“He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” – Deuteronomy 32:4 [NLT]
When I was getting myself ready, my dog Max was awaiting outside the door for me. I find it interesting that he will deprive himself of the air conditioning to wait in the hot hallway for me to finish. This loyalty shown by Max is the same loyalty we see when we look at Ruth or David. Consider how Ruth was not only loyal to Naomi, but how she also accepted God as her God, and she walked in faith despite the situation. Consider how David was anointed to be king, and yet he spent so much time running from King Saul, hiding and away from his homeland before he even became king as he was promised.
We are called to be loyal and obedient to God. This is a command that we are to follow when times are good or bad. Even when we are in the middle of a storm in life and everything is looking dim, we are to walk forward in faith, with obedience, with loyalty. The first part of the Book of Ruth notes Ruth’s faithfulness to God; the second part shows us how God is faithful to Ruth as well.
God is faithful. God is still moving in our lives today. Today may be the toughest day of your life, but remember you are not alone and God is not finished yet.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” – Acts 16:25 [NIV]
Something stood out to me while seeing the news coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the devastating Oklahoma Tornado. I witnessed so many people praising God amidst the storm. It reminded me of Paul and Silas singing hymns and praying to God amidst their own storm, while locked away in prison. They praised God during the storm and then came an earthquake which freed them from their chains.
Perhaps we haven’t experienced what the people of Boston and Oklahoma experienced, but we all have storms of some magnitude in our lives. We have suffering. We have pain. We have situations. We have troubles. We have difficulties. We have struggles. We have diseases. We have injuries. We have problems. These storms, small and large, come. Do we praise God during the storms? Do we sing to the Lord during the good and bad?
Paul and Silas sang to God and there came an earthquake. The news coverage showed a Boston victim praising God and walking the next week despite a leg amputation. A lady prayed to God amidst the storm and gave Him glory during the interview, and her missing dog was found in the rubble on live television.
Whatever storm you are going through today or whatever storm may soon come your way—keep on praising our heavenly Father. He is always good. He is always worthy of praise.
This weekend I had the opportunity to teach two classes, one on trusting God and another on the power of God. These two topics are so vital to each of our lives, and yet we all have some difficulties in these areas. Recently, the husband of a friend of mine was in dire need of a liver transplant. With a congenital liver disease weakening his body, many people would have considered that hope was lost. Family and friends joined together in prayer. The Bible says that we must ask and believe, and then we will receive (Mark 11:24, James 1:6). The family organized a group, continued to stand firm in their faith, and clung to God during the storm. As family and friends trusted God, uniting together in prayer, they were able to see the power of God at work. He received a new liver and doctors were amazed at the miraculous transition they witnessed, something that couldn’t be explained except as the power of God.
These people trusted God to provide, but we all have moments when we have a problem with trusting God. To trust God, it means that we abide and rest in His goodness—that we trust that He protects, embraces, and surrounds us with His compassion and His favor. It is important to understand that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). It is important to remember the many promises of God—promises we can only know about if we read His Word. Psalm 34:10 says that those who seek God will “lack no good thing.” Yet, why are we so tempted to seek elsewhere, to try our own methods, to think that we could have something better doing things another way?
In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted three times. Each of these temptations represents temptations that we each face, temptations of: power, prestige, and possessions. Each time, He responded to the devil by saying, “It is written.” It is so clear to see the power of God’s Word at work. In Ephesians 6, we are told to stand firm and put on our spiritual armor, which includes the “sword of the Spirit, which is word of God” (v. 17). Do you have your armor on? Are you daily arming yourself with this sword? See each of us has the ability to tap into the power of God. We have His Word. We as believers have His Spirit. Yet it is apparent that so many people do not use what is right before them.
Is it a trust issue? Do we not trust the character and promises of God? Do we think we know better? Do we not have the time to read God’s Word? Do we believe we are fine as we are? There are so many possibilities, but each answer is simply an excuse—an excuse to not accept the love, grace, mercy, protection, favor, direction, comfort, and will of God. As we make these excuses, complaints and grumbling follow. When will we get it? When will we reach forward to the hand that God extends to us?
I told my students this weekend that we must not simply remember “it is written,” but we must also remember another short and powerful statement made by our Lord and Savior. We must remember “it is finished.” We have victory thru Christ, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). We need to live right now as if we have this victory. We need to stop allowing the world to get the best of us, and cling to this victory that we already have in Christ. We need to trust Him and trust in this victory. In doing so, we would live very differently. We need to learn not only to trust God’s character and the promises in His Word, but also to live by them each day of our lives. As Burl Ives sang, “O victory in Jesus, My Savior forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.” The song goes on to speak of singing a song of victory one day in heaven, but I think we should start singing this song today, as we trust God, as we cling to Him and His Word, as we hold tight to the power of God. Surely, we have victory. Let us trust in Him and open our eyes to His power which is at work even today.