Tag Archives: Bible

Do You See What I See?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker and writer, Jeremy Curry.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

Matthew 2:1-10 (NIV)

Last week, much of the world celebrated Christmas. Many of us have heard the story from the passage above over and over throughout our lives. As we prepare for the new year, you may want to take a closer look at the story to learn about what God is putting on your heart.

We all have an image of what we think the manger scene looked like. You might think it looks something like this:

Star of Bethlehem shines extremely bright in the night sky with a bright light shining down directly on the city of Bethlehem.

The star is shining brightly for everyone to see where the Messiah has been born. But, read the passage above again. After Herod is asked where the King of the Jews has been born, we read the following in verse 3: “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” He was “disturbed”. Why? Well, Herod certainly had his reasons. He was a ruthless king. Around 40 BC, Herod had already been named “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate. In his mind, he already had the title.

However, in his heart, he must have known he wasn’t truly the King of the Jews. After all, he wasn’t even of Jewish descent. He attempted to make the people think he was Jewish. He had lavish building projects, including the Second Temple of Jerusalem, a port, walls around Jerusalem, palaces, temples, and more. Herod must have known this was never enough because he was always worried about public opinion. He employed secret police among the population to determine how the people felt about him, he had 2,000 bodyguards, and he went to great lengths to murder anyone and everyone who got in his way. We know that he murdered several of his wives, his father-in-law, two of his sons, and all boys in Bethlehem two years of age and under (known as the Massacre of the Innocents). So, to say Herod was “disturbed” was probably an understatement. And if such a ruthless king was disturbed, it is easy to see why the rest of Jerusalem would also be uneasy. The people were likely uncertain what such a madman would do in spite of such news.

If we look at the story even closer, we notice that when the Magi approach Herod to inquire about the birth because they had seen the star, Herod was surprised. Herod didn’t respond with “I saw the star, too.” Instead, he then had to call together all of the priests to find out where the Messiah was to be born. He also had to learn the exact date regarding when the star appeared. What this tells us is that the star was clearly not apparent to everyone. The images we keep in our minds of the star shining brightly over where Jesus was born is, in fact, not what happened at all. If you wanted to see the star, you had to look carefully for it and be aware of the knowledge of its existence. What is even more fascinating is that even though the chief priests knew the location and they were informed of the signs, they still didn’t go to see the Messiah. . .and Bethlehem was a mere five miles away!

I would contend that pride got in the way of Herod’s ability to see the miracle of what was happening around him. Perhaps fear or the desire to stay in power was at the heart of the chief priests, which kept them from seeking God. What we know is that even when signs seem like they should be completely self-evident, such as the Star of Bethlehem, sin can ultimately get in our way of seeking God or doing His will. In Herod’s case, his heart didn’t change. He actually tried to kill Jesus, instead of accepting him as his Savior. As one commentator, put it, “Uncontrolled ambition can turn a person into a monster.” .

What is getting in the way between you and God today? Is it pride? Is it ambition? Is it pornography or another sexual sin? Is it a sinful relationship? Or, something else? Whatever it is, it is time to break the chains of sin and turn back toward God. He has given us much, but we will be blind to it unless we are seeking Him before all else.

Father, help us to seek You before anything in our lives. May we ALWAYS put You first. May we keep you in our sight, listen to Your words, and accept the merciful gifts You have given us, including the greatest gift; the gift of grace, mercy, and forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Case Against Celebrating Christmas

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker and writer, Jeremy Curry.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Luke 2:8-15 (NIV)

This week, billions of people around the world will celebrate Christmas. It is a time when humanity celebrates the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We read about the birth in the verses above noted in Luke. How amazing it must have been to see angels appear and sing glory to our God! Finally, the time had come for the prophecies to come true and the Messiah had come to save all of us from sin.

All of us know that the above passage clearly happened on December 25, right? Wrong. The passage above notes that the shepherds were living out in the fields and watching over their flock at night. However, flocks would not be out in the cold season due to the bad weather in Israel during this time. They were brought in around October and would not return out until after winter. Other factors that indicate that Christ was not born in December are that we read that the inn was full when Mary and Joseph arrived. This is likely due to the many people traveling just after harvest and prior to winter. Some have attempted to calculate an exact date that Jesus was born based on the birth of John the Baptist in relation to when Mary conceived. This data is used in conjunction as to when John’s father, Zechariah, was selected to go into the temple of the Lord, as we find in Luke chapter 1 in an attempt to calculate the exact time of Jesus’ birth. In fact, some churches are so legalistic and want to be so exact about the fact that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 that they tell Christians and others not to celebrate Christmas.

Picture of Christmas candle, bow, and ribbon

To take a closer look at the case against celebrating Christmas, let’s dig deeper as to why it is celebrated on December 25. The birth of Christ is first recorded as being celebrated on December 25 in 336 AD under Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine was the first Christian emperor and thus, he began pushing Rome toward Christianity. As a result, in 350 AD, Pope Julius I officially declared that Christmas was to be celebrated on December 25. Why did he pick this day? Some say it is because he believed that Mary conceived on March 25 (with no real foundation for that fact) and then nine months later would have been when Jesus was born. This obviously would have been calculated as December 25. However, the more likely story is that the Christian church was trying to “piggyback” off of the pagan traditions that were already being celebrated in the Roman Empire, rather than to compete with them. Saturnalia was celebrated from December 17 to around December 23 or 24, honoring the god, Saturn. The winter solstice happened during this time of year with many celebrations, including that of Saturnalia. The Romans believed that the sun was leaving them during the winter solstice and lit candles to scare away darkness, as well as to celebrate the sun and light. This tradition eventually led to the display of Christmas lights in modern America. People also gave gifts in honor of the goddess of vegetation, Strenia. Gifts that were edible were common among people to celebrate a goddess who brought harvest. Later, gifts that were non-edible became commonplace. Mithra, the god of light and wisdom, was said to be born from a rock on December 25. The Mithraic religion was one of the predominant religions in the Roman empire, and the birth of Mithra was celebrated symbolizing the sun.

