Evening Devotional

VICTORY OUT OF DEFEAT

“I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth.” — Hos 2:15.

THE VALLEY of Achor is the emblem of defeat, failure, and the fainting heart. Down its long pass the terrified fugitives had fled, bearing to Joshua the story of defeat (Joshua 7.). Is there a single life without its valley of Achor? Is there one of us who has not gone up against a foe, which in the distance appeared quite insignificant, but it has proved to be more than a match for all the resolutions with which we had braced ourselves to meet it. Can good come out of such evil, and sweetness from such bitter despair?

The tragic story told in the seventh chapter of Joshua tells how that defeat wrought good. The disaster led to the searching out of the sin of Achan, and the cutting away of gangrene, which, otherwise, would have eaten out the heart of Israel. It led to humiliation, self-examination, prayer and faith, and finally to victory. May we not say as much of our defeats? Certainly, it would have been better had they not cast their shadow on our past; but they have not been without their lessons of priceless value. Each valley of Achor has had its door of Hope. Sin has reigned unto death, but the grace of God has reigned unto eternal life. Through our sins we have learned, as never before, to appreciate God’s forgiveness; through our failures we have been taught our own weakness, and led to magnify the grace which is made perfect in weakness.

Out of such experiences comes the song—”She shall sing as in the days of her youth.” You say that the spring and gladness of life are gone for ever. You insist that you must go mourning all your days, and that life will only bring added grief. But God says that you shall sing! Though the summer is gone, there will be a second—an Indian summer, even mellower than the first. God wants to give you a new revelation of His love, to draw you into His tenderest friendship and fellowship, to lift you into the life of victory and satisfaction. And when all these things come to pass, and they may begin to-day as you return to Him, you will find that He has put a new song into your mouth, even praise unto our God.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

We thank Thee for opening doors of Hope in the valley of Achor, for giving us beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning. Put a new song into our mouths to-day, and let us taste afresh the glad sense of Thy pardoning love.

AMEN.

~ F.B. Meyer ~

Evening Prayer

LIVE WISELY

[Ephesians 5:15-18]

In Jesus’ Name, I Pray God’s Will for You Tonight

I pray that you will be careful about how you live. May you live like the wise, taking each opportunity to do good. Instead, I pray that you will be filled with God’s Spirit. May you seek His will for your life, and spend your days pursuing His will. May you remember that life is too short to waste on drunkenness or debauchery. I pray that your life will exhibit power and purpose as you are filled with the Spirit of God.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Truth For Today

WITHOUT A DOUBT

He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.

[JAMES 1:6-7]

The doubting person who doesn’t believe that God can provide wisdom is like the billowing, restless sea, moving back and forth with its endless tides, never able to settle. There’s no sense in such a person supposing he will receive anything from the Lord.

When faced with a trial, an unbeliever who professes to know Christ will doubt God and get angry with Him and eventually sever his association with a church. A true Christian who is spiritually immature May respond in a similar manner because he reacts emotionally to his difficult circumstances and doesn’t fully trust God. In the midst of a trial, he will not experience a joyous attitude, an understanding mind, a submissive will, or a believing heart. He will seem unable to ask for wisdom from God and unwilling to take advantage of the resources He has provided, never knowing the resolution available to him through faithful, persistent prayer to God.

~ John MacArthur ~

Streams in The Desert

Romans 1:17

Often our feelings and emotions are mistakenly substituted for faith. Pleasurable emotions and deep, satisfying experiences are part of the Christian life, but they are not the essence of it. Trials, conflicts, battles and testings lie along the way and are to be counted not as misfortunes but rather as part of our necessary discipline.

In all of these various experiences, we are to rely on the indwelling of Christ in our hearts, regardless of our feelings, as we walk obediently before him. And this is where many Christians get into trouble. They try to walk by feelings rather than by faith …

Be sure to distinguish between the fact of God’s presence and the feeling of the fact. It is actually a wonderful thing when our soul feels lonely and deserted, as long as our faith can say, “I do not see you, Lord, nor do I feel your presence, but I know for certain you are graciously here—exactly where I am and aware of my circumstances.” Remind yourself again and again with these words: “Lord, you are here.”

~ London Christian ~

Trust God’s Word and his power more than you trust your own feelings and experiences. Remember, your Rock is Christ, and it is the sea that ebbs and flows with the tides, not him.

~ Samuel Rutherford ~

Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the infinite greatness of Christ’s finished work and his righteousness … Do not allow your life and emotions to be tossed back and forth against each other like ships idly moored at port. The Christian life is not one of listless brooding over our emotions … if we cower in the lowlands of feelings and emotions, we will find ourselves entangled in a thousand nets of doubt, despair, temptation and unbelief. “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5).

~ J. R. Macduff ~

When I cannot feel the faith of assurance, I live by the fact of God’s faithfulness.

~ Matthew Henry ~