Media Helping People, Ministries Glorifying Christ
“When God has tested me, I shall come forth as gold,” Job 23:10 quotes the ancient patriarch as saying.
Most scholars regard this as from the oldest book in the Bible. Job knew he was in the middle of a spiritual minefield, yet he had the faith that even though this was the worst time in his life, the Lord would bring him through and better than ever.
We must possess that same belief. Why? Because such trials to purify us are referred to throughout the Good Book. From Genesis to Revelation, people like Joseph, Jeremiah, Paul and even the Lord Jesus have endured and come out the better for it.
We do our children, colleagues and congregations a grave disservice when we fully shelter them from life's travails. We thusly doom them to spiritual infancy when God wants them to look like his Son, the firstborn of many brothers.
Coming soon: a thousand years of grace, blessing and love. “They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years,” says Revelation 20:4.
This final millennium will make the earth what it always was supposed to be: a paradise for God's people. The unsaved will be in subjection to Jesus, who will reign physically and tangibly from Jerusalem. Christ, magnanimous as ever, will allow his believers to assist him in ruling.
Once this 1,000 years is finished, a final rebellion will come against the Lord, but it will be unsuccessful and usher in a new heaven and earth and the New Jerusalem. This all seems so fantastic, so distant, but it actually is near at hand. Get ready - it's almost time to meet the King.
We're in the peak travel season, with cars zooming all directions on the USA's interstates and planes taking vacationers to low-temperature locales. I've been blessed to be in all the 50 states, a few countries and a rich variety of circumstances, too.
However, more and more, I realize this world simply cannot satisfy, no matter the place or situation. Earth is temporary, but we are eternal; it just depends on our faith to which everlasting home we are appointed. Recall that we die once, then comes the Judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27).
I long for a city built and made by God (Hebrews 11:10). It will come, the New Jerusalem out of heaven. Then I truly will be at home.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," says Hebrews 11:1. When you say you believe there is a God, you become a witness that there is something more than what we call reality.
In changing your walk out of that knowledge, you give the Lord a tangible presence on Earth. You make the world without excuse as to its Creator; how will people hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14).
We cannot simply speak things into existence, but we can work on them with God's unction and see them come to pass. That's what this verse implores us to do: be living, breathing, striving disciples who see their prayers and the Bible come to life. Live Hebrews 11:1 today!
The true gospel is a balanced message. "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life,” relates 2 Corinthians 3:6.
Proclaiming the gospel without the Holy Ghost leads to condemning the hearer rather than bringing hope. The Spirit brings peace, joy, kindness, gentleness and a host of other good fruit. The letter on its own, on the other hand, yields sleepless nights and sweaty palms.
Grace without holiness is license, whereas holiness without grace is legalism. The Spirit understands how to balance these concerns and bring life with truth.
Make sure to take time ... to take time. "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work," reads Genesis 2:3.
The Lord did not need to rest; he is a spirit, not a human. He took off from his labor to model for us how to live.
"Busy-ness" is a common malady today, one with which I find myself often afflicted, too. We need to learn how to come away from our mental, physical and spiritual work.
God warns us in Hebrews 4 of the perils of not entering his rest - let's not tempt him to subject us to them.
Got a goal? Time to let others get their eyes on the prize. "Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets,” instructs Habakkuk 2:2.
When we're called of God and know it is no time to pussyfoot around. Yes, we need to be "wise as serpents and gentle as doves," as Jesus put it, but we also must run full-throttle with what the Lord has us to do.
Satan often tries to throw a wrench into our plans or otherwise get us to back away from our mission. Yet, if we persist in following God, we will prevail in the vision the Almighty gives us as we make it easily understood to all concerned.
With this world passing away, investing too much here won't bring a good return. “You cannot serve God and mammon,” Matthew 6:24 tells us.
"Mammon," or "riches," is the world and its money, lust and cares. Pursing such increases distance from God, who values relationships, integrity, character and loyalty.
Since we live in a capitalist society, we often straddle these spheres, but eventually, the Lord will make us choose which will rule our hearts.
“This is the will of God, your sanctification,” says 1 Thessalonians 4:3. Not too many preachers touch this one.
In an era when clergy are adding sugar to the gospel, this verse gets left out all too frequently. We are not going to be sin-free, but we should be cooperating with God to get the shortcomings out of our lives.
Willfully violating the Word damages our relationship with the Lord, while seeking to observe it is our reasonable service. Let's let go of our worldliness and latch onto a sinless Savior.
Becoming a Christian doesn't mean you've just ended life's battles. Satan is the god of this world, and he seldom lets the believer go on his merry way without trying to hamstring him. When that happens to you, remember the story of Haman.
Haman was an official of the Persian king. Mordecai was a Jew living in the capital city of the empire. Haman, who was of the sinful people living in the Promised Land before the Hebrews, was incensed that Mordecai would not bow to him. Esther 3 tells us this indignant leader hatched a plot to get at his nemesis: kill all the Jews in the kingdom. The king blindly put his stamp on an order to destroy the Chosen People.
