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How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!

Keith
Last edited by Keith

Walking Through Dark Valleys

God will never leave us to face difficulty alone.


Genesis 37:18-28

When he was 17, Joseph lost almost everything. His family, his position as the favored son, his home, and his freedom were abruptly taken from him. But he didn’t lose his faith in the Lord.

Life is like that at times for all of us. Changes in health or finances, the death of a loved one, or abandonment by a friend can bring us into a dark season. We don’t understand why God allows the trial or lets the pain continue. Joseph probably wondered the same things, but he managed to hold fast to his faith.

One of the keys to walking through a valley is to embrace the reality of God’s presence with us. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to live permanently within us and seals us as belonging to God forever. Because of Him, we are never apart from the Lord. No circumstance, suffering, or loss can separate us from Him or His love (Romans 8:35; Romans 8:38-39).

Take a few minutes each day and reflect on Jesus’ promise to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). The result will be that this truth becomes planted deep within your soul to sustain you in hard times.

Keith

In the Midst of Trials

Be assured that your pain will not last forever and God will bring good from it.


Genesis 39:6-20

Joseph’s enslavement lasted for 13 years and went from bad to worse. He lost his favored position in Potiphar’s household and went to prison when the master’s wife told lies about him. His hope for release from jail died when the king’s servant forgot his promise (Genesis 40:14; Genesis 40:23). His future looked bleak.

Despite the evidence of circumstances, God was carrying out His plan to bless Joseph and his entire family. In fact, Joseph was God’s appointed person to rescue them from the coming famine. But for that to happen, he had to learn the Egyptian language and culture, develop leadership abilities, and mature spiritually. The Lord’s plan made it all possible.

Joseph learned two helpful lessons. First, the Lord is a faithful companion who uses our troubles to prepare us for His work. Second, once the Lord has accomplished His purposes, the difficulty will end. At God’s chosen moment, Joseph was freed from jail, rewarded with a high-ranking appointment, and reconciled with his family.

Adversity can be painful, but the Lord uses it to further His purposes and equip us to carry out His plan. What is He trying to teach you in the midst of your trials?

Keith

The Secret of Contentment

When we choose to focus on Jesus, our circumstances won't have the power to rob us of peace and joy.


Philippians 4:10-14

What kind of life do you think brings contentment? You might assume it’s one with few problems, good health, financial security, and a loving family. But that was not the apostle Paul’s experience. His life was filled with dangers, rejection, personal attacks, beatings, and imprisonment, yet he claimed to have learned the secret of being content in every circumstance. The source of his contentedness was obviously not his situation, and that can be true for you as well.

The secret that he discovered was to focus on and rejoice in the Lord. Paul knew he was spiritually rich and had been given “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). The comforts and pleasures of this life were not worthy to be compared to the eternal glory that awaited him (Romans 8:18).

Contentment is hard to find and even harder to keep. There’s always something newer and better to acquire or a more appealing relationship to pursue. What’s more, the hardships of life can easily drag us down if we don’t keep our focus on the Lord. When you feel unsatisfied, remember all you have in Christ and respond according to these truths rather than your feelings.

Keith

Our Peace: God’s Will

When tough times come, turn away from fear and choose to trust God with the situation instead.


John 14:25-29

Suppose you’re faced with the most tragic situation you could possibly envision. For some of you, this requires little or no imagination because you are presently in the middle of the toughest trial of your life.  

Here’s what it looked like for the disciples: Their hopes and dreams were shattered when Jesus broke the news of His imminent departure. Life as they’d known it was coming to an end. Yet Jesus assured them that He was leaving His peace with them. This was His will for them, and it’s still what He desires for us today.

The key to experiencing the peace of Christ is to believe in Him (John 14:1). But in addition to believing in Him, we must also trust what He says. God always works for our good, even in hardship. Trusting His motive and purpose is the basis for our peace.

Life is an obstacle course with trouble lurking around every corner. It’s not a matter of whether storms and trials will come, but when. Yet we don’t have to live in fear and anxiety, because it’s God’s will that we take hold of His peace by trusting Him.

