The Perfect Solution

July 9, 2017

Human nature is sinful—unholy, proud, and in need of redemption. Without Christ, we are self-centered, unforgiving, ungrateful, abusive, and boastful.

However, God has not abandoned us to sin. He has provided a way for each one of us to experience His eternal grace and salvation. Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross was God’s perfect solution for our sin.

Charles Spurgeon writes:

No matter what level of unworthiness we find in our hearts, out of the depths, out of the dungeon of self-loathing, we still cry out to God, for His salvation rests in no measure or degree upon you or upon anything that you are or have been or can be. It is your responsibility to be empty so that Jesus may fill you, yours to confess your uncleanness that He may wash you, yours to be less than nothing that Jesus may be everything to you.

The Bible tells us that every person who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21). When you accept Christ as your Savior, you become a new person. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God desires a personal relationship with you. He also wants you to be obedient to His Word—to respect and revere Him. You can trust God. He knows your future and the plans He has for you.

While you may be dismayed over the behavior of those around you, don’t despair. God is in control. “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Godlessness in the Last Days

July 8, 2017

A few years ago, a newly elected politician proclaimed, “We are the children of the modern age!”

If this is true, a good question for us to ask is, “What has the modern age given us?” The answers that come to mind are disheartening: crack cocaine, satanic cults, instructions on safe sex, misdirected individuals who would rather save a spotted owl than an innocent baby inside a mother’s womb.

The modern age has given us a liberal media that paints Bible-believing Christians as right-wing zealots and fanatics. It has given us the institutional church, which has become so entwined with the radical left that it is difficult to distinguish between the church and the modern age!

Difficulties like these should not surprise us. Paul told Timothy that in the last days:

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient … ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

Then he cautions us, “Have nothing to do with them” (2 Timothy 3:5). Despite what the world is doing, we can live in victory because we serve a mighty God who provides the wisdom we need for every situation.

When the winds of adversity blow hard against your life, take shelter in the Lord. When the world turns dark and lonely, place your trust in Christ, and you will receive the victor’s crown!

Remember this the next time trials come your way: It is a natural first reaction to ask God to remove any form of adversity from your life. However, it is often hardship and difficulty that provide the right atmosphere for spiritual growth.

You then … be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1).

The Slippery Slope

July 7, 2017

Paul did not want Timothy to suffer the same identity crisis that was filtering through the Christian community in Asia Minor.

Just as Paul preached that there was only one Gospel, there were false teachers teaching that there were other ways to know God. Paul wrote to Timothy to admonish him not to be ashamed of God’s truth. He was to preach the Word of God “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). In other words, Timothy was to be prepared to teach God’s truth regardless of the circumstances and without compromise. He was to teach it according to what had been given to him through the apostle Paul. There was no provision for false doctrine. Timothy was to preach God’s Word with conviction no matter who stood up against him.

Are you standing strong for what God has taught you? Or are you wavering in your faith? The moment you question the faithfulness of God, you begin to slide down a very slippery slope to ruin and failure.

Just like Timothy, we are certain to encounter false teachers among us today. There are people who claim to be teaching from God’s Word, but instead they speak falsely, saying that “all religious roads” lead to God.

There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. We cannot work our way into heaven. We cannot buy salvation. It is a free gift given to us by God as result of His grace.

Timothy understood that preaching God’s truth would bring alienation, discrimination, and persecution. He was faithful to the call God had placed on his life. Are you faithful? Are you doing what God has given you to do?

For [God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Colossians 1:13).

The Workman Approved by God

July 6, 2017

There was a time when people took pride in doing a good job and in sacrificing their lives for someone else. Now, the reverse of this principle has become acceptable behavior. We have become a society that rewards laziness and dependence instead of diligence and commitment. We also are faced with a generation of people who demand rights and privileges without accountability.

A story is told about a man who was driving along a lonely road on a summer’s day. He noticed a car pulled off to the side with a flat tire and a woman struggling to change it.

He decided to be a “good Samaritan” and to help change the tire. In the process, he grew hot, sweaty, and dirty. The woman only stood by and watched. Just as he finished, she said to him, “When you let the jack down, be careful. My husband is sleeping on the back seat, and I don’t want to wake him.”

We have abandoned our foundational work ethic. Today, when life becomes too difficult, we check out, drop back, and let someone finish the work for us. Paul’s message to us in 2 Timothy is this: We are to be “approved” workmen of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

As Christians, we are called to finish the course God has set before us. Nowhere in His Word do we read where it is acceptable to give up and walk away from difficulty. When life becomes tough, we are to keep our eyes set on Christ and move toward the finish line.

