Nuggets – Demonic Discouragement

“Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?” (Job 4:18-19)

This was the strange message delivered to Eliphaz, the first of the three friends who proved such “miserable comforters” to Job in his sufferings, by “a spirit” that “stood still,… an image…before mine eyes” (vv. 15-16). This “thing was secretly [literally ‘stealthily’] brought to me,” said Eliphaz (v. 12), and there is little doubt that its original source was Satan himself, in his efforts to discredit and destroy Job. The “spirit” who instructed Eliphaz was not sent from God, as he may have thought, but was one of those angelic servants who had been “charged with folly” when they followed Lucifer in his primeval rebellion.

Still smarting with wounded pride that God would make His angels mere “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14) to Adam and his children, whose own bodies were mere “houses of clay,” built out of the dust of the earth, these demonic rebels hate human beings—especially those who love and serve God—with great passion. If Satan could not destroy Job by tempting him into moral wickedness or rebellion against an “unjust” God, perhaps he could lead him into discouragement, using his self-righteous “friends” to cause him to lose faith in God’s love and care.

But he failed! Job said: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” and “I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 13:15; 19:25).

Such defeatism is one of Satan’s most effective weapons. When he strikes with it, we must, like Job, “resist stedfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9), knowing “the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11). HMM

From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPATRIATE ENCOURAGEMENT 171

Attack!

As member of my school netball team I took the position of being in Goal Attack position.

The game starts off with the centre in the middle; they have a choice of throwing to the Wing Attack or the Goal Attack which then is passed to the Goal Shooter to score a point. Goal Attack is also given the privilege of attempting a goal shot. Oftentimes, if the GA waits the shot attempts do not arise. I found out early on that I must attack and not leave it to others to pass the ball to bring the goals in.

So too in the Christian life. While family members can form an evangelistic outreach team to other members of the pre-believing family, somebody has to take the effort to score the goal and bring the sinner in repentance to God. We cannot wait for one another and let it be everybody’s responsibility with nobody taking responsibility. That often happens when a family member is at death’s door and slips away without being reconciled to God because nobody had taken the effort to finally reap the harvest. We know it is the Holy Spirit that draws people to Christ. However the non-believer needs to be prepared to receive Jesus Christ as Savior with the Holy Spirit’s wooing.

Let us be the one to bring peace to those who need peace just as Jesus did. Are you the privileged one to score that one for Jesus? Do not delay as time and tide waits for no man.

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners,

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Nuggets – Here a Little, There a Little

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)

The setting of this unusual passage is most sobering. Both the people and their priests in Israel’s northern kingdom (personified by “Ephraim”) were in gross rebellion and drunken disobedience to the Lord. They were even ridiculing God’s prophets who were trying to call them back, complaining that they were being treated like schoolchildren. In effect, they were saying: “Are you presuming to teach us as you would freshly weaned infants, going line by line, with rule after rule?”

Whereupon God replied that He would use people of another tongue to come in and teach them what they refused to learn from Him. These precepts He had been trying to teach them should have provided true rest and refreshment, but now learning these lessons would prove to be their undoing. What should have been a blessing to them would become their condemnation.

How desperately do modern Christians need to heed these same words! They profess to believe God’s Word, but they study it only superficially, compromise its doctrines, and disobey its instructions. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12). Most Christians of today, like the Corinthians of old, are still “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). Thus, it really is necessary for their teachers to bring the Word of God to them “precept upon precept, line upon line, little by little.” “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1). HMM

From Days of Praise

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Nuggets – Esteem Others

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

In this verse, Paul challenged us to refrain from any “strife” or “vainglory”—words that seem a bit stern in the colloquial terms of our day.

Eritheia is the Greek word for “strife”—a contentious political maneuvering for greater power. “Vainglory” is similar. It comes from the Greek word kenodoxia, an empty pride or groundless glory. Both are rather unpleasant descriptions of the foolish and sinful human behavior that is seen all too often among God’s people: “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:26).

On the contrary, we are challenged to “esteem” the others in our fellowship as “better than” ourselves. The precise words in this instruction insist that we are to use deliberate and careful judgment in our evaluation of others in our relationships as being more “excellent” than what we have thought of ourselves.

Now, that goes against most of what we have been taught in our Western educational systems. Self-esteem is de rigueur in our schools, songs, movies, and television programs. In fact, “positive thinking” and “prosperity thinking” are very little more than self-esteem dressed up in religious terms.

In the biblical “body” analogy, we are told that “those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour…having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked” (1 Corinthians 12:23-24).

God thinks differently. We are told to think of each other like God thinks. HMM III

From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPATRIATE ENCOURAGEMENT 170

3 black men

The first black man I met was in Singapore. He was stationed in Singapore on a Royal Armed Forces assignment when Singapore was part of the British Commonwealth. He had his family of wife and three beautiful daughters. He attended my church every Sunday and was a wonderful example of a Christian, husband and father He gave me a very positive attitude to black men.

My second encounter with a black man was in New York. I was between assignments in London and my boss said take a month off to travel the United States and return to London for the next assignment. I had a wonderful cross country trip by then Trailways from San Francisco, visiting the Grand Canyon, the Kennedy Space Centre to witness the first space shuttle take off, then through Texas to watch the “donkeys” working as the sun rose and finally to New York prior to returning to work in London. Just a few hours in the afternoon and night before leaving and I stayed at a Howard Johnson motel near a Trailways depot. I left the motel in afternoon light and wondered the streets of New York knowing it would be easy to return to my motel as the streets are numbered. However, I had forgotten how quickly the sun would set and dusk fell unexpectedly quickly. I found myself in an unrecognizable world. I lost my bearing and way and was panicking and breathing a prayer for wisdom as i headed back to the motel. Suddenly, I heard foot steps behind me. I turned and who did I see? Fear gripped my heart and I practically ran as he chased me. I found a snake oil seller demonstrating to a crowd and I mingled in the crowd for about ten minutes. He was not visible , I was naive, and I stepped out of the crowd to complete my return to motel. His footsteps followed me. Thank God He was with me and directed my steps to the hotel just in time before the wicked man caught me! That changed my perspective.

Several years later, I was sent to attend a conference at Florham Park. I was to land at Kennedy airport then hop on a helicopter that will take me to Florham Park via Newark. Unfortunately helicopters were not flying that day due to inclement weather. My option was to hire a limousine to Florham Park. A stretch limousine presented itself and the uniformed driver quoted me a price less than the helicopter ride. Well he looked like the first black man I had come to know earlier on so fearlessly I hopped into the limousine. He said he would bring me to Florham Park in not too long. He invited me to help myself to drinks in the little cooler and be relaxed with a cool towel. So I did, However 3 then 4 hours went by and i asked him when we would arrive at my hotel in Florham Park. He said soon.. but I knew he was lost as he had stopped by to ask a policeman and then another for the way to Florham Park. Of course my prayer wheels were turning. It was not till after we visited a cemetery and asked a few teenagers there that we finally got to the hotel at around 8pm that evening. The driver had mistaken Florham Park for Floral Park! He was a gentleman and kind. He told me to check in to the hotel and he would be fine – probably sleep in the car for the night and head home next day. I gave him a tip for his dinner. Whew, the Lord was my Keeper I am sure. Thanks be to Him I was able to land safely at the hotel and attend the conference the next day.

Only God knows the hearts of the people we meet along life’s way. Some need the Lord and some have found the Lord. May we be people who have found God and exemplify His ways.

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