“What Will Steady Us in Tough Times?” November 16

 

What Will Steady Us in Tough Times? - When God asks you to trust Him in the difficult things: when He doesn’t seem to be answering your prayers, when your child isn’t getting better, when the finances still seem impossible, when the doctor hands you a bad report … where will you go? Where will you find hope? What will you believe about God?When God asks you to trust Him in the difficult things: when He doesn’t seem to be answering your prayers, when your child isn’t getting better, when the finances still seem impossible, when the doctor hands you a bad report … where will you go? Where will you find hope? What will you believe about God?

Trusting God makes all the difference in times of suffering. What can we learn about God that will steady us in tough times?  Continue reading

“Do You ‘Cut & Paste’ the Bible?” October 25

 

Do You "Cut & Paste" the Bible? - Many today want to throw the Bible out completely. They try to discredit God's people by saying we're intolerant and mean-spirited when we call for a biblical standard. Attempting to destroy God's Word is nothing new, but God will preserve it and one day judge those who try to destroy it just as He did in Jeremiah's time. While we can rejoice that God will deal with evil men who reject His Word, we may need to examine our attitudes toward Scripture, as well. How do we view the Bible? Do we see it as a cafeteria line where we can pick and choose what we like? Do we cut and paste it at will? Do we view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do we view it as God's Word and allow it to direct every area of our lives? Many today want to throw the Bible out completely. They try to discredit God’s people by saying we’re intolerant and mean-spirited when we call for a biblical standard. Attempting to destroy God’s Word is nothing new, but God will preserve it and one day judge those who try to destroy it just as He did in Jeremiah’s time.

While we can rejoice that God will deal with evil men who reject His Word, we may need to examine our attitudes toward Scripture, as well.

How do we view the Bible? Do we see it as a cafeteria line where we can pick and choose what we like? Do we cut and paste it at will? Do we view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do we view it as God’s Word and allow it to direct every area of our lives?  Continue reading

“Exhaustion, Disappointment, & Discouragement” June 5

 

exhaustion

Elijah had just witnessed one of the most incredible and dramatic moves of God. But now, he had decided he was the only one left serving God, that those in charge were going to kill him, and that God wasn’t really working at all. He was so discouraged that he asked God to kill him. Instead of doing so, God gave him what we really needed. Could understanding what that was help you when you’re depressed and ready to give up?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 19 & 20
Psalm 70.1-5
Proverbs 18.1-2
John 14.1-31

 

Exhaustion, Disappointment & Discouragement

 

1 Kings 19 & 20:

God’s Provision for Elijah

 

I always find it amazing that after defeating the prophets of Baal and seeing God do such a mighty work, Elijah would respond the way he did to Jezebel’s threat (chap. 19). But it’s a good reminder to us that when we get exhausted, physically and/or spiritually, things often seem much worse than they are, because we can easily get our eyes off God and on to our own strength or the lack of it.

As John MacArthur pointed out in his Daily Bible, he probably expected Ahab and Jezebel to repent after that great display of God’s power and when they didn’t, he became discouraged.

 

Elijah’s disappointment over their lack of repentance and his own physical and spiritual exhaustion led to discouragement and depression (in verse 19.3 he asked God to take his life). Instead God gave him what he, actually, needed.

 

First, food and rest:

5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

Elijah had decided he was the only one left serving God, that those in charge were going to kill him, and that God wasn’t really working at all. That seems amazing from our perspective, but that’s the nature of discouragement and depression. It warps our sense of reality.

So, second, he needed God’s perspective on the situation. After announcing His presence with a mighty wind, an earthquake, and fire, God spoke to him and revealed His plan and instructions (19.15-17).

Then He addressed Elijah’s self pity and false belief that he was the only one left of God’s people:

Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him (v. 19.18).

 

The Goodness of God

 

The other thing that’s amazing is how God continued to give Ahab and Jezebel opportunities to see His power and goodness, and to repent and turn from their idolatry! In chapter 20 He gave them two great victories over Syria and each time He said, “… and you shall know that I am the Lord” (vss. 20.13, 28).  Continue reading

“Answers to Life’s Toughest Questions” May 18

 

Answers to Life's Toughest Questions - Many people today are looking for answers to life's toughest questions: Why am I here? Is this all there is? What's my purpose in life? When I die, then what? But sadly, many are looking in all the wrong places.Many people today are looking for answers to life’s toughest questions: Why am I here? Is this all there is? What’s my purpose in life? When I die, then what? But sadly, many are looking in all the wrong places.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 7 & 8
Psalm 64.1-10
Proverbs 16.18-19
John 5.24-47

 

Answers to Life’s Toughest Questions

 

John 5.24-47:

Looking for Answers in All the Wrong Places

 

Answers to Life's Toughest Questions - Many people today are looking for answers to life's toughest questions: Why am I here? Is this all there is? What's my purpose in life? When I die, then what? But sadly, many are looking in all the wrong places.

Verses 39-40, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

The religious leaders studied and debated and memorized the Scriptures, but were blinded to the truths contained in them which pointed to Jesus. Sadly, they didn’t recognize their Messiah when He was right in their midst.

As Americans, we have grown up in a nation where Bibles are everywhere. There is hardly a home without one, yet many of us look for eternal life and the answers to life’s toughest questions everywhere but in the Book of Life!

We try to find eternal life by leaving a legacy or by making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate—both good things to do, but they can’t save us.

Or we seek to live longer and healthier with the help of medical science, as if we can somehow avoid death.  Continue reading

“One Last Chance, Purgatory & God’s Wrath” December 24

 

One Last Chance, Purgatory & God's WrathMerry Christmas Eve,

Like all great books, the last chapters in God’s Word are “hold-your-breath” exciting. Today we’ll talk about “The King” who was born as a babe but will one day return in power and glory. The climax will be a great battle where the fighting will be so fierce that the blood will be four feet deep in places and take place over an area of 200 square miles.

In the final days of the Tribulation, people will be given one last chance to hear and believe the gospel. An angel will offer them that last chance, but warn them if they take the mark of the beast, their eternity will be sealed for all time. And those of us who die before that time must decide, before we die, because there’s no purgatory, no last chance to realize “Oops, I made a mistake!”

We’ll also talk about seduction, not just the devil’s open seduction of many in the last days, but sexual seduction in personal relationships.

And speaking of great books, did you know that the Bible is the best selling book of all time? Of course, it’s not just any book. It is God’s revelation of Himself to all mankind, penned by men, but breathed out from the heart and mind of God.

Be sure to think about how you will get to know this greatest of all books. And don’t forget to talk to anyone else God has placed on your heart about reading through the Bible this coming year. I would love it if you would share this post on your favorite social media. Also, The MacArthur Daily Bible would make a great and reasonably priced last minute Christmas gift. It may be just the motivation someone needs to get started!

I pray that today will be a restful day without too many last minute things to do. Let’s all remember to take time tonight and tomorrow to think about what it all means … which is so much more than all the commercial hustle and bustle. And I hope you will make time to attend a worship service.

On to today’s readings …

 

Today’s Readings:
Zephaniah 1-3
Psalm 147.1-6
Proverbs 30.18-19
Revelation 14

 

Zephaniah 1-3:

He’s the King and He is good!

 

When Mike and I were talking about the book of Zephaniah, we were reminded of a scene in the first Narnia movie. In the book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the conversation goes like this:

“Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

When you read the book of Zephaniah and see God’s wrath and judgment on sin, Continue reading