Meet My Flailing Friend Peter

“Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." – Matthew 14:28-33 (ESV)

Meet my friend Peter.  I call him my friend because, even though we are separated by culture, language, continents and oceans and a span of two millennia, I feel as if Peter and I have spent a lot of time together over the years and have quite a bit in common.  While I find all of Scripture amazing (and, being the very Word of God, how could it be anything less?), I am most riveted by (and to) the accounts involving the apostle Peter.  Why?  Because I can relate to him.

There are so many lessons to glean from Peter’s life and ministry.  (Indeed, the Lord once blessed me with the opportunity to develop and (twice) teach an adult ed class at church called “Flawed Yet Chosen: The Life of Peter.” I hope to have the opportunity to revise and teach it again someday, in some forum.)  Peter is, in one sense or another, every man.  I think anybody who reads Scripture’s accounts of Peter’s life can find some aspect of this fisherman turned apostle and say, “Yeah, I can relate to that.”  But, be warned: it is also easy to find great fault in Peter.  When we do so, we do it at our own peril, for it often unearths our own hypocrisy – no matter how deep it may be buried.

Say what you want about my friend Peter, but I will tell you this: he loved Jesus.  You have to admire his zeal.  Peter’s problem is the same as mine.  And yours.

Peter was human.

Sometimes that zeal came out as brashness.  Not braggadocio, mind you.  Just thoughtless excitement.  (Perhaps “rashness” is a better word than “brashness,” although I believe the swashbuckling ear episode in the garden of Gethsemane illustrates both.)  Peter often exemplifies Paul’s later exhortation to Timothy for the need for preparation, being ready “in season and out” (2 Timothy 4:2).  But, in Peter’s defense – and I often find myself coming to my friend’s defense, even though he really doesn’t need it – at the time of the gospels, none of the disciples were ready.  And, just like all of us, Peter’s life experience education was just what he needed.  How else would he have been able, later in life, to write:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:8-11 (ESV)

These are the words of a man who had seen inside the lion’s watering mouth, noticed the blood-stained teeth, smelled the enemy’s baited breath.  It is a lesson Peter did not learn quickly, or easily.  But, who among us learns life’s most valuable lessons quickly or easily?

All that being said, I’d like to park the blog at Matthew 14 for awhile.  This is one of the central episodes in Scripture involving my friend Peter.  And it is a rich vein of wisdom for all of us.  So let’s grab our mental pick axes and mine from these verses for a while.  Time to dig deeply and see what God reveals to us through His Word, and through the apostle Jesus called “the Rock.”

Just a Simple “Thank You”

Good Sunday Morning, Everyone!

I want to thank each of you who has subscribed to my blog, or read my posts via the blogsite or Facebook or Twitter.  And to all of you who spread the word about the blog and share via e-mail or FB or whatever means you choose to pass the messages along… thank you so so so so much!  My heart continues to be what it was when I first started writing ministry messages way back in 1999: that people would see Jesus and Him Only as their savior and live victoriously in their faith, letting faith reign and fear wane.

Thank you for helping me share God’s love with others.  Please keep sharing!

Now… what are you doing on the Internet??  It’s Sunday morning – go to church!! Smile


Humbly yours in Christ,



Christ at the Center

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

Authenticity is one of the buzz words we hear time and again.  People want to “keep things real.”  We crave what is honest and true in life.  We all want authenticity.

This got me thinking.  How would life look if we truly put Christ at the center of every aspect?  If, before we spoke or acted, we considered Jesus first and foremost.  What impact would we have if Jesus was more important than how we appeared to others, how our homes look, what cars we drive?  What if Jesus Christ is where we found our status, our meaning, our fulfillment?

If we truly believe in Jesus Christ – not the historical fact that he existed or the moral belief that He was a good man / teacher / prophet / leader, but believe that Jesus is God incarnate and God, Who existed before all time, space and matter, is Reality itself – then it is Jesus Who must truly define us.  That is good news for any believer who suffers from either low self-esteem or an overabundance of self-esteem. 

