* Different ways people respond to God
The four types of soil represent different responses to God’s message. People respond differently because they are in different states of readiness. Some are hardened, others are shallow, others are contaminated by distracting worries, and some are receptive. How has God’s Word taken root in your life? What kind of soil are you? (NLT)
Matthew 13:23 – [Jesus said] “The good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest—thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.”
* – Usually we think that Jesus was talking about four different kinds of people. But he may also have been talking about (1) different times or phases in a person’s life or (2) how we willingly apply God’s message to some areas of our life but resist applying it to others. For example, you may be open to God about your future but closed concerning how you spend your money. You may respond like good soil to God’s demands for worship but respond like rocky soil to his demand to give to people in need. Strive to be like good soil in every area of your life at all times. (NLT)
Mark 4:14-20 – [Jesus said] “The farmer I talked about is the one who brings God’s message to others. The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the message, but then Satan comes at once and takes it away from them. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, there roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for nice things, so no crop is produced. But the good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest—thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.”
* Daring them to respond
God was willing to forgive those who made unintentional errors if they realized their mistakes quickly and corrected them. However, those who brazenly and deliberately sinned received a harsher judgment. Intentional sin grows out of an improper attitude toward God. A child who knowingly disobeys his parents challenges their authority and dares them to respond. Both the act and the attitude have to be dealt with. (NLT)
Numbers 15:30-31 – “But those who brazenly violate the Lord’s will, whether native Israelites or foreigners, blaspheme the Lord, and they must be cut off from the community. Since they have treated the Lord’s word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his commands, they must be completely cut off and suffer the consequences of their guilt.”
* Don’t respond in anger, embarrassment, or resentment
Moses was the only person who ever spoke with God face to face. He was called Israel’s greatest prophet. Yet even this great man was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because he disobeyed God. No matter how good we are or how much we’ve done for God, we sometimes disobey him. The result of our disobedience is that we will be disciplined. God disciplined Moses severely but still called him his friend. When you experience the sting of God’s discipline, respond as Moses did. Don’t turn away in anger, embarrassment, or resentment. Instead, turn toward God with love, openness, and a desire to do better. (NLT)
Deuteronomy 34:4,10 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I told them I would give it to their descendants. I have now allowed you to see it, but you will not enter the land.”
There has never been another prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.
* May respond to discipline in several ways
We may respond to discipline in several ways: (1) We can accept it with resignation; (2) we can accept it with self-pity, thinking we really don’t deserve it; (3) we can be angry and resentful toward God; or (4) We can accept it gratefully, as the appropriate response we owe a loving Father. (NLT)
Hebrews 12:5-11 – And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it is painful! But afterward there will be quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
* Afraid of how people will respond
Moses’ reluctance and fear were caused by over-anticipation. He was worried about how the people might respond to him. We often build up events in our minds and then panic over what might go wrong. God does not ask us to go where he has not provided the means to help. Go where he leads, trusting him to supply courage, confidence, and resources at the right moment. (NLT)
Exodus 4:1 – But Moses protested again, “Look, they won’t believe me! They won’t do what I tell them. They’ll just say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you.'”
* Don’t respond to crisis with fear
Trapped against the sea, the Israelites faced the Egyptian army sweeping in for the kill. The Israelites thought they were doomed. After watching God’s powerful hand deliver them from Egypt, their only response was fear, whining, and despair. Where was their trust in God? Israel had to learn from repeated experience that God was able to provide for them. God has preserved these examples in the Bible so that we can learn to trust him the first time. By focusing on God’s faithfulness in the past, we can face crises with confidence rather than with fear and complaining. (NLT)
Exodus 14:10-11 – As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance, marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the Lord for help.
Then they turned against Moses and complained, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? Why did you make us leave?
* Respond to God himself
The Pharisees knew a lot about God, but they didn’t know God. It is not enough to study about religion or even to study the Bible. We must respond to God himself. (NLT)
Matthew 15:9 – [Jesus said] “Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.”
* Important to respond to mistakes correctly
How do you react when someone suggests you have made mistakes or done something wrong? Do you move to correct the mistakes or deny that you need to correct them? After Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, God gave him the chance to right his wrong and try again. God even encouraged him to do this! But Cain refused, and the rest of his life is a startling example of what happens to those who refuse to admit their mistakes. The next time someone suggests you are wrong, take an honest look at yourself and choose God’s way instead of Cain’s. (NLT)
Genesis 4:6-7 – “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked him. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.”
