“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”
Nahum 1:7

In Nahum’s prophecy, he announced the utter destruction of Nineveh. The Scripture describes the time as a “day of trouble.” People who do not know their Bibles have no concept of the severity of God’s chastisement or judgment that will one day be poured out on this Christ-rejecting world. In spite of the terrible judgment that Nahum pronounced, he reminds us that God is also merciful. The Bible declares, “The LORD is good.” What a true statement! God is good. It cannot be overstated. God is always good. We may not always understand what He does and what He allows, and we may not always agree with the things He does; but we know that He is good. Even in times of trouble, God is good.

Goodness is not just what God does, but it is what He is. Nahum also says that God is “a strong hold in the day of trouble.” He is an anchor in times of difficulty and uncertainty. Trouble can come to any of our lives. As a matter of fact, it will come to all of our lives. We live in perilous times. International terrorism has awakened us to the reality of trouble, both at home and abroad. Thank God we are not alone to our own resources or devices in times of trouble. God is our strong hold. He is an anchor in the time of storm.

Nahum also tells us that the Lord observes our faith: “he knoweth them that trust in him.” The nation would be dealt with severely by the hand of God Almighty. Yet, wherever He could find those who were trusting Him, it would not go unseen. Of course, we realize that nothing escapes the all-seeing eyes of our Creator; but it is comforting to know that whenever we are trusting in the Lord, He is aware. Maybe you have wondered if God knows where you are and what you are going through. He does know; and if you are trusting Him, He knows that as well. He is able to show Himself strong on behalf of those who are depending on Him.

What are we to do in times of conflict and affliction? When chastisement comes to a people, God’s people are not exempt from the consequences. Famines in the Bible
affected the righteous as well as the wicked. God wants us to trust Him when troubles come. We cannot please God without faith. When He sees us relying on Him in our days of difficulty, He knows “them that trust in him.”


“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”
Luke 17:15-17

Thanksgiving Day is one of the favorite holidays in our country. It encourages each of us to do something we know we need to do more of – offer thanks to God. Thanksgiving should be something we do daily, and even continually, not annually. The act of giving thanks reminds us to take inventory and see how good God has been to us. It is good for us to count our blessings and remember the many benefits God has provided. Where would we be without the good hand of God working in our lives?

The Scripture records the story of some lepers who failed to give God thanks, and it is a personal warning to all of us about the danger of ingratitude. Leprosy is a truly dreadful disease, and one can only imagine the joy that would come from being completely cured. Such was the case in this Scripture. All ten of these men cried out to Jesus for mercy, and He answered their plea. However, only one of them returned to give thanks and glory to God.

How could this be, that nine of the lepers failed to return and thank the Great Physician who healed their diseased bodies? There are probably many explanations, but let’s consider just one. It is very common for men to focus more on the blessings received, than on the One who sends the blessings. If we try, we can imagine how it must have felt to be healed of leprosy. The lepers had been isolated because of the disease, separated from families and friends. They lived a life of loneliness and rejection, and endured continual pain. When they found themselves cured, perhaps all they could think about was seeing their families, visiting friends, and making up for time that was lost.

There is nothing wrong with appreciating what God has done, but how wrong it is to think more of the gift than of the Giver. God has been so good to us. He has blessed us immeasurably. Of all the benefits we have received, none can compare to the gift of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. As leprosy is a truly dreadful disease, so is the dreadful disease of ingratitude. May God help us to always be mindful of the One who has healed our souls.


“And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.”
II Kings 3:14, 15

The kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom were going to battle against the king of Moab. As this great company traveled, they found themselves in desperate need of water. The kings decided to visit Elisha to see if he had a word from the Lord for them. As they were seeking counsel from the man of God, Elisha recognized that he needed to get himself in the right frame of mind to advise them. He called for a minstrel, and it was “when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.”

