Our Testimony

Colossians 4:1-6

Think about the last argument you had with someone. Generally, disagreements arise when two people see things differently. Part of the problem is that most issues can be seen from diverse perspectives. Therefore, it’s easy for people to take opposing sides on a subject since they make different assumptions based on the same facts.

This can present a problem when we witness to people. Our goal isn’t to start a debate but to share the gospel. If someone objects to what we say, we could become sidetracked with arguments. However, we each have one thing that no one else can refute: our personal testimony. This isn’t an issue for debate but an opportunity to explain our own experience and the results of our decision to follow Christ.

Realize that every believer has a powerful weapon in his spiritual arsenal. When you share what Christ has done in your life, no one else can say, “That’s not right,” or “That didn’t really happen.” Our testimony of faith is our own credible, first-hand, eyewitness narrative of the power of God.

That’s why it’s important that we be prepared to share our story. Opportunities often come unexpectedly, and we don’t want to let the moment pass simply because we’re not sure what to say.

This week set aside a few moments to think about your history with Christ and sketch an outline of your faith story. Then ask Him to open a door for you to share the message of Jesus Christ. Then when an opportunity comes, you’ll be ready to share what Christ has done in your own life.



Who Owns It All?

1 Chronicles 29:10-14

A serious error has made its way into the church. Some Christians think that their beliefs and their wallet belong in separate spheres. The truth is, obedience to God includes how we handle our finances. He owns everything (Hag. 2:8; Psalm 24:1). Cash, possessions, and ways to earn more are gifts from the Lord; we are simply stewards.

A steward oversees the use and care of someone else’s riches. A wise steward bases financial decisions upon the owner’s rules for using and multiplying material goods. In our case, God has woven financial principles into the fabric of Scripture. Since money touches nearly every aspect of life, it is mentioned hundreds of times in different contexts. For example, God urged the Israelites to stay faithful to His teachings and to avoid the trap of self-reliance. He reminded them that the power to make wealth resides with Him rather than in their own hands (Deut. 8:17-18).

The minute a steward presumes that he owns the money he manages, trouble is at hand. He stops consulting the Owner and spends as he sees fit. Even in trying to do good, the wayward steward is ruled by his shortsighted perspective rather than by God’s omniscient view and gentle guidance. He will suffer the consequences of choosing his own way over the Lord’s.

Faith and finances are intertwined. The bottom line is that we cannot keep our money out of God’s hand, because He holds it all—we simply manage it. And we are to do so in the way He directs us. A maturing believer trusts the Lord’s principles for using and growing wealth.



In His Image

You were created in the image and likeness of God. You were made for God’s fellowship, and your heart can never be satisfied without His communion. Just as iron is attracted to a magnet, the soul in its state of hunger is drawn to God. Though you, like thousands of others, may feel in the state of sin that the world is more alluring and more to your liking, some day—perhaps even now as you read these words—you will acknowledge that there is something deep down inside you which cannot be satisfied by the alloy of earth. Then with David, the Psalmist who had sampled the delicacies of sin and had found them unsatisfying, you will say, “Oh God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.”



Overcome Temptation

When temptations come, let me suggest that you ask God for strength—and also to show you the way He has prepared for your escape. One other word of counsel; be very sure that you do not deliberately place yourself in a position to be tempted. All of us are not subjected to the same weaknesses and temptations. To one, alcohol may be the temptation; to another, it may be impure thoughts and acts; to another, greed and covetousness; to another, criticism and an unloving attitude. Regardless of what it may be, be sure that Satan will tempt you at your weak point, not the strong. Our Lord has given us an example of how to overcome the devil’s temptations. When He was tempted in the wilderness, He defeated Satan every time by the use of the Scriptures.



Prayer-Based Planning

Luke 14:28-30

In Luke 14, Jesus’ example of building a tower shows the importance of planning and using resources wisely. Otherwise, money may run out before the work is done. As with any plans we make, those involving finances should be covered with prayer. First, ask God for the wisdom to understand His teachings about money and how they apply to your situation. Next, pray for clarity about how much is spent versus how much is earned, as well as all the other details.

One final step is to seek the Lord’s guidance in assessing whether your spending habits are in line with His priorities. In evaluating this, it is helpful to divide expenses into categories, including:

• Giving to the local church, missionaries, and other organizations.
• Basic needs—food, clothing, and housing. 
• Insurance, retirement plan, savings.
• Debt, such as mortgages, loans, and credit cards.
• Spending on extras—phones, internet, TV, eating out, vacations, etc.

Some of us will discover that our finances are not in line with scriptural principles, which may be discouraging. If this is true of you, turn to the Lord, confess what has happened, and pray for the strength to handle your God-given resources His way.

Financial discipline is a learned skill. It requires a commitment to live according to Scripture, persistent effort to change bad habits, concentration to develop new ones, and faith that we can learn to live according to God’s priorities. We’re blessed when we practice prayer-based planning.



Protection of Meditation

Psalm 119:9-16

If there was a seminar on overcoming sin, many Christians would sign up, hoping to discover the secret to victory over their temptations. But the answer isn’t elusive; it’s right under our nose. All we need to do is open our Bible. Every answer the psalmist gives to his initial question of how to keep our ways pure involves Scripture.

