The waves toss wildly. The winds tear at our clothes and bring tears to our eyes. The fury of the storm causes us despair. The low, dark clouds oppress with their heavy burden. The screeching and banging deafens our ears. O Soul, prove your faith by trusting in the Lord in the midst of the tempest. Trials will end and suffering will cease, but God’s love is everlasting. His calm is in the eye of the storm.

O Soul, plan for eventualities. In an instant, emergencies can happen. Be prepared for changes in your day and your life. Bring the grace and love of God to new circumstances. Accept what comes as a necessary step to using the moment for good. See where the flux of a situation can provide opportunity for service. Step forward in the breach of change. Show the way of faith to those who are caught in the doubt of tragedy. Assure yourself and others of God’s goodness, regardless of the suffering. Be the presence of God when others question it.

Someone has said that the devil can wall us in, but he cannot roof us over. We can always get out at the top. Our difficulties are but God’s challenges, and many times He makes them so hard that we must get above them or go under.

In the Providence of God, such an hour furnishes us with the highest possibilities for faith. We are pushed by the very emergency into God’s best.

Beloved, this is God’s hour.

—A.B. Simpson’s devo

Dive to the greater depths, where flow the mercies of God unimpeded. O Soul, the surface is tossed and unstable. You were meant to live profoundly. Grapple with the great truths of Christ. Wrestle the angel of blessing to the ground. Stretch your spiritual muscles until they ache and throb. Dip your finger into the cold life-stream of the Holy Spirit. In the forge of faith are born the souls victorious. Be one of them. Press through in trust and hope. Refuse the lie of sight. To circumstance be blind, so that you may see the glorious light of heaven which bids you rise and gain the prize.

This devotional today is a must-read for everyone. Go download the devotional PDF and read for Jan. 17.

Means. Christians frequently rely on material things. In doing so, God is pushed to the sidelines. We lean on human innovations. We trust in academic degrees to equip for ministry. We assume buildings are necessary for worship. They may be important but hardly imperative. A few with God overcomes the many that depend on themselves. The hope of the world lies in the Lord, Psalms 31:1-5. Faith in Him is far more powerful than dependence on ourselves, Ephesians 6:10.

This reliance on material things is all too evident, especially in missions.

Focus question: What material things do I consider essential to success? What must I do to be among the few who depend upon God?

Today’s devotional from Ed looks at the three men facing death in the book of Daniel:

We are encouraged to be strong, I Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10. Even Nebuchadnezzar saw the wisdom in trusting the Lord, Daniel 3:28. A lack of faith is disastrous. Until we know for certain that we are in the hands of God, we will have little effect of the hearts of men.

This last sentence above leads us to seek greater faith.

Focus question: How do I draw courage from my faith? How do I develop a faith strong enough to help me face any challenge?

Today, Ed’s devotional is based in Philemon.

Faith in action is powerful. It reveals the riches of living in Jesus. It leads others to see the beauty of Christianity. It draws people to the Lord. The most convincing faith is a demonstrated faith, II Thessalonians 1:11,12. Actions are more persuasive than words.

Focus question: How does your faith show itself at home, at school, in the workplace, in the congregation?

I love 1 Peter, and I love 1.8, and I love what Kathryn H. said about it:

The scripture for today, January 8 (1/8), is 1st Peter 1:8 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

“Though you have not seen him, you love him! And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him! And are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy!”

Ah, the memories Peter had of being with Jesus when they all were young. Now he was old and people were dying out who had seen Jesus in person.

After Jesus returned to heaven, it was the job of his Apostles to tell people about him and repeat his words. They spent the rest of their lives doing just that. What joy they found when people believed, even though they had not seen him. They not only believed, but they also loved him

Thank God, the Apostles wrote the New Testament so we would never have to guess what Jesus was like and never have to guess what his words were, even after the Apostles died. In fact, we have the advantage because we do not have to wait for an Apostle to come visit us and tell us. We can read about Jesus for ourselves over and over as many times as we like right in our home.

Yes, we have not seen Jesus. Yet, with his life and words before us, we believe! And we love him. What inexpressible and glorious joy!

A.B. Simpson has this main point right:

We need to watch our prayers as well as watch for the answers to our prayers. It requires as much wisdom to pray rightly as it does faith to receive the answers to our prayers. A Christian confided that he had been in years of darkness because God had failed to answer certain of his prayers. As a result, he had been in a state bordering on infidelity. A very few moments were sufficient to convince this friend that his prayers had been entirely unauthorized and that God had never promised to answer such prayers. They were for things which, in the exercise of ordinary wisdom, he should have accomplished himself. The result was deliverance from the cloud of unbelief which was almost wrecking his Christian life. There are some things about which we do not need to pray as much as to take the light which God has already given. Many people are asking God to give them peculiar signs, tokens and supernatural intimations of His will. Our business is to use the light He has given, and then He will give whatever more we need. Watch and pray -Matthew 26:41

Selfishness show up in prayer and protests that God is not answering its justifiable demands requests. If God is not going to give me what I want, why pray? Why have faith? Why be a Christian? What hasn’t God put me at the center of the universe? Why doesn’t he solve all my problems?

There is no place in prayer or in Christ for the selfish saint. God will at least ignore such a one and at most will work to wring out the selfishness. Neither divine proceeding will please the one who insists on retaining one’s own self-interest.

Have faith. Trust in God. Believe that he will provide. Has he not done so in the past? Has he not cared for your every need? Have you not seen his hand move when you were helpless? Are you not his child, in Christ? Did you not obey the gospel and receive his grace? God cares for his own. He has promised to care for those who seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Rest in him. Be at peace. Know that he is God and he sees your need. Give thanks for his goodness toward you.