What I do does not define who I am.

My past does not define who I am.

My station in life – in and of itself or in comparison to anybody else – does not define who I am.

My job, my income, my neighborhood… none of this stuff defines who I am.

What others say about me does not define who I am.

You either.

If we are truly seeking authenticity – if we truly desire authentic relationships and meaning in our lives – we find it not in our accomplishments or failures, not in flimsy small talk or isolation.  We find meaning and depth and all that is truly Good (with a capitol “G”) in God through Jesus Christ.  It is when we live our lives intentionally following Christ, caring not for the opinions of others or our place in society (whatever your social circle may be) that we “make it real.”

Mary got it.  Martha missed it.  Martha was so busy impressing that she missed what was important.  Sitting at the feet of Jesus first, then serving.  By putting Christ at the center, we avoid the dangers of vanity and puffery and ego that come with the baggage of being flawed human beings.  We will care more about the hearts of the people around us than in impressing.  Christ will bring together and develop the relationships that are authentic and bear good fruit.

If each of us could only live secure in the knowledge of our definition of self as found in Jesus Christ, not the false sense of self that stuff and station brings, how radically different would our churches be?  Or our homes or work places?  How much better would each of us be able to impact the lives of others for Christ if we could just clear this self-junk from our lives?

So… what does it look like to be authentic in Christ?  How do we live the real life?  First, study Scripture – prayerfully, intentionally, seeking what God has to say about how to live, how to (re)act, what to do, what to say…  Second, do it.  Third, keep doing it.  Stay prayerfully focused on Christ and you will be amazed at the revolution of authenticity in your life.

The Theological Perspective of a Four Year Old

“You trust God and don’t lean on yourself.” – Proverbs 3:5 (Austin Revised Version)

While sitting here at my desk tonight and pondering about what to write, I could hear my four year old son reading his bedtime Bible story with his mommy.  The story must have had something to do with God protecting His children, because I heard his little voice rise up and exclaim, quite firmly and unwavering, “Jesus come to your house and whack the bad guys!”  Then they began to discuss his memory verse from Sunday School.  He told his mom that he remembered it:

“You trust God and don’t lean on yourself.”

He’s four years old, and he has got Christianity down.  It isn’t theology.  It isn’t all the rules and regs that get attached.  Stripped down to it’s essence, our response to God is simply trust.  Blind.  Bold.  Straightforward.  It is “yes” and “Amen.”  No buts.  No what-ifs.  The essence of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is faith.  And what is faith?  Trust. 

Childlike trust.

Kids have a wonderful way of seeing through all the junk and mess that litters our grown-up lives.  They aren’t worried about the bills.  They aren’t concerned about the shipwrecks of the world.  They don’t watch the news and wonder what the world is coming to.  They can see things in a pure way that can be tough for us adults.

The eternal perspective is far more important than any small trouble or tribulation or travail we face in this life.  I say “small” not to belittle the problems anyone faces, but simply to point out that all things – good and bad, great and small, triumphant and tragic – this world offers (or metes out) pale and shrink to insignificance in comparison to the greatness of God, the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

How much better off would we grown-ups be if we could simply remind ourselves to trust God and “don’t lean on yourself”?

The Junk House

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

I like to watch Antiques Roadshow. People take old stuff they’ve found at garage sales or in grandma’s attic to be appraised on national television.  People show up with everything from pre-French Revolution armoires to Ulysses S. Grant’s spittoon.  It is an astounding showcase of tarnished old treasures, chairs you can’t sit in and stamps you can’t use.

