Overcoming discouragement

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

How do you remind yourself of God’s leading in the past?

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: …I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him to the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendents through his son Isaac.… Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.… With your very own eyes you saw what I did.… Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land.… When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you. There were also many others who fought you. … It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked for, and I gave you cities you did not build—the cities in which you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.

Joshua 24:2-13

Joshua’s story of hope

Joshua reminded a discouraged people of all the times God had provided for them and demonstrated his goodness. Reviewing past blessings can encourage us to continue to serve God faithfully. Keep records—through a journal or a scrapbook—of the love God has shown for you. When you need encouragement, review what God has already done, revisiting the mementos of his work in your life. And read the Bible in order to refresh your knowledge of the many blessings God has given his people throughout history.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 208

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Peace in Relationships

Peace in Relationships

“Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must take allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NLT

Attaining peace

[Jon Farrar addresses marriages, but his comments apply to other relationships as well.] Maintaining peace in any relationship is very difficult. Each one of us is a unique individual who interprets and views things differently. Whether in relationships in the church, among family and friends, or in our marriages, conflict is natural. When conflict comes, we need to follow Christ’s example by showing love and forgiveness in difficult situations. God loved us when we were still sinners in rebellion against him (Romans 5:9). We need to show that same type of love to others by being kind, merciful, and patient.

Do you long for peace in your marriage? Ask Jesus to point out times when you have not been forgiving, areas where you need to be patient, and ways you can express genuine love to each other. That is how we have peace in our marriages — when we look for ways to love and forgive each other.

from Praying God’s Promises for My Marriage by Jon Farrar (Tyndale) pp 42-43

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is the best time to pray?

Our prayers bring us into God’s presence

What is the best time to pray?

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15

I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2

Seize any time

And talking of sleepiness, I entirely agree with you that no one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bedtime—obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration. The trouble is that thousands of unfortunate people can hardly find any other. Even for us, who are the lucky ones, it is not always easy. My own plan, when hard-pressed, is to seize any time and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment. On a day of travelling—with, perhaps, some ghastly meeting at the end of it—I’d rather pray sitting in a crowded train than put it off till midnight when one reaches a hotel bedroom with aching head and dry throat and one’s mind partly in a stupor and partly in a whirl. On other, and slightly less crowded, days a bench in a park or a back street where one can pace up and down will do.

C. S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm
Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale House) p 493)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is truth? (Pt 2 Lies)

Lies will be exposed-2

What’s so bad about a little lie?

 

“Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.”

Proverbs 11:17 

About this week’s promise:

“Lying is deceiving someone. It can be direct — “I didn’t touch that cake” (as you swallow the last bite) — or it can be indirect, such as telling only part of the truth when it benefits you to do so. But to fall short of truth, in any way, is to lie.

Pilate asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Pilate had the answer to his question standing before him, in person. “I am the way, the truth and the life,” Jesus said on another occasion (John 14:6).

Think of it! Jesus not only tells the truth, he is truth. We cannot follow the God of truth while we persistently tell lies — even “small” ones. Determine to tell the truth in all matters of life, big or small.1


Lying is the basic fault line in the foundation of the soul, putting all the superstructure in jeopardy. All the believability a person has, his very integrity, totters on the shifting sand of one lie. Deceit holds hostage all other virtues.

Robertson C. McQuilken2

1from the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1230
2quoted in 1001 Great Stories and Quotes by R Kent Hughes (Tyndale) pp 272

For more thoughts on this week’s topic, check out these Tyndale resources:

The Good Life by Charles Colson (2005)
Lies That Go Unchallenged in Popular Culture by Charles Colson (2005)
Lies That Go Unchallenged in Media & Government by Charles Colson (2005)
The Way I See It by Tim Baker – for Teens (2005)”

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Lies will be exposed (Pt 1)

Lies will be exposed

Romans 5:6-11(KJV)
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Why do we lie?

“There was also a man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, but he claimed it was the full amount. His wife had agreed to this deception.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God.”

As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. …

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”

“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”

And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of doing a thing like this — conspiring together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Just outside that door are the young men who buried your husband, and they will carry you out, too.…”

Acts 5:1-9 

Holding back

“The sin Ananias and Sapphira committed was not stinginess or holding back part of their money; they were free to choose whether or not to sell the land and how much to give. Their sin was lying to God and God’s people by saying they gave the whole amount while they were holding some back for themselves, trying to make themselves appear more generous than they really were. This act was judged harshly because dishonesty and covetousness are destructive in a church, preventing the Holy Spirit from working effectively.”

from the TouchPoint Bible with commentaries by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 949

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Mercy in spite of wickedness

Mercy in spite of wickedness

United States Constitution, quill pen, Bible, scales weighing mercy and wrath, and Flag

You will know I am the Lord, O people of Israel, when I have honored my name by treating you mercifully in spite of your wickedness, says the Sovereign Lord.

Ezekiel 20:44 

God the Redeemer

Have you ever given God reason to be angry with you? Compare your sins with the sins of Israel. As you read through the Old Testament, you discover the truth that seems to shock most people: At no time in Israel’s history did they ever remain faithful to God. Of course, there were periods of collective obedience.…But as soon as the blessings flowed, their hearts wandered, and once again they fell into their evil ways. Their lives were steeped in a constant pattern of rebellion and unfaithful living.

Ezekiel records just one of the many times God responded to Israel’s unfaithfulness. God says to them, “In this also your fathers blasphemed me by forsaking me.…You continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day.…You say, ‘We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.’.…As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 20:27, 31-36). Once again Israel had provoked the wrath of God, and now they sat awaiting his judgment. If there was ever a time that Israel deserved to be wiped from the face of the planet, it was this moment. Now their sentence was at hand. Hold on to your chairs because here comes the gavel!

“You will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices” (Ezekiel 20:44, NIV, italics mine).

And what is God’s name? Redeemer. Deliverer. Savior. What is the judgment he hands down? He plans to redeem them. Again. He deals with them according to his goodness, not their evil. He forgives them. Not because they deserve it but because it is God’s nature to forgive.

Adapted from Embracing Eternity by Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins and Frank M. Martin, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for March 17.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

A vision of heaven

A vision of heaven

Open old book, light from the sky, heaven. Education, religion concept

Now I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. And the one sitting on the horse was named Faithful and True. For he judges fairly and then goes to war. His eyes were bright like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him, and only he knew what it meant. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.

Revelation 19:11-13 

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne; Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but is own. Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee, and hail Him as they matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him with Many Crowns,
Matthew Bridges (1800-1894)

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Matthew Bridges became a convert to Roman Catholicism at the age of forty-eight and published this hymn three years later under the title “The Song of the Seraphs.” Godfrey Thring, an Anglican clergyman, added several stanzas to the hymn about thirty years later, with Bridges’s approval. So a Roman Catholic layman and an Anglican cleric, who probably never met, were coauthors of a hymn about heaven, where Christians of every tribe and tongue, as well as of every denomination, will crown Him Lord of all.

One of the aspects that Godfrey Thring felt was missing in the original was a stanza on the Resurrection, and so it was added. “His glories now we sing who died and rose on high, who died, eternal life to bring, and lives, that death may die.”

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995), entry for May 16.

Digging Deeper: This week (Tuesday) marked the release of the The Rapture , the last of three prequel stories to the Left Behind series.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House.