“They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear…” Psalm 112:7-8
This is a verse that my wife and I have exchanged for a few weeks. We’ve texted it to each other while going about our work. A reminder of spiritual peace—words we trust that God will use at a critical juncture of the other’s day. By now we should have it memorized—and I suppose we do know the words—but how long does it take a verse like this to settle into the tides of life’s daily suspense?
Like most people, we sense the lack of control at the fringes of our lives; we try to apply some authority to the situations we can manage. We try to plan ahead. More so now since becoming parents, and the number and degree of our responsibilities has exploded. We already see potential catastrophe in every contour of our once-familiar house: sharp corners, choking hazards. There is a developing a fear of pillows. We maintain a careful and special anxiety for the things we can’t see. After all, it is flu season!
I read Psalm 112 and wonder what it feels like to have a secure heart. Security seems very distant in these final weeks of expectation, though we’ve surrounded ourselves with security, and I wonder if we’ve become addicted to safety. First-time parents, we might forgive ourselves. But, despite our repetitions of Psalm 112:7-8, we have to check ourselves to make sure we won’t take a step backward in our trust of God by putting our fears in the wrong place. Continue reading
Who are you becoming? Is the rush of everyday life wearing you down and drawing you away from the fulfilling life in Christ? Is hurry the great enemy of your spiritual life?
Bible Gateway interviewed John Mark Comer (@johnmarkcomer) about his book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World (WaterBrook, 2019).
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Why We Actually Crave the Wrath of God]
Why does a person have to be ruthless when eliminating hurry from their lives?
John Mark Comer: Because the overwhelming tide of Western culture is toward hurry, busyness, overwhelm, distraction, anxiety, and exhaustion. You can’t “dabble” in hurry, you have to wage a kind of war against the “spirit of the age.” We’re facing an odd confluence of digital capitalism, secular assumptions, human vulnerability, and spiritual temptation that leads us away from a Psalm 23 kind of life in the kingdom to one of hurry and overload.
By Michelle Singletary
Debt is dangerous.
You can’t get rid of your debt until you understand how having it and keeping it around can destroy your peace and happiness. In the song “Sixteen Tons,” the lyricist writes, “Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.” Do you feel that way sometimes, that you owe darn near everything to your creditors?
In modern times, debt seems to have become the latest tool used by the devil to entrap people and keep them from God’s purpose for their lives. One survey by the Federal Trade Commission found that people with high levels of debt are also more likely to become victims of fraud. Almost one quarter of those who indicated that they had more debt than they could comfortably handle became victims of a variety of scams. Also those who felt that they had too much debt were more likely to have been victims of fraudulent prize promotions and foreign lottery scams. Many of these people are cheated because they became greedy trying to get great gains with little work. Greed (something I talk about later in this chapter) is just another form of coveting, and Scripture says, “The greedy bring ruin to their households” (Prov. 15:27).
This is the eighty-fifth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
See Mel Lawrenz’s new book, Christmas Joy for Kids: A Devotional.
For this week, here’s a Christmas blessing for personal or church use (including printable PDF version; permission granted to reproduce in full form). Christ has come!
The Christmas season is full of so many competing influences. Parties and shopping and events and decorations. Of course, we all want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. To keep Christ at the center of Christmas. This is not hard to do, if we commit to it. Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah said these amazing words: “to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). There is much to focus on here. And prayer will help us keep focus…
Bible Gateway presents the Bible Connection Podcast, where we talk about the Bible and how it connects to every facet of life.
What is apologetics? Who is it for? Is it actually important in today’s culture? In this seventh episode of the Bible Connection Podcast, Sean McDowell, associate professor in Christian Apologetics at Biola University, author of several books, and son of celebrated apologist Josh McDowell, talks about his personal journey into the field of apologetics. Sean explains why apologetics is so important and necessary when we look to engage the next generation in what is true, good, and beautiful.
Go to the Bible Connection podcast episode page for Truth for Today—Apologetics and Gen Z
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Since the founding of America centuries ago, Americans have been a pervasively religious people. What is the theological and ethnic diversity and enduring strength of American religion in general, and Christianity and evangelical faith in particular? How have faith commitments and actions shaped the nation?
Bible Gateway interviewed Thomas S. Kidd (@ThomasSKidd), author of America’s Religious History (Zondervan, 2019).
What is “lived religion” and how does it contribute to the fabric of society?
Thomas S. Kidd: “Lived religion” refers to the daily habits and practices of faith. Lived religion – going to worship services, reading your Bible, and praying – is often the most significant aspect of faith to believers, but it’s often the aspect that gets the least news coverage or attention from historians. I think of this type of religious observance as the “peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” to which 1 Timothy 2:2 refers. News media and scholars tend to focus on religion only to the extent that it’s involved with political conflict or scandal, but for the everyday believer, those sensational issues have little to do with the way you live out your faith.
By Heidi Gaul
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
The Christmas tree is decorated, and stockings are hung. Carols waft through the air, joining the scent of holiday baking to create a sense of home and love. And giving.
Every year, I look forward to this season. I enjoy selecting presents that speak to the loved ones in my life, letting them know how much they mean to me. The gratitude I see in their eyes is priceless. And when I give something that’s especially dear to me, it makes the moment even more precious.
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What does the Bible mean when it speaks of being faithful and steadfast? How should we best guard our hearts and be on the alert against temptation? What are the daily routines we should establish to follow Christ well and finish strong?
Bible Gateway interviewed Cynthia Heald about her book, The Faithful Way: Remaining Steadfast in an Uncertain World (NavPress, 2019).
[Sign up to receive the free email devotional Faithful Through the Ages from Bible Gateway]
Why do you consider the terms faithful and steadfast to be important?
Cynthia Heald: Because faithful and steadfast occur frequently in Scripture, I think these qualities must be important to God, and therefore they should be significant to us! To be faithful is to be loyal and trustworthy. Faithfulness is an integral part of the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives. Consequently, God desires that his children be faithful. I believe he looks forward to saying these welcoming words when we meet him face to face: “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, NLT; emphasis added). Psalm 119:30 expresses this thought: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws” (NIV). Here we see the psalmist’s intent to be faithful and his desire to be steadfast. To be steadfast in this context implies a determination and single-mindedness to be faithful. One of the first verses I memorized as a young believer was 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (ESV).
This is the eighty-fourth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
See Mel Lawrenz’s new book, Christmas Joy for Kids: A Devotional.
ADVENT — celebrating the best thing that ever happened in the world, when Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world!