VIDEO Life Is What You Make It: Make Friends For Strength – Be Ready For Now

Life Is What You Make It: Make Friends For Strength

Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to… his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven.
Daniel 2:17-18

A family in China’s Yunnan province adopted a Tibetan mastiff puppy with a big appetite; it ate a box of fruit and two buckets of noodles per day. Within two years, the animal weighed 250 pounds and started walking on its hind legs. That’s when they suspected it wasn’t “man’s best friend” after all. The animal was an Asiatic black bear. The Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Center took the bear to a more suitable environment.

Sometimes our best friends don’t turn out as we’d hoped. When we become close to someone who harms our well-being, it’s unhealthy and co-dependent. You can change that. Life is what you make it. Look around for someone you can encourage, pray for, pray with, and build up.

Be wise in your friendships. Daniel thrived in Babylon because of the support of his three friends. The fellows encouraged each other, and their exploits are honored in Scripture. Make the right friends, and make time to pray for them. Good friends make life bear-able.

They are rich who have true friends. Thomas Fuller

Daniel Chapter 3 Explained – Fall Down and Worship, Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Statue – Part 1

Love Locks

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm.  Song of Songs 8:6


I stood amazed at the hundreds of thousands of padlocks, many engraved with the initials of sweethearts, attached to every imaginable part of the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris. The pedestrian bridge across the Seine River was inundated with these symbols of love, a couple’s declaration of “forever” commitment. In 2014, the love locks were estimated to weigh a staggering fifty tons and had even caused a portion of the bridge to collapse, necessitating the locks’ removal.

The presence of so many love locks points to the deep longing we have as human beings for assurance that love is secure. In Song of Songs, an Old Testament book that depicts a dialogue between two lovers, the woman expresses her desire for secure love by asking her beloved to “place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm” (Song of Songs 8:6). Her longing was to be as safe and secure in his love as a seal impressed on his heart or a ring on his finger.

The longing for enduring romantic love expressed in Song of Songs points us to the New Testament truth in Ephesians that we are marked with the “seal” of God’s Spirit (1:13). While human love can be fickle, and locks can be removed from a bridge, Christ’s Spirit living in us is a permanent seal demonstrating God’s never-ending, committed love for each of His children.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced the secure love of your heavenly Father? How might you allow His love to guide and encourage you today?

Heavenly Father, thank You that even though the security of human love often remains elusive, Your love for me is strong, steadfast, and eternal.

Walk Around the Clock

two men walking
Her disguises didn’t work.

The Queen of France was young, energetic, and immature, and she longed to be with people her own age. Resenting the limitations of royal life, she attended dances, balls, and parties in disguise. But biographer Carolly Erickson said about Marie Antoinette: “Her swift, purposeful gait was her trademark. It was said that she could never successfully disguise her identity at masked balls, for no matter how she dressed, she still walked like an Empress.”

Our walk always gives us away.

As Christians, we are called to walk worthy of our calling, morning, noon, and night. We have a manual—the Bible—that gives our marching orders. The Bible has 225 verses about walking, and the word “walk” occurs 406 times. Many of these verses refer to our daily behavior. Genesis 5:22 says, “Enoch walked with God.” The Lord told Abraham, “Walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). He commanded the Israelites: “You shall . . . keep My ordinances, to walk in them” (Leviticus 18:4). The Psalmist said, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). Paul told us to walk by faith, to walk in love, and to walk as children of light.

What does that really mean? I’d like to suggest something. Take a concordance sometime and look up the word “walk” in the Bible. See how many times it occurs. Study some of these verses and look for the lessons they contain. For example . . .

Walk with the Wise

The book of Proverbs warns us against walking with fools. Listen to these verses: “If sinners entice you, do not consent. . . . Do not walk in the way with them. Keep your foot from their path. . . . Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. . . . He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Proverbs 1:10, 15; 4:14; 13:20).

In modern terminology, we’re talking about peer pressure, the desire for approval from one’s friends. It often leads down dead-end streets.

Following the recent drug-related death of a popular teenager in peaceful Black Mountain, North Carolina, a police spokesman issued a warning to parents: “You think peer pressure was bad when you were growing up? There’s four times the amount of pressure on young people today.”

It isn’t just young people who struggle with peer pressure. Consider how easy it is to smile at an off-color joke, to go with the guys to an inappropriate movie, to gossip about someone with friends over lunch, to begin skipping church to attend ball games with buddies. 6/1/15The apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:17-18).

