JANUARY 8

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 8
     Ezra 8
     Matthew 8
     Acts 8
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''But He said to them, ''Why are you fearful, 0 you of little faith?'' (Matthew 8:26)
 
THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE PRAYER
            The title of an old Gospel song is Prayer is the Key to Heaven, but Faith Unlocks the Door. It is one thing to ask, seek and knock, but it is faith that makes our prayer life effective. There was a time when I enjoyed telling people, ''God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says yes, sometimes no and sometimes wait. ''I have learned, however, through the pilgrimage of the Christian life that there is a fourth answer. Sometimes God says, ''you may not understand but My Grace will be sufficient. '' Faith understands the difference.
            When we find ourselves afraid of something, the least we can do is pray to God, but God has every right to expect us to have complete confidence in Him. The question is not if we will face storms and adversities in the Christian life, the question is when. For many of us, when those times come it seems to us that God is asleep and we can see nothing but giant breaking waves on the sea ahead of us.
            What a stinging pain must have  shot  through the Disciples when they heard Jesus say, ''O you  of little faith''.      Surely they thought they had failed the Master again. It hurts every sensitive child of God when he knows he has broken the heart of his Lord by not having utter confidence in Him. Then there are those times when there is no storm or crisis in our lives.  This is also a time when we must trust God, but most  of us never really think about that. Then when the crisis arises it is instantly revealed upon whom we rely.
            It is in that time we can discover that His grace is indeed sufficient. You can respond to adversity in your life with regret, resentment, retaliation, resignation, or you can receive the rich reward of faith by trusting Him with every circumstance. I have asked many people ''how are you doing?'' The response is ''fine under the circumstances." Christians can live above the circumstances through faith. Circumstances are like mattresses - underneath you will smother, but on top you will rest. It is God's desire that you enjoy the rest of faith. Hebrews 11:1 gives us the only definition of faith in the Bible. ''Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." May the Master never have to say to you, ''Why are you fearful, 0 you of little faith?''
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Pray today that  the  Lord  of the harvest  will  raise up  an  army of committed  missionaries and supporters  who will saturate the more than one billion people in the 10/40  window. (The area of Africa and Asia between the 10th and 40th degrees of latitude who still need to be given their first opportunity to respond to the gospel.) Claim by faith today the part He wants you to have in reaching these multitudes.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''It is well to get rid of the idea that faith is a matter of spiritual heroism only for a few select spirits. There are heroes of faith, but faith is not only for heroes. It is a matter of spiritual manhood, it is a matter of maturity."
P. T. Forsyth