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He Hears Our Howl 12.15.17

HE HEARS OUR HOWL

BREAD

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry for help come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:1-2 (NIV)

8 Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in your record? Psalm 56:8 (NIV)

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, save me!” 5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 6 The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. 7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. 8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 116:1-9 (NIV)

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:8-14 (NIV)

1 I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Psalm 120:1 (NIV)

16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66:16-20 (NIV)

6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6 (NIV)

29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath. Deuteronomy 4:29-31 (NIV)

1 I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. 3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Psalm 30:1-3 (NIV)

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)

BUTTER

“You need not cry very loud; He is nearer to us than we think.” Brother Lawrence

“All we love is in his hands. He hears our prayers and our tears when there are no words. He counts them as liquid intercession, which is precious to him. He is our Mighty Warrior and contends with those forces that are contending with us.” Sylvia Gunter

“Tears have a tongue and grammar and language that our Father knows.” Samuel Rutherford

“A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Tears are never a sign of weakness. Tears are always the sign of an open heart.” Ann Voskamp

“Tears are our stake in the ground, our tender yet tenacious protest against things like death, mourning, sorrow and pain—things that we know intuitively are not supposed to be…. God weeps over things gone wrong in his world. He is a tender God who takes no pleasure in sorrow, suffering or death. He is a God who comes alongside and assures us that he is there, and that we are never alone. Moreover, he is a God who suffered a voluntary death-blow, to save us from death’s ultimate and final sting and to assure us that he knows and has tasted death and sorrow firsthand. As we face our mortality, we now know that the immortal God did also. As we grieve the decline of those we love most deeply, we now know that God did also. God buried a Son, after all.” Scott Sauls

“Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. ‘He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.’ True, He does take into consideration haughty looks and lofty words; He doesn’t care for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He doesn’t listen to the swell of martial music; He doesn’t regard the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, a precious fragrance will release itself from it.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back – ‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track; And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low, Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go. Call back, and tell me that he went with you into the storm; Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn; That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill, He bore you up and held you where the very air was still. Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face, They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race; But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim, And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him. But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry, And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky If you have gone a little way ahead, of friend, call back – ‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.” Mrs. Charles Cowman

“What you think you can’t handle — might actually be God handing you a gift. And I think of everything I have chaffed against and railed about and howled to the heavens and who am I to know what is best or not — but when you bow and surrender to the sovereignty of God then you are in the posture to receive all as a gift.” Ann Voskamp

HEART SAVOR

• God hears the cries of His children. He records their tears.
• God tells us to call on Him and He will tell us great and unsearchable things we do not know.
• God is never far away or too busy to hear. Indeed, He delights in the heart petitions of His saints.

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Hope Unseen 12.13.17

HOPE UNSEEN

BREAD

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:22-25 (NIV)

7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:7-9 (NIV)

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NIV)

3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Psalm 25:3 (NIV)

12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13 (NIV)

24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness– 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:24-27 (NIV)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Our Christian testimony, as Peter reminded his readers, is that, ‘we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of the dead’. Who else has the answer to the frailty of life, the reality of death and the certainty of judgment than Jesus, who by His death destroyed him who holds the power of death and frees those whose lives are enslaved by the fear of death?” Alistair Begg

“The Christian is suspended between blessings received and blessings hoped for, so he should always give thanks.” M. R. Vincent

“I was the enemy of God. I was stamping through God’s universe, shaking my fist in His face. And in the very moment when I was shaking my fist in God’s face and tramping through the Creator’s universe, muddying all His streams, that’s when Jesus died for me. And if this is when Jesus died for me, what hope it gives me now! Now, even when I fall, the blood of Jesus is enough. He didn’t save me because I was strong; He saved me when I was weak. He didn’t save me when I was a pretty thing; He saved me when I was a mess. On the basis of this reality, I can have comfort.” Francis Schaeffer

“Hope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from what is perishable, and attesting her eternity.” Herman Melville

“Other men see only a hopeless end, but the Christian rejoices in an endless hope.” Gilbert Brenken

“Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! For God fails thee not!” Charles H. Spurgeon