Perhaps the best question to ask yourself is: “Who are my three wisest and most mature friends?” Once you decide who they are, cultivate time with them. Watch them. Listen to them, and let their sensibleness rub off on you.

In a similar vein, ask: “Which three friends pull me down the most?” Begin weaning yourself away from them. Or better yet, tell them you’d love to be with them—but in church!

Walk in the Fear of the Lord

We’re also to walk in the fear of the Lord. As Christianity spread in the book of Acts, the “churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace. . . . And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).

Walking in the fear of God is an almost forgotten concept. Christians were once described as “God-fearing people,” and pastors preached about the fear of the Lord. Nowadays we’re so eager to present the Gospel in an inoffensive way that we’ve gotten away from using—and practicing—the verb fear. Yet the phrase “the fear of God” appears repeatedly in Scripture. There are over 300 references to it in the Old Testament alone.

In his book, Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer wrote: “In olden days men of faith were said to walk in the fear of God. . . . However intimate their communion with God, however bold their prayers, at the base of their religious life was the conception of God as awesome and dreadful. This idea of God transcendent runs through the whole Bible and gives color and tone to the character of saints. . . .”1

The fear of God isn’t an unhealthy phobia, but a therapeutic sense of awe at His greatness. One way to cultivate this attitude is to visit a location that speaks of His grandeur. Perhaps a vast cathedral where you can sit in silence a while. Perhaps a mountain ledge or thundering waterfall where the sheer, dangerous beauty of God’s creation makes you dizzy. Perhaps a camping trip away from city lights to gaze into the blackened sky and see the splendor of the stars. Cultivate a reverence for God Almighty, Omnipotent, Holy, and Eternal.

Walk in Newness of Life

That leads to another “walk”—we’re to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). This phrase describes the change of attitude and behavior that develops as we come to know Jesus Christ. Among other things, it means that life becomes more refreshing and uplifting. It implies a sense of wonder. As we sit in that lofty cathedral or gaze into the star-splashed sky, we not only develop a hearty “fear” of God; we find ourselves full of wonder. It’s the kind of wonder that leads to worship.

Evangelist D. L. Moody often described the sudden change of attitude and perspective that came to him as a newly-converted teenager: “I remember the morning on which I came out of my room after I had first trusted Christ. I thought the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before—I thought it was just smiling upon me; and as I walked out upon Boston Common and heard the birds singing in the trees, I thought they were all singing a song to me. Do you know, I fell in love with the birds? I had never cared for them before. It seemed to me that I was in love with all creation. I had not a bitter feeling against any man.”

The Christian walk should be filled with wonder, fresh, filled with the fear of the Lord. We should walk in newness of life. And that leads to obedience.

Walk in Obedience

The old apostle John wrote: “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. . . . This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment . . . walk in it” (2 John 4-6).

In other words, we’re to live an obedient life. Since the word “obedience” is abstract, we must attach specifics to it before measuring ourselves by it. Let’s ask ourselves, for example, whether we’ve told any white lies recently (Ephesians 4:25). Have we said something in an angry tone or hurt someone else with our words (Ephesians 4:26, 29)? Have we contributed to an unhealthy argument (Proverbs 17:14)?

Have we worried about our finances (Matthew 6:25)? Have we associated with a humble person today (Romans 12:16)? Have we given our tithes to the Lord this week (Malachi 3:10)?

Have we spoken a word for Christ to someone recently (Psalm 107:2)? Have we talked with our children about God’s Word today (Deuteronomy 6:7)?

The entire last half of Ephesians is full of this theme: Walk worthy of your calling. Do not walk as the world does. Walk in love. Walk as children of light. And don’t quit—walk around the clock.

A study from Duke University touted the benefits of walking a half hour every day. “As little as 30 minutes of walking daily is enough to prevent weight gain for most sedentary people,” said the report.

For the Christian, it’s a continuous walk. We’re to walk around the clock. While we might have a great half-hour of “Quiet Time” each day in Bible reading and prayer, we actually walk in His presence 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

If you’re walking with the Lord, keep your eyes on Him, and heading down that straight and narrow path. If you aren’t, make the adjustments needed to your stride. Learn what one man called “The Gait of Galilee.”

As Jeremiah quaintly put it centuries ago: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

By David Jeremiah

1A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 78.

Why does God allow pain and suffering?

Getting Over Painful Exp Monkey Bars CS Lewis

In one form or another, I get asked the following question all the time.

