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?

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. 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?

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?

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?

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?

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.

Ed Mathews shares an excellent devotional today about Esau and his parents, based on Gen 27.46. Among other things he writes,

It is impossible to estimate the influence children have on their father and mother. “None of us lives to himself,” Romans 14:7. Unfortunately, children are the last to realize it. Gross selfishness results in blind indifference toward those who love them most. Does this not also apply to our relationship with God?

Focus question: How does my life honor or dishonor my parents?

Ed M. uses Deut 7.22 as the basis for his great devotional thought today.

Intentional. God did not drive the enemy out all at once. Some were left to test Israel, to see whether they would keep the way of the Lord, Judges 2:22,23. Without challenges, commitment becomes soft. An unexercised belief becomes a flabby faith, Hebrews 5:13,14. It is a dangerous expedient. Living in the midst of evil can strengthen or weaken an allegiance to the Lord. It is a calculated risk taken by a wise God to nurture His people, Deuteronomy 8:2; Judges 3:1. The faithful look back and acknowledge their indebtedness to the stress of the journey and the burdens along the way, Hebrews 12:11.

Focus question: What challenges to my faith have I faced lately? How has my commitment been strengthened or weakened by them?

Some profess their faith in the obscurity of night, John 3:2. Though, perhaps, excusable at first, such profession cannot be maintained over the long haul. It will either come into the light or die in the dark. The believer must fight the good fight of faith in the presence of many witnesses, I Timothy 6:12. He must “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what is promised,” Hebrews 6:11,12.

Ed Mathews, Plow New Ground, July 18

Focus question: Before how many witnesses has your faith been fought?