Since pagans already had traditions they were celebrating this time of year, the church essentially hijacked these traditions and started to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25. As a result, the church began to change the holiday traditions to be less pagan. However, not all Christians believed that carrying on pagan tradition was a good idea. The Puritans were very much against the idea of Christmas, and in fact, spent December 25, 1620 building one of their first structures. Boston even made it illegal to celebrate Christmas from 1659 until 1681. If you were found celebrating Christmas, you would be fined 5 shillings. That is correct; it used to be illegal to celebrate Christmas! While Christmas became legal to celebrate again, much of the tradition had been lost, as the hearts and minds of much of the American colonies had done without it for over two decades. Finally, in 1843, A Christmas Carol was written and people started to remember how and why they could celebrate Christmas again. It wasn’t until 1870 that Christmas became a federal holiday and it continued to evolve throughout the rest of the 19th century and has become what it is today in the 21st century.

If Christmas is rooted in pagan religion traditions and has absolutely zero historically factual accuracy in regards to the birth of Christ, why should we celebrate it at all? Shouldn’t we be like the Puritans (or even a few of the modern day churches) and refuse to celebrate it? Even today, many would say Christmas has become all about consumerism, carrying on in its pagan founding. So, why celebrate it? My answer to that question would be, “why not celebrate it?” For me, it isn’t about celebrating pagan gods. It isn’t simply about buying stuff for people. It is about celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Was He actually born on December 25? No, but does it really matter? After all, what other time of the year do I get the best opportunity to talk about my faith? Would it really be better if we just never celebrated the birth of our Savior? I cherish the time that I get to be with my friends and family during this time of year, and I get to talk to them about Jesus. I absolutely love giving people gifts in celebration of God’s greatest gift to all of us. Why celebrate Christmas? We certainly never see this as a requirement in any scripture. But, for me, it provides me an opportunity to remember to love the Lord my God with all of my heart, mind, and soul, as well as to love others and to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:36-40). This is why I celebrate Christmas. How about you?

Lord, guide us and keep us this Christmas season. Help us to reach others in Your name. Thank You for Your Son. You know all of us need Your mercy and grace. Thank You for such a precious gift. May others see You in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have been touched by this devotional, Your Blind Faith would like to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a public comment, send a note to jeremy@yourblindfaith.com to let us know how God has touched your life with this devotional. We will not publish or share your information.

So You Want to Go to Hell?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker and writer, Jeremy Curry.

Luke 16:19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (NASB)

As a child, I remember walking through the library looking at all of the books on the shelves. For some reason, I always think of walking past the “Self-Help” section and seeing books like, So, You Want to Be Rich? or So, You Want to Be Skinny? Isn’t it interesting that there was never a self-help book called, So You Want to Go to Hell? Or, at least, not one that I know of. And certainly, I never saw one in the library with this title. Isn’t it fascinating that there are many times we hear people on television tell others to go there, but yet, no one has a desire to do so? If people did want to go to hell, surely there would be a book on it, right? It’s as if we all have this built-in, innate desire to avoid a place that even sounds remotely like hell. Yet, it’s the time of year when we begin dressing up our young and impressionable children as things like ghosts, goblins, devils, and other creatures that we so deeply desire to never live with, let alone, to even see them. With hell at the forefront of our minds as we approach Halloween, it seems to be the right time to take a look at the very frightening subject: hell. As you continue reading, please note that this devotional is not meant to be a “fire and brimstone” sermon in order to scare you into salvation. Rather, it is to recognize what hell really is, what that means, and how you can live eternally with God instead of being thrown into a place of eternal torment.

Is hell a real place? First, let’s define a few terms. Sheol is a Hebrew word found in the Old Testament. It can be translated as “hell,” “the grave,” “destruction,” and others. But, at the root, is the word Sheol. As we move into the New Testament, we find that the Greek language uses the word, Hades. This is also sometimes translated as the word, “hell.” However, Hades and Sheol do not typically refer to the place where sinners are held for eternity. Instead, they appear to be a holding place for dead people (those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior) prior to being thrown into hell at the end of time. This place can be referred to by either word as they refer to the same location. Another Greek word in the New Testament is Gehenna. Gehenna can be translated as “hell” or “lake of fire.” Gehenna was actually referring to a garbage dump in Jesus’ time where people would throw their trash and it would be like a continual, unending fire as the trash burned. Jesus used this reference to help the masses understand what hell is like as He preached. And yet, another Greek word we see translated as “hell” is Tartarus, referring to the “lower regions.” All of these words are typically translated as “hell,” but it is important to know the difference. For example, as previously noted, hell and Hades are likely not the same place. Or, if they are, they are referred to by different names in regards to before and after the revelation of God. Either way, we do know that both are a place of torment and contain fire while the souls within cannot escape.

Now that we know what the Bible is referring to as hell, what does it tell us about this place? There is a lot of information regarding hell in God’s Word. In the passage for this week’s devotional, we read about Hades. Note that the rich man is in “agony in this fire.” He is in a place with real fire while sensing and feeling real physical pain. Not only is he feeling the physical suffering of Hades, but he is conscious that he still has relatives living. He is not unconscious, unaware, nor destroyed. He senses all pain (physical and emotional) and is extremely aware of what is happening. This account comes to us straight from Jesus. Some would contend that hell does not exist because God destroys the soul. They point to Matthew 10:28, which says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (ESV) Note that this verse says God “can.” It does not say He “will.” Additionally, this verse does not coincide with other verses about hell. Matthew 10:28 is contextually talking about God being all-powerful, not a destroyer. Furthermore, if the enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy,” (John 10:10) then those things must not be attributes of an all-loving God. Therefore, God would not destroy a soul. And, while it does not say that God will destroy souls in hell, it does, in fact, state that there is a place called hell. Other passages back this up as we read in Daniel 12:2, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (ESV) Furthermore, Jesus tells us that hell is eternal in Matthew 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (ESV) If you are a Christian and believe in eternity with God as noted here, then you must also believe in an eternal hell as Jesus refers to. Yes, hell is a real place. It is eternal. And it is worse than the most awful place any of us have ever seen.


