“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
As a Christian there is only one way to overcome and that is through faith. We cannot live a life pleasing to God without it. God expects us to use faith, and He rewards us for using it. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
With faith we can remove tremendous obstacles and accomplish otherwise impossible things. The Lord said to His disciples, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).
Are you finding that the world’s attraction is too strong? Are you struggling with difficult problems in your life? Try putting your faith into action and you will find that you can be an overcomer. The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
“For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18).
In case you hadn’t figured it out, there’s a battle going on inside you. It is an ongoing struggle that takes place in every believer in the Lord Jesus most of the time. Satan wants at least equal time with the Lord. So as a master salesman he presents you with his wares every day. Some of these wares are very attractive, and presented so subtly that if we are not on our constant guard, we don’t even realize it.
At the same time the Lord whispers, “No, don’t buy it…don’t take it…don’t do it…don’t try it!” As a result you turn away. But then the devil comes back with a stronger sales pitch, and, sad to say, you fall for it.
Yes, the flesh and the new nature fight all the time. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). We constantly need to trust the Lord to help us by the Spirit to resist the enemy and follow our Saviour’s leading alone.
King Solomon learned by experience, that “a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13).
I knew an older Christian who used to remind us, “Self- occupation never made anyone happy.” Some of us have proved this by sad by experimentation. If we look within and get wrapped up in ourselves and the big I or Me, it is going to discourage us and keep us from enjoying the Lord and serving Him and His people and interests. I had a grandmother who lived to be almost 100, and for the most part took care of herself in her own home. As I look back, I really believe that part of her longevity can be traced back to her willingness to serve others and her happy, cheerful attitude and spirit. Solomon further wrote, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). What will you be occupied with this week? Or maybe better asked, who will you be occupied with…yourself or Christ?
Yes, Life is very short! It may be shorter than you think. That is why it is so important to be saved and ready for the life hereafter. Listen to what these Bible characters said about the brevity of life…
Jacob at 130 years of age said to Pharaoh:
“Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” (Genesis 47:9).
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle.…Also as a shadow” (Job 7:6; 14:2).
Ethan the Ezrahite affirmed:
“Remember how short my time is” (Psalm 89:47).
“All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth” (Isaiah 40:6-7).
“For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
A. The word “usury” in Scripture has a slightly different meaning than the context in which we use it today. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as, “the practice of lending money at a rate of interest that is excessive or unlawfully high.” However, it seems in the Bible it is more just the thought of “interest” not the rate, be it low or high.
In the Old Testament, under the law, they were only allowed to extract usury from a stranger, not one of their own brethren. “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury” (Deuteronomy 23:19-20).
In the New Testament we only have it mentioned in connection with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:27, and Luke 19:23. The men who were entrusted with responsibility in the absence of the Master, were required to give an account on His return, as to whether they had used what was entrusted to them wisely or not.
The Word of God is not just food for thought, it is food for the soul! It is a living book, and in fact the only book in the world that is living. Agur the son of Jakeh, said, “Feed me with food convenient for me” (Proverbs 30:8).
The believer possesses a new life. It is the very life of Christ; it is a perfect life. It is the same life that we will have in heaven and for eternity, and yet it is a dependent life. Just as our natural life must be sustained through good food and nourishment, so our spiritual life must be sustained through spiritual food and sustenance. Job said, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). We must eat to keep healthy. Are you a healthy Christian or a spiritually starved one? Here is a good prayer to pray every day in this regard:
“When I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear” (Isaiah 65:12).
When I was growing up my mother often told me that she was sure I had what she termed as selective hearing. In other words, I only heard what I wanted to hear. Yes, I am sure, to some degree at least, she was right. I only heard and responded to the things I wanted to, the rest I ignored. Not good! Often it was because of self-will and rebellion.
When God speaks, we don’t want to be like those to whom Isaiah was writing. We want to be more like Samuel who said, “Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10). What God has to say to us is not just important, but extremely vital. Often we find ourselves in trouble and in compromising situations because we didn’t listen and heed some warning or entreaty. What is He saying to you today through His Word the Bible, some circumstance or someone you know? We need to remember His admonition earlier in Isaiah’s prophesy, “Listen…unto Me; and hearken” (Isaiah 49:1). Are you listening?
I was recently somewhere and I saw a billboard with the following question:
“What do you do when no one is looking?”
That’s a good question for all of us, and especially with the realization that although there may be no other human looking, yet there is One from above who sees us even when we are alone. That One of course is the Lord Jesus. We are reminded in the Bible, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
So, what do you do when you are alone and no one is looking? What do you read, and what do you watch? What websites do you click on? You don’t have to answer to me, but you do have to answer to the Lord. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Let’s be aware this week, that we are never really alone and that we are always under the watchful, loving eye of our Saviour. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9).