The Secret of Spiritual Strength

The prophet Isaiah pronounced a woe upon Israel: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 30:1). The Hebrew word for woe here signifies a deep sorrow and grief. What had God's people done to hurt him so deeply? And why did he call them rebellious? After all, these weren't heathen; they were his own children. What awful sin did they commit that caused him to say they were rebellious?

The word Isaiah uses for rebellion in this verse means backsliding, stubbornness, a turning away. What, exactly, were God's people turning away from? And what caused their backsliding?

Tempting the Lord!

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

The Perils and Sorrows of a Contrite Heart

To me, one of the most interesting people in the Old Testament is Jacob. Here was a cheating, deceiving, conniving, manipulating, supplanting man - an incredible character. Yet God loved this man dearly! In fact, his life is filled with marvelous lessons for us about God's dealings with human nature.

I'd like to pick up Jacob's story just as he's fleeing for his life from his older twin brother, Esau. Jacob had already outwitted Esau twice - and now his brother was full of wrath!

Taking Up the Towel

In a famous passage in John 13, Jesus took a towel and a basin and washed the feet of His disciples. He told them:

"If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13:14).

Some devout Christians take this verse literally. They have made it their custom to have "foot washing" services. This is commendable — yet, if it remains only a ritual, the true meaning of foot washing has been lost.

Don't Run From Jezebel

God intends for every believer to be in full control of his or her life — through the power and might of the Holy Ghost! The Bible makes it clear that our walk is to be ordered by the Lord. David testified, "Those who trust in the Lord will not be confounded" (see Psalm 22:5).

Your life is not under control, however, if you are being victimized by a spirit of fear, lust, despondency or depression. If you are constantly bombarded with feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of giving up — your life is not under control!

Another Jesus, Another Spirit, Another Gospel

Some time ago a minister called our office, very disturbed. He said he preaches holiness and the crucified life in his church, and he did seem to have a true shepherd's heart. Then he said that some of his church members had attended some kind of special seminar — and they had come home ready to leave his congregation.

They told him, "God has brought us into a new revelation that has changed our lives. We heard things we've never heard before. We thought we were saved before, but now we know we weren't. Everything we believed about the end times was wrong. We have seen new truth.

Freedom From All Fear and Worry

Jesus predicted that the last days will be a time of unprecedented fear. His very words were: "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:25-26).

The Presence of God

David committed adultery with Bathsheba, "...and the thing that David had done displeased the Lord" (2 Samuel 11:27). Bathsheba became queen, and David went about his kingly duties. One day, perhaps while in a high government session with foreign ambassadors, someone approached the king and whispered, "Sir, the prophet Nathan is here. He's impatient and insists on seeing you right now. He says it's a matter of life and death!"

Hatchet Gods

"O God, why hast Thou rejected us forever? Why does Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture? Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old, which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; and Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt. Turn Thy footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; the enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. Thine adversaries have roared in the midst of Thy meeting place; they have set up their own standards for signs. It seems as if one had lifted up his axe in a forest of trees.

The Fellowship of His Sufferings

"That I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable to his death" (Philippians 3:10).

Fellowship is the union of friends sharing similar interests or problems. To suffer is to feel pain or distress.

Paul yearned to share the pain and distress that Christ experienced. Did he not have enough suffering in his own life? Did he not have the hurts and cares of all the churches heavy upon his heart? Yet still he prays — "Oh, that I might know how to share Christ's pain and hurt."