Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Harder the Times the Closer He Gets!


The Harder the Times the Closer He Gets
James McDonald
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. - Hebrews 7:25-27When you're going through hardship, or when you're heavyhearted and burdened, God rolls up His sleeves and moves toward you like at no other time. When you are His child, He is with you in a way that is different from what an unbeliever experiences. The harder the days get, the closer He moves in.
Sometimes it feels like God backs away from you when you hit hard times, but that's not true. It doesn't matter if you see Him working. It doesn't matter if you feel any differently. It's the truth—God is right there with you.
Psalm 34:18 says, "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Is your heart breaking today? God is rushing toward you. He stands with you in the fire.
Scripture assures us that Jesus Himself is praying for you. This minute. Hebrews 7:25 makes this amazing statement: "Consequently, [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." Jesus lives to intercede for you. Amazing! Before you ever kneel down to pour out your heart to God, Jesus Christ has already called out to His Father on your behalf. Even before you ask, He knows from firsthand contact what you need—because He's with you.
I remember this quote from my college years: "If you could hear the Lord praying for you in the next room, you would not fear a thousand enemies."Right where you are this moment, think of the Lord Jesus as in the next room, on His knees in front of the couch or a chair. His nail-pierced hands are held out and He's lifting you and your need to His Father. He knows your exact situation. He's asking His Father to "Give her strength, Lord." "Give him wisdom, God." "Give them patience. They're going to wreck it on their own, Lord. Give them faith that will overcome their fear!"
It's an incredible assertion throughout Scripture that Jesus Christ is not only with you, He's actually interceding for you. With even more assurance, you can be certain that God listens when His Son is praying!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Doubt-vs-Faith

I received a devotional written by James McDonald via e-mail and thought it worthy to share.

Doubt vs. Faith
James McDonald
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please [God]. Christians don't generally set out to doubt God. They don't bring their faith into question without reason. For most of us, life's pain simply catches us off guard. The reality of hardship trips us up. We spiral fast when we're left on our own to entertain doubting questions and stir our circular reasoning--or even worse, when we're left alone in the company of other doubters or bitter people.
Someone has said that doubt is cancer of the soul. Like a machete to your garden, and like a match to your house, doubt is the toxin that eats away at the fabric of the most important thing about you--what you believe about God.
However, if in times of doubt we take our questions directly to the Lord, our faith increases. God's Word and God's character can stand under the most microscopic scrutiny. When you say, I don't know exactly what God is doing, but I know He's doing something for my good -- that's the unseen evidence of trusting Him. Don't feel foolish waiting upon God to meet your needs. I certainly don't. God has proven Himself faithful to keep His promises.
Doubt is a lack of confidence or assurance that God will keep His promises. Faith is an active confidence in God. Faith is substance. Faith is evidence. Faith is the power of a vibrant spiritual life. In fact, "without faith it is impossible to please him" (Hebrews 11:6).So is "having faith" the important thing in life? Contrary to the opinion of a lot of sincere people--no. Faith for faith's sake doesn't go anywhere. Faith doesn't have any magic. Faith in itself doesn't save you; it can't help you; it doesn't give you anything you need to overcome trials. But faith is the thing that gets you to God -- and not faith in His promises, but faith in Him.I love the song we sing as a church called, "All Things Are Possible." A while back, a man came to me and said, "You know that 'all things are possible' song? People just get too rowdy when they sing that song. If you don't stop singing that song, I'm going to have to leave the church." And I was sorry to see him go. I don't think any of our problems are that we're too fired up about the promises of God as it relates to our faith. I don't think God looks down on us and says, "Tsk, tsk, tsk, you guys are just a little too excited about Me."
Put your doubts aside. All things are possible in Christ. Oh loved ones, if we would lay hold, even for a moment, of all that He would like to do for us if we would just believe Him.