Showing posts from October, 2021


 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3 (Day 11) Last Day

  Focus on What Will Last Forever Human beings can handle an enormous amount of frustration, delay, and pain—as long as they have hope.  But when hope is gone, people have a tendency to give up.  Jesus offers the only hope that is eternal. And it is a hope that will never disappoint. But you need the right perspective to understand the hope found in Jesus. That means you don’t just look at what’s going on right now. Instead of focusing on the temporary, focus on the eternal. For instance, pay more attention to God’s Word than the news on your phone.  Difficulties don’t last. But hope in God lasts forever. The Bible says,  “These three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love”  (1 Corinthians 13:13 NCV).  There is a plaque engraved with Hebrew letters that hangs on the wall in my office. People ask me all the time what the Hebrew means. It simply says, “This too shall pass.”  I like to look at it when I’m going through a difficult time. It remind


 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12‭-‬13 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3 (Day 10)

  Stop Passing Judgment As followers of Jesus, we live with constant tension.  On one hand, we want to honor God and do what he wants. On the other hand, everything in our world is directly opposed to God.  Life in the Kingdom of God is at odds with the ways of the world. You are going to notice many things that disagree with your values and, more importantly, with God’s values.  How do you respond?  Unfortunately, too many Christians respond by passing judgment on others.  James tells us that if we judge others without showing mercy, then God will not show mercy to us. God desires mercy over judgment.  You can avoid being judgmental by telling the truth with gentleness. You can tell someone that disobeying God will lead to negative consequences in a way that doesn’t pass judgment on them.  You become judgmental when you take the truth and hold it over people’s heads, in order to make yourself feel superior. We are called to tell the truth to help people, not to harm them or put them d


 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3 (Day 9)

  You Can Forgive Others God calls us to forgive others, but how do we do that? Here are four ways to help you let go of your pain, hurt, and bitterness:  Recognize that no one is perfect . When we’ve been hurt, we tend to lose our perspective about the person who offended us. But we need to remember that we are all imperfect people. Colossians 3:13 says,  “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others”  (NLT).   Relinquish your right to get even . Trust God to confront the person who hurt you and trust him to work things out for you. Choose compassion over your desire to retaliate. The Bible says,  “Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. ‘I'll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I'll take care of it’”  (Romans 12:19 The Message).  Respond to evil with good . Romans 12:21 says,  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”  (NIV). Getting even only brings you d

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 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalms 103:12 NIV

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 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalms 103:10 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3 (Day 8)

  Living Guilt-Free   God gives us what we need, not what we deserve.  We deserve judgment for our sins because we are guilty of going our way instead of God’s way But Jesus took the punishment we deserve. He has removed them  “as far as the east is from the west”  (Psalm 103:12 NLT).  Earth has a north pole and a south pole, but there is no end from east to west. When you place your trust in Jesus, God takes your sin and wipes it out!  King David committed adultery, and then, to cover it up, he had the woman’s husband murdered. Can you imagine the guilt he carried?  The far-reaching effects of adultery and murder are devastating. David didn’t deserve forgiveness or mercy from God. David knew he was wrong, but he also knew that God is a merciful God.  David prayed:  “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin”  (Psalm 51:1-2 NLT).  God desires mercy over jud


 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 7)

  What Does Your Heart Reveal? How does God help us manage our mouths? By going directly to the source: the heart. Have you ever said, “I don’t know what got into me—I’m not that kind of person”? Well, the truth is, it wouldn’t be coming out of your mouth if it wasn’t in your heart first.  In other words, it’s not your mouth that gets you in trouble; it’s your heart! The stuff that’s inside of you is what comes out. The Bible says,  “Whatever is in your heart determines what you say”  (Matthew 12:34 NLT).  Your words demonstrate your heart’s condition. That means someone with a harsh tongue is demonstrating an angry heart. Someone who brags a lot is revealing an insecure heart.  A person who is overly talkative has an unsettled heart. Critical words reveal a bitter heart.  On the other hand, when you share encouraging words with others, it reveals a joyful heart. When you offer gentle words to people when they’re down, it shows you’ve got a loving heart.  If you say kind and comforting


 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5‭-‬6 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 6)

