GIVEAWAY: Win a $20 CBD Gift Card!

Header-Image-w-transA Look at Life from a Deerstand began six years ago when a teenager who knew absolutely nothing about blogging decided to take a step of faith and start his own website. For a while I posted daily, but in recent years it’s been much more sporadic. This has been due in part to a busier schedule, and partially because I’ve simply slacked off in the discipline of writing.

Well, I decided it’s time to renew my commitment to writing and so I’ve spent nearly every spare moment of the last week building my brand new website, I’ll keep posting devotionals and encouragement from Scripture as usual and even cover occasional current events and news items from the perspective of my Christian faith (thus the name).

To celebrate and help spread the word, I'm giving away a free $20.00 gift card to Christian Book Distributors! You can enter to win by clicking here, but hurry! The contest ends Saturday  at 11:59 p.m. CST. After Saturday, I’ll notify the winner via email and will redirect to The Faith Perspective.

It’s been fun, and I hope you’ll join me for my next adventure!

Many Wonderful Works

"Cause me to know the way
wherein I should walk;
for I lift up my soul unto Thee."
(Ps. 143:8)

Perhaps the most significant role of the Word of God is that it inerrantly reveals to us the nature of its Author. Although Creation points to a Creator (Ps. 19:1) and our conscience bears witness that "sin is a reproach" (Prov. 14:34), apart from the Scriptures we have no "knowledge of salvation" and are unable "to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (Luke 1:77; 1 Tim. 2:4). As N. A. Woychuk points out in Thus Says the Lord, "There is only one way to heaven, but there are many secret paths that lead to hell." The only way to avoid these "secret paths" of destruction is to know "know Him that is true. . .even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).

Of course the Scriptures not only reveal the commandments of God; they also reveal the power of God and His many "wonderful works" (Ps. 40:5). The parting of the Red Sea points to the omnipotence of Him who promised, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee" (Isa. 43:2). The preservation of Daniel in the lions' den undeniably confirms that "with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). The cleansing of the leper attests the ability of Christ to also "forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

We also see the faithfulness of God revealed in the promise that He "will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able" (1 Cor. 10:13); the justice of God manifested in the suffering of "the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Pet. 3:18); the holiness of God declared by hosts of angels (Rev. 4:8); and the love of God demonstrated "in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

Few things affect your relationship with God more than your perception of Him. The Scriptures accurately reveal the nature of God and make it possible for us to enjoy "the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9). And while it may indeed be possible to know the truth and willingly "reject the word of the Lord" (1 Sam. 15:23), walking daily in the "path of life" (Ps. 16:11) is only possible to those who sincerely pray with the Psalmist, "Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me" (Ps. 119:133).

The Rock That is Higher Than I

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"For I am the LORD,
I change not;
therefore ye sons of Jacob
are not consumed."
(Malachi 3:6)

I write these words on a breezy Missouri morning, as I enjoy the view from the peak of Taum Sauk Mountain - the highest point above sea level in my home state. My laptop is at home. My cell phone is turned off, and the only thing distracting me from writing is a sky of billowing clouds and a horizon met by rolling hills.

As I reflect on the twelve months that have passed since I last visited this mountain, to say much has changed in my life would be an understatement. In a way, I've climbed many mountains of my own during that time, and my vision of the future was often obscured by a fog of uncertainty. God's love, grace, and provision was stretched out before me, but I rarely took time to enjoy the view.

As I consider Paul's exhortation to "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7), I have to believe he was looking ahead to times when faith would be his only strength to keep walking. He knew days would come when it would be hard just to put one foot in front of the other, and that failure would be certain if his continued walk depended on favorable circumstances. And so he resolved not to walk by sight, but entirely "by the faith of the Son of God" (Gal. 2:20).

David's prayer in Psalm 61:2 was simple: "From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." The visitor to this mountain may be subject to change and sometimes overwhelming circumstances, but the Maker of the mountain remains steadfast, unmoving and unchanging through it all.

