Category: Bible Reflection & Challenge

What Nature Says About God

What Nature Says About God

One of the best arguments for the existence of God is the existence of creation. When people say, “Give me concrete evidence that God exists.” Just politely respond, “You simply have to look at nature and you’ll know that God exists.”

Paul told the Athenians on the Aeropagus that God had arranged the world so that people “should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

Bible Verse: Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

The Creation Bears Evidence

“The heavens declare the glory of God” to every person every day and even to those who have never heard a preacher or read a Bible. Have you ever gazed into the heavens and felt the presence of God? Have you ever scanned the skies? Or watched the stars glitter like an ocean of diamonds sprinkled against the velvet blackness of God’s infinite canopy?

Long before the gospel was written in sacred Scriptures, it was written in the sky dotted by dazzling stars. It was highlighted by the blazing sun and the gentle glow of the moon. The power, presence, and personality of God are evident in all His creation.

What Nature Says About God

Although “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ (Psalm 14:1), yet all creation says that anyone who can see the sky can know of God.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

God in the Highest Heavens

The “heavens” is plural because we know there are three. One is the heaven we see with our eyes. The second is the heaven where Satan has his throne. He was there talking to God about Job (Job 1:6-12). Also, Paul says that we wrestle “against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

The third heaven is where God has His throne. From there, He looks down on Satan, reminding him that time is limited and he will soon be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:10-15).

In the Bible, God uses His creation (nature) to teach and explain. He told Abraham to look toward heaven and count the stars if he was able. The stars represented the promised descendants (Genesis 22:17. The moon and the sun witness His faithfulness to the covenant He has made with Israel (Psalm 89:34-37).

He led the wise men from the East by a star (Matthew 2:2). God uses the stars to declare the glory He gives to soul-winners (Daniel 12:3). The Lord will also use the sun, moon, and stars to announce the Second Coming of Christ, and because of His promises, I follow the “Bright and Morning star” (Revelation 22:16).

Christian Jewelry and Wall Decors - Lord's Guidance

Living in a Glorious World

The world around us is like a mystery novel. God made it and scattered clues about Himself around it. Unlike the villains of murder mysteries, God is a good character who wants to be found.

The beauty of the heavens and the stars speaks eloquently every night of God’s infinitely varied and intelligent design (Psalm 19:1-4). The grandeur of the mountains tells of His power (Psalm 121:1); the endless sweep and motion of the oceans hint of the infinite, timeless character of God (Job 38:16; Psalm 33:7; 89:9).

The wide variety of plant and animal life God created suggests that He cares about living things (Job 39:1-30) and shows His power to meet their needs (Luke 12:6-7, 24).

The more people study the marvelous order and complexity of God’s creation, the more they glimpse about Him (Romans 1:20).

How Great Thou Art

One evening during a thunderstorm, as Stuart Hine walked through a forest observing God’s power and majesty all around him he was inspired to write the song “How Great Thou Art.”

When we look to the heavens let us sing, “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee: How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”

Seeking God Beyond Measure

When we read the “book of nature” we can grasp certain things about the power, majesty, and glory of God. But we are left guessing about His personality and His attitudes toward us.

“The book of nature” should leave us wanting a second “book” that speaks more directly about God.

Psalm 19, which begins extolling the general revelation of the heavens, ends up praising the perfection of the special revelation found in the Bible. The heavens may let us “touch the face of God,” but it takes God’s written Word to tell us what kind of Person wears that face and how we can have a love relationship with Him.

Final Words

The existence of creation implied the existence of a Creator. The nature of the creation implied that He was wise enough to plan it and powerful enough to execute His plan and maintain what He had made.

So complex a universe demands a Creator who can do anything, who knows everything, and who is present everywhere.


Recommended Resource: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L Geisler and Frank Turek

To some, the concept of having faith in a higher power or a set of religious beliefs is nonsensical. Indeed, many view religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as unfounded and unreasonable. 

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue, however, that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself.

With conviction and clear thinking, Geisler and Turek guide readers through some of the traditional, tested arguments for the existence of a creator God. They move into an examination of the source of morality and the reliability of the New Testament accounts concerning Jesus.

The final section of the book deals with a detailed investigation of the claims of Christ. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith. 

How to Dwell in the House of the Lord

How to Dwell in the House of the Lord

No person can claim to be a Christian and say attending church is not necessary. Every follower of Christ goes to the house of the Lord at least once a week for fellowship. We go to church not only to meet with fellow believers but more importantly, with God.

Bible Verse: Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

“One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”

Learning from David

King David had been on the run, not just once but several times. It was during those times that he wrote most of the hymns and poems we read in the book of Psalm.

But what made David feel safe and secure despite the circumstances he was facing? The secret of David’s public confidence was his private obedience to God. He took time to fellowship with the Lord and get directions from Him.

David knew that the most important part of his life was the part that only God could see, and this was one priority he would not negotiate.

Longing to be with God

Being in God’s house on Sunday is refreshing. Entering the place where other believers have come to worship and sing praises renews our spiritual walk. It also refocuses our thoughts on God.

But we do not have to be in a {church} building to dwell in worship with the Lord. Psalm 84:2 addresses dwelling with God anytime, anywhere. In this verse, the psalmist says that his “soul longs for the courts of the Lord.”

Longing to be with God

David longed to build a temple for the Lord to dwell in, but for some reason, God allowed Solomon to build it. God promised to dwell with the people of Israel if they would keep His laws.

After Solomon prepared the temple with a special place of the ark of the covenant, the ark was placed inside. And the Shekinah glory of God filled the temple and the priests could not continue with the service (1 Kings 6–8).

“I have surely built You an exalted house; and a place for You to dwell in forever” (1 Kings 8:13).

How to Seek God’s Presence

To experience God’s presence, we need to seek Him and His will all the time.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 13).

