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Posts Tagged ‘steadfast’

Questions and Doubts

August 23rd, 2018

Questions Are Inevitable. Doubts Are Avoidable.

“All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Questions and Doubts.”

To any honest heart, there are times and occasions in life that produce questions. With our limited perspective and imperfect knowledge, many times and many things don’t appear to make sense at the moment. Times and things introduce uncertainty. At one time or another, everyone has questions. If you haven’t, you either have not lived long enough or faced anything tough enough if life has not made you ask why on occasion.

Maybe you have felt guilty and swallowed your questions rather than ask them. Know this. God is not threatened by your questions nor surprised by your bewilderment. In the agony of the Cross, Jesus cried out to His Father, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” His words came from the depths of His humanity. He had questions, but He did not yield to doubt. Before Jesus breathed His last breath on that cross, He turned His face toward the future and His Father, and said, “Father, I entrust my spirit into Your hands. And with those words Jesus breathed His last.” Luke 23:46 NLT. His final words were faith- filled.

Whatever the circumstances of my life or death, I choose to submit my feelings and fears to truth and trust. If Jesus can find peace and faith in such a moment as He faced, He will empower you and me to do so as well. Preparing for the cross as Jesus prayed to His Father, His future was secured by His words, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done!” Jesus had questions, but He did not succumb to doubt.

Questions are inevitable. Questions can play a vital role in learning. Questions push you beyond the known and understood to what has not been previously considered. Great discoveries and advances in technology advances have happened because someone asked questions no one else bothered to ask. A person does not have faith because they have no questions. If you had no questions, why would you need faith? Faith looks at the hardest questions, and though often without answers, simply trusts God’s love, wisdom, and sufficient grace.

You may struggle to resolve your questions. But you must choose to deal with your doubts. You can be without doubts while wrestling with the toughest questions, maybe even unanswerable ones. Paul did not say that was easy to do, but he does show that it is possible to do. Read the context of today’s verse. “None of these things move me.” Acts 20:24. Paul knew he was facing, “jail and suffering.” Read Acts 20:22-23 NKJ and 21:10-14 NIV. For any thinking person, that would raise some unsettling questions. I would expect Paul had questions about that. I would; you likely would as well.

When you are uncertain, and questions trouble your mind and rob your peace, concentrate on what is certain and unchanging and rest your questions there. That place is the Word and character of God. When there seems too much that you do not know, be sure of what you do know. Paul wrote, “Now we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is complete comes, what is partial will be done away  . . now I know partially, then I will know fully just as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-13 NIV. Dwell on what you know. Deal with what you don’t. Rest in what God says.

What leaves more unanswered questions than death, and resurrection? After Paul’s expansive defense of the Resurrection, he summarizes this way, “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58. Those admirable character qualities – “steadfast, immovable, and always abounding” –  evidence a mature Christian who has asked their questions and chosen to move beyond their doubts to rest peacefully in God and His character and Word.

Even when there are serious questions, you can still live and trust with no doubts about God. Paul is a prime example. From prison, he wrote to young Timothy, “I am suffering here in prison . . but I know the One in whom I trust, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.” 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT.

Today, I pray you will submit your questions and surrender your doubts to God.

Christian Communications 2018

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Steadfast Hope

October 22nd, 2016

I am resending this devotional, “A steadfast Hope,” because I have added the last paragraph, as well as a personal note from Gayle and I, and our family. I hope you will take the time to read the devotional again and note our family news at its end. Your prayer is especially appreciated in these next days.

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With Christ in your life, your past is erased, your present is blessed, and your future is certain.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “steadfast hope.”

The concept of hope is much misused and misunderstood. People use the word inaccurately, when referring to something they wish to happen but are not very sure it will. Many people live life wistfully, hoping what they wish could be true. Wishes don’t come true; faith does. Biblically, the word conveys a radical certainty which is the foundation for all you believe to be true now and in your future. Most people assume that, “seeing is believing.” Incorrectly, we require incontrovertible evidence before we venture into faith.  Contrary to every assumption, the Bible teaches that “believing is seeing.”

Paul reasoned, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:24-25 NKJV. True hope begins, rests, and thrives in this truth, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NKJV. Contrast that with life before your heart was at rest in Christ. “At that time you were separate from Christ . . without hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:13 NIV. With Christ in your life, your past is erased, your present is blessed, and your future is certain. “[We who] take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18-19 NIV. Biblical hope rests, “firm and secure,” upon the clarity of God’s Word to you and the surety of Jesus Christ’s work in you.

Hope is akin to love and faith, not a weaker version of either. Paul affirmed the Thessalonian Christians, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV. He similarly encouraged the Christians in Corinth, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV. Biblical hope deserves more priority than is usually given.

“Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep His promise.” Hebrews 10:23 TEV. Paul prayed for the Roman church, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV. You experience overflowing hope as you fill your thoughts and heart with God’s Word. “That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV.

When things aren’t working out as expected, choose hope anyway. Losing hope for your marriage or family? Place your home in God’s hands. God can mend hearts, restore love, and heal a marriage. Giving up on yourself or someone else? God can change a life. Struggling with finances? God is the Lord Who provides. As long as there is life there is hope. “Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3 NKJV. The Resurrection is God’s way to show that nothing is impossible.

Considering that day of Christ’s return and our glorification, Paul wrote of the Blessed Hope that awaits us, “Live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  See Titus 2:11-14 NIV. We look with even more anticipation for that glorious day.

A PERSONAL NOTE. After I had written and sent this devotional, we received a call that our grandson – just twenty-one years old two weeks earlier – had died in an automobile accident that morning. The news was devastating. Yet these words about steadfast hope were tried and proven true. God has been faithful and His Word is ever sure. The Blessed Hope of which Paul wrote is nearer and dearer than ever before. Our family is grateful for the loving words of encouragement and faithful prayers of so many friends. Allen and Gayle Randolph

Today, I pray for you to experience hope that is undiscourageable and steadfast.

Christian Communications 2016

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 3

February 5th, 2016

NOTE: This is the third and final segment of my thoughts and applications about Joshua and the miracle at the Jordan. If you have not read the previous devotionals – “Obstacles and Opportunities”

Part 1 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9027

Part 2 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9036

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“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT.

God works miracles beyond the
comprehension or capabilities of men.

My thoughts and comments continue today about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have been sharing about the miracle at the Jordan river that allowed Joshua and Israel to cross over an impassable river and utterly destroy an invincible city blocking their entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:1-17 KJV. You also will confront circumstances – though much less than theirs – that will oppose your desired progress. There are two truths to remember: (1) Never limit God to your present circumstance. Read Ephesians 3:20 NIV. (2) God always has more than you can see from where you are. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NIV.

Sometimes, the problem is inward, requiring that you exercise discipline and self-control. At other times, the problem is beyond your cause or control, when you will need the kindness and assistance of others. God weaves people into your life for His purposes. But you will confront a few situations where and when only God has the resources and power to help you. With God, such an obstacle includes unforeseen opportunity.

God works miracles beyond the comprehension or capabilities of men. Those miracles require your conviction that, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. There are sovereign acts of God and miraculous interventions by God. Miracles have both divine and human elements. Miracles occur when God requires you to provide trust, faith, and obedience; then with you, He accomplishes what you cannot.

In the miracles of Jordan and Jericho, multiple human elements were required of Joshua, the Priests, and the people. God gave Joshua clear instructions, which depended on the specific obedience of any and every one involved. Holman, a dear friend and elderly minister, often encouraged me with Isaiah’s promise, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.” Isaiah 1:19 NIV. Joshua was to prepare the people and instruct the Priests. The Priests were to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the swirling waters where they were to “stand in Jordan,” until they “stood firm on dry ground.” Joshua 3:8/3:17 KJV. The people were to wait for the waters to recede and then follow the Priests across the dry river bed. An element of faith and obedience was uniquely required of each.

In every miracle, there is a crowd willing and waiting to see what God can do. But first, God has to have a leader who is clear about the will and Word of the Lord. Then God needs a few priests who will step out with courageous faith and stand in steadfast obedience. Read Joshua 4:10/18 NIV. As I studied this Bible passage for a recent weekend of ministry, I felt the Holy Spirit speak into my heart. Alone in my room, I wept as I understood that the priests stood bravely in those threatening flood waters for more than their personal safety and future. In faith, they stepped into the waters and stood firm on behalf of others who could follow them – their wives and children, friends and neighbors, and a nation whose immediate fate and ultimate destiny depended upon their willingness to do so.

I may not be a leader like Joshua, but neither am I willing to just stand safely in the crowd. As for me, I choose to be a priest standing in faith and obedience for those who will follow after me. The Bible is clear; “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV.

Someone is looking to you for your example and encouragement. A priest stands between God and man – before God on behalf of men and before men on behalf of God. Will you be a royal priest who stands steadfastly upon God’s Word for others? Step out from the crowd and assume your priestly responsibility on their behalf. “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV. 

Here is a word for someone today, “Do not be afraid . . you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT. Be encouraged in God and an encourager to others.

Today, I pray for you to stand firm in faith for the sake of others.

Christian Communications 2016
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If you have not watched the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

 

 

 

 

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A Steadfast Hope

July 2nd, 2015

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Hebrews 6:19 NKJV.

Hope is lost when trust is misplaced.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a steadfast hope.”