* Respond with action
When Josiah realized the terrible state of Judah’s religious life, he did something about it. It is not enough to say we believe what is right; we must respond with action, doing what faith requires. This is what James was emphasizing when he wrote, “Faith that does not result in good deeds is useless.” This means acting differently at home, school, work, and church. Simply talking about obedience is not enough. (NLT)
2 Kings 23:4-8 – Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the leading priests and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord’s Temple all the utensils that were used to worship Baal, Ahserah, and all the forces of heaven. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. He did away with the pagan priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had burned incense at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered incense to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the forces of heaven. The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the pole to dust and threw the dust in the public cemetery. He also tore down the houses of the shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
Josiah brought back to Jerusalem all the priests of the Lord, who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled all the pagan shrines, where they had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city.
* How will you respond?
It is difficult to imagine Hosea’s feelings when God told him to marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him. He may not have wanted to do it, but he obeyed. God often required extraordinary obedience from his prophets who were facing extraordinary times. God may ask you to do something difficult and extraordinary, too. If he does, how will you respond? Will you obey him, trusting that he who knows everything has a special purpose for his request? Will you be able to accept the fact that the pain involved in obedience may benefit those you serve and not you personally? (NLT)
Hosea 1:2-3 – When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so some of her children will be born to you from other men, This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, openly committing adultery against the Lord by worshiping other gods.”
So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son.
* At the right time God will respond
“When the right time came,” God sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. For centuries the Jews had been wondering when their Messiah would come–but God’s timing was perfect. We may sometimes wonder if God will ever respond to our prayers. But we must never doubt him or give up hope. At the right time he will respond. Are you waiting for God’s timing? Trust his judgment and trust that he has your best interests in mind. (NLT)
Galatians 4:4 – But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.
* Respond to the Good News
Have you ever been asked, “How do I become a Christian?” These verses give you the beautiful answer: Salvation is as close as your own lips and heart. People think it must be a complicated process, but it is not. If we believe in our heart and say with our mouth that Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved.
Paul is not saying Christians will never be disappointed. There will be times when people will let us down or circumstances take a turn for the worse. Paul is saying that God will keep his side of the bargain. Those who call on him will be saved. God will never fail to provide for those who believe.
We must take God’s great message of salvation to others so that they can respond to the Good News. How will your loved ones and neighbors hear it unless someone tells them? Is God calling you to take a part in making His message known in your community? Think of one person who needs to hear the Good News, and think of something you can do to help him or her hear it. Then take that step as soon as possible. (NLT)
Romans 10:8-17 – Salvation that comes from trusting Christ–which is the message we preach–is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”
For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives His riches to all who ask for them. For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news–the Good News about Christ.
* Jesus didn’t respond immediately
Jesus loved this family and often stayed with them. He knew their pain but did not respond immediately. His delay had a specific purpose. God’s timing, especially his delays, may make us think he is not answering or is not answering the way we want. But he will meet all our needs according to his perfect schedule and purpose. Patiently await his timing. (NLT)
John 11:5-7 – Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them. Finally after two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”
* – Jesus didn’t respond immediately to the blind men’s pleas. He waited to see if they had faith. Not everyone who says he wants help really believes God can help him. Jesus may have waited and questioned these men to emphasize and increase their faith. When you think that God is too slow in answering your prayers, consider that he might be testing you as he did the blind men. Do you believe that God can help you? Do you really want his help? (NLT)
Matthew 9:27-30 – After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” And suddenly they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
* How do you respond to the constant pressure to buy?
Jesus says that the good life has nothing to do with being wealthy, so be on guard against greed (desire for what we don’t have). This is the exact opposite of what society usually says. Advertisers spend millions of dollars to entice us to think that if we buy more and more of their products, we will be happier, more fulfilled, more comfortable. How do you respond to the constant pressure to buy? Learn to tune out expensive enticements and concentrate instead on the truly fulfilled life–living in a relationship with God and doing his work. (NLT)
Luke 12:15 – Then he [Jesus] said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.”
* Give them a chance to respond
It wasn’t the paralyzed man’s faith that impressed Jesus but the faith of his friends. Jesus responded to their faith and healed the man. For better or worse, our faith affects others. We cannot make another person a Christian but we can do much through our words, actions, and love to give him or her a chance to respond. Look for opportunities to bring your friends to the living Christ. (NLT)
Luke 5:18-20 – Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to push through the crowd to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him. So they went up to the roof, took off some tiles, and lowered the sick man down into the crowd, still on his mat, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
* – In this story, the father watched and waited. He was dealing with a human being with a will of his own, but he was ready to greet his son if he returned. In the same way, God’s love is constant and patient and welcoming. He will search for us and give us opportunities to respond, but he will not force us to come to him. Like the father in this story, God waits patiently for us to come to our senses. (NLT)
Luke 15:20 – [Jesus said] “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
* How to respond to God when facing death?
