In God I Put My Trust

david_and_goliathAfter David killed Goliath, all Israel, including Saul, loved him.  When David became known for his military successes, the women sang, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”  Saul, out of jealousy, eventually became David’s enemy.  At one point, David fled to Gath.  When he was recognized by one of Saul’s shepherds, David acted like a madman in order to keep from being harmed.  It is said that this is the only record of David ever being afraid of man.  Many feel it was during this time that David wrote the 56th psalm.

David asked for God’s mercy because his enemies wanted to “swallow him up.”  David’s enemies wanted his life just as a wild animal seeks after the blood of its prey.  Yet David said, “When I am afraid I will trust in God.”  David did not fear what man would do to him because he knew God was on his side.

David ended the 56th psalm by expressing his thanks to God.  Although David had not yet been delivered from his enemy, he used the past tense form of the verb (thou hast delivered.)  David spoke as if it had already been done.  David’s faith caused him to know his prayer would be answered.

Today I, like David, will put my trust in God

Not Conformed, But Transformed

The world is constantly trying to influence our thinking; constantly trying to mold us into what they would like for us to be.  But as Christians, God expects us to be different.  Rather than “go with the flow of the world” we are to be transformed, or changed, according to God’s will.  To the church at Rome the apostle Paul wrote, “And be not conformed tE2UeT29o this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2)

As Christians, we are to consider ourselves pilgrims on this earth, sojourners passing through on our way to heaven (I Peter 2:11).  We are to realize our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  As strangers on this earth (I Peter 2:11) we are to set our affection on things above, rather than on the things of this world (Colossians 3:1-2).  Rather than allow the world to shape us into what they would have us be, we are to be changed into what God wants us to be.

Today, I am determined to resist the temptation to be conformed to the world.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable Here!

earth small“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman (American author, editor, radio and television personality).

When I read this quote, I can’t help but think of a Christian’s situation here on earth.  The inspired writer Peter wrote, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (I Peter 2:11, KJV).  As Christians, we are strangers here on earth.  We are temporary residents of this revolving planet.  We are only here for a little while.  To Christians, this world is a foreign country.

While many are quite comfortable in this world, Christians should experience feelings of discomfort and unease.  We are to seek those things which are above.  We are to set our affections on things above rather than the things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2).  We are not to lay up treasures upon earth, but treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19).  Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come (Hebrews 3:14).

Christian’s can easily relate to the words of well-known hymn written by Albert Brumley – “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing thru.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue; The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.  O Lord, you know I have no friend like you, If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do; The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

Make the best use of your time while on earth but don’t get too comfortable here!

Read Any Good Books Lately?

Read any good books lately?  I have sixty-six that I can recommend.  Thirty-nine of them are in the Old Testament and twenty-seven of them are in the New Testament.

The Bible remaibible mediumns the most widely distributed and bestselling book in the world.  More than one hundred million copies of the Bible are sold or given away every year.  Sadly, according to www.statista.com, for the year 2018 it is estimated that 30% of people in the United States never read the Bible, 12% read the Bible once a year, 6% read the Bible once a month, 9% read the Bible once a week, and only 15% read the Bible every day.  It is also noteworthy that, the younger a person is, the less likely he is to read the Bible.  Of those people age seventy and older, 20% never read the Bible.  The percentage of people who never read the Bible increases as their age decreases.  Of those people in the eighteen to thirty-one years old age group, a whopping 35% never read the Bible and only 9% of this group reads the Bible every day!

When you read these statistics, do you get the impression that the number of persons who read the Bible regularly seems quite low in comparison to the number of persons who own a Bible?  Why is this number so disappointing?  A better question might be “Why should I read the Bible?”

First, we should read the Bible because it is the word of God.  “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thessalonians 2:13). Those at Thessalonica who heard the word of God understood that the scriptures have God, not man, as their source.

Because the Bible is the word of God it answers questions no other book can answer.  Where did man come from?  How did life on earth begin?  What is our purpose in life while here on earth?  Where will we go when we die?  No other book can answer these questions!

Second, we should read the Bible because it is how God reveal his wills to man.  God does not speak to anyone today privately or individually, but through His written word!  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). When we have the Bible we are perfectly, or completely furnished with everything we need to live a godly life.

Third, we should read the Bible because it is impossible to grow spiritually without reading the Bible.  “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (I Peter 2:2). If a child does not grow physically, the parent soon realizes that something is wrong.  The parent becomes troubled and distraught.  We do not grow spiritually by delving into pop psychology, the opinions of the majority or traditions of men, but by reading the Bible and applying its teachings to our lives.  When we fail to read the Bible as we ought, God realizes that something is wrong.

Fourth, we ought to read the Bible because it provides guidance to our lives.  Without the Bible we are “stumbling in the dark” spiritually.  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). The Bible provides us with the direction we need. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  Jesus said, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” (Matthew 22:29).  As long as we fail to read the scriptures we will continually live in error.  Countless numbers of self-help books are written every year, yet none more helpful than the Bible.

Fifth, we ought to read the Bible because it helps us in overcoming temptation.  The apostle Paul wrote, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (Ephesians 6:17).  Like it or not, you are in a spiritual battle!  Realize it or not, every day Satan is battling to win your soul.  The word of God is a weapon we have been given to help us win that battle.  Every time Jesus was tempted he used the scriptures to overcome temptation, and we can too (Matthew 4:1-10)!  Remember the statistics we mentioned earlier?  Only 15% of people read their Bible daily.  Where do you suppose other 85% keeps their Bible?  On a dusty bookshelf?  On a coffee table as a decoration for their home?  To overcome the temptations of life, we ought to keep the Bible in our hearts.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).

Sixth, we ought to read the Bible because it is the standard by which we will all be judged.  You and I will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:10).  Many today are quick to say, “Only God can judge me!”  But friends, that thought should be no comfort to someone who does not know the scriptures.  “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Doesn’t it make sense that we would want to know the standard by which we will be judged?  I’ll give you a hint – it’s not at all what you have heard from many men!