Thursday, April 23, 2009

4-24 Wrestling with Fire, Passing through despair

(Myrtle Beach Sun News picture of wildfire in North Myrtle Beach, SC 4/09)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Do not fear for I am with you. I have summoned you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters , they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God , the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

Calvin: It becomes us to wrestle against despair, in order that our sorrow, incurable though it may seem, may not shut our mouths and keep us from pouring our out prayers before God.” (Ps. 77:3 comm.)

Eliphaz reminded Job (4:7-10) of his own despair and loneliness. Calvin said that we don’t need an outside agent to remind us of this. “We each carry within us the seed bed of sufficient vexation to drive us to despair. Against such temptation to despair our faith must stand and refuse to yield.” (Wallace on Calvin’s thought on suffering p. 257). “The whole process of self-denial is indeed simply the constant struggle between the spirit and the flesh” (flesh is the old human nature and spirit is our regenerated believing nature ).
Two days ago the Chief Financial Officer of Freddie Mac, David Kellerman, committed suicide. His company had received about $60 billion in federal aid, and had basically become nationalized. But the latest forecasts showed more red ink, and the SEC was doing an investigation. You can imagine the huge amount of pressure on the 41 year old. He was in a very public eye, as Freddie Mac was in charge of 13 million home loans. There is a lot of despair in our counry right now. GM said it is furloughing its plants for 9 weeks this summer. Many have lost jobs and others have had their salaries cut by huge amounts. If you are already living on the edge, this makes it very difficult. Pride takes a plunge when you have to humble yourself. There was a time when people were saying there was not going to be a bear market, and that we had put so many safeguards in place, the housing market could not really be hurt (they were wrong). Life is a struggle. But there is hope found in faith. Our ultimate hope is not found in our reputation, or in how much we have. It is found in God who cannot be taken away.
The verse for the day does not say we can avoid the flooding waters or avoid the fires of life. It does promise God’s presence and God’s ultimate deliverance. God is like the fireproof blanket that we spread over us when the fire is rushing over us. There is hope even in the face of flood or fire or disaster.

Prayer: Lord, in our day when there is so much heartache, comfort us with your presence, and the hope of your deliverance. Keep us from despair. Instead, let your hope radiate through us. Amen.

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