He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require
of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
“To walk humbly with your God” sounds so simple and yet we all know how very difficult that can be. In a busy world riddled with temptation and challenges we need the Lords help to walk in quiet submission to His calling. How wonderfully He encourages us. It says in Proverbs 31 “Strength and dignity are your clothing and your position is strong and secure, rejoice over your future.” And of course He is speaking here about the woman who fears the Lord. Oh Lord may we always honor and follow your ways!! May we love the Lord our God with all our strength and fear Him for this is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
2 Timothy 4:17 "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength..."
The Apostle Paul has just experienced great opposition to his ministry and one man particularly stood up against him and did him a great deal of harm. Paul had no support; everyone had deserted him. In this place of aloneness, God strengthened him and rescued him from the lion’s mouth. It must have been very tough because it made Paul think of Daniel facing the hungry lions just waiting to devour him. He felt desperately threatened. And so Paul writes to the disciples to tell them how God had rescued him from all this evil. He was sharing his testimony so that those who read his words would be encouraged to believe and to know….its OK God is able to rescue us, He makes a way….and will bring about His purpose. Don’t fear!! And so we write to one another to encourage each other to be strong in the “faith” that we may all walk as sons and daughters of our Father who will never leave us helpless or alone.
I am reminded so often of the words of Jesus when He spoke to his disciples about the persistent widow and finished his discourse with these words: Luke 18:8 “However when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth.”
FAITH….not well educated, not perfectly behaved or successful people but men with faith. It is Faith that allows a perfect union to exist between man and God and allows us to know that whatever circumstances we are in He will be with us. He wants us to depend on Him; like a child knows that the good Father only has good things to give to us. This knowledge allows us to be strong in Him. When I know my Father will take care of me, no matter what, I am not afraid. I may not be able to achieve anything but my Father certainly can. He can do the impossible…….the unexpected, the unlikely and when we ask, He has a plan.
Just last week, my husband Peter and I, found ourselves in a very uncomfortable position. We were away in France, at the train station in Paris, when Peter’s brief case was stolen. It happened so quickly and at the time we just couldn’t believe it. His passport, visa, medication and other papers were all in that one bag. Fortunately, I was clutching our train tickets to Brittany where we were due to visit friends. You can imagine the chaos that followed as we sought out the police and, in broken French, tried to explain our position. The police were so kind and helpful but in reality what could they do? The bag was gone and the thief, although caught on CCTV had hot-footed it out of the station as fast as he could…..not to be seen again. The whole concept of obtaining a temporary South Africa passport, British visa and vital chronic medication all seemed an impossible nightmare! We knew it would be a waste of time, money, not to mention the frustration as we made our way through bureaucratic hell. But God. He stood beside us and gave us strength.
We took the train to Brittany as planned and we both prayed and sought the Lord. There was nothing we could do and no strings we could pull, our eyes were on Him! That was Saturday morning. Sunday evening, we received a call from our son in South Africa to say that a man in Paris had sent an email to Peter’s website address, one that our daughter-in-law manages and asked us to contact him urgently as he had found a bag. It was in the bushes close to his home with all the contents strewn around. All the papers were there, the passport, the visa card, everything but for a reasonably small amount of cash. Even the front door keys. God had rescued us; we had asked and He had made a way. It has never been God’s intention that we live independent lives. He made us so that we may enjoy fellowship with Him and live under His care and supervision. He so longs for us to lean on Him in all we do and to live each day in the reality of His presence. He does not require us to be smart and have a degree in theology……No! He wants to teach us and walk with us as we live our lives with and for Him on planet earth.
I write this because I know how often people confess to feeling unworthy of God’s grace and kindness and are afraid to ask Him and expect Him to respond. None of us is worthy, it is only the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ that has made this relationship with God possible for us today. He paid the price on Calvary and through Him we have access to our heavenly Father. Not only access but through Christ we are brought into a close, intimate relationship with Him. I sense the Lord speaking to the body of Christ so clearly today, just as He did to Joshua in days gone by: “Be strong and very courageous.” He repeated this same command: “Be strong and courageous.” He wanted to be sure that Joshua had got the message loud and clear ! The word “strong” used here is the same word that described the attitude of Pharoah when he hardened his heart and would not budge. We do not harden our hearts in stubbornness but resolutely stand on God’s promise. He will give us the strength we need to stand and do what pleases Him.
The Lord is establishing His body and building His church. A people that are sold out for Him and reliant on Him for everything that is required to live a Holy life. With all the will in the world we cannot do this on our own, but in Him who gives us strength we can do all things. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour we become a new creation and receive the Spirit of Christ, not of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. As we die to our own will and desires we grow and live to do all that He requires, in His strength, in His way and in His timing. A journey begins and the Holy Spirit empowers us to live and learn from Him…. for eternal life is that we know Him, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3.)
Our journey is one of knowing God, hearing His voice and living in His presence. Draw near to Him and cling to Him for He so longs for us to we spend time with Him. It is from His living water, the bread of life that strength and fortitude are derived, for when we allow God to come fully into our lives we will find Him to be more than enough. I love Smith Wigglesworth who says it this way; “ Dare to believe until the life of Jesus is implanted within your soul.” Let us listen to His call to be strong and courageous as we enter into the promised land, the Kingdom of Heaven, for it is within you, it is here, it is at hand and it is a treasure to be eagerly sought after.
My Prayer for each precious woman:
May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. Ephesians 1:17