“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
While attending pilot training, one of the most important things my instructor taught me was to trust and have faith in my instruments. When you fly into clouds, bad weather or other situations that prevent you from seeing out side the cockpit, the only thing you have are your instruments.
Over and over he instructed me to trust my instruments because he said my body will give me erroneous information as to what is up, down or sideways when flying without visual cues.
During our travels throughout life we will have times when we are without a clue as to what direction to go or whether we are operating in the right attitude. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior promised to be with us always. He promised His Holy Spirit would guide us and show us the way to go.
Do you have Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life? They are by far the best instruments to follow when flying blind or going through this life without direction. God’s word, the bible, is your flight manual. If you study it and memorize it you will have success navigating the minefields and pitfalls put before you by Satan.
The next time you feel lost or want that much needed direction to get you safely to your destination, trust in the Lord with all your heart. His way is the only way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.—Psalm 86:1
When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.
Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.
As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. He recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him. These characteristics are the basis for trust.
Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.
In a race, how you begin is not as important as how you finish. And this same principle is also true to a large degree in the spiritual realm. That’s why the writer of Hebrews reminds us to “lay aside every encumbrance” that hinders us in the race set before us. A believer’s lifetime is not a sprint but a marathon walk with Christ, and our goal should be the same as Paul’s—to fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.
It’s easy to get caught up in the pursuits and pleasures of this life and forget that we have a higher goal. Once we cross the finish line and see Christ face-to-face, everything else will fade in comparison. So let’s run with endurance the race set before us.