October 2019: I Need More…FAITH

I Need More…FAITH

“I Need More faith.” I can’t imagine any honest Christian who wouldn’t say a hearty “Amen” to that statement. Because of the common weakness of our sinful, human nature, the fervent request that a greatly distressed father made to Jesus regarding his son’s great need and his own weakness of faith has often struck a chord: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Notice how that statement is punctuated with only a semicolon regarding his faith, but an exclamation point with regard to his unbelief. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of the faith-life of God’s people. We wish our own faith was punctuated with an exclamation mark or at least a simple period. But we know a question mark suggesting uncertainty or doubt gets in the way too often.

Just about every Sunday the worshipers in our churches make a confession of faith with the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed. The key truths of the Christian faith are very briefly and yet adequately summarized in those statements. There are no exclamation points in either of those great, ancient creeds—just commas and periods that acknowledge the basic scriptural facts. That’s an important aspect about saving faith: knowing the truth about the true God and the Savior he has given us.

Since this faith is totally a gift, we need to keep going to the Lord with this request, “Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” We keep having a problem with unbelief because it’s such a natural part of us. Faith is a supernatural thing, and it is kept alive and strong only with the supernatural Word of our supernatural God.

The most important thing to remember about faith is that it derives all its strength from its object, that on which it rests. As a famous preacher once said, “It is not your hold on Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not even your faith in Christ that saves you, though that be the instrument. It is Christ’s blood and merit.” There might indeed be many instances where our trusting faith is shaky, but the Savior and his promises are rock solid. With this subject of faith, it’s most important to hear him speak with exclamation points, “I love you! I have saved you! I will never let you go!”


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September 2019: I Need More…Knowledge

I Need More…Knowledge

The Church of Scientology teaches that people are basically good, that their capabilities are unlimited, and those capabilities can be realized. People can also achieve new, higher states of awareness and ability. Scientology claims that the secrets to this higher knowledge can only be found in their church through a process they call “auditing.”

Seems strange? But honestly, a cultic religion that encourages you to look within yourself for more knowledge can really satisfy an itch. Who doesn’t feel they need more knowledge? And how about being able to pat yourself on the back for pursuing it and supposedly finding that knowledge within yourself? That’s pretty appealing to the human heart.

But God’s Word sounds much different than L. Ron Hubbard, who authored the book that has become Scientology’s bible. God says people are not basically good, that people’s natural capabilities are limited to sinning and rebelling against God. As a result, God says all people are the same: “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God…The way of peace they do not know” (Romans 3:11,17).

God is right! Not L. Ron Hubbard! Need proof? Think about Adam and Eve when they pursued more knowledge on their own apart from God. They rejected God’s Word and sinned. Look at what their own inner pursuit of knowledge got them and us! A world infected by sin so badly that everyone eventually dies.

Jesus knows we all lack knowledge, and he wants to fill that void. He does so not by telling us to find it inside ourselves, but by telling us to look outside ourselves. We find knowledge in the Bible. Through his Word, God makes us wise; he gives us insight and understanding. (See Psalm 119:98-100.) That’s because God’s Word gives us knowledge that we can’t find or discover anywhere else.

The Bible tells about Jesus. It tells how wide, long, high, and deep Jesus’ love is for people. That love drove Jesus to come to this world, bear the sin of every person, die on a cross, and suffer the eternal punishment for all sins. That’s love—love so amazing that God declares that your sins are forgiven because of Jesus. That’s love—love so beyond understanding that Jesus, the righteous one, should die for the unrighteous. But he did! That’s why the apostle Paul says that “this love surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). In Jesus’ love for you, you have everything you truly need to know, both now and forever.


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July 2019: I Need More…SATISFACTION

I Need More…SATISFACTION

“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).

That is what the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes said, and he said it three different times in his book. It sounds simple enough: Somehow find the ability to lean back in your hammock on your day off and say, “What a satisfying life this all is!”

But maybe your expectations for satisfaction in this life are too high. Maybe they are unrealistic. Maybe they are even wrong and pivot around your own self and ego.

The Bible says about God, “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16). Many believers bow their heads and speak this verse before they eat their food. In prayer at their dinner tables, they acknowledge that God is the source of their satisfaction. They recognize it too when they pray this part of the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us today our daily bread.”

