Fresh insight into a familiar verse.A brand–new treatment of an old and enduring verse.

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We’re living in unsettling times. Politics and economies are volatile; natural disasters and disease outbreaks affect millions; fear is a pandemic. It’s time for a change! While we cannot always alter our circumstances, let’s determine to transform our hearts, minds, and relationships through a renewed perspective of Christ’s imminent return and eternal promises. These powerful promises are straight from God’s Word, and they contain practical applications for daily life.


The Promise of God’s Love

God demonstrated His love for us by giving the most extravagant gift possible—the life of His Son. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and then offered us the new life He bought for us. He willingly gave up the comforts of heaven so that we might receive God’s love. This world will disappoint us, but God’s love never will. The promise of His love is available to everyone at no additional cost; our only burden is to accept it.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16–17)


The Promise of Forgiveness

Just as a shepherd will search the hills for one lost sheep, God pursues every human being He has created. The Hound of Heaven is an 1890 poem by Francis Thompson that describes the Lord’s relentless pursuit of our soul. It begins, “I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthe ways of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.” God loves us with intense passion and yearns to bring us back into the fold of His protection and forgiveness.

If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety–nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety–nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:12–14)

The Promise of Purpose

Are you collapsing under the weight of your responsibilities? When we give our schedule and burdens to Jesus, He promises to replace our stress with rest. We will still have work to do, but if we live each day in His presence, we will experience rejuvenation and refreshment. By aligning our priorities with His, even the most wearisome work will transform into a meaningful, God–ordained mission.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

The Promise of Instruction

Jesus gave the disciples a promise to encourage them in their ministry and ensure the New Testament’s validity: the Holy Spirit would help them remember His teaching. They were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and the Holy Spirit enabled them to remember everything He taught without taking away their individual perspectives. The Holy Spirit can help us in the same way. As we study the Bible, we can trust Him to plant truth in our mind, convince us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from it.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)

The Promise of Immortality

What would you do if you knew nothing could hurt you? Skydiving? Whitewater rafting? Skeleton bobsledding? It would probably change your approach to life quite a bit. While God does not promise to provide this sort of physical protection, He offers unshakable spiritual protection to those who seek Him. Even death itself cannot separate you from His love (Romans 8:38–39). If you fear the Lord, you have His word that you do not need to fear anyone else.

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:28–31)

The Promise of Freedom

Jesus Himself is the truth that sets us free. He is the source of truth and the perfect standard of what is right. He frees us from slavery to sin, from self–deception, and from deception by Satan. He shows us the way to eternal life with God. Jesus does not give us the freedom to do what we want, but the freedom to follow God. As we seek to serve Him, Jesus’ perfect truth frees us to be all that God desires for us to be.

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32, NLT)


The Promise of Inner Peace

Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. But the peace of God moves into the heart and mind of every believer to restrain these hostile forces and offers comfort in place of conflict. Unlike worldly peace, Christ’s peace does not involve any fear. It is only possible because of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. For those who believe He is the Son of God, peace comes from trusting that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are actively at work and completely in control.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, “I am going away and coming back to you.” If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, “I am going to the Father,” for My Father is greater than I. (John 14:27–28)

The Promise of Joy

When things are going well, we feel elated, but unexpected hardships can sink our spirits. Temporary happiness cannot compare to the joy that comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. His joy transcends the rolling waves of circumstance and buoys our spirit through hard times. When our life is intertwined with His, He helps us walk through adversity and manage prosperity. The joy of living each day with Jesus Christ will keep us calm, no matter how high or low our circumstances.

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:9–11)

The Promise of Intimacy

It’s no wonder the Bible instructs us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17): prayer is our primary means of communicating with our Heavenly Father. Some people seem to think God is reluctant to answer their prayers, so they try to persuade Him with long entreaties. Such prayers demonstrate a misunderstanding of God’s nature. He numbers the hairs of our head (Matthew 10:30), and He knows what we need before we ask. God invites us to pray because He yearns to have an authentic, intimate relationship with us.

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. (Matthew 6:6–8)


The Promise of Provision

Stress is a pandemic that affects millions each year, yet Jesus commands us not to worry. How can we avoid it? By placing our faith in the Creator of the universe who loves us and knows our needs before we do. Responsible planning is good, but dwelling on how our planning could go wrong demonstrates a lack of faith. God Himself has promised to provide for our well–being.

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Luke 12:22–28, NLT)

The Promise of Jesus’ Continued Presence

Jesus knew that one day He would leave His disciples, yet He promised to remain with them. How could this be? The Spirit of God Himself would come to care for and guide them. This same Spirit watches over God’s people and teaches us today. He helps us live according to God’s will and build Christ’s Church on earth. By faith, we can appropriate the Spirit’s presence and power each day.

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. (John 14:16–19)

The Promise of Recognition

Our love for God can be measured by how we treat others. Jesus’ example of giving a cup of cold water to someone who thirsts is a good model of unselfish service. A child usually can’t or won’t return a favor. But God notices every good deed we do as if He were the one receiving it. Although no one else may see your act of kindness, God assures us He witnesses and rewards every good deed.

Whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. (Matthew 10:42)


The Promise of Christ’s Commission

Jesus instructed His disciples to go into all the world—to share the message of salvation and the promise that those who believe in Him can be forgiven and live eternally with God. Today Christians in all parts of the world are telling this Good News to people who haven’t heard about Christ. They witness by the Father’s authority, for Jesus’ sake, and through the Holy Spirit. Do you ever feel as though you don’t have the skill or determination to be a witness for Christ? Press into your relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit will lead you to opportunities and give you the wisdom to share His message.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15–16)

The Promise of Power

Raising the dead is about as impressive as you can get, yet Jesus promised His disciples would do greater things. What could this mean? The “greater works” would come when His disciples carried the Good News of God’s Kingdom into other parts of the world. Their works, and ours, are not more spectacular, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, they stretch far beyond the Middle East and into every nation.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:12–13)

The Promise of Christ’s Influence

Does a candle work hard to produce light? Of course not. Once it is lit, it burns readily until the wick is consumed. Spiritually speaking, Jesus provides the entire world with endless, inextinguishable light through us (John 1:5; 8:12). In the same way God revealed His presence to Moses through a burning bush, Jesus Christ’s light radiates effortlessly through His followers. The closer we draw to His presence, the brighter we will shine. As we live for Christ, we can be confident that our good deeds will bring glory to the Father.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16)


The Promise of Responsibility

When Jesus returns in glory, the whole world will witness it. For God’s people, it will be a moment of triumph and glory, the fulfillment of His greatest promises. But it will strike terror in the heart of every unbeliever. Their fate will be sealed with no more tomorrows for repentance. Knowing this day is imminent and inevitable, Christians have a responsibility to share the Good News at every opportunity.

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30–31)

The Promise of God’s Grace

Jesus taught a parable about workers in a vineyard to explain the kingdom of heaven: Entrance is by God’s grace alone. In this story, God is the landowner, and believers are the workers. Just as the workers received equal pay, every believer receives the same gift of salvation—no matter how old they are or what their situation may be. When we share our faith with those who feel far from God’s love and mercy, we can assure them of God’s even–handed grace.

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.” So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?’” They said to him, “Because no one hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.”

So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, “Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.” And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, “These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.” But he answered one of them and said, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?” So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen. (Matthew 20:1–16, emphasis added)

The Promise of Abundance

Your perspective on money is the key to God’s promise of abundance. Do you see it as a tool for blessing others? Does God’s love touch your wallet? If so, you have His word that you are storing up lasting treasures in heaven. Maintaining God’s perspective on money will enable you to reach a dying world with the love of Christ, and it will demonstrate your trust in His promise.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Luke 12:31–34, NLT)


The Promise of Fruitfulness

What does it mean to abide in Jesus? It might help to think about abode, a related word, which describes the place where we live. Abiding in Jesus means living in His presence and following His guidance each day. As our vine, He is our source of sustenance and spiritual growth. If we remain close to Him, He will reward us with the power of the Holy Spirit to effect change in our own life and the lives of those around us. Knowing He could return at any time, there is no reason to wait. The time to access His transformational power is right now (Jude 21–23).

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5)

The Promise of Urgency

Behold is found thirty times in Revelation, and at least seven of these occurrences are connected to the Second Coming. Believers are reminded to serve the Lord while there is still time, and then He will return. This is both a promise and a call to action. Whatever work He has given us to do, we need to do it without delay. When the Lord comes for His own, He will come with the speed of lightning. As the “Bright and Morning Star,” He will dispel all darkness and usher in the perfect reign of the Millennium.

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last…. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. (Revelation 22:12–13, 16)

The Promise of the Rapture

When Jesus Christ returns, His arrival will be sudden and unexpected. Anyone who knows Him as their Savior will be raptured to heaven. Everyone else will experience the Tribulation. In the meantime, every Christian can share the Gospel “to the end of the earth” through the limitless power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is holding you back! You have the courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority to fulfill your mission. If you believe in Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit will fuel your ministry until Christ returns or calls you home.

It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:7–8)

The Promise of Answered Prayer

Jesus assures us that we will receive anything we ask for in prayer—if we ask according to God’s character and will. This promise is not a magical formula to fulfill our selfish desires. It is an extension of Jesus’ desire to introduce us to the Father, “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). As James teaches, Christians should learn to say, “If the Lord wills” (James 4:15). Because our Lord could return at any time, we have an urgent responsibility to claim this promise as we work to build His kingdom.

If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:14)

The Promise of Christ’s Unexpected Return

Jesus promised to return, but we do not know when. If we knew the precise date, we might be tempted to neglect our work for Christ. Worse yet, we might choose to continue sinning and then turn to God just before the Lord’s return. Heaven is not our only goal; we have work to do here. And we have the privilege of continuing to do it until death or we see the unmistakable return of our Savior.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:35–44)

The Promise of the End Times

The promised “day of the Lord” will begin with the Rapture and continue through the Tribulation and the Millennium. This period of judgment will start when we least expect it. The Rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic timeline, which means it could happen today. In light of this promise, Christian men and women are responsible for leading others to Jesus urgently.

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:1–6)


The Promise of Heaven

In election years, political candidates make all sorts of promises about our future. They assure us of our safety, our healthcare, our military, our national diplomacy, and more. Yet the only leader who has never broken a promise is the Lord Jesus Christ, and everyone who believes in Him is assured of a place in heaven. Our path to eternal life is secure—as secure as our trust in Jesus.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. (John 14:1–4)

The Promise of Eternal Rewards

Consider the most powerful or well–known people in our world. How many got where they are today by being humble, self–effacing, and gentle? Not many! But in the life to come, the last will be first. It’s impossible to give up more for the kingdom than you will receive in return. Don’t forfeit eternal rewards for temporary benefits. Any personal sacrifices you make now will rebound in the blessing of God’s approval.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:29–30)

The Promise of Eternal Security

Anyone who has ever purchased a defective product knows the term “lifetime warranty” usually means something different to manufacturers than it does to consumers. There are often exclusions for component parts, normal wear and tear, and failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Yet Jesus offers us a better warranty than we could imagine. His eternal promise contains no loopholes or exclusions, and He willingly extends it to all who believe in Him.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:35–40)

The Promise of Belonging

Whoever acknowledges Jesus Christ on earth will be accepted by Him in heaven. To acknowledge Jesus means identifying with Him, as one of His followers, regardless of the possible consequences. Practically speaking, we do this when we (1) live Christ–honoring lives; (2) share our faith with others; (3) help others in need; (4) take a stand for justice; (5) love others; (6) acknowledge our loyalty to Christ; and (7) use our lives and resources to carry out His desires rather than our own. If we are faithful to acknowledge Him in this world, Jesus will welcome us as His own in the world to come.

