25 Ways You Can and Must Stand Firm

1 Peter - Stand Firm - theme

It is undeniable that our culture has shifted, and more and more we are going to feel opposition to our faith. But . . . God is greater, the gospel is true, and victory is certain. Peter was convinced of that. “I have written to you briefly, encouraging and assuring you that this (gospel) is the true grace of God. So, stand firm in it!” (1 Peter 5:12).

I spent a lot of time last week thinking about what it means to stand firm, and what it really looks like. I want to share some of those thoughts with you. And, an exercise you might consider is praying through these 25 ways in which you can stand firm in your faith.

So, what does it mean to stand firm and what does it look like?

  1. stand firm, proud to say that you love Jesus, unashamed to be called a Christian, even if being a Christian is a negative stereotype in our culture
  2. stand firm even though you may be in the minority, even though you are outnumbered and feel intimidated
  3. stand firm when you are insulted or opposed, not shrinking back, not retreating into the shadows, but being a light and pointing people to Jesus
  4. stand firm, no matter what others say about you or what others do to you
  5. stand firm in your convictions, as Paul said to Timothy, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced”
  6. stand firm on Jesus Christ as the foundation and cornerstone of your life, as your Savior and Lord, and as the one who shapes your worldview, your beliefs, and your values
  7. stand firm, never wavering in your belief that the Bible is the very word of God; trusting it, submitting to it, and obeying it
  8. stand firm when you have doubts, going back to the roots of your faith and remembering the greatness and trustworthiness of God
  9. stand firm when you’re hurting, knowing that God cares about you, and leaning on the goodness and comfort of God
  10. stand firm in faith when you’re confused, trusting that God is in control, and that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him
  11. stand firm in your character, committed to integrity and holiness, being conformed to the image of Christ, and truly desiring to look like Jesus and live like Jesus
  12. stand firm, resisting temptation, saying no to anything that would disappoint God, and dreading the thought of dishonoring Him
  13. stand firm when you are alone, when no one else is looking
  14. stand firm, refusing to make an idol of anything in this world, nor finding your security in anything in this world
  15. stand firm by discerning the error in the prevailing secular opinion of our day, never drifting from the truth of God
  16. stand firm in who you are in Christ, as “chosen” by God, you His child and He your Father, experiencing a personal, intimate, day by day, moment by moment relationship with Him
  17. stand firm in His grace, never forgetting that He has forgiven you of everything you’ve ever done wrong, never forgetting that He did not treat you as you deserved, but instead was merciful and granted you grace
  18. stand firm at the foot of the cross, with humility remembering the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus, always grateful that He paid the penalty for your sin, that He died for you
  19. stand firm, convinced of the supernatural resurrection of Jesus, proving that He is the Son of God and proving that everything He ever said is true
  20. stand firm in obedience, doing all that God has commanded you to do as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ
  21. stand firm at school
  22. stand firm at work
  23. stand firm in your neighborhood
  24. stand firm in the certainly of your salvation, knowing that one day you will see Jesus face to face and spend eternity with Him in heaven, in a place He called Paradise
  25. stand firm with joy, yes life may be difficult, but live with joy because of the certainty of your ultimate victory in Christ

2 people like this post.

Atheists Respond to Why I Believe

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about defending our faith and the need to know why we believe what we believe. The introduction to the message was a video of tough questions by Hemant Mehta, known as the “friendly atheist.” Well, Hemant posted my sermon video on his website and asked his audience to respond. Over 800 people watched the sermon and 70 posted their comments on the Friendly Atheist website. Here are some of the responses from atheists to my sermon, in which I explained why we believe Christianity is true.

  • “I watched for 37 minutes and couldn’t take it anymore. This guy just regurgitated the brainwashing sales pitch for God … I find it so entertaining to watch snake oil salesmen pitch an invisible product. It’s sad that so many fall for their BS.”
  • “Once again my allergy to BS overcame my ability to watch the whole thing.”
  • “There’s no point in listening to a word he says.”
  • “Well, that was a whole lotta nothing.”
  • “Christians are so deliberately ignorant.”
  • “Danger of overdose! Aspirin!”
  • “I watched a good bit of this, and would agree that the pastor has got an engaging schtick and appears to earnestly believe what he claims … But if Watson’s presentation is the best wisdom Christian thinking can produce, surely we’re not going to be arguing over this stuff much longer!”
  • “Dear preacher dude, you a liar con artist. I’m not going to watch anymore of the video of you BSing everyone because it’s too stupid. You’re an idiot thick-headed rich preacher dude with the vested interest in playing stupid.”