Keith

The Impact of Knowing God

An intimate relationship with God transforms every area of life.


1 John 2:1-17

Are you seeking to know and understand the Lord? Even though He’s beyond human comprehension in many ways, God has revealed much of Himself in His Word. And as we search for Him in Scripture, we’ll grow in our understanding of His nature. But this isn’t merely an academic pursuit. Knowing God practically impacts every area of life.

For one thing, knowledge of God influences our prayers. Instead of asking for whatever we want, we’ll seek to ask according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). And we won’t limit our requests in size or scope because we’ll realize that nothing is impossible with God.  

The way we view the Lord also affects how we think, behave, and relate to other people. Knowing Him intimately transforms our natural tendency toward doubt and sin. Then we desire to walk obediently before Him, with a pure heart. Instead of loving the world, we seek to please Him by loving His people unselfishly and resisting sinful lusts.  

Paul thought knowing the Lord was so important that he made it the primary pursuit of his life (Philippians 3:8-10). Could that be said of you? Self-reformation soon fails, but knowledge of God renews you from the inside out.

Keith

The Danger of an Unbelieving Heart

Actively choosing to trust God every day allows us to enjoy His rest.


Hebrews 3:12-19

The Bible warns about the peril of an unbelieving heart. Israel plunged into unbelief with frightful regularity. It’s amazing how quickly they forgot the miraculous marvels by which God delivered them from slavery. An evil heart of unbelief will readily overlook the promises of milk and honey in favor of the leeks and onions of Egypt (Numbers 11:5).

We need to realize that unbelief is a poisonous root of all kinds of evil. It’s a blasphemy that strikes at the very character of God, accusing Him of being untrue, unfaithful, and unreliable. This hideous cancer gnaws at the spiritual health of churches, and God warns us that those with unbelieving hearts are in danger of falling away.

That’s why we’re told to encourage one another day by day. We need each other to come alongside in times of doubt to persuade us to stay in the Word, keep our focus on Christ, and hold fast to our faith throughout life.  A growing, intimate relationship with the Lord will keep our hearts tender and receptive to Him. Then we’ll have assurance that our salvation is genuine so we can enter the rest He’s prepared for His followers.  

Keith

Fulfillment for the Empty Life

Others are drawn to Christ when we live what we believe.


John 4:3-18

Anyone can experience feelings of emptiness, regardless of age, marital status, or socioeconomic background. And in an era of social media, emptiness is becoming more prevalent than ever. Despite our connecting with larger numbers of people, life can seem more meaningless than it did previously.   

The Samaritan woman at the well symbolizes millions throughout history who have tried their best to satisfy a yearning for love and completion. But the sense of emptiness cannot be permanently satisfied until a person comes to Christ. We were created to honor and glorify Him, and no other pursuit can bring a sense of long-term pleasure and purpose.

When Jesus offered the Samaritan woman “living water” that would quench her thirst forever, it’s not surprising she wanted it (John 4:15). The salvation Christ offers includes more than the elimination of guilt. We also receive the riches of His love and a purpose that reaches into eternity.  

If you’ve received Jesus as your Savior, you never have to feel empty again. His love surpasses all understanding, and as you grow in the knowledge of its vastness, you’ll be “filled to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

Keith

God’s Principle of Sowing and Reaping

Ask the Lord to give you the courage and wisdom needed to share the gospel with those He sends your way.


Galatians 6:7-10

Today’s passage contains an important scriptural truth: Our actions and words have consequences. Or put another way, we get back what we put in. And this is especially obvious in our relationships.

Earlier in Galatians, Paul explained that there’s a battle between a believer’s new nature, which is ruled by the Spirit, and the “flesh,” which is ruled by the sin patterns that linger in us. Then he listed some of the deeds of the flesh, many of which are relational: strife, jealousy, anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy (Galatians 5:20-21). In contrast, Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Which one of these lists more accurately reflects how you treat others? Admittedly, there are some people who are difficult to love, yet sowing the fruit of the Spirit in those relationships will reap a forgiving heart, godly character, and faithful obedience in us. But sowing to the flesh has a corrupting influence in our life. Before you interact with anyone, ask yourself what kind of harvest you’d like. You’ll never go wrong by letting the Spirit guide you.

