The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Proverbs 3:5

Trust is a major issue many people deal with all over the world, particularly when it comes to the Lord. Trust is really faith and explained in Hebrews 11:1-3. The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.[1]

Faith is not figuring everything out and faith is not reason. I have yet to hear someone tell me “I can’t figure out the physics of a thermal combustion engine, so I won’t drive a car.” Yet that same type of logic is often applied to God. When you look at in that light that argument soon falls apart. 

Trusting the Lord is really developing a relationship with Him. As we read God’s word and are open to being led by the Holy Spirit, we begin to develop a trust in the Lord. We find out that others may let us down, but the Lord does not. Others may lie to us, but the Lord can be counted on to tell us truth. When we struggle with trust, we can pray and ask the Lord to help us. He understands our weakness and is always there to help us, comfort us and reassure us through the work of the Holy Spirit and His word.  

Lack of trust can hold us back from what God wants to do in our life. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” [2] The world is like a dark path and God word enables us to see where to go along our spiritual journey. We live in a world where trust must be earned and seems to be in short supply. But King Solomon, the son of King David, has given us true wisdom about trusting in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. [3] My first inclination is to trust in myself, but as I surrender to the Lord, I learn that He is much better at guiding me than I am. 

Jeremiah, the prophet, developed a deep trust for the Lord over a long period of time. Often, what the Lord called Jeremiah to do was difficult, but he trusted the Lord and carried out the Lord’s desires.

Where is the Lord calling you to trust in Him in a greater way? How would trusting more in the Lord change your life? 

To hear more of Jeremiah’s story listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiah-in-the-cistern

To hear more teaching on this story, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-1

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-2



[1] Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Heb 11:1–3). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

[2, 3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 119:105, Pr 3:5). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Revelation 5:8

My father was quite ill with cancer and I, my wife, and children flew home from the west coast to see him. We had been praying for him for months, but he was getting more and more ill by the day. I had spoken to my father many times on the phone, but now when I was there in person he could hardly speak. I remember my wife and I praying for him while he was lying in his bed. He spoke one last time to me. “Son, I am going to be just fine.” He died a few days later. 

Did God not hear our prayers? Did He not know the seriousness of the hour? Sometimes in the midst of such difficulty you begin to ask those questions. Maybe you have asked those questions yourself at some time in your life. In a spiritual sense, my father was going to be just fine and would be fully cured in heaven. As Jesus said, your faith has healed you. 

Our prayers are so precious to God he keeps them in golden bowls as we read in Revelation 5:8 – And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.[1]

When the prophet Jeremiah was sitting in a bottom of a cistern standing in cold mud, he may have wondered if the Lord heard his cry. When circumstances overwhelm us, it is easy do doubt if God hears us. The enemy also wages a war against us and tells us God doesn’t hear or care. Nothing could be further from the truth of God’s word. 

Verses of comfort when you wonder if God hears you.

Psalm 34:15 –The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. [2]

Psalm 40:1 – I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. [3]

A prayer for God to hear your cry.

Lord Jesus, hear my cry for help. You tell us the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective in James 5:14. I humbly come before you today asking in faith (your request). Thank you, Lord, for hearing me. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 

To hear more of Jeremiah’s story listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiah-in-the-cistern

To hear more teaching on this story, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-1

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-2



[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Re 5:8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 34:15). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 40:1–2). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Hebrews 4:14-16
Nephew Robbie undergoing cancer treatment

There was an older lady I knew from our church we attended who was a tower of faith. If her faith was an oak tree, she was 250 feet tall and in the prime of life. I was like young sampling. How did she become such an amazing Christian woman? Was there a special formula? When she was in her mid 50’s her husband suddenly died of heart problems. In the midst of that, there was Jesus and God’s word for strength and encouragement. Not long after that her son was on his way to college and was killed in an auto accident. In the midst of this tragedy there was the Lord who lifted her up and sustained her. In addition, there were the body of believers who comforted her as they had when her husband died. Then her other son became a soldier involved in the conflict in South East Asia. He eventually returned. In a short period of time her world was turned upside down, but each time Jesus was able to balance the ship of life.

