BY DONNA CHURCHHILL
“The Lord will go before you! The God of Israel will be your rear guard!”
“I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”
He who begins, finishes. He who leads us on, follows behind to deal in love with our poor attempts. He gathers up the things that we have dropped, our fallen resolutions, our mistakes. He makes His blessed pardon to flow over our sins till they are utterly washed away. And He turns to fight the enemy, who would pursue after us, to destroy us from behind. He is first, and He is last! We need never fear!
In all things, He goes before us.
He paves the way.
He even lights the way.
He whispers, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”
We never walk alone.
We are never left to stumble and falter.
He is first.
I have a long walkway from my garage to my house and at night, without proper lighting, it can be pretty daunting. Especially because I know we have bears and all assorted creatures in the woods behind our house. Yikes!! But on the side of my garage there is a sensor light, so when I walk out of the garage, the light comes on. As I walk down the walkway, there is another light on the house that comes on at dusk and stays on till dawn. This light guides me down the walkway, but once I get past that light to the foot of my stairs, it is dark again. I must continue to the first step and as soon as my foot hits the bottom step, another sensor light comes on to guide me up the stairs. BUT, I have to take that first step. This is such an object lesson for me.
We are to take one step at a time and as our foot lifts to take the next step, He lights the way. We just need to trust that He will. Every time I walk down my walkway at night, I am trusting that my next step will light the next one and so on.
God does go before us, but we have to follow and we have to trust.
But even as He goes before us, He is also our rear guard. What comfort there is in this truth. We are not left defenseless either way!
As we walk through this life, there are so many things that we shed as we go, some good, some not so good. But they are not left haphazardly on the path. He goes behind us and takes care of all those things. He gathers them up and deals with them as He chooses. He gathers our sins up into His bosom and He remembers them no more. His mercy and grace follow us.
He brings up the rear.
He watches from behind.
He fights the enemy on our behalf.
He protects us from a “sneak attack.”
He watches our back.
He is last.
He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.
What a comfort and a blessing to know that I have a God who not only goes before me and paves the way, but I also have a God who walks behind me to protect me in every way. He fights the battle both ways. I can trust Him to order my steps and direct my path. I can trust Him to be “round about” me.
“They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” Psalm 125:1, 2
“You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5 (NIV)
BY MARTHA CHEVALIER
“When the lamb opened the scroll there was silence in heaven for about a half an hour.”
Revelation 8:1 ESV
Let us rediscover the humble, albeit ancient practice of silence keeping. Just as the blood of the lamb washes us from all our sins, so waiting quietly in utter, rapt silence before the Lord levels the playing field of our soul.
Jesus said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious over many things, Mary has chosen the better.” And just what was it that Mary so beautifully chose? Mary waited upon the Lord, at his feet, clothed in silence, except perhaps for the sound of soft tears, pouring out oil on her master’s feet. What a beautiful picture of quiet prayer.
Throughout scripture we catch glimpses of the unassuming might and power of quiet. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). Posturing ourselves to hear His whisper, we must choose to be deliberate in our efforts to quiet ourselves. As we do, sometimes he comes to us with a mild murmur and other times we are forged on his ferocious anvil.
More than any other time, this past year and half, many of our homes, (and lives) showcased anything but silence… children schooling from home, remote workdays spent toiling in the kitchen, various corners of life jammed up with You Tube, Netflix, Amazon video, and Tik Tok blaring. I know it was true for me. In this past extended season, I avoided silence like the plague, no pun intended.
Why not consider a fresh approach to getting still? Maybe try a fast of words, fast of TV, social media or any other compulsion that seeks endless, mind-numbing entertainment? Instead, consider fostering opportunities which immerse ourselves in the secret place, where untold renovations of our soul take place. When we get quiet, we can squarely face the fierce avoidance monsters, the demons, the worries, the places where our own flesh-man battles rage. Silence purges us from the practices, attitudes and behaviors that demand our avoidance of core essentials. Substance surfaces.
….and David sat before the Lord. Consider your journey into the realm of solitude. If this is new to you, go ahead and try getting still for a few minutes each day. If you are an old hand, steady practitioner of stillness and comfortable sitting before the Lord, maybe instead of your morning practice add 20 minutes in the evening, just before bed. If all of Heaven stands silent in full accord for a half an hour, why not consider its merit. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you were speechless, wordless before His presence?
"Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)
“Efforts are needed for any abstinence, but the most difficult one is to keep silent which is, in fact, the most important skill.”
BY JORDAN MAYER
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
One of the things that I love most about the Psalms is the place of honesty that they’re written from. They are often intense, raw, and desperate pleas for God’s deliverance and intervention. They remind me of the importance of coming before God in prayer just as I am. Not some polished, put-together Christian that never has a fear, worry, or moment of anxiety, but someone who is well acquainted with laying their burdens and their baggage at the foot of the Cross.
Yet, there’s something else contained within the Psalms that is a true spoil of the Word. It’s present here in Psalm 42. The author (possibly David) is in turmoil. He’s in such distress that he can’t eat, so instead it’s the tears running down his cheeks that have been his food day and night. A quick skim through the books of Samuel will provide no shortage of reasons for why David might be in such deep despair. But despite the way he is feeling, what he writes in verse 5 is truly transforming. He begins preaching to his own soul! He turns the tables by challenging his own thoughts and redirecting his attention. He says, "Listen here, soul, it's time for me to do the talking".