I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. (Luke 12:8, NLT)

The Promise of Eternal Protection

Just as a shepherd protects his sheep, Jesus saves His people from eternal harm. While believers can expect to suffer on earth, Satan cannot touch our soul or take away our eternal life with God. The world is filled with turmoil because it is the devil’s domain, but followers of Jesus have everlasting safety.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (John 10:27–29)

The Promise of God’s Blessing

Jesus described eight characteristics, known as the Beatitudes, that reveal unexpected blessings from God. They shatter the misconception that God’s favor results in a comfortable, prosperous life. In fact, they help us to understand that we can experience hope and joy regardless of our circumstances. Although the Beatitudes run contrary to our ideas of happiness, they define an inner joy that will be experienced by everyone who follows Jesus.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3–12)


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Your response has been received, and we will be praying for you.

Look for answers to some of the most common questions in the weeks ahead.

Suppose you made a million dollars per year. Would that set you up for life? Would it give you financial security for the future? Well, apparently not if you’re a professional athlete. According to a report in Investment News, 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress within two years of retirement. Sports Illustrated similarly reports that 60 percent of NBA players are in serious financial trouble within five years of retirement.1

Knowing what some professional athletes make, we’re astounded to learn that many of them will end up struggling to pay their bills within a few years of their last game. How can that be? The two biggest culprits, according to the reports, are divorces and joblessness.2 Many former athletes also cite the social pressures of trying to sustain a luxurious lifestyle. Others fall prey to friends and family members wanting them to invest in unwise ventures. And then there are the crooks. John Elway invested millions of dollars with a hedge fund manager who, as it turned out, was running a Ponzi scheme.

It’s not enough to have a job that simply takes care of today’s needs.

It’s not enough to have a job that simply takes care of today’s needs. Somehow we need to manage wisely for the future. King Solomon drew a lesson from the lowly ant, “which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6–8).

In ancient Egypt, Joseph wisely stored up grain for the coming days of famine. In Proverbs 31, the wise woman was a hard–working manager who provided for her family and wasn’t worried about winter. She prepared for the coming seasons in advance. Jesus commended the shrewd steward in Luke 16 for using his current position to ensure a secure future.


Nothing Can Pry Us From His Hand

Many of today’s companies offer retirement, investment, and insurance benefits that help ease our minds regarding the future. One insurance company even uses two upturned palms to assure us that we’re in good hands when we’re in their care. Yet we know by hard reality there’s not much security in our world or its economy. We don’t know what a day will bring forth. Riches can disappear in a moment. Jobs vanish. Savings and investments can turn sour. Stocks decline. Economies crash. As Proverbs 27:24 says, “Riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.”

As Christians, we don’t depend on the world for ultimate security.

As Christians, we don’t depend on the world for ultimate security. For us, the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. We have a hope that endures, for when Jesus comes into our lives, He comes with abiding security. He not only died to forgive our sins; He rose from the dead to give us eternal life. His resurrection supplies the power, provision, and pattern for our own resurrections. Because He lives, we will live also.

John’s Gospel drives this home. At the end of his Gospel, John stated his purpose in writing it—that we might believe in Christ and have eternal life (John 20:31). He similarly ended his little letter of 1 John by telling us he had written it that we might know we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). Throughout his writing, John used the phrases “eternal life” and “everlasting life” 23 times. For example, Jesus told us in John 10:26–29: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

The future just doesn’t get any more secure than that!

Nothing Can Separate Us From His Love

Not only can nothing snatch us from His hand; nothing can separate us from His love. The apostle Paul declared: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” He went on to say, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38–39).

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, observed, “My experience in counseling thousands of students and laymen through the years since I met Christ personally has convinced me that there are literally tens of thousands of good, faithful church–goers who have received Christ in prayer, but who are not sure of their salvation.”3

How different the attitude of the apostle Paul! He exclaimed, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). He had a hope that infused his days with optimism. There weren’t any insecurities with Paul, even when he was facing execution. He was convinced. He knew. He was persuaded. And no one could tell him otherwise.

Nothing Can Alter His Plan

The Bible also teaches that nothing can alter God’s plan. Ecclesiastes 3:14 says, “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.”

Our Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is immutable—unchanged, unchanging, and unchangeable. His grace doesn’t fluctuate. His power doesn’t ebb and flow. His love and mercy don’t rise and fall with the tides of any cosmic ocean. He is steadfast, constant, and enduring. The Bible says, “The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

Our Lord is steadfast, constant, and enduring.

What security and hope! What a basis for an optimistic attitude, even during painful times. And how wonderful to know we don’t have to fear the future or worry about our security.

In his book, How to Begin the Christian Life, George Sweeting suggests that doubting our salvation is like a prisoner who has been pardoned by the governor. A guard brings him the document, and there it is, signed and sealed. Suppose you ask the man, “Have you been pardoned?” he will say, “Yes.”