We can talk to God anytime – in church, in prayer, and in the Word. If we seek Him, we will find Him. God also promised to give us the strength necessary to get through troubled times (Psalm 84:5). When our life hits a dry spot, God will “make it a spring” (Psalm 84:6).

There is a special blessing and protection for anyone who earnestly seeks God. It may not be a promise to prevent all trouble, but to give security and blessing even in the midst of it.

Beholding God’s Beauty

There is beauty in the nature and presence of God; David knows this very well. He says we can perceive God’s beauty by faithfully seeking Him. King David could not think of a greater occupation than to fill his mind and heart with the goodness and greatness of God.

As Charles Spurgeon said, “The character of God is attractive, and fitted to inspire us with love for Him, and to make us, as it were, run after Him.”

Don Stewart also says this of the beauty of God:

“The beauty of the Lord can be defined as God possessing everything in His character that is desirable. Everything good and righteous has its ultimate fulfillment in God.”

A Doorkeeper in God’s House

In Psalm 84:10, the psalmist made no apologies. He wrote, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

In effect, he told Satan that he was not interested in serving him. The doorkeeper was a lowly servant, but even this position in God’s house would be a place of honor.

The writer of Psalms 84 calls God a “sun and shield” (Psalm 84:11). The sun warms and causes fields to grow, and the shield protects. God is the great Provider and Protector. He promises to bless those who trust in Him, withholding “no good thing” (Psalm 84:11-12).

We are God’s Dwelling Place

With the birth of Jesus, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory” (John 1:14). Jesus promised to prepare a dwelling place for us with the Lord.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).

For us to go there, we must have Jesus dwelling in our hearts. We read in 1 John 14:15, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

Don’t just dwell with God on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night pilgrimage. Seek His presence every day through prayer and Bible study. Find the time to celebrate the joy of being a Christian. Let the Savior know how thankful you are for what He has done for you.

Closing Words

Does Jesus dwell in your heart? When was the last time you longed to dwell with the Lord? Are you willing to be a doorkeeper?

May we have a heart like David’s; a heart that always seeks after God above anyone or anything else. When we delight ourselves in God, He promises to give us the desire of our hearts (Psalm 37:7).

This desire will be the Lord Himself.


Recommended Resource:

Adoring Christ: Beholding God’s Beauty and Becoming Like Him by Kori de Leon

Adoring Christ and becoming like Him is the most fundamental and crucial aspect of human life. We long for love, beauty, power, security, and fame because these things describe God, who is majestic and beautiful. And He has designed humanity in His image to participate in His glorious likeness.

In Adoring Christ: Beholding God’s Beauty and Becoming Like Him, author Kori de Leon discusses how adoring Christ sets our hearts free from self-focus and pursuing glory in the wrong way so we can see the grandeur of God and participate in His glory the right way.

Covering a wide range of topics like loveliness, dignity, and spiritual vitality this book specifically geared for women concludes each of its twelve chapters with a section designed to help readers actively engage with the truths presented in the book.

Glory is God’s design for mankind. Together with the Bible, this book will encourage you to get lost in the wonder of God and His character as you enter into an adoration that will lead you to glorious transformation.

Ignorance Leads to Contention

Ignorance Leads to Contention

Do you notice how ignorance of the facts often leads to contention? People immediately react negatively when told that one of the people closest to them is spreading lies about them. They then go on with their counterattack without first getting to the bottom of the story. They never bothered to find out if the report they heard is true or not.

Bible Verses: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.”

“Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas, or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

Divisions in the Church Today
Photo Credits: xpastor.org

Problems Among the Corinthians

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians addresses several problems within the church that have come to his attention. One of which is the contentions (or quarrels) reported to him by some members of Chloe’s household.

The church in Corinth had become factious, advocating different leaders: Paul, Apollos, Peter, and possibly a Christ party. Not only was the church divided over leadership types, but also over several moral issues and the use of spiritual gifts. The main point of contention was Paul’s authority.

How did Paul approach this problem of division in the church? First, he pointed to the unity of Christ: only one Savior and one body. Then he reminded them of their baptism, a picture of their spiritual baptism into Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Division in the Church Today

A few years ago, the church was divided into denominations. Now, we aren’t much better off. We have the same problem the church at Corinth had. Many Christians today follow a favorite preacher. Why are so many people naive enough to believe they can be spiritually fed by a preacher? Or that their favorite preacher knows everything about the Bible or God?

I know for a fact that nobody completely understands the mind of God or His word, because He is infinite and we are finite. That fact should humble us all. We should not base all of our knowledge on one or two favorite preachers.

I have learned over the years that different Christians emphasize different aspects of the character of God. Preachers do the same thing. We all have our favorite topics we like to talk about because we all know our knowledge of the Bible has gaps. This is true of the pew-sitters and the pastors.

I wish I understood why this fact does not humble more people including preachers. Does your lack of understanding humble you?

I have heard so many preachers criticizing other preachers. I truly believe that if the Church and pastors were more humble, criticism of fellow believers would stop. Not to mention, why does it matter what the next person or the next pastor says, especially if they are wrong?

Know and Study God’s Word

The only way to know if someone believes something wrong is by getting to know what the truth actually is. How well do you know the Bible?

Since Only God wrote the Bible and no pastor fully understands the Bible, why are you not studying the Bible for yourself? The main reason I was able to write “Life According to the Truth” was God gave me knowledge and understanding after asking God many questions while studying the scriptures.

The pew-sitters do not need to be ignorant. You do not need a seminary degree to know the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

I would have to admit studying the Bible is not easy. It takes work but is also very rewarding as Psalm 1:1-2 says:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, he meditates day and night.”

There is no reason why any Christian should be ignorant or divided. There is no reason to rely on preachers or ministers to spiritually feed you. Just ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and He will. Have you asked Him?

2 Timothy 2:15

Spiritual Authority in the Church

One of the underlying issues in Paul’s two letters to the Corinthians is the nature of spiritual authority.

