April 19, 2021

Don’t Quench the Spirit

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:21). In the middle of summer, it is difficult to resist the appeal of a soft drink commercial on television. No matter what brand it is, the beverage maker promises that drinking an ice-cold glass of his soda will quench our summer thirst. We all know that a cold drink on a hot day will not make our thirst disappear forever but will in fact suppress it for the moment. The common English usage of the word quench might confuse us when we read Scripture warning us not to quench the Spirit of God. The Greek word that is translated as “quench” means “to extinguish.” This word has a stronger meaning than “temporary suppression.” It means “to extinguish, snuff out, or put an end to.” A modern English translation says, “Don’t put out […]
April 12, 2021

By the Spirit

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). When we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives, we will discover increasing joy in the presence of God. Many years ago, I struggled with my weight. I would go on crash diets and would see amazing results, but those results were short-lived because what I really needed was a lifestyle change and the power of the Holy Spirit to work that change in me. When we try to resist the devil in our own strength, it might work for a little while. We’ll take one step forward, but we’ll soon find ourselves taking two steps back. The same is true when we try to overcome temptation through our own efforts, with our own determination. We need power that we simply don’t have on our own. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. You may […]
April 5, 2021

Dwell in His Fortress

“But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 94:22). To delight in the presence of God means that we have confidence in Him as our refuge, our Redeemer who defeated the powers of sin and darkness at the cross. The Bible declares that God is our refuge, our fortress, our rock—an image of security and safety (see 1 Samuel 2:2; Psalm 18:2; 42:9). But the only way to enter the protection of this invincible fortress is by knowing and resting in the Truth of who God is. Only when we have grasped the freedom that Christ secured for us on the cross can we have unshakable confidence in Jehovah-Nissi, “God our banner.” Only when God’s Word finds a home in our heart can we have true peace. It is not enough to read the Bible. We must “[l]et the message of Christ dwell in [us] richly” (Colossians 3:16). That means […]
March 29, 2021

Reach Out to Him

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, . . .'” (Exodus 34:6). To delight in God’s presence, we must know Him—His character, attributes, and heart—as He has revealed to us in His Word. The reformer Martin Luther once wrote, “God is everywhere; however, He does not want us to reach out to Him everywhere. Only in His Word. Reach out for the Word and you will grasp Him aright. Otherwise, you are . . . setting yourself up for idolatry.” People are drawn to greatness, whether the grandeur of creation or the fame of the eloquent. But if we stop at the creation and do not look beyond this to the Creator, we will wind up worshiping false gods and miss out on the only majesty that will satisfy our souls—the one true God, who deserves our complete worship and submission. The […]
March 22, 2021

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2). To delight in God’s presence, set your heart and your mind on Christ. Never take your eyes off of Him. If you want to fail miserably in delighting in God—keep your eyes on others. Chase their acceptance, emulate their successes, critique their weaknesses. When I was about 18 years old, the man who was then discipling me taught me this repeatedly. He said, “If you ever want to fail and fail miserably, keep your eyes on church leaders. The bigger they are, the greater your fall.” I have never forgotten that. No matter what direction you take, what temptation surrounds you, or what obstacles are in your path, the Bible gives clear instructions for success: Keep your focus on Jesus (see Hebrews 3:1; 12:2). Look to Him alone as your example, your guide, and your […]
March 15, 2021

Taste and See

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8). To delight in the presence of God, you must first taste and see that He is good. Over and over again in the Bible, God draws near to the people He loves so much. He walks with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:8). He speaks to Moses from a burning bush (see Exodus 3). And, ultimately, He puts on flesh, becoming one of us (see John 1:14). Over and over again, God draws near to us and invites us to taste and see—to experience Him for ourselves. God calls each one of us to come to Him and develop a firsthand understanding of His love and kindness. No one else—no pastor, spouse, or parent—can do this for you. You must personally experience His presence and learn what it means to delight in Him. How do you […]
March 8, 2021