“Do you feel pardoned?” we ask.
“No, I don’t. It’s all so sudden.”
“But if you don’t feel pardoned, how do you know you are pardoned?”
“Oh,” the man replies, “it tells me so right here.”4

The Bible does not use vague or nonspecific language regarding our salvation.

The Bible does not use vague or nonspecific language regarding our salvation. It doesn’t use terms like maybe or might or hope–to–be. It says will and shall and is. If you struggle with knowing for certain that you’re going to heaven, you can ARM yourself with assurance in three ways, using the acronym ARM:

A = Ask yourself: Have I sincerely asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins? Am I trusting His blood for eternal salvation? Have I received Him as my personal Savior and Lord? If not, it’s essential to do so today, for today is the day of salvation.

R = Realize that doubting your salvation is questioning God’s faithfulness to His promises. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote, “When God has made an unconditional declaration of His faithfulness, it is hardly becoming in one of His children to entertain any uncertainty in those things which He has promised.”

M = Memorize one of the verses cited in this article, meditate on it whenever you are fearful, and rest in the promises of God’s Word.

Nothing can separate us from His love. No one can snatch us from His hand. Nothing can alter His plan. We’re as secure as secure can be, as hopeful as the brightest promises of God, and as blessed as the richest soul.

Let’s start enjoying our eternal life today!

This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Turning Points devotional magazine.


1Paul Wachter, “Pro Athletes, Amateur Money Managers,” Bloomberg Businessweek, October 7, 2010, accessed on January 19, 2011.

2Davis D. Janowski, “Scouting Report: Finding Pro Athletes,” Investment News, January 16, 2011, at <>, accessed January 19, 2011.

3Bill Bright, How To Be Sure You Are a Christian (Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972), 5.

4Adapted from George Sweeting, How to Begin the Christian Life (Chicago: Moody Press, 1970), 106. Sweeting’s version is a close rendering to a similar passage in R. A. Torrey’s How to Succeed in the Christian Life (Chicago: Moody Press, u.d.), 24.


When one young man returned from the war in Afghanistan, his parents threw a party like nothing you have ever seen. Probably the most memorable aspect of the celebration was the soldier’s father. Richard was an engineer who checked all the boxes. He was far more likely to be seen than heard, and he would gladly avoid both if possible. But not this day. Richard was beyond exuberant as he recounted his son’s heroism that had “brought every one of his men home safely.” He showcased hand–crafted posters of his son’s regiment, naming each soldier as he went along. Men and women who had spent long months praying for the soldier’s safe return raised their hands and voices in glad praise. It was a glorious day.

Now consider this: One day, Jesus Christ will return to earth as the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and He will claim the most decisive victory this world has ever seen. All that is wrong will be made right. Satan will lose his grip on human affairs, and perfect peace will be restored. Not one of God’s people will be lost. When Christ returns, God and His angels will celebrate all the way from heaven to earth. Matthew 16:27 tells us, “The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

We may not know the day or the hour of His return, but we can be ready.

Revelation 22:12 records a similar promise: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” Both passages connect the Lord’s return with rewards for our earthly efforts. In other words, we have work to do! We may not know the day or the hour of His return, but we can be ready. Let’s look at four ways we can begin preparing for Christ’s Second Coming today.



For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 2:11–14).

Most people today do not fully understand the kind of person Jesus was. The idea of Him as “lowly, meek, and mild” falls short of capturing His strength, passion, commitment, and courage. In Matthew 16, He asked His disciples who people believed Him to be. They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (verse 14). These men are three of the fieriest, courageous, rugged prophets in the Bible. If Jesus had been as passive as He is often portrayed, He never would have been mistaken for such individuals.

A passage in John 2 provides a glimpse of Jesus’ zeal. The city of Jerusalem was packed with Jews who were preparing for the Passover Feast. Each family was required to sacrifice a lamb on the day of the Passover and eat it that evening, and the temple priests were using the pilgrimage for their advantage—selling sacrificial animals at inflated prices. As Jesus watched His Father’s representatives exploit others, He was filled with righteous indignation that we do not find elsewhere in Scripture (verses 15–16).

Jesus did not hesitate to act. With a whip, He drove the animals and sellers and moneychangers out of the temple court, turning over their tables and spilling their coins on the ground. He accused the priests of turning His Father’s house into a “house of trade” (ESV). Jesus could not bear the thought of dishonest priests defaming the temple of God. His fervor reminded the disciples of David’s zeal for the house of the Lord, which is recorded in Psalm 69:9.

Practical Application

  1. How does Jesus’ zeal point to God’s majesty?
  2. Using a Bible concordance, look up passages that contain “zeal” or “zealous.” What do they say Christians should be zealous about?
  3. Why is Jesus waiting to return in judgment? (Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:8–9) How does His patience give you hope?

Lord, I cry out to You as the great Judge who upholds justice and mercy. When the time is right, You will enact justice and destroy evil. One day, Your truth will be proclaimed throughout the world. God, I trust You to avenge. Thank You that final justice is not my responsibility. I will strive to live at peace with everyone, knowing vengeance is Yours. Lord, I trust Your timing, Your power, and Your promises. Your zeal for righteousness is consuming, yet You are long–suffering with sinners, awaiting their repentance. Thank You for Your mercy. Amen.


He who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:26–27).

Paul gave one piece of evidence to illustrate the humility Christ displayed when He came to earth: He took “the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7). There is a divine connection between humility and service. Jesus said of Himself that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He also taught that greatness comes through service. In fact, there is a priority of promotion: servanthood before sainthood (Matthew 20:26–27; 23:11).

There is a divine connection between humility and service.