I’d like to take my collection of ball caps on the show.  My wife claims they’re a useless waste of space.  I beg to differ.  I can hear it now… “This Indiana University hat is a fine example of late twentieth century sporting attire.  The ‘IU’ logo was beautifully machine-stitched in Malaysia.  The crimson color is still intact.  The bill is completely attached to the hat, but has been bent to form to the owner’s head.  Now, this piece dates from the post-Bobby Knight era, which devalues it somewhat.  Had this piece of headwear come from the classic “Hoosier Hysteria” period of Indiana University basketball – even though it is a baseball cap – and the bill been left unbent, we would probably be looking at a value of anywhere from $8,000 – $10,000.  As it is, this lovely piece of Indiana sporting apparal is worth around $5,000 – $6,000.  I would say that your entire hat collection would probably pay off your mortgage and possibly pay for your child’s education.  Thank you for letting us see this fine, fine example of Hoosier headwear.”

Not bad for a hat that cost my about $8.00.

We live in a junk house.  I don’t mean your home in particular.  Think about it… we greatly value so much stuff in this life.  The problem is, it is just stuff.  It will break.  It will rust.  It will fall apart.  Even my overvalued IU hat will one day be moth-eaten, faded, threadbare, unwearable. 

But not all our possessions are tangible.  Sometimes we cling tightly to other junk this life has to offer: pain, pride, guilt, grudges, wrong ideas and notions… all these “things” we focus on.  It’s because we live in a fallen world.  We are surrounded by sin. 

We are surrounded by junk.

Today I want to encourage you to begin – if you haven’t already – looking at things a little bit differently.  Look at things from a more eternal perspective – a God-perspective.  What God has to offer is far more precious than anything on this earth.  So much so that gaining the kingdom of heaven is worth ditching every bit of the junk of this world for.  “The kingdom of heaven” – that is, the abode of God, His way of doing things, His will for our lives – is a far greater treasure than anything that shines on this earth. 

We are foolish to cling so tightly to things of no eternal value.  There is no real security in the stuff of this world.  (Ask anyone who has seen their retirement / investments / home equity / savings vanish over the past few years.)  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:19-21, ESV).

Antiques Roadshow has nothing on God.  Once we discover that, then we truly have a treasure of great – immeasurable – worth.

Monday Psalm for February 14, 2011

“I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
   out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes
   the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
   to those who go astray after a lie!” – Psalm 40:1-4 (ESV)

Take a moment to remember.  Remember a time when you were in deep – real deep.  Over your head deep.  Don’t know how you’re ever going to get out deep.  It is good to remember the times when we couldn’t see a way out of our troubles – not for the sake of reliving the hard times, but for the 20/20 vision hindsight affords us to see God working in our lives, to save us, to rescue us, to guide us.  Maybe he healed you, provided for you, put the right person in your path at just the right time, or merely calmed you through the storm.

Now, let me ask you.  What are you facing today?  What challenge seems difficult – perhaps even insurmountable?  Stop and remember.  Remember that God is with you.  If it seems that He isn’t working fast enough, perhaps there is a lesson to learn.  Just trust God.  Know that He is with you.  Take time to praise the Lord for Who He is and see beyond your situation.

“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV).  Let the Lord be your strength.  Wait patiently and trust in Him.  God’s timing is perfect – never too late, never too early.  He is your security.  Rest in Him and know the Lord is good.

The Best Defense, or The Last Resort?

I’m guessing we have all seen it, on TV or in a movie.  In a hospital lies somebody who has been shot, or stricken by some horrible ailment.  Huddled around the patient’s bedside, anxious family and loved ones gather and talk.   Memories are shared, doubts of recovery expressed.  Then, at the end of the scene, one of the group will utter these words: “Well, I guess there’s nothing to do now but pray.”

So often, prayer gets treated as a last resort.  It is a fall back when all else has failed, or we’ve fouled our mess kit.  Our life plans go awry, and then, once we have exhausted all we know to do, we turn to God for help.  The problem is the cavalier approach we often take to God and the gift we have of going to Him in prayer.


I have looked and looked and looked.  I have studied Scripture trying to find God’s promise that Christians with a strong prayer life will never have troubles again.  It isn’t there.  In fact, Jesus promised us a rough ride as believers: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, KJV).