Keith

Unrighteous Anger

Beware of the damage that can result when anger is allowed to fester.


James 1:19-21

Anger is a powerful emotion that often causes great damage. It fuels inner resentment and bitterness, shuts down communication, and breaks relationships. If unchecked, it boils over into explosive rage that hurts not only the intended target but others as well.

While we often try to justify our anger, seldom can it be classified as righteous. We’re rarely offended for God’s honor. Our motives are usually born of self-defense, thwarted desires, or outrage over perceived wrongs against us. James wrote that our anger does not bring about God’s righteousness in our life.

The book of Proverbs gives God’s perspective on the subject. Quick-tempered people act foolishly (Proverbs 14:17), stir up strife, and abound in wrongdoing (Proverbs 29:22). There are also warnings not to associate with such individuals so we won’t learn their ways (Proverbs 22:24-25). In contrast, those who are slow to anger have great understanding (Proverbs 14:29) and demonstrate wisdom by holding their temper (Proverbs 29:11).

Jesus paid our sin debt with His life in order to set us free from sin, and that includes uncontrolled anger. If God has convicted you of unrighteous anger, confess it as sin and ask Him to reproduce Christ’s character in you.

Keith

Getting Rid of Anger

Transformation is possible when we depend on the Holy Spirit's guidance.


Ephesians 4:17-32

The apostle Paul wrote extensively about the character and conduct of believers. He urged Christians to live in a manner worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1) and to be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1). His letters to the churches all include an explanation of what it means to live a godly life.  

One important goal is to eliminate sinful habits and behaviors and instead take on those that are acceptable to God. The acts of the “flesh” are no longer to be a part of us. We now have a new nature and should conduct ourselves accordingly.

So let’s look again at the Galatians 5 passages that we read a couple of days ago. In verses 19-21, Paul lists specific behaviors that have to cease, and among them are those fueled by anger—hostilities, strife, outbursts of anger, and dissensions.  These ungodly attitudes and actions are to be replaced by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If we’re full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, we won’t be hot-tempered. Instead of speaking rashly, we’ll interact with others with the wisdom of Christ.

We all struggle with some form of ungodly behavior, but we don’t have to continue in it. Change is possible because Christ has broken sin’s power over us, and His Spirit works continually to transform us.

Keith

Faith on Trial

Are you facing a crisis of belief? You can trust God to keep His Word.

Genesis 22:1-18

Abraham began walking with the Lord many years before he was asked to offer Isaac on the altar. His first step had been to leave his home and relatives and travel to the land that God would show him (Genesis 12:1). But now he was being told to give up Isaac, who was the son of promise: Through Isaac, the Lord had promised to bring forth a great nation and bless the entire world.  

Abraham’s obedience in this crucial test was based on his faith in God. He believed that the Lord would keep His promise to give him descendants through Isaac, even if it required raising the boy from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). That’s why Abraham confidently declared to his servants that he and his son would return to them after worshipping (Gen. 22:5). He knew the Lord was faithful.

If you’re going through a time of testing, God is seeking to increase your trust in Him. He wants to prove to you that He’s faithful to fulfill His promises. This challenge is designed to help you grow in faith, obedience, and spiritual maturity. The testing may be painful, but the Lord will wrap you in His love and carry you to victory.

Keith
Last edited by Keith

Praying to Our Sovereign God

God gives us the privilege of participating in His work here on earth.


James 5:13-18

Prayer is the heartbeat of the believer’s walk with God, and He commands us to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). But we sometimes wonder what kind of influence our conversations with the Lord really have, and we find ourselves asking the following two questions:

  1. If God controls all things, why does He want us to pray? He’s self-sufficient and needs no help to accomplish His purposes, so what could any of us possibly contribute?
  2. Would God’s plans fail if we chose not to pray? The Lord isn’t subservient to us. His plans are contingent only upon Himself. He works all things according to the counsel of His will, not necessarily on the basis of our prayers.

