Love Renewed is intended to encourage women to come to know God’s word and apply it in a practical way to everyday life. Without a solid foundation based on unchanging truth, it is very easy to be swayed and to follow fashionable trends that only make life uncertain, like navigating a boat through rough waters without a rudder. To remain steadfast and un-swayed, we all need that bolstering and “prodding on” that comes from friends and fellow believers. We are not immune to all that is happening around us and, let’s be honest the past few years have certainly had their full share of challenges and they are probably not going away or getting fewer.

It was the apostle Paul who wrote to young Timothy to warn him of difficult times ahead, he called them perilous times full of danger and we know he could easily be describing today. His advice to Timothy was to hold fast, hold fast to his faith because letting go could result in shipwreck. Eugene Petersen says it this way; “Keep a firm grip on your faith because there are some who are relaxing their grip and thinking that anything goes and have made a thorough mess of their faith.”

So Paul, being wise and able to see the dangers, wrote to Timothy to help him stay focused on the truth and in that way avoid being tripped up by the threats around him. When he spoke of dangers, he was not only referring to physical danger but also to threats to his spiritual wellbeing. Many at the time were being seduced and lured by false teaching that was appealing but took people off track.

In recent conversations I have realized how the Covid Pandemic, the war in Ukraine and frequent news of natural disasters has seriously unnerved people and disturbed their sense of peace. People are often afraid, they are unsure, lack hope and have recognized how fragile our “normal” lives really are. All the unknown has made people feel unsafe.

It is for that reason that we encourage one another to know what God says, to know the word of God because, when we do, we can base our decisions and thoughts on what He says is true. Knowing the truth we see how God offers a hope that is unshakeable and unchanging no matter what is happening. God promises to be with us, to help us, to teach us, strengthen us and give us what we need in order to stand firm.

Paul says, “As for you Timothy continue in what you have learned in the Holy Scriptures which make you wise. Everything you have learned in the Holy Scriptures have thoroughly equipped you and shaped you for the tasks ahead.”

Applying God’s word to our lives changes the way we think, the way we behave and directs our focus to those things that are godly. It fills our mind with understanding that leads to godly responses and to making wise decisions. The days in which we are living are no less perilous and our need to have the ingrained truth reside within, enabling us to resist the temptations and deceptions that are so prevalent today, is no less great.

We are surrounded by information. Secular information as well as biblical information and our options are endless. The technology we have enables us to access so much of what has been written and to explore all kinds of philosophical ideas as well facts and inventions. Books are available in all shapes and forms, you can read them, listen to them or even watch some. Biblical books alone are so numerous and so many ideas, personal experiences and teachings are shared, many sharing truth and great encouragement but, sadly, amongst them are those that lead to deception. How do you weed out the good from the bad?

Jesus and His disciples warned us of the deception to come. It was not considered a light thing and Jesus spoke strongly about being a stumbling block and causing others to fall. We really don’t want to do that !

Deception is not always obvious. It may start off down the path of truth but slowly and steadily deviate from what is written in scripture. Taking license or liberty in the interpretation of a verse can wind up down many misleading paths. Or harder to deal with is when someone writes or says, “I heard the Lord say.” No one wants to argue with God, I don’t! I will often start out thinking who am I to think differently but, as I pray, examining and really looking at what is being said, I realize that this does not line up with scripture. We mustn’t be afraid to examine, check and recognize when we don’t agree. Remember the Bereans who searched out the scripture. (Acts 17:11). We need to be like them.

The Holy Spirit is our teacher, He is our counsellor and will lead us into all truth. He will alert us and cause us to be uneasy about things that are not true. He will never fail us or let us down. That check, hesitation in your spirit, don’t ignore it.

We must ask Him and ask those we know we can trust. Dig into scripture and find the truth. Just digging, researching and studying scripture strengthens our foundation and helps to build on truth. As we do so, it is important to remain humble and teachable so that the Holy Spirit can lead us … then we can hold firm to what we have learned from God’s word and not allow the “exciting” and “new” to seduce us. Avoid the trap called FOMO. “Fear Of Missing Out.” Encourage yourself and others to hold fast and not get swept up in the deception and nonsense that is sweeping the world. We have been warned against false teachings and false prophets but we also know that God in His power and wisdom is able to keep us on that straight and narrow road.

I gain understanding from your precepts
Therefore, I hate every wrong path.
Your word is a lamp to my feet,
A light to my path!
Psalm 119:104-105