“No matter what happens in life, remember this: You have a Savior. As a Christian, you have been saved from death. You have been saved from eternal punishment and hell. You have the hope that when you die, you will go straight to heaven. That is the most important thing about the Christian life. There is a Heaven waiting for you. You have a Savior.” Greg Laurie

“Luther was once found at a moment of peril and fear, when he had need to grasp unseen strength, sitting in an abstracted mood tracing on the table with his finger the words, ‘Vivit! Vivit!’ (‘He lives! He lives!’). It is our hope for ourselves, and for His truth, and for mankind. Men come and go; leaders, teachers, thinkers speak and work for a season, and then fall silent and impotent. He abides. They die, but He lives. They are lights kindled, and, therefore, sooner or later quenched; but He is the true light from which they draw all their brightness, and He shines forevermore.” Alexander Maclaren

“Though we now see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, we hold the certainty of the hope of glory in our hearts. And what does that entail? As believers, we are presently objects of Divine approval and blessedness because of the blood of Jesus and His righteousness and we presently possess this glory in spirit by the Holy Spirit. One day – either upon Jesus’ return or our death – we will be transformed outwardly as well into this glorified beautiful condition. It is a state into which one is accorded the fullest enjoyment of the admiration of God as objects of His highest regard and praise and further the enjoyment of fullness, satisfaction, joy, righteousness and ceaseless delight. It encompasses outward splendor, grandeur, pomp, elegance, magnificence, beauty, excellence of appearance, impressiveness, brilliance, illustriousness and eminence (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible – New Testament Lexical Aids). Therefore, encourage one another with these words!” BHY

HEART SAVOR

• Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
• I am to put on the hope of salvation as a helmet.
• As believers in Jesus we have the hope of glory.

Wisdom 12.11.17

WISDOM

BREAD

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:13-17 (NIV)

2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. Colossians 2:2-4 (NIV)

20 and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21 He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” Daniel 2:20-22 (NIV)

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:1-6 (NIV)

10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:10-11 (NIV)

12 But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. Jeremiah 10:12 (NIV)

8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)–Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. Acts 6:8-10 (NIV)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. James 1:5-8 (NIV)

BUTTER

“His wisdom’s vast, and knows no bounds, a deep where all our thoughts are drowned.” Isaac Watts

“God alone knows the depth and riches of His Godhead, and divine wisdom alone can declare His secrets.” Thomas Aquinas

“Faith raises the soul above the difficulty, straight to God Himself, and enables one to stand still. We gain nothing by our restless and anxious efforts….It is therefore true wisdom, in all times of difficulty and perplexity, to stand still – to wait only upon God, and He will assuredly open a way for us.” C.H. Mackintosh

“Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God…..God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him.” A. W. Tozer

“The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Give me all needed strength of body, wisdom of mind, grace of soul to do this Thy so great work.” Hudson Taylor

“It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and good people who have learned the great secret of life. They have found a joy and a wisdom which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians…and I am one of them.” St. Cyprian, 200-258

“See God in everything, and God will calm and color all that thou doest see! It may be that the circumstances of our sorrows will not be removed, their condition will remain unchanged; but if Christ, as Lord and Master of our life, is brought into our grief and gloom, ‘He will compass us about with songs of deliverance.’ To see HIM, and to be sure that His wisdom cannot err, His power cannot fail, His love can never change; to know that even His direst dealings with us are for our deepest spiritual gain, is to be able to say, in the midst of bereavement, sorrow, pain, and loss, ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Nothing else but seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposes toward us, and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the blessing they bring us. Nothing else will completely put an end to all murmuring or rebelling thoughts.” Hannah W. Smith

“God hath in Himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you.” Thomas Brooks

“We judge things by their present appearance; but the Lord sees them in their consequences. If we could do the same we would be perfectly of His mind; but since we can’t, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is regarded as one of His heaviest judgments when He gives any person up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk according to their own wisdom.” John Newton

“Wisdom is man’s true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life gives to humankind the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence, by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass’s colt, running here and there, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which we are to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it we are derelict vessels, the sport of winds and waves.” Charles H. Spurgeon
“But when the psalmist said, ‘All my springs are in you,’ he meant that all his innermost resources were found in His ever-flowing and overflowing Lord – all his courage, all his joy, all his resilience, all his optimism, all his hope, all his love, all his wisdom, all his patience. The Lord Jesus is the source of that which refreshes our personalities and of all that makes our personalities refreshing.” Robert J. Morgan

HEART SAVOR

• In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
• The Lord gives wisdom. It is more precious than rubies. Nothing compares with her.
• If we lack wisdom we should ask God Who graciously and generously gives to all without finding fault.

