Resource Library

Thursday
Jul202017

Finding supernatural patience as you wait on God

"We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light."

- Colossians 1:9-12

Some of the greatest missionaries in the history of our faith were firmly devoted to spreading the seed of God’s Word, and yet had to wait long periods before seeing the fruit of their efforts.

William Carey, for example, labored 7 years before the first Hindu convert was brought to Christ. In western Africa, it was 14 years after the first missionary came before one convert was received into the Christian church. In New Zealand, it took 9 years; and in Tahiti, it was 16 years before the first harvest of souls began.

Thomas à Kempis described that kind of patience in these words:

“He deserves not the name of patient who is only willing to suffer as much as he thinks proper, and for whom he pleases. The truly patient man asks (nothing) from whom he suffers, (whether) his superior, his equal, or his inferior… But from whomever, or how much, or how often wrong is done to him, he accepts it all as from the hand of God, and counts it gain!”

It’s one thing to wait begrudgingly for God’s timing. It’s another to truly show supernatural patience—being joyful and anticipating God to come through in a big way. So when God calls you to wait, remember you’re in good company and trust in Him with joy and eager expectation!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and ask God to give you supernatural patience as you wait for His perfect timing!

Thursday
Jul202017

Don’t just grumble – take action!

"Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!"

- James 5:9

A man was driving to work one morning, and was stuck in traffic when the car in front of him broke down. The driver of the broken-down vehicle tried desperately to start the car again, but she had no luck at all.

So, the man sounded his horn for several seconds while the woman continued to try starting her car. Finally, the woman stepped out, walked back to the man’s car, and told him, “Why don’t we change places? I’ll sound the horn and you can start the car!”

Grumbling and complaining is easy to do. That’s because it’s always easier to point out others’ problems instead of trying to come up with a solution. But grumbling never leads anywhere – it only makes you and others more frustrated.

Don’t just complain about the problems in the world today – be a part of the solution. Give people hope. Share Christ. And love others!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would make you a person of action instead of a complainer. Ask Him to give you a heart that truly wants to see change in the world.

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think grumbling and complaining are so easy, but taking action is often hard? 

What situation in your life today might be different if you took action instead of complaining?

Tuesday
Jul182017

The impact of your actions on others

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves."

- Romans 12:10

An old dentist recounts a story about his very busy dental office years ago. Apparently, he had one particular patient who was constantly late to his appointments. One day, this man was scheduled to come in to get a cavity filled. Before his appointment that morning, the phone at the office rang. It was the patient calling to let the dentist know he’d be about 15 minutes late. “Will that be a problem?” he asked.

“No, that won’t be a problem at all,” the dentist told him. “We just won’t have time to give you any anesthetic.”

For the first time, that man arrived early for his appointment!

It’s amazing the change you see in others once they realize their actions will have a negative impact on them. So often, people are content to cause others trouble, yet when it causes them problems, they straighten up very quickly.

But the Bible says in today’s passage to honor others above and beyond yourself. This means that in everything you do, consider the effects of your actions on other people. Then think, “If someone did this to me, how would it make me feel?”

As Christians, it’s our duty to love others—even those who don’t love us. So prefer others in your decisions and show God’s love in everything you do!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to show you how you can prefer others in the decisions you make.

Monday
Jul172017

What to do when you’re stuck

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles."

- Psalm 34:17

Dr. Tony Evans tells the story of a time he got stuck on an elevator in a high-rise building. The car was between floors when the system locked up. And the people who were in the elevator with him began to panic, banging on the door and yelling in hopes that someone would hear them.

So, Dr. Evans quietly stepped to the front of the car, opened a little door, and pulled out a telephone. He was immediately connected with someone on the outside who could help. He didn’t need to beat on the wall to get their attention. He didn’t need to speak loudly in the phone to receive their help. He could have whispered and they would have heard him.

Dr. Evans made the point that there are times we’re going to get “stuck” in places where we aren’t comfortable. Some people begin to beat against the walls, others cry out in dismay. But the person who trusts in the power of confident prayer knows there’s someone on the other end who hears their call and comes to their aid.

Maybe today, you or someone you know is stuck in a place you don’t like. Pick up the phone of prayer and call out to God. He wants to know your worries and your cares, and longs to set you free! 

Prayer Challenge:

Tell God exactly what’s on your heart. Are you feeling stuck in a tough situation? Pray boldly that He’d set you free in His perfect timing.

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think many people are so hesitant to pray about challenges they’re facing in life?

How might making prayer your first response in tough situations change your outlook on the hardships you face?

