There is no infidelity on Jesus’ end. He is always faithful and true. But God’s people must make intentional decisions to ‘cling’ to the LORD. What does this look like? We can learn a little from Joshua's challenge in Joshua 23.
When integrity is chosen over apathy and honesty is chosen over dodging the truth, these decisions can serve as a way of making God’s glory visible. Do we recognize these moments as divine? Perhaps we should!
There are times when God’s supernatural power becomes clearly evident when we eagerly obey God’s word and declare our faith vocally. The battle at Jericho is only one specific example, but there are others.
Once people hear about God's incredible power, they commonly respond with either faith or fear. Rahab's story is a good example. Even now, Christians in various parts of the world are targeted, not because they pose a physical threat, but because of an underlying, spiritual fear which can exist in unconverted hearts. Let's pray that fear about God would turn into faith in God.
It’s healthy and God-honoring for older, more experienced adults to invest their time and energy into developing the skills of leadership within those who are physically, emotionally or spiritually younger. A careful reading of the Old Testament shows us how Moses invested in Joshua, preparing him for leadership in Israel.
In the midst of life’s pains, clinging to the sovereignty of God doesn’t always feel like it’s enough. Perhaps that is why our gracious God has revealed portions of ‘His sequel' - eternal life in heaven. But, our hope can grow even stronger when we remember that Jesus is the resurrection right now.
The Kingdom of God is best understood as Jesus described it in John 10 - as abundant life. It is a life which is overflowing with inner peace, joyful contentment and freedom with God which helps us endure the various the trials of this broken world. But there is only one entrance to it...
Jesus, our Lord, is the perpetual ‘beacon of light’ who brings life to all who receive Him by faith. But what does His 'light of life' look like in people? In a word...it's FREEDOM! Consider how the Apostle John describes this life.
Although ‘Sabbath’ changed during the time of the Early Church, the practice of establishing a regular time to worship the Lord and celebrate His sanctifying work with others remained. Because Jesus is working, we can set aside our small tasks and delight in His sovereign care. But it won't happen unless we are intentional about it.
Faith grows to maturity by learning and observing the conduct of more mature believers. Therefore, if we want to impact the world for Jesus, we need to consider how we are spending time with those who are spiritually younger.
Biblical education and additional materials are helpful in leading Bible studies. However, they aren’t the main ingredients which make Bible studies spiritually transformative. Humility before the Lord and access to the living words of God can be sufficient for leading wonderful Bible studies
Meeting new people and moving into the realm of ‘spiritual conversations’ can be quite difficult for many of us. However, if we are to take the Lord’s calling upon our lives seriously, we must venture beyond our comfort zone.
We don’t hear God’s audible voice and don’t always ‘feel’ God’s presence. Therefore, it is easy to doubt God’s nearness during times of affliction. How can we genuinely testify to the ‘abundant life’ which Jesus promised while also walking through dark valleys? Consider the nearness of God through the inner gift of His peace.
When we are faced with trying circumstances, it is so easy to complain to God. That is why we need to understand prayers of lament (like Psalm 22). Lamenting gives Christians direction as we offer our raw emotions to God in the midst of suffering. Without learning to pray this way, we won’t know how to process pain while also clinging to faith in the Lord.
Every disciple of Jesus is equipped with the Bible, the Easter story, a living relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Together, they form the seeds of the gospel - seeds which are meant to be sowed within a broken world. As the memories of Easter fade, let us look again to the mission field right outside of our doors.
How should we love one another? Consider Jesus' example. Of course, the cross is the pinnacle of His love, but every personal encounter in Jesus' public ministry sets for us daily examples of sacrificial love.
Submissive Christians are ones which have a softer approach to human relationships than the rest of the world. People will disappoint us at times, but it doesn’t mean that we give up on community or submission. Rather, we submit to one another because we hold a high view of Jesus’ love, grace and mercy which is available to us daily by faith.
