Tag Archive | life

The Light of Faith

Focus Verse of the Week

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)

Classic Commentary

[The believers were called to] unity of spirit by grace, and a walk according to God, so that they may be as heavenly lights amid the moral darkness of this world. [They were] to always carry, and thus hold forth, the word of life: such was Paul’s desire. Thus, they would give proof by the constancy and practical effect of their faith, that the apostle had not run or labored in vain; and they would themselves be his glory in the day of Christ. (Oh, if the church had continued that way! Be that as it may, Christ will be glorified.)

The apostle unites his work and the reward in the day of Christ with the blessing of the assembly. He would not be separated from it in his death. This union of heart and faith is very touching. He presents himself as capable of being poured out (that is to say, his life) upon the sacrifice and service of the Philippians’ faith.

(Adapted from the John Darby’s Synopsis of the New Testament.)

A Thought to Keep

Is your faith lived out so consistently that others see you as being a light that shines in a dark world?

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Hardship and Opportunity

By Ed Welch

“What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about conflict?”

Ken Sande asked this question at a conference I attended. He could have asked “what is the first thing” or “what are the first fifty things.” For me, the answers would all be variations on the same theme. I hate conflict; I want to run from it. The “things” that come to my mind about conflict are: hate, loathe and avoid.
Then he asked, “How many people thought “opportunity?”
Not me. Not in a million years, even if I could cheat by consulting a dictionary or Wikipedia. To me, conflict is misery—not an opportunity. But the word opportunity is gradually sinking in because it is crammed with prominent themes from Scripture.
Think about this:
Start with how our God—our Father—sovereignly reigns.
      No detail is random and haphazard.
Add that he will accomplish his good purposes.
      He will make us more and more like Jesus.
Now add hardships.
      Our sufferings have new meaning since the cross.
What you get is opportunity.
Since God is sovereign and has good purposes, hardships are opportunities. They must be.
Many people have already learned this. Here is what some of them have said.
That “C” on the exam—is an opportunity to live by faith in Jesus rather than in my perceived successes.
That hard marriage—is an opportunity to love as I have been loved.
That miscarriage—is an opportunity to know that my Father has unlimited compassion for his children and I can trust him.
That cancer—(and this is really a hard one) is an opportunity to die well and show my children what it means to live and die by faith.
And we could go on. That traffic ticket, that car accident, that lost job, that plumbing problem, that neighbor . . . . how different life would be if we snuck in an “opportunity” or two each day.
Joseph understood. “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). His time in an Egyptian prison was an opportunity.
Paul understood too. “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 2:9). His near death experiences were the perfect opportunity. You can almost hear him say, “These are just what I needed.”
There is no stiff upper lip in these opportunities. Hardships can be so painful, and our Father certainly encourages us to speak of those hardships to him. But opportunity says that hardships, for God’s children, never come without hope. And, with practice, we can discover that hope carries the most weight.

 

Are You Concerned About Your Future?

by Kay Arthur

O Beloved, do you know that what concerns you is of the utmost concern to God? If you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, every need, every trial, every temptation that touches you, touches God, because you are part of His Son. You are bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh. You belong to Jesus. He is your Savior, your Lord, your Head, your Elder Brother—a joint-heir with you.

As His child, this is why God tells you to humble yourself by casting every single care, everything that makes you anxious, worried, or upset upon Him. You are His sheep. He is your Shepherd.

Cast your cares on Him! Do not walk in pride, thinking you must bear it alone, figure it out, and somehow “make it” on your own. Humility admits need and says, “I cannot, but, God, You can!”

First Peter 5:6 and 7 says: “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

Did you notice that I underlined the word “because” in that verse? I want you to see and know just how precious you are to Him. You have worth, value, purpose! Whether you believe it or not, it is true.

If there’s a little voice inside you saying anything to the contrary, just know it is the voice of the serpent of old, Satan, who is the personification of doubt. He is the father of lies. He wants to convince you that whatever happens, you are on your own. Everything depends on you. That’s a lie.

That is why the exhortation in 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you,” is followed by these words: “Be of sober spirit.” In other words, don’t let your mind take you where you shouldn’t go; keep your thoughts under control.

First Peter 5:8 says: “Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

When you forget how precious you are to your Father God, when you think He doesn’t care, or that He won’t or can’t care because of something you have done, or because of who you are, then, dear one, you are being devoured by the devil, and believe me, he is not toothless! He can chew you up and spit you out emotionally if you don’t do what God says.

If you are afraid to commit yourself to God, to roll your burden onto His shoulders and leave it there (that is the metaphor behind “casting all your anxiety on Him”), then I can tell you this with utmost certainty, you don’t have a proper understanding of God’s character nor of His sovereignty.

The movie Braveheart was based on a true story of a Scottish hero who captured the hearts of millions. One of the main characters from the original story was Robert Bruce. The story is not in the movie, but Robert Bruce, like the movie character, Braveheart, endured persecution.