Through all of these trials Lord refined her faith, brought transformation and changed her into a tower of faith. She was a believer who weathered many storms with the Lord at her side. She was never bitter, but a person who continually looked to the Lord for his strength and goodness. Her faith through the years was a great witness and comfort to others going through their own difficulties.

Jeremiah the prophet underwent many trials during his life. Through these trials the Lord transformed Jeremiah from a sampling in the faith to a mighty oak tree. Trials of life is what made Jeremiah the prophet he became. Jeremiah was one of the greatest prophets that ever walked the face of the earth, but his steps were filled with trials.

What trials have you been through in life? How did that change you? Maybe you are in a great trial right now. Maybe it is a health issue or a relationship difficulty. Whatever it is the Lord is just a prayer away. One thing the Lord has taught me is to share my struggle with friends so they can pray for me. The hardest part is admitting you need prayer. May the Lord give you strength to confide in others to help you along your spiritual journey.

Jesus was our model of someone going through trials. I can’t imagine the pain He suffered on the cross as our sins were poured out upon Him. I love these verses from Hebrews because it tells us the Lord knows what it is like to suffer.  14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. [1] Hebrews 4:14-16

Take strength from the Lord and let Him take you hand and life you up in the midst of your trials. 

To hear more of Jeremiah’s story listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiah-in-the-cistern

To hear more teaching on this story, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-1

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-2



[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Heb 4:14–16). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Romans 8:28

When I was a little boy my mothers’ parents attended a church where the Pastor had spent time in a Russian prison for his Christian faith. One day the pastor was able to escape from the Gulag and made his way out of Russia on foot during World War II. The pastor was from Estonia and eventually made his way to America and pastoring a church. 

Although I was only about five years old when I first heard this story, it made a lasting impression on me. The pastor’s faithful experiences during persecution made a large impact on my grandparents.

Jeremiah was a faithful prophet but found himself in a cistern because of persecution. Why does God allow such a thing? What good comes out of this? Maybe you have similar or additional questions. 

The Christian persecution we read about in the Scripture and history books is not a thing of the past. It sill exists. Today, in the 21st century, we are living in a time when persecution against Christian believers is the highest in modern history. According to Open Doors, an African organization, 2019 Christian persecution is increasing at an alarming rate. Lindy Lowry, from the organization Open Doors, writes this about Christian persecution.

The Apostle Paul understood that believers would enter the Kingdom of God through many trials and tribulations. Jesus says in John 15:20-21,  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.[1]

It is God’s righteous decision to allow suffering in the world to sanctify His people. (Sanctify means to be set apart for God’s use) Those who accept Christ’s sacrifice and align themselves with God find themselves at odds with the evil world. 

One of my favorite passages when I think about God at work in the midst of persecution and our difficulties is from Romans 8:28. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them[2] All things don’t work together for good for everyone, but for those who love God.

There was a lot of good that came from grandparents’ pastor who was persecuted. He loved the Lord and it transformed him into a better person, a better Christian, a better husband, and a better shepherd of God’s flock.

Not all persecution has a happy ending in this lifetime, but the Lord will never forget those who were persecuted for Him.

To hear more of Jeremiah’s story listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiah-in-the-cistern

To hear more teaching on this story, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-1

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-2

 


[1, 2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (John 15:20–21, Romans 8:28). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Today’s Scripture & Insight: James 1:2-4

Has the Lord ever tested your faith? When I had been married seven years, I felt the Lord calling me into full time ministry. In addition, we had three small children five years old and younger. This change meant my wife and I had to quit good jobs. Also, we had to sell our home and move 300 miles away for me to go to school. Our parents were not happy with this decision, but we went forward in faith. How would the Lord provide? Would I be able to get through a very difficult program and graduate? Could I be a pastor? In spite of all those thoughts we moved forward. 

For his faithful words to King Zedekiah and to his officials, the prophet Jeremiah was punished by being lowered into a cistern. The words Jeremiah had for them were not what they wanted to hear. The cistern Jeremiah was lowered into was filled with mud at the bottom. Place yourself into the sandals of Jeremiah. You did what the Lord told you to do and now you are inside a dark cistern standing in cold mud. Jeremiah may have been asking himself. How long will I be down here? Will I die here? How will I sleep? Will I be given any food? Lord why? If I was Jeremiah, I would have been very discouraged.

