Christian Encouragement

How to face Adversity (part 1)

King David certainly didn’t have the Kingdom of Israel handed to him. Of course, God had promised, and it was certainly going to come to pass, but that didn’t mean it would be easy.

After David faced the giant Goliath he became the most famous young man in Israel! Wow, everyone knew who David was and they loved him! Except for King Saul. A destructive seed of jealousy had begun to germinate in his heart and it was about to grow out of control.

Here is a short list of some things David faced during the time between slaying Goliath and becoming King:Image

  • King Saul literally tried to kill him with a javelin. (twice) 1 Sam 18-19
  • Challenged by Saul to kill 100 Philistines to win the Kings daughter (he actually killed 200, and can you imagine a father-in-law like that!) 1 Sam 18
  • King Saul sends his troops to hunt for David to kill him. 1 Sam 19
  • David, the champion of Israel, is forced to seek asylum from a foreign king. 1 Sam 21
  • David literally hid in a cave for fear of his life. 1 Sam 22
  • David had to seek shelter for his parents in Moab. 1 Sam 22
  • He felt responsible for the death of the Priests of the Lord. 1 Sam 21-22
  • David still fought for his country against the Philistines at Keilah. 1 Sam 23
  • Those David rescued at Keilah sought to betray him to Saul. 1 Sam 23
  • He suffered the loss of his chief spiritual leader, Samuel. 1 Sam 25
  • David and his men sought refuge again with their enemies. 1 Sam 27
  • His own family was kidnapped, nearly killed, and his possessions were lost at Ziklag. 1 Sam 30
  • Finally, David is crowned King. 2 Sam 2,5

What a road of Adversity! I mean David faced unimaginable things on his path to become King. I’m sure there were times when the troubles were overwhelming, but David kept his eyes on the Lord. He trusted God through it all. David was not alone through the adversity he faced. God was with him and God had His servants there to help David. More on this next time.

Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to leave a comment!

 

What made David…David?

ImageIf you had to choose a Bible character that you most admired who would it be and why?  Of course Jesus Christ would be at the top of the list, but who else do you really admire?

David

David would have to be right up there on my list of most admired. His story is really so amazing! I think if I had to choose one word that best describes David it would be integrity. When David was on the run from King Saul he had many opportunities to be dishonest, selfish, to take matters into his own hands, but he didn’t. He maintained his integrity. I know David was just a man, and like all men a sinner, but he was a man who walked with God. He is a man to be admired.

Integrity – Purity; genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state;

I’m studying the life of David right now, and preparing to teach on part of his life to the young people at our church. This verse has always been a theme for our youth ministry, and it’s almost as if Paul is saying to Timothy, be a David!

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

 

I plan to share some more lessons I’ve learned from David’s life in upcoming posts, but until then feel free to share your most admired Bible character in the comments, and include a word or two that best describes that character. Thanks!

Does Jesus Love Me?

He loves me? He loves me not?…Throw that daisy away! HE LOVES YOU!

Just look at what Jesus went through for us:Crown-of-Thorns

  1. Mark 14:6-8 – Jesus says that He will soon die and be buried for us.
  2. Mark 14:33-36 – Jesus experienced great sorrow in His soul for us.
  3. Mark 14:41-44 – Jesus experienced betrayal for us.
  4. Mark 14:50 – Jesus experienced loneliness for us.
  5. Mark 15:15 – Jesus was whipped and beaten for us.
  6. Mark 15:16-20 – Jesus was mocked and abused for us.
  7. Mark 15:24-25 – Jesus was crucified for us.
  8. Mark 15:33-34 – Jesus was forsaken by God His Father for us.
  9. Mark 15:37 – Jesus died…for us.

And…Praise Be Unto God! HE LIVES…so that you and I can have life!

How then can we not be assured of His love for us? How can we do anything but serve Him and love Him?

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Book Review – Dirty God, Jesus in the Trenches

follow-me-bible-close-up.gifWell, this title is one that certainly jumps out at you, and I guess that was the author’s intent. Of course, Johnnie Moore is not insinuating that God is Dirty in a sinful sense. But that He was willing to come to us, as we are, and save us by His grace.