One friend reminded me that sometimes angry responses are result past hurt. Maybe he’s right. The church is not perfect, and no one in it. So, I can see how some people could be wounded from past circumstances and now so angry that they  totally reject God.

But one post surprised me. A regular reader of the Friendly Atheist, said, “Just something I’ve been pondering lately. Can you share your beliefs and explanations as to how by one lucky roll of the cosmic dice we as humans feel right and wrong? How do we have a written moral code that we all live by and agree on, for the most part? We all mostly agree that murder, affairs, and child abuse are wrong across all different belief systems? Why does seeing a baby dying of an irreversible health condition break our hearts? In fact, what is a ‘heart’ outside of the literal meaning? What is our conscience and where does it come from?” I was encouraged that one person started to wonder and question atheism’s inability to explain morality from an evolutionary perspective. So maybe there was one who was open to the Christian answer.

Here’s a link to the sermon from the Stand Firm series that got so much attention. http://vimeo.com/104738299

 

5 people like this post.

Life @ Work

Here is a graphic summarizes the six ingredients to making work … work. It might be helpful to print this out and put somewhere you can see it throughout your workday.

Life@work handout 2013

Your work is a calling. And it honors God when you reflect His character in the way you do your job. And He wants you to enjoy your job and to have a passion about doing what you do best. And thank Him for your job, for giving you a way to provide for your family. And as you make money, remember the needy, and remember His Kingdom’s work as you invest in what will last for eternity. And certainly remember that your job is your mission field. You are not just a teacher or salesman or executive, you are a missionary.

Psalm 90 is a prayer written by Moses because he believed that work mattered to God. “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17, ESV). The word “establish” means stabilize, as in laying the foundation of a building. It also refers to sinking deep roots, to ensure fruitfulness. It means giving favor and making successful. So another version reads, “May the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!” (Psalm 90:17, NLT).

5 people like this post.

On Mission at Work

Work with a mission, realizing that your job is a platform from which you can point people to Jesus.

Life Apps - title - work

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16, NAS). I know the context is broader than working 9 to 5, but surely it includes working 9 to 5. Let the way you live, let the way you work, glorify God and point people to Jesus.

There should be a marriage of your career with the Great Commission. Your job is just as important as the missionary in Africa. All of us are called into full-time Christian ministry. Your job is your mission field. Your job description is that of a missionary. Your job is a platform from which you can point people to Jesus.

Three people in my informal survey talked about their desire to be a witness at work.

  • “I don’t want it to be just a job. I want it to be a mission field. So as I drive to work, I pray for my co-workers one at a time by name.”
  • “I know non-Christians are watching me every day at work, expecting me to prove that I’m a hypocrite.”
  • “I really believe my work is a ministry. I may be the only Jesus my co-workers ever see.”

Don’t forget the ultimate reason we are on this planet. We who have heard the good news are to declare the good news. Your job is your mission field. Your job description is that of a missionary. Your job is a platform from which you can point people to Jesus.

 

2 people like this post.

Work to be Generous

From the fruit of your work, give generously to those in need and give to support God’s kingdom work.

Life Apps - title - work

Paul made this comment about work. “Do something useful with your hands, that you may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

In the Old Testament this is called the practice of gleaning. God told His people, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor” (Leviticus 23:22, ESV). From the money we earn, we are set aside some for those in need.

We are also to support God’s kingdom work. Proverbs 3 tells us to “honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10, NAS). The Bible also says that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NAS).

My brother-in law, Jimmy, is one of the most generous people I know. He is a “cheerful giver,” and has the spiritual gift of giving. He keeps a stash of books and CDs in his truck and is always giving them away to encourage people. His church has a lot of college students, and most Sundays he takes several students out to lunch. I remember the time he bought a brand new computer, and it wasn’t even out of the box, and he gave it to someone who needed one. He also led two trips to Alabama to help tornado victims a couple of years ago. Jimmy is spontaneously generous and freely gives to anyone he sees in need.

And I think that’s how God wants all of us to live. And we should, because everything we have comes from the generous hand of God.

But what about giving to the church? Why does God want your money? He doesn’t need your money, so why does God want your money? To prove He has your heart. God commanded Israel, “You shall surely tithe (10%) all the produce from what you sow (from what you harvest) … in order that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always” (Deuteronomy 14:22-23). And this applies to us. The tithe was, and is, about worship. And it was to be given “in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand” (Deuteronomy 14:29).

Yes, we are to provide for families. But from the fruit of our work, we are also to be generous to those in need and support God’s kingdom work.

 

3 people like this post.