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Archive Devotional | john and lis
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Jan 28 2008

Why?

lis

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the question of why. Why did this happen to me? Why didn’t the medicine work? Why do I need to go through this trial again? My response has been to say, I don’t know why, but I do know that God is sovereign and He is good. But I think there is more to the answer. I don’t know why it happened medically. I don’t know why it happened in the grand plan for our lives. I don’t know why it has needed to happen repeatedly. On those levels I don’t and may never understand why. But I DO know what the Bible says about trials.

1. Trials confirm genuine faith.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. ” (I Peter 1:6-7)

2. Trials humble us.

“I know Thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Here, now, and I will speak; I will ask Thee and do Thou instruct me.” (Job 42:2-4)

3. Trials strengthen faith toward maturity.

“The testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must have its finished work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” (James 1:3-4)

4. Trials refine by bringing sin to the surface to be dealt with.

“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)

5. Trials remind us that our home is not here and intensify our longing for heaven.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

6. Trials give opportunity to serve one another.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

7. Trials give opportunity to be comforted by His promises.

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” (Psalm 119:50)


Dec 14 2007

Therefore I have HOPE

lis

This passage has been especially comforting to me this week. - LM

Remember my afflictions and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid it on him……

…..For the LORD will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the sons of men…..

….Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass unless the LORD has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? Why should any living mortal, or any man offer complaint in view of his sins?

Lamentations 3:20-39


Dec 13 2007

Trusting God

john

“God does not exercise His sovereignty capriciously, but only in such a way as His infinite love deems best for us.” - Jerry Bridges

trustinggod.jpg Over the past few months, Rick Holland has been leading the Crossroads leadership team through Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. If you have not read this, I would highly recommend it to you. It’s a Bible study on God’s sovereignty that unpacks the practical application of trusting God when circumstances can’t be explained. The first chapter alone is worth the price of the book. It has been particularly encouraging to Lis and me over the past few weeks. I am sure we will be coming back to read it again and again for many years to come.

Click here to buy this book from amazon.com


Nov 18 2007

Nor Were They Thankful

lis

“Although they knew God they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21

This Thanksgiving week, I have been thinking about what it means to have an attitude of thanksgiving. I find it fascinating and convicting that the indictment against the unrighteous men in this passage is two-fold. They did not glorify God as God and they were not thankful. Willful rejection of God with an ungrateful heart is deserving of holy wrath.

It’s easy to be comfortable with the idea that willful rejection of God reaps the wrath of God. It’s not quite as easy to live in the reality that a lack of thankfulness also earns that wrath. An attitude that lacks thankfulness is rooted in pride. If I will not acknowledge my own sin, the wrath of God toward that sin, and the sacrifice of Jesus for that sin, I have no real motive to be thankful.

The word “ungrateful” in the dictionary is defined as “not appreciative” and has the following synonyms:

demanding, dissatisfied, faultfinding, forgetful, insensible, oblivious, selfish, grumbling.

Thankfulness is humble recognition of grace and mercy. It is realizing that I do not live unto myself. It is recognizing that God is my Creator, my Sustainer and my Redeemer.

I have been so convicted as I think on this Truth. If I believe that God is God, and if I am to honor Him as God, I must be thankful. Thankful for my salvation, thankful for my blessings and difficulties, thankful indeed for each new breath of each new day. Truly, thankfulness is not an exercise reserved for one day a year, but should be the dissposition of my mind. I deserve wrath, but I’ve been given grace. Thank you, Lord!