will drink from and that He had “commanded the ravens to provide “ for him when he gets there. (1 Kings 17:2-4; Scripture of the week)
Let that sink in.
The Lord commanded the ravens. If you know anything about ravens, they aren’t cute little birds. They are out for the hunt. Always looking for left overs. So for the Lord, in His awesome sovereignty and authority, to suspend their appetite so they can bring food to Elijah itself is an incredible witness that God surely takes care of His children even when there is uncertainty. When it looks bleak. When there is a drought in the land. When you can’t see where or how it’s going to come, the Lord does what He wants. I’m amazed.
I don’t know where you are in your journey, but if you are in a season of wondering how God is going to do something, know this—the Lord will command whatever He needs to so that you will be provided for.
He’s an awesome God.
*Excerpt from Psalm 119:169-176 MSG version*
Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.
In Jesus Name,
By Mary Southerland
For the Lord searches every heart, and understands every desire and every thought (1 Chronicles 28:9b).
I have several roles in life. I am a wife, a mother, an author, a speaker ... the list is really quite impressive. But being Mimi to our six grandchildren hovers around the top of that list. So when the phone rang, and I heard the sweet voice of our grandson Justus ask, “Mimi, can you and Papa come to my school for Grandparent’s Day?” I did not even have to look at my calendar. Whatever appointments I might have had could be moved in a heartbeat. “We would love to, buddy!” I replied.
When Dan and I arrived, Justus’ teacher, Mrs. Fox, greeted us and told us to look around. Since I taught elementary school for several years while Dan attended seminary, I was especially interested in scoping out the classroom to make sure she was doing a good job. She was.
And then it was time for games! Mrs. Fox divided the children into three groups. Justus and his group were playing pin the skull on the skeleton. They had just completed a series of lessons on the skeletal system ... and Justus is in Kindergarten! Yep! She was doing a great job.
As volunteer parents lined the children up, Mrs. Fox came to stand beside me. “Aren’t they going to blindfold the kids?” I asked. Mrs. Fox smiled and said, “No. Some of the children really don’t like that, so we just tell them to close their eyes. And I will tell you that Justus will be the only child in this room who will not peek.”
Even though Justus is only six years old, he is a strong believer with a solidfaith. Justus has a pure heart and loves Jesus with all of that heart. Still ... he is a child with much to learn.
“Really? You think so?” I asked Mrs. Fox. She smiled and nodded. And we watched as each child was told to close his or her eyes. They were then spun in a circle three times, pointed toward the skeleton taped to the wall, and told to pin the head on the skeleton.
As child after child stumbled toward their goal, every single one of them opened their eyes at least once or did not even bother to close them all the way. And then it was Justus’ turn.
Mrs. Fox nudged me and whispered, “Now watch this!” The volunteer spun Justus in a circle three times, told him to close his eyes tightly, and sent him off in the direction of the waiting headless skeleton. I could tell Justus was dizzy as he began to veer away from the wall entirely. Shouts of direction from friends helped him get back on course.
When he was about two feet away from his goal, Justus suddenly stopped, and with a look of distress on his face said, “Mrs. Fox, I’m sorry! I really, really tried to keep my eyes closed, but they just came open once.”
Wow! Just wow!
Mrs. Fox smiled at me and said, “Justus, because you were honest, you can have another turn.” The relief on our grandson’s face was beautiful! He got back in line and tried it again. This time he made it all the way to the wall where he proudly pinned the skull on the chalkboard ... a good two feet away from the skeleton.
Integrity is a beautiful thing. And our six-year-old grandson had just schooled me on the subject.
I was undone because of the lack of integrity in my life. Oh, I can argue that there are some areas where I might pass the test of what the world calls integrity. But integrity is an all or nothing deal. It is a heart issue – a spiritual habit that decides beforehand to do the right thing.
Integrity matters to God.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8, NIV).
The word for “pure” means “ready for sacrifice.” In other words, the decisions and choices we make should be living sacrifices that are holy and acceptable to God as acts of worship.
To have integrity means to live an integrated life. That integration occurs when what we believe, what we think, what we say, and what we do are consistent. A life of integrity makes God smile.
When Justus opened his beautiful brown eyes and saw where he had pinned the skull, he did not care. He turned to me, his face beaming. Our eyes met ... and we both knew he had just made God smile.
Father, please examine my heart and show me every impurity hidden there. Show me the disobedience that breaks your heart and hinders my walk with You. I want to please You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,