One would have thought technology would free up more time, but it has only been used to get more done, not allow the believer to have more time for Christian activities. As a Christian, one should have a regular personal Bible study, as well as one with the family, in addition to the one attended at church. A believer should also regularly attend other Christian services. One should visit those in need, such as the sick and elderly, or those in the hospital. Finally, one of the highest Christian responsibilities given to each of us by Jesus Christ is evangelizing the community where one lives. Then, there are our financial and spiritual responsibilities of our family and home. Where will anyone get that many hours in a day, not to mention the strength? First, remember Isaiah 40:29, “He gives power to the weary, and he increases strength for the powerless.”
So how should God’s people respond when they face a difficult situation that they do not understand? The prophet offers a word of comfort and encouragement by suggesting that anyone can endure trials with God’s help, which is available to them. God is the “one who gives” them extra strength (kōaḥ) so that the weary ones will not grow tired or weak during this time of hardship. God is not absent, unavailable, or unwilling to help. Complaining about problems will not make them go away. The solution is to recognize that everything that happens is part of God’s sovereign plan and that God freely and abundantly gives a portion of his strength to those who need it in difficult times. Through human weakness, his power and glory are displayed.
Yes, Isaiah was referring to God, who is almighty and proves to be there for those carrying out his will and purposes. Should anyone expect that God would miraculously infuse us with strength and power to carry out Christian obligations in the church and the home? No, life does not work this way. Certainly, there were extreme exceptions to the rule, like Abraham, Moses, Samson, David, Paul, William Tyndale, and others have received the Holy Spirit in a powerful way, which gave them power and strength beyond normal human expectations. However, to receive that is like finding one pebble of white sand, which someone dropped on a beach of brown sand. God uses people like the above to carry out his will and purpose, but these are so few in comparison to the 25 billion who have lived and are living. This is not to say that God will never miraculously use any reader of this book so that he gives him or her strength and power beyond normal human abilities. However, if one is not:
- Being used by God to establish a nation, told to pick up and leave the comforts of home, so as to move one’s entire family to a hostile land;
- Carrying out an exodus with millions from Egypt;
- Slaying a lion with one’s bare hands;
- Slaying a 9-foot 6-inch giant;
- Surviving being beaten half to death as a missionary; or
- Running from the Catholic Church, which seeks to burn you at the stake for translating the Bible into English.
One just might want to lower their expectations.
How Does God Strengthen Us?
Then, how does God strengthen us by the Holy Spirit? He makes us wiser through his Word. The Bible is a miraculous revelation from God to his people. If someone correctly understands and applies it, one will be infused mentally with the Holy Spirit to make the same decision God desires anyone to make. Yes, God gives wisdom; from his Word come knowledge and understanding. (Prov. 2:1-6) We have human bodies that while they are in a state of imperfection, they are descended from a two people who were miraculously created. Have you ever woken up feeling a bit depressed, down in the dumps, not feeling like getting ready to go to church? However, one still applies the Bible command,
Hebrews 10:25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the custom of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Therefore, you pull yourself out of bed, do everything within your power to get ready and arrive at the service feeling ridden with anxiety. However, by the end of the worship service, you feel like a new person. So, you look for other people who are going out after the meeting because you excitedly do not want the day to end. What changed? First, one’s imperfect irrational thinking can cause mild depression, mood swings, and anxiety. Once at church, you suddenly were surrounded by people with rational thinking, and you spent two hours being infused with the Word of God. These things rejuvenate one’s mind and body, the real miracle in life. The wisdom of God has been miraculously provided for us through his Word, the Bible. It only must be applied.
If anyone feels a bit overwhelmed by their obligations because of the fast-paced world, it is up to each individual to find the balance through the wisdom of God’s Word. Being busy in service to God is the greatest joy anyone can possibly have as 1 Corinthians 15:58 makes clear, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Rather than feeling overcome, one should feel great joy that we have the opportunity to be used by the Creator of heaven and earth to play a small part in his purposes. One may want to sit down, list their obligations, prioritize them according to God, family, church, and then adjust the time to weightier matters. Anyone who is unhappy with the way things are going, this is likely because they may lack the right biblical viewpoint.
Suppose that someone must prepare for church-related meeting one evening, and while doing research for the Bible study, the person finds himself or herself procrastinating on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yahoo News, or whatever. Their preparation does not get it done before heading off to work. While at work the person feels a bit irritable because he knows he should have gotten the Bible assignment done. Once home from work, he has family responsibilities, and then he rushes through the study just to be prepared. However, once the Bible study meets he feels uncomfortable while teaching the lesson. What Bible verses would apply to the decision that led to the day that he had?
