Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 12:49-53 ESV

“I came to cast fire on the earth,
and would that it were already kindled!
50 I have a baptism to be baptized with,
and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided,
three against two and two against three.
53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father,
mother against daughter and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”


“Do you think I have come to give peace on earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.”

This is not what we want.
We want peace and harmony.
God’s ways are not our ways.

Does it have to be this way?

Jesus is on His Father’s mission.
He is accomplishing His Father’s will and purpose.

It is very hard for us to digest the
devastating truth of mankind’s sinful depravity. Our sin
is a serious and grave offense against a righteous and holy God.
It has brought with it terrific and devastating consequences,
which we will never fully comprehend.
The depth and darkness of our sin required radical measures:
the life, death, burial, and resurrection of
God’s one and only Son.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 6:23
The wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for
us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

The purpose of the glorious gospel is to rescue and redeem mankind
and unite them in Christ, but whenever the gospel preached
there is great division.

2 Cor 2:15-17
For some we are the aroma of Christ to
God among those who are being saved and among
those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from
death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not,
like so many, peddlers of God’s word,
but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by
God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

The gospel of peace will continue to bring division.
It will be resisted, rejected, and opposed.
It has many enemies and vicious foes.
It will stir up hatred, enmity, and strife within sinful men,
because the darkness hates the light.
But God uses all of this for good.
His ways are higher than our ways.


Jesus did not promise His disciples peace.
He sent His disciples out as sheep in the midst of wolves.
We need to expect the same.
We have been sent to bring the gospel into the world.
It will not be easy, we will be disappointed,
our hearts will be broken, but we are not alone.
We don’t do this in our own strength.
Comfort your hearts with this beautiful prayer of our Lord.

John 17:9-20
9 I am praying for them. I am not praying
for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they
are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am
glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world,
but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have
given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name,
which you have given me. I have guarded them, and
not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction,
that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming
to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they
may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them your word, and the world
has hated them because they are not of the world,
just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you
take them out of the world, but that you keep them from
the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as
I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth;
your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world,
so I have sent them into the world.
19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,
that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those
who will believe in me through their word.”


Choose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.


Heavenly Father,
help me trust you.
In all of my relationships.
You have placed me right where you
want me. I am to be your ambassador.
May I proclaim the gospel to my family,
my friends, and my neighbors.
May I preach the gospel to myself.
Help me put ALL of my trust in you
and not rely on my own efforts or insight.
Bring the peace of Christ into the hearts of
all of my unsaved loved ones
through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In His hands for His glory,

—A Thistlebend Ministries eMoment devotion. To have eMoments emailed to your inbox, subscribe on the bottom right of our Home page.

by Susan Sampson
“Life is war.” —John Piper in “Let the Nations Be Glad”

I’m sitting in the air conditioned comfort of my home right now, with my daughter out with a friend, my boys in the basement playing x-box, and the dog not barking:)  It doesn’t feel at this moment of apparent calm that there is a war raging.

Yet John Piper speaks the truth.  He says, “Life is war.  That’s not all it is.  But it is always that.”

The apostles affirm this truth.  Peter says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with the siren’s call of the world.  And we cannot escape the battle, because the enemy within, our flesh, is constantly with us!

So what causes you to fall in the battle?  There are multiple attacks that take me down, but one where I fall the easiest is through my children.  This past weekend i was out of town with my husband.  Such a blessing, such a sweet time, such a peaceful time.  Then one of our children texted to tell us what another had done.  I was immediately put out of commission.  Thoughts racing through my mind of what a failure I was as a mother.  If I had only done things differently when this child was younger, this wouldn’t be happening now.  It’s all my fault.  On and on and on.  I couldn’t get out of the spiral.  My husband was sad because my focus was no longer on him:(

I felt like it took about 2 hours or so before the Lord lifted me out of the pit of despair.  I had been crying out to him in my mind, silently confessing my deep need for His grace to be able to turn from my fear and turn in faith to Him.  I could feel my flesh wanting to wallow and stay in the fear.  That is what I have always known, how I have always reacted.  Turning away from that felt so foreign and almost scary.  It’s as though my twisted thinking was that the fear was my friend.  The fear was my comfort.  It was familiar.  Turning to faith was too hard.  It was scary.  I couldn’t let go.  I was stuck.  Caught.  Captive.

