WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Charles R. Swindoll" [11-11 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Charles R. Swindoll" [11-11 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

 

The Hinge of History
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 1:1--22

Baby Moses opened his eyes on a world very different from our own. Although neither his mother nor father knew it, the birth of this man-child launched a series of events that would change the course of nations and shape the destiny of millions. History would turn like a hinge on that birth. The world would never be quite the same again.

The day came, after the deaths of Joseph and the Pharaoh who had promoted him, that a new Pharaoh stepped onto the throne. He, too, ruled, then passed the crown to the next Pharaoh. Finally, after several centuries, the name Joseph became virtually unknown. Few remembered the famine. Less recalled the golden oceans of stored grain. No one recollected how a wise, young Jewish prime minister had stepped out of obscurity to save the day. That was ancient history. Irrelevant. And the bilateral policy established between Joseph and some long-gone Pharaoh? Completely forgotten.
 
This new Pharaoh despised the growing Hebrew population. How had they even come to be there? No one knew for sure; the reports had been filed away in some obscure, dusty archive.

But one thing about these multiplying Hebrews could not be ignored: They seemed to pose a threat. And a threatened Pharaoh was not a pleasant Pharaoh to have around.

The Egyptians looked upon the growing number of Israelites (a "mighty people," Pharaoh called them) with dread. The Hebrew word translated "dread" is kootz. It means "to have an abhorrence for and horror, a sickening feeling." When the officers of Egypt noted the swelling population of Hebrews from month to month and year to year, they felt sick in the pit of their stomachs. Had there been coffee shops in those days, John and Jane Egyptian might have sat at those little round tables and said over their lattes, "Man, this problem is getting out of hand. Our demographic plan isn't working. We've got to stop their growth! If we don't limit these foreigners now, they'll be running the country in a few years."

And so the hammer blows fell as the brutality increased. When Pharaoh saw that the harsh conditions of slavery didn't achieve his ends, he turned up the persecution dial yet one more terrible notch.

Infanticide.

 

 

 

 

MONDAY

 

Have Faith, Have a Plan
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:1--10

Jochebed had faith. She also thought through a very creative plan. I'd like to pause to reflect on this tension between careful planning and full-hearted faith. Are they mutually exclusive? Not on your life! Yet to talk to some believers, you might be led to think otherwise.

I've counseled with unemployed men and women who tell me, "I'm just waiting on the Lord to provide a job."

"Fine," I reply. "And where have you placed your resumé?"

"Well, I'm not going that route. I'm just waiting on God."

"Oh really?" I say. "Then I hope you don't mind remaining jobless for awhile."

The old motto of soldiers during the Revolutionary War applies to many areas of life: "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry!" In other words, place your life in the Savior's hands, but stay at the ready. Do all that you can to prepare yourself for battle, understanding that the ultimate outcome rests with the Lord God.

To walk by faith does not mean you stop thinking. To trust God does not imply becoming slovenly or lazy or apathetic. What a distortion of biblical faith! You and I need to trust God for our finances, but that is no license to spend foolishly. You and I ought to trust God for safety in the car, but we're not wise to pass on a blind curve. We trust God for our health, but that doesn't mean we can chain smoke, stay up half the night, and subsist on potato chips and Twinkies without consequences.

Acting foolishly or thoughtlessly, expecting God to bail you out if things go amiss, isn't faith at all. It is presumption. Wisdom says to do all you can within your strength, then trust Him to do what you cannot do, to accomplish what you cannot accomplish. Faith and careful planning go hand-in-hand. They always have.

 

 

 

TUESDAY

 

God's Timing
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

I'm convinced Moses was doing more than grandstanding. I believe he was absolutely sincere. He didn't see himself murdering a cruel slave driver as much as courageously striking a blow for God's people. The desire to do something right overcame him. His problem? He dedicated himself to the will of God, but not to the God whose will it was.

Let that thought sink in. You and I can become so dedicated to the will of God, we can be so driven by a blind sense of purpose, that we might inadvertently take matters into our own hands and leave God completely out of the loop. Been there, done that?

Did that cruel taskmaster need to be punished? Yes. Was it wrong to beat that Hebrew as he did? Certainly. But when Moses stepped in and began his own Operation Deliverance, he was energized by the flesh, not the Spirit.

How easily this can happen to good people, to men and women with the highest motives and the best of intentions. Picture this: You're a gifted and highly qualified teacher. In your heart, you ache to be in front of a classroom again. With all your soul, you want to feel that lectern beneath your hands and the minds of those eager students absorbing your knowledge. And suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, an opportunity presents itself. If you don't watch it, my friend, you'll find yourself elbowing your way through that "open door."
 
But all the while, God waits for you to seek His counsel. If you act without discerning His timing, you may lose the smile of divine favor. He will not bless what He has not ordained. You may truly sense that God has something for you to accomplish in a certain area. But if you aren't vigilant, if you aren't daily humbling yourself before Him, seeking His face, discerning His timing, operating under the Spirit's control, you may push and force your way prematurely into that place where God wanted you, but you will not have arrived in His own time.

 

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

 

Our Ultimate Hooray, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Revelation 21:4; 22:3, 5

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave?

What is the ultimate hope of the disabled, the amputee, the abused, the burn victim?

How can the parents of children who have brain damage or physical handicaps keep from living their entire lives totally and completely depressed?

Why would anyone who is blind or deaf or paralyzed be encouraged when he or she thinks of the life beyond?

How can we see past the martyrdom of some helpless hostage or devoted missionary?