  Be Wise with Your Words When we lack self-control, we’re more vulnerable to all kinds of problems.  Anything out of control in your life can harm other people and damage your close relationships. Uncontrolled anger, lust, addiction, overspending, drinking, or ambition can create enormous problems.  But one of the greatest destroyers of relationships is an uncontrolled tongue.  I read once that the average person has about 30 conversations a day. That would mean we spend around one-fifth of our lives talking!  At some point, your mouth will probably get you into trouble. The odds are against you.  James compares the tongue to a tiny spark because that’s all that is needed to create a great forest fire. A careless word can ignite your relationships and make them all go up in smoke.  Have you ever met a verbal arsonist?  Their words are dangerous. They use words of discouragement, disappointment, accusation, criticism, sarcasm, condemnation, or attack—the list is endless.  Gossip is esp


 7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:7‭-‬8 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 5)

  Preparation Follows Expectation It’s important to remember that God is always working behind the scenes, even through the pandemic—and any other problems you may be facing right now. Trust him and be patient.  But how do you do that? What do you do while you’re waiting? How do you build a faith that trusts God during the delays?  “Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. See how farmers wait for their precious crops to grow. They wait patiently for fall and spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Don’t give up hope. The Lord will soon be here”  (James 5:7-8 GW).  Like farmers, we need to wait expectantly. While a farmer waits, he prepares for the harvest. He gets ready. He doesn’t sit around thinking, “I wonder if this is going to grow or not.” He  expects  it to grow. He prepares for the harvest so that when it comes, he can reap the benefits.  You need to wait expectantly as you trust God to act and provide. Psalm 130:5 says,  “I wait expectantly, trusting God


 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 4)

  It Pays to Be Patient When you are patient, it builds your character, prevents mistakes, and helps you reach your goals. You’re also more likely to be honored by others and have happier relationships. Patience comes with all kinds of blessings and benefits. In other words, God rewards patience. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be patient when you’re tired? Many of us are weary from the pandemic. But the Bible says,  “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”  (Galatians 6:9 TLB).  There are blessings to be had through difficult seasons—blessings in your character, your circumstances, your family, and God’s church. And they’re not just rewards to enjoy right now. The Bible says there will be rewards in heaven, too.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:11-12,  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,


 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 3)

  What’s Your Part in the Conflict? One of the best strategies for de-escalating conflict is also one of the scariest things you can do: Ask God to give you a clear picture of yourself.   When you’re in conflict, you bring all kinds of emotions and misconceptions to the table. Your responsibility is to ask God to point out your own shortcomings—not the shortcomings of your spouse, child, colleague, friend, or neighbor. Ask him to make clear anything in you that is wrong, and then lead you on the path that is always right.  When you genuinely pray those verses from Psalm 139, God will show you the right way. He’s not going to play games with you, and he always forgives—even when he points out that part of the problem is  you . As God reveals the sin in your life, you must take responsibility for it. Sometimes that means you bring it up in conversation with the other person, but it always means you get right with God. Your job is to admit any part of the conflict that was caused by your


 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:4‭-‬5 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3, (Day 2)

  Seek to Understand Before Being Understood When you’re in conflict, the loving and Christlike way to defuse tension is to seek to understand before being understood. Try to figure out what the other person is thinking and saying before you try to convince them of your perspective. You cannot hope to be understood until you are willing to do the same for others.  The Bible says,  “A person who answers without listening is foolish and disgraceful”  (Proverbs 18:13 ICB).  We are often so busy trying to get people to see things our way that we don’t stop to listen to what they are saying.  That’s why it’s helpful to say, “You go first.” And then, after they’ve shared, say, “Now, let me see if I understand. You’re saying (repeat to them what you understood they were communicating to you). Did I get this right?” That gives them a chance to correct you and not only be understood by you but also  feel  understood.  Seeking to understand first also allows you to see the other person’s perspec


 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5:8 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't Part 3(Day 1)