What Our Eyes Cannot See

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Jesus came to open our spiritual eyes. When we walk by faith and not by sight, we’ll have the strength to weather any storm. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Recently, I had a conversation with my neighbor who is not doing well physically. I asked him, “How are you?” and he answered, “Well, I’m just trying to prolong my life—one day at a time.” I wanted to weep for him because I have already shared Christ with him, and he has not responded. He is just barely scraping by, living without real hope. I pray regularly that God opens his spiritual eyes. Each day, we must trust in realities that are unseen—looking not to our bank accounts or our health or our earthly relationships for assurance, but fixing our eyes on […]
March 1, 2021

Humble Beginnings

“[K]nown, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:9-10). As Christ’s followers, we will face hardship—but we can do so knowing that we are victorious in Him. Read 2 Corinthians 6:4-10. At the end of time, every eye will behold the fearful beauty of Christ. Every knee will bow before Him; every tongue will confess that He is Lord. But you would never expect this if you only judged Jesus by His beginnings in Bethlehem. For believers on this side of heaven, this same principle holds true. In the eyes of the world, we may be regarded as “imposters; . . . unknown; . . . poor; . . . having nothing” (vv. 8-10). But in Truth, we are known by God, alive in Christ, always rejoicing, rich in spiritual blessings, and possessing everything. Some […]
January 31, 2021

Being Broken for God

“Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, ‘I have become a foreigner in a foreign land'” (Exodus 2:22). Read Exodus 2:16-25. The Christian life is never a steady, even walk. There are hills and ruts, mountaintop experiences and dark valleys. I think it’s safe to say we all prefer the mountaintops to the valleys—that’s just human nature—but it is often in the valleys that we grow the most. Moses had been on the mountaintop. As a member of Egypt’s royal household, he was highly educated. He had fame, wealth, and, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, military success. But when he tried to be a hero to his own people, he found himself on the run from Pharaoh. Suddenly, he was stripped of everything familiar and comfortable. He found himself in a dark valley. The mighty Moses, a prince of Egypt, was suddenly a lowly shepherd, dependent on the kindness of a priest of Midian. […]
January 24, 2021

Disobedience with Good Intentions Is Still Disobedience

“Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand” (Exodus 2:12). Read Exodus 2:11-15. About forty years before God called Moses to deliver His people out of slavery in Egypt, Moses decided to be the people’s deliverer all on his own. Moses, the adopted Hebrew son of Pharaoh’s daughter, took matters into his own hands. One day, he saw an Egyptian abusing one of his fellow Israelites, and so, with righteous anger, Moses struck the Egyptian dead and buried him in the sand. He did this without praying and without seeking the mind of God. Though Moses’ intentions may have been admirable—defending the weak—his actions were contrary to the Word of God. That’s why he acted in secret and buried the consequences of his sin. How many of us grab for the first opportunity that comes, without praying, only to be disappointed? When we take matters into our own hands, […]
January 17, 2021

Put It All in God’s Hands

  “But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and placed it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile” (Exodus 2:3). Read Exodus 1:22-2:10. Many people don’t know what to make of Moses’ mother placing her son in a basket on the Nile. Without understanding the situation properly, it can seem reckless—cruel even. But this was not a careless act. It was a calculated move. Moses’ parents, Amram and Jochebed, trusted the Lord, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t strategic in their actions. They diligently worked out a careful plan. They thoughtfully prayed. And so, when they could no longer hide their son, Jochebed placed Moses’ basket at the right bend in the river at just the right time. It wasn’t a coincidence that the basket drifted near to the place where Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing. It […]
January 10, 2021

Entrust Your Children to the Lord

“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict” (Hebrews 11:23). Read Exodus 1:8-16. It’s not a secret that I am deeply concerned about the emerging generation. When I consider the increasing hostility toward the Christian faith these young people will face, I become discouraged. But very quickly, the Holy Spirit reminds me that God is mightier than all the devil’s schemes. In fact, I am now convinced that the darker it gets, the brighter the light of our children will shine. Of course, this is not the first dark time in human history. The devil has been at work since the beginning, opposing the people of God. Just think about the situation into which Moses was born. The population of the Hebrews had increased so greatly in Egypt that Pharaoh decided that every Israelite baby boy needed to […]