We live in a day where many people are interested in spiritual things. And, there are lots of spiritual ideas in the world. For instance, you may have seen a bumper sticker that has symbols of many world religions and these words on top of the symbols; “Co-exist.” The idea of that bumper sticker is that every world religion is ok.
In the book of Acts, there was a time when Paul was in Athens. He saw all the idols that had been erected in the city. Each idol represented a god that the people worshiped. Then, Paul noticed an idol that read, “To an unkown god.” The purpose of that idol was that, in case the people of Athens had missed a god, this idol was supposed to cover it.
When Paul saw all this, it disturbed him. As he stood before the council Paul said, “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious…” The same is true today… lots of people are interested in spiritual things but many are deceived and mis-led. We are living in a time where people are almost making up their own doctrine. Many want to believe that one religious idea is as good as another.
I love everyone. I try to be as tolerant as I can be and I try to respect the opinions of others but, my life is based on the teaching’s of the Bible and the Bible says that in a world of many gods and many religious ideas, there is only true God and that is Jesus. When I say that, I’m not trying to be arrogant or narrow-minded; I’m just stating what the Bible says.
Now, someone may say, “Ok, how do you know the Bible is true? I mean, every religion has it’s own holy book.” And, they are right. But the Bible stands out from other holy books because it was divinely inspired… God moved men to write the pages of scripture. And, over the course of history, the Bible has been attacked and criticized yet, it has withstood the attacks of critics.
In a world of lots of religious ideas… in a world of interest in spiritual things, Jesus Christ is the one true God. I encourage you to build your life on Him.
Have you ever struggled with depression? If so, you are not alone. Lots of people do. Depression has been referred to as “the common cold of mental illness.” In other words, lots of people experience depression. I confess that I have an ongoing battle with it.
The Psalmist experienced depression. Psalms 143:4 says, “Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die.”
The Psalmist said, “for my depressions deepens.” I’ve been there and possibly you have as well. But how do you deal with depression?
First, you may need to see a competent Christian counselor. There are some very good Christian counselors. They can help diagnose you. They can help you determine the root of your depression.
Second, try to keep moving. When a person is depressed, they have a tendency to not want to do anything. They want to sleep. It can be tough for them to get out of bed or get up from the chair and do something. But, one of the best things to do when dealing with depression is to stay active.
Third, eat right. In the Old Testament, Elijah became depressed. Elijah sat down under a juniper tree and fell asleep. An angel awakened him and at his head, there was a bread cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. Elijah rested and ate and he got up and moved forward.
If you have experienced depression, you are most certainly not alone. Elijah experienced it. The Psalmist experienced it. But God can help us with it if we ask Him too.
Is there something you have needed to do but you have put it off? Maybe there is something you need to do but you are afraid of doing it. Maybe there is someone you need to talk to resolve some differences between you and them. Maybe there is a task or a project but you’ve been talking about for a long time but you haven’t acted and you need to.
In II Kings 7:3-4, Samaria was besieged by the Arameans. There were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates and they were starving.
As they reasoned among themselves they thought, “Why sit here until we die? If we stay here we are going to die of starvation. Let’s turn ourselves in to the Aramean army. If we live, that’s wonderful but if we die, well, we are going to die of starvation here if we don’t take action.”
Focus on the words… “why sit here until we die.”
That’s a question some of us may need to ask ourselves. Is there something you have been thinking about doing but you keep putting it off? Take action! “Why sit here until we die?”
Is there someone you need to talk to but you keep putting it off? Go and talk with them. If they don’t listen to you or receive you warmly well, you’ve done your part. “Why sit here until we die?”
There may be some leaders of a church that need to act Maybe your church has been declining and you have talked and talked and talked but you haven’t acted. “Why sit here until we die?”
Today if there is something you need to do, do it! If there is someone you need to talk to do it! Don’t put it off any longer.
“Why sit here until we die?”
When the four lepers acted, they went into the camp of the Arameans The Lord had caused them to hear the sound of an army advancing on them. The Arameans fled their camp leaving food and wine. The four lepers ate and then, they told they told the gatekeepers of the city of Samaria what had happened.
They acted and they were fed. Today, don’t put it off any longer. Take action. Don’t sit here, until we die.
Living the christian life can be a challenge. We want to serve tbe Lord. We want to do what’s right but, even though we know the right thing to do, we slip… we fall… we sin. The pull of temptation is strong.
Proverbs 141:4 says, “Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong.”
Think about that phrase.. “don’t let me drift toward evil.” When something drifts, it just gradually moves in a direction.
That’s exactly what can happen in our Christian lives… we drift toward wrong things. It’s not hard to do.
