“When Life Is Hard & Confusing” August 9

 

When Life Is Hard & Confusing - There will be times in all of our lives when life doesn't make sense. It may be because of sickness or some tragedy. It may be the loss of a relationship or watching a child walk away from the Lord. It may be because of someone else's sin or just our circumstances, but there are times when life is hard and confusing. If we're not in one of those difficult times, what can we do now to be ready when they come?There will be times in all of our lives when life doesn’t make sense. It may be because of sickness or some tragedy. It may be the loss of a relationship or watching a child walk away from the Lord. It may be because of someone else’s sin or just our circumstances, but there are times when life is hard and confusing. If we’re not in one of those difficult times, what can we do now to be ready when they come?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 9 & 10
Psalm 93.1-5
Proverbs 22.22-23
Romans 9.16-33

 

When Life is Hard & Confusing

 

Job 9 & 10:

Preparing for the Hard Times

 

In these two chapters Job responds to his friend Bildad. He’s confused because he holds to the same basic belief as his friends—that all troubles come as a direct result of one’s own sin. So, while he knows he’s not sinless, he struggles to understand how he deserves the degree of suffering he’s enduring.

But he holds on to the truths he does understand. In verse 32 speaking of God, he says:

“He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.”

pointing upHe understands that he and God are not equals, that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are far above our thoughts (Is. 55.8-9).

Understanding that truth helped Job and can help us accept things in our lives that we don’t understand. And there will be things this side of heaven which don’t seem fair, things for which God has a higher and a bigger purpose than we know.

A pastor I know went through a dark depression years ago when his son walked away from the Lord. He said anything he had called depression before that time didn’t even come close. While he still believed the truths he had taught for many years, including the reality of God’s goodness and sovereignty, the darkness continued.  Continue reading

“The Effects of Adultery” February 7

 

The Effects of Adultery - Most of us know someone whose life has been turned upside down by the sin of adultery. Perhaps that is you. While it is not the unforgivable sin, the effect of adultery is often devastating, affecting our relationships with others, even our children, our finances, and our testimonies. But none of those things is the worst consequence.Most of us know someone whose life has been turned upside down by the sin of adultery. Perhaps that is you. While it is not the unforgivable sin, the effect of adultery is often devastating, affecting our relationships with others, even our children, our finances, and our testimonies. But none of those things is the worst consequence.

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 25 & 26
Psalm 19.7-14
Proverbs 6.32-35
Matthew 24.1-28

 

The Effects of Adultery

 

Proverbs 6.32-35

Soul Destruction

 

Most of us know someone whose life has been devastated by the sin of adultery. Perhaps that is you. While I have seen many marriages restored and even made better, the journey is hard and in many cases, restoration never happens. Instead, families, children, finances, and testimonies are destroyed.

There are many sins which have the consequences already built in. Thinking we can fool around with any kind of sexual immorality without devastating consequences is like thinking we can jump off a building and not have gravity affect us!

If there is one area where the Bible has strong warnings, it has to do with our relationships, especially the danger of sexual immorality and other inappropriate relationships!

But there is an even greater consequence; that is the effect it has on the person’s relationship with God.

Verse 32 says, “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding and he who does so destroys his own soul.”

Notice the last part of that verse. It says, “… he who does so destroys his own soul.”  Continue reading

“What do you crave?” November 26

 

What do you crave?

What do you crave? How does what you crave affect your relationship with God and your spiritual growth?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 43 & 44
Psalm 134.1-3
Proverbs 29.7
1 Peter 2.1-25

 

What do you crave?

 

1 Peter 2.1-25:

As Newborn Babes …

 

milkVerse 2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”

Anyone who has been around a newborn baby knows they crave milk and will let you know when they want more! John MacArthur (MacArthur Daily Bible) says, “Spiritual growth is always marked by a craving for and a delight in God’s Word.”

A baby who had no appetite for milk and refused to eat would soon be malnourished, even sick and we can’t grow spiritually without a steady intake of God’s Word. Neither will we grow in the quality of our relationship with God without getting to know Him, His attributes, His promises, and learning to recognize His voice.

Do you “delight” in God’s Word? Do you crave it like a baby craves milk? If not, pray and ask God to give you a hunger for His Word.

