Are you facing a challenge and not sure how much longer you can take it? Don’t give up! Remember how trials will work in and through our lives, the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So don’t lose hope and don’t give up! I know the question will come and so ask God “How long?” and lean on Him and trust in Him through it all!
How long will … last? You fill in your question to God. Whether it is struggles or disappointments, turn to God and ask! Whether its issues or difficulties, turn to God and ask! Whether its temptations or loss, turn to God and ask!
He not only has the answer but is the answer for getting thru it all!
Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! God will never leave you nor abandon you!
Today’s reading comes from – Day 22: Bible In One Year 2017
Devotional, Psalms 13, Matthew 15:10-39, Genesis 43, Genesis 44
We find answers to “How long?” in today’s reading in the following ways…
1. Keep going
2. Keep following Jesus
3. Keep hoping
Keep going…Psalm 13 speaks to us the following truths from the heart of David…
1How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
–from Psalm 13
Keep praying…that God will give you light to see, wisdom to understand, and hope to press on! Let’s keep kindling and building up our relationship with God even when He seems far away, keep speaking to Him. David is a good example of this as no matter what he is facing or what he is going thru, he turns to God and cries out to Him for what he needs! God is our good Father and knows what we need even before we ask, so with faith believing, ask Him for what you need!
Keep trusting…that God will answer out of His unfailing love and His salvation! God is faithful, it is His very nature! God is love and so we know from 1 Corinthians 13, that means that God is patient, is kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices with the truth, always products, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails.
Keep rejoicing…in God’s salvation, knowing that He will answer and He will be victorious and will rescue you!
Keep praising…because he has been so good to you.
Let’s take hold of Jesus’ promise and warning…
“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.” –from John 16:33
Let’s focus on how big our God is rather than how big our problem is! Let’s remember with God all things are possible! Let’s remember nothing is impossible for God!
Keep following Jesus…Matthew 15:10-39 speaks to us the following…
10Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” 21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. 29Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. 32Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” 33His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?” 34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.” 35He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
–from Matthew 15
God’s timing is perfect! He is never early, never late, right on time! God’s timing is different from our timing! His hope is that everyone would turn back to Him and saved! So let’s be prepared daily because we don’t know the day or the time when Jesus will return.
God’s promises are true! God is faithful! Any delay we seem to see or feel doesn’t negate the promises He has made! God’s ways are not our ways! God sometimes heals on the spot and other times work it through a process! Consider all Jesus went through in order to make a way for us all to have a way to be saved and reconciled to God! Do you think any of us would have come up with that or gone through with it? He paid it all in advance!
So keep renewing your mind…because it is from the overflow of our heart that the mouth speaks and not about the superficial things that go into us. Jesus says “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” So what are you allowing into your heart? Jesus reminds us that “the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” So let’s not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
Let’s not get tripped up by the temptations that come before us! Let’s not allow ourselves to be taken off course by such things as will grieve God’s heart! Let’s get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(Ephesians 4)
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit into our heart so that it can be transformed! Will you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Will you open the door to your heart and let Him in and be transformed? Will you allow the Him to move into your and transform you from the inside out?
So keep praying for healing…crying out to God and not giving up! Refuse to give up! Refuse to stop asking God! Refuse to get discouraged by the delay or lack of answer! Keep asking! Keep seeking! Keep knocking! We see the Canaanite woman who wouldn’t give up! We see how she kept asking! We see how she realized that Jesus was the answer and so wouldn’t stop! Let your faith shine so that everyone can see in whom you have trust and whom you serve! Your faith makes a difference! We are saved by grace through faith! Our faith is what helps us to complete the works that God has prepared in advance for us accomplish! Without faith its not possible to please God so believe when you ask! So share your faith because faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of Christ! Don’t doubt, put all of your trust in Him!
So keep acting on behalf of the hungry…for there are many who are hungry and seeking and need someone to pay attention and help them. We see how Jesus wouldn’t let the limitations of people’s ideas to send people away hungry and so He called them to a higher purpose! Will you take that little you have and give it to God? He can take it, multiply it, and use it for more than you could have ever asked or imagined. Be it the lady who when asked what she had said “Your servant has nothing there at all, except a small jar of olive oil.” Be it the disciples when they had the 4000 men plus women and children who said they didn’t have enough to feed the people and asked to send them away, but Jesus asked them what they had and they told him: 7 loaves and 2 fish. In both cases God showed up and provided more than enough! And even though we walk out life trying to help like Jesus, just as people were offended by Him and what He did, people today will be offended by our desire to help too.
Keep hoping…Genesis 43-44 speaks the following to us:
The Second Journey to Egypt
1Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ ”
6Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”
8Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”
11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
15So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”
17The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. 18Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
19So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20“We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”
23“It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”
28They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.
29As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
31After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”
32They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.
–from Genesis 43
A Silver Cup in a Sack
1Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.
3As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’ ”
6When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”
10“Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.”
11Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, “What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?”
16“What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”
17But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”
18Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’
21“Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’ 22And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’ 23But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 24When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
25“Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’ 26But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since. 29If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’
30“So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’
33“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”
–from Genesis 44
Jacob had been thru so much when he lost Joseph (believing him dead). Now with the famine and the risk of losing Benjamin too, all he could do is trust God! We see his displeasure with the other brothers when he ask “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” He didn’t feel he had a choice and so had to give it up into God’s hand as we see when he says “And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” Just like Jacob learned, sometimes it is not until we let go and then let God, that we realize that everything is going to be ok. Will you let go and let God take it? Will you share the load with God? Will you help Him come alongside you and carry the burden? Remember His words that His burden is light? God is at work in all our lives! He is calling us! He is transforming us and we see this through today’s reading and the transformation in Joseph’s brothers too. Jacob had to trust God in living out what God Himself would do in sending His one son in order to save. Jacob had to send Benjamin to save the family. God sent Jesus in order to provide salvation to the people of the world who will believe!
Today’s devotional I used to guide me through the Bible in a year is Day 22: Bible In One Year 2017