“I will make with them an everlasting covenant that I will not turn away from doing good to them . . . . I will rejoice in doing good to them.” (Jeremiah 32:40–41).
This is one of those promises of God that I can come back to again and again when I get discouraged. Can you think of any fact more encouraging than that God rejoices to do you good?
He doesn’t begrudgingly fulfill his promise (Romans 8:28). It is his joy to do you good. And not just sometimes. Always! “I will not turn away from doing good to them.”
But sometimes our situation is so hard to bear we just can’t muster any joy. When that happens to me, I try to imitate Abraham: “In hope he believed against hope” (Romans 4:18). God has always been faithful to guard that little spark of faith for me and eventually fan it into a flame of happiness and full confidence.
O how glad I am that the thing that makes Almighty God happiest is doing good for you and me!
I am traveling this week to visit family out west. I will return and start posting again on Monday, the 12th. Stay well and always be encouraged by the fact that God loves you no matter what. Blessings to all.
Have you ever seen a father’s reaction when he discovers three words on the box of a just-bought toy: Some assembly required? What follows are hours of squeezing tab A into slot B, bolting D into F, and then hoping no one notices that steps four, five, and six were skipped altogether. I’m convinced the devil indwells the details of toy assembly. Somewhere in perdition is a warehouse of stolen toy parts.
“Some assembly required.” Not the most welcome sentence but an honest one. Life is a gift, albeit unassembled. The pieces of our lives don’t fit. When they don’t, take your problem to Jesus. He says, Bring your problems to Me! In prayer, state them simply. Present them faithfully, and trust Him reverently!
Remember—we’re still a work in progress. God’s not finished with us yet.
One of our basic human needs is acceptance. Without it, we feel alienated or maybe even rejected. In the Bible, acceptance is often referred to as “favor.” For example, when Joseph was sold into slavery, Genesis 39:4 says he “found favor” in the sight of his master Potiphar and was put in charge of the official’s entire household. Joseph found acceptance and approval because of his exemplary behavior.
Although the Christian faith may evoke a negative response from some, believers shouldn’t be discouraged. A life that reflects Christ pleases God. And in bringing light to a dark world, an obedient life will also bring the favor of many into its circle of influence.
Whose favor are you longing to receive? Do you desire God’s approval or man’s?
Has your heart has been filled with sin? Have You degraded yourself and your body for the momentary pleasures of the flesh? At this point you’ve probably realized that you’ve reached the lowest part of your life and existence because of sin. But, the resulting feelings of ugliness and being unlovable are lies. They are part of satan’s assault on your life and self-esteem. When does it end?
Consider this—God’s mercy is everlasting. Sometimes a Christian becomes convinced that divine forgiveness has limits. This usually happens when the person has repeatedly confessed a sin but finds himself returning to the habit anyway. Satan whispers to us that surely the Lord is weary of this cycle of sin and admission. But as always, the enemy lies. The truth is that a believer cannot sin his way out of God’s grace, no matter how many times he confesses the same wrongdoing.
Would you not love to hear the angel Gabriel say to you, “You are greatly loved”? Take heart. If you have faith in Jesus, God himself says to you, “You are greatly loved.”
This is better than an angel’s voice. If you are “alive,” you are greatly loved.
“We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Ephesians 2:3–5, 8).
If you’ve been watching the Olympics lately, especially the figure skating, you may have noticed the competitor is judged on their performance by a panel of judges. The judges render their decisions on how well the skater performed based on the skater’s style, ability and overall program.
Can you imagine our prayers being judged and graded by an Olympic panel? Pretty far-fetched thought isn’t it? Some of us, when we pray, feel like it’s important that we use the proper language, phrase or even the latest prayer trend because we think God is judging our prayers like an Olympic panel.
In Matthew 6:7 we have some guidance on the way we shouldn’t pray. It says, “Don’t ramble like heathens who talk a lot.” A more positive approach on praying is given by Jesus when the disciples asked Him how to pray. He gave them a prayer that we can use as our guide, which is found in Matthew 6:9-13. We all know this as the “Lord’s prayer.”
When you read the Lord’s prayer you will see that it is straight forward in its content and requests and doesn’t use a lot of flowery language. God is looking at our heart when we pray because it is from the heart that our motivations in life pour forth.
The next time you pray, remember, make your requests simple, straight forward, and from the heart. Then, relax in confidence knowing God has heard your prayers and will answer you according to His will for your life. Oh, and by the way, because you’ve taken the time to reach out and pray to the Father you’ve scored a 10!
The story of Gideon offers scriptural guidance for times when the odds are overwhelming and defeat seems imminent. No matter what your challenges are, the Lord is able to demonstrate His awesome power and deliver you.
The Lord knows the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.
God uses difficulty to build faith. Gideon was willing to believe God and go up against an army four times larger than his own. Trusting the Lord is a process that must be learned through experience. At times God takes the people He plans to use and places them in impossible situations—in that way, they discover He is faithful. We may prefer to acquire faith by reading a book, but the Lord knows the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.
God may require us to do what seems unreasonable. The Israelites were already outnumbered, but the Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the army to a mere 300 men. That made the odds 450 to one! Although God’s ways may seem illogical to us, His wisdom and power are far greater than ours, and His plan can be trusted.
God leads us to do that which brings Him glory. Gideon’s army was so small that its men could in no way take credit for the victory. The Lord delights in demonstrating His awesome power and glory through our weakness and inadequacy.
Think of life’s challenges as opportunities for the Lord to build your faith and prepare you for ministry. He uses those who are willing to obey Him even when the task seems illogical or impossible. And He takes pleasure in showing His faithfulness to those who trust in Him regardless of the situation.