Sunday
Jul162017

Living beyond your circumstances through the resurrection

"The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”

Matthew 28:5-6

A little boy named Philip with Down Syndrome attended a third-grade Sunday school class with several eight-year-old boys and girls. Typical of that age, the children did not readily accept Philip with his differences.

One Sunday, the teacher brought egg-shaped pantyhose containers for the students and told the children to go outside, find some symbol for new life, and put it in the egg-like container. Back in the classroom, they would share their new life symbols, opening the containers one by one. After running about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom and placed the containers on the table.

Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one. When one was opened, revealing nothing inside, the children exclaimed, “That’s not fair! Somebody didn’t do their assignment.”

Philip spoke up, “That’s mine.”

“Philip, you don’t ever do things right!” a student retorted. “There’s nothing there!”

“I did so do it,” Philip insisted. “It’s empty, just like Jesus’ tomb was empty!”

Silence followed. From then on, Philip became an accepted member of the class. He sadly died not long afterward from an infection most normal children would have shrugged off. At the funeral, this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar, not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg.

Whatever challenges you face today, the resurrection of Jesus Christ can give your life hope, meaning, and purpose. So rest in the goodness of God and the new life you’ve been given through Jesus’ resurrection!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you live beyond your circumstances and rest in the new life you’ve been given through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Friday
Jul142017

Help reach a critical $12,000 goal – and encourage more hurting seniors this summer!

Thank you for your most generous gift below to help reach the $12,000 goal – and help give seniors like Adele the vital support and encouragement they need during the summer months.  

She shares…

“I use your Daily Living Devotionals frequently for the Bible study I lead at the nursing home each week. Thank you.”

Your gift today will help keep encouragement going out to seniors like Adele through our Daily Living Devotionals, prayer ministry, web tools, and more.

So thank you again for your gift below – so more seniors can embrace the life God intends!

Friday
Jul072017

How God can use you to do anything

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty."

- Zechariah 4:6

Here are a few interesting facts you may not have known about some very famous people:

·         Booker T. Washington was born into slavery.

·         Thomas Edison was deaf.

·         Abraham Lincoln was born of illiterate parents.

·         Lord Byron had a club foot.

·         Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis.

·         Alexander Pope was a hunchback.

·         Admiral Nelson had only one eye.

·         Julius Caesar was an epileptic.

And yet despite the fact that each of these men encountered severe setbacks in life, each of them made history.

So often today, Christians like to make excuses for why they don’t think God can use them. They talk about their bad health, their unfortunate background, or their lack of education and simply accept that they’ll never truly make a significant impact.

Yet for every excuse or limitation that’s given as a reason for God’s inability to use a person, God reminds us that it’s not by our might or by our power that He accomplishes His purposes; it’s by His Spirit.

Do you have a handicap? Are you limited in some way? Call on the Lord. No problem is too big or too small for Him. He will make everything “work together for good” (Romans 8:28) if you turn to Him and trust in His power!

 

Prayer Challenge:

Thank God for the blessings He’s given you. Pray that His Spirit would work perfectly in your imperfections.

Here are a few interesting facts you may not have known about some very famous people:

·         Booker T. Washington was born into slavery.

·         Thomas Edison was deaf.

·         Abraham Lincoln was born of illiterate parents.

·         Lord Byron had a club foot.

·         Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis.

·         Alexander Pope was a hunchback.

·         Admiral Nelson had only one eye.

·         Julius Caesar was an epileptic.

And yet despite the fact that each of these men encountered severe setbacks in life, each of them made history.

So often today, Christians like to make excuses for why they don’t think God can use them. They talk about their bad health, their unfortunate background, or their lack of education and simply accept that they’ll never truly make a significant impact.

Yet for every excuse or limitation that’s given as a reason for God’s inability to use a person, God reminds us that it’s not by our might or by our power that He accomplishes His purposes; it’s by His Spirit.

Do you have a handicap? Are you limited in some way? Call on the Lord. No problem is too big or too small for Him. He will make everything “work together for good” (Romans 8:28) if you turn to Him and trust in His power!

 

 

Prayer Challenge:

 

Thank God for the blessings He’s given you. Pray that His Spirit would work perfectly in your imperfections.


Friday
Jul072017

You once were lost…

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them."

- 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Ernest Hemingway tells the story of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained to the point of breaking. Finally, the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son.

Finally, in Madrid, Spain, in a last desperate effort to find his lost son, the father put an ad in the newspaper, which read:

DEAR PACO, MEET ME IN FRONT OF THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE AT NOON. ALL IS FORGIVEN. I LOVE YOU. YOUR FATHER.

The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office, 800 “Pacos” showed up, hoping to be greeted by their forgiving father.