At one point when Robert Bruce was fleeing from those who would take his life, he ducked into a small cave. His persecutors searched the countryside for him, inspecting every possible hiding place. When they came to the cave where Bruce was actually hiding, one of the men ducked to go in and check out the cave, and noticing a spider’s web, called to the others, telling them there was no need to go into the cave. They were convinced he couldn’t have entered the cave without breaking the spider’s web.

Overhearing them, and with a sigh of relief and trembling lips, Robert Bruce breathed this prayer: “O God, I thank Thee that in the tiny bowels of a spider you can place me a shelter.”

Yes, God is able to care for you right down to sending spiders to hide you. And He will, because you are precious to Him and what concerns you is of the utmost concern to Him.

My friend, every single detail of your life is important to God. Continue to know God by studying His Word for yourself. Keep seeking Him daily, for He cares for you! Give Him this day, this month, this year, and give Him your future.

 

Hold Firm

Open BibleI pulled out of my driveway heading for my mom’s house and noticed a katydid on my windshield.

This is rare for the area I live in since it is more city than farm or wooded area. For those of you who do not know what a katydid is, it is similar to a grasshopper. It is green but has a flat body whereas the grasshopper has a round body and is more brown colored.

As I accelerated, I noticed the wind was making his body flutter, but the legs were securely attached to the windshield. I was sure he would lose his battle to the wind, but he kept hanging on, body fluttering in the wind. He did this for a couple of miles.

As I slowed down one time, he tried to re-adjust his footing. He released his grip on the windshield with just one leg and it was all over; he was gone.

The wind is our trials.

The windshield is like the word of God.

When we hold on to our “windshield” securely, we are secure.

When things start to settle down, we often loosen our grip on God’s word. We start to rely on our strength and understanding rather than staying in God’s word. That’s when the trials come back and catch us unprepared and the trials drag us away.

If we hold firm to God’s word, we will be ready for the trials as they come.

by Mike Stull

WHAT IS THE ANGLE OF YOUR VIEW

By: Charles Kofi Fekpe

A friend of mine and I had a chat yesterday. He had been working at this place for 6 years and now he feels he needs to go. I asked him why and he said “I had never been really suited for this position because, I first went into it to step in temporarily for someone who had been ill for a month, then before I knew it, it’s been 6 years. For some reason I feel I may be found out” then he asked “Charley, do you think I should leave cos I start fear waa?”

Ma paddy, I don’t think I would have seen it that way oo. He recoiled “so how you go see am?” I think there are 3 things here and both are valid and justified:

(i) the favour of God is on you, so you’ve gotten something you never qualified for
(ii) maybe that had always been your calling but you never figured it out, hence the reason why you operated in the role very naturally without even noticing it or
(iii) I think you are an excellent sales man. His expression jumped “Salesman?” Yes I answered – truth is, you have been able to sell the same inferior product to the same company, its board and its shareholders for 2,000 days and got paid for it every single time.

He smiled “EEeeeiii!! I never saw it that way Oo” I smiled back and retorted “how you go see am? Abii den your eye make red as you dey chop the money for there funya funyae”

Moral of the Story:
The stories, the narrations, the events – they will always be the same. It’s your ANGLE of view you need to change. Always speak life into situations.

Consequences

inflatable boat under the white background

I read a while ago about some Boeing employees who decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s.

They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. They forgot about one thing–the raft comes with an emergency locator that is automatically activated when the raft is inflated.

So, when they took the raft out for a float on the Still aguamish River, they were quite surprised by a Coast Guard helicopter zeroing in on the emergency locator that was activated the moment they inflated the raft.

They are no longer Boeing employees.

In a very real way when we sin, it usually cannot be hidden for long, and it isn’t God who punishes us. Like the Boeing employees, we bring the punishment on ourselves.

God has given us a moral law for our protection. When we break it, we end up breaking ourselves.

God’s moral law is just as universal as is the law of gravity–another law given for our protection. If it weren’t for this law, the universe would not hang together, and you and I would be flung out into outer space. If we try to defy this law, it’s not God or gravity that breaks us–we break ourselves by trying to defy it.

It’s the same with God’s moral law. Breaking this law separates us from a holy God. Its ultimate end is spiritual death–which is not the cessation of life but eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life. Whatever hell is, it will be hell! It’s not that God sends us there. If we fail to accept His free pardon for our breaking the moral law, in reality, we send ourselves there.

Fortunately, because God loves us so much, He has provided a way of escape.

It was through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the ransom price for our sins. So whatever you do, don’t fail to accept God’s total pardon for all your sins and His gift of eternal life.

This is your Passport for Heaven. Don’t leave earth without it!