Have you been lazy in your devotion to the Lord? Now is the time to change this habit. Have you leaned back and failed to be conscientious in your love for Him? He is faithful and totally devoted to you. Turn every area of your life over to Him and prepare for a tremendous blessing.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace (2 Timothy 2:22).

Reap What You Sow

July 5, 2017

If you are diligent in your commitment to the Lord, one way to test your Christian identity is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you willing to invest your time and effort in the lives of others?
  • Are you willing to be a soldier on active duty?
  • Are you willing to run the race of endurance according to God’s rules?

Most farmers are very hardworking people. They know that in order to have a bountiful harvest, they have to remain committed to their crops and to their land. They can’t begin a project, stop halfway through it, and expect to be successful. If you want to reap a harvest, you must be committed.

Farmers can’t allow their machinery to fall into disrepair. They can’t say, “Well, I don’t feel like planting this year,” or “I don’t feel like harvesting my fields.” Instead, they must be willing to get up before sunrise to plow their soil and sow their seed. This is why lazy people never make good farmers. You have to be diligent and persistent.

The weather is not always fair. There will be hardships—times when you want to give up, but you must not. If you feel you are not growing in your walk with the Lord, ask yourself whether it is because you have failed to cultivate fields of godly character and desire.

We must never forget that we reap what we sow. If we don’t till the soil of godly character and plant the Word of God in our hearts, then we will harvest emotional and spiritual thorns and thistles. There is no harvest unless you labor with a willing heart in the things of God. Ask Him to show you how to apply His principles to your life. The Holy Spirit will grant you the understanding when you pray and seek God’s face.

If we endure, we will also reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12).

Our Identity Crisis

July 4, 2017

Several years ago, a popular women’s magazine surveyed 3,000 Protestant clergy concerning their views on Christianity. The result of the survey was disheartening. A considerable number rejected the idea of a personal God. Many said God was nothing more than a “force of life, a principle of love, and the ultimate reality.”

There was no mention of Jesus Christ or His death on Calvary’s cross as an atonement for mankind’s sin. No promise of salvation by grace was recorded. No thought was given to the resurrection of Christ as a matchless demonstration of God’s power over sin and death.

There is an identity crisis at work—not just in our lives but also in our churches. It comes as the result of our being willing to accept and even embrace other religions as being equal to Christianity. This false view has weakened our faith and has caused us to give up what we once held as dear—our godly convictions.

So many in our society who claim to be Christians are suffering from an identity crisis because they are confused about their Christian faith. However, the Bible makes it clear.

A Christian is a person who has repented of his sins, surrendered his life to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and acknowledged that without Christ’s death on the cross, he would have gone to hell for eternity.

How do we avoid confusion and deception, especially when our world paints such pleasant pictures of sin and compromise?

Begin by being committed to the study of God’s Word. Then, make sure the church you attend is one that teaches God’s truth without compromise. Finally, demonstrate Christ’s love to those who have repented and turned away from sin. God forgives and restores us when our hearts are turned toward Him.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15).

Don’t Sell Out

July 3, 2017

Paul’s purpose for writing to Timothy was to encourage him and to remind him never to give up. The early church faced all kinds of trials and temptations. There were many who challenged Paul’s teaching. They also challenged Timothy’s spiritual leadership.

Religious teachers then, just like many today, sought to weaken God’s Word and truth. Paul writes:

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life (2 Timothy 1:7-9).

There are many who attend church and are involved in religious work, but they remain afraid to speak God’s truth—especially when facing moral and spiritual issues.

Paul reminds Timothy to be strong, firm in his faith and steadfast in his devotion to God. When we refuse to compromise our convictions, we experience a God-given strength throughout our lives. But when we waver between what we know is right and wrong—God’s principles and the world’s political correctness—we become unstable in all we do.

How do you avoid becoming fearful and doubting? Begin by refusing to compromise your convictions. Don’t sell out to the world’s deception. Then you will remain strong in your faith. If Timothy had taken his eyes off Christ, he would have weakened and his ministry would have been ineffective.

Refuse to dilute the truth of the Gospel so that it will be acceptable to fallen men. Don’t deny God’s truth so that you may feel popular. Never be ashamed of God’s Word. Cling to it because it is a light unto your path.

I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed (2 Timothy 1:12).