Before he died in 2010, Dr. Maurice Rawlings was a cardiologist and an associate clinical professor of medicine for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga, TN. He also was a physician for President Dwight Eisenhower and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a cardiologist, Dr. Rawlings and his staff were constantly working with people who would be clinically dead and then come back to life. As many of us have heard, most people report seeing a bright light when they are clinically dead and then come to life again. Due to the many experiences that Dr. Rawling had seen, he decided to do a study on the subject. Dr. Rawlings wrote Beyond Death’s Door, which was a study of 300 patients who had near-death experiences (NDE). Dr. Rawlings and his team began interviewing people as soon as they came back from NDE. Instead of seeing a bright, white light, almost 50% of the 300 people reported seeing “lakes of fire, devil-like figures and other sights reflecting the darkness of hell.” Consider the following story from one of Dr. Rawlings patients:

Rawlings told the story of his patient who collapsed during a stress test, and “before we could stop the machine, he dropped dead.”

Well, apparently not completely dead, because in the patient’s own words,

“When I came to, Dr. Rawlings was giving me CPR, and he asked me what was the matter, because I was looking so scared. I told him that I had been to hell and I need help! He said to me, ‘keep your hell to yourself, I’m a doctor and I’m trying to save your life, you need a minister for that.’ … And I would fade out every so often, so then he would focus CPR again and bring me back…Whenever I would come back to my body, I kept asking, “Please help me, please help me, I don’t want to go back to hell.” Soon a nurse named Pam said, “He needs help, do something!” At that time, Dr. Rawlings told me to repeat this short prayer. “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus, save my soul. Keep me alive. If I die, please keep me out of hell!”

The experience of the patient, Charles McKaig, then became pleasant, and he reported seeing his deceased mother and stepmother and being surrounded and comforted by the Holy Spirit. Upon awakening, he was an immediate evangelical Christian.

In Rawlings words, “After this was all over, I realized what really happened. It was a double conversion. Not only had this make-believe prayer converted this atheist … it had also converted this atheist doctor that was working on him”

Still don’t believe? Check out the video of the patients of Dr. Rawlings who went to hell and came back from their NDE. Hearing their testimony in their own words is extremely powerful. After watching this video, it was enough to make this sinner get on his knees and recommit his life to Christ. These stories are real and they are a scary depiction of what happens to those of us who do not accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Friends, you don’t have to be scared of hell. Jesus has overcome (John 16:33, Revelation 20:6). If you want to live with God for eternity, pray this prayer: “I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died for my sins. I want to live with You forever. Please come into my life, fill me with the Holy Spirit, and make me clean. Redeem me from my sins. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

It’s that simple. Yes, hell exists, but Christ has saved us from the eternal death. I pray that you find Him as your Savior, so that you may have peace and rest.

Father, please reach those who are lost or undecided. Help them to accept Your free gift of salvation. Lord, lead us away from evil and toward You. May You light our paths and spread Your Word. Give us the ability and opportunity to reach those who need to hear about Jesus as their Savior. Open the hearts and minds of those who have not yet accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. We love you, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have been touched by this devotional, Your Blind Faith would like to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a public comment, send a note to jeremy@yourblindfaith.com to let us know how God has touched your life with this devotional. We will not publish or share your information.

Where Do I Go From Here?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker and writer, Jeremy Curry.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

This past weekend, as a spontaneous decision, my wife and I decided to take a road trip for the day. It’s fall and the leaves are turning beautiful colors of red, yellow, and gold. The cool, crisp air surrounded us as we took in all that creation had to offer. Without knowing exactly how to get there, we decided to go to an apple orchard about a hundred miles away. So, we got out the GPS, punched in the address, and followed the audible directions faithfully. As we were driving along, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere driving down a dirt road with little or no cell phone service. Houses were almost non-existent as we passed the seemingly endless acres of soybean and corn fields. We didn’t know where we were going because we had never been there before, but we knew our GPS wouldn’t let us down. When we nearly thought we were lost, all of a sudden, the orchard appeared out of nowhere.

Ever find yourself at a place in life where it seems like you either don’t know if you are on the right path or you aren’t sure which direction to go when you reach a fork in the road? Or maybe you are completely lost and just aren’t sure where to go at all? As much as we may all want it to be, life isn’t as simple as punching in an address on a GPS.

How do you know where to go? God speaks to us in many ways. He can lead us to the right place through circumstances or other people in our lives. We can read His Word and learn what God tells us in regards to His direction. He can even lead us through the Holy Spirit. But, there is something that we often forget to think about . . . the voice in your head. Not the voices you might hear if you were a schizophrenic, but our conscience. All of us are born with it, and it begins affecting us even while we are small children. It can make us feel guilty and it can tell us when we do right or when we do wrong. They are the thoughts that enter into our mind to help us make the right decisions. In essence, it is our connection to God.

The conscience is among one of the many ways God speaks to us. He uses it as a tool for constant communication. To listen to God and to understand Him, we must have faith as we read in the passage for this week. We must believe He exists and we must believe that He rewards us when we seek Him. For when we seek God’s will through our conscience, we are doing what we know is right because we want to please our Father. Going against His will for our lives will create a sense of restlessness just as going forward in faith will give us peace.

So, what direction should you go? Are you lost at this very moment? First, take the time to pray. Read through God’s holy Word. Renew your mind through these things and listen to your conscience. As you do, you will be able to understand God’s will for you. It may not happen immediately, but God will become your GPS. He will give you direction that you will not question. For His will is “good, pleasing, and perfect.”

Father, give us clear direction and guidance. For those of us who are lost or in conflict regarding where we should go, we ask that you make our faith strong and provide us with the right path. Light the correct path with all that You are. When we are asked to wait while you clear the path ahead of us, give us fulfillment in our hearts and minds as we wait until you are ready for us to proceed. We love you, Father and we ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have been touched by this devotional, Your Blind Faith would like to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a public comment, send a note to jeremy@yourblindfaith.com to let us know how God has touched your life with this devotional. We will not publish or share your information.

Why Ask Why?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker and writer, Jeremy Curry.