  How to Be Confident in Uncertain Times We’re living in strange and uncertain times. We don’t fully understand what’s happening in the world. We get conflicting information from every source, and we’re not sure how to make wise decisions without all the information we need.  When so many things are uncertain, we can remain certain of this one truth: God is in control.  The Bible says,  “Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. See how farmers wait for their precious crops to grow. They wait patiently for fall and spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Don’t give up hope. The Lord will soon be here. Brothers and sisters, stop complaining about each other, or you will be condemned. Realize that the judge is standing at the door”  (James 5:7-9 GW).  Why does James remind us several times in this passage that the Lord is coming back? Because it’s the ultimate proof that God is in control.  History is God’s story. It’s not circular. There is no circle of life. History


 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. James 2:8‭-‬9 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 16) Last Day

  How to Overcome the Sin of Prejudice Prejudice is a serious sin. It’s not some infraction that God winks at. To call it anything but sin would be against what the Bible teaches:  “You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker”  (James 2:8-9 GNB). That's pretty clear. But as I've traveled around the world, I've come to the conclusion that prejudice, particularly racial prejudice, may be the world's most prevalent sin. No matter where you go in the world, somebody doesn't like somebody else. You find it everywhere. And though it plays out in countless ways in society, many people would deny that they have any prejudice toward others. To move toward racial reconciliation, we have to admit and confess our prejudices. Why? Because racism is a sin


 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9‭-‬10 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 15)

  Why You Need Help to Overcome Temptation Is there a temptation you keep stumbling with over and over again? Maybe it’s related to jealousy, worry, lust, gossip, gluttony, or the overuse of electronics and social media. Whatever it is, you won’t have victory over a persistent temptation if you try to overcome it by yourself. Who's helping you fight temptation? Who have you invited to help you grow spiritually? Who do you allow to ask you the tough questions? Who are  you  checking up on? The Bible says,  “Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT). You don't have to tell everybody about the temptations you struggle with, but you do need to tell someone. That person can support you and help you overcome your struggles. When someone says, “I've never told this to anybody before . . . ,” be quick to listen and pay attention


 5 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 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 14)

  Instead of Resisting Temptation, Refocus The reason we are easily defeated by temptation is that we try to resist it instead of refocusing on something else. What you resist, persists. The more you think about something, the more you're attracted to it. So, if you want to defeat temptation, don’t fight it. Change your focus! "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good"  (Romans 12:21 NIV). If your mind is filled with good thoughts, there's no room for thoughts that may tempt you to sin. During difficult seasons, you may face recurring temptations. Whatever those areas are for you, you’ll get discouraged if you keep trying to fight against them, particularly if you continually give in. The key is to refocus your attention on something else. Here’s an example—if you’re tempted while watching TV, don’t keep telling yourself, “I’m not going to watch this.” Instead, pick up the remote and change the channel. Temptation always starts with a thought. If Satan


 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 13)

  How to Move from Grief to Joy Many of us are experiencing grief right now because of a job loss, a business shut down, or a health issue, likely due to the effects of COVID-19. We’re also experiencing grief because of closed schools, canceled proms, and postponed weddings. We’ve been unable to visit family and friends, even when they’ve been seriously sick in the hospital. And, heartbreakingly, some of us haven’t been able to mourn the loss of a loved one through a traditional funeral.  Yet, God promises that for all who mourn,  “He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair”  (Isaiah 61:3 NLT). The greatest example of how God transforms grief into joy is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. After he was crucified, Jesus’ disciples went through two days of the deepest fear, pain, and grief anyone could ever experience. Even though Jesus promised his disciples he would return from the dead, they couldn’t grasp the reali


 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:6‭-‬8 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 12)

  How to Be Stable in Ever-Changing Times Have you ever made a tough choice, but then the moment you made the decision, you started doubting yourself? You agonized over it. You kept asking yourself if you did the right thing. The Bible says when you do this you’re like a wave pushed around in a storm. You have so many doubts, and you get tossed about because you’re depending on your wisdom, not God’s. This is why God wants you to ask him for guidance before you make a decision, and then trust him and his goodness once the decision is made. When you do, he sets you free from second-guessing yourself. Here’s the good news: Even if the winds keep changing and the future looks uncertain, you don’t have to be blown to and fro. Put your faith in God and God alone. Otherwise, James says your loyalty will be divided between God and the world. In some translations of James 1:8, this divided loyalty is rendered as “double-minded.” This comes from a Greek word that means two-souled. It’s about be


 20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 11)