Everyone has a desire to be reconciled when relationships have been broken. This longing finds its ultimate fulfillment in our reconciliation with God our Father, who loves us despite our sin and longs for us to turn to Him.

In Christ, your reconciliation to God is complete. Rejoice that you were once lost, but now are found!

Prayer Challenge:

Thank God that you’ve been reconciled to Him through your faith in Jesus Christ!

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think having a broken relationship can be so painful?

How might God’s work of reconciling with you help you reconcile other broken relationships in your life?

Friday
Jul072017

Keeping the main thing the main thing

"You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task."

- 1 Corinthians 3:3-5

Flight 401 was bound for Miami from New York City with a load of holiday passengers on the night of December 29, 1972. As the huge aircraft approached the Miami Airport for its landing, a light that indicates proper deployment of the landing gear failed to come on. The plane flew in a large, looping circle over the swamps of the Everglades while the cockpit crew checked out the light failure.

The flight engineer fiddled with the bulb. He tried to remove it, but it wouldn’t budge. Another member of the crew tried to help out... and then another. By and by, if you can believe it, all eyes were on the little light bulb that refused to be dislodged from its socket. No one noticed that the plane was losing altitude.

Finally, it dropped right into a swamp, killing 101 people. While an experienced crew of high-priced and seasoned pilots messed around with a tiny light bulb, an entire airplane and many of its passengers were lost. The crew momentarily forgot the most basic of all rules of the air—don’t forget to fly the airplane!

The same thing can happen to Christians today. In the midst of so much arguing and debating about worship styles, preaching personalities, and minor theological points, they often forget the most basic rule—reach others for Christ. So as you live your life, focus on what really matters and show the world the love of Jesus!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would show you where to compromise, where to stay firm, and most of all, how you can advance His Kingdom and make disciples.

Friday
Jul072017

Starve the flesh?

"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."

- Galatians 5:16

An old American Indian chief was mentoring a group of young braves and telling them about the struggle within. He said, “It’s like two dogs fighting inside of you. One is a good dog that wants to do the right thing. The other is a bad dog that wants to do wrong.”

He went on, “Sometimes the good dog is stronger and seems to be winning the fight. And sometimes the bad dog is stronger and seems to be winning.”

At this, one young brave asked the chief, “Which dog is going to win in the end?”

The chief answered, “The one you feed.”

You may have heard the term, “Starve the flesh and feed the Spirit” as a means of creating a pattern of obedience to God’s commands in your life. But the Bible even takes it a step further, commanding us in today’s passage to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

In other words, putting the flesh to death isn’t something you have to actively do – it happens automatically when you walk by the Spirit!

Follow the Lord’s commands. Listen to His Spirit within you. Feed obedience within you, and your sinful desires will starve!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would help you walk in step with the Holy Spirit and overcome sin.

Questions for Thought:

What do you think is the biggest challenge to walking by the Spirit?

How might your life look differently if you made it a daily priority to walk in obedience to God’s commands?

Friday
Jul072017

How to persevere in obedience

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

- Matthew 28:19-20

The great poet and educator, Archibald Rutledge, wrote about how he once met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked outdoors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest.

His faithful friend understood, and that’s exactly what he did. So when a fire started in the woods and soon spread to the spot where the dog had been left, the faithful companion didn’t move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master’s word.

When it comes to obedience to God, do you cower down when things heat up? Or do you, like that dog, endure faithfully, even if it means suffering, or even death?

In this life, the Bible never gives us the promise of an easy path. There are times when staying true to your Master will even cause you to encounter hard times. Yet through them all, we’re given the simple promise that no matter what happens, God is with us.

Maybe today, you know God is asking you to follow Him in a certain way that will lead to hardship. If so, show obedience to God by following Him even if it means tough times. When you do, you can be sure that the reward you’ll receive will far outweigh any inconvenience you face!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and tell God that you’ll follow Him no matter where He calls you. Respond in faith by giving Him your life and surrendering to His will.

Thursday
Jul062017

Putting knowledge into action

“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

- 1 Samuel 15:22

Imagine that you are the president of a company and find it necessary to travel out of the country and spend extended time abroad. So you tell your employees, “Manage things while I’m away, and I’ll write you regularly. When I do, I’ll instruct you in what you should do from now until I return from my trip.”

So you leave and stay away for a couple of years. During that time, you write often, communicating your desires and concerns. One day you return. Walking up to the front door of the company, you quickly notice that everything is a mess—weeds are growing in the flower beds, windows are broken across the front of the building, and the secretary at the front desk is asleep!