The apostle Paul told a young pastor, “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:8). Perhaps those who demand more satisfaction from life are not thinking of the simple but sublime satisfaction that is the desire of many hearts. They forget that in their work—whatever it may be—they can glorify God with faithfulness and cheerfulness. Thankfulness that they have the ability to feed themselves and their family. Those are the aspirations of a loving God for our satisfaction.

Satisfaction in our lives does not come because of what we do but because of what God does. He takes care of us…body and soul. He feeds us. He sent Jesus to rescue us from his great dissatisfaction over our sin. He promises to be with us and bless the work of our hands. He says that what we do for him will not be in vain.

Be satisfied—truly satisfied—with that!


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July 2019: I Need More…REST

I Need More…REST

People put in many hours of work each week. Weeknight evenings are filled with activities for children and meetings of all sorts. When the weekend rolls around, there are many activities that we want to participate in. There are sports for children, recreation for families, and leisurely interests for individuals. Hours on Saturday are taken up by home improvement projects or needed maintenance. By the end of it all we are tired.

Finally, it is Sunday morning, a day of rest, and I get to sleep in. It is the one morning that if I don’t get out of bed, my work will not call, and my children will not bother me. Nothing much happens on Sunday morning, so it is a good time to relax. I get so tired during the week. I need more rest and Sunday seems to be the perfect day to get it. If I sleep in on Sunday morning, I may be well rested physically but spiritually I am exhausted.

On the front wall of the church where I grew up is this Bible passage. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Those are Jesus’ words. It is his invitation to provide rest, not for our bodies but for our souls. There were plenty of times I walked into that church physically tired, but I always received rest for my soul.

I heard a message about my sin and Jesus’ forgiveness. I was reminded every time that I had real rest in Jesus. I had the rest of a clear conscience because Jesus took my sin away with his death and resurrection. I had the rest of knowing that when I die, I will rest eternally with Jesus. I had the rest of knowing that the same Savior who loved me enough to die for me is ruling all things in this world for me, and for the benefit of all his people.

Such a busy life! It makes you wish you could have more rest. You do! In Jesus you have the rest you truly need. The church may not have that Bible passage printed on the wall, but through the Word of God you hear, you will receive rest for your soul in Jesus. Next Sunday morning, come and get some rest with us at church. It is good for your soul.


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June 2019: I Need More…SECURITY

I Need More…SECURITY


Everyone knows disappointment sooner or later. It’s that time when the car broke down, when national security was breeched, when we lost our job. It’s that time when doctors couldn’t cure us or our loved ones, our investments disappeared, friends disappointed us, when we disappointed ourselves.

We try to limit disappointment or prevent disappointment from becoming a disaster. We make promises. We buy insurance. We do our homework before making big decisions. We search for what is “guaranteed or your money back.” We go to the doctor recommended by trustworthy friends.

What we’re really looking for is security. We just want something we can count on; something that is stable; something that is safe and stays that way. But isn’t it striking that even with all the protection agencies, certifications, types of insurance, promises, and money-back guarantees in today’s world, we’re still left searching for more security?

When it comes to things that can threaten our sense of security, the possibilities appear endless. You probably have had that sinking feeling and said to yourself, “There’s always something. What am I supposed to do? If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Either this or that…”

At such trying times, find strength from these verses in the Bible: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Notice: “neither” this, “nor” that “will be able to separate us from the love of God…” The love of God is a faithful, stable, and dependable love. And if we want proof of that, we need only consider how God sent his only Son for us. Jesus came and died on the cross, and he rose again. Our sins weren’t too much for him to bear. Death itself could not hold him in his grave. Satan could not stop him from carrying out his mission. Many religious leaders hated Jesus. One of his own disciples betrayed him. One denied him. The rest abandoned him. And the vocal majority crucified him. Did any of these prevent Jesus from keeping God’s promise to save us? No! God’s love prevailed for the whole world, and now whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life!

God’s love will never disappoint you. Nothing in all creation can separate you from God and the power of his love in your life. For Jesus came, he died, and he rose again. We have this as our security: God’s love is guaranteed.


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