Coming Before God With Confidence

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”— James 5:16

Given the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus, anyone in Christ may come before God in prayer with a clear conscience and without fear of condemnation. In point of fact, anyone in Christ may come before God with the expectation of good results.

Hebrews 4:16 says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” We don’t have to grovel before God or get someone better than us to get what we need. Every Christian may come before Him with great confidence.

Are You Abusing God’s Patience?

When the sentence for a crime is not speedily executed, the hearts of men become fully set on doing evil.—Eccl 8:11

Have you ever ignored a nagging sense of conviction in your heart? Maybe you rationalized wrongdoing with the thought that if God were really upset, He’d put a stop to things by disciplining you. Psalm 50:21 reminds us that the silence of heaven does not mean approval. Remaining in sin is an abuse of the Lord’s patience.

When God seems slow to react, we might hope He’s overlooking our transgressions—we’d like to continue in sin because the momentary pleasure is more appealing than obedience. But thankfully, the Father knows our weaknesses, our innate carnality, and the state of our spiritual growth, and He therefore measures His response. Motivated by love and a desire to gently restore His children to righteousness, God refrains from instantly doling out punishment. Instead, He waits for the Holy Spirit’s prodding to impact the believer’s heart. The weight of conviction is actually an invitation to turn from wrongdoing and return to godliness.

However, we’re a stubborn people. There are times when we persist in sin because the sentence against an evil deed isn’t executed quickly (Eccl. 8:11). In this dangerous situation, it’s possible to immerse ourselves in sin and harden our heart against the Lord. Then the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance falls on spiritual ears rapidly going deaf.

As we learn and understand more about God and His ways, we are increasingly responsible to live righteously. Our heavenly Father is not slow; He’s patient. But don’t abuse that patience with callous disregard for His statutes. Repent and be holy in the sight of the Lord.

When Do You Feel God’s Pleasure?

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, intelligence and skill in all kinds of crafts. . .”—Exodus 31:3-5

When you are doing the most in what you do the best, you pop the pride buttons on the vest of God.  In the movie Chariots of Fire Eric Liddell defended his devotion to running by telling his sister, “God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.”

When do you feel God’s pleasure?  When do you look up into the heavens and say, “I was made to do this?”  When it comes to being you, you were made for the part.  So speak your lines with confidence!

A Heart Full of Faith in Jesus

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.— Romans 10:9-10

There is the heart of a person and there is the mouth of a person. When it comes to salvation, the two should be in harmony with one another. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, then your mouth should also confess that Jesus is who the Bible says he is. If you do these two things, then our verse for today says you are saved.

Although Paul doesn’t explicitly say it in this context, the Bible teaches that the person whose heart truly believes and whose mouth truly confesses will also start down the road towards a Christ-like life. It was James who explicitly made this point. He said, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (James 2:14). Indeed, Jesus himself said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me'” (Matthew 16:24).

The heart full of faith in Jesus will confess that faith and will begin, however imperfectly, to walk in that faith.

Receiving God’s Comfort In A World Full of Troubles & Tribulations

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4

Although we live in a world full of trials, troubles, and tribulations, we do not live in a world that only has trials, troubles, and tribulations. We live in a world where there is also the comfort of God. In the midst of the difficulties of life, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort sends us the comfort we need to help us go through everything that comes our way. Indeed, He sends us the comfort we need to overcome all these things.

People who have received the comfort of God in the midst of affliction are better able to be used by God as a source of comfort to others who are going through the same kind of affliction. There is little doubt that the best comforter is the one who has already been comforted by God in the relevant area of life. Such people know the comfort of God can help overcome Satan’s attempts to harm us and know how to help others in need to receive the comfort of God.

Like everyone else in this troubled world of ours, you have been going through various and sundry afflictions. The God of comfort, however, is preparing to send you the very thing you need to help you persevere and overcome.

Keep your eyes and ears open, then, for the comfort that is about to come your way.

You Are A Work In Progress

though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.— Hebrews 5:8-9

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith.” That is, from first to last He is the perfect example of how we should live our lives by faith. If we have any question as to how we should live our lives, then we should look to Jesus first of all as an example of what to do.

Interestingly enough, if we look to Jesus as revealed in our verse for today, what we learn from His example is that the model of our faith had to suffer. Jesus’ life was a life that included suffering and His suffering was not gratuitous. It had a purpose. Through His suffering Jesus learned obedience. He learned how to remain obedient to God even though He was suffering. He learned not to use suffering as an excuse to disobey God’s plan for His life. He learned how to stand fast in faith through it all and obey God.

Further, we learn from Jesus’ example that His obedience to God needed to be perfected. Jesus, of course, lived in sinless perfection. However, He still needed to go through the sufferings He went through in order to become ready for His great task in life. Every experience He had and every suffering He endured prepared Him for the cross.

If the author and finisher of our faith needed to learn obedience through suffering, then how much more do we who are mere followers of His example need to learn obedience through suffering? Perhaps we need to look at the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life in a new light. Instead of complaining about them, perhaps we should consider them valuable experiences that qualify us for the tasks God has planned for us. If we go through these trying times in faith and obedience, then we will be ready for what God has in store for us.

You are a work in progress. You are being perfected by suffering for the tasks God planned for you from all eternity. You are working on your advanced degree in the specialty God thinks you are best suited for. Stand fast in faith, then, and learn obedience from what you are going through.

The Lord Comforts Us Through Trying Times

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The LORD comforts his people. He is good to his poor people.— Isaiah 49:13

There is always a reason to be happy. Although the people of God may go through trying times, there is always a reason for joy. We live in a creation controlled by the Lord and He is good. If the ultimate source and origin of all things is good, if the providential sustainer of all things is good, then there is no reason to allow sorrow and sadness to overtake and overwhelm our lives.

Although the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life still cause us problems, we can experience the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The heavens and the earth have good reason to be happy and the mountains have good reason to shout for joy.

You may be going through a lot of trouble right now, but there is still good reason to be happy. The Lord is comforting you and being good to you, despite everything that is going on. This comfort and goodness is merely a foretaste of the comfort and goodness that is yet to be revealed to you.

And if you go outside and listen closely, you may be able to hear the mountains in the distance shouting for joy about you.