Why should the Corinthians (and we) listen to Paul’s words? It’s because they were not his opinions or his agenda but God’s instructions. When God’s Word sets up a barrier or sends a change of direction in our lives, are we willing to listen? Or do we look for another opinion?

We can always find someone who will tell us with great confidence exactly what we want to hear. Or we can keep getting counsel until someone tells us what we wanted to do in the first place. But God’s Word has a history of contradicting our wishes.

The Scriptures don’t care nearly as much about how we feel as they do about how we obey. By the way, God never asks us to do something that is not for our own good. Even if that means giving up something that looks innocent and desirable.

Final Words

Reading Paul’s letters, we see that he had tough words for the Corinthian church. Many of these apply almost directly to wandering churches today. They were all true counsel. These instructions from God continue to be practical in the world we are living in today.

Needless to say, God’s Word won’t have the intended effect unless we allow them to transform us. Are you willing to obey God even when what He tells you is painful to hear and inconvenient to do?


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Cultures in Conflict Discovery Guide: Paul Proclaims Jesus As Lord – Part 2 by Ray Vander Laan

How do you live in a culture where the worldview conflicts with Christianity? Learn from Paul as he presents his beliefs to the most powerful court in Athens and settles among the Greco-Romans of Corinth, who valued wealth and class, worship of multiple gods, and decadent pleasure seeking above all else.

Join renowned teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan as he guides you through the land of the Bible. In each lesson, Vander Laan illuminates the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the sacred Scriptures.

Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, the That the World May Know® film series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.

Psalm 51 Devotional

Psalm 51 Devotional

Today’s post is a devotional and reflection on Psalm 51. In this chapter, we read of King David’s confession and repentance after the prophet Nathan rebuked him of his sin (See 2 Samuel 12:1-14).

Living in a No-Fault Society

We live in a society where most people have adopted the “I’m-not-responsible” mentality. Every time we do something wrong, we say, “Oh no, not my fault!” We blame our parents, others, and even God, but never ourselves.

Picture this scenario after the fall:

Adam was out walking with his sons Cain and Abel. As they passed by the gates of the Garden of Eden, one of the boys asked, “What is that dad?” Adam replied, “That’s where your mother ate us out of house and home.”

See? Adam faced responsibility like a modern man – he blamed his wife.

But isn’t this what Adam did? Oh yeah! When he and his wife were caught in disobedience and God confronted them, Adam immediately pointed his finger at Eve. And Eve in her defense blamed the serpent.

We’ve been living in a no-fault generation since the time of Adam and Eve.

You Are the Man!

In Psalm 51, Prophet Nathan has confronted David with a story of wrongdoing: “King David, a poor man’s lamb was stolen and eaten by a rich man giving a party. What shall be done?” David, reacting instantly said, “The man who did this should die!”

Nathan looked at the ashen face of King David and said, “You are the man!”

Psalm 51: David's Confession and Repentance

Right there and then, King David confessed and repented. The fountains of his soul broke as the pent-up passion of remorse, shame, guilt, and anxiety released the flood of tears. He approached God’s throne sobbing and said:

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness. According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:1-3).

Taking Full Responsibility

Without hesitation, David took full responsibility. As king, he held absolute power, living beyond the reach of the people. Why confess? There was not a reporter waiting to ask, “Is it true that your subordinate set up a rendezvous with Bathsheba?” No one else knew about this. Yet, David confesses of his “transgressions, iniquity and sin (Psalm 51:1-3).

While a modern man would say, “It’s the woman’s fault for bathing naked in the moonlight on the roof. She should have used a shower curtain. She did it on purpose!” Or turn at the prophet of God and say, “You, Nathan, are out of step with the new morality.”

David claimed the sin as his own without ever mentioning Bathsheba. He never tried to blame Uriah either.

How do you react when a servant of God confronts you with a sin you thought nobody else knew? Do you immediately confess and repent? Or do you harden your heart and point out the hypocrisy of others, especially your church leaders?

David’s Three-Part Confession

David’s confession had three parts, not one thought three times, but three different views of one repentance.

“My transgression” was the open rebellion against God, knowing what he did was wrong, yet he did it anyway. “My iniquity” refers to David’s deception in trying to hide his sin. To conceal the fact that David got Bathsheba pregnant, he murdered Uriah.

There is no such thing as a secret sin. Sooner or later, God will expose all deception and shout it out from the rooftops. “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).

“My sin” was David’s murder of Uriah, breaking his fellowship with God. David acknowledged his sin before God and said, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.” (Psalm 51:4).

Psalm 51 Devotional

To restore his fellowship with God, David cried to God, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).

Hyssop was the branch with which the blood of the lamb was applied over the doorposts of Jewish homes in Egypt in the night of Passover. Once the blood was applied, that home was safe from the death angel.

The Bible says, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission from sin (Hebrews 9:22).

A Plea for Restoration

David was a musician since childhood. He had played for Saul and brought gladness to his heart. But because of his sin, he could no longer enjoy music. Sin had destroyed his song and so he begged this of God:

“Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which You have broken may rejoice” (Psalm 51:8).

Sin consumed him like the excruciating pain of a broken bone.

Nathan told David that God would forgive him, but the sword would not depart from his house (2 Samuel 12:10). David suffered deeply for his sin. His first child with Bathsheba died shortly after its birth (2 Samuel 12:15-18). His daughter Tamar was raped by her half-brother Amnon (2 Samuel 13:1-20). Absalom became a rebel who wanted to kill him (2 Samuel 15 – 17).

David first asked God to “blot out his sin” and then to “wash it away” (Psalm 51:1-2). The Hebrew word for wash meant “to trample.” In those days, women put clothes in the stream and trampled them clean with their feet.

There is no English word for the Hebrew word here translated “cleanse.” The closest word would be to “unsin.” It means that when David stands before God, He will say to him, “I find no fault in this man. He is whiter than snow.” God will not say, “Oh, David, you had a great career but you ruined it by committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah.”