Without hesitation, you call everyone together and ask, “What happened? Didn’t you get my letters?” Your employees answer and say, “Yes! We got all your letters. Some of us have memorized them. In fact, we even get together each week and talk about them!”

It doesn’t matter how much they would’ve read your letters. What really matters is whether or not they would’ve followed what you told them. In the same way, there are so many people who read the Word of God, yet they never truly do what it says.

So when it comes to the Bible, don’t just read—do! Follow God’s precepts for living and experience the full joy that comes with surrender and obedience.

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you not just read His Word, but live it out each day!

Thursday
Jul062017

The perfect picture of love

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

- John 3:16

The island of Molokai in Hawaii has a fascinating history. In the 1800s, the island was a colony for people with leprosy – a horrible disease which today is curable. In order to keep the disease at bay, the government would send people with leprosy to live on Molokai.

A brave priest named Father Damien volunteered to spend his life serving the lepers on Molokai. He was shocked when he saw the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering these people experienced. The island was a haven of hopelessness and despair.

So, Damien went to work building hospitals, clinics, churches, and coffins for the lepers on Molokai – all the while understanding the almost inevitable consequence of being in constant contact of people with such a contagious disease.

For years, Damien would begin each church service with the words, “My dear brethren.” Then, on one Sunday in 1885, he stood before them and addressed them as, “My fellow lepers.” He was one of them now.

It was out of love that this humble priest gave these lepers the gift that would change their lives – he became one of them. That’s what real love does – and it’s what Jesus did for you!

Prayer Challenge:

Thank God that He loves you so much that He sent His Son to rescue you from sin so you can be with Him forever.

Questions for Thought:

What does it say about Jesus that He left heaven to come live as a person in order to save you?

How can you model Jesus by stepping into someone else’s life to love them?

Wednesday
Jul052017

What’s the point of pain?

"Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."

- Colossians 1:24

The great professor and author C. S. Lewis once wrote on the subject of pain,

“We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities, and everyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

So often, Christians experience pain on seemingly intolerable levels. Yet what keeps them going through the hard times and trials of life is the fact that God is in control. In fact, God is so in control that He often will appoint suffering to His people in order to help them strengthen their dependence on Him.

Yet unfortunately today, much of the Christian message has been distorted, with many “preachers” of the Word proclaiming that God only wants us to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. This is a dangerous message not only because it isn’t biblical, but because it directly contradicts the experiences of so many faithful followers of Christ.

Pain is real. But in Christ, you have the hope that it’s temporary. So if you’re suffering today, deepen your dependence on God and remember that there will come a day when all pain will end and you’ll be with the Lord forever!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to give you the strength to persevere through pain and fully rely on Him through hard times.

Tuesday
Jul042017

Is your sin really gone?

"But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin."

- 1 John 3:5

A little girl was sitting and watching her mother do dishes one day, and she suddenly noticed her mom had several strands of white hair. She took a closer look, and her mother noticed the girl had a perplexed look on her face.

“What is it, sweetie?” the mom asked.

“Mom,” the girl responded, “Why do you have white hairs coming out of your head?”

The mom laughed and answered, “Well, every time you do something wrong or disobey, one of my hairs turns white.”

The little girl thought for a moment and quipped back, “So how come ALL of Grandma’s hairs are white?”

Many people think God has an ongoing tally of their wrongs. And over time those wrongs pile up as they disappoint Him time and time again. But that’s the wonderful thing about grace. Grace means no wrong is ever counted against us. We don’t give God white hairs!

So, the next time you make a mistake, remember that because you’re in Christ, your sins are covered and will never be held against you!

Prayer Challenge:

Praise God that in Christ, you’ll never have one sin counted against you.

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think people tend to be tougher on themselves for their mistakes than God is?

How might your life look differently if you lived completely free from the guilt of your past transgressions?

Monday
Jul032017

The only sure way to fix your mistakes

"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

Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. She needed a better way to correct the errors she made on her electric typewriter. Bette had some art experience, and she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called “Mistake Out.” Bette attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they turned her down. However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette’s kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own.

When she sold her enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer of the product later dubbed “Liquid Paper” was Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million.

Bette Nesmith found great reward in acknowledging she needed help with her mistakes. Liquid Paper would have never taken off if she had been perfect. In much the same way, it’s in our own weaknesses that Jesus Christ is glorified… when we rely fully on Him to cover our sins. So trust completely in His cleansing power and honor Him even in your shortcomings!

Prayer Challenge:

Thank God for covering your mistakes through Christ. Pray that Jesus would be glorified in your weaknesses as you rely on Him for forgiveness.

