In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – Why Does God Allow Trials?

God allows us to go through trials so our faith will grow; then we can help others while glorifying Him.

1 Peter 1:6-9

Let’s delve deeper into trials today. What purpose could God have in allowing us to face hard times? 

1. God allows trials to test our faith. However, He doesn’t do so with the expectation that we will fail. Rather, He wants us to learn greater dependence on Him. Unproven, untried faith can’t grow without a challenge; if it has not been tested, how do we know what we can endure in life? 

2. He uses trials to display His sustaining power. As we learned yesterday, everyone faces painful periods in life. By drawing on God’s strength during these times, we can live out a powerful testimony in front of those who do not know Christ. 

3. Our trials equip us to help others. When we go through a hardship, we become specifically equipped to sympathize with and encourage others who may later face a similar ordeal. This principle was an important part of the apostle Paul’s ministry (2 Cor. 1:4-8). 

4. God allows trials in our life to purify us. Hardships put pressure on us, especially in areas where we try to hide sin. The Lord knows these things must be brought to the surface and faced openly and honestly if we’re to become mature believers. 

God has a purpose for every trial He allows to come your way. Stand firm and let Him accomplish His will in your life—by whatever means He deems necessary.

Bible in One Year: Luke 14-16

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — A Purpose in Suffering

Bible in a Year:

I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.

Job 42:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Job 42:1–9

“So what you’re saying is, it may not be my fault.” The woman’s words took me by surprise. Having been a guest speaker at her church, we were now discussing what I’d shared that morning. “I have a chronic illness,” she explained, “and I have prayed, fasted, confessed my sins, and done everything else I was told to do to be healed. But I’m still sick, so I thought I was to blame.”

I felt sad at the woman’s confession. Having been given a spiritual “formula” to fix her problem, she had blamed herself when the formula hadn’t worked. Even worse, this formulaic approach to suffering was disproved generations ago.

Simply put, this old formula says that if you’re suffering, you must have sinned. When Job tragically lost his livestock, children, and health, his friends used the formula on him. “Who, being innocent, has ever perished?” Eliphaz said, suspecting Job’s guilt (Job 4:7). Bildad even told Job that his children only died because they had sinned (8:4). Ignorant of the real cause of Job’s calamities (1:6–2:10), they tormented him with simplistic reasons for his pain, later receiving God’s rebuke (42:7).

Suffering is a part of living in a fallen world. Like Job, it can happen for reasons we may never know. But God has a purpose for you that goes beyond the pain you endure. Don’t get discouraged by falling for simplistic formulas.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How else do you see the “suffering = sin” formula being used? Why do you think it’s still so prevalent?

Great Physician, give me words to heal, not hurt, in times of pain.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Learning Truth

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

Scripture is a manual of divine truth.

This month we’ve considered many benefits of Scripture. Second Timothy 3:16 lists four more that will be the focus of our studies as we draw this month to a close: teaching truth, reproving sin and error, correcting behavior, and training in righteousness. We’ve touched on each of those to some extent in our past studies, but they warrant additional discussion from this verse, which is Scripture’s most concise statement on its own power and purpose.

First, the Bible is profitable for teaching. The Greek word translated “teaching” refers more to content than to the process of teaching. Scripture is God’s manual of divine truth for patterning your thoughts and actions.

As a believer, you have the capacity to understand and respond to Scripture. That’s because the Holy Spirit indwells you and imparts spiritual discernment, wisdom, and understanding (1 John 2:27). You have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

But having the ability to understand spiritual truth doesn’t guarantee you’ll exercise that ability. God said to the Israelites through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (4:6). His truth was available to them, but they ignored it and lived in disobedience.

I’ve heard many people lament that they could have avoided much grief if only they had known the Bible more thoroughly—if only they had taken the time to learn what God expected of them in a particular situation. Perhaps you’ve felt that way. The best way to avoid making that mistake in the future is to faithfully, prayerfully, patiently, and thoroughly saturate your mind with biblical truth, then discipline yourself to live according to its principles. Now that’s the challenge of a lifetime, but it’s the only way to profit from biblical teaching and avoid unnecessary heartaches.

I pray you will be encouraged today as you study God’s Word and diligently apply it to your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use the circumstances you face today to draw you closer to Him and motivate you to dig deeper into His Word.

For Further Study

Read Exodus 24:1-8. What was the Israelites’ response to God’s Word? What is yours?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Start Enjoying You

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

— Exodus 20:17 (AMPC)

Other people can be examples to us but should never be our standard or be a reason for us to covet who they are. The Bible says in Romans 8:29 that we are destined to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ and share inwardly His likeness. Another Scripture says that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We can think, speak, and learn to behave as Jesus did, and He certainly did not ever compare Himself with anyone or desire to be anything other than what His Father had made Him to be. He lived to do the Father’s will, not to compete with others and compare Himself with them.

I encourage you to be content with who you are. That does not mean that you cannot make progress and continually improve, but when you allow other people to become a law (rule or regulation), you are continually disappointed. God will never help you be someone else. Remember that being “different” is good; it is not a bad thing. Celebrate your uniqueness and rejoice in the future God has planned for you. Be confident and start enjoying you!

Prayer Starter: Lord, the world continually tries to conform me to be like everyone else. I thank You for making me different. Help me to be content with who I am, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –Four Trustworthy Sayings

The saying is trustworthy . . .