 

Responding to Persecution in an Ungodly Society

 

persecution prayerPeter was writing to believers who were suffering intense persecution in a very ungodly society! He was teaching them how to respond to persecution, mistreatment and the ungodliness of others.

He didn’t say, “Get mad, gossip, or rebel.” Neither did he say, “Act like everyone else” or “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” Instead he said in chapter 2:

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man …

We’re to submit … even to those who are harsh (v. 18):  Continue reading

“9 Ways to Live like Jesus Is Coming Back” October 18

 

9 Ways to Live Like Jesus Is Coming Back - Do you believe Jesus is coming back soon? Does your life reflect that belief? How should you live in light of that truth?Do you believe Jesus is coming back soon? Does your life reflect that belief? How should you live in light of that truth?

The alternative is to live like the people in Jeremiah’s time who needed God’s rod of judgment, as we will see in our Old Testament reading. As we dig deeper into Psalm 119, we will see how knowing and contemplating God’s Word can help us steer clear of sin and grow in our understanding of God and His will.

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 21 & 22
Psalm 119.9-16
Proverbs 27.14
1 Thessalonians 5.1-28

 

9 Ways to Live like Jesus is Coming Back

 

1 Thessalonians 5.1-28:

9 ways to live like Jesus is coming back

2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 

Jesus is coming back both for His church and to judge the whole earth. He is coming “like a thief in the night,” but as believers, who know His Word, we shouldn’t be caught off guard. Instead, we should live every day like we believe Jesus is coming back soon:

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

The remainder of the chapter spells out some ways we are to do that:

1. By respecting our pastors and elders and submitting to their authority (v. 12).

Hebrews 13.17 says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Incidentally, October is “Pastor’s Appreciation Month.” Is there some way you could show appreciation to your Pastor? A meal? A card? A word of encouragement?

2. By being faithful in our relationships to our brothers and sisters in Christ (v.14).

“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”

Sometimes we need to encourage one another. Other times we need to gently rebuke one another.

3. By not returning evil for evil, but by giving a blessing instead (v. 15). Romans 12:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

4. By rejoicing in the blessings of God and being thankful (vvs. 16, 18).

5. By being faithful in prayer (v. 17).

6. By not quenching the Spirit through unrepentant, willful sin (v. 19).

7. By heeding God’s Word (v. 20).

8. By testing all things and making God’s Word our standard (v. 21).

9. And by abstaining from every form of evil (v. 22).

Jesus is coming back. It could be soon. Are you living like you believe it?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 21 & 22:

A Rod for a Fool’s Back

Some time has passed and the Jews have failed to heed God’s warnings through Jeremiah, but now the invaders are approaching. Skirmishes are already being fought outside the city, and the people will soon be driven back into the city itself.

Now that things are desperate, the King sends a messenger to Jeremiah asking him to intercede for them. God answers by telling them that they are not just fighting the Babylonians, but they have made themselves enemies of God Himself!

Many of us go through times in our lives, too, where we reject God’s truth, then when we get into trouble we cry out, “Oh God, help me! If You get me out of this mess, I’ll never do it again!” Continue reading

“Standing for the Truth” October 13

 

standing for the truth

These are challenging times to be a believer. There is a huge clash of world views. The truthfulness of God’s Word is being attacked on many fronts. Perhaps, you are being attacked personally for standing for the truth. How should a believer respond to those attacks?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 11 & 12
Psalm 118.10-14
Proverbs 27.8
Colossians 4.1-18

 

Standing for the Truth

 

Jeremiah 11 & 12:

Responding When People Reject Truth (& Us)

These truly are challenging times to be a believer, and while it is going to get more and more intense as this world of ours spins closer and closer to the 2nd coming of Christ, it’s not new.

There was a “clash” in Jeremiah’s day, too. Chapter 11.21-23:

21 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD, lest you die by our hand’— 22 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts. ‘Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.’”

There were people who didn’t want to hear the truth and who threatened Jeremiah. In fact, they threatened to kill him if he continued to speak God’s truth. But God said, don’t worry about them, Jeremiah, I’ll deal with them in My time and in My way.

despising yourselfThere will be people who are not going to like it when we speak the truth. They may be family members, co-workers, supervisors, friends or enemies. We shouldn’t be surprised by this, but how should we respond?

First, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for His name (Acts 5.41).

We shouldn’t try to fight evil with evil. Remember Romans 12..21 tells us: Continue reading