Job 38:2-4

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand. (NIV)

Exodus 5:22-23 – 6:1

22 Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” (NIV)

I’m whisked back to multiple movie scenes where something awful has happened and the character looks to the sky and screams, “Why God? Why?” How many times have you and I asked God that question? It seems that we ask why when our issues are much deeper, much more emotional, and very personal. We ask God things like, “Why did my best friend die from cancer?” Or, maybe you are asking God, “Why did my relationship with my spouse break apart?” Others of us may be asking about broken families or friendships. No matter who we are or what it is about, at some point in our lives, we have asked God, “why?” Is it okay to ask God this question? And, whether it is or isn’t, why do we ask why? Shouldn’t we just accept everything on faith?

As part of the Bible reading for this week’s devotional, I listed passages from two different stories. The first is regarding Job. Under very difficult circumstances, Job begins to break. In chapter 3 of Job, amidst other questions of complaint, we see him ask why he was even born. He grumbles about many things. Eventually, as you read in the passage, we see God question Job. It shows God’s anger toward all of the complaints and all of the questions of “why” that Job has asked. Job’s heart regarding his questions clearly wasn’t right as he agonizingly grilled the ways of the Almighty. Otherwise, God would not have “put Job in his place.”

If Job can’t ask God why something happens, is there a time that is right? If we look at Moses, he and his brother Aaron have just gone to Pharaoh and asked him to allow the Israelites to go spend several days in the wilderness so they can hold a feast for the Lord. They asked Pharaoh this question because God asked them to do it. Pharaoh gives them a solid “no.” As a result, since the Israelites are slaves to the Pharaoh, he makes work much harder for them. The leaders of the Israelites then complain to Moses and Aaron, blaming them for making life much more difficult. Moses then asks God why He had them go to Pharaoh in the first place. He asks if it was God’s plan to make things worse on the Israelites. Moses asks this with an earnest heart. He asks an honest question, “why?” God replies and says that He does it so that the Israelites will see what He does to Pharaoh.

God uses this example to show the Israelites that He is all-powerful, trustworthy, loving, dependable, patient, and so many other good characteristics of God as He eventually leads them out of Egypt. In this instance, God tells Moses why He is doing these things. He builds trust with Moses and with the people of Israel. In essence, God uses this as a teachable moment for His chosen people.

What does this mean for us? We find that it is certainly okay to ask God “why?” And, as we learn with these passages, we need to change one of our initial questions, which was, “why do we ask why?” Instead, the question should be, “how should we ask why?” The answer to this is that if we ask God “why,” we should do so seeking Him not in complaining, but in humility.

Should we have so much faith in God that we never ask Him why certain things have happened? Even Moses, who literally talked to God, asked Him this question. Despite how great or little our faith, sometimes we need to ask the honest question to God, “why?”

While we can ask this question, sometimes we may not know why something happens. Expecting an answer isn’t part of a heart of humility. We may ask God, but He may not give us an answer. And there are times when we won’t know the answer for years. In fact, even when we are given an answer, the resulting actions taken by God may not happen for a very long time. Certainly, Moses wasn’t instantly leading the Israelites out of Egypt seconds after God answers him. Neither should we expect action to happen immediately whether we do or do not get an answer to our question.

Remember that God has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Whatever happens in your life is part of God’s bigger plan for you. And, if you love God, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). When you are in the midst of not knowing “why,” ask your Father. And, even if you don’t receive an answer, know that He is the Almighty and always has a reason for whatever you are going through.

Father, remind us that there are reasons for everything that happen in our lives. Remind us that there are reasons for broken relationships, for our wounds, and for the good things in our lives. May you heal the broken-hearted this day, may those who are seeking you find their salvation in you today, may you heal broken relationships, and may you give reasons or reveal the answer to the question of “why” to those who need it most. We love you, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have been touched by this devotional, Your Blind Faith would like to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a public comment, send a note to jeremy@yourblindfaith.com to let us know how God has touched your life with this devotional. We will not publish or share your information.

Patience! Patience! Patience!

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV)

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)

Psalm 37:7-9

Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. (NIV)

Psalm 40:1

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry. (NIV)

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)

1 Thesalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (NIV)

As fall approaches, the new season of many TV shows begin.  We get to learn about what happened on our favorite shows from cliff-hangers that we were left with before summer break.  Some of us have been patient for several months to find out what is going to happen.  And finally, some of the shows are starting to air new episodes this week.

Just like waiting for your favorite TV show to start, it’s easy to be patient when we know something is going to happen, even if we wait a very long time for it.  But, it is so much more difficult to be patient when we don’t know when or IF something will transpire.  We don’t spend all summer thinking about our favorite TV show and what might occur in the first episode of the next season.  Well, if that does consume your mind all summer long, then you may want to work on that. 🙂 But, what about those issues that do plague our minds?  Those things that we ask for, but we don’t even know if they will happen.  Maybe you pray for God’s direction and you don’t get it right away or you ask God for something and He says, “wait.”

As Rick Warren says, One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life. Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.”

Whatever you are waiting on, you can be certain that He is preparing something for you.  We are called to be patient more than once.  In fact, we are called to emulate God’s patience.  Hold on to your hats to follow some quick logic:  As Christians, we are called to imitate (i.e. to be like) God (Ephesians 5:1-2).  We know that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4) and we know God is love (1 John 4:8).  So, if God is love and love is patient and we are called to imitate God; then, therefore, one of the things we must be is patient just like our Heavenly Father.

Since we are called to be patient, how should we act while we are waiting?  Should we be sorrowful and weary as we are patient?  You’ll notice in this week’s passages I gave two translations of the same verse, Isaiah 40:31. One of the verses says “hope” and the other says “patient.”  The English phrase, “Those who wait upon” is translated from the Hebrew word, וְקֹויֵ֤, which is translated as “vekovye” in English.  It comes from the Hebrew root word “qavah” (pronounced kaw-vah).  Qavah is defined as “twist, stretch, thin the tension of enduring, or to look eagerly for.”  Thus, as we see in the NIV translation, it is defined as “hope” instead of “wait,” as it is translated in the King James Version.  Isn’t it interesting that “wait,” meaning patience has such a close tie with “hope” in the original Hebrew text?  I believe that the author is trying to communicate that we must be hopeful while being patient.

