Thursday, February 25, 2021

Getting Stronger

"If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small."
Proverbs 24:10 (NKJV) 

If you go to a gym for the first time to do a workout, you do not try to lift the heaviest weight possible.  No matter what physical condition you are in, it would foolish for anyone in their first workout to try and lift the heaviest weight they could find.  The only result from something like this would be someone getting hurt.  And, if you were to go into a gym to exercise and someone told you that you were not strong enough to lift the heaviest weight, you would not get upset; you would just realize that you need more strength to do that.

Years ago, I remember reading Proverbs 24:10 and getting a little upset about it.  There was a situation I was dealing with and I was not doing so well in overcoming the problem.  When I read Proverbs 24:10, I first got upset, but then I started to consider what that verse was saying.  Instead of looking at it as an obvious statement that my not doing so well in adversity was the result of a lack of strength, I realized that this was an encouragement for me to get stronger to be able to better deal with my situation.

The goal of people lifting weights is to get stronger, and our goal as Christians should be that we too are getting stronger, spiritually.  A simple way to be a stronger Christian is to grow and develop spiritually.  God's Word will help us grow and develop spiritually (1 Peter 2:2) and God's Word itself will strengthen us (Psalm 119:28).  By spending time reading and studying God's Word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us as we put God's Word into practice, we will grow spiritually and be strengthened to be better able to face any challenge and overcome it.  We need to be spiritually getting stronger every day, and God's Word is an important part of that.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Hoping For Hope?

"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."
Romans 15:4 (NKJV)

When people struggle with something in their life, they naturally want to find a way out of the situation.  However, there are times when people do not know what to do and they find themselves feeling hopeless and helpless.  These people are sometimes hoping for hope, in the sense that because they are at a loss for what to do, they are just wishing something would change to make things better.  Unfortunately, the only thing that usually happens in this situation is a continuation of the problem.

There are many people today who are just hoping for hope and living in a hopeless situation.  The problem is that these people are often just wishing something would change, but they have no basis for any hope.  The Bible speaks about hope, and it is more than just wishful thinking.  When the Bible talks about hope, as in Romans 15:4, it is really referring to a positive expectation.  Real Bible based hope is a positive expectation, a joyful anticipation, that has God's Word as its foundation.

God has given us His Word to give us hope, a positive expectation for solutions to the difficulties we face in life.  What we see in the Bible helps us to have hope, a positive expectation, that God is working in our life, He has given us His Spirit, and He will help us in every situation.  We don't have to be like so many people who are only wishing things would somehow change and are hoping for some hope, with God we can have a positive outlook for the future and know that whatever we face God is there to help us!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Fact Checkers

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:11 (NKJV)

Getting the right information is vitally important.  Today, there is a lot of information coming at us from so many different places that it can be challenging to know what is true and what is false.  Someone can claim something is true, and someone else can check those facts and say that it is not true, but how can we know who is right and who is wrong?  It could be that the person who first presented the information and the "Fact Checkers" were both wrong and the truth could be in the middle of those two positions.

One of my favorite examples in the Bible is about the people in the city of Berea.  These people were biblical fact checkers as they searched the Word daily to see if what they were hearing was correct.  What is really amazing to me is that it was Paul and Silas who came to speak to the Bereans.  Paul and Silas were not just some recent converts or people who had never done anything before, they were well established ministers of the Gospel, and still the people in Berea checked what Paul and Silas had to say.

It can be easy, and a little dangerous, to just assume that what we are hearing is the truth because of who we hear it from.  Just because what we hear comes from a well-known speaker, an "expert", or some "trusted" source, does not mean we should automatically accept what we are told as the truth.  We need to be biblical fact checkers who examine everything we hear in light of God's Word to see if it is truth we need to embrace or something we need to reject as false.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Where Is Your Faith?

"Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake."  And they launched out.
But as they sailed He fell asleep.  And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.
And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"  Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water.  And they ceased, and there was a calm.
But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, "Who can this be?  For He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him!"
Luke 8:22-25 (NKJV)

Locating something is necessary for us to make use of it.  If, for example, you need to get some gasoline for your car, you need to know the location of a gas station.  If you drive your car to a restaurant, you can find something to eat but nothing to fuel your car.  If you need a dentist, but you don't know the location of a good dentist and instead go to a bank, you will not find a dentist.  Knowing where something is located, knowing where it is, is an important thing. 

In Luke 8, Jesus was crossing a lake with His disciples, and there was a storm.  Jesus had gone to sleep and when the disciples were in danger, they woke Jesus up.  Jesus calmed the storm and asked the disciples an important question, "Where is your faith?".  The answer is that their faith was not in what Jesus said about crossing the lake, or even that He was with them, their faith, their confidence, was in what they saw and what they were experiencing.

Today we could ask ourselves, where is our faith?  Is our faith in God and what He has said, or are we focused on our circumstances?  Do we put more emphasis on God and His Word or on what we have been, or are, experiencing?  Do we trust in our own abilities, knowledge, and expertise more than we trust and have faith in God?  We need to develop a strong faith in God and His Word, which shows us the importance of knowing God's Word. Then, when the storms of life come to us, we are ready to deal with them.  Where is our faith today?