Know the Bible

A knowledge of the Bible is essential to a rich and meaningful life. For the words of this Book have a way of filling in the missing pieces, of bridging the gaps, of turning the tarnished colors of our life to jewel-like brilliance. Learn to take your every problem to the Bible. Within its pages you will find the correct answer. But most of all, the Bible is a revelation of the nature of God. The philosophers of the centuries have struggled with the problem of a Supreme Being. Who is He? What is He? Where is He? If there is such a Person, is He interested in me? If so, how can I know Him? These and a thousand other questions about God are answered in this Holy Book we call the Bible.



The Process of Divine Discipline

Hebrews 12:1-13

Why would a loving heavenly Father allow pain and hardship in the lives of His children? Shouldn’t a good God rescue us from suffering? Not necessarily. Every parent knows that withholding the pain of discipline from children is not the best thing for them. And that’s also true of our relationship with our heavenly Father.

God disciplines us “so that we may share His holiness” (Heb. 12:10). Although believers are holy positionally through Christ and have been set free from the dominion of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, we still struggle with sin and the temptations of the devil. Therefore, the Father trains us to recognize sin in our life, resist temptations, and pursue holiness. Without His loving intervention, our spiritual growth would be stunted.

Sometimes God’s discipline can be painful, just as a spanking is to a child. But what matters most is how we respond. When our Father’s correcting hand falls on a certain area of our life, we need to address the situation and make needed changes in order to mature in our faith. To respond defiantly will only make things worse.

The writer of Hebrews warns us not to take God’s discipline lightly by refusing to repent of sin or ignoring what He is trying to teach us. But we are also told not to be disheartened by it. The fact that we are being disciplined should encourage us because it proves that we are God’s beloved children. Without His correction, we would tolerate sin in our life and never experience the freedom of walking in obedience.



Shine Your Light

One faithful witness is worth a thousand mute professors of religion. Tom Allan, Scotland’s famous young preacher, was brought to Christ while a black soldier was singing, “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” He said it was neither the song nor the voice, but the spirit in which that soldier sang—something about his manner, something about his sincerity of expression—that convicted him of his wicked life and turned him to the Savior. Our faith grows by expression. If we want to keep our faith, we must share it—we must witness.



The Revelation of God

2 Peter 1:16-21

The times we live in may leave us feeling shaken and uncertain. We aren’t sure what will happen tomorrow—the economy could collapse or a natural disaster might strike. But one thing we can always count on is the Word of God. That’s our sure foundation in this ever-changing world.

The Bible is unique because it is God’s divine revelation of Himself. In Scripture, the term revelation refers to something God has made known to mankind—information we could never discover on our own. For instance, since no human being was present at creation, the only way we know what happened is because God has revealed it in the book of Genesis.

The process by which the Bible was written is called inspiration. God used human beings to record His thoughts. He didn’t put them in a trance, but His Spirit moved in them as they wrote down His truths, using their own personality, style, and vocabulary.

Now as we read Scripture, the Holy Spirit within us illumines our mind so we can understand what the passage means. Then God’s Word becomes like “a lamp shining in a dark place,” giving us insights from the Author Himself (2 Peter 1:19).

One reason unbelievers often reject or find fault with the Bible is because they don’t understand it. The fact is, they can’t understand it because they do not have the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). But if you belong to Christ, His Spirit will teach you the Word of God as long as you are faithful to read and study it. Then you’ll have a sure foundation in troubled times



Always Be Vigilant

When I was in the hospital in Hawaii, I read again of the shocking events which led up to the destruction of the United States fleet at Pearl Harbor. On that fateful day of December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked. We know now that that attack was invited by our failure to be always vigilant. The result was the destruction of our fleet-the cause was tragic indifference. When comfort and ease and pleasure are put ahead of duty and conviction, progress is always set back.

What makes us Christians shrug our shoulders when we ought to be flexing our muscles? What makes us apathetic in a day when there are loads to lift, a world to be won, and captives to be set free? Why are so many bored, when the times demand action? Christ told us that in the last days there would be an insipid attitude toward life.

Prayer for the day

Take away the apathy, Father, that so often blinds my vision.



The Unpayable Debt

Years ago King Charles V was loaned a large sum of money by a merchant in Antwerp. The note came due, but the king was bankrupt and unable to pay. The merchant gave a great banquet for the King. When all the guests were seated and before the food was brought in, the merchant had a large platter placed on the table and a fire lighted on it. Then, taking the note out of his pocket, he held it in the flames until it was burned to ashes. The king threw his arms around his benefactor and wept. Just so, we have been mortgaged to God. The debt was due, but we were unable to pay. Two thousand years ago God invited the world to the Gospel feast, and in the agonies of the cross, God held your sins and mine until every last vestige of our guilt was consumed.

It’s never too late to confess past sins.

Prayer for the day

In gratitude I kneel before You, Lord Jesus Christ.



