Read an ExcerptTouchPoints
By Ronald A. Beers
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
Ronald A. Beers
All right reserved.
Chapter One ABANDONMENT
Does God abandon me during my difficult times?
PSALM 9:10 | Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:9 | We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
God is always trying to get your attention. Are you aware of him? If you are sincerely seeking him, you are sure to find him because God will never abandon a seeking person. In fact, your difficulties can become the means to look more intently and see God, right by your side.
Does my suffering mean that God has abandoned me?
1 SAMUEL 12:22 | The Lord will not abandon his people.
1 PETER 5:10 | In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
Suffering does not mean God has left you. In fact, it is through suffering that you can experience God's comfort more than ever.
Does God promise to be with me at certain times but not at others?
MATTHEW 28:18, 20 | Jesus came and told his disciples, ... "Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
JOHN 14:16 | [Jesus said,] "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you."
HEBREWS 13:5 | Be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."
God promises to be present with you, in you, and beside you in all circumstances.
Are there things I should abandon, even in these days of tolerance?
JOB 28:28 | This is what [God] says to all humanity: "The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding."
EPHESIANS 4:31 | Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.
Persistent sin will cause you to abandon God. Persistently obeying God will cause you to abandon much sin, which is important even in these days of tolerance.
Promise from God HEBREWS 13:5 d | I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.
How should I accept others?
1 SAMUEL 22:2 | Others began coming-men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented-until David was the captain of about 400 men.
ROMANS 15:7 | Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
Welcome others in the spirit of Christ, not because of position, prestige, power, or personal gain that may come your way. David modeled this acceptance of others while he was fleeing from Saul. As a developing leader, David learned that it wasn't simply a matter of getting the best people but of bringing out the best in the people God brought to him.
What if people have committed terrible sin? Should I still accept them?
ROMANS 8:39 | Nothing ... will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate a person from God's love. In the same way, you should always love others, no matter how great their sin. This does not mean that you accept or condone their sinful actions or ignore the appropriate discipline but that you view and accept them as unique and special creations of God. It is only through love that you bring sinful people back into fellowship with God and others.
I feel so unworthy-does God really accept me?
GENESIS 1:27 | God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
ROMANS 5:8 | God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
EPHESIANS 1:4-5 | Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
You are accepted by God because he made you and created you in his image. Nothing you can do will cause God to love you more because he loves you completely. And nothing you do can cause God to love you less. In fact, God accepts you and loves you so much that he sent his own Son to die for you, to take on himself the punishment for sin you deserve. He died in your place so you can be accepted into eternity with him.
What should I never accept?
2 CHRONICLES 34:3-4 | During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David.... He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down.
ROMANS 6:12 | Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
Never accept or tolerate sin in your life. Never feel satisfied that you sin less than someone else. Everyone has a sinful nature, and everyone has certain sins to which he or she is particularly vulnerable. If you leave sins unchecked, no matter how small, they will begin to grow and spread like malignant tumors, affecting all you think and do.
Promise from God ROMANS 15:7 | Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
How do I become more accountable?
PSALM 1:1 | Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked.
PROVERBS 5:13 | Oh, why didn't I listen to my teachers? Why didn't I pay attention to my instructors?
PROVERBS 12:15 | Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
PROVERBS 27:6 | Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
To become more accountable, follow God's commands as outlined in his Word, the Bible. Part of being accountable is being a good listener and observer. You can learn much about your own behavior by observing others and listening to wise friends whom you respect. And choose wise friends to whom you can freely give an account of yourself.
What happens when there is no accountability?
GENESIS 16:6 | Abram replied, "Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit." Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
JUDGES 17:6 | The people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Left unaccountable, people will always lean toward sin, the consequences of which eventually hurt them and others and pull them away from God. This could happen to you, as well.
How can I choose the right people to hold me accountable?
1 KINGS 12:8, 10-11 | Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him.... The young men replied, "This is what you should tell those complainers: ... 'Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I'm going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!'"
Friends are not always the best advisers, especially if their counsel is not consistent with God's Word.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:8 | To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.
Choose people who are especially wise and godly, who will not hesitate to help you see when you need to realign yourself with God.
PROVERBS 13:17 | An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.
Reliability in telling the truth is critical in those holding you accountable.
How can I effectively hold someone else accountable?
EXODUS 18:21-23 | Select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes.... They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, ... then you will be able to endure the pressures.
TITUS 1:7-9 | An elder ... must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be ... dishonest with money.... He must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.