Dear God, thank You for giving Your Son, Jesus, and thank You, Jesus, for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. Please come into my heart and life as my personal Lord and Savior. Please help me to live for You and love others as You do. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

(Source; allworship)

Trusting an Unchanging God, Part 1

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him –Hebrews 11:6


If you’re in a difficult trial today my friend, if you’re confronted by an enemy or if you’re being seduced by your mind, by your desires, there’s a key question you need to ask before you head down a path to look for answers other than down the straight and narrow path of God’s Word.

The question you need to ask is: Does God change? It may seem simple, but this question is so important to our future-our peace of mind! And it can only be answered by our source for truth about God-the Bible. There’s a second question, though, a deeply personal one-one you can only ask yourself: Do I believe it?

If it’s true that God doesn’t change and if you believe it with your whole heart, then, Beloved, you’ll find yourself ready and able to handle every enemy that confronts you, every temptation that seeks to seduce you. You’ll be prepared to go through trials and resist temptation as more than a conqueror. You won’t need to panic. You’ll be able to stand firm.

As I teach through the Old Testament, I am awed at what we can learn about God’s character and how He deals with us if we only study this portion of Scripture. God gave us these precious books to teach us not only about Him but also about ourselves. Whether common people or kings, God expected men and women to live by His precepts because they are precepts for life and understanding (Psalms 119:97).

As I studied Ahaz, I thought, why does this man think he can live this way and get away with it? Why didn’t he stop for a moment and ask himself, “Does God change?”

Read 2 Chronicles 28, which begins the story of Ahaz. He was just twenty years old when he became king. (Imagine such responsibilities at such an age!). Right off the bat, God tells us he reigned only sixteen years in Jerusalem and did not do right in the sight of the Lord as his father David had done. He was in the line of David, inheritor of the promise God gave to David in 2 Samuel 7-that one of his descendents would rule on his throne forever! But instead of walking in God’s ways, he chose to walk “in the ways of the kings of Israel” (v. 2).

It boggles your mind when you look at the kings of Israel. They were under God’s judgment from the get-go! Ahaz walked just like the very first one, Jeroboam, who led his people into idolatry right after the monarchy divided in 931 B.C. and incurred the judgment of God! Jeroboam made two golden calves, told the people “these are your gods!” and they bought it!

Like his predecessor Jeroboam and the kings who followed, Ahaz was an idolater. He burned incense and even burned his sons in fire, offering them to an Ammonite god-one of the abominations the Lord had told His people to drive out of the land of Canaan when they came in to take possession. He didn’t believe God; he disobeyed and thought he could get away with it!!! The text says he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

Had God changed? Could Ahaz get away with this? Had the kings of Israel ever gotten away with sin? Does God sometimes tolerate sin-let it go unnoticed, unaccounted for, unjudged?

No!!! God does not change-He never tolerates sin. If only Ahaz had stopped to ask and answer that question he would have been spared much grief. So would so many of us!

Because he rebelled, God delivered Ahaz into the hand of the king of Aram, who defeated him and took a great number of captives. Then He delivered Ahaz into the hand of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties-120,000 valiant men in Judah were killed in one day! The king of Israel took 200,000 captives and a great deal of spoil to Samaria. Finally, Zichri, a mighty man from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah, Ahaz’s son.

All this happened because the king never stopped to ask: Does God change? Ahaz not only sinned, he took his people down with him: “For the Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord” (v. 19). Ahaz’s disobedience reproduced itself in the people of Judah and consequently God humiliated the entire kingdom through this terrible defeat.

This wild spread of sin from the top down reminds us of one recent president’s promotion of certain behaviors as “not sex.” What was once at least hidden was popularized by the President of the United States-the highest position in the land! Since then it has become so much of a problem (even in middle schools) that kids routinely do it without any sense of shame or guilt. To them, this is no more engaging in sex than holding hands or kissing.

Ahaz didn’t have to continue down this self-defeating path, but he did. He had the Torah-the book of the Law. And there were enough prophets in his day too, but in his time of distress, when things were going hard, when he was confronted by enemies, what did he do? “King Ahaz became yet more unfaithful to the Lord.”

Why? Why did he think he could get away with this? Did Ahaz think God had changed? He must have! He must have forgotten that God never tolerates sin!

And what about you, Beloved? When you’re tempted, isn’t it important to stop and ask yourself if God changes, if he relaxes his standards for obedience? If you think you can have an affair, lie, cheat, steal, watch pornography on the Internet, I want to ask you a question: Do you think God has changed? Do you think he will “put up” with it?

No, He won’t, because He doesn’t change. God is who He has always been. He is immutable (1 Samuel 1:29; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 6:18; James 1:17). He never changes; He’s “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

His attitude toward sin is fundamental; it never changes. And His holiness commands judgment upon sin. If you don’t believe this, take another look at the passion of the Christ on the cross of Calvary where in the holiness and justice of God Jesus became sin for us!

Beloved, do you know God? Do you know enough about God to fear Him in His holiness and adore Him as the perfect Father at the same time? I invite you to open His Word to us and read the passages I cited about His unchanging character.

By: Kay Arthur (BibleStudyTool)