The Hour is Late
…it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.
What time is it? I’ll tell you. The hour is late. Our nation is, in the words of one cultural observer, “slouching towards Sodom and Gomorrah.” We can no longer sit back comfortably and say, “There’s always been a crisis in the world. Today is no different. Our society will go on, and our country is basically strong.” Those who do so are only kidding themselves.
A friend of mine said that as a young man he had a twelve o’clock curfew. His father told him, “Jerry, you be in by midnight. If not, your hide is mine.” Jerry said he got out with the guys one night and before he knew it, it was almost two in the morning. He said he flew home, quietly unlocked the front door, took off his shoes (I know none of you have ever done this) and began to climb the stairs to his room. As he took his first few steps, his dad’s voice called out, “Jerry, is that you?” He said “Yes, sir, it’s me.” About that time, the cuckoo clock in the hallway began to chime. “Cuckoo! Cuckoo!” Two o’clock. And Jerry said he froze in the hallway and as clearly as he could, he “cuckoo-ed” ten more times! Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a late hour in our history. We are nearer to the coming of our Lord than we have ever been before. His return is the last great event yet to come before the curtain of time is brought down. In this world of darkness, we are to be a light to those around us. God is not fooled about the hour, and His return is certain and irreversible.
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~
Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
[2 Corinthians 1:10-11]
God's Finest Work
Peter and his fellow storm riders knew they were in trouble. “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (Matthew 14:24).
What should have been a sixty-minute cruise became a nightlong battle. The boat lurched and lunged like a kite in a March wind. Sunlight was a distant memory. Rain fell from the night sky in buckets. Lightning sliced the blackness with a silver sword. Winds whipped the sails, leaving the disciples “in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves.” Apt description, perhaps, for your stage in life? Perhaps all we need to do is substitute a couple of nouns…
In the middle of a divorce, tossed about by guilt.
In the middle of debt, tossed about by creditors.
In the middle of a recession, tossed about by stimulus packages and bailouts.
The disciples fought the storm for nine cold, skin-drenching hours. And about 4:00 a.m., the unspeakable happened. They spotted someone coming on the water. “‘A ghost!’ they said, crying out in terror” (Matthew 14:26).
They didn’t expect Jesus to come to them this way.
Neither do we. We expect him to come in the form of peaceful hymns or Easter Sundays or quiet retreats. We expect to find Jesus in morning devotionals, church suppers, and meditation. We never expect to see him in a bear market, pink slip, lawsuit, foreclosure, or war. We never expect to see him in a storm. But it is in storms that he does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest attention.
We cannot control the storms of life, but we can control where we look in the storm. We choose to look to you. We choose to see you in the middle of our heartbreaks and health crises. When we are tossed about by the trials and temptations of life, remind us not to be overwhelmed by fear and doubt, but to look for your calming presence,
Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You.
My soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge.
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
~ Max Lucado ~
Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your sins.”
’Tis not enough to weep my sins,
’Tis but one step to heaven:—
When I am kind to others,—then
I know myself forgiven.
~ F. W. FABER ~
Every relation to mankind, of hate or scorn or neglect, is full of vexation and torment. There is nothing to do with men but to love them; to contemplate their virtues with admiration, their faults with pity and forbearance, and their injuries with forgiveness. Task all the ingenuity of your mind to devise some other thing, but you never can find it. To hate your adversary will not help you; to kill him will not help you; nothing within the compass of the universe can help you, but to love him. But let that love flow out upon all around you, and what could harm you? How many a knot of mystery and misunderstanding would be untied by one word spoken in simple and confiding truth of heart! How many a solitary place would be made glad if love were there; and how many a dark dwelling would be filled with light!
~ ORVILLE DEWEY ~
Let My Unfailing Love Be Your Comfort
LET MY UNFAILING LOVE BE YOUR COMFORT. Something that brings you comfort should be dependable, and My Love will never fail you. My soothing Presence is always with you, but to receive the full benefits of this blessing, you need to trust Me wholeheartedly. Comfort is not only for your blessing but for your empowerment. When you feel secure in My Love, you are strengthened—and able to do the things I've prepared for you to do.
Love and comfort go together ever so naturally. When a small child needs comforting, the best remedy is often soothing words and a gentle kiss. Young children instinctively turn to their parents in such times of need, and you do well to learn from their example. When you are hurting, come to Me for comfort. Rest in Me, My child, and enjoy the gentle kiss of My Presence. Listen to Me as I rejoice over you with singing. To benefit fully from My comforting words, memorize scriptures that will assure you of My Love. Remember: I love you always—with an everlasting Love.
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
~ Sarah Young ~
Jesus, the Prayerful Healer
Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
In Luke 5, we see an example of Jesus, our perfect healer. Jesus had compassion on a man who was filled with leprosy, and He was willing to reach out and heal him.
As a result of His miraculous healing of the leper, Jesus’s popularity was soaring. Verse 15 tells us that “the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.”
However, instead of capitalizing on His growing fame, Jesus did something that was completely unexpected. While the momentum was building, look at what He did in verse 16: “Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” A constant theme throughout Luke’s gospel is the prayer life of Jesus. The secret to Jesus’s power and extraordinary effectiveness was His commitment to prayer.
As Jesus’s fame was increasing and large crowds were gathering to hear more and more, it is likely that His disciples were saying something like, “Lord, this is no time to be praying. We need You out front healing more people and doing more miracles.” But Jesus understood something very important. There would always be more people for Him to heal, and there would always be more work for Him to do. But Jesus could not neglect His vital time alone with His heavenly Father–and neither can you and neither can I.
You know, we will never have an extraordinary life that is empowered by God until we understand that no matter how unsettled our lives are, and no matter how long our to-do list is, we must get aside and take time to pray. The truth is, if you wait until you have time to pray, then you will never take time to pray. Prayer is something you make time for no matter what is going on around you.
Oswald Chambers said it this way: “Remember, no one has time to pray; we have to take time from other things that are valuable in order to understand how necessary prayer is.”
~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~