The word refuge may be translated “mansion,” or “abiding-place,” which gives the thought that God is our abode, our home. There is a fullness and sweetness in the metaphor, for dear to our hearts is our home, although it be the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret; and dearer far is our blessed God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.
It is at home that we feel safe: we shut the world out and dwell in quiet security. So when we are with our God we “fear no evil.” He is our shelter and retreat, our abiding refuge. At home, we take our rest; it is there we find repose after the fatigue and toil of the day. And so our hearts find rest in God, when, wearied with life’s conflict, we turn to him, and our soul dwells at ease. At home, also, we let our hearts loose; we are not afraid of being misunderstood, nor of our words being misconstrued.
So when we are with God we can commune freely with him, laying open all our hidden desires; for if the “secret of the Lord is with them that fear him,” the secrets of them that fear him ought to be, and must be, with their Lord. Home, too, is the place of our truest and purest happiness: and it is in God that our hearts find their deepest delight.
What do people do with feelings of anxiety or fear? Aside from those who are medically diagnosed with anxiety disorders, fearful people tend to fuss and worry over potential scenarios and outcomes. They might rehearse the possibilities in their mind and take worries to bed, which keeps them tossing and turning all night. Or maybe they try to numb themselves with distractions, drugs or alcohol.
God wants us to bring our worries to Him—then He can calm our anxious burdens with His peace, which surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4:6-7). And today we have advantages that weren’t available in the days of the Old Testament. Instead of waiting for a prophet to deliver a message from the Lord, we have the completed Scriptures, which are God’s revelation of Himself, His works, and His ways. Through His Word, we learn to know and understand the Lord and His plans so we can pray more confidently.
As we spend time in the Scriptures, we can increasingly see from God’s perspective. Then our prayers will be focused on what He wills rather than on what we want. Through this kind of prayer, our spiritual needs are met, and we can set aside anxiety to live in complete trust in the Lord.
John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.”—John 3:27 NLT
John the Baptist was a true man of God. He knew that a person cannot do anything for God unless God sends the person and bestows the necessary spiritual gifts for the mission. It doesn’t matter what a person thinks he should do for God. What matters is what God thinks a person should do for Him.
A true man or woman of God does not go beyond the call of God, does not go beyond the gifts that have been given. There is no place for jealousy, envy, and covetousness about someone else’s ministry in the Kingdom. Like John, we should be satisfied with what God has given us to do for Him.
John’s message to us is this: Be you and not somebody else. Be at peace and happy with the special tasks and callings God has given to just you in His Kingdom.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.—Psalm 51:12
Have you lost the joy of your salvation? If your Christian life has become stale and musty, it’s time to remember what Christ has done for you and to ask that He restore your excitement.
Think about how Andrew longed to know the Savior and spend time with Him (John 1:38-39). The disciple’s example is a good reminder that sweet fellowship with the Lord isn’t supposed to end with devotional times. It should also stimulate a desire to share with others the joy we find in our relationship with Christ. Andrew was motivated by his conviction that Jesus was the Messiah (John 1:40-41). He’d found the answer for a lost and hurting world and wanted others to know.
When Andrew answered the call to discipleship, Jesus told him he’d be catching men instead of fish (Matt. 4:18-19). As followers of Christ, we too have this same assignment. Our styles and opportunities vary, but we’re each responsible to develop a lifelong habit of bringing others to Jesus.
Every person needs to hear a “wonderful.” Here is why. Companies spend billions of dollars to convince us that we are chubby, smelly, ugly and out-of-date. Inadequacy indwells a billion hearts.
Would you distribute encouragement? Will you make some happiness happen? Will you remind humanity that we are made in God’s image? That we are chosen, destined, and loved?
Start by listening intently. Ask someone to tell you his, or her, story. Give the rarest of gifts— your full attention.
Praise abundantly. Biblical encouragement is no casual, kind word but rather a premeditated resolve to lift the spirit of another person. Everyone needs a cheerleader.
Give the gift that God loves to give—the gift of encouragement. This is how happiness happens.
Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The LORD comforts his people. He is good to his poor people.— Isaiah 49:13
There is always a reason to be happy. Although the people of God may go through trying times, there is always a reason for joy. We live in a creation controlled by the Lord and He is good. If the ultimate source and origin of all things is good, if the providential sustainer of all things is good, then there is no reason to allow sorrow and sadness to overtake and overwhelm our lives.
Although the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life still cause us problems, we can experience the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The heavens and the earth have good reason to be happy and the mountains have good reason to shout for joy.
You may be going through a lot of trouble right now, but there is still good reason to be happy. The Lord is comforting you and being good to you, despite everything that is going on. This comfort and goodness is merely a foretaste of the comfort and goodness that is yet to be revealed to you.
And if you go outside and listen closely, you may be able to hear the mountains in the distance shouting for joy about you.