June 6

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 10
     Psalms 94
     Isaiah 38
     Revelation 8
''Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back." (Isaiah 38: 17)
            Hezekiahhad been a good King, and God had used him to restore spiritual renewal among the people. Now, the King was sick unto death. It seemed he had a boil and it was probably malignant. Death was near. God even sent His prophet Isaiah who announced to Hezekiah, ''Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live." (Isaiah 38:1) It was a wonderful story of how Hezekiahturned his face to the wall and cried out to God. As this great leader faced death, he wept bitterly. God heard his prayer, and promised him that he would not die, but would live for 15 additional years. (Isaiah 38:5) Hezekiahthen cried out in great joy to the Lord, and testified that the very purpose of his bitterness was to bring peace to his life.
            Can peace really come from bitterness? It did for Hezekiah. Is it still possible today? How can you experience peace from the pits of bitterness? You must, first of all, realize that bitterness is a root problem and not a surface problem like anger or regret. It is a corruption in my spirit resulting from failure to thank God for every person or situation He has brought into my life. The writer of Hebrews lets us know it is a root problem. (Hebrews 12:15) It is a sin of the spirit, not of the body. (I Samuel 16:7) Bitterness usually comes about through pride, which leads us to claiming personal rights, and emphasizing the expectation of others. This leads to hurt, resentment, a failure to forgive, holding a grudge, and results in a root of bitterness.
            It is obvious that Hezekiahtook some appropriate steps to move from bitterness to peace.
He turned to God in prayer, and not to man. (Isaiah 38:2)
He was completely broken. (Isaiah 38:3)
Even as a King, he confessed his complete dependence on God to undertake for him. (Isaiah 38:14)
He renewed his commitment to walk with God. (Isaiah 38:15)
He confessed that God had the purpose of peace from this tragic time. (Isaiah 38:17)
He confessed he could serve God only as he was a living man. (Isaiah 38:19)
            For many believers today, their bitterness results from a spirit of unforgivenessto others. They must realize that forgiveness is the only means of freedom in our spirit. (Matthew 6:14-15) Forgiveness is not an option, it is a command. (Ephesians 4:32) Forgiveness is a clearing of that person's record and leaving the result to God. (Colossians 3:13) Forgiveness is a matter of my will. By an act of your will today, you must decide to overcome your pride and forgive those who have brought bitterness into your life. (James 4:6) You can choose to allow your circumstances to make you better, not bitter. Today, God wants you to know that your bitterness can be turned to peace.
            At one time, the nation was known as ''Lovely Lebanon." Pray for this fertile, mountainous state in the East Mediterranean. Because of the fighting there between Israelisand Arabs, and also civil  war, this country  that  was once so beautiful and picturesque is no longer qualified to be called the ''Lovely Lebanon."Lebanonis 60% Muslim and 32% Christian.
            Many Christian ministries in Lebanonwho once knew the favor of the people and had great prominence have now fallen on difficult times. Pray that God would give resurrection to these Christian ministries and societies. Again, pray for God to raise up the leadership that are well-trained and committed to reaching Lebanonfor Christ.
''God never intended His Church to be a refrigerator in which to preserve perishable piety. He intended it to be an incubator in which to hatch out converts."
F. Lincicome