David Looks Ahead

After David’s confession, Nathan said, “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Samuel 12:13). David’s sin was gone – forgiven instantly. David continued to be open to the word of prophecy, and as he looked into the future, he saw the millennial reign.

“Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem” (Psalm 51:18).

What a joy and encouragement to know that God will not count our sins against us when we confess and repent. When we cry out to God, He does not retain His anger forever and pardons our iniquity. He will show us compassion and casts our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

Concluding Thoughts

We must take responsibility for our lives and stop making silly excuses. When we go astray from the will of God, we must accept that we are “guilty as charged” and confess our sins. God will rush to blot them out, never to remember them again (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12).

We must not try to conceal our sins, nor blame them on others. We must, by all means, avoid doing things that we know full well are in rebellion against God.

Each of us must choose the New Jerusalem or the Lake of Fire. Our eternal soul is at stake. When we come before God and cry out to Him, He promises to forgive and restore us.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David by Eugene H. Peterson

Prayer is both our most human action and our most human language. But, as with any other language, we may find ourselves clumsy and undisciplined in our attempts at it.

Praying with the Psalms can help Christians become fluent in the language of prayer, encouraging us to pray even when we don’t feel like it, and to learn prayers that are both honest and right.

Based on the life and words of David, the Psalms provide insightful reflections on depression, anger, frustration, fear, and insecurity, as well as joy exhilaration, triumph, and gladness.

Praying with the Psalms offers daily readings to guide us in expressing to God the wide range of human emotions. Through this enriched communication with God, we are led to a deeper understanding and a truer following of his will.

What are the Languages of Love?

What are the Languages of Love?

We all agree that love is one of the most powerful emotions every single individual is capable of exhibiting. But are we even aware that love is a language? It certainly is! Accordingly, there are 5 languages of love.

Bible Verse: Mark 12:30-31

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Summation of God’s Law

Love for God cannot be divorced from love for one’s neighbor. So, Jesus also quoted Leviticus 19:18 and put it on the same level as the Shema. All of the law and the prophets hang on both of these commandments.

We might add that the teachings of the Epistles in the New Testament agree with this statement: If a person really loves God, he or she must also love their brother, sister, and neighbor (1 John 3:10-18; 4:7-21).

The Five Expression of God's Love

If we have the right relationship with God, we will have no problems with His commandments. Love is the basis for obedience. In fact, all of the law is summed up in love (Romans 13:8-10). If we love God, we will love our neighbors. If we love our neighbors, we will not want to do anything to harm them.

5 Expressions of Love

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five primary love languages. They are the five ways that people express love to each other. These are: 1) words of affirmation, 2) quality time, 3) physical touch, 4) acts of service, and 5) receiving gifts.

It is true that most people express love in two of the five ways, but not Jesus. He expressed love in all five ways.

Jesus Loves with Words of Affirmation

In John 8:4-11, Jesus showed love to the woman caught in adultery with words of affirmation.

We must not misinterpret this event to mean that Jesus was easy on sin. Or that He contradicted the law. For Jesus to forgive this woman meant that He had to one day die for her sin. Forgiveness is free but it is not cheap.

The Lord did not affirm her actions but He did affirm her value as a person. By affirming the value of this woman as a person, Jesus modeled not only words but also actions. He showed affirmation to a woman that needed mercy just like we all do.

Jesus Loves with Quality Time

We read in Luke 19:2-9 how Jesus showed love to Zacchaeus by spending quality time with him. It was never a coincidence that Jesus called for Zacchaeus when he was up in the tree. Jesus knew Zacchaeus wanted to see Him but He gave him something better – time to speak with Him.

Everyone indeed has a limited amount of time. But isn’t God and other people worth enough to spend some time with them?

Jesus Loves with His Touch

Jesus showed love in Luke 8:52-56 by His touch. He had healed many people of physical and spiritual illnesses, inspiring Bill Gaither to write the song, “He Touched Me.”

We read how Jesus has literally and figuratively touched many people. We can also show love by sharing the healing message of the Gospel, aside from the comfort of a hug. Are the souls of people worth enough for us to touch them with the Gospel?

Jesus Loves with Self-Service

As Jesus’ earthly ministry was coming to a close, He sacrificed His life as an act of service to provide the greatest gift of all: salvation.

It’s been 2 weeks since Christians all around the world celebrated the love of God expressed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is by far the greatest expression of love God could have shown to humanity.

Jesus Loves by Receiving Gifts

We must recognize that we can never out-give God nor can we repay what Jesus has done for us. Well, not that He expects us to.

So, what gifts can we offer to our Lord? The apostle Paul exhorts every believer to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:2).

Just as Jesus Christ had to take on Himself a body to accomplish God’s will on earth, so we must yield our bodies to Christ. We submit to the Lord that He might continue God’s work through us.

We must yield the members of the body as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13) for the Holy Spirit to use in the doing of God’s work. The Old Testament sacrifices were dead sacrifices, but we are to be living sacrifices.

Closing Words

As we can see, Jesus is the model of all five love languages. And as born-again Christians, we are supposed to live our lives as disciples or imitators of Jesus. We do this by living out the first and greatest commandment found in Mark 12:30-31. (See also Matthew 22:37-39.)

Let us love God and love others using all five love languages.


Get a copy of my book “Life According to the Truth.”

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanPublisher’s Description

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to The Truth. Disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to Michael’s life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born-again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life
  • How to love God
  • How to love others
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Don’t Get Distracted From God’s Purpose For You

Don’t Get Distracted From God’s Purpose For You

God has a specific will or purpose for every believer. But how often do we seek to fulfill God’s purpose for our life? And how often do we get distracted as a result of focusing too much on things that don’t really matter?

Bible Verse: Luke 19:5

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

Who Is Zacchaeus?

