Preparing My Heart
Do I presently find myself in difficult circumstances not of my own making? Are my dire straits positively not my fault? My outlook and perspective are very much mine to choose!
For some reason, I find it very hard to choose a consistent positive outlook in the midst of extended negative circumstances. May this passage nudge me (vigorously and persistently) to choose faith in God and thanksgiving to God. No better choice exists.
Making the Bible Personal
How do I develop into an encourager?
What is the relationship between my faith and my disposition?
To what extent am I concerned about the state of mind of those around me?
Do hardship and danger cause my gratefulness to wither?
Is my faith in God ample enough and evident enough to cheer others?
What benefits and blessings does my presence offer my community?
Reviewing Basic Truths
Though we plan by faith, we accept God’s workings by faith also.
When God promises, we can believe it will be so.
Faith and good cheer are catching.
The presence of God’s people benefits and blesses those around them.
Applying God’s Word to Me
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Caught at sea in a vicious storm, awaiting sure shipwreck, appetite driven far away, discouraged hopelessness, mounting fear — who can possibly have faith then?
Paul! But why could he?
Seriously, what kind of question is that?! After all, isn’t faith for the bad times? Faith gets little workout in the good times. So, yes, it does make sense for Paul to have had faith in the conditions he faced on that doomed ship.
Now there sits a paragraph that was easy to write! Here I sit at the kitchen table, the hum of fridge and furnace fans accompanying the high-pitched whine of self-diagnosed tinnitus. And I dare write about how faith-during-the-killer-storm makes sense. Then I have doubt-induced twinges of fear (aka faithlessness) at the thought of having that paragraph tested in my life.
Now I’m wondering how to nourish my own already-badly-shaken faith. Will God allow it to be shaken even more?
“For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear…” (Psalm 38:15).
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5).
“But they that wait upon the LORD…” (Isaiah 40:31).
“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child” (Psalm 131:2).
“And being fully persuaded that…” (Romans 4:21).
“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). I know. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Yes, do!
This concludes my comments based on the passage for the International Bible Lesson. To read my comments on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications, click here: Light for the Gentiles.