Sin’s Way is Hard

y this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. 2 Samuel 12:14.

Through successive generations infidels have pointed to the character of David, bearing this dark stain, and have exclaimed in triumph and derision, “This is the man after God’s own heart!” Thus a reproach has been brought upon religion, God and His word have been blasphemed, souls have been hardened in unbelief, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin.

But the history of David furnishes no countenance to sin. It was when he was walking in the counsel of God that he was called a man after God’s own heart. When he sinned, this ceased to be true of him until by repentance he had returned to the Lord….

Though David repented of his sin, and was forgiven and accepted by the Lord, he reaped the baleful harvest of the seed he himself had sown…. His authority in his own household, his claim to respect and obedience from his sons, was weakened. A sense of his guilt kept him silent when he should have condemned sin; it made his arm feeble to execute justice in his house….

Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins, should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. Though like David they should turn from their evil course, the results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear.

A man incurs guilt by injuring a fellow-being, but his chief guilt is the sin that he has committed against the Lord, and the evil influence of his example upon others. The sincere child of God does not make light of any of His requirements.

God intended the history of David’s fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson that God designed to teach.
Conflict and Courage p. 180
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Prayer Requests
—–Three children and their mother have been kidnapped early this morning in this area. Please pray that they will be found quickly and that they will be ok. L
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Dear Friends,

When my Aunt, Joyce, found out that she had colon cancer, she took it with the stoical toughness with which she had faced many other of life’s disappointments. As the disease progressed, however, she began to soften toward religion and was seriously considering asking a pastor for counsel. About this time, she received a phone call from Pastor H. She was delighted as she had gone to school and church with him when they were teenagers. She would feel comfortable telling him what was on her heart.

The day finally came when Pastor H came to visit. Auntie Joyce felt relief that at last she would be able to have help returning to God. It had been over forty years since she had gone to church. There was a knock on the door. Auntie Joyce welcomed her former friend into her apartment. The first words out of his mouth were a flippant, “Girl, you’d better get your act together.” Then he belittled her for her wrong choices in life in a hardhearted and judgmental way. There was no loving compassion. There was no pointing her to the Great Physician Who was standing there waiting to bring her spiritual and perhaps even physical healing. There was no opening to her the Scriptures and no prayer raised in her behalf. There was no showing her the Good Shepherd Who with joy would welcome her back to the fold.

Poor Joyce was shocked! This man was no one with whom she could counsel. She felt her window of hope slam shut. Indeed, after Pastor H left, her disappointment turned to anger. She felt vindicated that she had left the church long years before. Christians were critical and judgmental. Christians were more unbelieving than unbelievers. Christians possessed no love for anyone other than their little circle of friends. Auntie Joyce shut her heart’s door against Jesus that day because of the way she was treated by a man who professed to be His follower. Moreover, she shared this experience with her grown children who were incensed by the way she was treated and looked upon Christians in an even worse light than they already had.

Our Dear Saviour bids us to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28:19, 20 Yet, we must be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” when we share our faith. 10:16 Paul reminds us, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Col 4:6 How important that we never treat the gospel in a careless or flippant manner. How vital that we have respect for those around us and speak of eternal realities with care and reverence lest they shut their heart and mind from their Only Helper just like my Auntie Joyce did. How essential that we speak the truth with the same love for the erring one that our Loving Redeemer has for them.

May “the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, . . . To the end he may stablish your hearts [and theirs] unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” is my prayer.

Rose

A King is Rebuked.

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. 2 Samuel 12:7.

As time passed on, David’s sin toward Bathsheba became known, and suspicion was excited that he had planned the death of Uriah. The Lord was dishonored. He had favored and exalted David, and David’s sin misrepresented the character of God and cast reproach upon His name. It tended to lower the standard of godliness in Israel, to lessen in many minds the abhorrence of sin; while those who did not love and fear God were by it emboldened in transgression.

Nathan the prophet was bidden to bear a message of reproof to David. It was a message terrible in its severity. To few sovereigns could such a reproof be given but at the price of certain death to the reprover. Nathan delivered the divine sentence unflinchingly, yet with such heaven-born wisdom as to engage the sympathies of the king, to arouse his conscience, and to call from his lips the sentence of death upon himself….

The guilty may attempt, as David had done, to conceal their crime from men; they may seek to bury the evil deed forever from human sight or knowledge; but “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).

The prophet Nathan’s parable of the ewe lamb, given to King David, may be studied by all…. While he was following his course of self-indulgence and commandment breaking, the parable of a rich man who took from a poor man his one ewe lamb, was presented before him. But the king was so completely wrapped in his garments of sin, that he did not see that he was the sinner. He fell into the trap, and … passed his sentence upon another man, as he supposed, condemning him to death….

