Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“After Peter and Jesus were in the boat, the wind became calm. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, ‘Truly You are the Son of God!’”
Matthew 14: 32, 33
The Everyday Bible
“Some people insist upon holding Christ at a distance, waiting before going to Him until obstacles have been removed. We may say, ‘When economic skies are brighter; when doubts have been cleared; when the edge of sorrow has been dulled; then I will go to Jesus.’ There are always storms of difficulty and of assailing doubts. Unanswered questions and the problems of hideous wrongs are always battling against the good purposes of Christ. Do not let the storms keep you from the consoling presence of Christ. Build a bridge out of the storms, and go to Him!”
Springs In The Valley
“’Get into the boat!’ Thou didst whisper.
At first how I feared to obey;
I looked not at Thee, but the storm clouds,
The darkness, the waves, and the spray.
But then came the words, ‘Will you trust Him?
Will you claim and receive at His hand?
All His definite fullness of blessing?
Launch out at Thy Masters command!’
‘Thou are willing, my Lord, could I doubt Thee?
Hast Thou ever proved untrue?
Nay! out at Thy Word I have ventured,
I have trusted. Thy part is to do.’”
Laura A. Barter-Snow
Today’s Study Text:
“Not so are the wicked and those living without God. But they are like the chaff, worthless and dead, without substance which the wind drives away.”
Psalm 1: 4
“Wind Blown and Weary”
Psalm 1 Part 16
“Never trouble yourself to inquire whether you will have strength to endure what is presented, if it should actually come upon you, for the moment of trial will have its appointed and sufficient grace.”
Francois Fénelon and
Have I found myself being blown about because my roots were not deeply planted in my Father’s word?
Where do I turn when the stormy winds attack my life?
What trial am I facing right now that frightens me and gives me thoughts of doubt?
“Whatever storm cometh, you will find His bosom the surest place of retreat.”
“The darker the night grows, and the fiercer the storm becomes, the better will we remember that He of the lake of Galilee came to them upon the waves in the night when the storm was wildest.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
There’s nothing like word pictures and unique comparisons to help a reader get a visual understanding of events which transpired in years past. This is why the Psalmist’s effective use of language aids us in comprehending Psalm 1. Professor Carol Dempsey provides us with this insight when she notes that the Psalmist uses a “simile” from the agrarian (agricultural use of land) world. At threshing time, a farmer scoops up the grain, lets it fall to the ground, and lets the wind blow the scraps – the chaff – away. The Psalmist David called this process “chaff before the wind” in Psalm 35: 5. But Professor Dempsey doesn’t stop with a simile, she points to the fact that there’s a reason the ungodly are likened to chaff: “Unlike the righteous, the wicked are not nurtured or nourished; they are rootless, and their fate is to be scattered about by forces greater than themselves.”
I read this particular passage several weeks ago and honestly, it took some time and prayer to sink in! Then several days ago it hit me: the reason that the chaff is so useless and worthless is that it isn’t rooted to anything. It is so light weight that when caught in a gust of wind, there’s nothing to hold it down. It was this specific thought that got me reflecting on the dust storms that batter the Sonoran Desert here in Arizona during the hot summer months. These large clouds of dust and whatever happens to be in the path of these destructive forces can and does uproot anything in the pathway. If trees aren’t blown over, I can assure you that it is most likely because they have a massive and mature root system.
Not so with chaff that is as light as the specks of dust that form these haboobs into the danger they are. I find it completely applicable that the Psalmist uses language like, “It isn’t so! The ungodly are not stable or sturdy or stalwart! Not like the righteous.” As Matthew Henry describes: “The ungodly are light and vain; they have no substance in them, no solidity; they are easily driven to and fro by every wind and temptation, and have no steadfastness…The chaff may be, for a while among the wheat. But a day is coming when those that by their own sin and folly make themselves as chaff. They will be found before the whirlwind unable to stand firm for they aren’t deeply rooted or firmly planted.”
As we consider the stark difference portrayed between the righteous and the ungodly, I thought of all the challenges each of us face in our daily lives. In our world today there’s always some allurement to distract us from the things of God. I can’t tell you what trials and distractions may weaken your hold on God and cause doubts to creep into your life. I know in my own life that there are testing times which I’ve faced and which have led me to ask my Father, “Where are You when I need You most?” But as Francis Frangipane points out “Before God can truly use us, in one way or another, we will pass through a time of threshing.” I’m not keen on the “threshing” part of my journey. But when I look at the lives of the ungodly as shown by the Psalmist, no matter the adversity, my prayer is that I will daily grow into the tree planted by the waters of life. As author Kay Arthur writes in her wonderful book, When Bad Things Happen, “We must lay our questions, frustrations, anxieties at the feet of God and wait for His answer. When we receive it, we must live by faith.”
In his teaching “Turning It Around for Good” James MacDonald provides this immensely encouraging hopeful revelation: “God is so sovereign. He’s so much in control that even when Satan tries to ruin our lives, God takes the weapon that Satan wants to use to destroy us and turns it into a good thing…The harder the trial, the closer He moves toward us. Are you feeling crushed today? He is rushing toward you to stand beside you and help you.”
Whatever the storm…no matter how strong the winds…no matter how powerful the waves as Sakena Young-Scaggs writes about Psalm 1:4, “Through our faithfulness to the will of God we can vision a full life in the face of constant and unrelenting adversity of this world. As human windblown beings, we all travel through the forest on the journey of our mortal years. We emerge from the forest either as fruit-bearing, ‘trees planted by streams of water,’ or ‘withered’ plants or as ‘chaff,’ simply to be blown away.”
“Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen or suppose that should happen; but what could we do and how would we bear it? But, if we are living in the ‘high tower’ of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives.”
Hannah Whithall Smith
“My Steadfast Love and my Fortress, my High Tower and my Deliverer, my Shield and He in whom I trust and take refuge.”
Psalm 144: 2
He Leads Us On
“He leads us on
By paths we did not know,
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day,
Yet, when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on
Through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts,
And fears He guides our steps.
Through all the tangled maze
of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.
And He, at last,
After the weary strife,
After the restless fever we call life,
After the dreariness, the aching pain,
The wayward struggles which have proved in vain,
After our toils are past
Will give us rest at last.”
Edward Henry Bickersteth
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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