I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
We are a forgetful people. In the heat of an argument, we forget a friend’s kindness and focus on their faults. When the devastation of a financial loss occurs, we forget God’s previous provision. Worry crowds out trust because they cannot co-exist. The way to shrink our worry is to meditate on God’s character and truth.
What we allow our minds to ruminate on affects our thoughts, actions, and emotions. We are creatures of habit, and cycles of worry are difficult to break. One of the best antidotes to worry is a journal. Whether your journal is a list of ways God has provided for you or a rant over the concern crowding your mind, the worry antidote occurs when you read back over your journal—months or even years later. God’s sustenance of you through the valleys and mountain peaks of your days will become evident. There is nothing more powerful than meditating on His Word and promises and seeing them fulfilled in our lives. Pray that He gives us the eyes to see and the mind to remember all He has done for us.
We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as an invitation to prayer.
There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish.
A mother’s day is full of small tasks like making sandwiches and packing lunches while juggling tight schedules and finicky eaters. Children seldom say “Thank you” for their crackers, cheese, apple slices, and yogurt; and it’s natural for us to sometimes resent the onslaught of small, daily duties that come our way.
But Colossians 3:23 says, “…whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” Imagine packing that lunch for Christ! That’s what happened when the mother packed the lad’s lunch in John 6, and it’s a lesson about our Lord’s ability to bless our small chores. A 1902 publication contained a prayer written by a woman named Olive Kimball, and perhaps it’s just the word you need today:
Dear Father, as we realize that we can do but little, may that thought never discourage us, but may we eagerly do whatever our hands find to do. Help us to realize that life is made up of nameless little things, and that true happiness only comes to those who find comfort and contentment in the doing of life’s smallest duties … Wilt, Thou, oh God, bless the ministry of small things if done in the Master’s Name. Amen.
Faithfulness in the small things will lead to blessing in the big things.
Warren W. Wiersbe, in The Bumps Are What You Climb On
But deliver us from the evil one.
The defining act in the history of the Jews is the Exodus. God delivered the descendants of Jacob from the oppression of the Egyptian Pharaoh: “Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them” (Psalm 22:4). The word deliverance became a defining biblical idea for God’s saving acts of His people in both the Old and the New Testament.
Just as God delivered the Jews from Pharaoh’s kingdom, so God delivers those who trust in Jesus from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13-14). When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “But deliver us from the evil one,” He was likely speaking against the backdrop of God being the deliverer of His people. In the New Testament, that idea is affirmed by the apostles in terms of eternal security: Satan will do what he can to prevent us from reaching God’s eternal kingdom but God “will deliver [us] from every evil work and preserve [us] for His heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18).
In Christ you are protected from every temporal and eternal desire of “the evil one” to harm you: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer” (2 Samuel 22:2).
There is no devil in the first two chapters of the Bible and no devil in the last two chapters. Thank God for a Book that disposes of the devil!
And do not lead us into temptation.
It was the Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, who quipped, “I can resist anything except temptation.” It’s humorous because it’s curious—what else is there to resist except temptation? We can understand Wilde’s capitulation to temptation; it’s around every corner in life. Not to have a plan to defeat temptation is to plan to give in.
Step one in such a plan is to pray as Jesus taught His disciples: “And do not lead us into temptation.” The Greek word for temptation can be translated either as “temptation” or “trials.” We know that God never tempts anyone (James 1:13) but He does allow tests (James 1:2) and leads us into situations to prove our faith (Matthew 4:1). So Jesus’ prayer not to be led into temptation probably means, “Don’t lead us into a situation in which we might be overcome by sin.” That is, don’t lead us into something we aren’t mature enough to handle. Fortunately, the Bible promises exactly that: With every temptation God provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Unlike Oscar Wilde, the Christian can resist every temptation—by relying on the strength God gives and the desire to please Him. When tempted, pray and look for the way of escape.
Each temptation leaves us better or worse; neutrality is impossible.
Erwin W. Lutzer
…the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations.
2 Peter 2:9
In the American youth classic Jack of the Pony Express, Jennie was minding her business as postmistress when a group of ruffians burst in to terrorize her. Jack, a pony express rider, arrived to save the day. Afterward Jennie told him, “I was beginning to get frightened, but I made up my mind I wouldn’t give in to them. And then—well, you came along, and I guess I never was so glad to see you, Jack!”
There’s a lesson there for us. When temptations barge in and threaten us, we may feel frightened but we must make up our minds we’ll not give in to them. As we hold our ground, our Hero comes along—and are we ever glad to see Him!
Temptation is a negative force, but it can have positive outcomes in our lives when we resist it. When the patriarch Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, “he refused … he did not heed her” (Genesis 39:8, 10). Likewise, Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).
Resist the devil, and he will flee you. Make up your mind to defy temptation, and the Lord will help you. He knows how to crush Satan under your feet.
Temptation provokes me to look upward to God.