Before the Lord continually. Lev 24:4-8

The light of the candlestick and the twelve cakes of fine flour were to be before the Lord continually, as symbols of the twofold office His people were to sustain, on the one hand to the world’s darkness, on the other to God Himself.

We must shine as lights in the world. – As a candle in the hand of the housewife, who sweeps her house diligently; as a lamp in the hand of the virgin expecting the bridegroom; or as the lighthouse on a rocky coast. We must dispel the darkness, and guide wanderers through the murky night. Light is soft and still, and is thus a fitting emblem of the influence of a holy life, which burns steadily on before the Lord continually, and is unaffected by the heed or comment of man. If no one seems the better for our consistent testimony, aim to satisfy the Lord. The lamps of the pure candlestick of a holy life are not for man only, but for Him. But they can only be maintained through the constant supply of the pure oil of the Holy Ghost, ministered by Him who walks amid the seven golden candlesticks. “Ye are the light of the world.”

We must be as bread to God. – In a blessed sense we feed on God, but God also feeds on us. He finds satisfaction in beholding His people’s unity and love, in receiving their sacrifices of praise, and in watching their growing conformity to His will. The two rows of six cakes foreshadow the unity and order of the Church; the fine flour, its holy, equable character; the pure frankincense, the fragrance of Christian love. There is a testimony in all these to the world; but we do not always realize the satisfaction afforded to the great God, who has made such costly sacrifices on behalf of His Church.

http://devotionals.ochristian.com/f-b-meyer-devotional.shtml

Believe to Receive

The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died. — 2 Kings 7:19–20

The Torah portion for this week is Metzora, which means “diseased,” from Leviticus 14:1–15:33, and the Haftorah is from 2 Kings 7:3–20.

It has been said that those who are busy saying that something is impossible are usually interrupted by those who are already achieving it. In this week’s Haftorah reading, we see this saying come to life in an amazing story of faith and miracles.

At the start of the reading, the city of Samaria was under siege by the Aramean army. There was a great famine in the land and it had taken its toll on the people. The king of Israel consulted the prophet Elisha, who predicted that within 24 hours the famine would be a distant memory. One of the king’s officers didn’t believe that was possible and said, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” To which Elisha replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And, as we read, that is exactly what happened.

Later that day, four lepers who had been banished from Samaria decided to surrender to the Arameans. However, when they reached the Aramean camp they were shocked to find it completely deserted. Unbeknownst to them, God had made a miracle happen. He caused the Arameans to hear what they thought was a large army approaching them for attack. Believing that they were about to suffer a crushing defeat, the Arameans fled, taking nothing with them and leaving behind an abundance of food, supplies, and treasures.

The lepers brought news of their discovery to Samaria. At first the people were skeptical. Could it be possible? Could the mighty Aramean army have disappeared without a fight? Could there really be an abundance of food waiting for them? Could their entire reality be turned over in a matter of hours?

The king decided to send a few men to check the camp first to see if it was really a death trap. When the camp was declared safe, the people literally burst out of the city. They ran to the treasures that God had stored for them. As for that skeptical officer who had questioned the possibility of such a miracle – it happened he had been stationed at the city gate and was trampled to death by the people as they rushed out of the city. Elisha’s words had come true: the officer had seen the miracle, but he did not partake in it.

Friends, let’s remember that with our God, nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible!” Faith brings about miracles, but we have to believe if we want to receive.

So, what is possible for you today? Believe it, and you may just see it!

Believe to Receive

Salvation is of the Lord. Jonah 2:9

Salvation is the work of God. It is He alone who quickens the soul “dead in trespasses and sins,” and it is He also who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.” “Salvation is of the Lord.” If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand. I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God Himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, that is my own; but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who liveth in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He only is my rock and my salvation.” Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven’s hills: without Jesus I can do nothing. As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet: “Salvation is of the Lord.”

http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/morningandevening/

And David enquired of the Lord. 2 Samuel 5:23

When David made this enquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great hosts, but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without enquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Wherefore should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so, David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He enquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given. Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to His sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry till providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go,” is God’s promise to His people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to Him, and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Leave not thy chamber this morning without enquiring of the Lord.

