Charles Stanley – God Works Through Our Trials

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The troubles and suffering we experience in life are not random events without purpose. God works through them for our good (Rom. 8:28). We may not like or understand exactly what He’s doing, but knowing some of His general goals helps us trust Him and cooperate so we can reap the benefits of a season of affliction.

Protection. After Paul fervently prayed that his thorn in the flesh be removed, God revealed to him that it was a protection from pride. We all have areas of weakness that could lead us into sin, and God in His wisdom knows how to safeguard us. Sometimes pain accomplishes what nothing else can.

Reliance. Paul’s thorn, which made him weak, also taught him to endure by relying on Christ’s grace and strength. In the same way, the troubles in our life often bring us to the end of our rope so we’ll reach out to the Lord in humble dependence. Then we are positioned to receive the divine strength He promises to provide.

Divine Perspective. When Paul finally realized what the Lord was trying to accomplish in his life, he viewed his suffering in a totally different way. He stopped focusing on it as a pain and hindrance and instead became content: Paul could actually rejoice because he recognized that Christ’s power in him was more important than freedom from pain.

Unless we realize that God always prioritizes the eternal over the temporal, we won’t see the value of pain. According to 2 Corinthians 4:17, “Momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Therefore, we don’t lose heart.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 15-17

 

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Our Daily Bread — God at Work

 

Read: Hebrews 13:20–21 | Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 22–23; John 4:31–54

May he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:21

“How have you seen God at work lately?” I asked some friends. One replied, “I see Him at work as I read the Scriptures each morning; I see Him at work as He helps me face each new day; I see Him at work when I know that He has been with me every step of the way—I realize how He has helped me to face challenges while giving me joy.” I love his answer because it reflects how through God’s Word and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, God stays near to, and works in, those who love Him.

God working in His followers is a wonderful mystery that the writer to the Hebrews refers to as he draws his letter to a close in what’s known as a benediction: “. . . and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21). With this conclusion, the writer reinforces the essential message of his letter—that God will equip His people to follow Him and that God will work in and through them for His glory.

May he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:21

The gift of God working in us can take us by surprise; perhaps we forgive someone who wrongs us or show patience to someone we find difficult. Our “God of peace” (v. 20) spreads His love and peace in and through us. How have you seen God at work lately?

Lord Jesus Christ, You equip me to do Your works for Your glory. Open my eyes today, that I might understand how You are calling me to follow You.

God works in and through His followers.

By Amy Boucher Pye

INSIGHT

In Hebrews 13:20 Jesus is called the “great Shepherd of the sheep.” We see the shepherd metaphor used throughout the Bible. In Psalm 23, one of the most beloved of all Scripture passages, the Lord is referred to as “shepherd.” In Genesis 48 the term is used to describe the God of Israel: “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm—may he bless these boys” (vv. 15–16).

The book of Revelation, with its breathtaking apocalyptic imagery, includes a reference to the combined shepherding care of God who sits on the throne (see 7:15) and the Lamb: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ ” (v. 17).

In between Genesis and Revelation, poets (Psalm 80:1), prophets (Isaiah 40:11), and apostles (1 Peter 5:4) employ this great metaphor to emphasize God’s gracious, caring work on behalf of those who belong to Him.

Arthur Jackson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Beyond Borders

In my part of the world, gardening season has begun in earnest. Seeds that were planted and buried underground are now beginning to arise, thin green shoots, tiny leaves and the promise that there will be a bountiful harvest.

The ancient feast of Pentecost celebrated by the nation of Israel was a celebration of harvest. The weeks of sowing were completed and now it was time to reap the gifts of the land. Pilgrims would come from all over to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple and celebrate their bounty.

For Christians, the season of Pentecost represents the movement of the Spirit out to the whole world. It is considered the birthday of the Christian community—a community that would begin with Jews and come to include Samaritans, Gentiles and all those from the remotest parts of the earth.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Beyond Borders

Joyce Meyer – God Will Help You

 

The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace. — Psalm 29:11

God has been showing me that we need to be aware of His present provisions now, and not just in the future. In Psalm 28:7, David said of God…I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him. He did not say, “I will be helped.”