2 Timothy 2:11

Paul has four of these “trustworthy” sayings.

  • The first occurs in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
  • The next is in 1 Timothy 4:8–9, “Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.”
  • The third is in 2 Timothy 2:11, “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.”
  • And the fourth is in Titus 3:8, “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to do good works.”

We may trace a connection between these faithful sayings. The first one lays the foundation of our eternal salvation in the free grace of God, as shown to us in the mission of the great Redeemer. The next affirms the double blessedness that we obtain through this salvation—the blessings of time and of eternity. The third shows the nature of the life to which the chosen people are called; we are ordained to die with Christ with the promise that “if we have died with him, we will also live with him.” The last sets out the active form of Christian service, bidding us to diligently maintain good works.

So we have the root of salvation in free grace, then the privileges of that salvation in the life that now is and in that which is to come; and we have also the two great branches of dying with Christ and living with Christ, loaded with the fruit of the Spirit.

Treasure up these faithful sayings. Let them be the guides of your life, your comfort, and your instruction. The apostle of the Gentiles proved them to be trustworthy, and they are still trustworthy; not one word will fall to the ground. They are worthy of all acceptance; let us accept them now and prove their reliability.

Let these four trustworthy sayings be written on the four corners of my house.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – The LORD Is a Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Do you know what a “first responder” is? There are teams of men and women who are trained to be able to come help in an emergency situation. They are supposed to be always ready in case an emergency happens nearby them. They practice, and they stay alert so that they can be the first people on the scene if there is a car accident or another kind of crisis where somebody might be seriously hurt. First responders are trained to give medical help to people right after an accident, so that they are taken care of until they can be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

We can be very thankful for first responders. Paramedics, firefighters, EMTs, and all kinds of people are trained to act in an emergency, when people need help most desperately. If you call 9-1-1, someone will respond to your call for help. They will come right away. They will come as soon as they possibly can. And they will come faster than any other help can get there.

But you know what? They are not already there. Do you realize that God is always already there? The Bible says He is “our refuge and strength,” a “very present help” when we are in times of trouble. To be a “present help” is to be right there already. Even the fastest first responders cannot reach you in an emergency faster than God can. We don’t even have to dial 9-1-1 in order to cry out to God in an emergency. He is already there, because He is always present with us.

What a comfort it is to know that God is always with us! Even when we have to wait for other people to come help, or if we just feel alone and need someone with us – God is already there. Are you living like you believe that God is a “very present help in trouble”?

Because He is always with us, God is already there when we need Him.

My Response:
» Do I feel worried or lonely when my friends and family are not around me?
» Do I forget that I can trust God to be there for me when I need Him?
» How can I show in my own “first responses” that I am trusting the LORD more than anyone or anything else?

Denison Forum – New C. S. Lewis film “The Most Reluctant Convert” is an inspiring account of a legendary story

The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C. S. Lewisdebuts in theaters on November 3 andbrings the viewer into C. S. Lewis’ shoes, from his childhood to when his life begins anew as a full-fledged follower of Jesus. 

The short movie is based on the successful stage production by the same name, which heavily draws from C. S. Lewis’ own account in his book Surprised by Joy, sometimes using direct quotes. 

The biopic account is narrated by an older “Jack” Lewis who journeys with you, the viewer, through his life. Jack is played by acclaimed narrator and stage performer Max McLean, known for his solo stage shows based on Lewis’ books The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce.

The film also stars Nicholas Ralph as the younger Lewis and Eddie Ray Martin as Lewis as a child. The Most Reluctant Convert is directed by Norman Stone, who may be best known as the director of another film about C. S. Lewis, Shadowlands.

Witness real-world sets

I’ve personally had the pleasure of going to Oxford and Cambridge, Lewis’ grave, the Kilns (his home later in his life), the Eagle and Child (a pub frequented by Lewis and Tolkien), and studying the legendary man. The movie uses all of these real-world sites as sets, bringing a unique realism to the story. 

Though the storytelling certainly delivers, the constant narration gives the impression of a documentary, and one should set their expectations appropriately. The film uses simplistic and beautiful cinematography as the camera follows the older Lewis through the critical events of his life.

Lewis’ reluctant conversion 

From bookish boy to young professor, Lewis’ spiritual journey moves from indifferent child to rationalistic teen and atheist, to a dabbler in the occult, to a weakened atheist, to a believer in the transcendent, to aloof theist, and, finally, to reluctant Christian. In each step in the process toward Christ, Lewis dragged his feet, putting up his best fight against God’s draw on his life. 

At the beginning, we hear a tirade from the old Lewis explaining what he would have said if you’d asked him “why he was an atheist” all those years ago. His beginning monologue tears down Christianity, posing the problem of evil with rational and rhetorical force. From the beginning, the viewer knows it would take God himself to move a man like this away from his atheism, and that is precisely what happened. 

Avid Lewis fans will enjoy how the movie fills between the lines of Surprised by Joy. People who have only heard of the Chronicles of Narnia will get an introduction to one of the most brilliant minds and greatest communicators of the twentieth century and his reluctant conversion to Christianity.

How to watch The Most Reluctant Convert 

The movie debuts on November 3 and has a short run through November 7. To see if the film is playing at a theater near you, visit CSLewisMovie.com

The filmmakers’ commitment to showing Lewis’ Christian story is apparent in their website, which includes a workbook that your small group or family can use to discuss the biblical truths in his story.

http://www.denisonforum.org/