http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/morningandevening/

Continue in prayer. Colossians 4:2

It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;” and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob-there a Daniel who prayed three times a day-and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing?Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord’s mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love. Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter oftener into the banqueting-house of His love. Pray that thou mayst be an example and a blessing unto others, and that thou mayst live more to the glory of thy Master. The motto for this year must be, “Continue in prayer.”

http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/morningandevening/

no filter

Recently, someone close to me was made anxious and sad by the words of a friend. The individual shared some difficult past experiences in an awkward attempt at “helping” my loved one gain insight into a hardship she was facing. But, unfortunately, the friend lacked a filter! More was shared than should have been shared, and it caused my family member to experience fear and distress.

Job’s friends lacked a filter. They started out well—simply grieving with Job in silence over the horrific losses he had endured (Job 1:13–2:13). But then the trio of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar began spouting their views of why Job had been dealt death and destruction. From chapters 4 to 37, the three (joined late in the conversation by a guy named Elihu) tossed condemning words at Job and received his right back at ya bitter responses. The men shared somewisdom, but they didn’t know when to stop. They said things that only God could know—in essence, they attempted to speak for Him. Their main accusation against Job was that he had sinned and that God was disciplining Him for it (Job 4:75:17).

Finally, God called Job’s friends out. He said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me” (Job 42:7). In other words, they shouldn’t have been speaking for Him. Only a burnt offering and intercessory prayer from Job saved their skins from God’s wrath (Job 42:8-9).

When you and I lack a filter, we hurt others. It’s good to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but we must be careful not to say more than God has revealed in Scripture or more than we know. To do so can create fear, distress, and other negative outcomes—including arousing God’s wrath.

Filter what you say today.

Recently, someone close to me was made anxious and sad by the words of a friend. The individual shared some difficult past experiences in an awkward attempt at “helping” my loved one gain insight into a hardship she was facing. But, unfortunately, the friend lacked a filter! More was shared than should have been shared, and it caused my family member to experience fear and distress.

Job’s friends lacked a filter. They started out well—simply grieving with Job in silence over the horrific losses he had endured (Job 1:13–2:13). But then the trio of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar began spouting their views of why Job had been dealt death and destruction. From chapters 4 to 37, the three (joined late in the conversation by a guy named Elihu) tossed condemning words at Job and received his right back at ya bitter responses. The men shared somewisdom, but they didn’t know when to stop. They said things that only God could know—in essence, they attempted to speak for Him. Their main accusation against Job was that he had sinned and that God was disciplining Him for it (Job 4:75:17).

Finally, God called Job’s friends out. He said, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me” (Job 42:7). In other words, they shouldn’t have been speaking for Him. Only a burnt offering and intercessory prayer from Job saved their skins from God’s wrath (Job 42:8-9).

When you and I lack a filter, we hurt others. It’s good to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), but we must be careful not to say more than God has revealed in Scripture or more than we know. To do so can create fear, distress, and other negative outcomes—including arousing God’s wrath.

Filter what you say today.

http://www.ourdailyjourney.org/2014/01/02/no-filter/

No Appetite

When I was battling a bad cold recently, I lost my appetite. I could go through an entire day without eating much food. Water would suffice. But I knew I couldn’t survive long on water alone. I needed to regain my appetite because my body needed nourishment.

When the people of Israel came back from exile in Babylon, their spiritual appetite was weak. They had departed from God and His ways. To get the people back to spiritual health, Nehemiah organized a Bible seminar, and Ezra was the teacher.

Ezra read from the book of the law of Moses from morning until midday, feeding the people with the truth of God (Neh. 8:3). And the people listened attentively. In fact, their appetite for God’s Word was so stirred that the family leaders and the priests and Levites met with Ezra the following day to study the law in greater detail because they wanted to understand it (v.13).

When we feel estranged from God or spiritually weak, we can find spiritual nourishment from God’s Word. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Ask God to give you a renewed desire for relationship with Him, and begin feeding your heart, soul, and mind with His Word.

Break Thou the Bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord,
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word. —Lathbury
Feeding on God’s Word keeps us strong and healthy in the Lord.