What persecutions I endured. 2 Timothy 3:11
As shocking as it seems, a private Christian school in Tampa, Florida, was forbidden from offering an opening prayer during a high school football game last fall—even when playing against other Christian schools in its own stadium. Thanks to a group of Christian attorneys, an appeals court reversed that decision.
The blatant anti-Christian attacks by our secular society have intimidated many Christians in the western world, but God is on our side in this battle for truth!
According to the Bible, every godless culture will view Christians with hostility; and according to Church history, every generation of believers has faced opposition and hatred. The Bible says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But Paul also told Timothy to persevere and lean on the “Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (verse 15).
God is at work in our lives, even when we’re being pressured or persecuted for our faith. Don’t be intimidated by the world. Be motivated by the Word!
Religion in the public square is becoming an endangered species. Mathew Staver
A Father’s Triangle – Proverbs 3:11-12 – Skip Heitzig – Skip Heitzig
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15–16
I don’t remember many specifics about my driver’s education class. But for some reason, an acronym we learned, S-I-P-D-E, remains firmly lodged in my memory.
The letters stood for Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute, a process we were taught to practice continually. We were to scan the road, identify hazards, predict what the hazards might do, decide how we’d respond, and then, if necessary, execute that plan. It was a strategy for being intentional to avoid accidents.
I wonder how that idea might translate to our spiritual lives. In Ephesians 5, Paul told Ephesian believers, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise, but as wise” (v. 15). Paul knew certain hazards could derail the Ephesians—old ways of living at odds with their new life in Jesus (vv. 8, 10–11). So he instructed the growing church to pay attention.
The words translated “be very careful, then, how you live” literally mean “see how you walk.” In other words, look around. Notice hazards, and avoid personal pitfalls like drunkenness and wild living (v. 18). Instead, the apostle said, we can seek to learn God’s will for our lives (v. 17), while, with fellow believers, we sing to and give Him thanks (vv. 19–20).
No matter what hazards we face—and even when we stumble—we can experience our new life in Christ as we grow in dependence on His boundless power and grace.
Reflect & Pray
What strategy do you use to recognize what might trip you up spiritually? What role do you think other believers play in identifying and resisting spiritual hazards? How might thanksgiving be an important part of avoiding spiritual pitfalls?
Heavenly Father, as I navigate the spiritual potholes on life’s road, thank You for reminding me to look up to You for help.
Have you ever wondered why we pray if God already knows everything? What do our prayers accomplish?
First, communicating with God connects His Spirit and ours. A relationship can’t survive if the two parties don’t speak with each other.
Second, God communicates His will to His children through prayer. If we’re seeking to please Him, then we will pray with an open heart and mind. In turn, the Lord impresses upon us the desire to ask Him for those things He wants to bring into our life.
Third, communing with God gives us the opportunity to participate in His kingdom on earth. As we learn to trust Him for answers, He gives us greater tasks in prayer. The Lord will burden our heart to pray for the salvation of a friend, people suffering from a natural disaster, or the state of our nation. When we see an answer, whether it’s big or small, we will know He blessed us by including us in the process.
God calls on His children to pray, because He wants us involved in His work. What a privilege for us to freely go before our Father and know that He is interested in what we have to say. In fact, He is pleased when we ask Him to meet our needs or the needs of someone else. And if we are praying according to His will, He answers every time.
“The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:10-11)
There are quite a few different Hebrew words that are translated “flood” in the Old Testament. The word in this passage (Hebrew mabbul), however, is unique in that it is only used elsewhere in the account of the Noahic Flood, thus indicating conclusively that the dramatic scenes described in this psalm occurred at the time of the great Flood.
There was never in all history such a time as that, when “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God therefore brought about “the end of all flesh” (v. 13)—no doubt millions, perhaps billions, of ungodly men and women—by the great mabbul.
In spite of the fact that nearly every culture around the globe (made up of descendants of the eight survivors of the Flood) remembers this terrible event in the form of “flood legends,” the very concept of God’s judgment on sin is so offensive to the natural mind that modern scholarship now even denies it as a fact of history.
Nevertheless, the epitaph of the antediluvian world is written in stone in the sedimentary rocks and fossil beds everywhere one looks all over the world. The greatest rebellion ever mounted against the world’s Creator by His creatures (both humans and fallen angels) was put down by God simply by His voice! “The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters” (Psalm 29:3).
In all the great turmoil of the Flood, Noah and the righteous remnant in the Ark were safe through it all. In every age, even in times of stress and danger, “the LORD will bless his people with peace.” HMM