God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble and to teach him valuable truths that he would never otherwise have learned. When Paul accepted this hardship, God used it in powerful ways. God also allows trials to come into our lives to stretch our faith, to deepen our love for Him, and to make us more cognizant of the needs of others. Are you allowing this process to take place in your life?
It’s easy to “say” we would follow God anywhere, but it’s a whole different story when He actually calls us to step out into the complete unknown and follow Him by faith without having a clue how things are going to turn out. Doing so requires us to relinquish control of our lives and trust that whatever God brings about is ultimately best. Are you willing to trust God that way?
Have you ever felt disappointed with Jesus? Have there been times when you cried out to Him for help, but He didn’t show up the way you prayed and hoped He would? We must learn that His delays always have a purpose, and in those times when we cannot see the power of Jesus, we must continue to trust in the person of Jesus. Although He may delay, He always knows what He is doing and He knows what is best!
One way to help us understand biblical belief is to consider what it is not. Jesus was amazed at the unbelief of those in His hometown. Surely powerful miracles would cause people to recognize Jesus’ authority as the Son of God; well that’s how we think anyways. So why does Jesus not perform these powerful mighty works in his hometown, demonstrating who he is?
Just a quick glance at the headlines reminds us that we live in a world filled with trouble. Terrorism, wars, toppling governments, economic instability — it’s enough to make us want to run and hide. But even though we live in a world of fear, we do not have to live in fear! The Bible reminds us that God is in complete control of all things, and that nothing happens in the world at large or in our own lives that is outside of His providence. Knowing this truth will bring us peace even in the most troubling times of life.
There is an underlying principle at work in the lives of men and women who are known as giants of the faith. What is that principle? Is it something unique or is it simple? Is it their great faith that that establishes them as giants of the faith, or does living by faith mean something entirely different?
An encounter with the risen Savior changes everything. After Jesus rose from the dead, he purposefully and intentionally met with certain people to strengthen and encourage them in some way. Each one, having met their risen Savior, walked away from the encounter, forever changed. Have you encountered the risen Son of God? Have you been forever changed?
Paul continues in Gal. 2:20 to explain that the life he now lives, he lives by faith. What does it mean to live life, and how is it that Paul now lives it by faith. What is faith? When we say that Christians belong to “the faith” what is being said? What is it about living a Christian life that separates that life from anyone else? How do we live by faith?
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Salvation is the point where you die, in your life, and Christ begins to live, in your life. Are you attempting to live the Christian life by making your life match the principles he teaches, or are you letting go of your life and allowing Him to live His life through you? A Christian is a new creation, born again. The process is similar to that of a butterfly; unless the caterpillar dies, you will not find a butterfly.
Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ”. Is Paul speaking in code, or is he speaking clear truth? The questions that revolve around this are at the heart of the gospel. What took place on the cross, and what effect does it have on the life I am living today?
Idolatry is essentially falling down before someone or something other than God. Pride is knowing God, and refusing to fall down before Him. True Worship begins with both knowing God, and falling down before him. In knowing Him, we begin to understand how valuable He is. It must be significant to true worship then, how valuable God is to us.
Covenant. It’s how God relates to man. There was an old covenant, as described in the Old Testament, and we should learn about it to know more about who God is. It was holy and good. Unfortunately, man was unfaithful to his side of the covenant. But God, out of mercy and love for us, has initiated a new covenant, and He has replaced the old covenant with the new. It is this new covenant that we refer to as the Good News; the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is described to us in the New Testament, and God has invited each one of us to accept and commit to His new covenant. When we do, He promises cleansing from our sins, and the blessing of new life. One that will last for eternity. Be encouraged as we reflect on the good news of God’s new covenant.