Saul faced death the same way he faced life. He took matters into his own hands without thinking of God or asking for his guidance. If our lives aren’t the way we would like them to be now, we can’t assume that change will come more easily later. When nearing death, we will respond to God the same way we have been responding all along. Coming face to face with death only shows us what we are really like. How do you want to face death? Start facing life that way right now. (NLT)
1 Samuel 31:4 – Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines run me through and humiliate me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
* How we respond to criticism
Are you a mocker or a wise person? You can tell by the way you respond to criticism. Instead of replying with a quick put down or clever retort when rebuked, listen to what is being said. Learn from your critics, this is the path to wisdom. Wisdom begins with knowing God. He gives insight into living because he created life. To know God you must not just know the facts about him, you must have a personal relationship with him. Do you really want to be wise? Get to know God better and better. (NLT)
Proverbs 9:7-10 – Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get a smart retort. Anyone who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother rebuking mockers; they will only hate you. But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more. Teach the wise, and they will be wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn more.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.
* – There is a great difference between the person who learns from criticism and the person who refuses to accept correction. How we respond to criticism determines whether or not we grow in wisdom. The next time someone criticizes you, listen carefully to all that is said. You might learn something. (NLT)
Proverbs 19:25 – If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson; if you reprove the wise, they will be all the wiser.
* – Ridicule can cut deeply, causing discouragement and despair. Sanballat and Tobiah used ridicule to try to dissuade the Jews from building the wall. Instead of trading insults, however, Nehemiah prayed, and the work continued. When you are mocked for your faith or criticized for doing what you know is right, refuse to respond in the same way or to become discouraged. Tell God how you feel and remember his promise to be with you. This will give you encouragement and strength to carry on. (NLT)
Nehemiah 4:1-5 – Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samaritan army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a day if they offer enough sacrifices? Look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again!”
Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”
Then I prayed, “Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in the presence of the builders.”
* – Jeremiah’s words and actions challenged the people’s social and moral behavior. He had openly spoken against the king, the officials, the priests and prophets, the teachers, and the wise. He wasn’t afraid to give unpopular criticism. The people could either obey him or silence him. They chose the latter. They did not think they needed Jeremiah; their false prophets told them what they wanted to hear. How do you respond to criticism? Listen carefully—God may be trying to tell you something. (NLT)
Jeremiah 18:18 – Then the people said, “Come on, let’s find a way to stop Jeremiah. We have our own priests and wise men and prophets. We don’t need him to teach the law and give us advice and prophecies. Let’s spread rumors about him and ignore what he says.”
* How to respond to difficult family situations
Facing a potential conflict with his nephew Lot, Abram took the initiative in settling the dispute. He gave Lot first choice, even though Abram, being older, had the right to choose first. Abram also showed a willingness to risk being cheated. Abram’s example shows us how to respond to difficult family situations: (1) Take the initiative in resolving conflicts; (2) let others have first choice, even if that means not getting what we want; (3) put family peace above personal desires. (NLT)
Genesis 13:5-9 – Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, was also very wealthy with sheep, cattle, and many tents. But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. There were too many animals for the available pastureland. So an argument broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.
Then Abram talked it over with Lot. “This arguing between our herdsmen has got to stop,” he said. “After all, we are close relatives! I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that area over there, then I’ll stay here. If you want to stay in this area, then I’ll move on to another place.”
* How do you respond when someone is suffering?
What is your response when a fellow Christian is honored? How do you respond when someone is suffering? We are to be happy with those who are happy, and if they are sad, share their sorrow. Too often, unfortunately, we are jealous of those who rejoice and apathetic toward those who weep. Believers are in the world together—there is no such thing as private or individualistic Christianity. We need to get involved in the lives of others and not just enjoy our own relationship with God.
1 Corinthians 12:24-28 – . . . So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. Here is a list of some of the members that God has placed in the body of Christ: first are apostles, — second are prophets, — third are teachers, — then those who do miracles, — those who have the gift of healing, — those who can help others, — those who can get others to work together, — those who speak in unknown languages.
* Today many people don’t respond to biblical truth
Although the Philistines had just witnessed a great victory by Israel’s God over their god, Dagon, they didn’t act upon that insight until they were afflicted with tumors (possibly bubonic plague). Similarly, today many people don’t respond to biblical truth until they experience pain. Are you willing to listen to God for truth’s sake, or do you turn to him only when you are in pain and hurting? (NLT)
1 Samuel 5:6-7 – Then the Lord began to afflict the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed alone with our god Dagon.”
* On call to respond to the sick
James is referring to someone who is physically ill. In Scripture, oil was both a medicine and a symbol of the Spirit of God. Thus, oil can represent both the medical and the spiritual spheres of life. Christians should not separate the physical and the spiritual. Jesus Christ is Lord over both the body and the spirit.
People in the church are not alone. Members of Christ’s body should be able to count on others for support and prayer, especially when they are sick or suffering. The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any member, and the church should be sensitive to the needs of all its members.