Nor am I saying that it is wrong to pray when trouble strikes.  That is precisely when we should be praying.  But we should also be praying when things are good.  Prayer really should as regular and normal as eating, sleeping or breathing. 

Jesus sets the example for us in Scripture.  He would go off alone to a quiet place to be with the Father, to pray.  At Gethsemane (a Greek word that indicates great suffering), we see the reality of prayer – of communicating directly with God – exemplified before our very eyes.  In prayer, we find comfort.  In prayer, we find direction.  In prayer, we find preparation for the task ahead.  Most importantly, in prayer – along with studying Scripture – we find God.  The best way to be ready when life happens is to develop a strong, consistent habit of spending time with God – in His Word and in prayer.


Prayer is the best security software there is.  On your computer, (hopefully) you have a firewall and antivirus software that run in the background while you work or game or listen to music or do whatever it is you on your computer.  These things work to protect your computer.

Prayer works to protect our souls, and Paul says we should “pray without ceasing.”  A quick check of the Greek text shows us that what Paul means by “pray without ceasing” is this:  Pray without ceasing.

But it goes deeper than that.  Let’s look at the entire passage and see the common thread:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 (ESV)

Notice that the emphasis always goes back to God.  Our attention needs to be constantly focused on God.  We need to keep our eyes on Christ.  Peter walked on the water until he took his eyes off Jesus.  Then Christ had to save him from drowning.  Keep your hearts on God through Jesus Christ always, without ceasing, in all circumstances.  Faith – that is what Paul is writing about.  And it is through faith the we are sanctified.  Not by any works we perform.  Only the Lord sanctifies us, enabling us to pray in the first place!  It is Jesus Who makes us righteous, which – in terms of prayer – is really good news since “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16, ESV).


Prayer is about being connected with our Lord and Savior.  It is a grand privilege afforded us by our loving almighty God.  It is our way of staying hooked in, seeking His help and guidance and communicating with the Lord.  We shouldn’t see it as merely a last resort. 

Repeatedly we are reminded that prayer is answered “according to His will” (1 John 5:14).  That can be a tough one for us.  But we need to remember that we are to seek God’s kingdom – His will and His ways – first (Matthew 6:33).  That means being willing to set our agenda aside and asking God to do as He wills, not as I want Him to.  “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4, ESV) does not mean God will lavish upon us everything we want.  God’s not a sugar daddy, here to satisfy our every earthly whim and desire.  When we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, we are seeking His kingdom first and foremost.  This means what God wants becomes what we want.  He changes our desires.  We walk closer with Him and find that the Lord defines our lives, not our goals and plans and wants.  Even the most noble of schemes must be in God’s will.

And, believe me, God’s will trumps my plans for my life every time.  Even when letting go is painful.  Even when the road ahead is foggy.  Even when we can’t see God working.  Keep seeking God, keep your eyes on Christ, keep praying.  Prayer needs to be our first line of defense – at all times, in all circumstances, down bumpy paths and smooth highways, seeking God, trusting Jesus (not our circumstances), walking through life with eyes of faith wide open.

We will return to the subject of prayer again soon, looking at 1 Timothy 2 and James 5 a bit closer to see what God says about the hows, wheres, whos and whys of prayer. 

Deus ergo sum

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM…” – Exodus 3:14a (KJV)

I love nights like this.  The house is calm.  I’m in the office, music playing (tonight’s selections courtesy of Sara Groves), Bible open… just chilling and reading and pondering and thinking about the wondrous God we serve.  As I thumb through Paul’s epistles, reading about God’s righteousness and might and grace and mercy, thoughts of God flood my mind.  Notions about God.  And it occurs to me: am I guilty of putting God in a theological box?  How can I possibly contain God, who was, is and always will be, the Creator and Sustainer of all, the Definer of Truth?