  Godly Friends Help You Make Good Decisions When you trust God to make tough choices easier, he gives you wisdom when you ask for it. One way he does that is by directing you to people who know and practice his Word. He gives you connections with godly people who will point you in the right direction. You need to get some godly people in your life who love and obey the Bible. You were never meant to practice God’s wisdom on your own. Proverbs 13:20 says,  "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble"  (NLT). This is important because the quality of your life and the quality of your decisions will be determined by who you spend the most time with. Are the people you most often hang out with helping you or hurting you? Are they building your faith or your fear? Are they causing you to worship or to worry? Are they stress relievers or stress generators in your life? While in a season of uncertainty, you can still keep company with wise people. Fo


 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:25 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 10)

  God’s Word: What You Believe, You Do Many people know the Bible, but in order to be blessed by it, we need to  do  what it says. You act on what you believe, meaning your behavior and attitudes are a reflection of what you think is true. Think about it this way: The only parts of the Bible you truly believe are the parts you put into practice. If what you say you believe doesn’t change how you live your life, then you probably don’t really believe it. That’s why, when you have a difficult decision to make, you need to remember:  “God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true”  (2 Samuel 22:31 NLT). When you follow God’s Word and do things his way, you’ll be able to do the right thing at the right time. Now, in order to put God’s Word into practice, you need to know it. That means you can’t just skim through the Bible and hope something sticks. You need to make time for Bible study every day. There are many ways for you to learn God’s Word. For instance, you can write Bible


 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 9)

  It’s Your Choice to Rejoice in Trouble Do you know that it’s possible to rejoice when you face troubles? The Bible says,  “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy”  (James 1:2 NLT). It’s easy to misunderstand this verse. God’s not saying be a martyr. He’s not saying deny reality. He's not saying fake it ‘til you make it. We don't rejoice  for  the trouble. But we can still rejoice  during  the trouble because of what we know is true. And what is true? We know that God sees and cares about everything we're going through. We know that we're never alone, that God is always with us. We know that he will give us strength if we trust him. One of the greatest comforts during troubling days is God’s promise in Romans 8:28:  "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him"  (NCV). God has promised to bring good out of bad for us—in  everything . That includes a pandemic! That's not


 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5‭-‬6 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 8)

  God Wants to Give You Wisdom Are you going through a rough time right now? You’re not alone! People all over the world are feeling the effects of the pandemic, and it’s taken a toll on our mental, physical, and emotional health.  The Bible tells us exactly what we should do when we don’t know what to do and we’re feeling the pressure to do the right thing. “If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won't correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm”  (James 1:5-6 CEV). God isn't holding back wisdom. He gives wisdom to anybody who asks for it. Have you asked God to give you the wisdom to handle the challenges you’re facing? Have you asked him for wisdom on what to do about your job, your future, your kids, your health, or whatever you're struggling with? God will give you wisdom if you ask for it. King Solomon,


 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 7)

  You Will Never Face the Future Alone     You may feel like you’re all alone during stressful and unsettling times. But you’re not alone! God sees what you’re going through. God cares about what you’re going through. He’s right beside you, no matter the situation or circumstances you may be facing. There is nothing to fear when you know God is near. Whatever you face in the future, you will never face it alone. Deuteronomy 31:6 says,  “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you”  (NLT). Satan will plant seeds of doubt and fear in your mind, such as, “What if I get sick?” or “What if the economy tanks?” or “What if I lose my job?” And you will undoubtedly face anxiety from other sources too. Give those fears to Jesus and remember God promised to never abandon you. You don’t have to know what the future holds because you know who holds the future. God promises


 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 6)

  The Forgiven Should Forgive   We forgive because we have been forgiven. God expects us to show grace to others because he showed grace to us. He demonstrated his love by sending Christ to die for us, even though we were still in rebellion to him (Romans 5:8). It’s easier sometimes to be selfish instead of gracious. You see the slow cashier at the grocery store as a five-minute interruption to your day rather than somebody who might be struggling to keep his job or just received horrible news a few minutes before. You see someone in your family who’s struggling as a drain on you rather than seeing her hopelessness over a desperate situation. You see the person who cut you off on the freeway as a villain instead of someone in need of God’s love. We’re all in need of God’s love. That’s why Jesus Christ came into this world. And to show people grace is to remember what God has done for us. The ultimate way God shows us grace is by forgiveness. And the ultimate way he asks us to show grac