The name “Zacchaeus” means “righteous one,” but this supervisor of tax collectors was not living up to his name. Certainly, the Jewish religious community in Jericho would not have considered him righteous, for he has not only collected taxes from his own people but also worked for the unclean Gentiles.

And tax collectors were notorious for collecting more taxes than required; the more money collected, the more income they enjoyed.

God’s Purpose For Zacchaeus

We read Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus in Luke 19:1-10. So, it happened that as Jesus entered and passed through Jericho, Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector wanted to see Jesus. But because he was too short to see over the crowd, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road where Jesus was going to pass by.

As Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus, called him by name, and asked him to come down, for He was going stay as a guest in his home (Luke 19:5).

Jesus Visits Zacchaeus
Photo Credits: The Brown Pelican Society

It was God’s will to spend time with Zacchaeus. Jesus was followed by a large crowd but that did not stop Him from ministering to Zacchaeus. Clearly, Jesus was not distracted by popularity or skeptics (Luke 19:3, 7).

The same thing happened when Jesus and His disciples went through Samaria. Jesus needed to go through Samaria to see the Samaritan woman and minister to her (John 4:4-25).

God had a purpose for Zacchaeus and the Samaritan woman, and God has a purpose for your life. How often do you seek God’s purpose for your life? When was the last time you asked God to reveal it to you?

Getting Distracted from Your Purpose

Many preachers today use methods that guarantee a crowd because it feels a lot better to minister to a large crowd than to just one single individual. How many of us can honestly say we would prefer to one more than a crowd? Who does not like being popular?

Truth be told. I know I have wanted to minister to as many people as possible through Bible thoughts, my books, etc. I just pray I never get too proud and forget about individual people. Is that true of you as well?

Jesus was always followed by a crowd during much of His ministry. Yet, He never stopped to preach and teach them while making sure He wasn’t neglecting individuals who wanted to listen to Him.

Closing Thoughts

There will always be people that find a problem, scoff, and mock. On other occasions in Scripture, Jesus responded to their doubts and skepticism, but this time no response was given. Sometimes God does not want us to respond to antagonism.

It does not really matter what people think or say if they are wrong. There is no point to be distracted or worried by lies. Don’t get distracted from the things that God has called you to do.

As Paul says, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). How well are we pressing toward that purpose?

We do not know what tomorrow holds but we know who holds tomorrow. Trust Him!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Get a copy of my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to the Truth, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

America Needs God Right Now

America Needs God Right Now

In just a couple of days, the United States of America will decide whether Donald Trump remains in the White House for another four years. Has Trump done enough during his first term to convince Americans that he’s the right guy to put the country back on track?

Trump’s challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, is currently leading in almost every poll and could potentially unseat Trump. But what does a Biden win mean in terms of religious liberty, economic stability, and America’s long-standing friendship with Israel?

Now more than ever, America needs God.

Bible Verse: Psalm 119:118

“You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood.”

In this verse, the psalmist speaks of the righteous judgment of God. He uses His “statutes” as a measuring line of His judgment, rejecting all those who stray from His Word and the principles revealed therein.

If we love the Word, we will hate lies and oppose liars. The psalmist knew that his shelter and shield were the Lord alone, and he trusted in Him. He is not hiding in the Lord from fear of facing the enemy, because he addresses the enemy in verse 115.

“Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God!”

Only in the Lord could he find the help he needed.

Turning Our Backs On God

For years, America has turned its back on God. Biblical literacy is at an all-time low. Evil laws are being passed and enacted. Corruption is rampant in the highest places of office. I can guarantee that most Americans have taken the One, true God out of schools, courts, government, and society.

America Needs God Right Now

This explains why America has been in moral, social, and economic decline. But I believe that God isn’t finished with us yet. He can bless America and make it the world’s greatest nation once again. But we need to repent of our sins and turn back to God, for only God can make America great again.

God: the Only Source of Righteousness

Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Greatness is not found in your pocketbook; it is not found in government nor is it found in large groups of people. Greatness is only found in God since He is the only source of righteousness.

Many people claim they can be righteous or moral without God but that is not what the Word of God says. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Romans 3:10 also says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”

So, just because someone believes or claims something, does not make it true. God is the only source of truth. God does not judge on a bell curve. He judges based on His standard. If you have not received His righteousness, you are not righteous. That is why God had to become a man.

If God did not become man, man would not be given God’s righteousness. Jesus came to earth so that we may be able to become sons of God as John 1:12, 14 says, on the condition we receive Him.

God will never force anyone to accept His free gift of salvation. If the people in America do not turn back to God, human trafficking, rioting, fear, division, corruption, murder, and pain and suffering will continue.

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Time to Pray, Vote, and Stand

As pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills said, “It’s time for God’s people to pray, to vote, and to stand.” Christians cannot afford to “sit out” this election. We need to go out and vote. More importantly, we need to vote in a biblical way.

Some of you may say, “But none of these two presidential candidates seem to be morally upright.” Keep in mind that we’re not voting for an individual; we’re not voting for a spiritual leader. We are voting for a party; we’re voting for a platform. Whose platform do you think better lines up with God’s principles?

I get it. You do not like Trump’s personality. You do not like his tweets or the way he gets things done. But what matters is that he’s getting things done. He has kept his promises and the things he ran on in 2016.

A vote for Trump and the Republican Party is a vote for religious liberty. Looking at what’s going on right now in states run by the Democrats, Christians should know better than to give them more power and government control.

Closing Words

For the first time in so many years, more and more Christian leaders have come out in the open to support President Donald Trump. That tells you how important this election is. Of course, God is still on the throne and He is in control. But Christians need to do their part as well.

We cannot sit comfortably at home and say, “Lord, it’s all in your hands now.” We need to go out and vote. We must vote as if everything is on the line.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Get a copy of Michael’s devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to the Truth, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life.

With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

Do you often feel like you’re losing the game of life? That no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to keep up? No matter how strong and healthy we think we are, physically and spiritually, that is, there comes a time when we start to grow weary and lose all the energy needed to keep us going.