Besides being hopeful, what else should we do while being patient?  David tells us to be still before the Lord and do not fret.  I often want to worry when I don’t know what will happen.  How about you?  We are specifically told not to fret when others succeed in their wicked ways.  When David wrote this, I wonder if he is reminding himself not to worry as he mentions it not once, but twice.  When God asks us to wait, we should not worry.  We should not fret.  When we do, we demonstrate a lack of patience.

When we get into these situations of worrying because of our lack of patience, we often wonder if God is listening to us.  We wait and wait with no answer, but as David notes, God hears our cry.  And, as we read in Romans, we are told to be “patient in affliction.”  Since “affliction” is specifically noted here, this presupposes that there will be trials and tribulations in our life, but that we should also be joyful in these times.  Patience will be required as we move through both good and difficult circumstances in our lives.

What about if you have been asking for something for years and God hasn’t given it to you?  God’s plan for our lives is not always the same as our own.  Beth Moore writes, “Often when God does not readily give us what we want, it is because He knows what our desire would cost us. Faith sometimes means foregoing our desires because we trust Christ to have a better plan for our lives.”  Patience increases our trust, and our trust increases our faith.  When we trust in Him, we will “not grow weary.”  We know full well that God works for the good that love Him (Romans 8:28).  If you are being patient for something you are asking for, maybe it’s time to change your question and instead, ask God to reveal His plan for you?

What about those who are waiting?  Those who have yet to hear God’s answer, His direction, or His plan; what must we do for them?  We are called to “encourage the disheartened” and “help the weak.”  Do you know someone who has been waiting patiently?  Have you taken the time to encourage them lately?  Take time this week to encourage your loved ones who are being patient on God’s timing.

Whatever you are going through at this moment, we are called to be patient. Cast your worries and your concerns on the Lord, and He will remove them from you.  Wait (with hope) for His answer to reveal itself to you.  Continue to ask Him to show His plan for your life and give you guidance.  Never stop waiting on the Lord.  Do not grow weary.  As you are patient, your strength will be renewed, He will hear your cry, and you “will soar on wings like eagles.”

Father, help us to be patient.  Whether we are going through trials and waiting on You to rescue us or whether we are being patient on Your answer, remind us that You hear our cries.  Give direction and guidance to those who ask for it.  Reveal Your plans who call upon Your name, O Lord.  Keep us from fretting, help us to be joyful, give us peace, and give us patience. We love You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Is There a Limit to Forgiveness?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

1 John 3:19-24

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Twelve years ago today, I woke up late, threw on my clothes as quickly as possible, and rushed to my car to try to make it on time to one of my college classes.  I tuned the radio to my favorite country music radio station only to hear a highly unusual voice.  Instead of my favorite tunes blaring from the radio, national anchorman Dan Rather was reporting and I remember instantly hearing that the Pentagon and the World Trade Center had been attacked and possibly destroyed.  I thought it was a joke played by the morning DJs until I turned to every other preset station on my radio only to hear the exact same news report.  I looked around and saw no one in my neighborhood.  My small piece of the world stood still.  My immediate thought became, “I have missed the rapture.”  My new wife of just over a month had already left for work, but I was certain she had been taken up.  I began driving frantically through various streets to see if anyone else was left.  God gave me a well-deserved dose of, “Don’t forget my commandments” as I thought about all the reasons I must not have been called up with the others.  Who did I not forgive?  Did God forgive me for all of the sins I had committed? Eventually, I realized the rapture had not occurred, but in some of the darkest hours that America has ever experienced, I thought long and hard about my walk with Christ.

It was just the beginning of a dreadful day that America would never forget.  We watched helplessly as the two tallest buildings in the world fell to the ground in smoke and flames.  We saw the look of horror as thousands of people ran for their lives from the falling buildings.  We heard the cries for help and the screams of those who could not be saved as they fell from the towers.  We saw the Pentagon, our biggest symbol of American defense, go up in flames.  We saw the giant crater in the ground created by heroes who brought down United Flight 93. These are memories, images, and sounds that are etched in our minds.  The feelings of sorrow were overwhelming.  In the next few days, America would come together like she never had before to bring the “faceless cowards” to justice.  In the coming months, the sorrow would pass and Americans would show their anger over what had taken place.  It was a natural course of events and emotion over such a devastating loss. We will never forget.  It was a defining moment for our country.


Each September 11, we relive those moments through the images on our televisions and listen to the frantic calls for help.  Those emotions of sorrow and anger tend to re-emerge.  When you think about those days, how do you feel today?  Do you forgive those who took so many lives?  Do you forgive the enemy who would continue to do their best to destroy our troops?  This is where we see the power of God.  It is where we can see His grace superseding our imagination.  If Osama Bin Laden had asked for forgiveness and for Christ to come into his heart as his personal Savior before he died, God would have forgiven him.  It’s at times like these when I am reminded why I am not God.  As Beth Moore says, “God doesn’t work on sense. He works on grace.”

Fortunately, the things we typically must forgive each other do not cost thousands of lives.  Sometimes they are big things, sometimes they are small things, but God never calls us not to forgive one another.  His grace is a model for everyone we should and must forgive.  When I think about God’s grace for us, I am humbled beyond belief.  When I really and truly stop to think deeply about it, I am brought to my knees.  Chuck Swindoll says it best:

“Grace has to be the loveliest word in the English language. It embodies almost every attractive quality we hope to find in others. Grace is a gift of the humble to the humiliated. Grace acknowledges the ugliness of sin by choosing to see beyond it. Grace accepts a person as someone worthy of kindness despite whatever grime or hard-shell casing keeps him or her separated from the rest of the world. Grace is a gift of tender mercy when it makes the least sense.”

