Ed M.’s devotional today hit me square between the eyes, using Isaiah 49.4 as his main text.

Labor of the saints. Discouragement is common among the devout. It is not their effort which exhausts them. It is the frustration that nothing seems to come of it. Yet happy are those who never quit. Lesser troubles are forgotten in the face of vaster undertakings. Let the flagging messenger look beyond his disheartening past, Deuteronomy 1:12; Joshua 8:1.

Focus question: How important are results to you? Or immediate praise of what you do?

Using Ephesians 4.1 as his base text today, Ed M. focuses in his devotional on the holy life required by Christ’s call.

A Roman philosopher said, “It is useful for the public good when people believe themselves to be born of the gods.” Why? In so doing “they will pursue worthy enterprises more earnestly.” Should not such a perception draw the children of God away from what is base? Should it not inspire them toward noble thoughts and holy deeds?

Focus question: Where does the concept of calling appear in the NT? How should it shape our behavior?

In his devotional thought today, Ed M. uses Nahum 2.13 to contrast the messengers of Nineveh (see 2 Kings 18) and those of God. And what a contrast!

The one spoke of submission to the king, II Kings 18:31,32. The other encouraged faith in the King of kings, Nahum 1:12,13. One led to disaster. The other pointed to deliverance. One promised earthly pleasures. The other told of heavenly blessings. Each messenger offered a choice, spoke with conviction, and asked for submission. Only one deserved a hearing.

God’s messengers continue to speak the Word. Let us be among their number.

Focus question: What word of God’s does the world need to hear today?

Ed M. wrote today in his devotional about worship: “To expect seasons of dryness is appropriate. To become comfortable with them is deadly!” He uses the book of Malachi with Mal 1.11 as the key verse. Another powerful thought to grapple with!

Focus question: Do I assemble with the saints for worship with an attitude of expectation and a mindset to discover truth and new motivations?

The key to God’s riches, under every covenant he makes with man, is the fear of him. Ed M. reminds us today in his devotional based on Isaiah 33.6.

Respect for God. The best treasure of a nation is her reverence for God, Exodus 20:20; Psalms 34:4-22. People who submit to the Lord have the key to riches— riches beyond purple mountains, ripened grain, and fruited plains, Isaiah 33:15,16.

Focus question: How does my fear of God express itself? What parts of my prayers, my speech, and my actions show it?

Why do so many shrink back from true commitment to God? Ed M. gives the reason in his devotional today:

Jesus enlists men and women into His service not to preserve them but to sacrifice them, II Corinthians 12:15a; Philippians 2:17; I Thessalonians 2:8,9; II Timothy 4:6.

Focus question: Have I handed over my life to God for service in the gospel? How does the impulse to preserve self demonstrate itself?

In today’s devotional, Ed M. cites Esther 4.14 and ponders human action under divine sovereignty. His prayer caps off the devotional so well.

Almighty God, what I do matters. And what I do not do matters, too. I need to know which is appropriate under what circumstances. Please give me insight to know when and how to do Your will. Through Him, who knows, Amen.

Focus question: Do I find myself thinking that someone else will act if I don’t, or that God will provide in spite of my inaction, and thus excuse myself?

Ed M. considers our calling, based on Isaiah 6.8:

God calls. The Lord is not dead. He has not retired. He is not silent. He actively invites us to enter His service, to deliver His message. When He calls, we should immediately jump to our feet and do what He says, Mark 10:49,50.

In 1984 I was explaining in a Bible class about how great was the need for workers in the world and how few we were sending. A brother asked, “What can we do? How can we reverse this situation?” I paused, looked at him, and said, “Send your children.” The silence was deafening.

Focus question: How am I reacting to God’s call today?

Today, Ed M. writes about the meaning of reigning with Christ in his kingdom.

Reign of Christians. The word “reign” is rarely mentioned in connection with believers. It implies an ability to subdue personal passions, a power that comes from “the abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness” in Jesus, Romans 5:17. The power to control sinful desire is better than the strength to conquer a city, Proverbs 16:32. Our rule over sin is our reign on earth, I Corinthians 4:8.

In this sense, we are slaves to Christ reigning with him. It is the reign of life.

Focus question: From my life and example, what words would people use to describe my reign with Christ?

Ed M. teaches us to quiet our souls before the universe’s unknowns, starting with Psalm 131.1.

Secrets belong to God. The wise learn to be content with what God has revealed. The “secret things” belong to His infinite mind, Deuteronomy 29:29. The psalmist “quieted” his soul, Psalms 131:2. He withdrew from false pursuits. He settled down to the truth he knew. He determined not to worry over matters he could not grasp. He let God be God, Job 36:26. We should concentrate our energy on what is known: what God asks us to be, where He wants us to go, what He wishes we would do. We should leave the rest to the Almighty.

Focus question: Are my spiritual questions about the Scriptures or about subjects they do not deal with? Why do we ask about what we cannot know?