In his book, Spiritual Depression, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones references this very passage in the following excerpt. “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.”
Our minds are powerful, as God created them to be. But without being subdued, we can quickly become a prisoner of our own thoughts. We can be dragged to and fro by the things that dominate our thinking. 2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. In the same way that we exercise self-control in our actions and the words that we speak, we are called to reign in our thoughts and submit them to Christ. To think on the things above and not on the things below (Colossians 3:2).
So what have you been thinking about? Or maybe a better question, who have you been listening to? What negative thoughts have been swirling around in your mind causing you to despair and lose hope? What lies have taken root in your mind that have taught you to take your eyes off God and focus on your circumstances? Take a moment to inventory your thoughts. Then take the opportunity to preach the truth to yourself as David did. Go before the Lord and pour out your heart to Him. Cast your anxieties on Him, but don’t end there. Be reminded that our hope is in God. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5) Take heart, dear brother or sister, and hope in God.
BY JOYCE PELLETIER
“Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing. Lord, you have assigned me my portion and cup, you have made my lot secure.”
Psalm 16:1-2, 5
After seeking help to relieve the serious back pain I’ve been having, the doctor ordered a bone scan to figure out what is really going on in my back. I’d been through one before, yet I went in with an attitude of piece of cake. I just have to lay on the table for a while while they take pictures and it will reveal what is wrong. I was thankful it was not an MRI. They are so confining, something I detest.
The test requires that your arms are up over your head for 35 minutes. Didn’t sound so bad. After about 15 minutes, I was really feeling the pain in my shoulders. It was so difficult. I didn’t know how I’d get through. I laid there for several moments and in my heart, I heard, “I know your pain!” The words filtered through my whole being for several minutes. I so wanted to get off that table. I’m thinking, “Lord, this hurts! If I could just move my shoulders!” again I heard, “I know your pain”.
This went on for a bit. After hearing this several times, I started to pray. I repeated the words in my head and heart, then suddenly I heard myself whisper several times, “He knows my pain!” I realized that God was talking to my heart. I breathed that phrase, “He knows my pain!” until finally I heard “And, I know His!”
It was a lesson that showed me that this was not a “bad day” because I was going through this difficult pain to figure out what is really wrong with the severe back pain I’ve been having. It truly was a “hard day”, one with lessons of trust. He truly knows my pain, and for some strange reason, he allowed me to experience this so that I could know His pain on the Cross. As I prayed, it became a time of grace, because so many times when the pain gets difficult, He reminds me that this is not a “Bad Day!” But it is a “Hard Day", that will teach you a deeper meaning of how much he knows my pain in everything I experience. In this, I know I’ll get through this pain in my life. We aren’t promised perfectly painless days, but we are promised that when those tough days happen, we are not alone, "He knows our pain!” I challenge you to look at a “Bad Day” and turn it to a “Hard Day!” Ask God to show you the difference.
BY JORDAN MAYER
“I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.”
The title of this devotional, Spoils of His Word, comes out of Psalm 119:162. The idea of spoils is scattered throughout the Old Testament in the accounts of Israel’s battles with the other nations. I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase, “To the victor goes the spoils”. That is precisely the idea. Spoils are the reward of victory. After a great battle, the soldiers had the pleasure of discovering what riches lay inside the conquered city. They’d take an inventory of all the treasure and resources, and then divide it among themselves. This imagery is used to describe the experience of opening God’s Word. It conveys the sense of value and delight in beholding and unfolding the very words of Creator God.
Spoil is spoil because it holds great value. It’s fitting, then, that reading Scripture is likened to one who finds great spoil. And yet, in Psalm 119:72, we read God’s Word is even better than thousands of pieces of gold and silver. For while gold and silver are valuable for a time, God’s Word is eternal and its truth impacts lives for eternity.
We are also told that the Word is sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:103). Why honey you may ask? It tastes good! As honey is sweet and a delight to the taste buds, so too is the Word a joy and delight to read. It feeds our soul, but it also satisfies our soul. How many times have you returned to the same passage, only to find a fresh truth to meditate and delight in? “My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 24:13-14).
My eager hope and prayer in beginning this devotional is that we may be reminded of the priceless treasure that has been given to us. Not only did God decide to make Himself known to us, He decided to give us His written Word. Compiled over hundreds of years, written by many different authors yet divinely inspired, and shepherded throughout history in order that we might know it and might know Him. May God forgive all the times that we neglect His Word and lose sight of its indescribable worth. Let this devotional be a showroom of sorts. A place where we discover and admire the golden nuggets and precious jewels of His Word. So now, I invite you to come alongside as we open the pages of Scripture and divide the spoils of His Word.
Hey there! If you haven't been on our website in awhile, you may notice a new addition, "Spoils of His Word". This is a new devotional project we just started featuring posts written by Daybreak's very own! These posts are short reflections on a particular verse or passage in Scripture and the impact it has had in the person's life. This devotional provides an opportunity to sharpen one another with the precious truths of God's Word. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we are reminded that "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work".
So why "Spoils of His Word" you might ask? Well, it looks like you'll have to read the next post and find out!