René Descartes summed up the human approach to life thusly: Cogito ergo sum.  “I think, therefore I am.”  I am a thinking individual – we all are.  But my abilities of cognition do nothing to prove my existence.  The simple truth is that, “God exists, and He created and sustains me, therefore I am.”

God is described by many names throughout Scripture: Yahweh, Jehovah, Abba… But no one single term comes close to fully describing God, save for the one answer He gives Moses when asked, “What do I tell the Israelites your name is?” 

Note the use of capitals. 


What is the Lord saying?  God – the One and Only True God – is expressing His preeminence over all.  He is telling us that He does not merely exist.  God is existence.  He defines reality.  Nothing predates God.  He has always been, always will be.  He created time and space and thus is not contained by it.  There is nothing of substance that does not exist without God having created it.  God spoke, and it was.  The world turns because God set it to spin.  I breathe and think and live because God created me to breathe and think and live.  I owe my life to Him.  Not only because He created me and all that is around me, but because God made a way for my salvation, bringing me into right relation with Him and adopting me as His child.

I keep using the term “me” to emphasize not that I am special over and above any other human being (I am not), but that God is personal.  I can have a relationship with the Great I AM.  And that simply blows me away.  God Who simply IS – is also love (1 John 4:16).  The Lord doesn’t just love me – He is love, defines what love truly is!  It is because of the reality of God’s immense love that I exist.

My Heavenly Father – your Heavenly Father – our abba (a shockingly personal Aramaic term that can be translated as “papa”), is the Great I AM THAT I AM, existence Himself, agapē realized… soak that in for a moment.  The reality of our reality should cause radical change within us.  If our worship isn’t deepened by the understanding that God defines reality, not our little ideas or plans or schemes or theories, then perhaps we need to seek a deeper revelation of God and Who He is.  Understanding what it means that God is simply I AM, and seeing how Jesus Christ – God Incarnate, the Son – lived and showed us the Father should bring us great joy and hope and thankfulness!!

The next time you are praying, or worshipping, or studying God’s Word, keep this thought in mind: we are approaching the Great I AM.  It is an awesome privilege and gift we have been given.  Thank you Lord!

Reflections on Faith

Faith is the subject that has been on my mind all day.  As I wrote this morning’s blog entry on standing firm in our faith, I felt a bit uneasy – as if I had left something out.  I still can’t quite put my finger on it.  So tonight, I want to take some time and just reflect on the notion of faith. 

I’m always amazed at people for who faith seems to come easy.  (Please note, I said “seems.”)  Faith really runs counter to the way we are taught to live.  Have a plan, set your goals, know where you are going, right?

But that’s the problem.  We don’t know where we’re going.  We may think we do.  We may have life planned to the nth degree.  And – don’t misunderstand me – it is great to plan.  We need to plan for the future. 

However… we cannot let the plan run our lives.  As I wrote earlier, we are all traveling down the road of life, and we can only see what is right in front of us.  If you can look me in the eye and tell me you know, without a shadow of doubt, exactly what life is going to bring tomorrow – or even in two minutes – you are either fooling yourself and/or full of yourself. 

Listen, faith is a conundrum for some of us.  Faith in God requires an admission of frailty on our parts.  We have to be willing to accept the fact that we do not control our lives, we cannot know everything, and that is actually OK.  For a control freak like me, who likes to have all the facts and analyze every possible outcome before moving forward, faith can be agony.  Waiting on God!  I’ve got things to do!

Consider this: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” – 2 Peter 1:3 (ESV).  In other words, God is in control, not me.  God’s “divine power” blesses me with all I need for life and godliness.  So… if I have faith in God (as opposed to self), why would I ever sweat it when my plans crumble before me?  If God has not granted me something, I must not need it.  And if life has hit the fan, God must have a plan for me.  I have to believe that.