 1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 5)

  How Gentleness Calms Conflict     Here’s a common scenario: Someone raises their voice against you, so you raise your voice in response. Then they raise their voice higher, then you raise your voice higher. And the situation keeps escalating. Some scientists suggest we do this because mirror neurons in our brain are meant to give us the ability to empathize with others and even mirror what they feel. But, unchecked, we can begin to mirror the anger and antagonism of someone in an argument. Let me give you a little tip that will save you a lot of heartache and conflict in your life: When other people raise their voices, lower yours—in your marriage, in your parenting, in your friendships, and at work. That’s called strength under control. The Bible says,  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”  (Proverbs 15:1 NIV). Gentleness defuses conflict. It deescalates anger. When someone raises their voice in anger, instead of getting defensive, practice gentleness.


 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? James 2:19‭-‬20 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 4)

  Real Faith Is More Than Just Believing Did you know the Devil believes in Jesus? So do the demons. But you won’t find any of them in heaven. Why? Because saying you believe in Jesus doesn’t mean you have faith in him. It also doesn’t mean you trust him to fulfill his promises. James says faith is more than just intellectual knowledge. Faith is something you do. It’s active, not passive. Real faith involves making a commitment to trust in Jesus. Now, this doesn’t mean we can earn our salvation. The Bible says,  “For it is by grace [we] have been saved, through faith . . .   not   by works, so that no one can boast”  (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). What James is saying is that our belief and commitment to Jesus are reflected in the things we do. Our good deeds are evidence of our real and trusting faith. Maybe you’re struggling to make sense of why your relationship with Jesus doesn’t seem to be working. Could it be you’re not putting your faith into practice? The Bible says,  “Anyone who doesn


 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalms 23:4 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't. (Day 3)

  The Truth About Shadows   One of the common sources of stress is a loss. You can lose your job, your health, your money, your reputation, or a loved one. During the coronavirus pandemic, stress has been amplified. When people go through loss, there are two common reactions. One is fear, and the other is grief. Grief is good. Grief is the way we get through the transitions of life. In fact, if you don’t grieve, you get stuck! Grief will not kill you if you let it out. Fear, on the other hand, can be a bad thing. Not once in the Bible does it say, “Grieve not,” “Sorrow not,” “Weep not,” or “Cry not.” What it does say is “Fear not.” And it says that 365 times! Because grief doesn’t paralyze us, but fear does. In Psalm 23:4, David says,  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”  (ESV).   David knew shepherds always carried a rod and a staff to protect their sheep. And he knew God had


 A Faith that works verse 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:21 NIV

A Faith that works when life doesn't (Day 2)

  Before You Open God’s Word, Believe It You may not always understand what the Bible says. But to anchor your life on the solid foundation of God’s Word, you need to humbly accept whatever God tells you. In today’s verse, the word “accept” is from the Greek word  dechomai . It's a hospitality term. It means to receive like a stranger. You are to receive God’s Word fully into your life. That means before you even open your Bible, you tell God that you accept whatever he tells you. You agree to believe his Word, whether or not you understand it. Look at the first part of today’s verse. In order to accept God’s Word, you first have to take care of the junk in your life. Clean it out! Now, this doesn’t mean you need to clean up your life before you can come to God. Instead, it means sin can block you from  hearing  God. You can’t hear him when you’ve got something else filling your mind and heart. You’ve got to make space for the truth. Believing and applying God’s truth will change y


 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:17‭-‬18 NIV

New Plan: A Faith that works when life doesn't (part 2, Day 1)

  Five Ways God’s Word Is a Gift If you're going to anchor your soul to something that never changes, then you need to treat God's Word as a gift. The Bible says,  "Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession"  (James 1:17-18 NLT). James says five important things about God’s Word in this passage. 1. God's Word is good. It’s for your benefit. If you're not reading the Bible, you're missing all the promises, instruction, and benefits God wants to give you. 2. God's Word is perfect. It's a  “perfect gift."  If it's perfect, it means it's infallible. There's no error in it. You can count on it. And, if it’s perfect, that means it's exactly what you need. 3. God's Word is true. It says,  "h