Friday, April 10, 2020

Why We Worship

"Without worship, we go about miserable." -A.W. Tozer

While enduring the 'new normal' due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, it can feel miserable to be at home all of the time and it can be easy for us to forget the habits that bring us joy and strength.  If we quit working out simply because we can't go to the gym or are inconsistent with home workouts then we will not grow physically stronger, and if we stop worshipping God because we can't attend a church service or become inconsistent with time in prayer and God's Word then we will not grow spiritually stronger.  Let's worship God now by continuing to practice necessary habits that glorify God and that He will use to sanctify us.  If we worship God throughout these days and weeks that can seem to unendingly run together, we will find new strength as we grow to become who God has created us to be. 

That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long (Psalm 71:8, NLT). 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remaining Faithful in Suffering

"The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it."  -St. Francis de Sales

Often, we go through circumstances in life that challenge our faith in God. Perhaps it is an unexpected layoff or a business deal that did not go through. Maybe it’s people we thought we could trust who proved untrustworthy, or maybe a child gets in trouble or a spouse gets sick. Naturally, these circumstances can feel crushing, but we cannot lose our hope in a God who is firmly in control. We must trust that God will keep His word to always work all things for the good and to give us peace that will surpass all understanding. We must commit that even if God does not turn our circumstances around on our timelines—or at all, for that matter—our faith in Him will never be contingent on what He does for us but on who He is. Let us pray today that we will have unshakable faith so that in everything, even in suffering, Christ is glorified because we remain faithful. And let us pray that others will come to know Him by watching how we respond to suffering.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isa. 26:3).

Worship Wins The War

"We must never rest until everything inside us worships God."  -A. W. Tozer

While Moses and Israel sojourned to the Promised Land, the Amalekite army attacked them. Moses instructed his protégé, Joshua, to take Israel to war with the Amalekites. But winning depended on Moses keeping his hands raised in worship on the mountaintop. If he grew weary and let his hands down, they began to lose. Notice that Moses didn’t raise his hands after Israel won but while they were still fighting. So, despite how bleak a circumstance appears, keep worshiping God with all your might, and don’t let up. Remember that there are people depending on you; God is fighting for you, and wars are won whenever you worship.

And please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe (Heb. 12:28 NLT).

Don’t Worry about Tomorrow

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."  -Abraham Lincoln

Do you ever get caught up worrying about the future? Maybe you imagine failing in business or being let go or becoming sick and not having enough money for retirement. Jesus said, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matt. 6:27). Jesus knew that worrying never helps and only hurts. So what’s the alternative? Jesus pointed out that this life is more than just what we eat and drink, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and where we live. We must choose to seek His kingdom and His righteousness, trusting God that “all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). Let’s decide today to take a deep breath, and one day at a time, we must let go of worry and replace it with a firmer grasp of and trust in Him.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matt. 6:34).

Choose Faith, Not Fear

“The news isn’t meant to be watched, it’s meant to be checked.  Check the news, watch the Word.”  -Steven Furtick

When we go through a crisis like this Covid-19 Pandemic that’s plaguing the world right now, fear and panic can set in, and it can be easy to forget that God is still our place of refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1) and we shouldn’t fear because He will never leave us or forsake us (Duet. 31:6).  The problem is that we spend more time watching the news that will often only reinforce our fears than we do reading the Word that will reinforce our faith.  This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be aware of the facts of this pandemic—we should certainly check the news to best be aware of how to keep ourselves and others safe—but it is to say that these facts do not define our ultimate reality as people of faith.  Despite our present circumstances, God’s still in control.  We must not live in a perpetual state of fear. Let’s collectively place our hope and faith in a God that is our fortress and deliverer.

For the Spirit God have us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV). 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Created for Connection

“Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family.”  -Barbara Bush

In the wake of COVID-19 Coronavirus, we are practicing “social distancing” to stop its spread to protect life, which is the right thing to do.  However, the side effects of this forced isolation can leave us feeling alone, discouraged, and afraid.  It’s important to remember that just because we aren’t physically meeting with one another doesn’t mean we have to stop virtually meeting with one another.  Since the beginning of time God said that it’s “not good for man to be alone” because He created us for community and human connection.  Pick up a phone and do an audio or video call.  Write a letter or email.  Leverage social media.  Maybe a better term for social distancing would actually be “physical distancing,” because we don’t have to do life alone, and we can connect with others if we choose to. 

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another... (Hebrews 10:25, NLT). 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Where Hope is Found

“God is our only hope in a chaotic world.”  -Bill Graham

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, in just a few short weeks we’ve had to come to the harsh realization that the manmade institutions or things of this world that we may have placed our hope in have let us down.  Many have lost their jobs as well as their investments as the economy has come to a screeching halt.  We’ve had to practice “social distancing” to stay away from our favorite places we normally go out to eat, workout, and worship.  And for some of us, we’ve also seen our loved ones lose their health and get sick.  While God did not cause this suffering, He can certainly use this to purify our hearts and transform our minds so that we begin placing our hope in Christ alone.  Whenever life returns to normalcy (and it will eventually) this isn’t to say that we can’t go back to enjoying everything we always have but we must remember that all of the manmade institutions and things of this world can let us down again but our God never will.  In one way or another everything in this life will one day pass away so this is why we must not live just for today but with eternity in mind.  

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure (1 John 3:3).