Feel the fire

Ed M., writing for today’s date in “Plow New Ground:”

Powerful influence. Jeremiah was not merely blessed with new insight into truth. He was overcome by the power of it. He was not at liberty to do as he pleased—to suppress it, to utter it at his convenience, Jeremiah 6:10,11a. The word of the Lord was his master, a burning fire in his heart. He did not hold the truth. The truth held him, cf. Numbers 24:1,2,10-13. God was present. How could the prophet hide the truth when he was made trustee of the message? II Corinthians 3:4-6.

Feel the fire.

Captive in God’s victory procession

Please download the PDF of Ed Mathews’s free devotional book, Plow New Ground. Today’s meditation alone is worth the effort, based on 2 Cor 2.14. Among other things, Ed writes,

Messenger of God. As a captive in the victory procession of God, Paul spread everywhere the message of redemption, II Corinthians 2:14. The Lord made His intentions known through His surrendered servant, Colossians 1:25. Paul was not fickle. He was faithful. He followed the drum beat of heaven. He was “sent from God,” II Corinthians 2:17b. He went when the Lord called. He did what the Lord commanded. His life was not his own. It belonged to God. Consequently, Paul could rightly say, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” Galatians 2:20.

People read so many flawed denominational materials — hey, we have far superior writings and true teaching in many brotherhood material, like this one.

Years of frustration

No truer word spoken than this, by Ed M., in his devotional for today in Plow New Ground:

Most of us do not face a brief hour of martyrdom but years of frustration.

See why he says this at the link above.

Focus question: What long-term frustrations do I deal with? How am I dealing with them? Are they causing my love for God to grow or diminish?

Ministry for God’s sake

The inspiration to volunteer. God is the electricity in spiritual commitment. His grandeur stirs the souls of men to serve. He is the fire that burns in the bones of the faithful, Jeremiah 20:9. The life blood of Christian ministry is “for His sake,” II Corinthians 4:5,11; 12:10; III John 7. The saints pray for such a single minded devotion to God, Psalms 51:12. They know the Lord is not satisfied with our gifts alone. He asks for our hearts, Proverbs 23:26. Like the apostle Paul, God does not want our possessions. He wants us! II Corinthians 12:14. Gifts are acceptable when the giver gives himself first, II Corinthians 8:5. Self-sacrifice pleases God. It is an act of worship, Romans 12:1. —Ed Mathews, Plow New Ground

How can I gauge my selfless giving? How can I give my heart wholly to God? How can I be stirred to serve God in all his grandeur?

Christians live to serve

Christians live to serve. We do so in quiet trust and humble obedience. We discharge our responsibility in common places and in simple tasks with redemptive power. We do what we can, II Corinthians 8:12.

So wrote Ed M., in today’s devotional, in his work, “Plow New Ground,” with 1 Cor 4.1 as main text.

Focus question: What can you do, right now, to serve God and point others to Christ?

Powerful phrases

These phrases come from today’s Plow New Ground devotional by Ed. M., about Abraham offering his son Isaac in Gen. 22.

  • [God] wanted an understanding of who He is more than He wanted burnt offerings, Hosea 6:6.
  • Faith is trusting God to provide what He promised.
  • We admire [Abraham’s] faith without trying to copy his obedience!
  • He sacrificed himself before he put Isaac on the altar, Romans 12:1.

Focus question: How do you show obedience to God above your own desires and emotions?

He waited for a word from heaven

Ed M. helps us understand David’s despair in 1 Sam 30.6 and how that serves as an example for us.

David did not ask God for a miracle. He did not plead for a legion of angels. He asked for advice. He waited for a word from heaven. Then he moved ahead, Psalms 16:7. Difficulties were overcome. Victories were won. All went well because everyone went with God. A few months later David was crowned king over the nation of Israel.

Focus question: What word of heaven comes to you today from the Scriptures? In your crisis, what does God say?

Not lost in the multitude

Ed M. reflects today on God’s goodness, saying among other things:

There is something very comforting about his goodness. He lovingly provides for our welfare. He constantly cares for our happiness. We are not lost in the huge multitude, hidden by the complexity of the world, or obscured by the vastness of space, Psalms 8:3,4.

Focus question: Does my conviction of God’s goodness endure in the midst of trials?

Waiting for God implies a need

Ed Mathews’s devotional for today, July 27, is a must-read. It challenged and admonished me. It’s one I must come back to often. To quote but a part of it is wrong, but I will include this small paragraph. Please go read all of it.

Waiting for God implies a need, Psalms 123:1,2. It suggests He is sufficient to satisfy our need, Psalms 62:5.

Focus question: What, or who, do you seek? (Heb 11.6). How does the object of your seeking show your willingness to wait?

Who among us is not impatient to receive what we think we need, what we feel we must have? Perhaps because we seek, not God, but something material, some relationship, some accomplishment, upon which we hang our well-being.