This week’s Thought is written by Peter Hodson.
From the ends of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Do you find that difficult circumstances can often seem quite overwhelming? They can loom up before us as great rocks of difficulty.
I can only try to imagine what it must be like to spend any length of time in an arid desert having run out of supplies of water and rocks looming up as though to mock our quest for something to drink.
The Israelites were in such a position – but tragically, they complained against Moses and against God, who had already performed such wonders and miracles before them! He was not about to let them perish with thirst!
At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded.
Yet God showed his compassion and he said to Moses:
... I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink. (Exodus 17:1, 2 & 6)
Archaeological research has revealed a rock some 15 metres high, located very likely in the vicinity of the biblical account. This rock is split through the middle and displays the pattern of water erosion and evidence that numerous streams came forth in several directions.
There is also evidence of the presence of what would have been a great lake in the area. When Moses struck the rock, it was not just a trickle of water, it was great ‘gushings’ to form a lake that could well quench the thirst of some 2 million people plus their livestock! Out of the very rock of difficulty, came a fountain of waters, rivers of blessing!
He turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters. (Psalm 114:8)
It is not just that God will rescue us out of difficulties – and He often will – but that through our toughest difficulties He will bring the greatest blessings! And so often the blessing will be a changed heart through which Christ can pour his richest blessings to those around us.
So if we’re tempted to bemoan our circumstances, let's lift our eyes on the Rock that is higher than us, the Rock who was struck and from whom gushed rivers of blessing to us all. If we feel we’re being ‘struck’ by life’s circumstances, let's look for His blessing to flow out to needy folk around.
No, despite all these things,
overwhelming victory is ours through Christ,
who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
This week’s thought is written by Sharon Healey.
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye be in single focus, pure, sound, your whole body will be well lighted. (Luke 11:34)
During a dark and difficult period in my early years, I went for ministry for deliverance expecting to be set free immediately upon receiving prayer. I was told by those praying with me that I was not ready and was instructed to come back a month later. Although I trusted those praying with me, I felt disappointed and tortured; I did not want to be carrying any darkness in me for an hour let alone a month.
I got home and cried out in pain to God. He answered with these words from Matthew 6:22:
Let thine eye be single and your whole body will be full of light.
A hope came into the midst of my turmoil. I believed God would fulfil his word to me and I was going to be totally set free, but there was a part for me to do.I was to keep my eye single, to simply look at Christ, keep my eyes on the only one who could set me free and not remove my gaze from Him. It was Jesus who would deliver me.
As I walked in obedience a sweet presence began to surround me and I felt Christ walking close beside me for that month. He was carrying me. I did not look to the left or the right and I read the word and thought about him. A month later, His light came and the darkness had to flee. My life changed drastically, I felt as if I was born again again. Where once there was a wall that separated me from Christ, it had been levelled to the ground and when I closed my eyes Jesus was there; I could feel Him so close.
In the Song of Solomon 1:15 the Lord sees within his bride a quality He intensely desires to cultivate:
Behold, you are fair my love… you have dove’s eyes.
“When a dove fixes his gaze upon its mate, it is not distracted by any activities around it and is referred to as being a ‘love bird’ as it has a ‘single eye’ toward another dove. In complimenting us for having this ‘dove’s eye’, it indicates we have cultivated a spiritual sensitivity that lifts us above the earthly distractions.” (wadetaylor.org/the-eye-of-a-dove)
Let us be like the dove today, fixing our eyes upon our beloved and not being distracted by the world. This is where true freedom lies.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
There are many weapons in the Devil’s arsenal that he uses daily against Christians. Fear, discouragement and jealousy are just a few. However, there is one weapon, extremely powerful, that is little spoken of. It’s the weapon of disappointment. It comes in many different packages and can be a doorway that leads to depression and a feeling of hopelessness if it is not handled carefully.
Disappointment is part of life, however, we need to be careful that we don’t allow it to rule our lives and rob us of the joy and peace that God wants us to have.The devil uses disappointment as a weapon, God uses it as an opportunity for us to find Him more deeply.
So, how do we deal with the disappointments in life that comes knocking at our door? One thing we must realise is that disappointment is not the end of the line for us. In Jeremiah 17:2-8 we read:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
What an opportunity disappointment brings!! If you will turn to God and bring your hurt and disappointment to Him, your roots will go down deeper in Him. As this happens, you find that you are able to stand strong in the midst of more challenging trials. Disappointment will not destroy you, it will strengthen you.
You can also take hope and courage as you remember what Philippians 1:6 says:
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
This assures you that God is still working in your life. Your disappointment does not put God’s plans on hold. He does not abandon you when disappointment comes crashing down. Actually, for His plans to be fulfilled, this disappointment is not only helpful, but necessary.
Disappointment also reveals to you just how deeply you want, or perhaps don’t want, God in your life. I once read a quote that said; “ I think that when disappointment comes, it sometimes feels like God is saying,”I thought you said I was all you needed.”” No comment!!
Finally, we must always remember that one person who understands disappointment is Jesus. Having spent His time and energy and emotion on giving out to people, he was deserted by many of his followers, betrayed by a close friend and was forsaken at his darkest hour. Yet, it was in His darkest hour that the work of salvation was wrought for mankind. Jesus faced the culmination of His life’s work in the face of disappointment, yet we read,
"For the joy set before him he endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2
As we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we can shoulder our cross of disappointment and discover the joy that he has laid up in store for us beyond the suffering.
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.