Psalm 1:1-3 Updated Standard Version (UASV)
1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of Jehovah,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Do you wait until the last minute? Do you lack the desire, the drive to get something done? Do you tend to do things only when you feel like it? Do you do what you want before what you must complete? Do you lack self-discipline? On the other hand, perhaps you fear not being able to do a task right. Do you not allow for enough time? Is the job more than you can personally do? It could be that you feel helpless like you are being overwhelmed, or that you fear you might fail. What can be done about all of this uncertainty?
Create a schedule and be aware of the time it takes to accomplish things or to get to certain places. Get help when you need it. Break larger obligations up into smaller portions. Make sure you allow for the uncertainties of life, like all red lights when going across town. Do not forget to enjoy the life that God gave you. “Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil; this is God’s gift to man.” (Eccles. 3:13)
If one responsibility requires preparing for a Sunday school class or some other church meeting, preparation demands good Bible research. It can be sped up with modifications with Bible software such as Logos Bible Software. Suppose you were researching Psalm 1:1-3 that was provided above. If someone uses physical books, it might take an hour, while software cuts it to 15-30 minutes. Imagine the time saved each time someone prepares a lesson. It is like a carpenter using a hammer or a hammer gun. The latter saves an immense amount of time. Would a carpenter not invest in a hammer gun to save time on a job? Would a Bible student, which every Christian is, not invest in Bible study tools that give him more time for other responsibilities?
Suppose someone has a large physical library of Bible research material, and he absolutely does not want to invest in software. Set up the study area so that your reference tools surround you: Study Bible, Bible Dictionary, Bible encyclopedias, word dictionary, such as Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Bible concordance, Bible Atlas, commentary volumes, and so on. When you sit down, have a legal pad, pen, highlighters, a ruler, and other important items. You might have three different translations on the table with you. This setup allows someone to have everything they need within arm’s length.
Are you a Christian who evangelizes your community? Does your church have an evangelism program that prepares its members how to evangelize within the community? If they do not, ask your pastor some questions. If he offers nothing but excuses or some far distant hope, then you can do it with others on your own. Do not fear taking evangelism responsibilities into your own hands. You and some others who see the importance of this can ask to meet in the church, or you can meet in someone’s home. The first objective is to teach yourselves how to correctly interpret the Word of God. Then, you must learn how to evangelize, followed by training in pre-evangelism. The following books will get that done.
- Basic Bible Interpretation By Roy B. Zuck
- THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST: Always Being Prepared to Make a Defense [Second Edition] By Edward D. Andrews
- CONVERSATIONAL EVANGELISM, [Second Edition] by Edward D. Andrews
- YOUR WORD IS TRUTH: Being Sanctified In the Truth by Edward D. Andrews
- CRISIS OF FAITH Saving Those Who Doubt by Edward D. Andrews
- EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE TRULY CHRISTIAN Keep Testing Yourselves to See If You Are In the Faith – Keep Examining Yourselves by Edward D. Andrews
The world we live in has bestowed on us much responsibility. We simply must put forth our best effort by placing God, family, and congregation, in that priority. Once we have done that, do not feel discouraged if a few things end up not being done on schedule. Completing responsibilities appropriately takes wisdom that comes from God’s Word, which gives us knowledge and understanding. Remember, we carry out the responsibility of working for our heavenly Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. There is no greater privilege. These few busy decades are nothing if we truly believe in everlasting life. A hundred million years from now, we will look back on it as the grand pleasure that it was, wondering why we fretted so much.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
These verses contain keywords and phrases in sapiential thought. First of all, the phrase trust in the Lord (16:20; 22:17–19; 28:25; 29:25), and its close associate fear the Lord, is the fundamental definition of wisdom in Proverbs. Trust usually implies some threat or evil looming on the horizon. To trust in the Lord with all your heart refers to the total surrender of self. The admonition is the theological foundation upon which all the proverbs rest.
When the sage calls on the reader to acknowledge him (v. 6), he speaks on the level of attitude; the disciple desires to do God’s will. When the disciple learns to trust completely in Yahweh, then the promise is that he will make straight your paths. This does not mean that Yahweh promises a life free from difficulties. Rather it means that one’s life has clear direction and purpose. Abraham set off on a journey not knowing where he was going, only that God would lead him. In other words, God promised to make his paths straight.
Based on the above, where do we get that the hours in the day to incorporate evangelism in our lives, not to mention the strength?
Reading Skills: Read Jeremiah 50:1-13. This assignment is to help improve our reading skills. When practicing before the meeting, read slowly enunciating every word meticulously, as well as adequate volume, and moving along at the appropriate pace. We must read and speak words clearly, to not only be understood but also leave an impression. In addition, read with precision, stopping or pausing for punctuations, as well as changing the tone of your voice, or adding the required inflections. It would be best if you had someone follow along, letting you know if you to make the appropriate pauses or inflections.
CPH BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS
Translation and Textual Criticism
 We offer evangelism training online.
 Dave Bland, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Songs, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 2002), 69–70.