The great news is, God promised to renew our strength; we will find new strength by trusting in God and waiting patiently on Him.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 40:29-31

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

God Does Not Grow Weary

Going back to Isaiah 40:28, it says, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.”

In the ancient world, the gods were viewed as having human weaknesses and often were inattentive or simply unaware of events that were taking place. One result of this was that the pantheon of gods were constantly outwitting or tricking each other. The gods were not indefatigable. They were in constant need of food, drink, and shelter.

In contrast, Yahweh God never grows weak or weary. And Isaiah thought the Jewish people needed to hear what they already know. They needed to hear about the everlasting Creator of all the earth who never grows weak or weary.

If we believe these truths about God, we should live as if God has already taken care of all our needs, present and future.

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

The Greatness of God

As the Jewish remnants returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, they knew they had a rough road ahead of them. They were few in number and the victories of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia made it look as though the false gods of the Gentiles were stronger that the God of Israel. Thus, they became faint-hearted

But Isaiah reminded the people of the greatness of Yahweh (Isaiah 40:12-20). God is greater than anything on earth. Creation shows His wisdom, power, and immensity. He is greater than the nations and their gods.

God founded the earth and sits on the throne of heaven, and nothing is equal to Him, let alone greater than Him. So, the next time you are tempted to think that the world is bigger than God, remember that the nations are “as a drop in a bucket” (Isaiah 40:15) and “the inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22).

God is greater than anything in heaven. And if you ever feel so small that you wonder if God really cares about you personally, remember that He knows the name of every star (Isaiah 40:26) and your name as well (John 10:3, 27). The same God who numbers and names the stars can heal your broken heart (Psalm 147:3-4).

God Sees Your Every Situation

God is all-powerful and is greater than the circumstances within us. The nation of Israel knew this very well because they have seen and heard what God has done for their ancestors. But instead of trusting God to work on their behalf, they complained and acted as though God did not know their situation or have any concern for their problems (Isaiah 40:27).

Instead of seeing the open door, the Jews saw only the long road before them, and they complained that they did not have strength for the journey and that God was asking them to do the impossible.

Admittedly, there are times when we are like the nation of Israel. Although we know of God’s promise to strengthen us when we are weak and that He will help us get us through every rough situation, we complain and accuse Him of not caring about us.

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

God Promises to Renew Our Strength

God knows how we feel and He sees our fears. And rest assured that He is adequate to meet our every need. We are not able to do things on our own but we can always trust God to provide the strength we need (Philippians 4:13).

If we rely on ourselves, we will faint and fail, but if we wait on the Lord by faith, we will receive strength for the journey. Waiting on the Lord means to look to God for all that we need (Isaiah 26:3; 20:15). This involves meditating on His character and His promises, praying, and seeking to glorify Him.

To “renew our strength” means to “exchange,” as taking off old clothing and putting on something new. We exchange our weakness for God’s power (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). As we trust God, He enables us to soar during a crisis, to run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully, in the routine day-to-day demands of life.

Walking in the ordinary pressures of life can be much more difficult than flying like an eagle in a time of crisis.

Bottom Line

God renews our strength. As people, we get tired; we become weary. But God enables us to do what we need to do. That does not mean we will never need rest or sleep. It means when we rely on God’s strength, He will enable us.

The word “wait” means to have faith. There will be times when it seems like we’re waiting for nothing. But we must understand that God does everything according to His will. When we trust God to direct our steps, He will see us through to victory.

Sometimes we think that God should do things for us the way we want Him to, but that is not how God works. We need to trust in God’s timing and wait patiently on Him. As one quote says, “Prayer is powerful. But always remember that God works according to His timetable, not yours. Be patient.”

Faith and patience always go hand-in-hand. We don’t always know when God will answer our utmost prayers and give us the desires of our hearts. But when we trust in Him, He will bring it to pass in His own perfect time.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Get a copy of Michael Heilman’s devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to the Truth, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life.

With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you. 

 

Riches and Honor are Meaningless

Riches and Honor are Meaningless

If I were to ask a thousand (or even a million) poor people to choose between becoming rich or remaining poor, there is no doubt that every single one of them will choose to get out of poverty. After all, who does not want to have a comfortable life and be able to give their family a promising future? Isn’t that the very reason why people are working so hard?

Some people even resort to wicked schemes and tactics just to get ahead of the game. We see a lot of politicians today who use their power and authority for their own personal gain. Others take advantage of the less fortunate to enrich themselves.

Dissatisfaction in Wealth

It’s human nature to want all the riches, fame, and power the world has to offer. And the more money one accumulates the more eager he is to gain much more. This truth is expressed by King Solomon when he said, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV).

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV).

King Solomon is not only known to be the wisest man who has ever lived (1 Kings 4:30); he was also one of the richest. King Solomon ruled the nation of Israel from 970 BC to 931 BC and is said to have had a peak net worth of $2 trillion. As a result, he became famous and well-respected during his lifetime.

Yet, in most of his writings, he often talked about how earthly riches and honor are meaningless.

The Futility of Riches and Honor

Sadly, some people treat money as though it were a god. They love it, make sacrifices for it, and think that it can do anything. Their minds are filled with thoughts about money; their lives are controlled by getting it and guarding it.

But the person who loves money can never be satisfied no matter how much is in his bank account. Now, why is that? Why is it that most people who have all the riches in the world are still miserable? We hear of wealthy people falling into a state of depression, getting hooked on drugs, and end up taking their own lives.

Why do some people feel dissatisfied with their life despite having all riches in the world? This is because the human heart was made to be satisfied only by God (Psalm 107:9; John 6:35).


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.


Isn’t it interesting that people only realize the vanity of wealth and materialism when they see a very wealthy man dies and is unable to bring any of his possessions with him to his grave? This stresses once again what King Solomon said:

“As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came, and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a severe evil – just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 5:15-16)?