The world’s idea of leadership is that leaders are at the top of the pyramid with all the servants below them. But in the kingdom of God, the pyramid is inverted; the leader is now at the bottom as the chief servant of everyone else. That’s called servant leadership. Your eyes are taken off of you and put on those you are committed to serving.

Gaining a biblical perspective on our role in life will keep us humble. As Paul wrote leading up to his discussion of Christ and His humility, “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4). –A Life Beyond Amazing study guide (pp. 110–111)

Practical Application

  1. What guidance for cultivating Christlike humility do you find in the following passages?
    1. Psalm 119:22–24, 140
    2. Matthew 5:38–42
    3. Luke 18:16
    4. Luke 22:26–27
    5. Romans 12:3, 16
    6. James 4:10
    7. 1 John 3:16–18
  2. One way to serve God is to serve others by finding a need and filling it. Ask God to show you a specific need that you can meet.
    1. Could you take a meal to someone who is undergoing medical treatment or experiencing a prolonged illness?
    2. Does a single mother in your neighborhood need help with yard work?
    3. What about volunteering at your local school, hospital, nursing home, or food pantry?
  3. How does studying humility help you to understand the Lord better? How does His servanthood reveal His majesty?

Repenting of pride releases us to heal conflicts by becoming a servant to others. –In the Words of David Jeremiah (p.199)


Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen (Jude 24–25).

When our hearts face the imponderable, that is when we most need the Lord. When there are problems we cannot resolve, we may wonder if we are the only ones to ever question God. But we are not. The prophet Habakkuk was a man who questioned God. His book is a dialogue with God over the imponderables of life….

As you turn to the last chapter in the book, Habakkuk has gone from why to wonder to worship…. [Habakkuk 3:17–19] is one of the most incredible passages in all of Scripture. It is like a man standing up in church after he has lost the most precious thing in all of his life and saying, as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” I will worship God regardless of the circumstances and my understanding of them.

Habakkuk’s worship transcends the circumstances. How could he be like that? Where does he find the inner strength to go from tragedy to triumph in three short chapters? Habakkuk understood one tremendous truth: You worship the One you trust, and you trust the One you know. –My Heart’s Desire study guide (pp. 106, 109)

Practical Application

  1. Read the book of Habakkuk. What do you notice about Habakkuk’s journey from why to wonder to worship?
  2. Spend time listening to worship songs and meditating on Scripture that increases your awareness of God’s majesty and wonder.


Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:2–4).

What difference does heaven make? Consider two people who lived across the street from each other. One man thought about heaven all the time—especially when the setting sun turned the sky into a painting. On such evenings, he would sit on his porch and think about heaven. He followed the Bible’s directive to “set [his] mind on things above” by studying the topic of heaven in the Bible (Colossians 3:1–4), and he often went to bed visualizing the scenes recorded in Revelation 21 and 22 about heavenly Zion. But the man’s neighbor never thought of heaven. He busied himself with his work, family, hobbies, and golf game—never pausing to think about his eternal future.

These two men lived on the same street but in different worlds. One man’s interest was on things below; the other man’s mind was on things above.

Which of the two men lived most happily? Which was the most productive? Which busied himself with optimistic works of goodness? Which lived with promise, perseverance, and purpose? It’s not hard to guess. Those who think the most about heaven do the greatest work on earth. Keeping heaven on our minds keeps hope in our hearts and the Gospel in our mouths.

Practical Application

  1. If we search for lasting happiness on earth, we will never find it. What reason(s) do you find in Ecclesiastes 3:11?
  2. First Corinthians 15 presents Christ’s resurrection as a fundamental truth of Christianity and our basis for hope. Read the chapter and explain, in your own words, why is the Resurrection so important to Christianity.

Lord, You have promised to prepare an eternal home for me that is free from sin and sickness and sorrow. I can’t wait to be there! Thank You for enabling me to rejoice despite my present circumstances. I can look beyond the disappointments of this life because I believe Your promises for the future. Thank You for trusting me with temporary trials, which help me to appreciate the glorious future that awaits me. Thank You for the hope I have in Jesus! Amen.


We live in a dangerous world. On any given day, we could face a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, a tsunami, a wildfire, a terrorist attack, a crime spree, a breakdown of our electrical and computer grids, a power blackout, contaminated water, a pandemic, a nuclear disaster, a highway disaster, or a medical emergency. Some folks have stockpiled supplies to last years should catastrophic events unfold, determined to outlast any disaster that comes.

We don’t have to be hardcore survivalists or preppers to prepare for emergencies. The Bible says, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself” (Proverbs 22:3). Another verse says, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil” (Proverbs 21:20, NIV). The patriarch Joseph, foreseeing years of famine in Egypt, stockpiled surplus grain during periods of plenty and thus kept his nation alive during the lean years.


Yet many people, companies, institutions, and schools aren’t as ready as they should be for unexpected threats. More than half of the businesses in the United States don’t have an emergency preparedness plan, and those who do find it difficult to keep their plans updated. There are 327,000 school buildings in the U.S., with 47 million children and 3 million teachers. They all need an emergency preparedness plan. We have 7,569 hospitals, which are filled, on an average day, with 539,000 patients. Our nation has 133,000 malls and strip malls, over a half–million large stores, and 153,000 hotels and motels. There are more than 307,000 churches and 305,000 public assembly buildings.

All of them—all of us—need emergency preparedness training. According to the book Emergency Preparedness, every group should ask itself: “What is the worst that could happen?” and plan accordingly. When we plan for worst–case scenarios, we’ll be ready to deal with emergencies as calmly and competently as possible.1

Being ready delivers peace of mind.

