VIDEO Courage Born of Faith, Wisdom in the Midst of Trials

… be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. — John 16:33

I like the story about a man walked to the drug store and when he entered the store, he found himself in the middle of a holdup. The robber, gun in hand said to him, “Give me your wallet and your keys, or I’ll shoot.”

This man said, “I just finished reading the Scriptures, and I just finished my prayers, so go ahead, shoot.” The robber was astonished. He didn’t know what to do, so he turned and ran out the door.

Now there was a courage born out of faith. All that robber could do to him was simply send him on a first class ticket to Heaven—no cancer, no stroke, no lingering disease, no debilitating old age—but a first class ticket to heaven. Of course, what that robber probably realized is that if he pulled that trigger, what he could do for himself was get a ticket straight to the electric chair and then to hell. So he ran.

Obviously, we are not called to a foolish presumptuous life that takes needless risks. That is not wisdom. But, as Christians, we need not live our lives in cowering fear. Jesus Christ has overcome the world, and this life is but a second compared to all eternity.

Question to ponder: In which area of your life, do you need more courage?

Wisdom in the Midst of Trials – Dr. Charles Stanley

Legacy of Friends

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

I met him in the 1970s when I was a high school English teacher and basketball coach, and he was a tall, gangly freshman. Soon he was on my basketball team and in my classes—and a friendship was formed. This same friend, who had served with me as a fellow editor for many years, stood before me at my retirement party and shared about the legacy of our longstanding friendship.

What is it about friends connected by the love of God that encourages us and brings us closer to Jesus? The writer of Proverbs understood that friendship has two encouraging components: First, true friends give valuable advice, even if it’s not easy to give or take (27:6): “Wounds from a friend can be trusted,” the writer explains. Second, a friend who is nearby and accessible is important in times of crisis: “Better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away” (v. 10).

It’s not good for us to fly solo in life. As Solomon noted: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 nlt). In life, we need to have friends and we need to be friends. May God help us “love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10 esv) and “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)—becoming the kind of friend that can encourage others and draw them closer to the love of Jesus.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

In what sense could you be isolating yourself from others? How can you regularly connect with some strong believers in Jesus to encourage each other?

Dear God, search my heart regarding my friends. Please help me provide Christ-centered counsel to them and receive godly wisdom from them.

The Ultimate Father-Son

Through Christ, we can have a close relationship with our heavenly Father. John 5:18-20

God is called by a variety of names in the Bible, and each one sheds light on an aspect of His nature. When referring to Him, Jesus often chose to use the title “Father.” While this name for God is used in the Old Testament, we see its use increase exponentially in the New Testament. 

Many of God’s names speak of His majestic and lofty attributes that separate Him from His created beings, but what’s unique about Father is that it conveys intimacy. Jesus used this name not only because He was God’s Son but also to communicate that God is a Father to all who believe in Christ.  

Throughout His time on earth, Jesus revealed by example what this kind of loving relationship was like. He depended completely on His Father for daily direction, power, and provision and obediently carried out every instruction. He often found a secluded place to spend private time in prayer. 

Do you long for the intimacy with God that our Savior had? Have you entered into this kind of relationship through faith in Jesus? If so, God has given you the privilege of drawing near to Him. In fact, before the foundation of the world, He chose you to be in His family. 

Created to Rule the Day

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16)

It seems that throughout history, mankind has ignored or distorted the purpose for which God created the sun. Many cultures have even worshiped the sun, teaching that the sun was the source of all being, even human life. Temples were built in its honor, human sacrifices were made to appease it, whole civilizations were dedicated to its worship.

The nation Israel, which had lived among sun-worshiping Egyptians for centuries, was warned not to “lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and…[see] the sun, and…be driven to worship” (Deuteronomy 4:19) under penalty of death, “for the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24).

One of mankind’s primary purposes is to worship God, but the sun was created by God for man’s benefit. He is a God of grace and desires to “freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32).

The purpose of the sun is no mystery. Its Creator says that along with the moon and stars it is “to divide the day from the night…and…be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years…to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15).

There will come a time, however, when the sun will no longer be needed by God’s people, for in our eternal home “there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light” (Revelation 22:5). “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23). Best of all, we shall be with Him. JDM

Be Ye Holy

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep.James 4:8-9

Whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.

At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience.

To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self-deception and the judgment of God. “Be ye holy” is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth. POM102

The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The holy heart alone can be the habitation of the Holy Ghost. POM103

“I Know I’m Saved”

He [Jesus] is always able to save those who come to God through Him.Hebrews 7:25

Is it possible to know without any shadow of doubt that one is saved and ready to meet God? This question, says one writer, goes right to the roots of religious experience. Christianity says “yes.” Other religions are not sure. Without exception they will tell you that it savors of presumption to say one is certain that one is saved.

I know some Christians have difficulty here also. They contend that we can hope to be saved, or claim we are being saved, but that no one can state with any degree of assurance that they are saved. It is gross self-centeredness, they maintain, and a sign of self-absorption to claim here and now on this earth, “I am saved.” Yet John Wesley declared it. On May 24, 1738, he walked into a room in Aldersgate Street, London, where he heard someone read the Preface to Luther’s commentary on Romans, and as he listened there was given him “an assurance” that God had taken away his sins and saved him from the law of sin and death.

Millions all over the world can say as Wesley did that they have an assurance they are saved and know that when they die they will go to heaven. It is not presumption to say you are saved providing, of course, you have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is offensive for anyone who has given himself or herself to Christ not to say they are saved. As we see from our text today, Christ promises to save and save completely. I know I’m saved. How about you?


O Father, thank You that not only do You save me from my sins and draw me to Yourself but You give me the assurance that I am Yours forever. How can I thank You enough for such wondrous grace? With my stammering tongue, however, I will try. Amen.

Further Study

2Tm 1:1-12; 1Jn 3:14; Jb 19:25

What was Paul able to write to Timothy?

What was Job able to say?

Press On

Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,—Philippians 3:13

The world will tell you that the dominating influence in your life is your past. If you came from a difficult home life, that will determine the direction of your life. If your culture was treated unfairly, that will dictate the condition of your life today. If you were hurt or abused or if your youth was spent in rebellion, the remainder of your life will be spent struggling with your past. The world is preoccupied with the past because it faces an uncertain future.

Christians, on the other hand, live in freedom because Christ has overcome our past. The “old things” have been done away with and “new things” have come (2 Cor. 5:17). God has so totally forgiven the Christian’s sin that He chooses not to remember it (Isa. 43:25). Christians do not forget the past; but we are not controlled or motivated by it. The Christian looks to the future with hope.

The people of the world focus on what they are overcoming. Christians focus on what they are becoming. Christians know that the Holy Spirit is conforming them into the image of Christ. Christians know that ultimately they will stand before Christ to give an account of their actions and will spend an eternity in the presence of God. Christians know that eventually every injustice will be addressed and every hurt comforted. They know that Satan, and death itself, will finally be brought to an end. The Christian’s future is so full and rich and exciting that it supersedes whatever happened in the past.

If you are preoccupied with your past, ask God to open your eyes to the incredible future that awaits you and begin, like Paul, to press on to what is ahead.