Posts Tagged ‘ trouble ’

July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017

PSALM 90-95

Focus Verse: Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalm 90:1-2

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
Psalm 91:1-4


God calls us to live IN Him. He is our dwelling place. We are to abide in Him, as Jesus calls us in John 15. And when we abide in Him, He becomes our protection. Just as the house in which we live protects us from the elements outside, so God protects those who live in Him from the elements outside.


He protects us from the elements outside of His will for our lives and keeps us on His path…and even better than that, He uses the elements outside of His will to further His will and grow us more like Him. As we are told in Romans 8:28, “God makes all things work together for good for those who love God.” This means that when you are abiding in Him, there is nothing that you or anyone else can do to throw you off of His perfect plan for your life.


Let’s not miss interpret this though. Nowhere in either of these verses does God promise that you’re not going to go through junk. In order to be delivered from the snare of the trappers, there’s an insinuation that you are either caught by the snare of the trapper or that you’re in the midst of a place where you could be caught. Either scenario doesn’t exactly support any sort of sunshine and rainbows theology…that when you follow Jesus, He removes all hardships.


What God does promise to those who abide in Him though is His eternal presence. He will always be there in every situation, and when you are in the middle of receiving the worst blows this life has to offer, He will be the walls holding you together. He will be absorbing those blows with you. He will give you an eternal perspective to look forward to – to give you hope and a future.


June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017

JOB 38-39

Focus Verse: Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
Job 38:1


God spoke to Moses out of a burning bush. He spoke to Elijah from a still, small voice after an earthquake, wind and fire storm. And now He speaks to Job and his friends in the middle of a storm (the NIV translates ‘whirlwind’ as storm). The picture we get is unshakable here in Job, and it’s probably the way we expect God to speak most often; that booming voice from the heavens, thundering down, making all cower who would ‘darken counsel with words without knowledge’.


Here’s the point: we can’t put God in a box on how He will speak, but we can expect Him to speak. It’s not always going to be when we want. I can tell you that I, personally, have gone through seasons in which I have desperately cried out to hear God’s voice in the middle of a storm and He has been silent. But He has always spoken eventually, and when my pride steps aside I can honestly say that His timing has always been right, and the timing that I desired would have shorted me of a valuable experience.


Never miss this though – GOD SPEAKS. He still speaks. And I love how He speaks here in Job. He’s downright snarky. He gets sarcastic with Job and his friends (something that I particularly relate to…I love me some sarcasm). I think sometimes we are waiting for God to speak in Ye Old King James English and we miss His personality. God has emotions! Jesus Christ has emotions! The Holy Spirit has emotions! And they speak with those!


Don’t miss God speaking to you. I can’t tell you when He will speak; for Moses it was before the biggest trial of his life, for Elijah it was immediately after his most crushing defeat, for Job it was in the middle of his suffering, right before the winds were about to change. So I can’t give you a formula for when God will speak, but I can tell you that He will speak exactly what you need to hear, exactly when you need to hear it.

April 29, 2017

April 29, 2017

2 KINGS 23-25

Focus Verse: In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. And King Josiah went to meet him, and when Pharaoh Neco saw him he killed him at Megiddo.
2 Kings 23:29


Well this is kind of a random, depressing verse to be using as the focus verse. There is a point for that. I want to come against the popular idea that as followers of Christ, we are immune to hard times. Now anyone who has been a Christian for awhile knows that this is true. But it still bears to be repeated.


King Josiah was the best the nation of Judah had seen in awhile. He found the Book of the Law while he was king and turned Judah back to God wholeheartedly. In fact, we are told right before this, in verse 25, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.” Yet Josiah’s story doesn’t have a happy ending…at least not the Disney happy ending that we are used to in Western culture.


Let’s be clear, Josiah’s story did have a happy ending. He is in the presence of God eternally right now (we aren’t told that he turned away from the Lord in his last few days…so that’s what I’m assuming). Yes, Josiah lost a war here on earth. He lost his life in that war. But he still wins. This is the blessed hope that we have as followers of Jesus Christ. We win no matter what!


But, sadly, Christians don’t act like this is true. We live so often for this world and this world only. We even give advice to others from this kind of worldly perspective (see the book of Job); if someone is facing a hard time, they must have some hidden sin in their life or they don’t have enough faith to be healed.


What if God’s will is just that their healing isn’t supposed to come until they are standing in His glorious presence? What if He is just tired of not having His precious child in His arms?


We need to start living more for the next life than we are for this life. I’m not saying we ignore this life. Jesus calls us to live this life and live it well for His glory. Paul had it right on when he said in Philippians 1:21, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”


While we are on this earth, let’s work with all we have for God. Let’s give Him 100% because our time here is short! But when He tells us our time is up, let’s no pretend that there is anything in this world that will rival what is in store for us in the next!

April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017

1 SAMUEL 28-31

Focus Verse: When David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep. Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
1 Samuel 30:3-6


What we do in the middle of the darkest storms life has to offer is the best evidence for who we really are. Who, or what, do you turn to when life gets hard? I’m not talking about a bad day at work. Cindy Lou Who talked bad about you behind your back doesn’t quite compare to what we see here in 1 Samuel 30. David’s entire family just got kidnapped. On top of that, all of those men around him want to kill him because he put them in the position where their families got kidnapped too. Now that’s a bad day.


One of the most common reasons for turning away from belief in God is that we think when we sign on the dotted line of our new believer’s card and give our heart to Christ, that everything is supposed to get magically better. Once we decide to follow Jesus, He waves a wand and everything gets easy. He wipes away every tear, heals every pain, takes care of every problem. The problem is there is absolutely no scriptural backing for this belief. If following God led Jesus to the cross, then we aren’t going to be able to avoid that same fate when we follow Jesus.


So the question then becomes, not what will you do if the hard times come, but what will you do when the hard times come. In this passage we see that David found his strength in the Lord. But pay careful attention to the fact that he didn’t start there. He first wept until he didn’t have any strength left to weep anymore.


It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to question. It’s ok to struggle. In FACT, you could successfully argue that it’s mandatory to do these things in your walk with God. It’s how you do them that matters: cry TO God; ask your questions TO God; struggle TO God. Then He can give you the strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue to fight.


You cannot successfully strengthen yourself unless you strengthen yourself IN the Lord. Sure, you might be able to pull yourself up by the bootstraps once or twice, but to do so for an entire life, to go through everything that this life has to throw at us and expect to come out on top…no one can do that…except for one who claimed to be the Son of God.


And even He was trampled by life. He was crushed, abandoned, laughed at, broken, pierced…all so that you and I could have the opportunity to be with Him forever. That is how you strengthen yourself in Him. You remember what He has done for you, and what He has promised to do IN you.