Grace, that’s what this book is about. The undeserving favor of God. The book is divided into two parts. Getting Grace, and Giving Grace. The Lord Jesus Christ was so gracious that He would stoop lower than any of those around Him could ever have imagined. He was willing to touch and heal a leper, and He was gracious enough to bend down and wash His followers’ feet. He was willing to take our punishment for sin on the cross and die in our place. That is Getting Grace.

Giving Grace is what God intends for us to do once we have received it. As followers of Jesus, we should be emulating Him. Walking as He walked, loving as He loved, and serving as He served. Jesus was truly, “in the trenches”. He never had a selfish moment, but was always reaching out to anyone who needed help.

This book was convicting. Am I Giving Grace?  Am I gracious to those I serve and lead? To those who are closest to me? To strangers? It really makes you think. If we lived a Giving Grace kind of life. This world would truly be a different place.

A Good Soldier

I love my country. I love the brave men and women who defend our freedoms everyday. I am thankful for those who have paid the ultimate price for that freedom. Without Good Soldiers where would this country be? Without Good Soldiers for Jesus Christ where would the church be?

If you are a believer you are called to be a Good Soldier. Second Timothy 2:1-4 outlines the characteristics of a good soldier.

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

A Good Soldier:

      1.  Is Strong in Grace

A Soldier must be strong. Strength training is of most importance to a soldier. As for the Christian, our strength is His strength. We need to be strong in Grace. Trusting in the Grace of God for eternal salvation makes us free and alive. So trusting in God’s grace makes us strong for the battle. The Apostle Paul asked three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed, but God never answered that request. The Lord’s reply was, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

      2.  Is Faithful to the Truth

If a soldier is anything he is faithful! Faithful to the mission, the cause, and his fellow soldiers. We believers must be “faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) We are to be faithful to the Truth of God’s word. Paul says to Timothy, take the things that you have learned from me and pass them on to someone else who will faithfully do the same. Praise God for Faithful Men who have done just that throughout history. Where would we be without people who were faithful to the Lord and His Truth?

  3.  Endures Hardness

The life of a soldier is often one of great hardships. Take a look at history, or talk with someone who’s been there and you will understand the many hard things soldiers endure. The Apostle Paul was certainly a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ and he endured faithfully to the end. He faced many terrible things. He said that 5 times he was whipped nearly to the point of death, 3 times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, and he was shipwrecked 3 times. He faced robbers, the harshest conditions of nature, problems with false brethren, opposition with unbelievers, and yet he endured. What hardness may we face? No one can say. Will we face anything like Paul or Timothy faced? I hope not. Whatever the “hardness” you face don’t flinch, but endure.

  4. Is Not Entangled

Single-mindedness is  a term that applies to the soldier’s life. The good soldier must focus on the task at hand. A distraction on the battle field can be fatal. A distracted Christian will fall prey to the devil.

We must remember why we are in this fight. Because the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to be His soldiers. He is our goal. Pleasing our Saviour is the highest motive for service.

And don’t think, ‘I’m not the soldier type, I’m not interested in joining the Lord’s Army’, because He has already called you. In verse 4 we learn that Jesus has chosen us to be His soldier. So be a Good Soldier for Jesus Christ.

 

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

I just finished reading a great biography on Hudson Taylor. I highly recommend this classic to anyone who is interested in missions or Christian heroes from the past.

“Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” was written by his son and daughter in law, Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, a few years after the great missionary’s death. It covers his life from childhood to his death in China. They gave real insight into the man’s life and his walk with God. It also covers the history of the China Inland Mission, which was Taylor’s life work.

Hudson Taylor lived his life in the power of Jesus Christ. In spite of the many hardships he faced he remained faithful to God and the work He had given him to do.

This book will encourage and challenge you to live for Christ and to do so in His strength.

This book can be purchased in most Christian bookstores or it can be found in both paper back and kindle edition at Amazon.com.

Confess to Cleanse

“Confession is good for the soul.”