Elisha understood the benefit of proper music. Godly music can have a calming effect on us, and help us mentally and spiritually. We all have times when we need to calm ourselves or get relief from the stress that is so much a part of our lives. Elisha had no respect for some of the men who came to him. The Bible tells us that if it were not for the fact that Jehoshaphat was among them, Elisha would have given them no attention. One can imagine how difficult it might have been for anyone, including the mighty prophet of God, to remove his personal feelings and position his mind and heart where he could be an instrument of God. God’s servant knew that music would help him do this.

It is a wise person who recognizes the power and influence of good music. We know that God can speak to us through the message of music, but good music can also prepare us to receive the Word of God. This is one of the primary purposes of music in the worship service. Congregational music allows the participants to worship the Lord personally through singing, and the message of the church music program should edify and encourage sound doctrine. But, the music should also prepare us to hear God’s Word through preaching. The right music provides a spiritual atmosphere conducive to meeting with and hearing from the Lord. In the Scripture, it was used to drive away the presence of evil. Ungodly music can be counterproductive, grieving the Spirit of God. In our personal lives, homes, or in our churches, we should seek to employ the kind of music that is pleasing to God.


“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
Job 2:9, 10

In so many ways, Job serves as a great example for us. We learn from his testing and experience that good people, even godly people, will have difficulty and hardships in their lives. Whenever we think our trials are intense, we need to remember what Job had to face. Most of our trials pale in comparison to the heartache and loss that came to God’s servant, Job. If the thought ever crosses our minds that our tests are too much for us to handle, we can recall what Job was able to endure.

We are also greatly benefited as we see how Job behaved when his world came crashing in. After a tidal wave of tragedy overtook Job and his wife suggested that he “curse God, and die,” Job did not “sin with his lips.” In the great trial of his life, Job did not sin with his words. We may not always think of how serious it is when we sin with our lips, but in reality, this is one of the most common areas of transgression. Our words and conversations can be as wicked as our actions.

How is it that we sin with our lips? Of course, we would readily admit that profanity and vulgarity would be considered sinful words, but there are other, more common ways that we sin with our lips. One of the familiar ways that we sin with our lips is complaining. Numbers 11:1 says, “… when the people complained, it displeased the LORD.” We all have been guilty of complaining. We may also sin with our lips when we accuse God concerning the circumstances of our lives. Job’s wife urged her husband to “curse God.” We may not understand all the ways of our perfect and holy Father, but we know that His way is perfect and that He is in control. God is good, regardless of what comes our way. Another way we sin with our lips is failing to praise or thank God for the blessings He sends. Job was faithful, even in his heartache, to give God praise and thanks.

We must learn to carefully and consistently judge the words of our mouths. Rather than being guilty of uttering things that are displeasing to God, we need to use our words to glorify the Lord and edify others.


“I am that bread of life. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
John 6:48, 51

The religious people who heard Jesus had some of the same struggles that many have in our day. They were trusting in their tradition and heritage and did not recognize Jesus as the Christ and the Savior of the world. Jesus told them that their responsibility was to trust in Him. They boasted of the way God had given their fathers manna, or bread from Heaven, to eat. This was such an incredible miracle and testimony of God’s provision for the needs of His people. Day by day, for all those many years of their wilderness wanderings, hundreds of thousands of Israelites were sustained by God’s supply of bread. But, Jesus wanted them to see that the manna was a type or picture of His supply for their lives, and identified Himself as the “bread of life.” Manna could sustain for physical life, but only Jesus could provide eternal life.

Numerous valuable truths are found in this powerful teaching. The passage clearly identifies the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Bread that “came down from heaven.” He came from Heaven because He is eternally co-existent with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. We also see the importance of Christ’s death on the cross. He said that the bread that He would give is His flesh, which He would give “for the life of the world.” The bread that He offered was not for Israel alone, but for every sinner that ever lived.

