Do You Have A Sane Estimate of Yourself?

Be careful! In a desire to be great, one might cease being any good.  Not every teacher is equipped to be a principal. Not every carpenter has the skill to head a crew. Not every musician should conduct an orchestra. A promotion might promote a person right out of their sweet spot. For the love of more, a person might lose their purpose. Greed makes a poor job counselor.

Examine your gifts; know your strengths. Romans 12:3 says to “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.” Proverbs 15:16 says, “It is better to have little with fear for the LORD than to have great treasure with turmoil.”

Don’t let the itch for things or the ear for applause derail you from your God-intended design!

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.

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.

When A Crisis Brings Doubt

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.

Look To The Lord In Faith For The Victory

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.— Psalm 27:13

It was Jesus himself who said that ‘”In the world you will have tribulation”‘ (John 16:33) and it was the Apostle Paul himself who said that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). We should not be surprised, then, if we encounter these things in life. Nevertheless, we should not ask God for tribulations and we should not believe God for persecutions.

And since we live in a world full of trials, troubles, and tribulations, we should look to the Lord in faith for victory despite the evil. Although Jesus told us that in the world we would have tribulations, He also told us to ‘”be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”‘ (John 16:33). In Christ we are overcomers and we should put our faith to work by expecting to overcome.

Today, then, do not lose heart and give up. Instead, expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Expect to see good things come from the Lord.

Looking for God’s promises? Some can be found in 1 Peter 1:3-9

“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 path straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6

You’ve no doubt heard there are over 8,000 promises in the bible made by God. If you take the time to read 1 Peter 1:3-9 you will discover a few of those promises God made. Promises you can trust.

Some of God’s promises in 1 Peter 1:3-9 are:

1. God has caused us to be born again. How? By us having a living hope in Jesus’ resurrection.

2. We will obtain an inheritance that lasts forever, waiting for us in heaven.

3. We are protected by God through our faith.

4. We can greatly rejoice even in momentary trials.

5. Our faith is more precious than gold. We can offer praise, glory and honor at Jesus’ revelation.

6. Even though we’ve not seen Him, we love Him. Our belief in Him causes us to greatly rejoice with joy.

7. By having faith, we have the salvation of our souls.

God’s promises are real, dependable and trustworthy. We can read them in the bible and know in our hearts they are true and belong to us. Why? Because God said so. God’s word accomplishes what he wants it to as shown in the verse Isaiah 55:11 – “so My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it.”

If your faith is sound, solid and focused only on what God says, then you will receive His promises without fail. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “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 path straight.”

It doesn’t get any better than that.