We have all made mistakes that we wish we hadn’t made.  The blood of Jesus washes those away.  Those closest to us can choose to accept or reject us because of our sinful actions.  Our passages this week call for bitterness to be gone, for kindness to shine, and love with forgiveness to prevail “just as in Christ God forgave you.”  If you find those closest to you distance themselves from you after you ask for forgiveness, ask yourself if they are following what Christ asked them to do.  If not, it may be time to cut those relationships.  Attempting to stay close to those who can’t even forgive their closest friends will ultimately lead you to be like them: unforgiving.  Jesus doesn’t call us to forgive others when we feel like it or at a distance.  He asks us to forgive people like God forgave us through Christ.  That is, we are completely reconciled with Him and we will live with Him for eternity. 

If those closest to you exhibit the grace of God, forgiving with “tender mercy when it makes the least sense,” don’t lose those people in your life.  They will remain close to you forever as they emulate God, His commandments, and His love.

How are you forgiving others?  Are you the one forgiving from your heart?  Do you only speak the words “I forgive,” but don’t truly forgive?  Or, perhaps your heart has become cold and bitterness has set in, so that forgiveness seems impossible?  God has no limit on forgiveness.  He forgives when we think it is impossible.  As we read in the parable, when we owe Him far more than we have (including the value of our family), God still forgives.  Are you forgiving like Him?  If not, take this moment, get on your knees and ask God to heal your heart so that you can forgive others as He forgives us.

Maybe it is not others who you need to forgive.  Instead, maybe you need to forgive yourself?  You have something awful in your past you wish you hadn’t done, you find yourself losing relationships with others because of your own sinful actions, or maybe you have deeply hurt those closest to you?  When these things happen, we are often filled with overwhelming guilt.  While others may not exhibit Christ’s grace toward us in these situations as we discussed previously, it is not typically the people in our lives that lack grace that affect us the most. It is our conscious and the Accuser (Revelation 12:10), who accuses us “day and night” before God.  Thankfully, just as God is greater than Satan, He is also “greater than our hearts.”  It will take time and it is a process, but He can take away the pain.

It is time to forgive those who have hurt us.  It is time to forgive ourselves.  God is greater than all we are.  And, if He forgives us, then how can we (as lowly sinners), be conceited enough to think we should not forgive others or ourselves? 

Father, restore us.  Forgive us.  Help us to forgive others as well as ourselves.  Restore broken relationships.  Restore in us a clean heart.  Renew our spirit.  Remind us of Your ways.  Make forgiveness a part of our lives as we remember that You, Father, are greater than us and greater than our hearts.  Bring reconciliation to our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.

Proverbs 14:23

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Genesis 2:1-3

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Many of us in the U.S. celebrated Labor Day this week.  It’s the unofficial close to summer as we swarm to the lakes and other 3-day weekend vacations for one last hurrah as kids head back to school and we prepare for the cool weather that will soon be arriving as autumn approaches.  It’s a picturesque time in our lives when we spend time with our family and friends away from the workplace.  We remember what life is like away from our jobs. We stop everything and focus on the people in our lives that we love and enjoy being around.

When we think about work, there are two sides of the spectrum: those that don’t work at all and those that work too much.  It’s important for us to remember that work is a gift.  It may sound ironic to say that, but what would happen if we couldn’t work?  Among other things, there would be no one to provide electricity to our homes, no actors for the TV shows we watch, no software developers to make our computers work, and no hardware engineers to make our mobile devices.  It doesn’t sound like a very fun world, does it?  It’s important to remember that hard work brings a profit and doing nothing will certainly bring you to poverty as King Solomon stated.  If you dreaded heading back to work Tuesday morning after Labor Day, remember that hard work will enable you to profit.  Be thankful to God that you have a job.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Remembering work is a gift will help you to remember to do it joyfully for the love of our Father (see Colossians 3:23-24).  Your hard work will certainly be rewarded.

On one side of the spectrum, we find the lazy; those who could find and get a job, but choose not to do so.  Note that none of the verses in today’s passages praise laziness nor will you find a Bible verse that does so.  If you select this path, you are taking the path to poverty.  What was true during the reign of King Solomon still stands true today.  Doing nothing will result in nothing.  That is, if you do not work, do not expect to receive anything in return.  Remember that your decisions are your own, and others that do work hard are never required to meet your needs if you have a clear ability and opportunity to work.

But, what about the other end of the spectrum?  What about those who work too hard?  Starting out at the beginning of the Bible, we read about the great things that can be accomplished when we work.  However, we are also reminded that we need to rest.  Recent studies suggest that Americans work harder than any other country.  Statistics from the Bureau of Labor in those same reports indicate that over 20% of the workforce is spending 49 hours per week or more at their jobs.  This seems interesting and counter-intuitive as studies that show resting rather than working longer hours can actually increase productivity.  For those of us who are working more, why are we doing it?  It could be everything that we have to pay for.  I remember a time when my family had one car, and that was all we could afford, so we didn’t buy another.  It was an era before credit cards and large mountains of debt became part of the cultural norm.  Today, it is not uncommon for families to have more TVs than people in the house, smartphones that cost us several hundred dollars per month, high-speed Internet that has become a necessity, and, of course, we “need” cable TV and the ability to stream Netflix.  Just one of those “needs” is typically an expensive car, which comes with an average car payment of $475 per month.  In addition, the American Bankers’ Association reports that the average American household has $8,000 in credit card debt to pay off.  Is it any wonder that the trend appears to be that Americans are working more hours? 

If you find yourself on this side of the fence, where you seem to work far more than you should, it’s time to see how you can start cutting back.  Start getting yourself out of debt, so you don’t have to work as much. As Dave Ramsey would say, “Don’t let your money control you.  Start controlling your money.”  All of those things that you “need” are making you tired and spend time away from those you love the most.  Remember that when God was done with His work by creating the entire universe, He rested.  This is an example we should all be following.  Isn’t it interesting that God sets the schedule of the workweek thousands of years before anyone even thought of electricity; or, even the wheel, for that matter?  You may not be able to work 5 days on and 2 days off, but it is important to stop and rest just as our Father set the example.  After all, if we are made in His image, then what is good for Him is good for us.  Rearrange to make your life complete by working the way our Father does.  If our Almighty God needed rest from His hard work, then there is no doubt that rest is also essential for our health, heart, mind, and soul.

