MARCH 21
   
Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 32
     Proverbs 8
     John 11
     Ephesians 1
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''Jesus said to her, ''Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God." (John 11:40)
 
A GREAT TEST OF FAITH
            My call to preach the gospel came from the Lord at a very young age. I was asked to conduct my first funeral when I was only sixteen. The deceased was a man who had died while intoxicated and he had no known family and very few friends. I was given two hours’ notice to conduct the funeral, a task I had never experienced before. Frantically, I begin to search the Scriptures to discover what Jesus said at funerals. I quickly learned that Jesus did not preside over funerals and His only funeral message was very brief.  He simply said, ''Come forth.''
            No one could possibly face a situation more impossible than Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died. They had expected Jesus to come much earlier and perhaps restore Lazarus to his health. Jesus delayed His coming and arrived only after Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. By then the stench of death was pronounced. This situation was not only difficult, but you could call it impossible! Jesus was using this occasion to test the faith of Mary and Martha.  This whole situation flatly contradicted their faith. Their circumstances were absolutely hopeless.
            You will discover that, from a common sense standpoint, you face many situations that are absolutely hopeless, but common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense.  In fact, they are as different as natural life and the spiritual.
Here's the question, ''Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him. When the realities of your common sense cry out, “it's all a lie,” are you able to still believe Him?”
            When you are on the mountain top it is easy to say, ''oh yes, I believe God can do it'', but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your mountaintop belief. (Luke 9:28-41)
Often, when I think I have everything figured out and things are running smooth in my life, I am once again brought face to face with another situation that seems impossible. Will I have victory, or will I tum back in defeat? As I write this, both my wife and I have been diagnosed with cancer. Again, we are confronted with the impossible.
            Faith can become your intimate possession and the strength of your life only as you deal with conflict and impossibility. What is your challenge right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Job said, ''Though He slay me, still will I trust Him." He knew there was more beyond this life, and he believed in God. Faith is absolute trust in God - trust that could never imagine that He would ever forsake us. It is only by faith in the face of the impossible that you will see the glory of God. You can trust Him today!
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            Pray today for the sovereign, democratic Republic of Fiji. This is an area in the Pacific of 18,275 sq. km. There are two larger islands, and 110 smaller, inhabited islands. Both of the larger islands are volcanic and coral lines. There are now close to one million people living on the various islands in Fiji.
            We can give praise that the 10 years of racial discord and discrimination by Christian Fijians against mainly   non­Christian Indians has ended with the unanimous approval of the 1999 Constitution. Pray for the inter-racial respect and harmony for the future. This area is, of course, a tourist attraction, giving it that opportunity of ministry. It is important that we pray today with our focus on spiritual revival and the health of the church. Leadership training, ministry to young people, evangelical networks, and missionary vision is where the revival is mostly needed.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''It is strange we trust each other and only doubt our Lord. We take the word of mortals and yet distrust His Word; but oh, what light in glory would shine o'er all our days, if we always would remember - God means just what He says.''
A. B. Simpson