The apostle Peter writes to hurting and persecuted Christian believers, who have been “scattered” from their homes and familiar surroundings, and tells them to cast all their anxieties on God knowing that God cares for them (1 Peter 5:7). This is not some puff piece, or academic lecture, or thoughtless encouragement. Peter is communicating to real people, in real pain, and giving them real comfort. God cares about you!
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me“ (Psalm 23:4). We too often talk about God, without talking to God. We can give mental assent to certain Bible teaching – Jesus is Lord, Jesus is a Shepherd, Jesus is awesome – but not say to Jesus, “Rule my life as my Lord, be my Shepherd, help me to walk in awe of you!”
“Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you“ (2 Thessalonians 3:1). In this single verse Paul reminds of the importance of two of the chief things God has given us to do in the world: prayer and proclaiming God’s Word, both for the glory of God. Pray! Pray for us as ministers of the gospel; but even your prayers for us are ultimately prayers for the advancement of the Word of God. Why pray? Because, Paul says, it is through your prayers that God has ordained that his Word
Paul, in the middle of a praise-hymn to God in Christ, makes the astounding claim that He is “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,” because of the power that is working in Christian believers (Ephesians 3:20). God is able! He is able to do what we ask; he is able to do more than we think; he is able to do above all that we can ask or think. And this doesn’t just mean that God is capable of answering more prayers than we are asking; it also means he is answering
“[We have] boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). Access to the holy God who created us is the most precious commodity in the universe. So precious, in fact, that no person can afford it, can purchase it with any amount of money or sacrifice or even personal godliness. This is the lesson we are meant learn from the Old Testament sacrificial system of worship. The innermost room (the “holiest”) of the temple was where God’s presence was experienced in a special way. Yet the writer of Hebrews reminds us that there is only
I don’t remember why we started playing this game, but sometime this week I initiated a little game with my kids where if you won a million dollars. First of all, what would be the first ministry that we would give to? And secondly, what would be the first thing that you would like to spend money on? We all listed different ministries that we’d like to give money to or support, then started talking about what we’d like to purchase with our million dollars. Avery said, “Candy!” That made me sick just to think about it. A million dollars of
The same Jesus who teaches us to pray our Father in heaven tells us God runs to meet His children who come to Him by faith. So even as you run to God today, when you do, Jesus says you will find that God is running to receive you. Take the parable of the prodigal son. In the beginning, the son wants what he can get from the father: “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me” (Luke 15:12). In other words: “What can I get from my father, how much inheritance do you have? Give me that.
The Holy Spirit within us gives us the true witness that we are His. The Spirit, it’s so important for us to recognize, is not lying to us. We can’t say this is just a pep talk that the Spirit gives us “well don’t worry, it’s like Father is your God,” or that “you have God as your Father, isn’t that great?” It’s not that this is a pipe dream, it’s not that the Spirit is telling you about something, “wouldn’t it be great if this were so? It’s almost as if this were the case.” No. The Spirit is
“God has not given us the Spirit of fear,” Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7, “but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” I was struck by the fact that each of these nouns refers back to the Spirit. Not the spirit of fear, but it is the Spirit of power, Not the spirit of fear, but it is the Spirit of love, Not the spirit of fear, it is the Spirit of sensibleness, of soundness of mind. What is Paul’s point? Why would he say this to us, and in fact say it twice in parallel