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Trusting God Through Trouble

The Christian life is not always easy. God takes us in, forgives us, and makes us His children (Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 1:5-8; Galatians 4:4-7), But we soon learn that we must experience difficult times to reach our goal (Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Romans 18:1). And we need to be willing to trust God to get us through (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalm 37:3-6; 127:1,2). What applies to individual Christians also applies to us as a group. The nation of Israel and its king were given promises by God (Psalm 89:19-29). But they went through tribulations (Psalm 89:38-51) and had to trust God through them (Psalm 89:1-18). The Christian church in this country has been going through difficulties in recent times. How should we respond to this?


Loving the Law

Do we as Christians delight in God’s commandments? And if not, how can we come to do so? Scripture does speak of delighting in God’s law (Psalm 119:97-104; 19:7-10; 1:1,2). Granted, this probably implies the Old Testament as a whole and not just the commandments. But these are clearly included. However, this is not the standard human response to any commandment. Our natural response is to disobey. That is because we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6) and cannot keep God’s law (Romans 3:19,20; 7:14-25; Galatians 3:10-14). I recall the first time I tried to read the Bible and started in Matthew and reached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). My immediate reaction was, “I cannot live up to this,” and I closed the Bible for many years. How do I get from there to delighting in God’s law?


Reign of a Righteous King

It is a good old-fashioned American tradition to complain about the government. If you can not complain about the government, who can you complain about? Also, Christians have generally not been pleased with certain things our government has been doing in the United States. But Scripture says we are to submit to and pray for those in government (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). Now it does not help here to talk about how bad our government is. The man in charge when these passages were written was a man by the name of Nero. No one in our government is even close to him. Now there is a point where we must serve God rather than man (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29; Daniel 3:16-18). But it is not a conclusion to be reached early or lightly. How should we approach this issue?


Seeking God

What we seek in life defines who we are. There are those who spend their whole lives seeking money and the things money can buy. Others may seek position, fame, and power, to be known and respected by people. Some focus on human relationships of various types and feel this will satisfy them. Others pursue pleasure and are willing to engage in whatever gives them the most enjoyment. Or we can live simply to be entertained, whatever form that takes. And within that context , we can spend all our time seeking this job, this TV show, this sexual liaison, with the idea it will help us obtain what we ultimately seek. But are any of these what life is really all about?


Facing Betrayal

Almost all of us have been betrayed or felt betrayed by someone. Maybe it was clear-cut and there is no question. Maybe that has been misunderstanding and there are two sides to the issue. It is my opinion that human beings have an almost infinite ability to misunderstand each other. We also have any ability to get upset over insignificant issues. But there are real and inarguable betrayals that happen in the world. How do we deal with it?


God's Forgiveness

God forgives sin. This if nothing else is the heart of the Christian message. But it can be distorted. There can creep in the idea that God forgives sins if we deserve it. This puts the emphasis back in the wrong place. What we do rather than what God does. This is often is done to avoid the idea that if God forgives sin, we will sin with impunity. But it is important to uphold God’s forgiveness while avoiding both extremes. We need to avoid self-righteousness and complacency from thinking we can stand before God based on our works. We need to avoid the discouragement that comes from thinking we should be able to stand before God based on our works, but recognizing we fall short. And we need to avoid the superficial faith that makes a profession and then lives as it lists. How do we stay clear of all the pitfalls.


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