At The Cross

Steve Arterburn

As you travel the long, difficult road that God’s calling you to walk, you must bear a cross.  That cross represents the burdens you bear as a follower of Christ.  But the way of the cross always leads to resurrection and a new life.

As God leads you to do his will you may wish there were some other way.  You may feel fear, a lack of confidence, deep anguish, and a host of other emotions that threaten to stop you in your tracks.  Regardless of your feelings, you mustn’t let them cause you to turn away from the path God sets before you.

Jesus understands your fears and your struggle to persevere.  He had similar emotions.  The night he was arrested, he cried out, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death’ (Matthew 26:38).  He wondered if there was some other way and prayed three times for the suffering to be taken away, if possible.  But he always ended his prayer, ‘Yet I want your will, not mine’ (Matthew 26:39).  Jesus found the grace to accept God’s plan.

You may be overwhelmed as you consider the cross you’ll have to bear on the way to a new life.  But during such times of struggle, you can go to Jesus for encouragement and express your deepest emotions.  As you cry out for help, you can be confident that you will be given the strength you need to do God’s will rather than your own.

Bringing Our Hard Questions To God

Steve Arterburn

Life often seems unfair, doesn’t it?  Because of this many men conclude God is unreasonable in his demands.  This is what a man named Job thought.  As you probably remember Job was a man who lost his all of his children, his wealth, his health, and his reputation.  

In the midst of his suffering, Job cried, ‘How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble! Like a flower, we blossom for a moment and then wither.  Like the shadow of passing cloud, we quickly disappear.  Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature and demand an accounting from me?  Who can create purity in one born impure?’ (Job 14:1-4).

That’s a good question’one that most of us have asked in one form or another.  Job persisted in his questioning because deep inside he believed God to be good, even though he was suffering terribly.  He was honest with his emotions and questions, but he never stopped seeking God.

Are you suffering?  Have you lost someone you love?  Have you received bad news from the doctor?  Lost your home or job?  While working through the pain and unfairness of life, you may have to be satisfied with trusting God, even though you simply don’t understand.  But be assured’if you trust God and seek him in the hard times, your good Father will respond with blessing and faith.

David

Steve Arterburn

We know more about the spiritual life of David than probably any other person in the Bible.  The extensive record of his life and the Psalms he wrote show us that he studied and meditated upon God’s word, he fasted, and that his entire life was yielded to God’s service.  

Two things he did stand out to me:  he worshiped and he prayed.  These spiritual exercises renewed David’s spirit over and over again.

For example, David’s first role in the king’s court was as a musician.  His ministry of worship touched Saul’s heart, as it has untold millions of others since David lived.  His worship is so powerful because it’s a natural, unforced mixture of David’s heart (when he was up and when he was down) with an unwavering faith in a gracious, almighty God.  

His prayers often begin with an honest confession of anger, despair, or frustration.  He didn’t hide his feelings from God and he didn’t pretend that he was ‘super-spiritual.’  Spiritual renewal flows from the freedom to be totally honest with God.  Psalm 145 is a good example of what I’m talking about.  Read Psalm 145 and you will see David’s progression from anxiety and distress to faith filled assurance and confidence.

When you consider the worship and prayer in David’s life, you soon recognize that being someone after God’s own heart doesn’t mean you never fall’it means when you fall, you look to God to restore your spirit, and you fall to your knees in worship and prayer.