Jesus would have to die for our sins in order that we might live. This is the way of salvation, through faith in His death and resurrection. To be saved, one must believe on Christ. He would have to trust in Him, not in tradition or religion. It is by faith that we partake of His offer, “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” When a person trusts Christ, and Him alone for salvation, he immediately receives eternal life.

The manna also serves as a great reminder of our dependence on the Lord. As the manna was provided daily for Israel, God also provides daily for our spiritual nourishment. They would go out early every morning and gather the day’s provisions. God provides for our daily encouragement and direction as we faithfully spend time with Him, partaking of His sufficiency.


“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10

This command, to be still, would appear on the surface to be very easy to obey. However, in many cases, being still does not necessarily come naturally, especially for those who are action-oriented or highly motivated. Most of us are innately inclined to be active. We do not usually associate being still as a particularly productive activity. However, God knows what is best for us and instructs us to be still. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to be still.

One reason we may need to be still is to get a more godly or biblical perspective. We need to become more “God conscious.” The psalmist was told to “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is in being still that we are able to get to know the Lord. It is common for us, even in our devoted service to God, to become so task-oriented that we neglect our personal fellowship with God. The work of the ministry can become a substitute for spiritual devotion. When that occurs, it is necessary that we be still. It is in our stillness that we get closer in touch with God and realize that He is the source of our wisdom, and that our victory is entirely dependent on Him. Being still promotes faith and worship.

Being still helps us avoid the snare of flesh-oriented service and also the pride that can develop in those who are not humbly dependent on the Lord. We need to remember that God has not called us simply to be active. The unsaved can be active. Social programs with no Gospel are active. We are to be actively involved in the Lord’s will, but activity alone is not the objective.

There must be times when we can put everything else on hold and simply be still. Even in our attempt to spend time alone with the Lord, we can find that responsibilities and opportunities are clamoring for our attention. Jesus was an example of the importance of protecting times of solitude. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). There were times when Jesus saw the need of pulling the disciples aside that they might rest and be refreshed from the daily drain of “people ministry.” For those who are involved in serving the Lord, being still is not a luxury; it is a necessity, and the source of our strength and perspective.


“And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.”
Matthew 9:27-29

Like so many similar verses, this one places great responsibility where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of the child of God. “Believe ye that I am able to do
this?” This was a personal and very relevant question because it dealt with the matter of their individual faith. There are many things that we need for God to do, but are we actually trusting Him with situations? Often we fail to pray about the circumstances and ask God to work according to His will. Then, when we remember to pray, it may be that we find ourselves saying the right words with little or no expectancy of an answer from the Lord.

These two blind men followed Jesus because they were convinced He was the answer to their need. Interestingly enough, these men had never seen a miracle, yet they believed. They had, undoubtedly, heard of the great works of the Lord. They asked Him to have mercy on them. Their persistence caused them to follow Jesus into a house. This kind of importunity in faith is something that God is looking for.

Did they believe? This is a pertinent question because it addresses the simple fact that praying alone is not all that God is interested in. God is interested in the faith of the one that is praying. It is possible to pray and not believe. Lost people pray. The Bible does not say that all things are possible to those who pray, but to those who by faith believe. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). The Scripture records, “They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes.” Their faith was rewarded with Jesus’ powerful touch.

God is pleased when we trust Him. Salvation comes to those who, by faith, receive Christ as their Savior. Answers to prayer come to those who believe. Jesus responded to their request, saying, “According to your faith be it unto you.” The Lord is looking for those who are ready to believe His Word and trust Him. He will hear and answer according to your faith.


“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
Jeremiah 33:1-3

What great promises are contained in the precious Word of God! In our Scripture, we are reminded of God’s comfort in times of difficulty. Jeremiah was a prisoner “shut up in the court of the prison.” It is so reassuring to know that we are never out of God’s sight or His thoughts. We have His promise that He will be with us always, never leaving us nor forsaking us. Sometimes, in our darkest and most trying times, we might be tempted to doubt or question God’s goodness. We are reminded here that God’s Word can come to us wherever we are. The “word of the LORD” came to Jeremiah when he was alone, confined to a prison, and his message was being rejected.

