Reasons to Believe

2 Timothy 3:14-17
Have you ever wondered if you can trust what the Bible says? Although Scripture testifies to its own inspiration, there are also other evidences that affirm that the book we hold in our hands is the true and accurate Word of God. 

Jesus believed Scripture.Our Savior affirmed the validity of the Old Testament by quoting passages as He taught. He used Isaiah’s prophecies and the Pentateuch to poke holes in the Pharisees’ false piety (Mark 7:6-13). And after His resurrection, He explained the things concerning Himself that had been written by Moses and the prophets (Luke 24:25-27). Finally, because Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit would teach the disciples and remind them of His words, He insured the accuracy of the New Testament as well (John 14:26).

Scripture is inexhaustible. Like a well that never runs dry, the Bible offers a fresh taste of living water each time we open it. People who have dedicated their lives to studying this amazing book admit they have only skimmed its surface. Personally, I can’t count the times that a passage I knew by heart suddenly yielded new insights.

Scripture is indestructible. Over the years, various governments and leaders have tried in vain to destroy the Bible, or at least restrict access to it. And yet this polarizing—and well-loved—book keeps circulating and winning hearts for Christ.

The Bible truly is the most amazing book ever written because it comes directly from God. Not only does it accurately predict the future; it also has the power to save sinners and transform them into saints.



The Lord Comforts Sinners

John 8:1-11

We expect a loving heavenly Father to care for His children when they are hurt, persecuted, or misunderstood. But you might be surprised to realize that God comforts believers even when they have sinned.

Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save anyone who believes in Him (John 3:17). Consider His response to the woman whom the Pharisees caught committing adultery. They brought her behavior to Jesus’ attention and wanted to stone her. But instead of taking up a rock, Jesus offered forgiveness. The Lord did not defend her actions or completely erase all consequences of her choices. However, He did offer compassion as well as an opportunity to turn her life around and live in the forgiveness He granted: “Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:11).

The Lord understands our human frailty. And even before we do wrong, He knows the poisonous harvest that we will reap from sin. We certainly want a lot of comfort when we are suffering from our own foolishness. A loving heavenly Father does not abandon His children at their hour of great need—His Spirit wades into the mess we have made. He offers to guide us out of the pit, soothes our broken heart, and provides reassurance that He is always close by.

Sinning against the Lord makes us feel unworthy of His care and solace. Yet God’s forgiveness is based on His great mercy rather than our conduct. If Jesus Christ sacrificed His life to save you from your sins, then He will love and comfort you, no matter what.



The God Who Comforts

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Look up comfort in a dictionary and you’ll find a definition like “something that promotes a state of ease or provides freedom from pain and anxiety.” But according to God’s Word, when consolation is needed, the only true solution is the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Greek, He is called paraklētos, which means “he who stands at one’s side; he who comes to one’s aid.” Believers don’t have to rely on outward remedies or distractions to ease their mind, because help is available from the ultimate Comforter.

Even before the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell believers (John 14:26; Eph. 3:16), Scripture identified God as the one who comforts His people (Isa. 40:1; Isa. 49:13). The Lord personally provides consolation and reassurance because no one knows our hurts the way He does.

I like this anonymous quotation: “When we have gone into the furnace of affliction, His hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock.” God allows hardship, and as a result, we become stronger believers, wiser servants, and more humble people. But He stays by our side through the entire experience, sustaining us and limiting the intensity and duration of our distress. The Spirit’s reassuring whisper to our heart gives more comfort than the solace of family or the encouragement of friends.

People who fail to understand the true source of comfort try to escape their pain. They seek out pleasures, material wealth, or drugs and alcohol to soothe them. Only God can offer lasting relief from the crushing pressure of heartache. He even brings joy into periods of mourning.



Keep Praying

Matthew 7:7-11

The most powerful thing a Christian can do is pray. Yet how often are we guilty of making prayer our last resort or giving up on it if the answer isn’t immediately forthcoming? Perhaps it’s this human tendency that prompted Jesus to remind us to persevere in speaking with our Father.

The verb tenses of today’s passage in the original Greek could be translated as “keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking.” To persevere means to continue firmly on a particular course despite the obstacles or difficulties. It’s not a passive approach of asking once and sitting back to wait for the Lord’s intervention. The words seek and knock imply action and effort in discerning God’s will and moving in that direction. 

