Tremendous thought today from Ed M., based on Malachi 3.13. In his full page of meditations, he says,

The reluctant say that it is “futile” to serve Him. There is no “gain” in keeping His commands, Malachi 3:14,15. These people believe religion ought to pay big dividends now. It ought to bring great rewards immediately. The general feeling is that folks surely will not serve God for nothing, Job 1:9. In spite of that sentiment, the faithful may live a lifetime without seeing a reward, Hebrews 11:13.

Focus question: When it seems there’s no advantage to faith, what am I thinking?

Ed M. wrote as a part of today’s devotional:

People should bring to Him their daunting perplexities, vexing questions, and impossible situations. He will give them strength to overcome their weakness, II Corinthians 12:9,10. If we would fully trust Him, we could do great things. We could defy all the odds along the way. We could swim the deepest ocean, climb the highest hill, and move the biggest mountain, Matthew 17:20b.

What should you bring to the Lord in faith, for him to solve, accomplish, or multiply? What great thing awaits us to do when we show full trust in him?

Great point by Ron T. in the last line:

Elisabeth, an older woman who looked on her life as one not blessed by God because she had no child (or no children) to raise and nurture. She may not have considered her and her husband (Zacharias) as cursed, but it is more than likely she saw herself and them as not blessed (cf. Deut. 7:14: You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. ESV). She was very much on the Lord’s mind (as was her husband) and she was very much in the Lord’s good graces. It goes to show (teach) that reality as one thinks of it in her life may not be reality at all.

God may change our status, situation, condition, circumstance in a moment, in the blinking of an eye.

Oh, Lord, I believe!

James’ argument for the necessary outworking of this salvation in good works ( 2:14-24 ) is countered by Paul’s insistence on the working of the grace of God in the act of faith for salvation ( Rom 3:24-31 ).

Source: Faith Definition and Meaning – Bible Dictionary

So is Paul correcting James? Is that what he’s saying? Paul “counters” James? I guess if you believe in salvation by faith only, James has to be countered in some way.

Faith is the attitude of the interim, Heb 11.39-40. It walks toward the promise of God. It plows through doubt. It breaks through barriers that would throw it down as a useless tool. It battles the challenges to receive from the Lord an eternal reward. Faith will one day be dissolved when sight comes into play, when the promise is given. For now, however, faith is the bridge to carry us across.

Each of us will become what we were meant to be, what we were originally created to be, when our faith taps into the power of God. Do we not therefore want to know how to do this? Is our searching and every effort not thrown into discovering and implementing this? Or has our attention been diverted to superficial changes and short-term solutions?

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