God gave Jeremiah an invitation with associated promises. The Lord instructs Jeremiah to “Call unto me.” What a blessed privilege we have in prayer, especially when we are in despair! God wants us to pray. In the familiar hymn, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” we are reminded of this great privilege:
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

Not only does Jeremiah receive an exhortation to pray, but also an assurance that God will answer and “shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” There are many things we do not know or understand, especially about the difficulties we often face in life. Although we will never understand everything in this life, there are things that God wants to show us if we will ask Him. The promises of God are true. When we are in need of wisdom, we can ask God and seek His counsel and His grace He assures us that He can show us what we need to know. God wants us to call upon Him at all times and in every situation, but we are especially encouraged to pray in those exceptionally trying times.


“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10

Nehemiah and his company had reason to rejoice. He had been authorized to lead an expedition from the place of the Jews’ captivity to their homeland, in Jerusalem. There he would organize and supervise the rebuilding of the city walls. In spite of numerous delays and continued opposition, the walls were now completed. It was an occasion that called for joy, and he spoke of the “joy of the Lord” being the strength of God’s people.

It is such a simple and yet transforming thought: God wants us, His children, to experience an abundant life. He wants us to be a joyful people. He gives us joy. One evidence of the Holy Spirit’s filling is the presence is joy. We should be, and can be, a rejoicing people. We have abundant reasons to have joy. There is joy in knowing our sins are forgiven. When the Samaritans received the Gospel and were saved, the Bible describes their disposition as having great joy in their city.

There is fulfillment in knowing our lives have purpose. There is joy in knowing our Father is in control. There is joy in serving the Lord and others. Some have used the following acronym for the word joy: Jesus, Others, You. There is joy when God’s people gather together for worship. Psalm 122:1 says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

Joy is good for us, and it is good for others. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Happiness and laughter are good for us. An optimistic outlook is healthy. Very few of us want to be around a complainer or critic. A person’s attitude can be contagious, and our position in God’s grace gives us reason to rejoice.

It would be wise for us to think about the kinds of things that can hinder our joy. For instance, we know that unconfessed sin in our lives can steal our joy. David said, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Other things can also affect our joy such as worry, fear, bitterness, self-centered living, etc. Satan wants to steal our joy because there is strength and power in “the joy of the LORD.”


“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.”
Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75

One of the most important lessons in the Christian life is learning to relate to the tests, adversities, and difficulties of life. We are taught by the Scripture that when our Heavenly Father permits trials in our lives, they are not without value or purpose. Sometimes trials are a test of our faith. Sometimes they can be attributed to spiritual warfare. Trials can also be the result of unwise decisions we have made, as we are reaping what we have sown. However, in all cases, God is able to use our trials to benefit us and glorify Himself.

In this text, we see that David saw his being “afflicted” as part of God’s correction. He confessed he “went astray,” and acknowledged that the afflictions that God allowed in his life helped correct this wayward inclination. In the great hymn, “Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,” the songwriter penned these words in the third stanza: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.” We all need correction because it helps keep us from going astray, just as loving instruction and proper correction helps our children avoid going astray. When we realize that problems are sometimes warnings of reproof to lead us back to God, we see the benefits of those difficulties.

Most of us could testify that we have learned valuable lessons in times of affliction. David was no exception to this. He stated that it was good for him that he had been corrected. Correction is good for us. Proverbs 3:11, 12 tells us, ” My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” God corrects us because He loves us. Sometimes as parents, we may be inconsistent in our correction, but God is faithful to discipline His children.

It is for our benefit, both in this life and in eternity, that we obey the Lord and keep His Word. David said the benefits of his afflictions were “that I might learn thy statutes.” It is wise for us to realize and accept the fact that God’s way is best. When we fail to walk in obedience to His Word, our Heavenly Father sometimes uses afflictions to direct us back into the right path.