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Monthly Archives: May 2014

God Is Always In Control by Charles Stanley

god-in-contrpl1Read – Isaiah 45:5-7
I admit that I often don’t understand why bad things happen. Even so, I believe that God has a purpose for everythingHe does or permits. My faith is rooted in the biblical principle that says the Lord is sovereign (Ps. 22:28). He is in absolute control of this universe, the natural and political climate of this earth, and my life and yours.

When we are in the midst of a trial, it is hard to resist crying out, “God, Why is this happening?” Sometimes we get the answer and sometimes we don’t. What we can be sure of is that nothing happens by accident or coincidence. He has a purpose for even our most painful experiences. Moreover, we have His promise to “cause all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).

Seeing in advance how the Lord will work evil or hurt for our benefit is very difficult, if not impossible. My limited human perspective doesn’t allow me to grasp His greater plan. However, I can confirm the truth of this biblical promise because the Father’s good handiwork appears all through my pain, hardship, and loss. I have experienced Him turn mourning into gladness and have seen Him reap bountiful blessings and benefits from my darkest hours.

As believers, we must accept that God won’t always make sense to us. Isaiah teaches that His ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isa. 55:9). He sees the beautifully completed big picture. We can rely on the fact that God is in control, no matter how wildly off-kilter our world seems to spin.

Recognize Your Vulnerability, by Charles Stanley

stand.firmRead – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Some Christians see a fellow believer fall into sin but fail to acknowledge that they, too, could stumble. That’s dangerous. Satan has them right where he wants them: deceived by a false sense of confidence. Three enemies are constantly at work trying to bring us down: the Devil, his world system, and our own treacherous flesh.

Even though believers have a righteous standing before God, we must each, like Paul, acknowledge an internal problem: “sin which dwells in me” (Rom. 7:20). Satan takes full advantage of this weakness, luring us with fleshly and worldly temptations. He stokes our pride so we’ll be blinded to our own vulnerability to stumbling.

Christians need to be continually on guard. Since ignorance–of the nature of sin, the strategies of the Enemy, and our own areas of weakness–sets us up for failure, we cannot afford to be careless in our thinking. Anytime you find yourself excusing, redefining, or rationalizing sin, you’ve lost your sensitivity to the Lord. God’s Word must always fill our minds and direct our steps.

If you’ve drifted from the Lord, turn back to Him by acknowledging your sin and accepting full responsibility for it. Repentance simply means changing your mind and going in a different direction–toward God instead of away from Him.

The next step is harder. Respond with gratitude for the Lord’s chastisement. Every time believers fall into sin, God lovingly works to bring them back into a fellowship with Him. His discipline may be painful, but it’s always good because it brings us to our senses and reconnects us with our Father.

Glorious Day – by Casting Crowns

My subtlest and strongest enemies are within myself! By Alexander Smellie (1907)

gospel_grunge1024x768Fighting a long and hard campaign, I shall be very foolish if I underestimate my foes. There are many of them, but they serve under a trinity of wicked captains.

1. “If any man loves the WORLD,” writes John, “the love of the Father is not in him.” The World is my sworn and unrelenting enemy–an enemy all the more dangerous because it professes to be something so different–the best of comrades and the truest of friends.

I must take my part, and that with diligence, in the World’s business. Yet what a risk there is, that it should absorb my thoughts morning and night! Then I shall become selfish and earthly and unspiritual.

I must make acquaintance with the World’s literature, and much of it is beautiful and good. But I am prone to give it an undue attention, and to forget the divine library which God’s finger has penned.

I must mingle among the World’s citizens, and many of them are love-worthy and full of charm. Yet, when I prize them overmuch, they separate me from Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

Under its kindly face–the World is a hostile power!

2. “Your adversary the DEVIL,” writes Peter. Here is another stupendous antagonist. The accuser of the brethren prowls about, unseen and malignant, sleeplessly plotting my harm! Never should I leave off my spiritual armor.

“The FLESH lusts against the Spirit,” writes Paul. After all, my subtlest and strongest enemies are within myself! Old sin comes back, seeking the mastery again. And much in me loves it, and goes out to meet and embrace it. There, indeed, is my greatest hazard–there my most deadly snare!

“O wretched man that I am!” I re-echo the ancient cry, “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Yes, my worst foes are entrenched within the citadel of Man-soul, within my own heart!

My God, I have no might against this great company, neither do I know what to do! But–but my eyes are upon You!

“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!” Jude 1:24-25

Two Truths for Coping with Suffering, by Charles R. Swindoll

2022341I have found great help from two truths God gave me at a time in my life when I was bombarded with a series of unexpected and unfair blows (from my perspective). In my darkest hours, these principles become my anchor of stability, my only means of survival. Afflicted, confused, persecuted, and rejected in that situation, I claimed these two truths and held on to them like wild waves, strong winds, and pounding rain grabbing hold of the mast of a ship at sea. God took me through the consequences and kept me from becoming a bitter man.
Because they worked for me, I pass them on to you. At the risk of sounding simplistic, I would suggest that you not only write them down where you can read them often, but also that you might commit them to memory. The day will come when you will be thankful you did, I assure you. They have scriptural support, but I’ll only list a couple of verses for the sake of brevity and clarity.

Job 2:3–6
3 Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” 4 Satan replied to the LORD, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!” 6 “All right, do with him as you please,” the LORD said to Satan. “But spare his life.”

Here is the first truth to claim when enduring the consequences of suffering: nothing touches me that has not passed through the hands of my heavenly Father. Nothing. Whatever occurs, God has sovereignly surveyed and approved. We may not know why (we may never know why), but we do know our pain is no accident to Him who guides our lives. He is, in no way, surprised by it all. Before it ever touches us, it passes through Him.

2 Corinthians 1:3–7
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

The second truth to claim is this: everything I endure is designed to prepare me for serving others more effectively. Everything. Because my heavenly Father is committed to shaping me into the image of His Son, He knows the ultimate value of this painful experience. It is a necessary part of the preparation process. It is being used to empty our hands of our own resources, our own sufficiency, and turn us back to Him—the faithful Provider.
And God knows what will get through to us.

Be Still

One Thing

Amazing Grace

God Can Use You