Thursday, May 20, 2010

Evening Devotion 5/20/10

The Fiery Furnace, from the Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome, Italy. Late 3rd century / Early 4th century.

C.H. Spurgeon: Morning and Evening
Morning – May 3rd: In the world ye shall have tribulation.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Art thou asking the reason of this, believer? Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold Him pure and holy. Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like Him? Wilt thou easily be conformed to His image? Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect? Next, Christian, turn thine eye downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone? No, he will be always at thee, for he "goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee. Then look around thee. Where art thou? Thou art in an enemy's country, a stranger and a sojourner. The world is not thy friend. If it be, then thou art not God's friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Be assured that thou shalt find foe-men everywhere. When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so will the trials of earth be sharpest to you. Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within. Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself evil enough to be a sore trouble to thee, for "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee. He hath said, "I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee."

Let us pray:

Stand steadfast in Your promises O Lord, stand firm in Your love...

Let Your light guide Your children, O Lord, let your Word be their path...

In all that they are and in all that they face be beside them as this world wages its bitterest war against them in a battle for their spirits and their souls. Even amidst the most brutal of captivities let Your compassion be known in the lives of Your people that they shall come to rest in tender solace of Your encompassing mercy.

So often do we see as people are ripped from their lives and the value You give to their lives is held to be cheap and without any intrinsic worth to it. Bondage and oppression, poverty and destitution, persecution and tyranny weave through their lives as if like a noose strangling the life from them as they are left broken and wounded.

Yet the promise of Your Word, encompassing and transcending stand as the firm resolve of Your hope. It is here that we look to Your assurances and place our trust in Your unchanging devotion. Let not darkness stand before these Your children for all times. Let Your compassion be their guide as You cast upon them Your Holy Spirit that they may be uplifted and set above all of their plights and their struggles. Cast off of them their chains and break their bondage that they may, in all that they are and all that see before them, know that You walk beside them, never failing them or forsaking them, giving freely unto them until that day when You set them once more to their freedom amidst the blessed air of liberty.

Then shall Your people stand vindicated for the faith that they have placed in You as their trust is made manifest in the love that You have offered unto them as Your testament to Your faithfulness to them.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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