The events of the past few weeks have forced me to consider the state of things in my life and my faith, and what I contribute to the body of the church as well as the world around me. I have looked at a lot of passages and said a lot of prayers and struggled with doubts and fears as well as joy and wonder.
This morning I was reading 1 Thessalonians. As I read the letter from Paul, I got caught up in how he seemed to feel about the Church at Thessalonica. He was concerned that they might fall victim to the adversary and he sent Timothy to check on them. He was elated when he got the good report. As I consider this first letter, I started thinking of all the letters of the new testament and why they were written.
Each carried a message that the church needed to hear. The thing that they all share is that the letter was written because the Apostle was elsewhere, and though he wanted to be with the congregation having trouble, he could not, so he wrote a letter instead, and the more I read these letters and other books the more I realize that the answers to all the questions that matter are found here in God’s Word if I will listen.
When I pray and am bewildered by whatever issue might come up, I find in time God will guide me to an answer in His Word. God’s Word is unchanging. It is constant, but the Holy Spirit reveals something new to me every time I open the Book.
The adversary tries to convince us we are alone and that no one has faced the trials that we have faced, and though they may be the most painful we have ever endured, we are not alone. There are others that have had that same pain and that same trial, and God has or is getting them through it.
How do I know? I turn to God’s Word for deliverance from my pain and fear. I read Psalm 18 when God delivered David from the hand of Saul. I read the 23 Psalm and take comfort in knowing that in all circumstances God is with me. I read Psalm 121 and remember from where my help comes. I read Acts two and remembered the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit that guides me and teaches me the Word of God and helps me face trials and temptations.
I know that the enemy twist and turns the truth to deceive me into believing a lie for the truth and the truth for a lie. He tries to keep me focused on myself so that I lose sight of the things of Heaven and my Lord and Savior. But I have the Word of God to strengthen me. No temptation is so strong that I cannot overcome it.
How do I know? First Paul told me in 1 Corinthians. I think this is my favorite verse about temptation. But this is not the only place we are warned.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Just in the new testament, the word temptation is used 14 times, and the most striking is the temptations of Christ. What gets me is what He used in His defense. What was it? He used the Word of God, and the devil left Him.
What an amazing testimony to the power of God’s Word. Jesus did not rely on His strength but the strength of God in His time of temptation and deliverance.
I cannot help but think of all the things that are happening in this world and not think about the importance of being ready. I instantly am reminded of the master leaving his managers in charge of his home while he was away. I looked this morning at Luke 12:35-48, Matthew 24:43-51 and Mark 13:32-37. In all passages, Jesus warned to stay awake.
There is a passage in Deuteronomy 8 that Jesus quoted while he was tempted by the adversary in the wilderness. It is Deuteronomy 8:3
Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)
3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Now Jesus only quoted the second half of this verse, but as I looked at this morning, I remembered something a preacher said comparing manna to the Word.
This preacher talked about how God only provided enough Manna to feed each Israelite what he would need for the day. In fact, in Exodus 16:4 God was specific as to how to gather it.
Exodus 16:4-5 (ESV)
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”
This guy compared the Word, and our need for it, to Manna. He said you need it every day. You cannot gather enough for a week on Sunday and expect it to last. It will spoil. You need to study it every day.
Now I do not think my preacher’s sermons spoil over time, but they can fade a bit. For me, it is like the boiler on a steam engine. There is no way I can fill the fire box with enough coal to keep the train running for a week. The fire will either go out or get so hot it blows the boiler. I need to keep the fire steady. I need to stoke the fire regularly.
For those who have NO idea what I just said. I need to keep the battery in my phone charged without over charging it…
God gave us this wonderful Bible and revealed Himself in it if we will PRAYFULLY study it daily. I ask the Holy Spirit every day to help me as I open the Word of God that I might see what I need for the day and He always opens my eyes to see. I may not grasp it at the moment, but it will be there when I need it.
I also know I am not alone in this study. I have my wife and my Church family, Preachers and Friends that I can go to if I struggle with something or just do not get it. But to ask for help, I must be willing to humble myself and ask. I love Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 because for a long time I was too proud to walk with anyone, let alone ask for help.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
God built His Church with people as the body and Christ Jesus as the head. We need God’s Word that we might know Him and we need each other to walk together toward home.
You know in the cord spoken of in Ecclesiastes one of them is always Jesus.
Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
He gives us the unstoppable strength.
Lord, just thank you for this day and the hope that fills my heart. Father, I pray you might use me as you choose today. I know that you are our King and Lord and with you all things are possible.
Father, I pray for those in harm’s way whether it be storm or fire or battle and I ask that you be with them. I pray for those struggling with health issues. I also lift up those who love you and worship you Lord and pray you give them strength and confidence to face whatever may come and to be a voice for you in this dark world and I pray all this in Jesus name! Amen.