Father, remind us that when we serve others, we are serving you.  May we work hard for our employers as we would work hard for you.  Enable us to make the changes in our lives who need to make rest essential. For those that need employment, may you open doors that will lead them in the direction You want them.  For those who are not working, but could easily find a job, remind them that what they do will affect their lives and is representative of how others view You as they set the example for how others view You.  Open their hearts and minds to remind them that work is a gift from You. We love You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For further study, read Proverbs 22:7 and think about how debt can continue to make you a slave to your job.

Taking the Fear out of Fear Itself

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

If Jeremiah had written this passage today, I am certain he would have written it after watching an awesome episode of Doomsday Preppers.  If you haven’t seen the television show, it is about people preparing for anything from economic collapse to earthquakes to meteors hitting the Earth.  They put together a bunch of preparations, including food storage, water storage, weapons, advanced security plans, and even travel plans to “bug out” in case something happens.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being prepared for emergencies, but what I am saying is that while each show is different, all of the people who are prepping have one thing in common:  fear.  They are all afraid of something, and that fear has them preparing to deal with it.  Many times, it consumes each dollar they have and every second of their lives.  On their death bed, if the fear never materialized, I wonder if they would spend their life doing the same thing if they were able to have a “do-over?”  Or, would they feel they wasted their life with fear?  I think if Jeremiah were alive today, he’d probably give them the exact same advice he does in our passage: Trust the Lord and have confidence in Him because you will then have no fear or worry.

Remember Y2K?  Yeah, I didn’t either until I got to thinking about what we do when we are fearful, just like some of the preppers on the show are working to take action against their biggest fear.  For several years before the turn of the century, everyone was stocking up on everything from toilet paper to gasoline and when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day, guess what? Nothing happened.  When we do things out of fear, we often make wrong decisions, including wasting both time and money.  Remembering that God is in control (and that we are not) can reduce our fears, and ultimately, eliminate them altogether.

While you may not be someone hoarding goods for the next zombie apocalypse, what is your fear?  Are you afraid that something will happen to your children?  Afraid you will fail?  Afraid you will make others angry?  Afraid someone will hurt you?  Maybe your fear is that no one cares about you?  Or, are you afraid your health will fail?  Perhaps you are not in a persistent paralyzed state of fear, but you are always worrying about something.  Notice how Jeremiah deals with that aspect, too.  That is, he not only deals with fear, but he deals with worry.  If you have nothing to fear, then you have nothing to worry about.  In logical, consecutive order, he handles the fear first and then the worry, because overcoming the fear will cause the worry to cease.

If overcoming our fear is the main issue, how do we defeat the fear that plagues our minds?  Jeremiah tells us that we can prevail over fear if we trust in the Lord and have confidence in Him.  I wonder how much fear little David had when he went up against the giant, Goliath?  Beth Moore says it best when she said, “We should remember to measure the size of our obstacles against the size of our God.  We tend to measure our obstacles with our own strength.  No giant will ever be a match for a big God with a little rock.”  When you stop and think about how big our God is who created the entire universe, what is there to fear?  And, if there is nothing to fear, what is there to worry about?  Whatever your fear, God will see you through it.  He is and always will be bigger than any fear that you can fathom.

A good friend of mine contends that “fear” really stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.  Sometimes the size of our obstacle makes it falsely appear that our fears are justified.  Consider this:

1 Samuel 17:23-24

23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.

An entire army fled from just seeing one man. He didn’t even have to do anything.  They literally bolted in fear when they saw him.  If we act like the Israelites did and we continue to fear, we will never move forward.  David, probably only about 15 years old at the time, takes off his armor because he wasn’t used to it, picked up his 5 smooth stones and slays the giant that had scared off an entire army.  What would have happened if he let fear overtake him?  Rather than let fear persuade him to run away, David, the man after God’s own heart, knew that he had a big God . . .bigger than any giant.  Let me ask you; how big is your God?

Years ago, after I was diagnosed with a genetic eye condition and told that I was going to lose all of my sight, I remember going through a long stage of fear.  Questions filled my mind like, “Who would marry a blind man?  How will I ever find a job?  How could people love someone who can’t see?  Will my friends still want to be around me?”  I’ve been happily married for over 12 years now, I’ve never been without a job, and I have some of the best friends one could ever possibly hope for.  They would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them.  I didn’t need to fear and I didn’t need to worry.  Just like you, I’m not perfect.  We all have fears at times.

Remember being afraid of the dark when you were a child?  It wasn’t the blackness that you were afraid of, it was what could lie within the things you couldn’t see . . . the unknown.  These same fears may still haunt us today.  Maybe you’re afraid of what is in the dark, or maybe you are simply afraid of what you cannot see in your future?  Think back on your life.  Of all of the fears you have had, which ones were truly worth worrying about?  Typically, none of those fears were worth the time spent worrying about them because our fears are defeated as the Lord enables us to persevere.  As Jeremiah notes, we need to grow deep roots so during the hard times in life or in the presence of our biggest fears, we remain steadfast in the strength of our God.  Have you been able to grow those roots and develop an undeniable trust and confidence in Him?  Or, have we made our God so small in our minds that we constantly worry and are fearful of many things?  I love how Jon Acuff takes on the topic of fear in his book, Start, specifically talking about “punching fear in the face.”  Realizing that our God is bigger than any of our fears is the starting point of becoming a stronghold, fearful of nothing, knowing that God always works for the good in every situation (Romans 8:28), and is constantly molding us to be more like Him.  But, in order for us to become like Him, we first need full and complete trust in Him.

What are some practical ways we can beat fear and begin to trust God with our entire being?  The first answer is to pray and spend time with God as noted in last week’s devotional, “Do You Have the Time?  The second part is to admit your fear.  Admit it to God.  Admit it to those you trust the most.  Most of us never talk about our fears. Obviously, because we are afraid of them.  When you talk with your closest friends and family, you are likely to find that they have many of the same fears you do.  You’ll feel less alone, because they can help alleviate your fears by supporting you.  Take the time right now to call, text, Facebook, IM, Skype, DM on Twitter, or somehow contact your best friend at this moment to take your first step in overcoming your fear.  The voices of fear in your mind constantly tell you that you should continue to worry about your fears.  It’s time to silence those voices.  It’s time to remember that our God is a big God.  “No giant will ever be a match for a big God with a little rock.”