In fact, discovering God’s will is the very purpose of perseverance—not to override it or get Him to change His mind and do things our way. Through steadfastness in prayer, we learn to focus on the Lord’s faithfulness instead of our circumstances, which may show no signs of changing. Praying tenaciously builds our trust and at the same time teaches us to depend on God instead of rushing ahead to get what we want. 

God promises that in time we will be given an answer, find what we seek, and walk through an open door. That’s when we discover our heavenly Father always gives us what is good, even if it doesn’t look exactly the way we expect or fit our timetable. Through His answers, we gain greater faith in Him and insight into what He deems good. Then we’ll know how to pray more wisely according to His will the next time we have a need.



Relax! God Is Working

Being relaxed feels wonderful. Being nervous, tense, and worried are not so wonderful. Why aren’t more people relaxed? Jesus said if we are weary and overburdened, we should go to Him and He will give us rest, relaxation, and ease (see Matthew 11:28–29).

Jesus wants to teach us the right way to live, which is different from the way most of the world lives.

It would be putting it mildly to say that I was an uptight woman for the first half of my life. I simply did not know how to relax, and it was due to me not being willing to completely trust God. I trusted God for things, but not in things. I kept trying to be the one in control. Even though God was in the driver’s seat of my life, I kept one hand on the wheel just in case He took a wrong turn.

Relaxation is impossible without trust! If you know you can’t fix the problem you have, then why not relax while God is working on it? It sounds easy, but it took many years for me to be able to do this.

I know from experience that the ability to relax and go with the flow in life is dependent upon our willingness to trust God completely. If things don’t go your way, instead of being upset, you can believe that getting your way was not what you needed. God knew that, so He gave you what was best for you, instead of what you wanted.

If you are waiting much longer than you had hoped to, you can get frustrated, angry, and upset, or you can say, “God’s timing is perfect; He is never late. And my steps are ordered by the Lord.” Now you can relax and simply go with the flow of what is happening in your life.

When it comes to things that are out of our control, we can either ruin the day or relax and enjoy it while God is working on the situation. As long as we believe, God keeps working!

Prayer Starter: Father, right now I commit all of my cares, concerns and circumstances to You. Help me, moment by moment, to trust You—to give my burdens to You and relax in Your love, knowing You have everything under control. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Dealing With Debt

Romans 13:1-8

Citizens have the responsibility to submit to governmental authority. Obeying the laws of the land that do not contradict scriptural commands is an essential part of honoring the Lord. Verse 7 of today’s passage says, “Render to all what is due them.” Just as we are obligated to pay our taxes, we’re also to repay all of our debts (Rom. 13:8).

The Lord expects anyone who borrows money to be respectful of his neighbor and diligently repay him. By withholding what is rightfully due, we are guilty of stealing from the lender, which can influence our testimony for Christ. Since defaulting on a loan is serious and can ruin relationships, we need to responsibly get out of debt and stay out.

Perhaps this is hitting close to home. As daunting as the task of debt reduction may seem, you are not alone. God wants you to be financially free, and He will show you the way. However, it’s usually not a fast fix but a slow and steady approach that will prepare you to avoid future debt. Confess that you haven’t been a good steward of your resources, commit to making some sacrificial changes, and consistently work toward your goal. But above all else, rely on the Lord, and He will be faithful.

Does your mountain of debt seem bigger to you than your almighty heavenly Father? If so, your focus is on your own inabilities instead of the Lord’s faithfulness. For those who turn to God in genuine repentance and surrender, He will supply the needed resources as well as the persistence to repay what is owed.



Our Source of Hope in Trials

1 Peter 1:3-9

Are you presently going through any difficulties?  Maybe you’re experiencing a trial so intense that you wonder whether it’s possible to survive. Or perhaps you’re troubled by a particular hardship that drags on with no end in sight. And sometimes it’s the small, daily problems and stresses that wear us down and cause us to become discouraged.

Whatever the source of our adversity may be, Peter offers insight to help us recover hope and joy. He reminds us:

God has reserved an inheritance for us in heaven, which is imperishable, pure, and eternal (1 Peter 1:3-5). We must lift our eyes upward instead of focusing on our troubles. If we’ve placed all our hopes in this life, trials will continue to lead us to despair. But as children of God, we have an inheritance that will far outweigh any temporal suffering.