“If there is a loving God, how can He allow poverty, war, suffering, and all the other ills that are present in the world?”

I think the following story explains that most of what is wrong with the world is the direct result of sin and that God wants all men to turn from their evil ways and turn to Him.

A preacher and an atheistic barber were once walking through the city slums. Said the barber to the preacher: “This is why I cannot believe in a God of love. If God was as kind as you say, He would not permit all this poverty, disease, and squalor. He would not allow these poor bums to be addicted to dope and other character-destroying habits. No, I cannot believe in a God who permits these things.”

The minister was silent until they met a man who was especially unkempt and filthy. His hair was hanging down his neck and he had a half-inch of stubble on his face. Said the minister: “You must not be a very good barber because you wouldn’t permit a man like that to continue living in this neighborhood without a haircut and shave.” Indignantly the barber answered: “Why blame me for that man’s condition? I can’t help it that he is like that. He has never come in my shop; I could fix him up and make him look like a gentleman!”

Giving the barber a penetrating look, the minister said: “Then don’t blame God for allowing the people to continue in their evil ways, when He is constantly inviting them to come and be saved.”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

– Matthew 7:7

“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”

-1 Timothy 2:3-5

*This story has been around a while; I am not sure who the author is.

It Does Require Obedience

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

—Luke 6:46


It is my conviction that much, very much, prayer for and talk about revival these days is wasted energy. Ignoring the confusion of figures, I might say that it is hunger that appears to have no object; it is dreamy wishing that is too weak to produce moral action. It is fanaticism on a high level for, according to John Wesley, “a fanatic is one who seeks desired ends while ignoring the constituted means to reach those ends.”…

The correction of this error is extremely difficult for it entails more than a mere adjustment of our doctrinal beliefs; it strikes at the whole Adam-life and requires self-abnegation, humility and cross carrying. In short it requires obedience. And that we will do anything to escape.

It is almost unbelievable how far we will go to avoid obeying God. We call Jesus “Lord” and beg Him to rejuvenate our souls, but we are careful to do not the things He says. When faced with a sin, a confession or a moral alteration in our life, we find it much easier to pray half a night than to obey God.   SIZ018-020

May this never be true of my life, Lord! I see the futility; I’m convinced of the need. Now enable me by Your Spirit to live this obedience. Amen.


The Paradox of Love

… my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee…to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

—Psalm 63:1-2


To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart. St. Bernard stated this holy paradox in a musical quatrain that will be instantly understood by every worshiping soul:

We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,

And long to feast upon Thee still:

We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead

And thirst our souls from Thee to fill. POG014-015

Each of [the fruits of the Spirit] is but a phase of love. Joy is love exulting; peace is love reposing; patience is love enduring; goodness is the good manners of love; kindness is love in action; faithfulness is love confiding; gentleness is love yielding; and self-control is true self-love. WL005


The Overcoming Life

Ephesians 6:10-11


You will have to fight the enemies of your soul to the end, if you are to make the glorious finish on which you are calculating. How you are to do it so as to be brought off “more than conqueror” (Romans 8:37) is a most important question.

The first thing I advise is to find out the places in your heart and character where you are most in danger of being overcome. Every man, woman, or child has his or her most easily besetting sin, that is, some point in their thinking, feeling, or acting where they are weakest, and therefore likely to be most easily led into the doing of evil. You can be quite sure that the devil has discovered that place already, and you can be equally sure that that is the spot where he will be most likely to attack you.

Watch against unexpected attacks. Some of the most serious defeats in war have resulted from an insufficient lookout. “Taken by surprise” has been the reason given for any number of disasters. The same neglect of watchfulness will account for no end of defeats and backslidings in religion.

Resist the first beginnings of sin. The danger lies in the first glass, the first word, nay, often in the first look. The moment your conscience testifies to the presence of the tempter, stand on your guard, and resist the foe. With many temptations there is only safety in flight; arguments are useless, nay, dangerous.

Perhaps more people go wrong by dallying with the beginnings of evil than in any other way.

Keep out of circumstances, and away from places, in which you know you are likely to be tempted. Nothing can compare with the folly displayed by some who voluntarily associate with companions, relations and friends whom they know will tempt them to do, or allow things to be done which are wrong, or go into places where they know they will be tempted by the very things which have been their ruin in days gone by.

In the darkness and depression of temptation tell your case to the Savior. You can be sure of His sympathy. “Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion