Learning from Moses (4)

2020-10-27
Hebrews 11:27 NIV

Fourth: You must persevere when life gets difficult. You could sum up the life of Moses in these two words: “He persevered.”

It’s a fact of life that there’s no gain without pain, no advancement without adversity, and no progress without problems. Moses understood that difficulties come into every life, and he knew how to respond to them correctly and move on. And we must learn to do that too. As followers of Christ, we should never let problems defeat us; instead, we should let them draw us closer to God.

Someone has said that we should never let problems get us down – except down on our knees to pray! God allows specific situations in our lives to bring growth. And without perseverance we won’t get very far.

Notice the words “By faith…he persevered.” Faith in what? Faith in whom? Faith in God! We’re not talking here about some white-knuckled, flesh-based form of self-help. No, we’re talking about the fact that when God calls you to do a job, He equips and empowers you. He goes ahead of you and provides everything you need. When you say yes to His plan for your life, you can stand on this promise: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

So you must (a) know who you are; (b) take responsibility for your life; (c) determine your priorities; and (d) persevere when life gets difficult. If you abide by these four Bible truths, you will live a life that is truly blessed by God.

Soul food: 1 Tim 4-6; John 6:52-71; Ps 114; Prov 24:23-25

How to fight – and win

2020-09-26
1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV

Here are six proven Bible strategies for defeating the Enemy when he comes against you. (1) Think aggressively. “Fight the good fight of faith…to which you were…called.” Plan and calculate like a general preparing for battle; study how to engage and defeat your enemy the Devil. (2) Pray aggressively. We are told to approach God’s throne “boldly” (See Hebrews 4:16). Which means aggressively! Don’t be bashful with God. He’s your “Abba,” which means “Daddy.” And you’re His redeemed child, so approach Him with confidence and ask for what you need. (3) Speak fearlessly. The apostle Peter writes, “Speak as though God himself were speaking through you” (1 Peter 4:11 NLT). In other words, use a commanding, authoritative tone when you resist the forces of evil. “Be strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10). (4) Give generously. The level at which you give is the level at which you receive. “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT). No offering is too small, and none too great. (5) Work intently. The Bible says whatever you put your hand to, do it with all your heart (See Ecclesiastes 9:10). Don’t approach your tasks with dread and a desire to escape. Stir yourself up in the Holy Spirit and get the job done (See 2 Timothy 1:6). (6) Love unconditionally. As a follower of Christ, you must endeavor to love others as He loves them – unconditionally and sacrificially.

Soul food: Song of Solomon 5-8; Luke 23:39-49; Ps 91; Prov 21:28-31

Fight to win


1 Timothy 6:12 NIV

As Christians, the devil will target us and try to steal our faith. But here are some Bible strategies for defeating him when he comes against you. 1) Think aggressively. ‘Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.’ Be prepared for a battle with the enemy, and immerse yourself in God’s Word so you’re equipped to defeat him. 2) Pray boldly. We’re told to approach God’s throne ‘boldly’ (see Hebrews 4:16). We don’t need to be shy with God. He’s our Father and we’re His redeemed children, so we can approach Him with confidence and ask for what we need. 3) Speak fearlessly. Peter wrote, ‘Speak as though God himself were speaking through you’ (1 Peter 4:11 NLT). When we’re speaking God’s Word, we’re empowered to speak with authority, which helps us stand up to evil forces and resist them. ‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10 NIV). 4) Give generously. ‘Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed’ (Proverbs 11:25 NLT). Whether we give our money, our time, or share our knowledge, nothing we offer is too big or too small. 5) Work intently. We shouldn’t approach our God-given work with dread and a desire to escape. The Bible says: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance form the Lord as a reward’ Colossians 3:23-24 NIV). 6) Love unconditionally. As followers of Christ, we must try to love others as He loves them – unconditionally and sacrificially.

Song of Solomon 5-8; Luke 23:39-49; Ps 91; Prov 21:28-31

Overcoming temptation

2020-07-25
Matthew 26:41 NKJV

Why did Jesus tell His disciples, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”? Because He knows that without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we’re not equal to the temptations that come our way. Jesus didn’t doubt the disciples’ love for Him or their willingness to serve Him, but He knew they couldn’t do it in their own strength. And you can’t either. When you fight the flesh in the power of the flesh, you end up fighting yourself – and you lose every time. Note the words “lest you enter into temptation.” You’ll never be exempt from temptation, but you don’t have to “enter into” it. Indeed, your regenerated spirit can’t “enter into” it because sin has no appeal to it. But your unregenerated “flesh” will always be attracted to sin. And becoming a Christian increases the frequency, variety, and intensity of the temptations you face. Why? Because Satan, “the tempter,” doesn’t give up control easily. He will fight you constantly, and on different fronts. The Bible speaks of “manifold temptations” (1 Peter 1:6 KJV). The word “manifold” means there are “many kinds” of temptation. What’s the answer? “Manifold grace!” (1 Peter 4:10 KJV). The moment temptation rears its head, and before you have time to “enter into” it, draw on God’s grace. How do you do that? Jesus said, “Watch and pray.” The New Living Bible says, “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you.” Sheep don’t have the strength or skill to overcome the wolf. But they have the strategy! They just draw close to the Shepherd and He deals with the wolf.

Soul food: Acts 18-19; Luke 9:37-45; Ps 42:6-11; Prov 16:17-19

Overcoming temptation


Matthew 26:41 NIV

Jesus told His disciples, ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Jesus didn’t doubt the disciples’ love for Him or their willingness to serve Him, but He knew they couldn’t do it in their own strength. Without the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we’re not able to overcome the temptations that come our way. We’ll never be exempt from temptation. In fact, becoming a Christian increases the frequency, variety, and intensity of the temptations we face, because the enemy doesn’t give up easily. But we don’t have to ‘fall into’ temptation. The moment it comes along, and before we have time to give in to it, we need to turn to God’s grace. Jesus said, ‘Watch and pray.’ And that’s exactly what we need to do too. We need to be alert so that we’re aware of the areas of our lives where we’re likely to be tempted, and we need to pray for the strength to overcome any temptation we’re facing. If we’ve given in to temptation before, we don’t need to let shame overtake our lives. We can confess it to God, ask for His forgiveness, and then strengthen ourselves so that we avoid giving in to temptation again. When Jesus said these words to the disciples, they had repeatedly given in to the temptation to sleep when Jesus needed them to stay awake and keep watch. Jesus didn’t disown or condemn the disciples, instead He encouraged them and gave them advice. Let’s not write ourselves off just because we’ve given in to temptation before. Let’s allow God to remove our shame and strengthen us ready to face future temptations.

Acts 18-19; Luke 9:37-45; Ps 42:6-11; Prov 16:17-19