Thursday
Jun292017

The only sure way to fix your mistakes

"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

Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. She needed a better way to correct the errors she made on her electric typewriter. Bette had some art experience, and she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called “Mistake Out.” Bette attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies (including IBM), but they turned her down. However, secretaries continued to like her product, so Bette’s kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling it on her own.

When she sold her enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer of the product later dubbed “Liquid Paper” was Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million.

Bette Nesmith found great reward in acknowledging she needed help with her mistakes. Liquid Paper would have never taken off if she had been perfect. In much the same way, it’s in our own weaknesses that Jesus Christ is glorified… when we rely fully on Him to cover our sins. So trust completely in His cleansing power and honor Him even in your shortcomings!

Prayer Challenge

Thank God for covering your mistakes through Christ. Pray that Jesus would be glorified in your weaknesses as you rely on Him for forgiveness.

Wednesday
Jun282017

God welcomes you to His table!

David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’ … So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.”

- 2 Samuel 9:1, 11

It’s been said that the Bible is a photo album filled with pictures of God’s grace. And as Chuck Swindoll shares, one of the most striking images of that is found in the pages of 2 Samuel…

The setting is the palace of King David. Gold and bronze fixtures gleam from the walls. Lofty, wooden ceilings crown each spacious room. In the banquet room, David and his children gather for an evening meal. Handsome and beautiful, they each take their place. The king scans the room to see if all are present. One figure, though, is absent.

Clump, scraaape, clump, scraaape, clump, scraaape. The sound coming down the hall echoes into the chamber. Finally, the person appears at the door and shuffles to his seat. It is the lame Mephibosheth. The forgotten son of the house of Saul. Any other king may have cursed him as an enemy, but Mephibosheth is seated in grace at David’s table – not simply as a guest, but as part of the family. Now the feast can begin.

God welcomes all of us to His table. Battered, bruised, and lame – weighed down by sin, failure, and the pain of our past, He beckons us to take our seat.

Remember today that you are clothed in God’s grace through Christ. You are His child, and He delights to see you at His table.

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to impress upon you His immeasurable grace. Pray that you’d walk confidently in His love through Christ.

Questions for Thought:

How do you see yourself before God? Do you see yourself as He does through grace, or from your own point of view through sin?

Tuesday
Jun272017

How you can endure hardship through obedience

"However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"

- 1 Peter 4:16-17

Arabian horses go through rigorous training in the deserts of the Middle East. The trainers require absolute obedience from the horses, and test them to see if they are completely trained.

The final test is almost beyond the endurance of any living thing. The trainer forces the horses to go without water for many days. And when he turns them loose, they, of course, start running toward the water. But just as they get to the edge, ready to plunge in and drink, the trainer blows his whistle.

These horses that have learned perfect obedience simply stop. They turn around and come pacing back to the trainer. They stand there quivering, wanting water, but they wait in perfect obedience. And when the trainer is sure that he has their obedience, he gives them a signal to go back to drink.

Now many may say this is severe, but when you are on the trackless desert of Arabia and your life is entrusted to a horse, you had better have an obedient horse. In much the same way, we must accept God’s training and obey Him, even if that means we should suffer for His namesake. Obedience must come first in our lives.

So when you’re tempted to find the easy way out through disobedience to God, remember to obey. Trust that He knows what’s best for you and that even if it means suffering, He’ll care for your every need!

Prayer Challenge

Pray that God would give you the strength to obey Him even when it results in hardship.

Monday
Jun262017

To God be the glory!

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

- 1 Chronicles 29:11

When the first Russian cosmonauts made that primitive little journey around the earth, it was said they radioed back, “We have been in the air. We have been around the earth, and we did not see God!”

While the truth of the rumor is debated, the sentiment of the statement is all too common in our culture today. But the following Sunday after that first historic orbit, Pastor W.A. Criswell of First Baptist Church Dallas responded to the cosmonauts’ statement with a biblical clarity we’d be wise to remember. He said…

“Ah, if only those cosmonauts had stepped out of their spacesuits, they would have then seen God up close!”  

We’re all too quick to boast of our own independence and control. The fact is we are fragile beings living at the good pleasure of the Creator of the universe. Even our incredible achievements bear testimony to the design and order with which He created all things, including the human brain.

 And even more incredible, that Creator knows you by name. He loves you unconditionally. And He’s adopted you as His child through the grace of Jesus Christ.

So take a moment today to sit humbly with your Heavenly Father and simply marvel at His majesty.

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to open your eyes to see His glory in the world and in your life.

Questions for Thought:

What are some things about God that make you marvel?

When was the last time you praised God for His glory in Creation?