It is only by the grace of God that I was able to walk forward by faith.  The fact that this incident did not ruin the rest of our trip is truly a gift of grace from the Lord.

I was taken captive in the war.  “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (Rom. 7:23).  “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal. 5:17).

Is there another word from the Lord that makes it any clearer for the reason why we must wage the war against our own flesh?!!  “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).  

But there is good news!!  Hear the promise and instruction of the Lord to us!!!

“Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.  Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion” (Is. 52:1-2).

I know this is long, please bear with me…I’m battling to stick with it and get it all out!  May we have ears to hear our Beloved Savior speaking to each of us!!

“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.  I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.  All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.  in righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.  If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.  Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose.  I have also created the ravager to destroy; no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord” (Is. 54:11-17).

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

What are some of these weapons of our warfare?  It seems impossible, but can the war be fought with fruit?!!

Humility, gentleness, rejoicing, patience, long-suffering, love.  This is the way of Christ.  This is the way of victory.  Putting our flesh to death.  Turning from our sin and putting our faith in the Truthful One.  The One who is for us and not against us.  The One who is our Friend that sticks closer than a brother.  The One who demonstrated His great love for us by dying in our place.

These are not fruits of the flesh of course.  The fruit of the Spirit will only come through prayer and our obedience to the Lord’s Word.  In the midst of the battle as well as the calm, we must by God’s grace make our SOS cry!


In the heat of the battle when the war is raging within and without, we must go lower.  We must turn from all pride and humble ourselves.  I was thinking of the instructions of firemen.  If in a fire, get down on the floor.  Go lower.  That is where the oxygen is.  That is the way out.  That is the way to freedom from captivity.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life!

“So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

May the Lord continue to pour out His grace upon each of us as we seek to walk forward trusting in Christ alone.

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Psalm 19 ESV

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer!

Let the Word of God recalibrate your
thinking about your circumstances.

Life can be difficult and painful can’t it?
There are days when we feel like we don’t know which end is up.
We have thought that we kinda, sorta understood how
things fit together; well, kinda…
and then something happens and we absolutely don’t know
how to fit it into our view of God. We are stumped!
When this happens we can start down a path in our thinking
that can get us into a world of trouble.
This is why we want God’s Word to be so strongly
established in our hearts and in our minds.
It is to be not only prominent in our thinking,
it is to BE our thinking.
We want our way of thinking to be HIS way thinking.
He can really challenge us on this!
We know that He is kind and He is good and loving,
but there are days He can put us to the test
and make an exam from the toughest
professor seem like a walk in the park.
But let’s be honest.
We are NEVER going to give ourselves a tough exam.
We don’t like to be tested, and we really don’t like discovering
sin or weakness that we haven’t overcome.
So, the reasons for our heavenly Father’s tough exams
are not always obvious, but they are always
oozing with lovingkindness.
Sometimes love just doesn’t feel so lovely does it?
Praise God and thank Him
because He is helping us see the hidden sins that aren’t so
visible to the human eye, especially our own eye!
May I state the obvious? Our Lord, our heavenly Father, knows
what He is doing and it is ALWAYS for our best.


Don’t miss this amazing Psalm.
How often do you stop and take time to allow who God is
to penetrate your mind, your heart, and your soul?
We often feel like there is no time. Even five minutes can
seem like we are wasting time. Fight this lie with Psalm 29 and
see that God and His Word are perfect and powerful.
He does know what is best for you. Your daddy does know best.
Meditate on His goodness, His power, His Word and
how it goes forth as He speaks. God is in control even
over the “floods” in our lives. May His Word be our Truth
so we can live for Him and proclaim His Name and
His Word with our lips and in our lives in good times and bad.


Choose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

Lord God, you determine our date of birth and when
we pass away. You know everything there is to know about us.
You know exactly how to grow and stretch us. I confess, Lord,
that I just don’t see my sin as you do. Please keep me from
my hidden sins. Please bring them out into the light.
Please destroy them and only leave your righteousness!
I am unable but YOU ARE ABLE! Please do it.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

I am praying for you!

In His hands for His glory,


A Thistlebend Ministries eMoment devotion. To have eMoments emailed to your inbox, subscribe on the bottom right of our Home page.