CHOSEN FOR OBEDIENCE

BREAD

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV)

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God– 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. Romans 1:1-5 (NIV)

21 “‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.’” Jeremiah 7:21-24 (NIV)

4 And though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. 5 They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the LORD gave to you and your fathers for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not provoke me to anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.” 7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the LORD, “and you have provoked me with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” Jeremiah 25:4-7 (NIV)

5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:5 (NIV)

21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21 (NIV)

4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:4-6 (NIV)

6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me. Psalm 101:6 (NIV)

25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him– 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:25-27 (NIV)

BUTTER

“We Christians too often substitute prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good; but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is nothing but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism… To your knees, man! and to your Bible! Decide at once! Don’t hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses. Enlist!” C. T. Studd

“Love for God and obedience to God are so completely involved in each other that any one of them implies the other too.” F. F. Bruce

“Obedience means marching right on whether we feel like it or not.” D. L. Moody

“Obedience is the child of trust.” John Climacus

“Obedience to God is the most infallible evidence of sincere and supreme love for Him.” Nathanael Emmons

“The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience.” Oswald Chambers

“Holiness is not a feeling – it is the end product of obedience. Purity is not a gift – it is the result of repentance and serious pursuit of God.” Frances J. Roberts

“The conviction of the Holy Spirit is always precise: He identifies root causes of sin, and He moves the heart to specific acts of repentance and obedience. All those who trust God sufficiently to desire to obey Him, and who are patient in waiting upon Him, will find unfailingly that HE gives clear guidance. ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths’, promises Proverbs 3:6. For those who love God everything is aboveboard. To know Him is to know what He requires and more than that, it is to have the power to carry it out. In fact these two—enlightenment and empowering—go hand in hand, and where they do not, then the Lord is not in it.” Mike Mason

“God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.” Elisabeth Elliot

“The soundtrack for misery always is ‘I did it My Way.’ Complete abdication to Christ is the only way to complete liberation.” Ann Voskamp

“Never dread any consequence resulting from absolute obedience to His command. Never fear the rough waters ahead, which through their proud contempt impede your progress. God is greater than the roar of raging water and the mighty waves of the sea. ‘The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever’ (Psalm 29:10). A storm is simply the hem of His robe, the sign of His coming, and the evidence of His presence. Dare to trust Him! Dare to follow Him! Then discover that the forces that blocked your progress and threatened your life become at His command the very materials He uses to build your street of freedom.” F. B. Meyer

“Though salvation is not by the works of the law, yet the blessings which are promised to obedience are not denied to the faithful servants of God. The curses our Lord took away when He was made a curse for us, but no clause of blessing has been abrogated. We are to note and listen to the revealed will of the Lord, giving our attention not to portions of it but to ‘all these words.’ There must be no picking and choosing but an impartial respect to all that God has commanded. This is the road of blessedness for the Father and for His children. The Lord’s blessing is upon His chosen to the third and fourth generation. If they walk uprightly before Him, He will make all men know that they are a seed which the Lord has blessed.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“You were born for freedom. You deliver into it through obedience. No one ever entered into the full rest of God by giving Him only half of themselves.” Ann Voskamp

“No man can put Jesus Christ to greater shame than by professing the gospel without showing the power of it. There can be no more vile and sordid hypocrisy than for any to pretend unto inward, habitual sanctification, while their lives are barren in the fruits of righteousness and obedience.” K. H. Von Bogatzky

“A thousand people wait on the other side of your obedience.” Anonymous

“A life well lived is simply a life filled with continual ordinary obedience in doing the next right thing particularly when no one sees, when no one is watching. No fireworks go off, no horns blow, no grand applause from an adoring audience. It is living the one life we have been given for an audience of the One Who gave it to us, for His pleasure for our good. Being a follower of sweet Jesus will always boil down to a matter of our faithful ordinary obedience. And will always lead to a life well lived.” BHY

HEART SAVOR

• God’s commands are always for my good and they are not burdensome. Sin is burdensome.
• My obedience to His revealed will demonstrates my love and trust for Him.
• Believers are chosen for obedience. Their lives are to point others to Him.