Having an emergency preparedness kit is part and parcel of prudent planning. But dealing with critical moments requires more than flashlights, bandages, and bottled water. We need to be mentally and spiritually calm for whatever comes. We need a spiritual preparedness kit, a toolbox that can help maintain our composure in emergencies. Being ready delivers peace of mind.

Create Your Calm Kit

How can we develop a calmer spirit and keep our wits about us in times of trouble? We can assemble an internal emergency preparedness toolbox, a “Calm Kit” of the mind.

First, gather some Scriptural promises you can claim. When Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, ascended the throne, he began thinking in terms of emergency preparedness. With his father Solomon dead, Rehoboam expected attacks from neighboring enemies, and he wanted to be prepared. “He fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. Also in every city he put shields and spears and made them very strong” (2 Chronicles 11:11–12).

We, too, should expect attacks from the enemy, and we need to store up Scriptures as shields for our minds and hearts. Proverbs 10:14 says, “Wise people store up knowledge.”

My friend, Pastor Ed Dobson, passed away last year of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He left behind a little book entitled Prayers and Promises in which he described the weakness he felt during his illness. For years, he had bored into God’s Word like a drill, but now, he said, he found it difficult to read the Bible or even pray. “I could take spiritual truth only in small bites.”

But God gave him a few verses every day that kept him calm and strong, and many of the verses were ones he had previously stored away in the armory of his mind. One of them, Hebrews 13:5–6, helped him more than any other passage in the entire Bible: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”

“Soon after my diagnosis,” Dobson wrote, “I learned to take five–minute time–outs. Whenever fear would begin taking over my life, I would take a time–out and repeat the verses from Hebrews 13…. I would say these words over and over for the entire five minutes…. I wrote these verses on a three–by–five card and placed the card on the mirror by my bed. They are the first words I look at every morning when I get up, and they are the last words I look at when I go to bed.”2

In dealing with his terminal illness, what if Dobson’s toolbox had been empty? What if he hadn’t stored away Scripture like a miser hoarding coins? But his mind was rich with God’s Word, and it made all the difference. I want you to read, study, learn, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word day and night. The Lord will give you verses to store away in your mental silo, like Joseph’s grain for times of famine.

Second, collect Scriptural blessings you can count. As you read the book of Psalms, you may notice how many of them were written during crises. David, the principal author of Psalms, encountered one disaster after another. Some of his chapters were written in times of grief, fear, anguish, and desperation. But David also knew how to count his blessings, and he gave us a prime example in Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name!” I don’t have time to quote the entire Psalm, but look it up and notice that every verse is positive in tone. Every line conveys an atmosphere of gratitude to God, who floods our lives with benefits, forgives our iniquities, heals our problems, redeems us from destruction, and crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercy.

Find something good in every situation and thank God for it.

If we cultivate the habit of gratitude and learn to thank God spontaneously throughout the day, we’ll have an invaluable skill in our preparedness toolbox. Learn how to find something good in every situation and thank God for it. Count your blessings.

Third, collect Scriptural attitudes you can claim. The Bible teaches that faith, trust, assurance, confidence, and calmness are God–pleasing virtues. Isaiah 7:4 (NIV) says, “Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart….”

Earlier writers called this imperturbability. A cool, calm, and collected person is unperturbed even under strain. One of the advocates for imperturbability was Dr. William Osler, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. On May 1, 1889, he gave the graduation speech at the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania, and his address has found a place in the history of medical literature.

Osler advised the graduating doctors to develop what he called “imperturbability.” He defined it as “presence of mind under all circumstances, calmness amid storm, clearness of judgment in moments of grave peril…. It is the quality which is most appreciated by the laity though often misunderstood by them; and the physician who has the misfortune to be without it, who betrays indecision and worry, and who shows that he is flustered and flurried in ordinary emergencies, loses rapidly the confidence of his patients.”

“The first essential,” said Osler, “is to have your nerves well in hand.” He went on to call imperturbability a “divine gift, a blessing to the possessor, a comfort to all who come in contact with him.”3

The word imperturbability is not in the Bible, and it’s a mouthful to say (in case you’re interested, the longest word in the Bible is Maher–Shalal–Hash–Baz in Isaiah 8:1); but the related word “calm” is found throughout Scripture. Proverbs 17:27, for example, says, “A man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Christians, more than anyone, should be people of understanding, cultivating calm spirits. We are related by the new birth to the God who controls all events, who knows the end from the beginning, who knows all that happens before it occurs. We’ve placed our faith in a King who causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. We have instant access to the throne of grace, and we know our God is a very present help in trouble—a mighty fortress.

Christians, more than anyone, should be people of understanding, cultivating calm spirits.

Why, then, are we so prone to panic? Why indeed?

Create a calm kit and be prepared for whatever the days may bring. As Isaiah said: “Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid.”


1Don Philpott, Emergency Preparedness (Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, 2016), 4–5.

2Ed Dobson, Prayers and Promises When Facing a Life–Threatening Illness (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 29–30.

3William Osler, Osler’s “A Way of Life” & Other Addresses with Commentary & Annotations, (Duke University Press, 2001), 22–24.


Know how to survive a dirty bomb? How to start a fire using a glass bottle? How to preserve food? Have you stockpiled cans of beans and tins of meat? Do you own a solar–powered flashlight? How about your contact list—do you have a hard copy in case our electronics crash? What about a first aid kit and toolbox? Have you studied wild mushrooms and edible insects? Know how to waterproof your matches?