The apostle Paul echoed the same thing in his letter to Timothy to encourage him that true riches are not found in the abundance of our possessions. Rather, true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us into this world when we came and we can’t take anything with us when we depart (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

Warning Against the Love of Money

You might have heard some people say that money is the root of all evil. That’s not quite true. The Bible says it’s “the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). It’s about wanting more material things to be happy and feel successful.

But riches are a trap that may lead to bondage instead of freedom. Instead of giving satisfaction, riches create additional lusts and desires which must be satisfied. In the end, riches appear to produce hurt and wounds instead of help and health.

The Futility of Riches and Honor

By the way, keep in mind that Solomon was neither advocating poverty nor riches because apparently, both have their problems. (See Proverbs 30:7-9.) He was warning against the love of money and the delusions that wealth can bring.

In the closing verse of Ecclesiastes chapter 5, Solomon affirmed again the importance of accepting our heritage in life and enjoying the blessings that God bestows on us. What is “good” is to labor faithfully, enjoy life, and accept everything as the gracious gift of God (Ecclesiastes 5:18).

The Ability to Enjoy Life is God’s Blessing

Another important thought that Solomon said is this: “The ability to enjoy the wealth and blessings given by God is a gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). But he was quick to point out the basic principle that nobody can truly enjoy the gifts of God apart from the giver Himself – God.

To enjoy the gifts without the Giver is idolatry and this can never satisfy the human heart. Enjoyment without God is merely entertainment, and it doesn’t satisfy. But enjoyment with God is enrichment, and it brings true joy and satisfaction.

Solomon went on to expand on this thought in the next chapter (Ecclesiastes 6:1-9) and pointed out the unhappiness of people who possess wealth but are not able to enjoy it.

Final Thoughts

In saying that earthly riches and honor are meaningless, Solomon is not telling us that we should not dream big or have a burning desire to accomplish great things in life, or aspire to be successful. But we must make sure our ambition is motivated by the glory of God and not the praise or accolade from people. We must want to improve our economic status or achieve something great so that we can serve God and others and not for the sole purpose of promoting ourselves.

If we think our earthly wealth and achievements will automatically bring self-satisfaction, we are dead wrong! True satisfaction comes only when we use whatever God has blessed us with to do His will from the heart (Ephesians 6:6).

At the end of the day, everything on earth, including our life, is temporary. This is why John warned us about not loving the world (1 John 2:15-17):

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”


Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide by Randy Alcorn Recommended Resource: Managing God’s Money: A Biblical Guide by Randy Alcorn

God cares a great deal more about our money than most of us imagine. The sheer enormity of Scripture’s teaching on this subject screams for our attention. In fact, Jesus says more about how we are to view and handle money and possessions than about any other topic―including both heaven and hell.

In Managing God’s Money, Randy Alcorn breaks down exactly what the Bible has to say about how we are to handle our money and possessions in a simple, easy-to-follow format.

Filled with Scripture references, Managing God’s Money is the perfect reference tool for anyone who is interested in gaining a solid biblical understanding of money, possessions, and eternity.

Running the Race to the Finish

Running the Race to the Finish

The Christian life is not only a journey towards heaven which is our final destination; it is also a race wherein Christians are like competitors in an athletic event. Indeed, Christians are running the race of faith and they are exhorted by the author of the book of Hebrews to run the race to the finish.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

The Cloud of Witnesses

Whenever we see the word “therefore” in a sentence, we know that it functions to introduce a logical result or conclusion. That being said, we can confidently say that Hebrews 12:1 is a concluding statement of the previous chapter about the heroes of faith.

Furthermore, it says that “we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” Cloud in both the Greek and Latin refers to a great number of people or things. So, the great cloud of witnesses” is composed of the saints mentioned in chapter 11 of Hebrews: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets.

Run the Race of Faith to the Finish

Some have come to think of these champions of faith as spectators from the heavens, cheering us on as we run the race, like people seated in a stadium. This has led to the belief that people in heaven know and see everything that is happening on earth. But that is inconclusive.

One more thing, if people in heaven can see the difficulties, pain, and suffering that their loved ones are going through on earth, as well as the terror and wickedness of evil people, how can they have complete joy? Isn’t heaven a place of joy where there are no more tears and no more sorrows?

When the writer said we are surrounded by these witnesses, the stress is not on the idea that they are observing us or witnessing what we are doing. Rather, that we look to them and studiously observe them as exemplary individuals given by the author of Hebrews from history to encourage us to persevere.

How to Run the Race to Win

For us to run the race of faith to the finish, there are certain things we need to do.

1. Throw Off Everything that Hinders

The verse says we must “lay aside every weight or burden.” This signifies anything which will be an impediment or hindrance in running the race. When running a race, almost anything that adds weight to the runner is a hindrance.

Have you ever seen any athletes competing in their jeans? Or carrying a backpack? No! Not even a bottle of water. They have to be comfortable in what they’re wearing so that they will be in their best, optimal performance.

In the same way, we must get rid of various burdens which delay and impede our spiritual course, which includes:

  • The love of this present life
  • The pleasure of this world and worldly cares
  • The lust of the flesh
  • Riches and honor

These are the same things that John warned us about in 1 John 2:16. This is not to say that we should not enjoy our borrowed time on earth. God wants us to enjoy His blessings but we must resist the notion that happiness is found on the things of this world. We always need to keep in mind that everything in this world is temporary and will soon pass away.

Our priority is to further the works of the Lord and use all the resources He has given us, including our life, for His purpose, and greater glory. Christians are to occupy while waiting for the Lord, our Savior to come back for the church (Titus 2:13).

2. Avoid the Sin that Easily Ensnares Us

Sin is the heaviest burden that impedes us and that is why we are warned to guard against any form of sin. Sin distracts us, sin can hold us back, and most importantly, sin will separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

While not naming any specific sin, the writer was probably referring to the sin of unbelief. It is the sin of unbelief that had kept Israel out of the Promised Land, and unbelief hinders us from entering our spiritual inheritance in Christ.

