Pleasing God is Impossible Without Faith. No good work or behavior will get you over the top. It is stepping out in faith that will please Him. Your willingness to step out of your comfort zone when you don't know the outcome and when things don't look promising is...
You need to set the example for others to follow. Whether they are your children or younger workers at your job, you need to set the example for them to follow. They have questions and are looking for good examples to model their lives after. Your actions could show...
What fills your heart with joy? Is it your family or friends? Maybe it's your hobby? Whatever it is, it fills your heart and puts a song on your lips. Did you know that you fill your heavenly Father's heart with joy? You make creation sing for joy. The mountains break...
One of the most painful things to deal with is when someone turns on you. You thought they were a friend and when you needed them they turned against you. Getting over pain like that can take some time. Some people never recover. Fortunately, one of the greatest...
The phrase “Every cloud has a silver lining” means you can derive good from every bad situation. It probably originated from a John Milton poem from 1634. While it may be a generalization, there is some truth to the idiom. Finding the silver lining may not always be...
Do you ever wish you could silence the foolish people? Those who blab off their mouths and spew gossip and lies? Maybe you would like to walk up to them and deliver the perfect one-liner that leaves them without a response? Fortunately, most of us aren’t that witty or quick, which saves us a lot of headaches. There is a way to silence the foolish people. It is through your good deeds. Leave them speechless by what you do, not by what you say.
“For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.”
The Way of the Foolish
When wronged by another person, our initial reaction is to defend ourselves. They attack us by spreading rumors and gossip. We want to confront the person. We dream of the perfect comeback to their slander. Unfortunately, the reason the person is foolish is that nothing silences them. Their mouths run on and on. Proverbs often warns us about stooping to the level of a foolish person. Prov 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin. Just as the old saying goes: “it does no good to wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty, but he enjoys it.”
Have you ever been so excited you couldn’t keep quiet? Have you kept thinking that you gotta tell someone? That’s what the resurrection of Jesus Christ did to the disciples. They were so transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that they couldn’t keep quiet and needed to tell everyone about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Of course, this got them into trouble as well. We should all want to get to the point where you can’t keep quiet about Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
What drives you to follow Jesus? Is it a promise of eternal reward? Is it the relief that comes from forgiveness of your sins? What if you were brought in before authorities to give an answer? Would you stand firm in your faith if you were told to stop following Jesus? Peter and John were brought before the religious council and told to stop proclaiming Jesus’ name. Their reply; “What is right in God’s eyes?” They answered to a higher calling, and even at the threat of harm, they would not back down.
I am usually up before the sun. I can see it rise from where I sit while I do my devotions. Those first rays of the morning bring everything to life around my window. The Birds start to chirp, the animals and insects start to move to the warmth, and the plants start to turn towards the light. When we follow Jesus, that darkness no longer can overcome us. He is the light that brings new life.
John 1:4-5“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
The light brings new life. It shines in on the darkness. It wakes the world up and brings warmth to the cold. Jesus came into the world to bring new life. He shines in on the darkness of your soul and gives you hope. He brings life to dead bones and illuminates the darkness so His disciples can see the way. Nothing can stop His penetrating light.
Do you know there are over seven hundred promises from God in the Bible? What’s amazing is that God has kept every one of them. Many of these promises are for you today. Entering into God’s promises takes a step of faith on your part. Are you going to leave what is comfortable and step into the unknown? That is usually what it takes. Today we see Israel was on the cusp of the Jordan river and entering into God’s promises.
Joshua 3:17 “Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.”
This is the second time God has parted the waters for the Israelites. This time they are crossing the Jordan and entering the promised land. They are about to realize all that God has promised them. Notice how it still took a step of faith? Moses was gone, and Joshua was in charge. Can I trust him? On top of that, they had to pass through the Jordan during the flooding season. What if the water breaks away and we drown? When God promises something He will bring it to completion.
Everything needs maintenance, or it decays. Left too long, it will fall into disrepair. That’s why you see buildings falling apart. The owner has neglected them. Eventually, you wake up and realize it’s time to make some changes. That is how Asa felt when he heard the prophecy of the Lord. He went about reforming the nation of Israel and bringing it back to the Lord.
2 Chronicles 15:15
“All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it with all their mind. They had sought him with all their heart, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.”
King Asa was known as a reformer. He heard the prophecy from Obed and started to tear down the idols all over Israel, and then he consecrated the nation of Israel, and they sacrificed 700 bulls and 7000 lambs to the Lord. He then committed to seeking the Lord with all of his heart, and Israel followed him. After this oath, they rejoiced and sought the Lord, and He gave them rest on all sides.
