Rescue crews in Missouri worked Tuesday to find survivors left in the rubble after a fierce tornado ripped through the city of Joplin on Sunday, killing at least 116 people and at least 232 people are missing. The National Weather Service said the tornado appeared to have more than one vortex and gave the tornado an EF4 rating. photo:AP/Fox News
The Place of Nothingness
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) .
Do you find yourself in a place of nothingness? There is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of isolation and waiting. It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities - simply inactivity.
During these times, God is calling us aside to fashion something new in us. It is a place of nothingness designed to call us to deeper roots of prayer and faith. It is not a comfortable place, especially for a task-driven workplace believer. Our nature cries out, "You must do something" while God is saying, "Be still and know that I am God." You know the signs that you have been brought into this place when He has removed many things from your life and you can't seem to change anything. Perhaps you are unemployed. Perhaps you are laid up with an illness.
Many people live a very planned and orchestrated life where they know almost everything that will happen. But for people in whom God is performing a deeper work, He brings them into a time of quietness that seems almost eerie. They cannot see what God is doing. They just know that He is doing a work that cannot be explained to themselves or to others.
Has God brought you to a place of nothingness? Be still and know that He really is God. When this happens, your nothingness will be turned into something you will value for the rest of your life.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders
Kyle Gordon pauses while looking through his destroyed home after a devastating tornado hit Joplin. Reuters/Fox News
In 1 Samuel 30:1-4 we read,
Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.
David experienced the sudden loss of his family and it tore his heart out. Notice that David and his men lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep.
Feeling sorrow and anguish and expressing it is not wrong. In fact, it is normal, especially when you have experienced a sudden and personal loss.
Perhaps, like David, you have lost family members. Or maybe you have wayward children. They were brought up in the way of the Lord, but they are living a lifestyle that is diametrically opposed to the ways of God right now, and your heart is broken when you think about it.
Maybe you have experienced some other loss in your life, something of value, something that is important to you, something that has meaning to you. If so, it is okay to grieve!
God has wired us to be emotional beings. We are not robots. It is right for loss to affect us on a personal, emotional level. As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:4, there is a time to weep.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Sorrow has its place and its time, but there is also a time for it to end and to be replaced with something else.
Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God.
A cross stands atop a church that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo. photo: AP, Fox News
When We Ignore God
Dr. Charles Stanley
Have you ever felt ignored? Everyone longs for love, acceptance, and attention, but perhaps a friend or close relative has shown little interest in you or what you have to say. Such treatment is hurtful and can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
There’s something even worse, though, than displaying no concern for others: disregarding God. Yet all of us have done this. One way we disregard Him is by failing to obey when we know His instructions. For example, if we are feeling cornered, we can be tempted to justify a white lie, but once falsehood has left our lips, we’veignored the Lord. The same principle holds true when we sense His leading but do not follow. And unless we discipline ourselves to spend time with our Father in His Word and in prayer, we are neglecting Him again.
The consequences are painful. For one thing, neglect grieves God because He is
our heavenly Father, who desires closeness with each of His children. We also miss out on the best for our lives. Since connection with the Lord is like being “plugged into” the source of life, ignoring Him will mean missing out on His best for us. And then we shortchange ourselves out of fulfilling the purpose for which He created us—glorifying Him. And remember, we eventually will be held accountable for our actions.
How are you choosing to live—do you heed what the Almighty says, or are you living with your own set of standards? Your conscious choices affect your walk with Jesus. If you tune your spirit to listen and discipline yourself to obey, you will enjoy great intimacy with the Lord.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org/.
Today's Scripture Reading: Leviticus 8: 33-36
"The time of appointing will last seven days, you must not go outside the entrance of the Meeting Tent until that time is up. Stay there until the time of your appointing is finished. The Lord commanded the things that were done today to remove your sins so you will belong to him. You must stay at the entrance for seven days. If you don't obey the Lord commands, you will die. The Lord has given me these commands." So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.
On the eight day after the time of appointing, Moses called Aaron and his sons and for the others leaders of Israel... read more
Christ: The Perfect Priest
When we see Christ, what will we see?
We will see the prefect priest. "He was dressed in a long robe and had a gold band around his chest." Revelation 1:13). The first readers of this message knew the significance of the robe and band. Jesus is wearing the clothing of a priest. A priest presents people to God and God to people.
You have know other priests. There have been others priests in your life, whether clergy or not, who sought to bring you to God. But they too, needed a priest. Some needed a priest more than you did. They, like you, were sinful. No so with Jesus. "Jesus is the high priest we need. He is holy, sinless, pure, not influenced by sinners, and he is raised above the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26).
Jesus is the perfect priest.
He is also pure and purifying: "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like flames of fire" (Revelation 1:14).
What would a person look like if he had never sinned? If no worry wrinkled his brow and no anger shadowed his eyes? If no bitterness snarled his lips and no selfishness bowed his smile? If a person never sinned, how would he appear? We'll know when we see Jesus . What John saw that Sunday on Patmos was absolutely spotless. He was reminded of the virgin wool of sheep and the untouched snow of winter.
And John was also reminded of fire. Others saw the burning bush, the burning altar, the firey furnace, or the firey chariots, but John say the firey eyes. And in those eyes he saw a purging blaze which will burn the bacteria of sin and purify the soul. (From When Christ Comes by Max Lucado)
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Page 126