If you recall the story of Esther, the royal comes out as a Jew in order to save her people and ultimately Haman, the slanderer and persecutor of the Hebrews, is caught in a compromising situation and ends up hanged on the very gallows he'd made for Mordecai and his kind.
Maybe you're in a difficult place today, a Mordecai facing a Haman. But know that "he who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12).
Perseverance isn’t easy. Setbacks, unexpected negativism and adversaries drain our enthusiasm and energy. What should we do when such come up us?
Well, David gave this instruction: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:1).
God will help us see the spiritual battle surrounding our circumstances. He’ll show us new ways to proceed and warn us whom and what to avoid. Our job is to be diligent to enter God's rest and depend on him moment by moment, day by day.
“God speaks with man; yet he still lives,” Deuteronomy 5:24 tells us. One of the greatest glories of Christianity is we believers can talk with the Lord at any time due to the blood of Jesus.
Other religions' deities are often unknowable and may act on a whim. Jehovah desires true relationship with us and governs the universe by principles clearly set out in his Word.
That the Lord regards and loves us so is wonderful testimony to the fact he alone is God and we are his special creation, made in his image. Treasure him and each other today.
The Lord has a strategy for Christian growth. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” declares Romans 10:17.
We need to get ourselves in a position to receive the wisdom of the Lord. That means being in church on a regular basis, among other deeds.
However, this verse's original Greek brings out that just letting a preacher expound into our ears isn't enough. It indicates that which is heard, when acted upon, becomes faith. This is what Hebrews 11:1 refers to as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of what we do not see."
Listening to and living the Bible give us plenty of faith to inspire not only ourselves but those around us as well.
Do you pray for the president, Congress, governor and mayor? Truth be told, I do, but not too frequently. However, the Bible tells us to lift up petitions for these leaders.
"I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence," 1 Timothy 2:2 says.
Being a leader is a difficult job at best in many circumstances. While we may not agree with what our officials are doing at all times, we need to pray that they will have the mind of Christ in doing their work and make decisions in line with the Word of God. This blesses them, our neighbors and ourselves. That's a winning combination.
Many Christians avoid the book of Revelation, saying it's too hard to understand or not relevant to their lives today. Neither protest is correct.
While there are competing theories about how certain events in Revelation will play out, the essence of the narrative is encouragement and instruction for the Christian. The churches of Revelation 2 and 3 give us insight into how the Lord views his bride and what we as his betrothed can do to please him.
The last-days portion of the book lets us know what to watch for and comforts us that God has in hand all the mayhem to come. The work ends with our enjoying eternity with the Almighty in the New Jerusalem.
Knowing how the Bible ends can give hope today. Don't neglect Revelation; it promises a blessing to all who study it (Rev. 1:3).
He is the Lord, and we are not. “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways,” God states in Isaiah 55:8. He has a greater purpose, scope and power than we can imagine. Rest in the knowledge that if we know him personally, he is doing all he can to help us.
This goes hand-in-glove with Psalm 27:1, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart.” God wants us to be in faith, knowing he will come through for us.
With the waiting will come his blessing of endurance. Then, in the Almighty's perfect timing, he will conclude the matter. Depend on him!
"The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace," Exodus 14:13 reads. Moses says this to Israel as its ranks complain to him with the Egyptians closing in at the Red Sea.
The leader does not know how his people will survive, but he knows God and his love for the Hebrews, so he speaks this in faith. The very next verse, the Lord tells Moses what to do: stretch forth his rod and move forward. The sea parts, Israel is saved, and the Egyptians drown as the waters crash down behind the Jews.
Sometimes, we simply must speak, think and act on whom we know God to be without anything tangible to go on. That's the true test: Will we walk by faith, not sight?
Happy Independence Day, USA! It's No. 242, seven generations of God's blessing seeing the country go from a couple million people huddled along the East Coast to 320 million stretching from sea to shining sea.
With the infighting our nation has, it's incredible it's still the world's top superpower. God is sustaining us, but he hates division and strife.
The United States is a democratic republic, built on a multiple-party system and fair play and good will from and for all. There are groups in our country who will not recognize election outcomes and seek only to bury opponents. If they continue, then they will succeed in writing America's epitaph.
Lest you think I have lost hope, I want to recall for you 2 Chronicles 7:14, in which God says, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." We believers must intercede for our country and trust the Lord will bring unity to it by his Spirit.
The Holy Ghost is always active, but you might not have realized when he’s at work.
He reminds us of the teachings of Scriptures (John 14:26). Have you ever been praying for wisdom from God and a particular passage came to mind that applied to your situation? This is a common way the Spirit instructs us.
He guides us into all truth (John 16:13) in areas that are not easily encapsulated in a few verses, too, perhaps by a quick vision showing us what to do (Acts 2:17) or just flowing through us as we ask the Lord to help us. The Holy Spirit does most of his labor without saying a word or calling undue attention to himself (John 16:14). He then reminds us after the fact how we prayed and God answered so that Father and Son can get glory.