I lose things occasionally; well more accurately, I misplace things temporarily. They usually turn up or they are easily replaced and life goes on without them. That is not true when you start losing hope. Hope is lost when trust is misplaced. Past experiences and present circumstances combine to cause a struggle to maintain hope. Losing hope colors everything else about your life, work, and relationships.

Hope can be described as, “expectation of good things to come.” Biblical hope is not puny, neither wistful desire nor wishful thinking; it is powerful. Scripturally, hope is found in the best of company, “There are three things that will endure – faith, hope and love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT. “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.” Read Hebrews 6:17-20 NIV. As I study the Bible, I observe three powerful truths about hope.

1) Hope elevates your experience, inspiring dignity even in difficulty. Romans 8:18 NIV. 2) Hope encourages your endurance, reminding you not to give up. Romans 15:4 NIV. 3) Hope empowers your expectations, lifting your eyes beyond the immediate, strengthening your hands with promises and possibilities, and assuring your heart of the miraculous. Romans 4:18-21 NIV.

Luke, a physician and author, recorded the story of, “a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.” Read Luke 13:10 -16. People often endure the worst of things if of brief duration, but that same person can feel overwhelmed by a lesser difficulty when help seems delayed. Progressively, her physical body drained of vitality and strength, yet she was “in the synagogue on the Lord’s Day,” a woman of faith, in the place of faith, among the people of faith. She had not come that day expecting to meet Jesus, but Jesus came to that synagogue to meet her. Your obedience and consecration can cause your schedule to intersect with God’s sovereignty.

The heart of Jesus is clearly expressed in His words, “Should not this woman whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free?” Verse 16 NIV. I love the simplicity of Luke’s four part description, “Jesus saw her . . He called her to Him . . Jesus said to her . . Jesus laid His hands on her . .” The result was predictable. “And instantly she could stand straight.” Your hope can be renewed in the Word of God, at the house of God, with the people of God, and by the power of the Spirit of God.

I have included a link – https://vimeo.com/132153671 – to the expanded teaching I shared at Cathedral of Faith, San Jose, CA. – “Finding Help When Losing Hope.”  Could I ask a favor? If you watch the Video Teaching, would you send a simple reply to this email?

Today, I pray for you that a steadfast hope remains alive in your heart.

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Abiding and Abounding

August 5th, 2014

“I am rejoicing to see . . the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5.

The life which abides in faith abounds in Christ.

My thoughts and comments today are about “abiding and abounding.”

England has long been one of my favorite places to visit. I especially enjoy having lunch in British pubs, the older and authentic the better. I enjoy seeing signs on businesses, such as, “Established 1868.” Such information evidences pride in history and heritage, implying promise of reliability.

Several things have prompted my thoughts today. A few days ago, I came across the notes from my first sermon as a young pastor at Trinity Church, “The Life That Is Established,” May 25, 1975. I knew that was a Biblical principle I wanted to visit again. And over the weekend, I officiated at long-time friends’ Renewal of Vows on their 70th Anniversary. Then Sunday, I dedicated our great grandson, Carter, as Gayle and I also celebrated our 51st Anniversary. I guess I like people, places, and things that have been and will continue to be around a while. Your faith in Christ should be like that.

Paul was intent on Christian life being lived with confidence and security. I am rejoicing to see . . the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in [the faith] with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:5-7. Paul refers to both “your faith,” which you are to exercise and be “steadfast,” as well as “the faith” in which you are to abide and be “established.”  Your faith abides upon the greater faith. See John 15:7, 9-10/1 John 2:24. What God begins in grace He continues in faith and concludes in thanksgiving. That process results in your being “established and abounding with thanksgiving.” The life which abides in faith abounds in Christ.

The world is a complex state of flux, symptomatic of shifting politics, international alliances, erratic economies, disintegrating marriages, and dysfunctional families. You need a place of emotional, moral, and spiritual equilibrium. David wrote, “He set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God.” See Psalm 40:1-3. Such a place is only found in God and His truth. There you recover direction and determination.

A proper outcome requires much more than good intentions and optimistic beginnings. A final outcome results from what you do between where you begin and when you finish. Keep God as “the Author and Finisher of your faith,” at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. The Bible provides a practical guide for abiding and abounding. Read Hebrews 12:1-4. There is much that will oppose and discourage you. The Bible describes those oppositional forces as, the world around you“every weight and the sin that ensnares you” (vs. 1-2), and the flesh within you “weary and discouraged in your souls” (vs. 3), and the devil against you“striving against sin” (vs. 4). After Paul’s lengthy and practical discourse about the Resurrection, he logically concludes, “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Today, my prayer for you is that you abide in Christ and abound with thanksgiving.

Christian Communications, Inc.

(All Bible references are NKJV unless otherwise noted.)

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