Lots of people are thinking about these things nowadays. The Atlantic carried an article about a growing number of survivalists and “preppers” who are using Internet sites to swap how–to tips on building bomb shelters, storing food, stockpiling supplies, cleaning weapons, and providing emergency medical care in the absence of doctors.1


Some people take it further. The newspaper, The Daily Mail, reported on a Colorado family who has spent vast amounts of money and time preparing for a coming day when “suddenly, and completely without warning” the world will experience “a total blackout—no electricity, no mobile phones, no banks, no internet, no TV, no emergency services. Nothing.” This family has stashed away so much that it took fifteen people over six hours to move it all from the basement to the lawn for a photograph. There were drums of food and gallons of water. They had a solar oven, a generator, a propane burner, a water filtration device, hand warmers, surgical masks, weapons, grills, backpacks, solar panels, and, of course, lots of blankets.

According to the news source, it’s all in preparation for a day when the economy will buckle, the world will lose power and energy, communications will go dark, and society will collapse in chaos with mass riots and warfare. The article reported, “It’s estimated there are three million preppers in the United States alone, and the number is rapidly rising.”2

Our Understandable Anxiety

I can understand the alarm. Both Christians and non–Christians are preoccupied with the end of the world. In pop culture, this is reflected in doomsday movies and television series. In politics, it’s seen in the growing disillusionment and despair of the electorate. In economic terms, it’s reflected in a multibillion–dollar apocalypse–survival industry. Our world is shuddering with conflicts in the Middle East, plagues and infectious diseases, cyber warfare, and the proliferation of destructive chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. The global economy is hanging by a thread, and the foundations of morality are collapsing like a suspension bridge. We are living in the last days against the buildup of the Rapture of the Church and the backdrop of the Great Tribulation. Everyone should take reasonable precautions and be as prepared as possible for the coming days.

But there’s a balance. It’s easy to look at today’s world and feel troubled. Many Christians are plagued with worry, fear, and doubt. There’s a natural sense of fatalism and defeat as we look at the turbulent times around us. But remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). The Bible says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

Our Lord doesn’t want us to live in anguish or anxiety. Instead, this is a moment to remember Who is in charge! Perhaps for you, today is the day to trust God.

Our Source of Confidence

This is the central message of Psalm 11, which begins with King David affirming his confidence in God: “In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain?’ ”

Someone in David’s life was telling him to flee. Someone—perhaps his wife, son, friend, or counselor—was alarmed. According to this advisor, the foundations were falling, so what could the righteous do? The future was pointless. Survival was nearly hopeless. The best advice was to flee.

Psalm 11 was David’s response. Paraphrased in modern terms, this is what King David said in Psalm 11:1–4:

I have put my trust in the Lord, so how can you advise me to flee like a bird to my mountain? How can you tell me the wicked will kill me with their bows and arrows? How can you suggest the foundations are destroyed and there is nothing the righteous can do? Don’t you know who is in charge? The Lord is still in His holy temple. The Lord is on His heavenly throne. His eyes miss nothing.

When you get a chance, read Psalm 11 for yourself, and decide for yourself if this paraphrase is a balanced interpretation of what David was saying. Psalm 11 is the message we need to embrace in these days. The foundations may seem to be crumbling, the wicked may be stringing their bows, and the times may be drawing to a close, but if our faith is in the Lord, there is no need to panic. Today is the day to trust Him who is in His holy temple. He is still on His heavenly throne, and the Lord yet reigns.

Our Blessing and Protection

Look at verse 4 again: “The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven” (emphasis added). The first part of the verse speaks of God as a Priest in His temple; the second part speaks of God as a King on His throne. As a Priest, He sanctifies and blesses us. As a King, He protects us and causes all things to conform to His rule and reign. Our God is the everlasting God, and He will reign forever. Let the foundations collapse and the earth wobble in its orbit. Watch as the ungodly boast. Nothing changes the fact that our King and Priest rules, reigns, and intercedes according to an overriding plan.

Yes, the Lord is in His holy temple and on His heavenly throne. He surrounds us with His grace. In His timing, He’ll take us to be with Himself. In the fullness of time, He will return just as the Bible predicts in Revelation 19: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. … And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (verses 11–16).

Until then we trust Him. Otherwise we’ll live in defeat, worried every morning, fretting every night, and haunted by each headline. How much better to remember Who is in control of politics, plagues, and the princes of the earth! How much better to say, “In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain?’”

It’s good to be prepared, and we should take every sensible precaution in these evil days. But our true deliverance is in the King of kings and Lord of lords. God is in control, and nothing will happen without His permission.

Our Future Hope

If you’re worried about the times we’re in, study God’s throne in the Bible. Read about Isaiah’s glimpse of the throne in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel’s depiction of the throne in Ezekiel 1, and the apostle John’s description of it in Revelation 1, 4, 5, and 19. Spend time in the Throne Room of Psalms 96–99, where the recurring theme is “The Lord reigns.”

Then read Psalm 11 again. That’s my prescription.

Be prepared, but don’t be panicked. Rely on God in the midst of turbulent times, and look upward. All previous generations of Christians have expected Christ to come in their own day. Even during the lifetime of Paul, New Testament believers lived in expectation of His swift return. So do we! Our lives are full of anticipation, though we don’t know whether His return will be today, tomorrow, next year, or next century. One thing we do know—His coming is closer than it’s ever been; and when we look at world conditions, we feel we have better reasons than prior generations to say: “Perhaps today!”

PERHAPS TODAY is the day to remember Him who is in His temple and on His throne. PERHAPS TODAY is the day to trust Him.


1Colette Shade, “Survivalists Are Using Pinterest to Prepare for the Apocalypse,” The Atlantic, May 15, 2014.

