Protection Through Strengthening
2 Timothy 4:16-18
WHILE WRITING TO TIMOTHY, Paul was in Prison experiencing physical discomfort, personal attack, and desertion. Why would God allow His faithful servant to endure such suffering? Why didn’t the Lord step in and protect him?
At times God doesn’t rescue us from suffering because He is providing something better. We may feel as if He’s abandoned us, but in reality, He is protecting us-not by deliverance but through strengthening.
When trouble pays you a visit, view it from the Lord’s perspective and ask yourself:
*Which is greater demonstration of God’s power- changing something within my heart?
*Which is the greater faith builder-seeing the Lord’s deliverance from every difficulty or experiencing His presence and strengthening in the midst of trials?
*Which reward is greater-quick relief from pain or tested and refined faith that will result in praise and glory when Christ returns (1 Peter 1:7)?
*Which answer to prayer is greater-that the Lord has removed something and given me external peace, or that He’s left me in a trail and given an internal peace, which cannot be stolen even by painful circumstances?
Does the Lord have to fix something in order for you to be happy? If He removes a difficult situation , you may never learn that He truly is sufficient for everything you need. Instead, allow Him to change you, and you’ll discover genuine joy in whatever circumstance may come your way.
IN TOUCH DAILY READING FOR DEVOTED LIVING/ Dr. Charles Stanley
KEEPING A SECRET
We’ve all been there before. A friend leans in and whispers, ” Did you hear about what he or she did? ” And something in us wants to be in the know. To hear the scoop. To spread the word. It’s almost as if we are built to be mean boys, and girls. To share what we know of others’ downfalls and fallacies
It might feel good in the moment to tear people down because then we are not alone in the many ways we fall short. But it is a lie. We were designed to lift one another up. To be worthy of knowing a friend’s secrets because we will keep the knowledge to ourselves.
“A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Proverbs 11:13
” The next time we are tempted to share what isn’t ours to tell, let us take a deep breath and pause. And let us ask ourselves if betraying a confidence is worth letting down a friend. Instead, let’s allow ourselves to be the type of friend that the Lord has designed us to be.” \0/\0/
” Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and purse it.” Psalms 34:14
We all have something we feel most alive when doing. Call it a hobby, a talent, a passion our niche. When we find that thing we both enjoy and excel in, it’s one of the most special discoveries.
God has created us each with a unique skill set. He blessed us with talents that both distinguish us from others and complement us to others. He gave us these gifts so that we, as a whole created body of believes, could further his purpose and advance his kingdom.
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10
Think for a moment about the specific gifts God has given us. Don’t be modest. God gives us gifts so that we can be confident in them for his glory! Now think about our gifts in direct relation to the kingdom of God. How can we use our gifts to benefit the church, the community, and the world? Seek to be an active participate in the kingdom of God using the tools that God specifically chose for us.\0/\0/
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and purse it. Psalms 34:14
As Christians, we are meant to hold one another accountable to live worthy of our calling . But as nice as that sounds, it can be difficult to feel qualified to confront a fellow Christian who is walking in sin.
Godly confrontation isn’t necessarily easy, but it is our responsibility. We must take a no-compromise stance when it comes to the health of the body of Christ. Before we confront another Christian who is in sin though, ask ourselves if we are living by the Spirit. Are we listening to the Spirit’s leading rather than our own selfish motives?
” Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17
In order to bring sharpening, speak in gentleness and with grace, remembering the mercy that we have been shown by God. Encourage our brother or sister to repent and return, and offer to walk alongside them as they pursue righteousness and restoration. \0/\0/
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and purse it. Psalms 34:14
It is hard to understand how and when God heals his children. Have you prayed for healing recently and haven’t got any better? Do you know someone around you that is unwell and not recovering? It can be disheartening when you are sick, or see others that you care about not improving.
Our faith does not need to be great, but through our belief in Jesus, we can also acknowledge our belief in the miracles that he performed. Jesus showed us that what we think is impossible is not impossible with God.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Matthew 4:23
Sometimes healing doesn’t come, and we need to trust that God is still faithful and gracious. He will restore perfect health to us in eternity. We may have to wait for healing and we may never really know why. But let us still be encouraged today to believe in a God of miracles, and pray with all our might that he will bring healing to the sick.
” Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 \0/\0/
The Blame Game
AS CHILDREN, WE ALL PLAYED “THE BLAME GAME.” If caught doing something wrong, we accused a sibling or friend in hopes of escaping discipline. This tactic seldom worked , because the one we accused was quick to give a different account. No one wins by shifting blame and refusing to take responsibility. Sadly, though, many people continue to play the blame game, even as adults.
Shifting responsibility isn’t new. It began in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned. When God held them accountable for rebelling against Him, Adam claimed he ate the fruit because Eve gave it to him. She, in turn, accused the serpent, who had deceived her. Yet they both incriminated themselves with these words: “I ate” (vv. 12-13). Blaming someone else didn’t alter the facts-they were each responsible for their choice and course of action.
So, if we know the futility of the blame game, why do we still play it? Do we think we can avoid the undesirable consequences? Is it an attempt to cause others to regard us more favorably? Sometimes it’s not even other people we blame but circumstances-the way we were raised or the way we were treated. Regardless of the cause, sin is never justifiable, and God always holds us accountable.
While it’s difficult to swallow our pride and admit that we are wrong, it’s always best to take full responsibility for our attitudes, responses, and behavior. That is the only way to walk humbly with the Lord, which pleases and honors Him.
IN TOUCH DAILY READING FOR DEVOTED LIVING: Dr. Charles Stanley
Galatians 2:20 ” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, But Christ lives in me; And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by Faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for Me.” \0/\0/
The Importance of Discernment
WHO COULDN’T USE A LITTLE DISCERNMENT? We desperately need the Lord’s help to determine truth and reality in a world filled with confusing gray areas and evil deceptions.
John the Baptist was a man of tremendous discernment. This rough and rugged preacher came thundering onto the scene of staid orthodox Judaism, and he brought a message to the entire Jewish nation. John’s job was to prepare the way for the Messiah arrival. What he had to say was simple: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ” (Matt.3:2).
As the multitudes flocked to hear this unique prophet and repent of their sins, John discerned that some of them were frauds. The Pharisees and Sadducees had come to check him out, not to repent. They were hiding reality behind a religious exterior.
A discerning spirit is one that is in tune with the Spirit of God. As John lived in submission to the Lord, he gained insight beyond anything that could have originated from his own mind.
He saw the situation from God’s perspective and delivered a strong rebuke to that “brood of vipers” (v.7). Although we may never be as forthright as John, there will be times when a discerning spirit will lead to confrontation.
The Father wants His children to develop spiritual discerning in order to guard against deception. We must know how to recognize invalid philosophies as well as false doctrines that sneak into the church. What’s more, divine insight can also protect us in our relationships and even helps us see the truth about ourselves. \0/\0/
In TOUCH DAILY READING FOR DEVOTED LIVING/ Dr. Charles Stanley