The act of singing together has become counter-cultural and a distinctly Christian activity. However, the discipline of worshipping together through song has increasingly become a Sunday only activity. How can we take steps to encourage joyful singing with others through the week?
We should not convince ourselves that a victorious Christian is an isolated Christian. We have been called into fellowship with other believers and are commanded support one another in order for all of us to finish well.
God commands Christians to talk to other Christians every day. That may sound excessive, we actually need these relationships in order to prevent our hearts from growing hard from sin's deceit and remaining soft towards God and others.
Daniel's entire adulthood was spent living in a pagan county serving pagan leaders. Yet, he remained fiercely committed to the Lord. How did he run the race of faith with such integrity and perseverance? Perhaps it is because he knew how to renew this strength by waiting upon the Lord.
The Lord knows when we need to be carried or gently led. Our spiritually maturing ‘legs’ can only carry us so far in this difficult world. That is where the church, as the flock of God, can participate in the work of the Good Shepherd.
Each one of us want to be part of something truly significant. However, this desire can easily morph into self-exalting living, grasps at worldly control, or a false belief that right now is 'unprecedented' because we are part of it. Instead, Christians should think soberly and remain focused furthering the Kingdom of God which is ‘not of this world.’
When humans pursue life apart from God’s leading, all that’s left is rottenness, emptiness and a path of heart-breaking ruin. Now, we may not always be able to avoid the consequences of our sin, but we never have to fear that God will leave us in our sin.
As adults we know that there exists a discomforting darkness which cannot be dealt with by simply turning the on the lights. When faced with this grim reality, it can seem as though the darkness has won, or at least is winning. What then should we do? Is there hope?
When people open the pages of the Scripture, they are commonly searching for answers to questions. However, some portions of the Bible can lead us into greater, unsolvable mysteries. The Advent season places one such mystery right before us.
In the middle of difficult situations, we typically look back to the past or ahead to the future since it's present reality which appears to be so dreadfully difficult. But perhaps God’s Word can assist us as we seek to find joy during each present moment.
Regardless of whether you've experienced any or not, the Bible does make it clear that spiritual beings are present within our world. In fact, many of the stories which shape our theology include them.
Do you relate with Matthew's decision to set aside the work and agenda of Rome in order to point people to Jesus? Ultimately, the true hope for the world does not rest in policies or politicians (even good ones). It rests in authority of Jesus who supernaturally transforms sinners into citizens of an eternal Kingdom.
There are moments when disciples of Jesus don’t ‘self-correct’ and have no clue that we are heading into dangerous terrain. Each of us need spiritual friends who gently nudge us in the right direction.
If we view possessions improperly then our soul becomes vulnerable to this dreadful disease. We are compromised with depravity, become ‘blind’ and may even be led to reject God. So what can we do to keep our spiritual vision clear?
Many Christians are familiar with habits of giving and prayer, but fasting is a bit more foreign. Although Jesus did not give specific instructions regarding how and when to fast, He made it clear that His disciples would fast. Should you engage in this form of self-denial?
Financial giving should flow so naturally from a disciple of Jesus that it simply passes along to the recipient without drawing much attention at all. However, there is One who knows every dollar which passes through our hands.
In the face of evil, disciples of Jesus are not called to do nothing. We are called to ‘resist evil,’ in a manner of speaking, with sacrificial love. This was not only affirmed throughout the New Testament, it was also the lifestyle of the Early Church.
We live in a culture which easily welcomes the weakening of verbal integrity. Even though promise-breaking is normative and the handshake doesn’t really hold any weight, Jesus raises the bar for His disciples.
Too often, when we think of signs of repentance, we consider past events like saying the “sinner’s prayer”, going forward at a worship service, or being baptized. Now those wonderful actions certainly can accompany repentance. But Jesus addresses the current condition of the heart.
All people who seek to hinder or harm disciples of Jesus, are merely blind athletes competing for a coach who is leading them down a path of eternal destruction. Therefore, God empowers Christians to treat human “rivals” differently.