Lessons from the Life of Job

"There was a man in the land of Uz,
whose name was Job;
and that man was perfect and upright,
and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."
(Job 1:1)

Many scholars agree that Job is probably the oldest book of the Bible. It seems appropriate, then, that the oldest portion of Scripture immediately addresses the age-old question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Job is introduced to us as a very wealthy man (1:3), and one that God Himself regarded as "perfect and upright." His net worth in modern currency could have exceeded $5,000,000, which makes his morality all the more remarkable. After all, how many present-day millionaires "hold fast their integrity" (2:3) as Job did? And yet even when he lost everything, Job's heart-cry seemed to be very much in line with Paul's in Acts 20:24, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy . . .to testify . . . of the grace of God."

Most of us have been encouraged by Job's story at some point in our lives. Here was a man who had what many people spend their entire lives striving for: money, friends, family, and plenty of possessions. He achieved his culture's version of the American Dream, and yet his first priority was never keeping up with the Joneses; it was walking with his God.

Of course we all know the story of what happened next. In a matter of moments, nearly everything Job claimed as his own was stripped away. The most tragic loss was that of his children:

"...there came also another, and said,
Thy sons and thy daughters were eating
and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness,
and smote the four corners of the house,
and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead."
(Job 1:18-19)

That's when Job realized this was more than just a bad day. The Lord Himself had indeed "put forth His hand, and touched all that he had" (1:11). In what had quickly become the darkest moment of his life, Job was understandably overwhelmed with grief. He tore his clothes, shaved his head, and collapsed to the ground. And yet even as he faced circumstances that would no doubt be unbearable for many of us, Job looked to heaven and cried out, "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (1:21).

In the days that followed Job lost his health, the support of his wife, and eventually that of his closest friends. But as he sat among the ashes scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery, he asked rhetorically, "What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (2:10).

What astounds me about Job's spiritual strength is that it doesn't seem to be something he acquired during his trial like most of us. His acceptance of God's sovereignty was immediate, not eventual. Here was someone who had figured out during the good times what many of us are forced to learn in the bad times: that God is all we really need. He held everything loosely, except for his relationship with God.

You may never face a valley as dark as Job's. You may always (or never) be blessed with good health, financial security, and supportive family and friends. Either way, remember that Job's story is not about a man who lost everything, but about a man who found everything he needed in God. When everything and everyone else in his life proved unreliable, he found his strength in the everlasting arms of the Lord (Deut. 33:27).

Against Hope, Believe Hope // Lost Loved Ones

“Who against hope believed in hope,
that he might become the father of many nations;
according to that which was spoken,
So shall thy seed be.”

(Romans 4:18)

Today I experienced the familiar frustration of misplacing the belt clip for my cell phone. Yes, I know they're pretty uncool but, in keeping with my personality, I use one anyway. And although I’m generally an organized person, I’ve found myself searching for this conspicuous accessory more times than I’d care to admit.

So there I was, searching diligently from room to room with no immediate luck. I had errands to run and was becoming annoyed by the delay, but I wasn't leaving the house without it. As I searched, Luke 15:8 came to my mind:

“Either what woman having ten pieces of silver,
if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle,
and sweep the house,
and seek diligently till she find it?”

When something valuable is lost, and when finding it proves difficult, there are generally two ways in which we can choose to respond: 1) concede that it's probably gone forever, or 2) search harder. In this case, the inconvenience of searching was outweighed by my hope of finding something I valued.

The majority of us have a long list of loved ones in desperate need of Christ - sons, daughters, neighbors, and coworkers who are spiritually lost, "having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). Perhaps some of them are even backsliders who "were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come" (Heb. 6:4-5). You've witnessed to them faithfully and prayed for them tearfully, but nothing has changed. The "search" thus far has been exhausting and unsuccessful.

This is the point where many people give up. They resign themselves to the sad conclusion that what is lost will never be found, that the prodigal who has "departed into a far country" will never again "come to himself" and return home (Luke 15:13, 17).

But all hope is not lost! After all, we've been given the blessed promise from God that "if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us," and certainly He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (1 John 5:14; 2 Pet. 3:9). Your prayers are being heard. Your tears are seen by the "Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort," Who offers us the consolation that "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (2 Cor. 1:3; Ps. 126:5). Not only is He deeply "touched with the feeling of our infirmities", but He "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Heb. 4:15; Eph. 3:20).

So keep praying, keep witnessing, and most importantly, keep believing. Live every day walking by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), rejoicing in hope (Rom. 12:12), and resting in Divine love (Zeph. 3:17). The answer may be just around the corner.