This experience was most painful to David, but it was most beneficial. But for the mirror which Nathan held up before him, in which he so clearly recognized his own likeness, he would have gone on unconvicted of his heinous sin, and would have been ruined. The conviction of his guilt was the saving of his soul. He saw himself in another light, as the Lord saw him, and as long as he lived he repented of his sin.
Conflict and Courage p. 179
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Prayer Requests
—–Please pray for Eileen as she is having more pain and some numbness since receiving electro-stim and doing certain exercises the physical therapist has given her. Rose
—–My daughter and husband need God’s leading today. L
—–Please pray for the Motley family as they lay their grandmother to rest tomorrow. She was like a mother to them. Rose
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Dear Friends,

When Eileen was three, we were living in Pennsylvania . That spring, she and I took the train to Michigan to visit my mother for two weeks. While we were there, my mother decided to show me the mall that had recently opened. As we entered the main area, I noticed a woman, who was sitting on a bench by the fountain, watching us. As we drew nearer, her face suddenly “lit up” in recognition and she exclaimed, “I’d know that nose anywhere!” I was shocked! Who was this woman who sprang to her feet and was coming towards me with joy on her face? As we talked I found that she was my half-sister, Rosalie, whom I had not seen for about ten years. In fact, we have only seen each other about five or six times in our whole life. We look and act nothing alike. She is thin, has olive skin and dark hair like her mother, and is very outgoing. I am shyer and look like our father, who was fair-skinned and heavy.

Just as Rosalie recognized me because I look like our father, so we have the privilege of representing our Heavenly Father to those around us. Paul tells us, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:7, 4:28 , 3:26 Think of it! We are the children of the Great King of the Universe, the Creator of all! What a privilege is ours!

All around us are those perishing in darkness, “but ye, brethren, are not in darkness, . . Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night, and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” 1 Thes 5:5-8 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt 5:13-16

May we, in all that we do, in all that we say, rightly represent Him, Who “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 May we “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created ” us. Col 3:10 May we ever walk as children of light, having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but keeping our eyes focused upon the One Who loves us so.

Rose

One Sin Leads to Another

The thing that David had done displeased the Lord. 2 Samuel 11:27.

When in ease and self-security he let go his hold upon God, David yielded to Satan and brought upon his soul the stain of guilt. He, the Heaven-appointed leader of the nation, chosen by God to execute His law, himself trampled upon its precepts. He who should have been a terror to evildoers, by his own act strengthened their hands.

Amid the perils of his earlier life David in conscious integrity could trust his case with God. The Lord’s hand had guided him safely past the unnumbered snares that had been laid for his feet. But now, guilty and unrepentant, he did not ask help and guidance from Heaven, but sought to extricate himself from the dangers in which sin had involved him. Bathsheba, whose fatal beauty had proved a snare to the king, was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s bravest and most faithful officers. None could foresee what would be the result should the crime become known….

Every effort which David made to conceal his guilt proved unavailing…. In his desperation he was hurried on to add murder to adultery. He who had compassed the destruction of Saul was seeking to lead David also to ruin. Though the temptations were different, they were alike in leading to transgression of God’s law….

Uriah was made the bearer of his own death warrant. A letter sent by his hand to Joab from the king commanded, “Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.” Joab, already stained with the guilt of one wanton murder, did not hesitate to obey the king’s instructions, and Uriah fell by the sword of the children of Ammon….

He whose tender conscience and high sense of honor would not permit him, even when in peril of his life, to put forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, had so fallen that he could wrong and murder one of his most faithful and most valiant soldiers, and hope to enjoy undisturbed the reward of his sin. Alas! how had the fine gold become dim! how had the most fine gold changed!
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Prayer Requests
——Today Chelsea and Josue lay their tiny babe to rest. Please pray for them during this heartbreaking time. Rose
——B is in need of a good paying job. Please pray that the Lord will supply that need quickly. L
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Dear Friends,

When I was a little girl, I spent nearly every evening with my grandfather, Edwin Harmon. He told me the most wonderful stories of when he was a boy. I’d ask for them over and over. One time, I asked him why he had a little bluish mark on his lip. Thus began a story I had not heard before.

When he was still in grade school, he and his little brother, Harold, were playing with a group of boys from the neighborhood one day. Having free time was a rare thing back in the late 1800’s, so the boys wanted some exciting adventure. They decided to go to the town’s gravel pit and play on the piles of gravel. They knew that this was strictly forbidden because of the danger of being buried alive, and that the owner of the gravel pit had posted a guard at the entrance to keep everyone out.

That is what made it all the more appealing to these boys, who were wanting fun and excitement. Somehow they sneaked in and started climbing on the mounds. At first they were quiet, but as their little “king of the mountain” game progressed, all thoughts of the guard vanished and they began to laugh and shout. Before long, the guard heard them and grabbed his gun. Firing toward the boys, but not meaning to hit any of them, he shouted for the boys to get out.

