The Anchor of the Soul
A ship securely anchored seldom drifts from its harbor and a life firmly fastened to the will of God is not easily shaken from its moorings. In spite of life’s uncertainties, there is a God upon whom we can depend. He inspires hope in the human heart, saying, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you…” (Heb. 13:5). Such hope is the Christian’s spiritual anchor. The inspired writer offers a most beautiful description of Christian hope when he says: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19-20). Ours is a hope both sure and steadfast.
Our hope is sure because it is grounded in the word of God. Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Mt. 24:35). Because the word of Christ will be our standard of judgment on the last day (Jn. 12:48), it is imperative that we closely and carefully study and apply its teachings.
Our hope is steadfast because it is inseparably connected to the nature and presence of God. The nature of God provides strong encouragement in as much as it is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18). We can trust God’s promises completely. Our hope is anchored in heaven, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us and always lives to make intercession on our behalf (Heb. 6:20; 7:25).
As Christians, we do not need to despair in the storms of life. We have an anchor to keep the soul, one that is both sure and steadfast. Our God, who cannot lie, has promised that, if we remain faithful, we will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). This is our calm assurance, a peace that passes understanding (Ph. 4:7).
Learning to Be Content July 18, 2021
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:10-13)
When are you content? Is it only when you have what you want? Usually when life is going well we are pretty content. When we have a good job, a good marriage and kids that love us it is pretty easy to be content. However, our circumstances aren’t guaranteed to remain the same. They can change in an instance. The company you work for may file for bankruptcy, your marriage may start to fall apart and your kids may show more interest for worldly things then spending time at home. Our lives change all the time and if our contentment is based only on normalcy then we may well be in for a surprise.
As noted in the scripture above the apostle Paul had to learn to be content when his circumstances changed. It wasn’t easy for him and it didn’t learn such overnight. He had not only lived in prosperity but also in times where he lacked much. The only way he could be content in whatever circumstance he found himself in was from the strength that Christ gave him.
In another letter he writes that if one has food and covering then he has enough (every reason) to be content and that it would be dangerous for him to seek contentment through riches (wealth) (I Timothy 6:6-9).
Paul learned to be content when in prison and it was here that he encourages others to be content in whatever circumstance they find themselves in.
If you want Paul’s contentment in life then you need to know his Savior, Jesus Christ.
What Can One Person Do?
7.9 Billion people now inhabit the planet! What difference can one person (you) make? Oh, sure, the President of the United States is only one person, but he make a huge difference. A multi-millionaire can make a noticeable difference. But ordinary folks like you or me – do we really matter?
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Our Lord was talking to men whom the world would classify as nobodies. They weren’t rich, famous, or highly educated. They were ordinary working-class people. But did they ever make a difference! And so can you and I!
A little salt can go a long way. Just a sprinkle on bland food makes it palatable. But the salt must not remain in the shaker – it must contact the food to produce the desired result.
Just a small light gives guidance in an otherwise pitch-dark room. The Psalmist said God’s word was a lamp to his feet and a light to his path (Psalm 119:105). As our behavior models God’s word and as we share His word with others, we illuminate a world darkened by ignorance and sin.
Be not dismayed; you are salt and light!
By Joe Slater
“Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.” (Anonymous)
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” (James Keller)
“Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
If God is For Us July 11, 2021
“And the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.’ Then Gideon said to the angel, ‘O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.'” (Judges 6:12-13)
It is very special to be a child of God and to be loved by Him as a father loves his own children. However, it is easy to question a father’s love when he is not around when things get really tough. Gideon felt God had abandoned Israel because He did not prevent many bad things from happening to them. He had the belief that if things are going well then God must be with them and when things go wrong then God must have abandoned them. However, it’s not that God had abandoned them but rather they had abandoned Him. Gideon needed to learn that God will never forsake or desert His people unless they do so to Him. Notice what the apostle Paul felt about God being with him in the scripture below:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:31-39)
There is not one indication in scripture that Paul ever doubted that God was for him. Even though he underwent extreme persecution, difficulties and imprisonment he knew with confidence that God was on his side and by his side. He believed with all his heart that nothing would ever separate him from the love of Christ and the promises and hope God provided him with. Whether he was going through a good time or a bad one he knew that God was nearby.
It is not a matter of whether God is for us or not but rather are we for Him in every circumstance we find ourselves in?
There’s No Need to Hurry
By Al Behel
The late evangelist, D. L. Moody, tells of a preacher who was preparing a sermon on the
urgency of receiving Christ when he fell asleep in his chair. The preacher had a strange
dream in which he heard a group of demons discussing how to devise a scheme to lead
people into hell.
One of the evil spirits said, “Let’s tell people that the Bible is not the word of God and
that it cannot be trusted.” Other spirits spoke up and said that isn’t enough to persuade
men. Another demon said, “Well, let’s tell them that God doesn’t exist, that Jesus was
only a man, and that there is no heaven or hell.” The other spirits rejected that idea as
well. Finally, a third demon said, “Let’s tell them that there is a God, a Savior, a heaven
and hell. But let’s assure them that they do not need to hurry, because they have all the
time in the world to be saved. Let’s encourage them to delay their decision to serve
Satan is the master of deceit. He doesn’t care if we believe in God because he also
believes in God. He doesn’t care if we accept that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
He was there and witnessed the entire crucifixion. He doesn’t care if we believe that
the Bible is God’s infallible Word. He knows Scripture and knows that God doesn’t lie.
He isn’t even concerned if we believe that the church is the body of Christ.
What Satan wants is for us to put God off. To tell God that we will serve Him when we
have time, or get the kids through school, or finish out other commitments. He wants
us to believe that there is no rush to be in a hurry. Sure, he would be delighted if we
just denounced God completely, but he knows historically that approach has limited
Time is God’s gift to us. Each day is an “extension” of life granted by our heavenly
Father. Each day He longs for us to fill each moment in deep fellowship with Him, in
sharing His love, His grace, and His message of redemption with a dying world. God
wants our hearts without diversion, without distraction, without reservation.
The demon’s in the preacher’s dream were correct. Tell the world that there is no rush.
Tell believers that they will have time to serve God…later. That is Satan’s deceptive and
By Al Behel
Having a Good Sense of Self-Worth July 4, 2021
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value (worth) than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
If you grew up always being told by your parents that you would never amount to
anything then it would be quite a challenge to be anything but that. However, if your parents encouraged and rewarded your behavior the outcome would be quite different. Everyone needs to feel that they are worth something; that they’re special and beneficial to themselves and others.
Jesus told His disciples that they were worth so much in God’s eyes. If God never forgets one sparrow will He ever forget those who are worth far more than a sparrow? Absolutely not!! It’s true that we value how others feel about us but what we should value more is how does God feel about us. There’s a saying out there by an anonymous person that goes like this, “Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me.” I am worth something because God created me. Period. End of discussion!
Since God created you then you’re special. So, have a great sense of self-worth regardless of how others view you. Every human being has been created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28). Never forget this truth!! However, do you regard God as being special and worth your praise and adoration?
When Truth Hurts
Paul asked the Galatians, “Have I therefore become your enemy because I told you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). Sometimes truth hurts! It requires us to face our faults and change our ways, both of which may be painful.
Error in the Galatian churches left the apostle no choice but to speak bluntly. Promoters of a false gospel are accursed! (That is, liable to eternal destruction, 1:8-9.) Those believing that false gospel were fools, as if under a spell (3:1). Everyone being justified by the Law cut themselves off from Christ and fell from Grace (5:4). Ouch! That hurts! But Paul didn’t just routinely use such sharpness, nor should we. Some people justify being verbally brutal by saying, “I’d rather hurt your feelings than tell you lies.” In fact, however, those aren’t the only two choices! Truth can, and usually should, be spoken gently but firmly. Sometimes, as with the Galatians, extreme circumstances require sacrificing gentleness. But even then, Paul made his affection clear: “Mu little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (4:19).
Jesus Himself spoke bluntly in some cases, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13 and six additional times). “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Hell?” (23:33). But again, this was not the norm for our Lord. The hypocritical Pharisees needed to be jarred to face their sin, but Jesus used a far different approach with sincere seekers, even when they were ignorant and sinful.
Sometimes the doctor has to hurt us to make us well; but most will try to minimize the pain. Just so, speaking the truth may hurt some people’s feelings. Let’s be sure it’s the truth that hurts, and not our unnecessarily rough manner.
By Joe Slater
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry, He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set me feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And he put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”(Psalms 46:1-3)
I would venture to say that for most people waiting patiently is something to be learned. Whether it’s waiting for a red stoplight to change over to green or standing in line at the bank it is not easy to be patient. Especially is this true when you’re in a rush. How many times have you wanted to honk your horn at a slow poke in front of you or gotten easily irritated when a bank customer and the teller get in this non-banking discussion when you’ve got a schedule to meet? Perhaps too many times, right?
In the scripture above David reminds us of the importance of waiting on the Lord. He’ll attend to our needs but in His time. He knows our concerns and how dire our situation is from time to time. It just that His time may not be our time. In other words, His time to answer our prayers may not be as soon as we would like it to be. The question is whether or not we can wait on Him patiently for His answer. God brought out of the worst of situations and placed his feet upon a solid foundation where David recognized that God, indeed, answers prayers. Such an understanding of God made David want to praise God in song and his praise caused others to look at God in awe and trust as David did.
Are you able to entrust your dire situation(s) to God and wait patiently upon Him for an answer? God is always listening for sincere, heart-felt prayers and He’s ready to be a blessing to all who revere and trust Him.