Where do the thoughts of a young couple go when they finally recover from the grief of losing their baby?

When a family receives the tragic news that a little daughter was found dead or their dad was killed in a plane crash or a son overdosed on drugs, what single truth becomes their whole focus? 

What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents? 

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives---more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right" and "Thank God, all this will change" and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day"1 when, as John promised in the Revelation,

"He will wipe away every tear . . . there will no longer be any death . . . any mourning, or crying, or pain." . . . There will no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (21:4; 22:3, 5) 

Hooray for such wondrous hope!

 

 

THURSDAY

 

Our Ultimate Hooray, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Corinthians 15:19--22

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day dance in beautiful coordination and leap in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the first face they will see will be of the One who gives them sight. And those precious souls whose minds and emotions are limited by mental disability, disease, or old age will enjoy to the full unhindered and uninhibited relationships. It's enough to put a smile on any weary face. There's nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits of the heavyhearted. 

Unless, of course, it's all a cruel hoax.

That's Paul's whole point in 1 Corinthians 15:19. Remember how he put it? If bodily resurrection is only an empty dream, then "we are of all men most to be pitied." All our preaching has a hollow ring to it, our faith is worthless, the dead have perished, and we are still under the condemnation of our sins (15:14, 16, 18). What a deplorable state of affairs! It's enough to make all of us run and hide!

But wait. That hypothetical argument hinges on a conditional presupposition . . . if. "If there is no resurrection of the dead" (15:13), then we're out to lunch. But there is a resurrection with all its promised hopes. It is as sure as we're alive at this moment.

How can we be so certain that we will be resurrected? What is the source of our assurance? What gives us unshakable confidence in the face of death? The fact of Christ's resurrection. 

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise. As Paul stated in that same section of Scripture, "Christ [is] the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming" (15:23). That's us! Jesus Himself promised, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).

No wonder we get so excited every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we celebrate His miraculous resurrection from the grave! It's a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony and our ultimate and eternal hooray.

 

 

 

 

 FRIDAY

 

God Gets It Done
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

Moses looked this way, and he looked that way. Isn't it interesting? He didn't look up, did he? He looked in both directions horizontally, but he ignored the vertical. And what did he do with the results of his murderous anger? Scripture says "he hid the Egyptian in the sand."
 
Invariably, when you act in the flesh, you have something to cover up. You have to bury your motive. You have to hide a contact you made to manipulate the plan. You have to conceal a lie or half-truth. You have to backtrack on a boast. You have to cover up the evidence your fleshly procedure created. It's just a matter of time before truth catches up with you. The sand always yields its secrets.

This is a good time to emphasize that the capable and gifted are also cursed with vulnerability. The highly qualified live on the cutting edge of the enemy's subtle attack---the very adversary who prods you to act in the flesh, to do the right thing at the wrong time. And how does he operate? Most of us know the drill.

You find yourself moved by a sense of need. You utter a foolish vow, like Jepthah, and live to regret it for the rest of your days. You hurry the process along, as Abram and Sarai did, and later find yourself with an Ishmael on your hands, mocking the child of promise.

Neglecting to ask God's counsel, neglecting to seek God's timing, you step in to handle things prematurely. And by and by, you've got a mess on your hands. You're stuck with a corpse, with a shovel in your hands and a shallow grave at your feet.

You know the odd thing about it all? Most of us aren't very clever at cover-ups anyway. It amazes me that Moses couldn't even bury an Egyptian right. Makes me wonder if he left the guy's toes sticking out of the sand. He failed simply to cover up the corpse.

But what about years and years later, when God took charge and Moses acted according to His timing? Was God able to cover up the Egyptians? God buried their entire army under the Red Sea---horses, weapons, chariots, and all! When God's in it, the job gets done. With the Lord in charge, failure flees  

 

 

 

SATURDAY

 

Let's Move On
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

According to Exodus 2:12, Moses hid the body of the slain Egyptian. But by the next day, it was all over the papers. They found the Egyptian. Five inches of loose sand hid nothing.

Hiding wrong, Moses now had to admit, does nothing to erase wrong. And I am convinced that from that moment on Moses determined never to hide anything again. He would be transparent. He would speak his heart, regardless of the risks of vulnerability. He would no longer hide.

Sometime in my ministry, I am going to gather up enough courage to have a testimony time where the only thing we'll share is our failures. Wouldn't that be different? Ever been to a testimony meeting where everybody else seemed to be on Cloud 39, and you were in Tunnel Number 7? One after another is talking about soaring in the heavenlies, while you're counting gum wrappers in the gutter. Why don't we visit the other side? Why not hand the microphone around and say, "When was the last time you took a nosedive? Can you share with others what it was like to experience a major disappointment?"

Far from being a downer, I've got a hunch that might prove to be a major encouragement to a group of people who feel all alone in their struggles. So many of us feel as though we have to hide our failures, believing no one else could have possibly failed as we have. Some are even afraid to tell God about it, fearing He might be as put off as we imagine others will be.

But He isn't like that at all, is He? When we take a tumble and cry out to Him in our shame and our distress, the psalmist says He "inclines His ear" to us. He bends over to listen. We say "Oh, Father, I've failed! I've failed terribly. Look at what I've done!" It is then He puts His arms around us, just as a loving earthly father would do. He then says, "I accept you just as you are. I agree that what you have done was wrong, as you've confessed it to Me. Now, My son, My daughter, let's move on."  

 

 

 

 

 THE WEEKLY WORD WITH CHARLES R. SWINDOLL

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordcharlesrswindoll.blogspot.com/

 


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