I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25
Boils, bankruptcy, bereavement. What kept Job going? Even his wife had lost faith, ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ (Job 2:9). In a word, yes, he was. Job demonstrates a grit, determination and trust in God unparalleled in the rest of the Old Testament.
Was Job cold-hearted, to be able to struggle on when his family were killed? Not a bit. (flip to Job 1:20) Instead, Job knew that God was God, He was good, faithful, and powerful, and even if he didn’t know exactly what was going on, no worldly thing was going to distract him from that. Even when his world was crumbling down around him.
“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21) Wow. THAT’s real God-perspective.
Praising God when the sun’s shining is OK, but choosing to do it when your world is falling apart demonstrates Job-like trust. Even when it looked like God had walked away, gone on holiday and turned off the phone, Job chose God, ‘I know my Liberator’s out there, somewhere. I know it. Someday he’ll turn up. I don’t know what state I’ll be in by then, but I know I’ll see God. I will: I know’ (Job 19:25-26) Job didn’t have a fake smile fixed to his face, but deep in his heart, he chose to trust God. More importantly, God chose Job! And God never let Job go. He won’t let you go either. Count on Him!
Heavenly Father, when things around me are falling apart, keep me focused and trusting in You, that in the midst of all this You continue to love me and help me through. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Acts 1:23
The early Church didn’t waste any time. Picked faithful disciples, ready to lay down their lives for God! They were totally in tune with God, right? Right.
But yet, God is unpredictable. His Holy Spirit ‘blows wherever it pleases’ (John 3:8). Which means even your pastor/vicar/chaplain hasn’t got Him figured out! You see, sometimes, we might go the way we THINK is right, but God often doesn’t agree with OUR thinking. And when that happens, He’ll steer us to where we should be.
Case study. The disciples aren’t sure what to do. Judas is gone; the team of apostles are a man short. A quick replacement is in order, so ‘Barsabbas and Matthias’ are nominated (two leadership potentials). To decide who’s getting the role, they use an ancient method of voting. As a result, Matthias gets chosen. Who is he? Um. Dunno! (he isn’t mentioned again). But Barsabbas, the man who didn’t win the vote, went on to be a pioneer in teaching.
Did the disciples get it wrong? Was Matthias the right man for the job? Whether they got it right or wrong isn’t so important. Matthias might have gone on to do great, unrecorded, things. What matters is the fact they were seeking Him, and God honors that. Are you after God? Whether or not you hear His voice or feel His nudge, you’ll still see His Lordship.
Heavenly Father, in all my ways help me to always seek Your guidance and then move forward knowing that You will work with me where I am and with the choices I make. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Fulfilling What God Wants You to Be Tough-Times Growth – Pt 3
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The story of Joseph is a classic. But what makes the story noteworthy? Maybe it’s because the hero doesn’t sail into the sunset without a bumpy ride along the way. Kidnapping, enforced slavery, false accusations and prison all spring up as road-blocks in the life of the man who had been promised greatness. Circumstances went from bad to worse, then to worse still, as he rode his personal ancient-Egyptian rollercoaster. But there was one key recurring truth: ‘The Lord was with Joseph’ (Genesis 39:2).
Joseph might have wanted things simple, easy, as he watched his brothers bowed down to him in awe. But God had a bigger plan for Joseph in mind, that focused on Joseph becoming the man that God wanted him to be: Someone capable of leading a nation. That meant challenges were on the cards. It also means the opportunity to experience God’s presence in a way he wouldn’t have if he just won Middle East X-Factor. Over the thirteen years of suffering, God was growing Joseph. He was teaching him a spiritual paradox that says it’s when you’re weak that you can fully allow God to be God. As God said to Paul, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Heavenly Father, the ups and downs of life – many times it seems more like downs, help me to trust that these are things that all work in Your overall plan for my life. Help me trust You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post Fulfilling What God Wants You to Be Tough-Times Growth – Pt 3 – July 29, 2014 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
Fix You – Tough-Times Growth – Part 2
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
Sometimes, bad things happen even to those we’d call ‘good people’. Knowing a Sovereign God who could command a whole legion of angels to meet your every whim, but for some reason doesn’t, might be frustrating at times. So why doesn’t God sort out all our problems? It’s not that God isn’t bothered by your pain. Your pain hurt God so much that He sent His Son Jesus to carry it, to bear it, to redeem not only it, but to redeem us. And then God wants to bring us closer to Himself. He wants us to have good qualities that reflect Him; He wants character, perseverance and hope.
Instead of gift-wrapping those qualities and handing them to us on a plate, He puts us in situations where we have to develop them. Those sorts of situations are not usually nice. God’s using your exact situation to discipline you: to disciple you. ‘No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way’ (Hebrews 12:11).
When you pray for blessings, you might be thinking of achievements, money, or that special someone stepping right into your life. But there’s more to be gained in this life than those things: God sees the bigger picture of your character development. The Beatitudes in Matthew 5 give an alternative definition of ‘blessed’. Special mentions go to the poor in spirit and the persecuted. When we do eventually leave this life, and meet God face to face, what will we actually get to take with us? Wrong way to say it: Jesus will take us with Him. And when He takes us, He will take the character He has developed in us. Won’t you let Him develop His character in you?
Heavenly Father, I’m a fixer upper – work Your mercy and miracles in my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post Fix You – Tough-Times Growth – Part 2 – July 28, 2014 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
Tough-Times Growth – Part 1
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37
The Bible is surprisingly full of people having really tough times. It seems that after thousands of years of getting to know God, mankind still hasn’t been able to get its collective-head around our good, loving God allowing us to face ‘times of trial’. It’s a tough question in theory, but it’s much harder again when you’re living the tough times in reality.
Bad things happening in life is a sad reality of living in a fallen world. Following Jesus is not a ticket for a life free from pain. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said, ‘Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows’ (John 16:33). But He doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say, ‘But take heart, because I have overcome the world.’ This is the good news in a nutshell. God so loved that world that He gave us Jesus. Jesus has overcome our trials and sorrows. He did it all. So we turn to Him when we fail. He forgives. He picks us up. And we can respond again, knowing we have within us His grace to forgive and His grace to grow.
If you break a bone in your leg, the bone will actually heal stronger than it ever was originally; the break will heal, then another layer of bone will grow over the area, reinforcing it. That’s how God works – not just in your body but in your life. For our hearts, being broken could be the start of finding your strength in God. Being broken is finding our forgiveness, our acceptance, and our strength—in Jesus.
Heavenly Father, help me remember that brokenness is a process of being stronger and better – if I allow You to do that in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen