VIDEO The Merry Heart – Life is Hard, God is Good

Why do you look so sad today?  Genesis 40:7

Everyone has moments when they are sad. Grief, sorrow, and discouragement seep into our days like slow-moving landslides. But God does not want us to live in a state of chronic sadness. The Bible is filled with verses about joy, gladness, and triumph. Jesus said on five different occasions: “Be of good cheer!” And have you ever noticed the three “merry” verses of the book of Proverbs?

  • A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance—Proverbs 15:13
  • A merry heart has a continual feast—Proverbs 15:15
  • A merry heart does good, like medicine—Proverbs 17:22

An old Gospel song says: “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; / He is my strength from day to day, without Him I would fall. / When I am sad, to Him I go, / No other one can cheer me so; / When I am sad, He makes me glad, / He’s my friend.”[1]

Find your cheerfulness in Jesus today. The Lord wants to give you a merry heart.

I have seen many find their way into a life of victory through rejoicing. Joy Ridderhof


Life is Hard — God is Good – Louie Giglio

Where Choices Lead

The Lord watches over the way of the righteous. Psalm 1:6

With no cell service and no trail map, we had just our memory of a fixed map at the trailhead to guide us. More than an hour later, we finally emerged from the woods into the parking lot. Having missed the turn-off that would have made for a half-mile hike, we took a much longer trek.

Life can be like that: we have to ask not simply if something is right or wrong, but where it will lead. Psalm 1 compares two ways of living—that of the righteous (those who love God) and that of the wicked (the enemies of those who love God). The righteous flourish like a tree, but the wicked blow away like chaff (vv. 3–4). This psalm reveals what flourishing really looks like. The person who lives it out is dependent on God for renewal and life.

So how do we become that kind of person? Among other things, Psalm 1 urges us to disengage from destructive relationships and unhealthy habits and to delight in God’s instruction (v. 2). Ultimately, the reason for our flourishing is God’s attentiveness to us: “The Lord watches over the way of the righteous” (v. 6).

Commit your way to God, let Him redirect you from old patterns that lead to nowhere, and allow the Scriptures to be the river that nourishes the root system of your heart.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What friendships or habits do you need to make a break from? How can you create more time in your schedule to read the Bible?

Dear Jesus, give me the grace to turn away from the things leading me down the wrong path. Lead me to the river of Your presence, and nourish me with the Scriptures. Make my life faithful and fruitful for Your honor.

God’s Plan of Crucifixion

Acts 2:22-36

Who was responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion? Though both the Jews and the Romans played a role in putting Him on the cross, God was the one who had already planned His Son’s death as atonement for mankind’s sin.

Peter made this very clear in his first sermon, and he also affirmed it many years later in his first epistle, saying of Christ, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God” (Acts 1:20-21). Even before creation and the entrance of sin into the world, God already had a plan in place for the redemption of those who would believe in Him.

The Father’s plan for the crucifixion of His Son was motivated by the sinful, hopeless condition of mankind, His love for us, and His justice. God could neither ignore our sin nor simply decide to forgive us, because those options would be unjust, and He cannot act contrary to His nature. The cross was God’s way of fulfilling His predestined plan of salvation. Now all who trust in Christ can be forgiven and receive eternal life. Have you done this?

Been Afraid to Understand

“For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.” (Mark 9:31-32)

When the Lord Jesus told His disciples about His coming death and resurrection, He could hardly have spoken more plainly, yet they “understood not.” Not willing to believe that He meant what He said (with all its uncomfortable implications for their own futures), they were “afraid to ask Him” what He meant, lest He confirm that His words should be taken literally.

This was not the only time. Again and again He told them that He would be crucified and then rise again, but they could not (or would not) understand. On one such occasion, Peter even rebuked Him, and said: “Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” But the Lord answered, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:22-23). A refusal to take God’s Word literally, at least in this case, was said by Christ to be inspired by Satan!