And God doesn’t just say “believe” and leave it at that.  He has left plenty of evidence to satisfy our inner-Thomases.  In His Word we find “the knowledge of him.”  In nature, we see the incontrovertible proof of His creation.  We have the miracles of Christ.  But at some point, we all need to be shoved off into the deep end of the pool in order to swim.  We have to make the leap and simply say, “Yes, I believe.”  And then begin to believe.

When doubt comes, squelch it.  We have to walk by faith, not by sight.  We have to believe every word of Scripture is true and accurate and right and God’s.  We have to know that God loves us and is with us and never leaves us.  That can be real tough in the deepest part of the middle of the night.  But we have to grasp it.  We have to let go of self and let God call the shots. 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. – Hebrews 11:1-3 (KJV)

Faith is God’s way of doing business.  It takes the onus of performance and perfection off of us and puts it squarely on God.  The Lord doesn’t ask us to be perfect.  He just requires us to be faithful.  God enables us to be bold, because by faith all the realm of the Lord through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ opens wide to us. 

It’s funny.  As I said, today I have been thinking a lot about faith.  And it seems like every song I heard – on the radio, on my MP3 player – every song dealt with faith, and waiting on the Lord, and simply believing.  It was when Michael Card’s “By Faith” came on that I decided the fix was in.  So, tonight, I want to emphasize what I wrote this morning.  Be strong in your faith.  Build up your faith through studying – diligently studying – His Word and spending plenty of time praying – diligently praying.  As Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, KJV).

Faith brings a freedom to life that cannot truly be experienced without it.  It is by faith that we are enabled to live and it is by faith that we are saved for it is by faith that God is experienced and it is by faith that God works. 

You Have a Job To Do, Part 2–Maintaining a Firm Stance In Our Faith

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)

Here is a simple fact: we all have faith.  Even the staunchest atheist believes in something, even if that “something” is nothing.  The question is not if you believe.  The question is, where do you put your faith?  And why?  Because the truth of the matter is, your faith is going to determine your destiny – in a very eternal way.

What is faith?  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV).   Faith (πίστις, pistis) is, by its definition, not just thinking something might be right.  Faith is assurance.  To truly have faith in something (or, in this case, Someone) is to convinced, to be unswervingly persuaded.  It is to know that you know that you know.  When you are convinced, convicted and connected, nothing is going to move you.  Faith is the chain that tethers believers to our anchor, Jesus Christ. 

We can’t see Heaven.  We can’t see a way through our circumstances.  We can’t see what is going to happen tomorrow – or even five minutes from now.  But, as Christians, we have the assurance that Jesus is with us, the Holy Spirit is guiding us, God’s Word is absolutely right and true and accurate and God will “never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).  That means He will never abandon you.  Never.  Ever.

Stand firm in your faith in Jesus Christ.  Do not be swayed.  James described the person of uncertain faith as being “double-minded.”  I think we can all relate to that, can’t we?  We’ve all experienced times when Satan has roared at us like a lion, bearing his teeth and putting the fear in us.  This is why Peter warns us – and it bears repeating:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world – 1 Peter 5:8-9 (ESV).

The devil doesn’t want to eat our lunch.  We are lunch!  This is why it is so absolutely vital that we stand firm in our faith in Jesus, that we refuse to allow anything to get between us and God.  And we have to be vigilant.

Today, I want to encourage you to firm up your faith.  Stay anchored to Jesus.  I cannot say it enough: pray, Bible, pray, Bible, pray, Bible…  Paul writes that we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:7).  In other words, always be in an attitude of prayer, ever mindful of the Lord’s presence.  Be filled with joy and ready to defend what you believe in. 

You have a job to do.  Each of us has a God-given role, people to reach for Christ, love to give.  Part of that will always require living out our faith.  Are you ready to be bold for the Lord today?  Steven Curtis Chapman sang about the life of faith being “the great adventure,” and he was right.  Another simple fact: we are all driving in the dark, unsure of what the next minute may bring.  Isn’t it better to have a guide who knows His way than to barrel on alone in the dark?