The “prayer offered in faith” does not refer to the faith of the sick person but to the faith of the people praying. God heals, faith doesn’t, and all prayers are subject to God’s will. But prayer is part of God’s healing process.
The Christian’s most powerful resource is communion with God through prayer. The results are often greater than we thought were possible. Some people see prayer as a last resort to be tried when all else fails. This approach is backward. Prayer should come first. Because God’s power is infinitely greater than ours, it only makes sense to rely on it–especially because God encourages us to do so. (NLT)
James 5:13-18 – Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord.
* How we respond to our suffering
Because children starve today, as they did in David’s time, what did David mean by these words the children of the righteous need not go hungry because other believers should help them in their time of need. In David’s day, Israel obeyed God’s laws, which ensured that the poor were treated fairly and mercifully. As long as Israel was obedient, there was enough food for everyone. When Israel forgot God, the rich took care of themselves only, and the poor suffered.
When we see a Christian brother or sister suffering today, we can respond in one of three ways: (1) We can say, as Job’s friends did, that the afflicted person brought this on himself. (2) We can say that this is a test to help the person develop more patience and trust in God. (3) We can help the person in need. David would approve of only the last option. Although many governments today have their own programs for helping those in need, this is no excuse for ignoring the poor and needy within our reach (NLT)
Psalm 37:25 – Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly forsaken, nor seen their children begging for bread.
* – Being informed brings a sense of security. It’s natural to want to know what’s happening in our lives. Job wanted to know what was going on, why he was suffering. In previous chapters, we sense his frustration. Elihu claimed to have the answer for Job’s biggest question, “Why doesn’t God tell me what is happening?” Elihu told Job that God was trying to answer him, but he was not listening. Elihu misjudged God on this point. If God were to answer all our questions, we would not be adequately tested. What if God had said, “Job, Satan’s going to test you and afflict you, but in the end you’ll be healed and get everything back”? Job’s greatest test was not the pain but that he did not know why he was suffering. Our greatest test may be that we must trust God’s goodness even though we don’t understand why our lives are going a certain way. We must learn to trust in God, who is good, and not in the goodness of life. (NLT)
Job 33:13 – So why are you bringing a charge against him? You say, ‘He does not respond to people’s complaints.’
* How you respond to struggles shows your attitude
Although baffled by the reasons for his suffering, Job affirmed God’s superior understanding by asking, “Who can teach a lesson to God?” The way you respond to your personal struggles shows your attitude toward God. Rather than becoming angry with God, continue to trust him, no matter what your circumstances may be. Although it is sometimes difficult to see, God is in control. We must commit ourselves to him so we will not resent his timing. (NLT)
Job 21:22 – “But who can teach a lesson to God, the supreme Judge?”
* Such a forgiving response
As Stephen died, he spoke words very similar to Jesus’ words on the cross. The early believers were glad to suffer as Jesus had suffered because that meant they were counted worthy. Stephen was ready to suffer like Jesus, even to the point of asking forgiveness for his murderers. Such a forgiving response comes only from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can also help us respond as Stephen did with love for our enemies. How would you react if someone hurt you because of what you believed? (NLT)
Acts 7:60 – And he fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
* Order and structure can free us to respond to God
The organization of the Temple service was highly structured, but this did not hinder the Spirit of God. Rather, it provided an orderly context for worship. Sometimes we feel that planning and structure are unspiritual activities that may hinder spontaneity in worship. But order and structure can free us to respond to God. Order brings glory to God as we experience the joy, freedom, and calm that comes when we have wisely planned in advance. (NLT)
1 Chronicles 24:1 – This is how Aaron’s descendants, the priests, were divided into groups for service. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
* Don’t assume someone won’t respond to the Good News
Many would assume that Rahab—a pagan, a Canaanite, and a prostitute—would never be interested in God. Yet Rahab was willing to risk everything she had for a God she barely knew. We must not gauge a person’s interest in God by his or her background, life-style, or appearance. We should let nothing get in the way of our telling people about God. (NLT)
Joshua 2:8-13 – Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below. Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”
* Respond to the truth
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual life; without the work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot even see our need for new life. All spiritual renewal begins and ends with God. He reveals truth to us, lives within us, and then enables us to respond to that truth. (NLT)
John 6:63, 65 – [Jesus said] “It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you don’t believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who didn’t believe and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is what I meant when I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father brings them to me.”
* Courage to respond boldly to events around us
Ishosheth was a man who took his courage from another man (Abner) rather than from God. When Abner died, Ishbosheth was left with nothing. In crisis and under pressure, he collapsed in fear. Fear can paralyze us, but faith and trust in God can overcome fear. If we trust in God, we will be free to respond boldly to the events around us. (NLT)
2 Samuel 4:1 – When Ishbosheth heard about Abner’s death at Hebron, he lost all courage, and his people were paralyzed with fear.
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