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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

When the “Air Conditioner” Fails

by Dr. Paul Chappell

“And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”

2 Chronicles 20:10–12

I read about a veteran military pilot who was teaching a group of trainees. At one point in his talk, he referred to the plane’s jet engine as an air conditioner. One of the new pilots raised his hand and asked why he called the engine that. With a grin the veteran replied, “Because if it stops working, you start sweating real quick!” All of us face moments when something we’re counting on suddenly falls away. Perhaps it is a serious medical diagnosis, a car accident, a family relationship torn apart, or a job that unexpectedly goes away. How should we respond in those moments when the “air conditioner” fails?

King Jehoshaphat had one of those moments when the Ammonites and Moabites joined forces to fight against him. His army was greatly outnumbered, and there seemed to be no chance of survival, let alone victory. But in that moment he cried out to God in faith, and God heard and answered his prayers. Not only was he delivered, but Jehoshaphat didn’t even have to fight. God turned the alliance of enemies against each other, and they destroyed their own armies. God is able to deliver us from trials and troubles today. But we must keep our faith and focus on Him, rather than giving in to despair or trying to take matters into our own hands.

Today’s Growth Principle: 
Those who keep their eyes on God in times of trouble will find His help and deliverance.
Old Testament Reading
Lamentations 3-5

CHAPTER 3

1 I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. 2 He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. 3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. 5 He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. 6 He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. 7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. 8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. 9 He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. 10 He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. 11 He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. 12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. 13 He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. 14 I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. 15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. 16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. 17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. 18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: 19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 28 He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 29 He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 30 He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 34 To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, 35 To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, 36 To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.

37 Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? 38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? 39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? 40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. 41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.

42 We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. 43 Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. 44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. 45 Thou hast made us as the offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. 46 All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. 47 Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction. 48 Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. 49 Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, 50 Till the LORD look down, and behold from heaven. 51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city. 52 Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. 53 They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. 54 Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.

55 I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. 58 O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. 59 O LORD, thou hast seen my wrong: judge thou my cause. 60 Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their imaginations against me. 61 Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their imaginations against me; 62 The lips of those that rose up against me, and their device against me all the day. 63 Behold their sitting down, and their rising up; I am their musick. 64 Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. 65 Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them. 66 Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.

CHAPTER 4

1 How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. 2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! 3 Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. 4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them. 5 They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. 6 For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her. 7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: 8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. 9 They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people. 11 The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof. 12 The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.

13 For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her, 14 They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments. 15 They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there. 16 The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders. 17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us. 18 They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come. 19 Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness. 20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.

21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked. 22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.

CHAPTER 5

1 Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. 2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. 3 We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. 4 We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us. 5 Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest. 6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7 Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities. 8 Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand. 9 We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness. 10 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine. 11 They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah. 12 Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. 13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood. 14 The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick. 15 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. 16 The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!

17 For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim. 18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it. 19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. 20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time? 21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. 22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.

New Testament Reading
Hebrews 10:19-39

19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Proverb of the Day
Proverbs 14

1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. 2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him. 3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. 4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. 5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. 6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth. 7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge. 8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit. 9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour. 10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. 11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish. 12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. 14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. 15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. 16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. 17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 19 The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous. 20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends. 21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. 22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good. 23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. 24 The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly. 25 A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies. 26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. 28 In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince. 29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. 30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. 31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. 32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death. 33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known. 34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. 35 The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.

Tuesday, November 14 2017