NOTE: Oops!! Yesterday’s Bread and Butter title had a typo (of course it did!). It should have read: Sweat Versus Surrender. It was to be a play on words regarding doing things in our own strength (fruitless) versus doing things in the power of the Spirit (eternal). So sorry to have been confusing!!

HE PIERCES THE DARKNESS WITH LIGHT

BREAD

15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:15-16 (NIV)

27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:27-32 (NIV)

46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46 (NIV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-5 (NIV)

19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:19-21 (NIV)

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NIV)

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, You have brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see You in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Your glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Your stars shine; Let me find Your light in my darkness, Your life in my death, Your joy in my sorrow, Your grace in my sin, Your riches in my poverty, Your glory in my valley.” From: The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

“O love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow, may richer fuller be. O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to Thee. My heart restores its borrowed ray, that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day, may brighter fairer be. O joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee. I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be. O cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from Thee. I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red, life that shall endless be.” George Matheson

“A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine.” D.L. Moody

“The true Christian cannot be hid, he cannot escape notice. A man truly living and functioning as a Christian will stand out. He will be like salt; he will be like a city set on a hill, a candle set upon a candlestick. But we can also add this further word. The true Christian does not even desire to hide his light. He sees how ridiculous it is to claim to be a Christian and yet deliberately to try to hide the fact. A man who truly realizes what it means to be a Christian, who realizes all that the grace of God has meant to him and done for him, and understands that, ultimately, God has done this in order that he may influence others, is a man who cannot conceal it. Not only that; he does not desire to conceal it, because he argues thus, ‘Ultimately the object and purpose of it all is that I might be functioning in this way’.” Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.

“Darkness is my point of view, my right to myself; light is God’s point of view.” Oswald Chambers

“Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light.” Book of Common Prayer

“Don’t slack off seeking, striving, and praying for the very same things that we exhort unconverted people to strive for, and a degree of which you have had in conversion. Thus pray that your eyes may be opened, that you may receive sight, that you may know your self and be brought to God’s feet, and that you may see the glory of God and Christ, may be raised from the dead, and have the love of Christ shed abroad in your heart. Those that have most of these things still need to pray for them; for there is so much blindness and hardness and pride and death remaining that they still need to have that work of God upon them, further to enlighten and enliven them. This will be a further bringing out of darkness into God’s marvelous light, and a kind of new conversion”. Jonathan Edwards

“It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light.” Augustus Hare

“–Blazingly, Jesus illustrated this with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). No self-respecting Jew of that time would speak to a Samaritan. But Jesus, caring more for the person than the tradition, knew she had an unquenched thirst. He sought her out, found common ground — and the rest is history. It’s a model I’m seeing lived out all around me – people finding common ground, taking risks, running toward instead of away from threat. Being brave to love and heal and bless — no matter the cost to self. Daring to hold back, or to step in to forge a way for peace, stem a destructive tide, or build a river in a desert. I’m seeing that being salt and light means engaging our world precisely where we are placed. Wherever we find ourselves, there, living simply, profoundly, giving our best at all times for Jesus’ sake. Upfront or behind the scenes, whether like me you are a helper, or whether you are a leader; a doctor, an executive, a parent, a principal, a granny or a golfer, it matters not — only that we are givers and love at all times.” Paula Kirby

“If you’re turned the wrong way, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Ann Voskamp

“The things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Helen H. Lemmel

“Our Light shines forth in order to point others to Christ – the Source of our Light – and never to self – most often the source of our darkness.” BHY

“The most brilliant way to live is to always look for the light.” Ann Voskamp

HEART SAVOR

• This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine – let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
• Jesus came to pierce the darkness and bring us into His perfect and pleasing light.
• Light always dispels darkness.