2Ryan Herman, “Ready for the apocalypse!” MailOnline, March 23, 2013.


Global hope is in trouble, and many people operate on the basis of their own “can do” spirit. But when we’re battered by storms, everything depends on the strength of our anchor.

The world anchors its hope in money, success, prestige, education, nationalism, health advances, and positive thinking. Sooner or later, those lines break, and we’re spun around in the waves and capsized. Take the legendary band, The Beach Boys. Despite its runaway success, the group has been haunted by what some commentators call the “curse of the surf.” Of the three Wilson brothers who started the band in 1961, two of them, Carl and Dennis, died young. Dennis dove into the water at a marina and drowned while under the influence of alcohol. Carl died of cancer. The third brother, Brian, ruined his life with drugs. When co–founder Mike Love was asked what single thing had most impacted The Beach Boys, he replied, “Drugs.”1

Our global hope and our personal hope depend on being anchored to Jesus Christ.

Everyone wants to be a celebrity, but few of us consider how fame magnifies all the problems and stresses of life. Read a Who’s Who of the rich and powerful, and you’ll find endless stories of self–destruction, tragedy, early deaths, and broken hearts. Whether we’re well–known or unknown, our lives need a solid anchor. Our global hope and our personal hope depend on being anchored to Jesus Christ.


The Anchor Keeps Us From Fearing the Future

That’s the message of the book of Hebrews, which was addressed to a group of Jewish Christians facing renewed pressure and persecution. These believers were discouraged. They were weary of the battle, and some of them wondered if they would survive the storm. According to Hebrews 10:32–36, they were afraid of the coming days.

The writer of Hebrews didn’t merely give them uplifting quotes or inspirational comments. He pulled them into the heart of the Old Testament and told them how God had given Abraham a promise in Genesis 12 and confirmed it with an oath in Genesis 15, “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

The passage continues: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus …” (verses 19–20).

Anchors have been a symbol of the Christian faith from the very beginning of Church history.

Anchors have been a symbol of the Christian faith from the very beginning of Church history. Many ancient Christian catacombs and cemeteries are filled with depictions of anchors. In his album, Soul Anchor, Michael Card observed, “The first century symbol wasn’t the cross; it was the anchor. If I’m a first century Christian and I’m hiding in the catacombs and three of my best friends have just been thrown to the lions or burned at the stake, or crucified and set ablaze as torches at one of Nero’s garden parties, the symbol that most encourages me in my faith is the anchor. When I see it, I’m reminded that Jesus is my anchor.”

We can face the future with confidence when we’re anchored to the Rock.

The Anchor Keeps Us From Drifting With the Tides

If Jesus is your anchor, He will also keep you from drifting with the tides. Life is never still, just as the sea is never silent. Even without storm warnings, the currents of our culture are always moving. The undertow of temptation is just below the surface. But a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus—a commitment to Him as Lord and Savior—will steady the ship and keep us from drifting.

Think again of the image drawn from Hebrews 6. Use your imagination. Picture your life as a ship on the seas of life. You’re standing on the deck with an anchor at your feet. A cable rests in your hands, and you’re ready to cast anchor. Instead of dropping it into the ocean, see yourself swinging it around as you aim it upwards. Let go. Watch it fly through the sky, enter the heavenly tabernacle of God, and attach itself to the Solid Rock in the most holy place behind the veil.

That’s the picture the Bible paints for us, and when I close my eyes and think of it, I realize afresh the greatness of my stability in Christ. The winds may blow, the tides may rise and fall, the currents of culture may pull at me. But I have an anchor that keeps my soul steadfast and sure, even amid the tides of temptation and currents of concern. And so do you.

The Anchor Keeps Us From Capsizing in the Storms

Anchors also keep us from capsizing in the storms. In her book You Are Not Alone, Dena Yohe describes the pain and panic she endured as her daughter lapsed in and out of crises. Dena finally made a discovery. “The most important thing about my life wasn’t how my children were doing (as important as that was) but my relationship with Jesus, my Savior…. When I chose to focus on Christ, my real hope, firm hope, was revealed.”

Using a similar illustration as that in Hebrews 6, Dena continued, “Our challenge is to loosen our grip on the fragile hopes we’ve been setting our hearts on. They’re slippery and elusive. They slip through our fingers like sand…. Hope is the rope thrown to us by almighty God, who fastens it tightly around our waists to keep us from falling into a pit of despair…. Please take hold of this new kind of hope.”2

But we have an anchor that grips all the promises in the Bible, and our risen Lord guarantees those promises.

You may be in stormy weather. You may be cast down because of ominous medical reports or an angry neighbor. Maybe there’s a divisive problem in your family or church. We don’t always know how things will work out in the short run, so we can’t base our hopes on immediate gratification. But we have an anchor that grips all the promises in the Bible, and our risen Lord guarantees those promises. He alone can keep us from capsizing in the storm.

Only Jesus can provide global hope. He’s the only hope for our world. And He’s our personal hope. He’s our firm foundation. The circumstances of this life cannot toss us to and fro if we’re anchored to Christ. Let Him steady your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual life. Let Him keep you steady, for, as an old hymn says:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll.
Fastened to the Rock, which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.3

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Turning Points devotional magazine.


1Tiana Kennell, “The Beach Boys’ Mike Love opens up about career and life,” The Shreveport Times, March 12, 2015,–boys–mike–love–opens–career–life/70161422/

2Dena Yohe, You Are Not Alone (New York: WaterBrook, 2016), 141–142.

3Priscilla J. Owens, “We Have an Anchor,” published in 1882.