Modern evangelical Christians no longer doubt the reality of His sacrificial death and bodily resurrection, for the evidence has become overwhelming, and these truths have become the glory and power of the gospel. Nevertheless, fearful reluctance to take God’s Word literally is still a great problem among some “Bible believers.” Whenever such a stand might become costly, many Christians eagerly accept non-literal ways of “interpreting” Scripture to fit their own preferences. This approach, of course, is especially widespread in modern accommodations of the creation/Flood record of Genesis to the philosophies of modern evolutionary humanism. We should remember always that, just as in Christ’s predictions of His death and resurrection, God always means exactly what He says in His Word. HMM

A Hireling is Not A True Shepherd

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee but the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

—2 Timothy 1:6-7

 

It is doubtful whether we can be Christian in anything unless we are Christian in everything. To obey Christ in one or two or ten instances and then in fear of consequences to back away and refuse to obey in another is to cloud our life with the suspicion that we are only fair-weather followers and not true believers at all. To obey when it costs us nothing and refuse when the results are costly is to convict ourselves of moral trifling and gross insincerity….

Again, the pastor when facing his congregation on Sunday morning, dare not think of the effect his sermon may have on his job, his salary or his future relation to the church. Let him but worry about tomorrow and he becomes a hireling and no true shepherd of the sheep. No man is a good preacher who is not willing to lay his future on the line every time he expounds the Word. He must let his job and his reputation ride on each and every sermon or he has no right to think that he stands in the prophetic tradition.   SIZ146-147

Give me grace to follow, Lordespecially when it really does cost me something. Amen.

 

Halfway to the Peak

Choose you this day whom ye will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

—Joshua 24:15

 

The word mediocre comes from two Latin words and literally means “halfway to the peak.” This makes it an apt description of the progress of many Christians. They are halfway up to the peak….They are morally above the hardened sinner but they are spiritually beneath the shining saint….

Do we really think that this halfway Christian life is the best that Christ offers—the best that we can know? In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little? Think of all that He offers us by His blood and by His Spirit, by His sacrificial death on the cross, by His resurrection from the dead, by His ascension to the right hand of the Father, by His sending forth of the Holy Ghost! ITB043-044

 

O Jesus, come and dwell in me,

Walk in my steps each day,

Live in my life, love in my love,

And speak in all I say;

Think in my thoughts, let all my acts

Thy very actions be,

So shall it be no longer I,

But Christ that lives in me. CTBC, Vol. 2/052

 

The Ministry of Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Comfort is a great biblical word. Presumably the word appears often in Scripture because our frailty requires that we be reassured and strengthened so frequently. It is significant that the Greek word which is translated “comfort” in the New Testament shares the same root as the name for the Holy Spirit, who is so often known as “the Comforter” (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit is much more than a Comforter, but He is that, and He fulfills the role wonderfully well.

The Greek word means “calling to one’s side,” and it is the Holy Spirit in all His power, and with all His resources who draws alongside us. He comes to strengthen us, help us to handle our problems and stresses.

James Moffatt’s translation of verse is helpful because he moved from the statement that the Father is the “God of all comfort” to the personal affirmation, “who comforts me in all my distress.” Sooner or later the pressures of life require that we stand firm when others crumble or would, at least, be perplexed or resentful. The reason for our strength and stability is the fact that the comfort which God alone can give is available to us, and we have learned how to draw on Him as our prime resource. He “comforts me in all my distress.”

Who can better comfort another than the person who has been comforted? Those people who have walked the dark, lonely road of grief and learned that through the Holy Spirit Christ has been a comforting companion on the way are well qualified to give support. Credibility is a vital element in helping others. We listen to those who have experienced suffering and sorrow—the people who “do understand” because they are familiar with the doubts, darkness, pain and, wonderfully, the comfort of God.

Paul was writing out of deep personal experience as he shared with the Corinthians. He had the mindset which enabled him to turn difficulties into opportunities and blessings, and he knew that he was qualified to comfort other people because he himself had been comforted. He recognized this as an important ministry both for himself and others to exercise.

When we belong to Christ, we belong to God and we belong to each other. This special relationship means that comfort and encouragement are lovely ministries that we can, and should, fulfill.

Harry Read, Words of Life