But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord. Micah 7:7
I am one of millions of people worldwide who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), a type of depression common in places with limited sunlight due to short winter days. When I begin to fear winter’s frozen curse will never end, I’m eager for any evidence that longer days and warmer temperatures are coming.
The first signs of spring—flowers successfully braving their way through the lingering snow—also powerfully remind me of the way God’s hope can break through even our darkest seasons. The prophet Micah confessed this even while enduring a heart-rending “winter” as the Israelites turned away from God. As Micah assessed the bleak situation, he lamented that “not one upright person” seemed to remain (Micah 7:2).
Yet, even though the situation appeared dire, the prophet refused to give up hope. He trusted that God was at work (v. 7)—even if, amid the devastation, he couldn’t yet see the evidence.
In our dark and sometimes seemingly endless “winters,” when spring doesn’t appear to be breaking through, we face the same struggle as Micah. Will we give into despair? Or will we “watch in hope for the Lord”? (v. 7).
Our hope in God is never wasted (Romans 5:5). He’s bringing a time with no more “winter”: a time with no more mourning or pain (Revelation 21:4). Until then, may we rest in Him, confessing, “My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7).
Where do you find hope in dark times? In what “winter” season has God given you the hope you needed?
Heavenly Father, during difficult seasons of life, it’s easy for me to be discouraged; in those hard times, help me place my hope in You. And in every season of my life, help me share with others the peace found in life with You.
There is an old story that tells about a pig. . . . The farmer brought the pig into the house. He gave him a bath, polished his hooves, put some Chanel No. 5 on him, put a ribbon around his neck, and put him in the living room. The pig looked fine. He made a nice and companionable pet for a few minutes. But as soon as the door was opened, the pig left the living room and jumped into the first mud puddle that he could find. Why? Because he was still a pig at heart. His nature had not been changed. He had changed outwardly but not inwardly. . . .
You can take a man—dress him up, put him in the front row in church, and he almost looks like a saint. He may fool even his best friends for a while, but then put him in his office, or in the club on Saturday night, and you will see his true nature come out again. Why does he act that way? Because his nature has not been changed. He has not been born again.
Almighty God, there are times when I debase my Christian walk and slip again into the mire. Cleanse and strengthen me, for Jesus’ sake.
““For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do.”
Job 34:21 NLT
THIRST FOR TRUTHTerror struck with fiery fangs that April morning in 1906 when the San Andreas Fault settled, shaking San Francisco to the ground. While thousands fled the burning city, one man rode into town, notebook in hand, to learn how people felt and reacted in crisis. William James, famed psychologist, had a thirst for truth which made him explore, experiment, change, and grow. He made himself forget preconceived ideas to become as impressionable as a child so he could learn truth.
The believer is a new creature; he belongs to a holy generation and a peculiar people. The Spirit of God is in him, and in every respect he is far removed from the natural man. But for all that the Christian is still a sinner. He is so because of the imperfection of his nature, and he will continue as such to the end of his earthly life. The dirty fingers of sin leave marks on our cleanest clothes. Sin spoils our repentance, before the great Potter has finished it upon the wheel. Selfishness defiles our tears, and unbelief tampers with our faith.
The best thing we ever did apart from the merit of Jesus only added to the number of our sins; for when we have been most pure in our own sight, still, like the heavens, we were not pure in God's sight; and as He charged His angels with folly, so He must charge us with it, even in our most angelic frames of mind. The song that seeks to emulate the angels' melodies has human discords in it. The prayer that moves the arm of God is still a bruised and battered prayer, and only moves that arm because the sinless One, the great Mediator, Jesus, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication. The most golden faith or the purest degree of sanctification to which a Christian ever attained on earth has still so much dross in it as to be only worthy of the flames.
Every night we look in the mirror we see a sinner and need to confess, “We have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” How precious then is the blood of Christ to hearts like ours! How priceless a gift is His perfect righteousness! And how bright is the hope of perfect holiness in heaven! Even now, though sin dwells in us, its power is broken. It remains, but it no longer reigns; we are in bitter conflict with it, but we are dealing with a vanquished foe. In a little while we will enter victoriously into the city where nothing defiles.
The Importance of Knowing God’s Word
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
A church pastor visited the sixth grade Sunday School class one day, and listened as the teacher taught some of the Old Testament. At the end, the pastor asked, “Does anyone know who knocked down the walls of Jericho?”
Two boys answered, “Pastor, we don’t know who did it, but it sure wasn’t us.”
Shocked, he turned to the teacher and asked, “What do you think of that answer?” The teacher replied, “Pastor, they’ve always been honest. If they said they didn’t do it, I believe them.”
The pastor huffed off and went out into the hallway where he saw the chairman of the church board. He told him what had just happened. “Can you believe that?” the pastor sighed.
The chairman of the board looked at him and said, “Pastor, let’s not fuss about who did what. We’ll just fix the walls and pay for it out of the General Fund.”
All kidding aside, I think most Christians today would agree there’s a surprising lack of biblical literacy even among churchgoers these days. And much of it has to do with the fact that too many people who know the Bible well aren’t stepping up to pass their knowledge onto others.
So if you’d put yourself in the camp of those who know the Bible well, make it a point to teach others. And if you don’t, find someone who can teach you!
Pray that God would help you find a relationship where you’re either teaching or learning the Bible.
Questions for Thought:
Why do you think it’s so important to know God’s Word?
Who in your life today could you either teach or learn from about the Bible?
The Method of Missions Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… MATTHEW 28:19 Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” ...