Live according to God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-10). This means we must spend time reading and meditating on Scripture in order to know what it says and means. But that alone isn’t enough to guard us from sin; we must obey it.

Treasure God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Since temptation usually comes unexpectedly, we must be prepared for it even when we can’t grab a Bible. That’s why having Scripture stored in our mind and heart is so important.

Rejoice in God’s Word (Psalm 119:14). There is great joy and peace that comes with knowing Scripture. In fact, it should be worth more to us than all the wealth and possessions this world offers.

Meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 119:15). We must take time to attune our heart and mind to the Lord, ponder His words, and receive the Spirit’s help translating His instructions for our particular situation. This isn’t a rushed process; it’s a slow yielding of ourselves to the truths we read as we discover how to apply them. And consistency may require a deliberate commitment.

When we faithfully practice biblical meditation, we will discover that the Holy Spirit has been busy transforming our thoughts, emotions, and actions so we’ll be more pleasing to God and less attracted to sinful pleasures. That is good news!



Biblical Meditation

Joshua 1:1-9

If you’re facing a challenging situation, it may be tempting to immediately consult friends, professionals, or the latest book or article relating to the subject. Although none of these choices are bad in themselves, there is a greater source for guidance and assurance than any of these, and that’s God’s Word.

When Joshua took over the leadership of Israel after Moses’ death, he didn’t form a committee or read up on current leadership strategies. Instead, he relied on the instructions and assurances God gave him: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left” (Josh. 1:7).

Implicit in this command is the obvious truth that we must read the Bible if we want to know what God would have us do. Then we must be careful to obey whatever it says without trying to alter it, soften it, or make excuses for partial obedience.

The Lord also told Joshua not to let God’s Word depart from his mouth but to “meditate on it day and night” (Josh. 1:8). Since our minds are easily distracted and often forgetful, we need more than a quick and perfunctory reading of Scripture. The best approach is to ask God to help us understand what He’s saying in His Word and then take time to think about it.

Biblical meditation isn’t an emptying of our mind but rather a filling of it with God’s Word. As we reflect upon scriptural truths, we gain a greater understanding of our Father’s ways and desires so we’ll know how to proceed according to His will.



Keep Your Peace

To have peace, keep your eyes on God. Get alone to fellowship with Him. If you have to get in a closet and sit in the middle of all your shoes and hang clothes over your head to hide in order to find solitude, do it! Then focus on all that God has done for you.

Jesus said to go to your most private room when you pray to the Father, and He will reward you openly for the time you spend with Him (See Matthew 6:6). Don’t miss out on God’s abundant blessings for your life.

Prayer Starter: Father, in the midst of everything I have to do today, I ask You to fill my heart and mind with Your supernatural peace. Help me to continually grow closer to You and receive the peace and rest You have for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Wounded Parents, Wounded Children

Jeremiah 32:17-19

So often when we deal with difficult people, it’s easy to form judgments about them based on their behavior or attitudes. But have you ever stopped to wonder what has made that person so disagreeable or foolish? When the Bible says God “repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children” (Jer. 32:18), it is speaking about generational cycles of sin. Unless someone in the family line makes a deliberate choice to change, sinful and dysfunctional behavior can be passed from parent to child for many generations.

This is really just a confirmation of the principle of sowing and reaping. We pass down standards for conduct and character traits that we received from our parents. If we are unwilling to change our sinful habits and attitudes, they will very likely find their way into our children’s lives.

What is true for sin is also true for wounds. When a child is emotionally bruised in the home, his behavior and character may be negatively affected. With this in mind, think about a difficult person you know. What hurts do you think shaped his or her life? A heart of compassion originates from a willingness to empathize with those who have been wounded. This doesn’t excuse someone’s sin, but it does aid in opening our heart toward the individual.

What about you? Have childhood wounds contributed to who you are today? How have they affected your life? If you haven’t dealt with them, you’ll probably pass similar hurts down to your children. But with God’s help, you can break this cycle and begin one that will benefit future generations.



God’s Loving Desire

Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts are usually centered on what wewant—but have you ever considered what God desires? Why did He create us, and what is His goal for us? The answer is found in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord … is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” But why does God want mankind saved?

Because He loves us (Eph. 2:4). His love isn’t based on any worthiness in us but on His nature. As 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love,” and His attributes never change.

Because of His grace (Eph. 2:5). We can’t do anything to earn salvation, because it’s obtained only through God’s grace. And throughout our time on earth and into eternity, the lives of God’s children should exhibit evidence of His grace (Eph. 2:7). 

For His glory (Eph. 1:5-6). God’s glory is displayed as He saves sinners and changes them into saints. Then as we each live obediently before Him, others will see our good works and glorify the God who transformed us. 

Sometimes we’re shortsighted and think we’re the center of salvation, but it’s really all about our amazing God, who sent His Son to rescue us from sin, death, and eternal punishment. Jesus died and suffered the chastisement we deserved, and He offers us forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father. And all we have to do is believe and receive Christ’s payment for our sins. What a gracious God we have, who wants us to be with Him forever so He may continue to shower His kindness upon us.