Maybe you tell a little lie… nothing big… we tell ourselves.. but then we do it again and again.
Maybe you start doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing.. you don’t it too much… just a little… but then you do it more and more.
Paul said in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
I can identify with Paul. So, today.. we need to ask the Lord to not let us drift toward evil With the help of the Holy Spirit we need to stay on the right path…. we need to stay on the straight and narrow… don’t drift toward evil
God made each one of us and God gave us different gifts and personalities. God has also given each one of us a purpose in life. We are happy and feel fulfilled when we are doing something that allow us to do what God has called us to do.
In Acts 13:47,God told Paul, “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.”
What did this mean? Well, Paul had taken the gospel to the Jews but they had rejected him. So, God told Paul that His purpose in life was to take the gospel to the Gentiles. But why the Gentiles?
I believe the reason for this is that the Gentiles were not aware of Paul’s past. Paul, you remember, had been a Jew. He was persecuting Christians. He had lots of baggage. He would not have been as effective among the Jews as he would be among the Gentiles so God used him there.
Each one of us has a purpose. My purpose is different from yours. We have different gifts and personalities. We each need to discover God’s purpose for us and utilize it. Some men are great preachers. Some are excellent Pastors. Some are very good administrators. Some are good writers. Some people are very good businessmen. Some are good with construction. Some are good with children and others are better with youth.
The key is to discover your purpose It’s different from everyone else. Don’t try to live out someone else’s purpose in life. You will be miserable if you do.
Several years ago there was a man who was a great Preacher. He was one of the best in the nation. I was talking with another Minister and he referred to this Pastor and said, “He is a terrible administrator.”
I thought, “He may be… but he sure can preach.” Don’t judge others because they don’t have the gifts you think they should have.
God made Paul to be a light to the Gentiles. He’s given us a purpose as well. Find it and utilize it for God’s glory.
Country musician Tanya Tucker has a song entitled, “Trouble.”
The lyrics are…
“Trouble on my heart, trouble on my mind.
It’s never really hard for me to find, some kind of trouble.”
Maybe you feel like those lyrics…. “Trouble on my heart, trouble on my mind.”
In the movie “Tombstone;” there is a scene where Wyatt Earp says “We don’t want any trouble.” I forget the character’s name who responds but he says, “Well you got trouble!”
Psalm 138:7 says, “Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.” The Psalmist was going through some tough times… he says he was “surrounded by troubles.” Things can get like that…. we can feel we are surrounded by troubles.
Maybe it’s financial troubles or marital troubles or troubles on the job… maybe even emotional troubles. When we have so many troubles, it can lead to depression or a feeling of hopelessness.
Notice how the Psalmist dealt with his troubles. He said to the Lord, “.. though I am surrounded by troubles, you (God) will protect me…” I don’t know what you are facing today but the Lord promises to be with you. That may not mean that we are suddenly free of all troubles. There are times when the Lord helps us by helping us handle our troubles. He doesn’t take them away, he helps us handle them. The apostle Paul had what he called “thorn in his side.” He prayed and prayed for God to remove it but God never did. Instead, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (I Cor. 12:9).
So today, you may feel like you are “surrounded by troubles.” If so, the Lord can help you. He may remove the troubles but He may just give you the strength to handle the troubles. God is with us at all times.
One of the blessings of the Christian faith is the opportunity to talk to Jehovah God. Through prayer, we are able to take our problems to the God of all creation and, we are assured that God hears our prayers.
God answers our prayers in one of three ways; Yes, No or wait. We like one of those responses and that is Yes. And at times, even the Yes may surprise us.
In Acts 12:6-8, the Bible says that Peter was in prison. The next day, Peter was to stand trial. The night before he was to stand trial, Peter feel asleep while he was fastened with chains to two soldiers.
All of a sudden, there was a great light in the cell and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and the angel told Peter to quickly get up and leave.
Peter then went to a home where the leaders of the church were gathered to pray. There was a knock at the door and a servant girl went to the door and was astonished to find Peter! I mean, right there, standing before her was the answer to the prayers the people had been praying.
She went back inside and told the people Peter was at the door. Some of them said, “You are out of your mind.” lol
As I read that, I find myself in that story. many times I’ve prayed for something and I can be astonished when God answers! Maybe you are praying for something that’s pretty big. You are praying but… deep down.. you may be thinking, “I don’t know if God can handle this one.” God can handle anything.
So, the lesson in this for me is, don’t be astonished when God answers our big, bold prayers with ‘yes.”
Of course the flip side is also true… we shouldn’t get frustrated or entertain doubts if God says No. We serve a great God. A God who is able to handle our problems. Join me in trusting our God as we pray.