Do you remember the song "Don't worry, be happy?" It was part of a soundtrack for a movie in the 80s. It caught on, and people used to sing it to themselves as a reminder not to worry so much. Everyone wants to know how to live a happy life. The Bible doesn't use the...
Have you ever been separated from something, and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't reach it? Have you ever felt separated from God? Feel like you can't reach him? God can reach us anytime, but several things keep us away from him. God wants to draw you closer...
If someone is talking to me, I am at the age that I have to lean in to hear them. If the person speaks softly, I will often place my ear close to their mouth. Even then, I still need to ask them to repeat what they said. When Isaiah says to incline your ear, he...
An open door intrigues me. My curiosity always gets the best of me, and I want to look at what's behind it. It amounts to nothing most of the time, but sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. God will open a door that he wants us to walk through. He has our best...
There is a lot of selfless giving going on in the world today. People are donating their time and resources to those down and destitute. It warms your heart to see all of the acts of kindness going on. One famous chef provided over three million meals in one week to...
Have you ever doubted yourself? Did you have to make a decision where you didn’t know the outcome or perform a task you have never done before? It is easy to lose faith in your abilities when it is something new. That is the way the disciples felt being around Jesus. He was going around performing miracles, He spoke like no one they had ever heard, and He treated people with compassion and kindness. When he told them that he was leaving and they were going to lead the church it had to make them feel inadequate. They asked Him to increase their faith. Did you know you can ask Jesus to increase your faith?
Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Faith is the primary substance of following Jesus. It takes faith to believe in a God you can’t see. It takes faith to step out and do something new for the Lord. This faith isn’t in yourself but Jesus himself. When we put our trust in Him, we are expressing our faith. When we send up a prayer expecting an answer, our faith is in action. You can’t manufacture your own faith. It is something that has to be given.
Have you ever been around children who live in poverty? Even in the worst circumstances, they go about having fun with their friends. They find joy wherever they are. Do you realize that Jesus came to give you abundant life? Are you moping around feeling sorry for yourself? That isn’t what God intended when He sent His Son. He came that you would be made alive in the Spirit. That means we can live a life with peace and joy.
1 Peter 3:18
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”
Peter presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ in one of the clearest and straightforward verses in all of the Bible. We have been made alive in the Spirit because Jesus suffered and was put to death. Look at the transaction that was necessary here. The just, which means without sin, did this for the unjust. This is so revolutionary. Have you ever heard of a good person sacrificing himself for the bad? History is full of the unjust suffering for the just, yet Jesus turned that on its ear and suffered for those of us who don’t deserve it.
As the generations pass, children are getting more and more out of control. Parents don’t want to do the hard work of parenting their children when they are young, so they end up with rebellious teenagers. Then they wonder where they have gone wrong. Paul lays it out clearly. You need to have a house under control. If the home is in disorder, the community suffers. If the community is suffering, the country follows suit.
1 TIMOTHY 3:4-5
“He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”
This passage is directed toward elders. An elder needs to have his house in order. He needs to keep his kids under control with dignity. That means the children respect and obey their parents instead of fearing and despising them. Elders are church leaders and set the tone and example for the church. If an elder can’t lead his home, he is incapable of leading the church. This goes for pastors as well. Many pastors are great preachers or leaders, but their home is out of control.
Have you ever used Google maps for directions, which led you on a goose chase through sides streets and eventually got you to a destination but not where you needed to be? That has happened to me several times. It is proof that all roads don’t lead to where you need to go. I ended up at the service entrance for a cemetery and had to backtrack for twenty minutes to get to the funeral I was officiating. People will tell you all roads lead to heaven, but in reality, Jesus is the only way.
1 TIMOTHY 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”
A mediator is someone who goes between two parties and tries to settle the differences. Courts often use a mediator to work out issues that would clog the judicial system. Jesus acts as a mediator between God and us by paying the ransom of our sin. He redeems us from a debt we can’t pay by becoming our substitute. No one can come to God and have a right relationship unless they go through Jesus. He is our mediator before God.
Navigating the seasons of life can be at least challenging but also confusing. The uncertainty of what is going on and how to deal with it can leave a person feeling overwhelmed. Peter went through a season like that. He wanted to quit the ministry and go back to fishing, but Jesus gently restored him. Jesus will ask you the same question, “Do you love me?”
“He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
Imagine being the Apostle Peter for just a moment. Jesus rebuked him when Peter said he would not allow him to die on the cross. Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” In the Garden, he lopped off a guy’s ear, and Jesus had to heal him. Finally, he denied Jesus three times, and the rooster crowed. You could see why he would feel defeated. Jesus restores Peter by asking him three times if he loved Him. Jesus tells him to refocus on what he was called to do, feed my sheep.