A Mind Set On Christ

Colossians 3:1-4

What occupies your thoughts? That’s a challenging question and one we should not ignore. In many ways, we are what we think. If our thoughts are focused on the concerns of this world, we will become like the world. But if our minds are set on the things above—in other words, where Christ is—we’ll become more like Him.

The point isn’t merely to think about heaven but to think on Christ, who is in heaven. When we do this, changes will start to take place:

We will gain an eternal perspective. Instead of being distracted by trivial pursuits and discouraged by hardships and pain, we’ll be devoted to living for Christ. Then we will be able to rest in our loving Father’s choices for us.

Things of the world will lose appeal. The more aware we are of Jesus, the less we tolerate sin, because we know it doesn’t fit us anymore. Instead of chasing the passing pleasures and goals of the culture, we’ll pursue a lifestyle of obedience to the Lord.

We’ll realize our security is in Christ. Right now we are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). This speaks of our eternal security and also gives us a sense of safety since nothing comes our way without passing through God’s hands.

We look forward to a glorious future. When Christ is revealed, then we will be revealed with Him in glory (v. 4). Even when everything looks dismal, we have a reason to hope because our time here is infinitesimal compared to eternity with Christ.

Your beliefs determine your perspective on life, and that shapes your priorities and attitudes.



Encouragement for Every Season

Psalm 139:1-12

One of the most distressing emotions is the bleak sense of isolation caused by a difficult situation or experience. This is especially true when a loved one has died or you find yourself in the middle of a severe trial that can’t be solved quickly. Though the planet keeps on spinning, your world seems to have stopped and you begin to wonder, “Lord, where are You?”

In Psalm 139, David reminds us that we do not journey through this life alone. Our loving heavenly Father is and has been with each believer every single day. He’s more than a traveling companion—He keeps His mighty hand on us and surrounds us with protective love (Psalm 139:5). Nothing comes our way without His knowledge. And He gives His children the grace not only to endure but also to grow more like Jesus through the experience.

God promises to be with you in all seasons of life, whether joyful or sorrowful (Heb. 13:5). No matter how dark, depressing, or hopeless the situation may seem, your faithful Father is with you because His love never fails (Rom. 8:31-39). Furthermore, He knows every facet of your situation and is working it out for both your good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Besides having the power to meet any need, He also has surpassing comfort for every hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Dark valleys may blind us at the moment, but to our Shepherd, the night is as bright as the day. We can trust Him to bring us out of the shadows and into His light. In the meantime, we must cling to the truth of His Word, which assures us of His lovingkindness and compassion.



God’s Faithfulness

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Ever since the heavenly Father created time, everything has been in flux—everything, that is, except God Himself. The environment changes with the seasons, and in a similar way, our life also goes through seasons. Some are filled with joy, while others are characterized by difficulty. But the Lord is faithful, and we can always take comfort in knowing this.

Faithfulness is one of God’s unchanging attributes. It means that He always does exactly what He says He will do and acts in accordance with His nature. He can never deny Himself, so when He promises to “sanctify you entirely” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), you can count on Him to make you more like Christ—even using the painful seasons of life to do so.

God’s unchanging nature and faithfulness are the foundation of our hope. Because He won’t change His mind about our salvation, we have the assurance of eternal security. Since He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, we never have to fear that our world is out of His control. His plans were formed long ago with perfect faithfulness (Isa. 25:1), and no one can frustrate them or turn back His hand (Isa. 14:27).

Because God is faithful, we can have peace of mind in any circumstance—even in the face of death. Although we will change with time and the seasons of life will come and go, our faithful God is always the same. Since we belong to Him through Christ, He will never forget, neglect, or abandon us. He has promised to preserve us “complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and He will do it.



When We Feel Helpless

Psalm 119:145-160

We love movies that capture our attention with tales of people who are trapped, helpless, and frantically looking for a way of escape. However, this is not something we want in real life. Yet when it happens, we immediately start looking for the way out and beg God for rescue through physical healing, changed circumstances, or additional provision.

Have you ever considered that spiritual rescue is even more important than physical deliverance? Although Jesus has freed us from the penalty and power of sin, there are times when we feel helpless in the face of sinful habits, emotions, rash words, and ungodly thoughts. That’s when we need to follow the example of the psalmist and cry out to God for spiritual rescue.

Admit your helplessness to God. In yourself, you have no power to overcome sin. But God’s Spirit within you is almighty.

Confess any sins, fears, unbelief, or self-reliance. Surrender all further attempts to change by self-effort, and make no provision for sinful desires.

Turn your gaze toward God. Think about who He is, what He desires, and what He has promised.

Fill your mind and heart with God’s Word. Meditate on it. Ask Him for wisdom and strength to follow Him with reliance on and submission to His Spirit.

Trust God, and wait upon Him to change you from the inside out. Although salvation occurs in a moment, sanctification is a lifelong process.

A time will eventually come when the helpless feeling departs and is replaced by the joy of obedience. When that happens, give God the glory.