God is in control of our trials. Nothing comes our way randomly. Our loving Father ensures that our tribulations accomplish His unique purpose for each one of His children. He is sovereign over every adversity, including its duration, which is “for a little while” when compared to eternity (1 Peter 1:6).

God uses trials to strengthen our faith. Jesus said those who don’t truly believe fall away when afflictions arise (Matt. 13:20-21). To go through suffering and remain true to Christ testifies to others about our salvation. And each test makes our faith stronger.

So, how should we respond in trials? Peter says we are to rejoice in our eternal hope, endure hardships, love Jesus, and keep trusting Him.



Acquiring Wisdom

Proverbs 4:20-27

The most obvious source of godly wisdom is the Bible. There we find the Lord’s principles for right character, conduct, and conversation, which apply to the situations and decisions that confront every human being.

We’re all able to recall times when we didn’t respond wisely. Those incidents can be traced back to one of two possibilities—either we didn’t know a certain biblical principle or we knew the principle that applied but chose to ignore it. To ensure that we’re familiar with God’s standards and the importance of following them, we have to spend time reading and understanding His Word.

For example, suppose that you walk into the office and a coworker verbally assaults you with undeserved blame for a costly mistake. Your flesh and the world would have you respond in kind with anger and malice. But Luke 6:27-29 offers a different approach, that might go something like this, spoken gently: “Is there anything else? Thank you for telling me how you feel about this.”

Knowledge comes from learning biblical principles; wisdom has to do with applying them. The Lord cautions us to keep His Word in our heart and in our head so we will heed His instructions (Josh. 1:8; Prov. 8:33).

In pursuing the Christian life, we acquire wisdom by absorbing Scripture, doing what it says, and observing the result, which is for our good even when consequences appear less than favorable. Special classes aren’t required; God simply wants an obedient heart and willing spirit.



We Are Adopted

I have come to understand firsthand that multitudes of people we encounter daily are just trying to survive until someone rescues them—and that someone could be you or me.

The Bible says that in God’s love, He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world… (Ephesians 1:4 AMPC). He planned for us to be adopted as His own children. These beautiful words brought a great deal of healing to my wounded soul. God adopts the forsaken and the lonely, and He lifts them up and gives them value.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta felt that each person she met was “Jesus in disguise.” Just try to imagine how much differently we would treat people if we thought of them as she did. She realized that God loves everyone as His own sons and daughters.

If someone insulted, slighted, ignored, or devalued one of my children, I would take it as a personal insult, so why is it so hard to understand that God feels the same way when one of His children is mistreated?

You and I belong to Him, so we need to love ourselves appropriately and treat ourselves well. We also need to treat others as part of God’s family and do what we can to build them up and add value to their lives.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for personally choosing me—picking me out as Your very own. Help me today and every day to encourage and value others, treating them as Your precious sons and daughters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Living Obediently

Joshua 6:1-20

If you grew up attending Sunday school, you know the story of Joshua and Jericho. But we must be careful not to file this story away in our minds as something amazing the Lord did a long time ago. The same God still guides us today, and by studying this account, we gain insight into living obediently.

Joshua heard God’s directive, “You shall march around the city” (Josh. 6:3). In order for us to obey, we likewise need to hear what the Lord is telling us to do. This means we must be reading and meditating on His Word, confessing sin, praying, and spending time with Him.

Joshua obeyed, telling the people, “Go forward, and march around the city” (Josh. 6:7). Joshua did as instructed, despite three potential stumbling blocks: 

1. He could have questioned God’s directive. After all, marching around the city didn’t seem like a practical battle strategy for overpowering a fortified city. 
2. He could have felt pressured to explain himself to his men in order to gain their approval and agreement. 
3. He could have let fear of failure keep him from obeying. 

But Joshua did none of these. Upon hearing God’s voice, he followed instructions to the letter—and without hesitation. The result was that God honored his obedience: “The wall fell down … and they took the city” (Josh. 6:20).

Are you willing to do what God says, regardless of your feelings or misgivings? Joshua was confident because the Lord had promised to give Jericho into his hand. And God’s promises to us are also the reason we can trust and obey Him.