It did not take a second shot for those boys to be convinced that they should leave. Away they ran like scared rabbits! My grandfather had felt a little sting on his lip when the man shot at them, but it was only after he was far away from the pit, that he tasted the salty taste of blood. The bullet had grazed his lip. Ever after, he would have a little blue mark where some of the gunpowder “tattooed” him.

How often it is the same in our life. We think that we can “get by” with some forbidden pleasure, but the results forever change our life. Sin scars. Sin leaves its mark. The Great Redeemer has given many such examples in His Holy Word. One such example is Lot. He had lived with his uncle Abraham until he was so prosperous that the two men had to dwell a little distance from each other. Abraham, although in a position to choose the best for himself, let Lot choose the area where he wished to dwell. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” Gen 13:10,11 That choice resulted in a loss of all that was dear to him. He lost his wife, his family, his possessions, everything.

Another example is King David. His one moment of indiscretion, changed his life forever. From that moment, his kingdom began to decline. The guilt that he felt kept him from rebuking his children as he should and this changed the way they viewed sin. The course of their lives spiraled downward to the point that it cost some of them their lives. The baby which was born out of his affair with Bathsheba died shortly after birth. His firstborn went beyond his father’s lust and it cost him his life. His well-beloved son coveted the throne and began plotting against him. <2 Sam 13-19>

How easy It is to make a wrong choice. One unguarded moment can change the whole course of our lives. One wrong decision can lead us down the wrong path. How much we need God’s wisdom and care. Only then can we keep from ruining our lives. We do not possess this wisdom naturally. It is a gift from our Great Creator.

James tells us” If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 Our Loving Guide has promised, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Ps 32:8 What a wonderful God we serve! He promises to guide us and to instruct us in every aspect of our life. Our part is to cooperate with him. We must not stubbornly refuse His leading. If we turn from His instruction, we will suffer a great loss, a loss that He does not want us to experience. If we refuse to listen to His voice, our life will take a downward course.

May we close our ears from the first suggestion of the enemy. May we turn from the momentary pleasures this world has to offer. May we walk in the path that leads to everlasting joy is my prayer.
Rose

Satan’s Stealthy Work

For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Ephesians 6:12, Phillips.

The Bible has little to say in praise of men. Little space is given to recounting the virtues of even the best men who have ever lived. This silence is not without purpose; it is not without a lesson. All the good qualities that men possess are the gift of God; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. Since they owe all to God the glory of whatever they are or do belongs to Him alone; they are but instruments in His hands. More than this—as all the lessons of Bible history teach—it is a perilous thing to praise or exalt men; for if one comes to lose sight of his entire dependence on God, and to trust to his own strength, he is sure to fall….

It is impossible for us in our own strength to maintain the conflict; and whatever diverts the mind from God, whatever leads to self-exaltation or to self-dependence, is surely preparing the way for our overthrow. The tenor of the Bible is to inculcate distrust of human power and to encourage trust in divine power.

It was the spirit of self-confidence and self-exaltation that prepared the way for David’s fall. Flattery and the subtle allurements of power and luxury were not without effect upon him. Intercourse with surrounding nations also exerted an influence for evil. According to the customs prevailing among Eastern rulers, crimes not to be tolerated in subjects were uncondemned in the king; the monarch was not under obligation to exercise the same self-restraint as the subject. All this tended to lessen David’s sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. And instead of relying in humility upon the power of Jehovah, he began to trust to his own wisdom and might.

As soon as Satan can separate the soul from God, the only Source of strength, he will seek to arouse the unholy desires of man’s carnal nature. The work of the enemy is not abrupt; it is not, at the outset, sudden and startling; it is a secret undermining of the strongholds of principle.
Conflict and Courage p. 177
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Prayer Requests
—–D and K have still not found an apartment in their mission field. Please pray that God will guide D to the one best suited to their needs. Rose
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Dear Friends,

One day after church about eight years ago, Ronnie Jay, a friend who was visiting us, Eileen, and I decided to go walking in a nearby park. I was thinking we were going to the area of the park that has nice cement walkways, so I wore my church clothes. As we were driving to the park, Eileen asked if we could go to the other side. Now that area has tiny dirt trails. I said, “Well, I’m not dressed for it, but I like that area better too, so let’s go there.”

After we had started down the trail, I realized that few people had been there since a flood in that area almost a year before. There were places where the path had been washed away and other areas where it was barely visible because grass and thistles had grown over it. To add to my troubles, it had rained the night before, so most of the way was muddy. Church shoes and mud just do not go well together! I slipped and slid along the trail and almost fell a few times.