SWEAT VERSUS SURRENDER

BREAD

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:4-8 (NIV)

11 “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:11-18 (NIV)

63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. John 6:63 (NIV)

4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 (NIV)

13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth– 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. 16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:13-20 (NIV)

21 At that time I commanded Joshua: “You have seen with your own eyes all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. The LORD will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. 22 Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:21-22 (NIV)

6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now. 9 “The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the LORD your God.” Joshua 23:6-11 (NIV)

BUTTER

“The condition for gaining God’s full blessing is absolute surrender to Him.” Andrew Murray

“Total surrender to ‘the love of Christ’ is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.” Oswald Chambers

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” William Booth

“Jesus is the One who shows us the paradoxical route to meaning in a chaotic and hostile world. It’s the paradox of the gospel: Strength is found in weakness. Control is found in dependency. Power is found in surrender…. God uses the frustrations of this life and the hurt of relationships to compel us to look beyond what we can control to the God who controls all things in order to woo us to himself. As we move from control to surrender, we move from chasing the wind under the sun to embracing God above it.” Dan Allender

“Even though we are now in faith, the heart is always ready to boast itself before God and say, ‘After all, I have preached the law, lived so well and done so much that surely He will take this into account ‘. We even want to haggle with God to make Him regard our life, but it cannot be done. With men you may boast, I have done the best I could…If anything is lacking, I will still try to make recompense, but when you come before God, leave all that boasting at home. Remember to appeal from justice into grace. But let anybody try this and he will see and experience how exceedingly hard and bitter a thing it is for a man, who all his life, has been marred and has worked righteousness to pull himself out of it with all his heart would rise up through faith in the one mediator. I myself have been preaching and cultivating it through reading and writing for almost twenty years and still feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something so that He will give me His grace in exchange for my holiness. Still I cannot get it into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace, yet I know that this is what I should and must do.” Martin Luther

“Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.” A.W. Tozer

“It costs much to obtain the power of the Spirit: It costs self-surrender and humiliation and a yielding up of our most precious things to God; it costs the perseverance of long waiting, and the faith of strong trust. But when we are really in that power, we shall find this difference, that whereas before, it was hard for us to do the easiest things, now it is easy for us to do the hard things.” A. J. Gordon

“You don’t truly know God unless you surrender, believe, and truly obey the Word of God.” Ann Voskamp

“Contrary to the world’s beliefs, the spiritual fruit of self-control does not come about through the discipline of self-mastery, but rather through surrendering ourselves to God’s control. None of us fully have the power, capability, or wisdom to master our own lives. You cannot resist all the temptations that are hurled at you, control the behavior of those closest to you, or limit the ideas that pop into your mind. What you can do is surrender your life to the Holy Spirit. You can control how you respond, yield, and submit to Him.” Michael Youssef

“The risk of grace is that we turn our lives over to God. Abandoned. Surrendered. We no longer have to defend ourselves because we are convinced that he loves us so much, but we no longer try to run our own lives. He is our Lord, our master, and the one we follow. We don’t know where he will lead, but we are willing to go there because we are convinced that life in him is truly the Grand Adventure. We don’t know what he will ask us to do, but we’re willing to do it because we’re sure he knows best. We respond to him like a loved child responds to his mother [or his Grammy I would add]. We may not understand everything, and we may ask a million questions, but when we don’t get answers, we still trust our Heavenly Father because he has proven himself to us. . . The deeper we press into the price Christ paid to rescue us, the more we’ll be amazed by his love, and we’ll delight in honoring him all day, every day.” Tim Clinton & Josh Straub

“We have heard the modern expression, ‘Don’t fight it – it’s bigger than both of us.’ Those who submit to the will of God do not fight back at life. They learn the secret of surrender, of yielding to God. Then He fights for us!” Billy Graham

“The art of living is about holding on to His promises — and surrendering to His plan.” Ann Voskamp

“Guard your heart zealously – not to simply keep it in a particular pattern or habit by merely following a rule or regulation – rather to keep it responsive to each breath of the Spirit. He is to lead, we are to follow.” BHY

HEART SAVOR

• Eternal works are only done through Christ’s power dwelling in us. Works of the flesh God will never own.
• I am to be still and to be strong and wait on the Lord. God’s will done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.
• He is the Rock – His works are perfect and all His ways are just. A very faithful God, Who does no wrong – upright and just is He.