These truths reveal the Lord’s grace toward believers. He doesn’t need us, yet He’s chosen to include us in His eternal purposes by letting us participate in His work through prayer. Though we may not understand the influence our prayers have, we know God chooses to use them in achieving His purposes.

So keep praying. Being consistent in prayer helps maintain a sense of humble dependence upon the Lord. And answered prayer produces increasing trust in Him, along with greater gratitude for His sovereign care and protection.

Keith

The Blessing of Prayer

Seeking God's face makes a radical difference in us and in the lives of those around us.


Psalm 17:1-8

God doesn’t need us. He knows exactly what steps to take in order to accomplish His purposes. Yet at the same time, He calls us to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2). And if we’ll obey, here are some blessings that await us:

  • Prayer changes us. As we seek the Lord’s face and spend time in His Word, we’re transformed. His desires become ours, and our thinking more closely aligns with His thoughts.
  • The Lord answers our petitions. He promises to listen and respond to the prayers of His children and assures us that He’ll act when our requests are in accordance with His will (1 John 5:14-15).
  • God works through our prayers. He’s chosen the prayers of His people to be one of the means through which He accomplishes His will on earth and in the believer’s personal life.

Prayer allows inadequate people to connect with an all-sufficient God. He alone knows our needs and can meet them as we depend fully on Him. As our understanding of His character grows, we’ll have a better idea what to ask, and our prayers will become more effective. So don’t give up! Keep spending time with God, and you’ll discover the blessings of prayer.

Keith

Peter: Sifted for Service

Our trials are the preparation for God's future purpose for our life.


Luke 22:31-32

Have you ever experienced a situation that seemed impossible to endure? Years later, did you realize how that trial prepared you for things to come? The Scriptures tell us that the Lord sometimes allows us to be “sifted” for greater service. In other words, He may give Satan permission to affect an area of our life and thereby transform us into stronger witnesses for Him.

In today’s passage, Jesus explains this process to Peter: “Satan has demanded to sift you men like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail; and you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knew what was coming—His death, resurrection, and ascension—and He expected Peter to lead the disciples and accomplish great things for the kingdom. But Peter wasn’t ready.

So the Lord allowed Satan to “sift” Peter. In so doing, God separated the “wheat” from the “chaff”—the righteous areas of Peter’s life from the ungodly areas. Ultimately, the disciple grew from the experience and played a key role in spreading the gospel. Had God not allowed this sifting, Peter wouldn’t have been prepared for the events to come. Ask God to bring into focus similar ways that He’s used difficulties for your ultimate good.

Keith

Equipped to Fulfill God’s Calling

The Lord is all we need for the challenges before us.


Exodus 3:1-14

When Moses learned he was to lead the Hebrew slaves out of Egyptian bondage, his initial reaction was, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?” (Ex. 3:11). But God assured him, “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:12 NLT). The Lord’s divine presence was a key part of Moses’ equipping as a leader. And God’s response to believers today is the same. We can confidently accept the responsibility He gives us—no matter the role—because He has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).

But Moses wondered whether the Hebrew people would listen to him. He had been away from Egypt for a long time, and his last interaction with the Israelites had been a negative one (Exodus 2:11-14). What kind of influence could he have? God responded that the only credential Moses needed to give them was that he was sent by God—the I AM (Ex. 3:14). In addition, the Lord gave Moses a helper: his brother Aaron.

When the Lord gives us a task, He will bestow the spiritual authority we need to carry it out, and He will provide us with people to help. God has promised to equip us for His work. What is your response when asked to serve?

Keith

Delight Yourself in the Lord

Are you enjoying your relationship with the Lord?


Isaiah 61:10-11

The word delight means “to gain great pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness.” Isn’t that the kind of relationship you want with the Lord—one in which both you and He enjoy each other’s presence? Well, God also wants that kind of connection, and our part in helping it develop is through commitment, trust, and patience.