Still, the walk was enjoyable for the most part. We saw many birds, a couple of deer, and stopped occasionally to watch a spider on its web. As we neared the end of the walk, the trail was no longer visible. It was covered with grass. That does not sound like a problem, but here in Kansas the wild grass is over six feet tall! That’s about a foot taller than Eileen and I. We felt like we were in a jungle. If the trail had not been going fairly close to the trees, we would have become completely disoriented. That stand of trees was our guide. Finally the trail was visible again and soon we were back at the car.

As I was slipping and sliding along, I was thinking how like life our little walk was. We have two paths to choose. One is broad and smooth. One is narrow and hard to travel. Jesus says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matt 7:13,14

Which path are we traveling? The easy path seems like the best choice, but if we choose that one, we will perish. The difficult trail will take us through sorrows and heartaches and many trials, but we have a Guide Who has promised, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Ps 32:8 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Heb 13:5

May we choose the steep and rocky path to the Heavenly Kingdom. May we ever look to our loving Savior for the help that we need to get there. May we listen to His gentle voice as He says,”‘This is the way, walk ye in it,’ when ye turn to the right hand, and when [we] turn to the left.” Isa 30:21

Rose

His Last Mistake

Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him there for his error. 2 Samuel 6:6, 7.

The fate of Uzzah was a divine judgment upon the violation of a most explicit command. Through Moses the Lord had given special instruction concerning the transportation of the ark. None but the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were to touch it, or even to look upon it uncovered….

The priests were to cover the ark, and then the Kohathites must lift it by the staves, which were placed in rings upon each side of the ark and were never removed. To the Gershonites and Merarites, who had in charge the curtains and boards and pillars of the tabernacle, Moses gave carts and oxen for the transportation of that which was committed to them. “But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders” (Numbers 7:9). Thus in the bringing of the ark from Kirjathjearim there had been a direct and inexcusable disregard of the Lord’s directions….

The Philistines, who had not a knowledge of God’s law, had placed the ark upon a cart when they returned it to Israel, and the Lord accepted the effort which they made. But the Israelites had in their hands a plain statement of the will of God in all these matters, and their neglect of these instructions was dishonoring to God. Upon Uzzah rested the greater guilt of presumption. Transgression of God’s law had lessened his sense of its sacredness, and with unconfessed sins upon him he had, in face of the divine prohibition, presumed to touch the symbol of God’s presence. God can accept no partial obedience, no lax way of treating His commandments. By the judgment upon Uzzah He designed to impress upon all Israel the importance of giving strict heed to His requirements. Thus the death of that one man, by leading the people to repentance, might prevent the necessity of inflicting judgments upon thousands.
Conflict and Courage p. 176
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Prayer Requests
—–Chelsea and Josue’s baby’s funeral is tomorrow. Please pray for them and the family as they lay their precious one to rest. Rose
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Dear Friends,

One day, when my mother was a teenager, my grandmother sent her to the mailbox to mail a letter. The mailbox was three blocks away. Van Avery’s drug store was on that corner and my mother decided to take her little change purse and buy some little treat as a reward for going.

As she walked along, she began to daydream. Before long she had arrived at her destination and absentmindedly mailed the letter—and—her purse! Just as she closed the mail chute, she realized what she had done. She went inside the drugstore and asked Mrs. Van Avery what she should do. My mother was very distraught, and the storekeeper tried to comfort her.
Finally, my mother went home. My grandmother was not pleased, but she had an idea. “Geneva,” she said, “You are just going to have to go back to the mailbox and wait for the mailman.” When it was near the pickup time, she stood beside that mailbox. She got very tired of standing there. As she waited, she was tempted to go into the store and look around, but she knew that she might miss the mailman. Then she would never get her purse.
After what seemed like an eternity, the mailman arrived! Blushing with humiliation, my mother asked him to find her change purse amidst all the letters. He couldn’t help smiling at this teenage girl standing before him. He told her not to be embarrassed, because he often had to retrieve things a lot stranger than a changepurse out of mailboxes.
Just as my mother waited for the mailman, so we are to wait for Jesus’ coming. Just as she resisted the temptation to go into the store and look at all the pretty figurines that Mrs. Van Avery had, or go to the soda fountain and talk to the neighbor boy who worked there, so we should not allow the things of this world to get our mind off our ultimate goal.
Jesus is coming soon! “Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Rev 1:7 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess 4:16,17 “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be….And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree, When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors….Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” Matt 24:27,31-33,44-47
Jesus made a statement that causes us to think, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 Let us determine that He will find us faithful, for He promises, “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev 2:10 Let us endure unto the end for He has said, “he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matt 10:22 “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:35-37
Rose

Daily Devotionals & Prayer Requests