Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 56

John the Baptist

February 26 – Today’s Readings – Luke 3-4 and Psalms 57

Welcome to the book of Luke. The writer (Luke) is the same man who wrote the book of Acts. He was a physician, travelled extensively with the Apostle Paul and seemingly became his long-term helper and scribe. He obviously did a lot of first hand research before he wrote this account because he includes things in his Gospel that other writers skip over. For example, the first two chapters of the book would probably have come from extensive interviews with Mary (Jesus’ mother) and perhaps Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mom).

Here is a thought for you. At the age of twelve, Jesus stayed behind at the temple and spent three or four days speaking with and listening to the teachers of the Law. When His behaviour was questioned by His parents He simply replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” So, at the age of twelve, Jesus was already keenly aware of who His Father was. He was also very comfortable being in the Temple where the Law was taught and discussed. His parents, on the other hand, didn’t understand much of what He was saying – so it wasn’t Mary and Joseph who had been “planting Messiah ideas” in Jesus’ young mind. No, He already had divine revelation of who He was – yet He went back home with His parents and was subject to them till He began His public ministry at the age of thirty! Imagine, eighteen years of knowing who you are and what your mission will be – yet not doing anything about it till The Father said, “go”.

There is a lesson here for us. We must continually strive to do and say things when the Spirit tells us to and not before. If we keep in step with the Spirit, we will find ourselves working alongside God – not out of step and on our own like Moses was when, at an early age he took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian. There are divine appointments for us in life – a divine schedule for us to keep in step with – divine opportunities that require patience on our part – and open doors that require faith and boldness to step through. But consider this – Jesus accomplished more in three years of Holy Spirit led ministry than anyone else has ever achieved in a lifetime. Be patient and pray – wait on the Lord – but as He speaks to you, be working in step with the Spirit – ready to run!

On an unrelated note – did you notice the link between faith in God and victory over fear in our lives? (Psalm 56: 3,4&11). Into what kinds of situations does the Devil bring fear? – Your finances? – Your future? – Your relationships? – Imaginary situations like movies? Only in Christ is our life safe from fear, both present and future. Only in Christ are we secure, knowing that our lives are “hid” in Him and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Even death itself has been defeated and becomes a welcome thing where we can meet the Lord face to face. Remember John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear”. I wonder if the opposite is also true – that perfect fear drives out love? Enjoy a “fearless” day.

Questions:

1. Give an example of a Spirit-led appointment you have had this week.

2. In which areas of your life do you feel that you are still in “God’s waiting room” the way Jesus was till the age of 30?

3. Make some further observations on the link between “faith” and “victory over fear”.

Doing the Will of the Father

February 26 – Today’s Readings – Luke 1-2 and Psalms 56

Welcome to the book of Luke. The writer (Luke) is the same man who wrote the book of Acts. He was a physician, travelled extensively with the Apostle Paul and seemingly became his long-term helper and scribe. He obviously did a lot of first hand research before he wrote this account because he includes things in his Gospel that other writers skip over. For example, the first two chapters of the book would probably have come from extensive interviews with Mary (Jesus’ mother) and perhaps Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mom).

Here is a thought for you. At the age of twelve, Jesus stayed behind at the temple and spent three or four days speaking with and listening to the teachers of the Law. When His behaviour was questioned by His parents He simply replied, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” So, at the age of twelve, Jesus was already keenly aware of who His Father was. He was also very comfortable being in the Temple where the Law was taught and discussed. His parents, on the other hand, didn’t understand much of what He was saying – so it wasn’t Mary and Joseph who had been “planting Messiah ideas” in Jesus’ young mind. No, He already had divine revelation of who He was – yet He went back home with His parents and was subject to them till He began His public ministry at the age of thirty! Imagine, eighteen years of knowing who you are and what your mission will be – yet not doing anything about it till The Father said, “go”.

There is a lesson here for us. We must continually strive to do and say things when the Spirit tells us to and not before. If we keep in step with the Spirit, we will find ourselves working alongside God – not out of step and on our own like Moses was when, at an early age he took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian. There are divine appointments for us in life – a divine schedule for us to keep in step with – divine opportunities that require patience on our part – and open doors that require faith and boldness to step through. But consider this – Jesus accomplished more in three years of Holy Spirit led ministry than anyone else has ever achieved in a lifetime. Be patient and pray – wait on the Lord – but as He speaks to you, be working in step with the Spirit – ready to run!

On an unrelated note – did you notice the link between faith in God and victory over fear in our lives? (Psalm 56: 3,4&11). Into what kinds of situations does the Devil bring fear? – Your finances? – Your future? – Your relationships? – Imaginary situations like movies? Only in Christ is our life safe from fear, both present and future. Only in Christ are we secure, knowing that our lives are “hid” in Him and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Even death itself has been defeated and becomes a welcome thing where we can meet the Lord face to face. Remember John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear”. I wonder if the opposite is also true – that perfect fear drives out love? Enjoy a “fearless” day.

Questions:

1. Give an example of a Spirit-led appointment you have had this week.

2. In which areas of your life do you feel that you are still in “God’s waiting room” the way Jesus was till the age of 30?

3. Make some further observations on the link between “faith” and “victory over fear”.

I Will Trust

August 26 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 19-21 and Psalms 56

Let me take a break from Ezekiel today and focus on a thought from Psalms 56:3&11 and Romans 8:38-39 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you… in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is a wonderful thing to be free of fear – to be relaxed in the knowledge that God is in control – even when it seems that “all hell” is breaking loose.

There have been several occasions I my life when my earthly existence literally rested in “the balance” – whether facing serious surgery or some other life-threatening medical trial – fighting some medical complication, systemic infection or large blood clot – these kinds of things are perfect opportunities for Christians to grow in “trust”. Let me encourage you so that if you or a loved one faces tribulation in the coming months, you will be prepared spiritually. NOW is the time to place your physical life (your body and your health) in God’s hands. Once you have put them in His care, LEAVE THEM THERE! When it comes time to speak to the Lord while facing a physical trial, you have already “positioned yourself” in faith. The test comes as you realize that things are really completely out of your control and only God Himself must be trusted. This is an uncomfortable feeling, but know this – when you have placed your life in the hands of the Lord, nothing can hasten your going to heaven prematurely. Your life is His and as long as His plan for your life is incomplete, you will be around for a while longer.

The worst thing that can happen to a Christian when facing an extreme physical trial is to start playing “mind games” with God – “but God, you promised in your Word!” – or “God what is wrong with my faith that these things are happening to me?” No – these times of trial are a perfect occasion to rest in your secure relationship with Him – knowing that He loves you more than anything and that He is with you – very close to you – even though you may not be “feeling it”.

Let me say however, that your “resting place” in God is not the same as being spiritually or physically inactive. When something goes amuck, you speak to the situation – this is what Jesus did – this is what the Apostles did. You already know where all the “bad stuff” in this world comes from – these things are the enemies of God and Jesus died to eradicate all of God’s enemies. The last enemy to be conquered, of course is death itself but in the meantime we speak to all troubled situations concerning the perfect will of God – things contrary to what we know are good and perfect. How do you identify these things? Think of the Garden of Eden before the sin of Adam and Eve – now think of how heaven will be – then you will understand what the perfect will of God is!

Questions:

1. Give another Scriptural example of a person facing death but God preserving their life because it was not their time yet.
2. Tell about a trial where God preserved your life.

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