From Handbook to Renewal
Focus: The Works of God—Creation
In the past God spoke to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1–2)
By faith I understand that the universe was formed by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)
By the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5–7)
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. (Revelation 4:11)
From Handbook to Prayer
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3–5)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)
May these beatitudes become a reality in my life. Pause to add your own prayers for personal renewal.
May I not wear myself out to get rich;
Give me the understanding to cease.
May I not set my desire on what flies away,
For wealth surely sprouts wings
And flies into the heavens like an eagle. (Proverbs 23:4–5)
- Spiritual warfare:
- The world
- The flesh
- The devil
- Growth in character
- Personal disciplines
- Physical health and strength
My activities for this day
May I learn to do good,
Remove the oppressor,
Defend the orphan,
And plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)
- The poor and hungry
- The oppressed and persecuted
- Those in authority
- Peace among nations
- Current events and concerns
From Handbook to God’s Promises
PROTECTION FROM LONELINESS
Alone But Not Lonely
Read Zephaniah 3:17
A modern anthology of quotations from Christian theologians, philosophers, scholars, church leaders, missionaries, and reformers spans the entire 2,000-year history of the church. A quick perusal of the index entries for the words loneliness and lonely reveals an arresting fact: Of the 11 citations on these topics, people writing within the last century made all but one. And the people commenting were from a broad vocational and geographical spectrum: the British apologist C. S. Lewis, the German-born theologian Paul Tillich, the Dutch-born Dominican Henri Nouwen, the Swedish statesman Dag Hammarskjöld, and the American missionary Lottie Moon.
Checking the Bible, one discovers that the word lonely is used to refer to people only twice in two of the most popular modern translations, and the word loneliness doesn’t occur at all. From this cursory examination, it might appear that loneliness is a modern phenomenon. Perhaps there is an irony at work here: At a time when we are talking to, and face-to-face with, more people than ever before, we are lonelier than ever before. Which means the loneliness of modern humans is not one of physical proximity; it is, rather, the loneliness of the soul.
As we think about this concept, we must be careful not to confuse loneliness with solitude. When David, the shepherd-king of Israel, spent nights alone tending his sheep, it was under the watchful care of the Shepherd-God of Israel. When Paul was alone in a prison cell, he knew that a divine hand held the key to his freedom. When Jesus found Himself alone in the desert for 40 days, God’s angels ministered to Him. Each of these men was alone, but none was lonely. Each man experienced solitude, but none at the expense of security.
No one knew isolation like the prophets, and through the prophet Zephaniah, God gave an enduring promise for His people: “The Lord your God is with you.” Modern deserts of loneliness can become refreshing oases of solitude with God when we discover, and come to know in our own experience, that He is always with us.
God’s Promise: His presence dispels your loneliness.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20–21)