There are days when it’s wise for us to stop and look and listen. We scrutinize our lives, examine Scripture, and spend extended time in prayer as we gain a clearer sense of what God is doing in our lives and what He has for us in the future. As the new year rolls around, take some time for reflection and renewal. Start today.
The Christian life is difficult sometimes, isn't it? God asks us to leave behind our selfishness and devote ourselves to Jesus Christ in the service of others. This journey has a clear beginning and an even clearer end, but its path is littered with dangerous obstructions and precarious curves. Thankfully, its destination provides lasting, eternal rewards.
Chances are you have experienced the difficulty of losing your way on the journey. We've all been tempted to stray, to step away from the fundamentals of authentic Christian living toward the more immediate fulfilments we desire for ourselves. But God calls us to a life devoted to studying the Scriptures, to prayer, and most important, to knowing Christ Himself.
Let these resources remind you that the goal isn't just reaching our heavenly destination but walking closely with Jesus as we get there.
We’ve learned that Jesus is the God-Man. Such a study could leave us with the erroneous idea that His life was merely a theoretical (or theological) phenomenon with little practical value. Not so! He touched people where they were and changed their lives.
The second member of the Godhead came to earth as a tiny baby in Bethlehem. God became man. This is commonly referred to as the doctrine of the incarnation. In the words of the Apostle John, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Think about that for a while. Imagine what it must have been like to see Him, walk with Him, watch Him work, and hear His words.
Very few people cared about the tiny town of Bethlehem—much less the birth of a Jewish infant named Jesus. However, God saw things differently. This small baby would one day die on a cross for the sins of all humankind. So God inspired a physician named Luke to record the facts about Jesus' birth and His purposes for coming to earth.
Knowing God calls for a response that includes trusting Him, relying on Him, worshipping Him—in a word, loving Him. Scripture is filled with accounts of the God of heaven, reaching out to His people in grace and mercy, showing Himself to be strong and compassionate. Each one is a reason to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.
Puritans used to speak of “following hard after God” and “setting our faces like a flint toward God.”—Strange-sounding phrases in today’s fast-paced world! But these words need to be remembered, especially in our generation.
“You can prove anything you want to from the Bible!” Have you ever heard someone make that claim? Probably so. For the most part, it is true. If a person really wants to find biblical “justification” for some belief or activity and is willing to use half-verses, to take passages out of context, and to twist the meaning of various terms, then he or she can “prove” just about anything from Scripture.
Have you ever stopped to think about the benefits of having a copy of the Scriptures in your own language? Have you pondered the thought: What if the Bible never existed? In our overabundant, more-than-enough world, such thoughts are foreign…too impossible to imagine.
Without love, knowledge can be a source of pride. Without humility, knowledge can lead us into a judgmental attitude. Without wisdom, knowledge can result in idealism and a perfectionist spirit. Knowledge needs a buffer…something to soften it, to give it perspective, to make it workable and real. Perhaps the very best companion for knowledge is discernment.
Encouraging the disheartened is important for a body of Christians. Enduring tough times is too. And worshipping is equally essential. A church needs all three…but a ministry is incomplete unless there is also the presence of learning. Healthy, vibrant flocks are kept in that condition by a continual emphasis on the discovery of new truth as well as the review of old truths. Such emphases give our faith stability and substance.