Father, help us to place all of our trust in You.  Remind us that you are a big God; bigger than anything we can possibly fathom.  Eliminate our fears and rid our mind of worry.  Fill our hearts and minds with the promises that You have given us, and remind us that You will always be there for us even in the midst of our biggest fears. No matter the circumstances, may we feel Your presence in every situation we face. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

For further study, read Psalm 1:1-3. Think about how this passage suggests that trust is similar to obedience as obedience and spending time with the Lord creates trust in Him.

Do You Have the Time?

A View of the Guiding Light in a World of Darkness is a weekly devotional that seeks to apply Biblical principles to our everyday lives, written by inspirational speaker, Jeremy Curry.

Feeling lonely? Need hope and encouragement? Then, don’t miss this week’s devotional. The message could change your life.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Romans 15:4

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Luke 5:16

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Gone are the days of the wrist watch.  Often beautifully banded in silver or gold watches have been replaced by the durable, everyday worn plastic and metal used in our smartphones.  Before all of us had a digital clock at the ready in our pocket, there would be times that we would have to stop and ask a stranger, “Do you have the time?”  In today’s busy world, we don’t even have the time to stop to ask what the time is.  The smartphones that have replaced our wristwatches have made it so convenient to stay connected to everyone that we often don’t even talk to each other anymore.  Instead of picking up the phone to call a friend, we send them a text.  If we want to congratulate someone or wish them happy birthday, we put it on Facebook.  It seems so odd that we have started to communicate this way when studies suggest that over 90% of our communication is nonverbal.  This new way of communicating to one another has made us so connected to the world that we have, in fact, become detached from one another.

With the limited amount of time we have available, what are we doing with it? On average, Facebook users spent an average of 6 hours 44 minutes on the site last March. What about other social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn?  A news report from CNBC late last year shows that Americans spent a combined total of 121 billion minutes on social media sites in July 2012.  In case you don’t want to do the math in your head; that is about 230,060 years of time consumed in just one month!  And, we can only assume that the number has increased as social media continues to become a greater part of our lives.  What if you are less of a social media buff and still interested in good, old-fashioned TV?  Statistics tell us that the average American watches about 4 hours of TV per day.  Taking those numbers into account, you will have watched TV for a total of 9 years by the time you reach 65.  Surprised? I know I was. 

Why all of the statistics about what we are doing with our time?  They’re just numbers anyway, right?  Wrong. The first verse we study this week tells us that we should seek first His kingdom.  For some reason, God didn’t tell me that I should check Him out on Facebook first by doing some type of awesome sleuth work via Facebook-stalking.  Or, that I should lurk in the background and watch his tweets, and even more odd, He didn’t ask me to check out his cool ideas on Pinterest.  Maybe He will join Instagram soon and I’ll only need to look at pictures and videos He posts? <smile> God doesn’t ask us to do any of those things.  Instead, we often read about seeking God first via reading His Word, including David teaching Solomon (the wisest man ever) to seek Him (see 1 Chronicles 28:9).  While you and I may not be exactly the same as “average” as the statistics suggest, we should be asking what we are doing with our time.  Are we spending it working, are we spending it on Facebook, or are we spending time truly seeking God?

Obviously, most of us are spending time doing other things.  Maybe we need to take a better look at why we should be seeking God?  I think if we are honest with ourselves, spending time with God is one of the most difficult challenges we face.  Why?  Perhaps because we can’t see Him? Or, perhaps because we can’t audibly hear Him?  But, let me ask you:  How good is your relationship with your friends that you never spend time with?  How close are you to the people you never invite over to your house?  Relationships are about time.  We must invest time with each other if we want to become close to someone.  The same is true for God.  I don’t know about you, but I would love to feel closer to God every single day of my life.  Do you need encouragement in your life? Do you need hope?  Our passage from Romans this week specifically tells us spending time in God’s Word gives us those things.  Hope and encouragement are something I can sure use more of.  How about you?  This is exactly why we should be spending more time with our Father.  God loves us so much that His command as simple as to seek Him brings us to an emotional state that we all want.

Not only does seeking Him via reading His Word and praying bring us hope and encouragement, but it helps subdue our fears.  After all, hope and fear have an extremely difficult time co-existing as hope wipes out the fear from our minds.  It keeps us on a righteous path God wants us to follow. 

Have you ever had a specific point in your life when you veered from the path?  I know I have.  I explicitly remember one time I went off the path and when I came back, I found that the time I took a wrong turn was when I had ceased doing my daily devotional.  The lack of spending time with God sent me spiraling in the way of the wicked.  Have you been there?  Christian speaker, David Edwards, said it best this way, “All rebellion begins in isolation.”  When we don’t spend time with God, we are isolating ourselves from Him, opening ourselves up to enemy attack.  As we read in Luke chapter 5, even Jesus, who is closest to the Father, often “withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  Wow.  If the Savior of the world needed to be with our Father and pray, how much time should we, as sinners, be spending in prayer with God? 

Let’s take a challenge together this week.  The next time we want to turn on the TV or grab our smartphone or tablet; let’s instead open God’s Word.  Or, take that time and pray.  I’m certain our Facebook and TV can wait while we do what our Father in Heaven asks us to do and seek Him.  When we do the will of our Almighty God, who immeasurably loves us more than anything else, we will be blessed.  Our fears will subside.  We will be given hope.  We will have encouragement.  Are these things you want?  Then, let me ask you, “Do you have the time?”

Father, we ask that you bless us this week as we work to seek You as You have asked us to do.  Please bless us by making our fears subside, by giving us hope and encouragement.  Grow our friendships closer with others, strengthen our families, and renew our relationship with you and others who need our time as we make You a priority in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.