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3. Live a Life of Discipline

The writer of Hebrews is appealing to us to take all the necessary steps of self-discipline and deal with any areas of our lives that could hinder our spiritual progress. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 that an athlete must be disciplined if he is to win the prize.

Discipline means giving up the good and the better for the best. The athlete must watch his diet. There is nothing wrong with food or fun, but if they interfere with your highest goals then they are hindrances and not “helps.”

Also, when running the race of faith, we must disentangle ourselves from all impediments. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he charged him to pass on to other faithful believers everything he taught him. At the same time, he encouraged his “son in the faith” to endure hardship as a soldier of Jesus Christ and to not get tied up with the affairs of this life to please his commanding officer (2 Timothy 2:1-4).

4. Run the Race with Endurance

What does it mean to run the race of faith with endurance or perseverance? How do we do it? To run the race with endurance is to run the race to the end. It involves determination, commitment, and refuses to be deflected.

We often hear the phrase, “no guts, no glory,” or “no pain, no gain,” which simply means you cannot achieve success without hard work and struggle. In running the race of faith, we need to push through and push hard if we want to win. Despite all the obstacles and distractions we may have to face along the way, we need to keep going and rely on the Lord to give us the strength (Philippians 4:13).

5. Run the Race Marked Out for Us

When Paul addressed the church elders at Ephesus, he told them how he has been faithfully serving the Lord by proclaiming to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ despite his persecution in the hands of the Jews. He pictured himself as a runner who had a race to finish, and nothing would keep him from finishing the race with joy.

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Let Us Run the Race Marked Out For Us

In this passage, Paul speaks of “my race” – he had his race to run and we have our own. Hebrews 12:1c says we are to run the race that is “set before us.” In other translations, it says, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

There is a race marked out for every believer. We are in a race, and this race has been “set before us.” The point here is that God has mapped out a specific, prescribed course for each of us that we must follow. We are not competing with others but we strive to excel up to our potential in this lifestyle of Christian conquest.

6. Look Unto Jesus, the Author, and Finisher of Our Faith

Looking unto Jesus involves looking away from someone or something else and directing our focus unto Jesus. The NIV translates this beautifully as “fixing our eyes on Jesus.”

We cannot be looking at two things at the same time. If we want to finish the race, we need to look away from anything that could distract us and have our eyes locked on Jesus. We are not to look at the mistakes or sins committed by other Christians, especially our church leaders, and use them as an excuse to quit.

As we run the race, Jesus has to be our focus, our inspiration, and our example; He remains to be the ultimate example of Christian obedience and endurance. Jesus is not only the author but also the finisher of our faith. He started His work in us and He promised to complete it until the day of His return (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus Endured the Cross for Our Sake

Hebrews 12:2b says, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross …” Jesus did not regard the cross itself as a joy, but He was able to look past the horror of the cross for the joy that is beyond it. Jesus knew that His suffering and death would result in the reconciliation of God with man.

One of the prominent elements of the torture of the cross was its extreme shame. Death by crucifixion was the most despised form of death in the Roman Empire, reserved for the worst offenders. Jesus did not welcome this shame – He despised it. Yet He endured through it to victory.

Anytime you are tempted to give up because of the trials and difficulties that you are going through, think about what the Lord Jesus had to endure for your sake. “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3 NIV).

How to Run the Race of Faith

From Crucifixion to Glorification

What was the result of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross? Salvation became available to everyone who believes (John 3:16) and Jesus was exalted and seated at the right hand of the throne of God. This highlights the triumph of the victory of Christ over death.

People often ask, “If Jesus had already won the victory, why do Christians need to suffer?” As children of God, we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. And if we suffer with Him, we will also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17).

Peter said, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world” (1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT).

Closing Words

In running the race of faith, we should look back upon the past champions of faith from the Old Testament as they can be a source of encouragement. Then, we must look forward as we run the race and do certain things to pursue the course.

Negatively, we are to strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up; and positively, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus.

The exhortation to “look” unto Jesus is the ground for this anticipatory victory view of the triumphant Lord of glory who finished His course. We look unto Jesus in contemplation, in considering Him as the conqueror of adversity and suffering, and as the exemplar par excellence for spiritual vision.

Since Christ is the “champion who initiates and perfects our faith,” trusting Him releases His power in our lives. As we see Him in the Word and yield to His Spirit, He increases our faith and enables us to run the race to the finish.

It doesn’t matter how many times we stumble, trip, or fall. Walking or running, limping or stumbling, it does not matter. Fix your eyes on Jesus and finish the race.

At the end of the day, it’s not how you start the race that matters but that you finish and be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).


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Recommended Resource: Let’s Run!: Running the Race with Faith and Perseverance by Jennifer Hayes Yates

Let’s Run!: Running the Race with Faith and Perseverance by Jennifer Hayes Yates Every race is a challenge.

Hills, valleys, dips, and curves; pain, thirst, weariness, and overwhelm—sometimes it’s just easier to take a seat on the sideline and slip off our running shoes.

But God has inspired us in His Word to run the race with faith and perseverance and to finish well. He gives us examples of others who faced some of the same challenges, yet remained faithful.

Let’s Run! explores the faith chapter of Hebrews by taking us back to the Old Testament and the stories of some ordinary people who faced enormous challenges but managed to stay in the race.

This Bible study will give you not only a look at their lives, but also an opportunity to apply the same principles of faith to your own life, to keep you in the race and running toward the prize.

  • Discover how worship and the Word can help your faith grow.
  • Learn how to apply these principles in your own life, family, and church.
  • Develop a strategy for handling challenges to your faith.
  • Gain a new perspective on church and ministry.

Let’s Run! is a 6-week Bible study which includes weekend devotions to recap the principles learned each week, as well as ideas for group study.

Join Jennifer and be inspired to lace up and get back in the race!