Take Courage in the Face of Tribulation

Jesus with His Disciples

Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33).

On this occasion, Jesus was talking with His apostles shortly before His death. He warned them that they would be scattered, which would happen when He was arrested (Matthew 26:56). However, despite the fact that these men would leave Him, Jesus knew that the Father would not leave Him so that He was “not alone.

Jesus encouraged them with the fact that He had “overcome the world.” It is important to note that this was said prior to the crucifixion and resurrection. Yet these events were so certain, Jesus could speak of them as though they had already happened. They were still in the future, yet they were facts. He told them this to give them the courage to endure the trials they would face (cf. John 16:2).

The Lord’s disciples continue to face tribulation even today. Paul encouraged the brethren on his first preaching tour “to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:22). We suffer in this life on account of persecution, sin, hardship, sickness, and more. Yet we can “take courage” just as the apostles were told to do.

So how can we “take courage” in the face of tribulation? Jesus made three points in our text – reasons why His disciples can take courage.Continue Reading

“In the Lord I Take Refuge”

Mountain with Bird

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain; for, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart” (Psalm 11:1-2).

Throughout his life, David faced numerous challenges, hardships, and trials. All of us will face difficulties in life, though the severity and duration will vary. Job succinctly described this reality: “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1).

However, in the passage above, David confidently declared that he was able to “take refuge” in the Lord. God was able to provide him with the security and hope that he desperately needed. The same is true for us – we must “take refuge” in the Lord. David wrote elsewhere, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

Why was David confident that he could take refuge in the Lord? Why are we able to have the same confidence? The psalmist provided four reasons:Continue Reading

When Life Is Hard

Two Women Praying

At the beginning of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul provided a glimpse into the difficulties he faced in his life: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). Most or all of the hardships that Paul faced were due to his work in preaching the gospel.

There can be many reasons why we face hardships in life – not just for preaching as was the case with Paul. Yet even when we suffer for other reasons, these hardships can cause us to feel the same way as Paul described.

When we face hardships in life, the specific way in which we handle them depends a lot on the nature of the hardships (financial problems, personality conflicts, health issues, difficult temptations, etc.). However, there are some principles that will apply to all types of hardships. These are important to remember, especially if we are not yet sure what specific course of action we should take.Continue Reading

Through Many Tribulations: Introduction

Through Many Tribulations

As Paul and Barnabas returned to the churches they established during their first preaching tour, they encouraged the disciples to “continue in the faith” as they would go “through many tribulations” in order to “enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The kingdom to which this referred was not the church – these brethren were already in the church. Instead, this was the eternal kingdom where we will enjoy the reward of heaven. These Christians would have to endure “many tribulations” before they reached that reward.Continue Reading

The Psalm of the Word (Part 4): Strength

The Psalm of the Word

My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.

I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.

Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.

My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.

I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.

I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!

I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart.

(Psalm 119:25-32)

All of us will face difficulties in life. Job said, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1, KJV). In this lesson, we will focus on how God’s word is our source of strength, particularly when we are dealing with difficult circumstances in life. During such times, we must turn to God’s word to find the strength that we need.
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