Wait on God, because God’s help will strengthen you to behave in a godly way all day long if you trust in Him. Even while you wait on God to manifest His plan, your heart can greatly rejoice in His presence. Tell someone something good that God has done for you, and then watch Him move in the presence of your praise.

Prayer Starter: Father, You are the great “I am,” and I thank You for being with me…right here, right now. Help me today to recognize Your goodness and begin expecting You to show up in my life in mighty ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Godly Shall Flourish

“But the godly shall flourish like palm trees, and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden, and are under His personal care. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green” (Psalm 92:12-14).

John Vredenburgh preached in a Somerville, New York church for many years, often feeling that his ministry was a great failure even though he preached the gospel faithfully. His death came amidst discouragements, and even some of his members wondered about his success and effectiveness as a minister.

Not long after his death, however, spiritual revival came to Somerville. On one Sunday alone, 200 people came to Christ – most of whom dated their spiritual stirrings from the ministry of John Vredenburgh.

Faithfulness and persistence are great virtues in the service of Jesus Christ. “Pay Day, Some Day” was a significant theme and message of that great Southern Baptist pastor, R. G. Lee – and since God’s timing is always perfect, it surely will come in good time.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit.” Though the outward man may be pershing, the inward man is renewed day by day. When the outward ear grows deaf, the inward man hears the voice of God. When the eye grows dim, the mind is enlightened with God’s Word.

When the flesh becomes weak, we are “strengthened with might in the inner man.” Older Christians look toward heaven, where they again shall see family and friends; meanwhile, the share their maturity and good judgment with others, knowing that God still rewards the faithful. Until that dying breath, the supernatural life on earth can continue.

Bible Reading:Psalm 92:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that even in old(er) age my life can produce fruit, I will persevere and remain faithful to our Lord and His commands.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – True Humility

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

True humility is not thinking lowly of yourself but thinking accurately of yourself! When Paul writes “consider others better than yourselves” he uses a verb that means to calculate or to reckon (Philippians 2:3 NIV). It implies a conscious judgment resting on carefully weighed facts. To consider others better than yourself then is, not to say you have no place, but it is to say that you know your place. Scripture says, “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you” (Romans 12:3 Phillips).

And be quick to applaud the success of others. Give each other more honor that you want for yourselves. The humble person does not say, “I can’t do anything.” But rather, “I can’t do everything; but I know my part and am happy to do it!”

Read more A Love Worth Giving

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Explaining the conflict in Gaza as death toll rises to 61

History was made yesterday when Israel observed its seventieth anniversary as a nation and the United States officially moved its embassy to Jerusalem. However, the day was historic from a very different perspective as well.

Palestinians mark May 15 each year as “Nakba Day” (“Nakba” means “catastrophe”). This designation refers to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes or were displaced in the 1948 War of Independence.

In the weeks leading to yesterday’s anniversary, Hamas called for massive demonstrations against Israel and the US. According to Israeli officials, some forty thousand Palestinians took part in “violent riots” yesterday at thirteen locations along the Gaza Strip security fence.

As protesters approached the border fence hurling stones and incendiary devices, Israeli soldiers responded with live ammunition and tear gas dispersed from drones.

The resulting death toll has risen this morning to sixty-one. More than 2,700 were injured in the deadliest violence since the 2014 Gaza war. A senior Hamas official said last night that protests would continue: “This blood will keep boiling until the occupation leaves forever.”

What my Palestinian tour guide experienced

Since I wrote yesterday from Israel’s point of view, today I will overview the conflict from a Palestinian perspective. (For a larger introduction to the region, its history, and its significance, I invite you to read my Israel and the Two-State Solution on our website.)

Continue reading Denison Forum – Explaining the conflict in Gaza as death toll rises to 61