June 1
Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 5
     Psalms 88
     Isaiah 33
     Revelation  3
''Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." (Deuteronomy 5:32) ''Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." (Revelation 3:10)
            Following the giving of the Ten Commandments,  God exhorted  His people  not to turn aside  to the right  hand or the left hand, but to stay by the stuff, keep the commandments,  and never turn aside.
We are not  here  to work  for  God because  we  have chosen  to  do  so, but  because  God has  laid  hold of us  for that purpose. Jesus said, ''When you put your hand to the plow and look back, you are not even fit for the Kingdom of God." There is the agonizing grip of God's hand on your life, and you must not turn aside.
            One  of the  most  encouraging passages   in  the entire  Book  of Revelation  is  God's exhortation  to  the Church at Philadelphia. They were led by the Bishop Polycarp, who was burned at the stake while saying, ''I thank my God that I can give my one life for Him.'' That courage was contagious with the people of that church, and it is one of only two churches in the Revelation with not a single word of complaint. They represent a period in the history of the church of the beginning of modem missions that carried the Gospel throughout the world. It is the church of the open door. We are living in the day of the Laodicean Church period, but every church must make the commitment to be a PhiladelphianChurch in a Laodicean age. This church made that decision, and our memory verse presents the remarkable promise God made to them for their perseverance. They were a severely persecuted church, but remained faithful.
            Perseverance means more than endurance - more than simply holding on to the end. A saint's life is in the hands of
God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain and, every once in a while, the saint says, ''I cannot take it anymore." Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. You can entrust yourself to God's hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim, as Job did, ''Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job   13:15)
            Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but it is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy and is love. Even though you cannot see Him right now, and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him.Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life - throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God. It could be that God is disciplining us now to get us into the central place of power.
            Keep your eyes on Him, keep looking up, trust Him whatever comes, and keep on keeping on!
            We certainly feel more akin to South Korea, but I want us to pray today for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, better known as North Korea. The numbers of people here are more than 25 million. The church in North Koreawas the birthplace of Koreanrevival, and it could happen again. The majority have never heard the name of Jesus. The opportunity is great, and we need to pray that now, in spite of Communism, there would be a great resurgence of God's people seeking His face and experiencing revival in North Korea. Many North Koreansare fleeing to China. The window of opportunity will not be open long, but we have a glorious time now to be able to touch North Koreawith the truth of the Christian Gospel. Pray for North Korea.
''God helps us seek popularity where it counts - at the court of God!