Barbara grew up under the care of the British government in the 1960s, but when she turned sixteen, she and her newborn son Simon became homeless. The state was no longer obligated to provide for her at that age. Barbara wrote to the Queen of England for help and received a response! The Queen compassionately arranged for Barbara to be given a house of her own.
The Queen of England had the right resources to help Barbara, and her compassionate assistance can be seen as a small picture of God’s. The King of heaven knows all of our needs and sovereignly works out His plans in our lives. As He does, however, He longs for us to come to him—sharing our needs and other prayer concerns—as part of our loving relationship with Him.
The Israelites brought their need for deliverance to God. They were suffering under the burden of Egyptian slavery and cried out for help. He heard them and remembered His promise: “God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them” (Exodus 2:25). He instructed Moses to bring liberty to His people and declared that He would once again release them “into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (3:8).
Our King delights in our coming to Him! He wisely provides what we need, not necessarily what we want. May we rest in His sovereign, loving provision.
Although Anne Sheafe Miller died in 1999 at the age of 90, she nearly passed away in 1942 after developing septicaemia following a miscarriage and all treatments proved to be unsuccessful. When a patient at the same hospital mentioned his connection to a scientist who’d been working on a new wonder drug. Anne’s doctor pressed the government to release a tiny amount for Anne. Within a day, her temperature was back to normal! Penicillin had saved Anne’s life.
Since the fall, all human beings have experienced a devastating spiritual condition brought about by sin (Romans 5:12). Only the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit has make it possible for us to be healed (8:1–2). The Holy Spirit enables us to enjoy abundant life on earth and for eternity in the presence of God (vv. 3–10). “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (v. 11).
When your sinful nature threatens to drain the life out of you, look to the source of your salvation, Jesus, and be strengthened by the power of His Spirit (vv. 11–17). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (vv. 26–27).
Archaeologist Dr. Warwick Rodwell was preparing to retire when he made an extraordinary discovery at Lichfield Cathedral in England. As builders carefully excavated part of the floor of the church to make way for a retractable base, they discovered a sculpture of the Archangel Gabriel, thought to be 1200 years old. Dr. Rodwell’s retirement plans were put on hold as his find launched him into an exciting and busy new season.
Moses was eighty years old when he made a fiery discovery that would forever alter his life. As the adopted son of an Egyptian princess, he never forgot his Hebrew lineage and raged at the injustice he witnessed against his kinsmen (Exodus 2:11–12). When Pharaoh learned that Moses had killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, he planned to have him killed, forcing Moses to flee to Midian, where he settled (vv. 13–15).
Forty years later, when he was 80, Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock when “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up” (3:2). In that moment, God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery (vv. 3–22).
At this moment in your life, what might God be calling you to do for His greater purpose? What new plans has he placed in your path?
I’m reminded of some wise advice a radio broadcaster friend once gave me. Early on in his career, as my friend struggled to know how to deal with both criticism and praise, he felt that God was encouraging him to shelve both. What’s the essence of what he took to heart? Learn what you can from criticism and accept praise. Then shelve both and humbly move on in God’s grace and power.
Criticism and praise stir in us powerful emotions that, if left unchecked, can lead to either self-loathing or an overinflated ego. In Proverbs we read of the benefits of encouragement and wise counsel: “Good news gives health to the bones. Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding” (15:30–32).
If we’re on the receiving end of a rebuke, may we choose to be sharpened by it. Proverbs states, “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise” (v. 31). And if we’re blessed with words of praise, may we be refreshed and filled with gratitude. As we walk humbly with God, He can help us learn from both criticism and praise, shelve them, and then move on in Him (v. 33).
Tani and Modupe grew up in Nigeria and went to the UK to study in the 1970s. Having been personally transformed by God’s grace, they never imagined that they would be used to transform one of the most deprived and segregated communities in England—Anfield in Liverpool. As Drs. Tani and Modupe Omideyi faithfully sought God and served their community, He restored hope to many. They lead a vibrant church and continue to run numerous community projects that have led to the transformation of countless lives.
Manasseh changed his community, first for evil and then for good. Crowned king of Judah at the age of twelve, he led his people astray and they did great evil for many years (2 Chronicles 33:1–9). They paid no attention to God’s warnings and so He allowed Manasseh to be taken prisoner to Babylon (vv. 10–11).
In his distress, the king humbly cried out to God who heard his plea and restored him to his kingdom (vv. 12–13). The now reformed king rebuilt the city walls and got rid of the foreign gods (vv. 14–15). “He restored the altar of the Lord and . . . told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel” (v. 16). As the people observed the radical transformation of Manasseh, so too were they transformed (v. 17).
As we seek God, may He transform us and so impact our communities through us.