As goes the old saying, but is it accurate? Confession is good for your soul when you are confessing what the Lord says we must all confess in Romans 10:9.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

I have believed in my heart and confessed with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe me it is good for my soul! My soul is saved from sin, and one day I will be in Heaven with Christ. But what about other confessions? Is it good or necessary for me to confess to a Priest or Pastor? Is that good for my soul? Well, the answer is No! Now that I have made the Confession of faith in Jesus Christ I do not need to confess my sins to any one except my Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 4:14)

You see even though I am saved from my sin I still commit sins. I hate it! But it happens. As long as we are here and living in these fleshly temples we will have a battle raging. The Spirit vs. the Flesh. One of the greatest realities for a believer is found in 1 John 1:9,

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Confession is good for the soul! If you are a believer your sin has been paid for and forgiven. (Isaiah 38:17, Psalms 103:12) Even those sins that we commit after that moment of salvation have been forgiven. When we sin and refuse to confess, our souls are burdened down and cannot function as God wishes them to. God wants us to confess!

In the greek the word confess is a compound word (homologeo). It literally means “same word”. In this case, we are to say what God says about our sin.

Confession is good for the soul when we…

1. Admit that what we are doing, saying, or thinking is sin. Why is this so hard? It is the beginning of a “good” process, but it is incredibly hard to initiate!

2. Realize that Christ is faithful and just. He is faithful to forgive, but just to convict. I am thankful for both!

3. Remember that Christ is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This enables us to have fellowship with God, and be ready for service!

So there is a lot of truth in that old saying, confession is good for the soul. Just remember the good comes from knowing Who to confess to. Confess to the One who can actually do something about it!

I Look Back

I read recently in the news of an extraordinary act of courage. Jeremy Wuitschick is a 13 year old Milton, WA middle school student. His split-second decision may have saved himself and a bus load of his fellow students from being in a terrible accident.

On Monday morning, April 9th, Jeremy and his school-mates were traveling to their school when the driver became ill and passed out behind the wheel. Jeremy noticed the driver “acting funny” as he put it, and then saw him go unconscious.

Without a second thought Jeremy jumped from his seat, dashed to the driver’s and grabbed the wheel. He safely steered the bus to the shoulder of the road. He began to administer CPR and ordered another student to call 9-1-1. Soon a school authority and the paramedics were at the scene.  Jeremy was then relieved of his duty.

What a ride to school! Can you imagine being in that situation? Jeremy was asked about the experience later, and he said something that struck me. He said, “When something major happens, I look back to see if there’s something I could’ve done better.” Wow, what a great example from this young man. When something happens to us, it is wise to look back and consider, what just happened.

The word of God tells us in 1 Timothy 4:12 to, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Christian, you need to look back and ask yourself, “Is there something I could have done better?” There is always room for improvement, right? Let’s consider these subjects, and see how we can do better for Christ.

• In Word

I am reminded to Look Back after a conversation. Could I have been more encouraging to that person? Was that joke appropriate? Did this conversation bring glory to Christ? Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

• In Conversation

I am reminded to Look Back at my behavior. (This conversation that is spoken of in 1 Timothy is more of a behavior than a specific dialogue with someone.) Often on my way home from work, or an event, or after a day with my family I have to ask myself, “how was my behavior?” Did I bring glory to Christ or to myself? Did I disappoint my Heavenly Father? Could I have done better? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

• In Charity

I am reminded to Look Back at my charity. Am I loving the brethren? Do I love sinners? Do I love God? If so, how am I really showing it? “Jesus saith unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:37-39

• In Spirit

I am reminded to Look Back at my spirit (or attitude). I have to ask myself every now and then, am I showing others the right spirit? Do others see Christ in me? Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be “filled with the Spirit”. Am I under his control?

• In Faith

I am reminded to Look Ahead with eyes of Faith. It is evident to me that I, at times, have had a lack of faith. It takes faith to step forward. It takes faith to walk in the Spirit and to serve the Lord. As I Look Back and see short-comings and failures, I then must Look Ahead in Faith believing that God is able to help me do better. Mark 11:22 says, “Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”

• In Purity

I am reminded to Look Back at my purity. Am I pure, and unspotted by the world? Have I allowed the Lord to control my mind? Purity is vital, and it is fragile. It is easily taken away. We must guard it as we would guard a precious and valuable jewel. This is possible, but not on our own. We need to fill our hearts and minds with God and His word. Psalm 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”