Before you can help others be accountable, you must not only know God's commands but consistently obey them and always work to develop good judgment yourself. If you are going to minister to others by holding them accountable, you must be wise, honest, godly, trustworthy, and kind.
Promise from God PSALM 119:9 | How can a ... person stay pure? By obeying your word.
Is God listening when I cry out because of my troubles? Does he really hear, and does he care?
PSALM 18:6 | In my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.
MATTHEW 11:28 | Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
God's hotline is always open. There is never a busy signal, and he is never too preoccupied with anything-even managing the universe-to listen to your every need. God has both a listening ear and a caring heart.
Will being faithful to God spare me from adversity?
DANIEL 3:16-20 | Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.... But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear ... that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up." Nebuchadnezzar was so furious ... he commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
ACTS 5:17-18 | The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
The lives of believers in both the Old and New Testaments testify that being faithful to God does not eliminate adversity. When you believe in Jesus, Satan becomes your enemy. He will try to stop you from following God by sending you all kinds of adversity. Recognize that it may be a sign that you are being faithful to God.
NAHUM 1:7 | The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble D comes. He is close to those who trust in him.
In most cases, the Bible doesn't say if trouble will come, but f when trouble comes. No one has lived his or her life without some adversity.
PSALM 27:5, 7-8 | He will conceal me ... when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.... Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."
Sometimes God does rescue you from adversity because of your faithfulness.
Is there any way I can avoid trouble and adversity?
JAMES 1:2-3 | When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
Avoiding adversity may not be best for you. Though hard times may bruise you, they also can build you up and strengthen your faith.
PROVERBS 14:16 | The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
ROMANS 13:14 | Clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
The consequences of sin often bring unneeded adversity into your life. By obeying God's Word, you can avoid many kinds of adversity you might otherwise inflict on yourself.
PROVERBS 17:20 | The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.
PROVERBS 21:23 | Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
Controlling your tongue can help you avoid adversity. Many times trouble can be avoided by using words wisely.
PROVERBS 11:14 | There is safety in having many advisers.
Following advice from godly people will help you avoid trouble.
Promise from God PSALM 46:1 | God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
When is ambition good?
PSALM 119:1-2 | Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
The purest ambition of all is to pursue knowing God and to try to do what he asks.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:11-12 | Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live.
Ambition is good when it is directed at improving the quality of your character, not at promoting your accomplishments.
ROMANS 15:20 | My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard.
A great ambition is to tell others about Jesus wherever you go, as Paul did.
When does ambition become destructive or sinful? What is the danger of ambition?
GENESIS 11:4 | [The people] said, "Come, let's build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world."
Ambition becomes wrong when its goal is to bring glory to yourself instead of the God who gave you your talents and abilities.
MATTHEW 4:9 | "I will give it all to you," [the devil] said, "if you will kneel down and worship me."
Ambition can become destructive if Satan uses it to lure you away from God. You can test your ambition by asking if what you want to do will lead you closer to or further away from God. If you're not sure, then it is likely leading you away from him.
MARK 10:35-37, 41 | James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to [Jesus]. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do us a favor." "What is your request?" he asked. They replied, "When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left." ... When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.
Selfish ambition can twist your friendships and service to God into trivial competitiveness.
How can I use ambition to glorify God?
1 KINGS 8:58 | May [the Lord] give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors.
PSALM 73:25 | Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
Your motives signal whether your actions are based on selfish ambition or on godly ambition. When your greatest desire is to do God's will, when loving and serving others is your greatest goal, and when you focus every day on praising and worshiping God, then you are pursuing the godly ambition of glorifying him.
Promise from God PSALM 119:1-2 | Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
Why do I most often get angry?
GENESIS 4:4-5 | The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did D not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
NUMBERS 22:29 | "You have made me look like a fool!" Balaam shouted.
ESTHER 3:5 | When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.
Anger is often a reaction to your pride being hurt. It is common to feel angry when you have been confronted about your own sinful actions, because you don't want others to think you have done something wrong.
1 SAMUEL 18:8 | Saul [became] very angry. "What's this?" he said. "They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they'll be making him their king!"
Anger is often a reaction of jealousy to what others have or to what others have accomplished.
What are the effects of anger?
GENESIS 27:41-43 | Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: "... I will kill my brother, Jacob." But Rebekah heard about Esau's plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, "Listen, Esau is ... plotting to kill you.... Flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran."
Anger isolates you from others.
Excerpted from TouchPoints by Ronald A. Beers
Copyright © 2009 by Ronald A. Beers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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