Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness fort the prisoners…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise.”
Isaiah 61: 1, 3
Learning to Sing
“Have you ever thought, when the heart was sad,
When the days seem dark, and the nights unending,
That the broken-hearted, by the Father’s mending,
Was made, through sorrow, a helper glad;
Whose service should lighten more and more
The weary one’s burdens as never before?
Then take the simple lessons to heart,
When sorrows crowd, and you cannot sing;
To the truth of the Father’s goodness cling;
Believe that sorrow is only apart
Of the wondrous plan that gives, through pain
The power to sing a more glad refrain.”
Today’s Study Text:
“The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.”
Exodus 13: 21, 22
“God’s Pillars of Protection” Part 1
Guidance: Something serving to indicate or to direct. To direct the course.
“Where God’s glory rests we need not ask the way.”
Have I asked for God to be my Guide everyday?
Have I laid my plans before God or am I trying to “go it alone?”
“Wherever He may guide me;
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim –
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.”
Anna L. Waring
I am seeking;
I am hesitant and uncertain,
but will You, O God,
watch over each step of mine
and guide me.”
Augustine of Hippo
As I reflected over the past few weeks on how this past year has flown by with unbelievable rapidness, my thoughts turned to the upcoming future and what I recognized in my own life is the question mark I see regarding what will happen next. Like each of you, I don’t know, nor can I predict, what tomorrow holds.
However, as I’ve thought about my life and the upcoming days, I decided to go back in Scripture to the book of Exodus, the second book in the Old Testament. It is from this book I want to take lessons for the next five days, which will set the spiritual tone for our continuing studies in Transformation Garden.
There’s a very clear example left for you and me found in Exodus 13: 21, 22, our study text for today. If you read the context of these passages, you’ll find that God’s children were called out of Egypt and as they prepared to leave the intolerable bondage they had endured for hundreds of years, God came to Moses with a most reassuring piece of information. God informed Moses that he didn’t need to design a road map or purchase a GPS system. God, instead, let Moses know that He would be the Guide – as seen by a pillar of cloud and fire that gave direction to the children of Israel, providing as it were, the guidance of a private tour leader.
Just think about this for a moment. Everyday, when the children of Israel arose, they looked to the pillar, as did Moses, where according to the Biblical record, if the pillar of cloud moved forward, so did God’s children. There wasn’t a question about whether the people should move west, east, south or north. No arguing as to whether they should stop or start, not with the pillar of cloud, God’s presence, as their Guide.
This got me to wishing that in my life there was a pillar of cloud and fire to guide me everyday – a visible sign that would lead me in the right direction
But what if I told you that we do have the direction we need? You and I do have a Guide, walking right along beside us and all we have to do is ask for the “Guide’s” help.
Before Jesus’ death, we find Him gathered with His disciples in an upper room where He shared with them some wonderful news. Jesus told His friends that His Father, when Jesus left earth, was not going to leave Jesus’ friends alone to wander around in total confusion. This is how Jesus described the Guide that would be sent to each one of God’s children, and let there be no doubt, this includes you and me right down to today:
“But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener), the Holy Spirit, whom My Father will send in my name, in My place to represent Me and act on My behalf, He will teach you all things,” (John 14: 26 Amplified Bible).
What’s more, in John 16: 13, Jesus promised that the “Comforter,” will “guide” you, or as the Greek translation tells us, the “Comforter,” the One who comes to standby and walk along beside you, will show you the true and right way to go. The “Comforter” will lead us where we need to go. All we need to do each day is ask for the presence of the “Comforter” and then surrender to the guidance of God’s Spirit to lead us in our Father’s way, just as the pillar of cloud and fire led God’s children across the desert wilderness.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us “The Lord shall guide thee continually,” (Isa 58: 11 K.J.V.). This “comforting” text is explained even more clearly in the words of H. W. Smith who gives us this heavenly advice, “Abandon yourself to His care and guidance…No matter though you may seem to yourself to be in the very midst of a desert, with nothing green about you, inwardly or outwardly, and may think you will have to make a long journey before you can get into the green pastures.”
Let us not forget, as the dedicated Dr. Paul Tournier writes, that even when we try to do our best, “we do not avoid all mistakes.” Instead, we need to reflect on the fact that as we follow the “Comforter,” we can trust that we will be led through the reefs that may provide harm.
In the words of the Psalmist David, “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me,” (Psalm 139: 9-10 K.J.V.). How reassuring to know my “Comforter” or “Guide” will walk with me all through 2012.
“I cannot lose Thee!
Still in Thee abiding,
the end is clear, how wide so ever I roam;
The Hand that holds the worlds, my steps is guiding,
and I must rest at last in Thee, my home.”
“All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide.
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell;
For I know what-e’er befalls me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me;
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread;
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul a-thirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo a spring of joy I see.”
“Lead me to do Your will; make Your way plain for me to follow.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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