We all know that the Christian walk begins with faith in Jesus for the salvation of our soul. But faith is not a onetime act—it’s a lifelong path. And Hebrews 11:6 tells us why that journey is so important: “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.”
The faith of new believers is immature and often restless because there isn’t yet a deep understanding of the heavenly Father. Therefore, when trials come, the tendency is to look at the problem rather than at God. But as we spend more time studying His Word and growing in our knowledge of Him, our confidence in the Lord begins to increase. The more we learn what pleases Him, the wiser our prayers become.
Another way faith matures is through trials. Jesus’ disciples became frightened in a storm and cried out to Him for help. We can relate to this scenario—at one time or another, we all have found ourselves in a desperate situation with no way to extricate ourselves. And the words Jesus spoke to His disciples could probably be said to us as well: “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26).
We’d all like a problem-free life, but that’s not possible. The silver lining is that trouble can strengthen our faith in the Lord. It’s one thing to read about God’s faithfulness in His Word, but we also need to experience it in our personal life. Each time we’re able to trust the Lord during a trial, we know our faith is genuine.
Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” It doesn’t get more practical than that! When you see sin coming—duck! When you sense temptation, go the other way. Pay attention! You know your weaknesses. You also know the situations where your weaknesses are most vulnerable. Stay out of those situations. Late hours. Movies. Internet. Social media. Whatever gives Satan a foothold in your life, stay away from it. Watch out!
And pray! Prayer invites God to walk the shadowy pathways with us. To watch ahead for falling trees and tumbling boulders; to bring up the rear, guarding our backside from the poison darts of the devil.
Watch and pray! Good advice. Let’s take it! It could be the difference between a peaceful day on the lake and a stick of dynamite blowing up in our faces!
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.— Hebrews 13:20-21
This verse includes two significant results of Christ’s death and resurrection. God works in us to make us the kind of people that would please him, and he equips us to do the kind of work that would please him.
Let God change you from within and then use you to help others.
Now that we are in the swing of the holiday season there might be some of you who feel lonely or that no one cares. I am writing today to state categorically that is not the truth. Someone does care. That someone is Jesus Christ our Lord.
God gave all of us a very precious gift. His son. Jesus was born not only to love you in your times of loneliness but all of the time. And His most important display of love is that He died on the cross to save you from your sins.
He is always with you and waiting for you to reach out to Him. When you do He will surround you with His loving arms.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.—Isaiah 40:31
To wait on the Lord is to rest in the confident assurance that, regardless of the details or difficulties we face in this life, God never leaves us without a sure defense. As Moses told the panicky Israelite’s trapped at the Red Sea by Pharaoh’s army, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). The heavenly perspective comes as we focus not on the trouble but on the Lord and His Word. When it seems God has painted us into a corner, we have an opportunity to set aside our human viewpoint and wait upon the Lord to show us His power, His purpose, and His salvation.
When we don’t choose to wait on the Lord, we solicit trouble for ourselves. Remember how Abraham and Sarah did not wait on the Lord for their child of promise; rather, Sarah offered her maid, Hagar, to Abraham in order to have a child through her. The account in Genesis 16 and 18 shows that their impatience led to no end of trouble. Any time we fail to wait on the Lord and take matters into our own hands—even when we’re trying to bring about something God wants—it leads to problems. When we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, ESV), we can allow God to work out the rest of the details.
The command to wait on the Lord means that we are to be near Him and attentive so that we may catch the slightest intimation of what He wants for us. We naturally think of ourselves as self-sufficient. We turn here and there and expect help from our own ability, from friends, or from circumstances. But in the spiritual life we are taught to distrust self and depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Waiting on the Lord involves the confident expectation of a positive result in which we place a great hope—a hope that can only be realized by the actions of God. This expectation must be based on knowledge and trust, or we simply won’t wait. Those who do not know the Lord will not wait on Him; neither will those who fail to trust Him. We must be confident of who God is and what He is capable of doing. Those who wait on the Lord do not lose heart in their prayers: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Waiting on the Lord renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31). Prayer and Bible study and meditating upon God’s Word are essential. To wait on the Lord we need a heart responsive to the Word of God, a focus on the things of heaven, and a patience rooted in faith.
Almost. It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary. It runs with nearly, next time, and just about! It’s a word that smacks with missed opportunities. It’s an honorable mention, being on the bench, and burnt cookies!
One of the most famous “almosts” is in the Bible. His name was Pilate. He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy. He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace. He almost released the Son of God. He had the power. He had the choice. The option to free God’s Son was his. And he did…almost!
Jesus never has room for almost. With Him nearly becomes certainly. Sometimes becomes always. And next time becomes this time! Almost may count in horseshoes, but with the Master, it’s just as if it never happened.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.—Gal 5:24
As you start your weekend, ask yourself, “Do I belong to Jesus?” If your answer is yes then it’s important to set aside those worldly desires and fleshly passions.
I know personally that the flesh and it’s desires are a big stumbling block for all of us desiring to follow Jesus. There is hope for us in the Holy Spirit. Let Him lead you through your weekend and then on Monday you can look back and say to our Lord, “Thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit and helping me walk in your way.”
Satan loses again and your faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, continues to grow. Blessings to you this weekend.