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Tag Archive | "Bible"

Trust and faith in God


Cedar-Christian-ChurchPastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church

340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

 

 

The Bible tells us that when we put our trust in our Lord Jesus Christ and obey His commandments, we are bound to achieve great and marvelous things through Him. But many of us have been involved in situations that resulted in frustration and disappointment. We thought we had faith in God’s power, only to see the results not go our way. Sometimes, we need a clearer understanding of what faith really is.

Faith is not just a concept that fulfills a mere wish. True faith is complete confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, which makes us follow His footsteps. (Hebrew 11:1)  In the book of Daniel, we are reminded of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship the golden image created by King Nebuchadnezzar. Because of their stand for God, they were thrown into a fiery furnace. In faith, they believed that their God could deliver them. Their perseverance demonstrated the elements that are required of true faith in God and they came out without a single burn. They trusted in God even if things would not have turned out as they had expected.  Faith in Jesus Christ calls for total reliance on Him, even when some things do not always make sense to us. The trio knew they could trust in Him because they understood His nature, which does not change. They understood that God is in control of everything in Heaven and on the earth.

God has given us an opportunity to choose and to decide. Sometimes we are bound to be tested and he again assures us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that he will never let us be tempted beyond what we can endure. After the great challenges that we must all undergo, we can be victorious and emerge as stronger men and women of God. It’s not necessary that we go looking for trials and tribulations. They will find us. But when faced with them, our Heavenly Father gives us strength to overcome.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul was assured by the Savior that His grace is sufficient and that his strength is made perfect in weakness and his response was just amazing. He said, “I take pleasure in my infirmities, in accusations, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for the sake of Christ.” He realized that during his very weakest moment is when he became very strong. Not strong in his own might, but strong in the Lord, allowing the Holy Spirit to empower and live in him.

When we trust in God, He is more than willing to provide help when we desperately need it. It doesn’t matter how challenging the situation is. This gives God’s spirit room to live in our heart so that He can constantly talk to us and lead us in the right direction.  True faith is based on trusting the Lord Jesus Christ and His ever willing desire to meet our needs. Daniel 3:15 says, “For surely He blesses and prospers only those who fully trust in Him.”

Faith in Jesus Christ is more than a system, tradition, or belief. He is a Person who knows our needs, feels our pain, and sympathizes with our weaknesses. In exchange for our trust, He offers to forgive our sins, to intercede for us, and to bring us to His Father. He cried for us, died for us, and rose from the dead to show that He was all He claimed to be. Conquering death, He showed us that He can save us from our sins, live His life through us on earth, and then bring us safely to Heaven. He offers Himself as a gift to anyone who will trust and follow Him (John 20:24-31).

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Does the Bible really say that?


Pastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

 

The Bible is the most revered book in America, but it is also one of the most misquoted. Politicians, motivational speakers, coaches—all types of people—quote passages that sound like they are from the Bible, but actually aren’t in the Bible at all. These phantom passages include phrases such as “This too shall pass,” “Moderation in all things,” and “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” But probably the most quoted Bible verse that is not in the Bible would have to be “God helps those who help themselves.”

The phrase is often mistaken as Scriptural, but it appears nowhere in the Bible. The phrase actually comes from ancient Greek literature. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables. And it is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who used a variation of the phrase in his Farmer’s Almanac. And people commonly think the Bible says, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Ironically, the Bible actually teaches the exact opposite of this particular phrase. The truth is, God helps the defenseless and helpless.

Romans 8:26 (NLT) says, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.” And Psalm 34:18 (NLT) says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

All throughout the Bible we find examples of how God helps us when we can’t help ourselves. If you take a close look at the Bible you see that many times God comes into helpless lives and makes the difference. Just look at the life of Jesus. Jesus dedicated His life to helping hurting people.

In Luke 4:18-19 (NIV/NKJ) Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

He doesn’t say the Lord has sent me to help people who have their act together. To help people who can help themselves. To help people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps. No. Who did Jesus come to help? He’s very clear. He says, “I came to earth to help five specific types of people: the poor, the brokenhearted, the imprisoned, the blind, and the oppressed.”

What do all these people have in common? They are hurting. Later on Jesus says a doctor doesn’t come to help the healthy; a doctor comes to help the sick. Jesus came to help hurting people. Story after story in the Gospels you see Jesus helping hurting people. Jesus says, “It’s what I live for. I am here to help the poor, the broken, and the blind.”

In all of our lives there is a point of helplessness. It may be a point of helplessness over a relationship that you can’t get right, or a financial situation that cannot be solved, or a habit that you just can’t seem to break. It could be a point of helplessness at a point of growth that you just can’t seem to grow through, or a confidence that you just can’t seem to get. You’d like to be able to parent better, but you just can’t break through that confidence barrier. You feel helpless.

Be encouraged today. God wants to help you at your point of helplessness. He doesn’t say He will only help you if you can help yourself. He says He will help you if you will trust in Him. If you feel a little hopeless today because you’ve been helpless for a long, long time know that God cares. He loves you. He is close to the brokenhearted. He wants to help you, and He will if you ask Him to.

 

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Spring—a reminder of life


Cedar-Christian-ChurchPastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church
340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

 

Springtime is finally approaching. What a lovely time of year. No other season invokes these sights, sounds and smells. Spring is the awakening of what was once dead but has now come alive. The Bible describes it, “For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!’ (Song of Solomon 2:11-13). 

The spring season reminds us of how important life truly is.  But what is life and what does it mean? What does it mean according to God?

In the beginning God created a perfect world. Why was this world so perfect? Because God’s presence was there and the presence of God brings life! However, man fell into Satan’s temptations, which removed the presence of the One who gives life. As a result, a curse was placed on this earth because of sin which has resulted in all of us being handed a sentence of death.  The image of a physical death and a curse on the earth which forewarns us of an ending we do not want to inherit.  That picture is eternal death. Eternal death means eternal seperation from God, the One whom gives life.

However, God had a plan; a plan to rescue us from that separation. He accomplished this by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for us. This sacrifice bridges us back to the One who gives life! Eternally God has allowed us to escape our death sentence and has called us to live and reign with Him forever and ever. All you need to do is to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and He will set you free and grant you eternal life in His Kingdom.

While the life God is concerned about is eternal, He gives us reminders and illustrations here on this earth.  Spring is a perfect time of year for that reminder. Spring brings hope that there will be brighter days ahead; days full of sunshine, happiness and joy. We see plants come to life, trees blossoming, flowers blooming, animals lively and birds chirping. These are all wonderful signs of life and should remind us that Jesus Christ gave us life through His death. It is a life that will allow us to live in peace and harmony with Him forever and ever. Remember, God is Life!

 

 

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