First, a believer must commit his or her ways to God. This means we invite Him to examine our desires and plans and alter whatever does not fit His purpose or plan for our life.

Second, a believer must trust God. Who is more worthy of our faith than the Father, who gave Jesus Christ to save undeserving sinners? The One who would not spare His only Son will certainly provide all that His children need (Romans 8:32).

Third, a believer must rest in God. When we fret, we’re neither committing ourselves to the Lord nor trusting in Him. Waiting on God is rarely easy, but He alone knows when circumstances and timing are aligned with His will.

Enjoying our relationship with the Lord requires effort, but it is a labor of love—because we were made to find joy in God’s presence. The greatest pleasure we can experience is to walk hand in hand with our Father.

Keith

The Spirit-Filled Life

Our self-driven efforts will produce frustration and disappointment.


1 John 2:3-6

There was a time when I was so disheartened that I wondered whether to remain in the ministry. How could I tell people that Jesus would give them peace and joy when I didn’t feel it myself?

God let me stew in my anxiety until I was fully committed to finding out if His Word was true or not. I found my answer in a biography of missionary Hudson Taylor. For a long time he, too, felt that his efforts fell short of the Lord’s expectations. But Taylor realized God wanted believers to trust Him fully and rest on His promises.

As a child, I was taught that a person got saved and then went to work for God. You did the best you could to think, speak, and act in a wise, godly manner. When your best wasn’t good enough, well, you tried harder. Such an impossible expectation was wearing me out. This idea of letting Jesus Christ work through me sounded both biblical and liberating.

A grape branch doesn’t bear fruit because of its determined efforts to get sunshine; rather, it simply abides in the vine, and fruit appears. The vine does all the work. In the same way, believers are to be in union with their Savior so that spiritual fruit can grow in their life.

Keith

The Abiding Life

Our service for the Lord becomes joy-filled and effective when we depend on Him to guide our steps.


John 15:1-5

Yesterday I shared with you about a time when the Lord reminded me that I am not the vine—He is. For years I had tried to accomplish by myself what Jesus wanted to achieve through me. My desire was to impress God and earn His approval. His goal, on the other hand, was for me simply to abide.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to live the life of Christ through us. This is known by a variety of names, including the exchanged life, the Spirit-filled life, and the abiding life. All of these describe the joyful existence Paul spoke of in Galatians 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”

Seen from the outside, a branch does not appear to be doing anything. But that doesn’t mean that the abiding life is passive. Jesus was the perfect example of a Spirit-filled life, and He certainly didn’t sit around! He worked hard out of a reservoir of divine energy (John 8:28). All of Christ’s wisdom, knowledge, and courage was drawn from God through the Holy Spirit.

Christians bear fruit through surrender. We “take root” in the Lord by meditating on His Word, praying, and serving. We reserve nothing for ourselves to control but fully rely upon Him. That’s not passive living; it’s an abiding life.

Keith

The Book of Books

The Bible is an infallible source of truth.


Isaiah 55:9-11

Step into almost any bookstore, and you can find a volume on pretty much any topic you have in mind. Want new direction for your life? Are your children disobeying? Are you hoping to live in a healthier way? There are books that were written to help, but do the authors have trustworthy credentials?

There is a place to find accurate information and true guidance: The Bible will bless and benefit everyone who reads and applies its wisdom. Here’s what Scripture’s Author—“the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16)—says about His own Word:

  1. The Bible gives direction for life (Psalm 119:105). God uses His Word to lead us, no matter what our circumstances may be.
  2. Scripture strengthens us in grief or difficulty (Psalm 119:28; Psalm 119:116). By spending time processing what God says, we’re reminded that He loves us, cares about our situation, and can handle whatever we’re facing.
  3. God’s Word helps us understand our inner motivations (Hebrews 4:12). Scripture acts like a mirror that lets us see ourselves as we truly are.

The Bible is the very mind of God put into words so that we can know Him more fully. To what extent do you depend upon this amazing Book as your foundation for life?

Keith

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