NOTHING CAN SEPARATE ONE OF GOD’S OWN FROM HIM

BREAD

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-16 (NIV)

1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:1-2 (NIV)

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:1-6 (NIV)

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, save me!” 5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 6 The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. 7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalm 116:1-7 (NIV)

27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30 (NIV)

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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. Romans 8:31-39 (NIV)

BUTTER

“Upon some points a believer is absolutely sure. He knows, for instance, that God sits in the stern-sheets of the vessel when it rocks most. He believes that an invisible hand is always on the world’s tiller, and that wherever providence may drift, Jehovah steers it. That re-assuring knowledge prepares him for everything. He looks over the raging waters and sees the spirit of Jesus treading the billows, and he hears a voice saying, ‘It is I, be not afraid.’ He knows too that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which ought not to arise. He can say, ‘If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it.’ ‘We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.’ The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact. Everything has worked for good as yet; the poisonous drugs mixed in fit proportions have worked the cure; the sharp cuts of the lancet have cleansed out the proud flesh and facilitated the healing. Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely blessed results; and so, believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil, the believer’s heart is assured, and he is enabled calmly to meet each trial as it comes. The believer can in the spirit of true resignation pray, ‘Send me what thou wilt, my God, so long as it comes from Thee; never came there an ill portion from Thy table to any of Thy children.’” C. H. Spurgeon

“Converse as those would who know that God hears.” Tertullian

“We have a God who sees hearts like we see faces, a God who hears ache like we hear voices, and we have a God who touches wounds like we touch skin. No one’s crazy can change God’s crazy love. Jesus died to save us not to make us safe. No one ever got saved unless someone else was unsafe.” Ann Voskamp

“Yes, we need to feel our need. Where real need is not felt, there is rarely any real praying…. Our places of desperation are the places of God’s revelation of his power (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).” Jon Bloom

“My hope is not in a cure today. My hope is not the absence of suffering and comfort returned. My hope is in the presence of the One who promises never to leave or forsake, the One who declares nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8:39). Nothing. Your story is a good story. In the grief, pain and hard, the Author has a plan. It may feel like a desperate breaking of your very heart, but suffering is not the absence of God or good.” Kara Tippetts

Regarding the lyrics to “In Christ Alone” Keith Getty received a letter from a soldier: “‘As I drive down the highway,’ wrote the soldier, ‘with my M-16 pointed out the window and my 9MM pistol tucked in my flak jacket, I can tell you that I feel more secure in claiming the promise, ‘No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand till He returns or calls me home’ than I do with that rifle and that pistol.’” Robert Morgan’s Then Sings My Soul Book 3

“Life holds for all of us, from time to time, desolate places. All that was ordinary and secure and familiar and dependable seems a thousand miles away. Here we are in this strange wilderness – out of work, ill, robbed of something or someone, banished from a privilege that once was ours, no longer needed, confused, forsaken. It is a place of dryness, loneliness, isolation, helplessness, fear. We feel as though we are walking where no human being was ever meant to walk, a place of dragons. Don’t despair. Even though you find no signs, be sure that thousands have traversed this terrain. When you reach the far side you will meet them. But there is something that is far more comforting than that. You are not alone now. Always beside you is Another whose voice you may not hear, whose arm you may not feel, whose footprint you may not see. Nevertheless His Word is utterly to be trusted: ‘I cared for you in the wilderness’ (Hosea 13:5).” Elisabeth Elliot

“Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. ‘He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.’ True, He does take into consideration haughty looks and lofty words; He doesn’t care for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He doesn’t listen to the swell of martial music; He doesn’t regard the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, a precious fragrance will release itself from it.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Of all of the blessings of a Christian’s salvation, none is greater than this. We have access to God in prayer.” Martin Lloyd Jones

HEART SAVOR

• God is near to His children not far away. His eyes and heart are even on us.
• Those who call on the Lord will renew their strength – soaring on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
• God always hears our cries for mercy. He is worthy of great praise!