Bible Study “in the Valley”

An encouraging post for those who feel they are going through a dry spell spiritually with the Lord. As another reader posted:

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord,
that obeyeth the voice of his servant,
that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?
let him trust in the name of the Lord,
and stay upon his God.”
(Isaiah 50:10)

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Why I follow Jesus

You ask why I follow this Jesus?
Why I love Him the way I do?
When the world’s turned away from His teachings
And the people who serve Him are few.

It’s not the rewards I’m after
Or gifts that I hope to receive
It’s the Presence that calls for commitment
It’s the Spirit I trust and believe.

The Lord doesn’t shelter His faithful
Or spare them all suffering and pain,
Like everyone else I have burdens,
And walk through my share of rain.

Yet He gives me a plan and a purpose,
And that joy only Christians have known,
I never know what comes tomorrow,
But I do know I’m never alone.

It’s the love always there when you need it;
It’s the words that redeem and inspire,
It’s the longing to ever be with Him
That burns in my heart like a fire.

So you ask why I love my Lord Jesus?
Well, friend, that’s so easy to see,
But the one thing that fills me with wonder is
Why Jesus loves someone like me.

(Author unknown)

What a friend we have in Jesus

The Lord kindly brought this old hymn to mind while I was sitting at work feeling a little down. It made me smile and was a comfort. I hope it blesses you too:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

(Joseph M. Scriven, 1855)

Jesus comes to you in your storm

This article was taken from National Prayer Bank (http://nationalprayerbank.com/), where a man called Thomas provided comfort to a lady suffering severe work stress, the dementia of her mother and a possible nervous breakdown by her sister. Her life was imploding so she reached out to caring believers for help and prayers. Below is what Thomas wrote to her:

In Mark 6, Jesus went off by himself to pray and sent the disciples ahead of him to Bethsaida. It wasn’t a long trip by boat, but they were blown off course by a storm, and when Jesus saw them struggling against the wind in the middle of the lake, he came to their aid.

Have you ever had a storm blow you off course? You had no intention of being where you are today in your job, your marriage, your finances. You’ve been blown off course by situations you couldn’t control. You feel like you should be there by now, but at this point, you’ve given up hope of getting to your original destination. You just want to get back to safety.

Maybe you had big dreams for your life that you gave up on a long time ago. You’re not even worried about progress anymore. You’re just wondering, “Can I survive?”

What does Jesus do when you’re at your moment of desperation? Mark 6:48 says, “About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water” (NLT). Notice he didn’t tell the disciples to come to him. He knew they couldn’t get to him. He went to them. When you’re at that point of desperation, Jesus comes to you!

I love the fact that Jesus did not stand on the shore and shout instructions. When you’re in a storm, you don’t need advice. You need a miracle! You need somebody to show up, and this is what Jesus did. He intervened in the disciples’ storm.

This is the Gospel — that God doesn’t stand on the shoreline telling us what to do. He comes out and meets us in our pain, our fear, our depression, our storm, and our discouragement. He comes to us. What a God!

You may feel abandoned right now, but you’re not. The Bible says in John 14:18, “I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm — I will come to you” (LB). You can count on it!

Building Faith: the Purpose of Trials

A man once watched a butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon. In an effort to help it, he took a razor blade, and carefully slit the edge of the cocoon. The butterfly escaped from its problem…and immediately died.

It is God’s way to have the butterfly struggle. It is the struggle that causes its tiny heart to beat fast, and send the life’s blood into its wings. Trials have their purpose. They make us struggle – they bring us to our knees. They are the cocoon in which we often find ourselves. It is there that the life’s blood of faith in God helps us spread our wings.

Faith and thanksgiving are close friends. If you have faith in God, you will be thankful because you know His loving hand is upon you, even though you are in a lion’s den (see Daniel 6:16-22). That will give you a deep sense of joy, and joy is the barometer of the depth of faith you have in God. We have so much to be thankful for. God has given us “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4) that are “more to be desired than gold” (Psalm 19:10).

Do yourself a big favour – believe those promises, thank God continually for them, and let “your joy be full” (John 16:24).

Thanks to Ray Comfort from http://www.livingwaters.com for the inspiring passage above.

I asked the Lord that I might grow

I recently read a beautiful poem that I found uplifting and encouraging, as I’ve been going through a time of real tribulation over the past three months.

I thought I’d include it on this site as it may comfort others going through similar times of trial and testing.

Psalm 34:19
Many are the afflictions of the righteous:
but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

Here is the poem:

I ASKED THE LORD THAT I MIGHT GROW

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

How to overcome the world

1 John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Spirit of Truth quietly brought three Holy Scripture passages to mind this morning. There is great hope in adversity, though I understand from my own experience that maintaining this hope can be a challenge. If you are a believer in Christ, and you are suffering, this should give you great encouragement because you have been counted worthy to suffer for His sake:

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Philippians 1:29
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Revelation 2:11
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:11, given above, is said by the Lord in the context of the Church of Smyrna, who is instructed by Him to: “…fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

So we are to endure until the end of our lives, no matter what, and only then will we be saved spiritually.

Other Holy Scripture verses on overcoming the world:

1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Revelation 2:7
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:17
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:12
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Revelation 3:21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 21:7
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Now for some essays on this site giving hope and encouragement during adversity:

1. Songs in the Night
2. The Joy of the Lord Jesus

Finally, remember these next passages, as they will give you great hope. God will help you carry your cross daily if you continue trusting in Him:

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.

1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.