Thursday, August 19, 2010

Preparing for Trials

This world and our country are getting closer and closer to serious trials, and some of us are getting closer to trials in the Church of God as well. We need to draw closer to God to prepare for those trials.

It is God who gives wisdom and understanding for making decisions, and the decisions we may have to make can have dramatic effects on our future destinies (Deuteronomy 34:9, 1 Kings 3:12, 1 Kings 5:12, Psalm 111:10, James 1:5). We need to draw close to God so we will make right and wise decisions.

One of the ways we can draw close to God and prepare for trials is to spend more time reading or studying the Bible. We should immerse ourselves in God's word.

The Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is God speaking. And God commands that we live by His word.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He answered every temptation Satan threw at Him by quoting from scripture. "Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" ' " (Matthew 4:3-4).

The Holy Spirit can bring to our mind the scriptures we have read when we need them in time of temptation or when facing a decision (John 14:26). But we need to do our part to read the Bible so that we have the scriptures in our minds, so God can help us remember them when we need them. But we cannot remember what we never knew or read.

Many Church members have never read the whole Bible through cover to cover. If you have not done so, I encourage you to try it. Start with Genesis, read a little each day, use a bookmark to keep track of where you have left off, and keep it up until you finish Revelation. I recommend a literal translation such as the New King James version, which tries to be as close as possible to the original language that God inspired.

We cannot live by every word of God if we have not read every word of God.

The Bible is the Word of God (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3, Proverbs 30:5, Mark 7:10-13, John 10:34-36). Jesus Christ is also called the Word of God (John 1:1-2, 14, Revelation 19:11-13). Mr. Armstrong explained that the Bible is the Word of God in print and Jesus Christ is the Word of God in person, the same word. We are to feed on Jesus Christ (John 6:53-58), and one of the ways we can do that is by studying the Bible.

The Bible shows us the mind of God and how He thinks, and by studying God's word in an attitude of belief and profound respect, and then applying what we learn, we can with the help of God's Spirit develop the mind and character of God and receive the wisdom to make right decisions and the character and help to endure trials (Philippians 2:5). Studying the Bible is a way we can stir up God's Spirit within us (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

"Thus says the Lord: 'Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,' Says the Lord. 'But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:1-2).

Here are links to related sections in Preaching the Gospel:

Our Attitude and Approach Towards God's Word, Chapter 1

How to Understand the Bible, Chapter 1

Focusing on the Bible, Chapter 5

The Source of Our Beliefs, Chapter 6

Faith, Chapter 6

God Speaks Through the Bible, Chapter 6

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