James 1:2-4 gives us insight on the Lord testing our faith. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. [1]

In the bottom of the cistern Jeremiah’s faith was being tested. He would later be retrieved out of the cistern when he was very cold and hungry. Jeremiah would continue to be faithful throughout his life. His faith grew stronger in the cistern instead of weaker. His reliance on God continued to propel him forward during his ministry. 

How has the Lord tested your faith? What did He teach you? What did you learn? How did that shape your life moving forward?

Maybe you are being tested right now and the Lord wants to give you assurance and encouragement. God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. [2] Psalm 46:1.

What did I learn by stepping out in faith to become a pastor? The Lord was faithful to my wife and our three children. Being obedient led to great blessings, although it has not been easy. The Lord is with us and He is also with you. Rejoice in the Lord!

To hear more of Jeremiah’s story listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiah-in-the-cistern

To hear more teaching on this story, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-1

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-2



[1, 2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (James 1:2–4, Psalm 46:1). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers..

Todays’s Scripture & Insight: Hebrews 9:27

Since man fell into sin as recorded in Genesis chapter three, man has been involved in a great spiritual battle. Man’s sinfulness is all around us and you may begin to wonder, “will God punish the wrong doers?” 

Jeremiah had been a faithful prophet of the Lord speaking forth tough words the Lord had given him for the people. Jeremiah told the people to surrender to the nation of Babylon. If you don’t, you would die in Jerusalem. If you surrendered, you would live.

 So these officials went to the king and said, “Sir, this man must die! That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor!” King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like. I can’t stop you.” So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard.[1] Jeremiah 38:4-6.

Although Jeremiah was doing as exactly as the Lord told him, other people decided to persecute him for his words. 

So, we must again ask the question. Will God punish those who persecute others? The Lord tells us in Hebrews 9:27 – And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.[2] For those who do not turn from their sins and turn to Jesus in faith as their Savior will be punished by spending eternity separated from God.

 The Apostle Paul also give us some amazing insight on persecution in Romans. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. [3]

To hear more of Jeremiah’s story listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/journey-with-jeremiah/jeremiah-in-the-cistern

To hear more teaching on this story, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-1

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/trials-of-the-prophets/lord-encourage-me-in-the-battle-part-2



[1, 2, 3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Jeremiah 38:4–6, Hebrew 9:27, Romans 12:19-21). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Hebrews 12:6

If you had a child that was heading in the wrong direction would you love them enough to discipline them? Would you correct their behavior in order to save them from themselves? The type of discipline we are discussing is loving discipline not to be confused with abusive discipline. 

Jeremiah had been a faithful prophet of the Lord for over 35 years. He had proclaimed God’s Word to call the nation of Judah and the city of Jerusalem back to the Lord. The people of Judah had become proud and sinful, but the Lord had a tough love plan to draw them back to himself. Jeremiah the prophet then unveils God’s plan. “This is what the Lordsays: ‘Everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine, or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Their reward will be life. They will live!’ The Lord also says: ‘The city of Jerusalem will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’ ” [1] Jeremiah 38:2-3

God knew the only way he was going to reach His people was to hand them over the nation of Babylon where they would be taken into captivity for the next 70 years. The Lord knew their captivity would be a time of refinement, a time of turning back to God, and a time of renewal. Their sinful condition would lead the Lord to take drastic measures. Without God’s intervention they would continue to spiral down as individuals and collectively as a nation. Many believe the United States is headed down this path.

At the time of discipline, no nation, child or adult enjoys it and often complains it is not fair and lacks love. Maybe you experienced tough love in your life or feel like you are experiencing it right now. You may wonder if God loves you. In Hebrews 12:6 the author writes, “For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” [2]

The good news is God does love you and He is willing to discipline you to get you back on the right path in life. The Lord is more interested in our spiritual well-being than our personal comfort. Praise the Lord we have a God that cares that much. 


[1, 2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Je 38:2–3, Hebrews 12:6). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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