King David boldly declared, “I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 42:11, KJV). He repeats the exact same statement in Psalm 43:5.
Your face is a billboard that advertises what is going on in your heart. All the joy or turmoil that’s inside you is reflected on your countenance — your facial expression, your body language, your tone of voice. For example, when one’s mind is loaded down with the cares of life, the shoulders may slouch, the brows may furrow, the face may look drawn.
Many of us need to be careful of our facial expression because we could be sending the wrong message to the world. Your face is the index of your soul and reflects what is going on inside your heart.
Indeed, the very presence of Christ in your heart has a direct impact on your face! It also affects your walk and your talk. Worry can also harden a person’s face, just as much as gross sin can. We all know that as Christians we aren’t to worry — our Lord is fully aware of all our needs and problems — and yet somehow we do get stressed at times.
What does your face say to a lost, confused generation? When Stephen stood before hostile, angry men in the Sanhedrin, “his face [shone] as the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15). In the midst of these unbelievers Stephen stood with the shine of Jesus on him and the difference was clear to all. In contrast, these men in the synagogue council were so angry at Stephen that “they gnashed at him with their teeth” (7:54). “A wicked man hardens his face” (Proverbs 21:29). Sin and anger are reflected on one’s countenance just as distinctly as joy and peace.
As God’s child, you know that the Lord cares for you and loves your unconditionally (1 Peter 5:7). His heart is moved toward you at all times and you can walk in glorious freedom. That should lift your countenance!
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
We often hear teaching on how we should come to God in faith, but there are things one should not do when coming to him in prayer. For instance, do not come to God expecting him to do any good thing unless you come with childlike faith in his promises. The Word of God is clear: “Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
Beloved, it is impossible for you to please God without faith! Abraham was a man who developed a faith that didn’t stagger at what God promised him: “And not being weak in faith … he did not waver at the promises of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:19-21).
Do not come to God with any ifs. Any promise of God is a revelation of his will. Take, for instance, God’s promise to “keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). You would not ask God if it is his will to keep you from falling when he has already promised to do it. Indeed, God gives us great and precious promises so that we will learn to trust him with boldness: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may … find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Do not come to God until you are ready to believe for exactly what you ask for. “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). If you ask God for bread, he will not substitute a stone. If you ask him for a fish, he won’t surprise you with a snake (see Matthew 7:9-10).
Believe God for your physical condition, your financial situation, your family, your spiritual growth. Appropriate his promises — they’re all yours! Amen!
God’s purpose for his children is that we surrender to the reign and rulership of the Holy Spirit: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). In other words, “If he lives in you, let him direct you!”
The early Christians did not walk in confusion, because they were led by the Spirit. They consulted the Holy Spirit and he directed them. Walking in the Spirit means clarity of purpose and unclouded decision-making.
We see many examples of being led by the Spirit in the New Testament. A good example is Peter: “While [he] thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him …” (Acts10:19). In another place, we read, “The Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing” (11:12). The Holy Spirit gave direction and Peter listened.
There are many benefits of walking in the Holy Spirit. One benefit to those who ask: he will give you direction, warnings or whatever you need. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Jesus is not talking merely about prophecy and future events here, he is talking about your life. The Holy Spirit will lead you in very practical matters of your daily living.
Walking in the Spirit also means never being overcome by demonic powers, even though Satan will try to intimidate you. Paul fought such harassment by the power of the Spirit: “Then Paul … filled with the Holy Spirit” confronted the evil spirit and brought down all the powers of darkness (see Acts 13:9-11). There comes a time when you have to stand up in the power of the Holy Spirit and say, “Enough! I command you in the name of Jesus to go!”
But the highest form of walking in the Spirit is letting him teach you the deep, hidden things of God. Stand still in his presence and let the Holy Spirit show you the very heart of the Lord. When you do this, direction will come and you won’t even have to ask.
Set your heart to seek him today and you will learn to know his voice. Start praising, singing, trusting God — and he will take care of your deliverance.
“Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing” (Judges 8:4).
Gideon’s life is a perfect example of how God creates impossible circumstances for his servants in order to demonstrate his glory. The Lord called this shy man to lead Israel into battle against an overwhelming enemy: 100,000 Midianites compared to Israel’s army of 22,000 — which was then reduced to a special fighting unit of only 300 men. These weren’t just overwhelming odds, they bordered on the impossible. God pushed the limit — well beyond Gideon’s limit — in order to bring himself glory.
I see four great lessons for us today in Gideon’s story.
Limited resources never limit God. Our Lord has made it pretty clear: We are to be “all in” when we follow him. And that means abandoning all self-reliance — all trust in our own abilities and resources — and trusting him to supply. God often purposely limits our resources to ensure he receives all glory.
Discouragement can hinder — but never halt — God’s ultimate plan for victory. This scene is easier to understand if you put yourself in Gideon’s shoes. Sometimes our most disheartening, soul-draining, energy-sapping experiences come not on the battlefield of life, but from our own spiritual family. Gideon face discouragement from the people but he didn’t allow it to keep him from moving forward.
Grace for victory is extended to the exhausted. Even in the face of exhaustion, Gideon knew that God was about to bring victory. May the same be true of us: As we continue to trust the Lord through our own difficult circumstances, then — just as happened with Gideon — we can know God’s complete victory is coming.
God doesn’t stop at half a victory. His plan is always for our full deliverance — and sometimes that comes only in the last half hour, when we’re frustrated, tired and can’t go one more step.
The fact is, every battle we face has an eternal purpose. It isn’t just the defeat of an enemy — it’s the exaltation of Jesus. When we trust in God beyond our own capability, he provides all strength to finish the battle — and he does it in a way that brings all glory to himself.
It is difficult for many people to think of God as a loving Father. They can't help but see God through the eyes of past experiences with an ungodly father or stepfather. It's all so sad. But listen to how God described himself to Moses: "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Exodus 34:6-7).
When we're in the midst of our many trials, we tend to forget what God has said about his own nature. Yet if we would only believe him in such times, we would have such assurance in our souls! From cover to cover, the Bible speaks to us as God's voice, revealing how tender and loving he is.
When you go to worship the Lord in prayer, be very careful what kind of image of God you take into his presence! You must be fully convinced that he loves you and that he is all he says he is! Of course, God has a general love for mankind that can be embraced by anyone who comes to him in repentance. But there is also in God's heart another kind of love, a special love for his children!
"Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing" (Psalm 100:2). God wants you to so trust in his love for you that you will be a testimony of gladness and good cheer!