Why do bad things happen to good people?In the case of our Lord, He had done nothing wrong, but His suffering and death were carefully scripted before the foundation of the world, as a part of our Father's redemptive plan.
But what about the normal, everyday Christian?Why do we suffer?There are at least four causes of Christian suffering:
1.Some suffering comes as the consequence of our own sin.
2.Some suffering is caused by the sins of others.
3.Some suffering is the result of God's discipline.
4.Some suffering is induced through persecution, after our attempts toward redemptive ministry.
If your Christian walk is too much like the lifestyles of everyone else, maybe you should be asking the question, "Why doesn't anyone ever want to persecute me?"Jesus (and His disciples after Him) was persecuted because He was different... He stood for something.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I would rather suffer persecution because I stood for something, than to live and die for nothing.I don't know how courageous I would be if I faced that kind of challenge, but I would like to believe that any cross You give me would be less of a burden than the cross of a coward.Amen and amen.
I was listening to a sermon on the 7 deadly sins by Dr. Ed Young recently and it got me to thinking.I’m familiar with all of them; some more than others – Pride, Greed, Anger, Envy, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth.One strikes at the core of my being as I’m told I have a short fuse.Obviously, I’m talking about anger.
More than I’d like to admit, I’m frustrated.Sometimes frustration can turn to anger.I will even confess that I am angry with God sometimes when He doesn’t move the mountain when I think He should or in the way I think He should.(What child isn’t angry with a parent from time-to-time?)
Being angry empowers the person to whom it’s directed.It doesn’t do much for my benefit.I can’t even say it feels good – maybe for a brief moment.I need to relinquish giving that much power to anyone other than my God.
When I put my trust in Him, He doesn’t fail me.He may not provide the answer I want when I want it, but it’s all for my good.Perhaps He is teaching me a necessary lesson and no matter how often I kick, scream and protest, it’s going to be His way or no way.And, I am thankful for His direction, even when I disobey.
The hummingbird is a virtual storehouse of energy.To maintain its energy level the hummer must feed regularly and abundantly.Normally the hummingbird will eat as often as every 15 minutes.Hummers consume half their weight in sugar nectar daily.
Think about it.An average Christian may go to the Word a couple of times per week for nourishment.It is no wonder that by Thursday we feel drained of spiritual energy and need a boost to get us through until Sunday.The "feeding station" is never closed for repairs, it is open 24 hours per day, and is as refreshing in the early morning as it is when we lay our head on the pillow.
Drink deeply and often of the Holy Word, and you will find yourself more spiritually alert, less sluggish, and better prepared for the battles of daily witness and testimony."If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."(Jn. 7:37)Amen and amen.
In this season of shopping for the perfect gift, I planned to resist joining the throng on Black Friday (the day retailers think their bottom lines will turn positive for the year…).This endeavor holds no allure for me.I am free to choose.
Let’s look closer at the perfect gift according to His plan—
·I have a house, but God provides a mansion in heaven.
·People have a perception of me, but God provides significance.
·I may have thought I had a plan for my life, but God holds my destiny.
·I’ve searched for happiness through people and things, but God has given me joy.
·My vision is limited, but God shows me a Kingdom perspective.
·And the most perfect gift?His son was born and died ultimately for my salvation.
I am free to choose the life God has planned for me.Have you seriously considered what God has done for you?Do you give a second thought to the fact he has released you from bondage—those addictions to bad habits, bad relationships, bad choices in any area?Through His gift, you are free to choose a new path – a life worthy to be praised.
You may feel stuck in a particular situation.But, be encouraged.What may look like an obstacle to you is actually an opportunity for God.The truth is, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I am thankful every day you grant me life and for the renewed commitment to the freedom of choice.
While material gifts are nice to receive; I am thankful for all that You bestow on earth as you prepare a place for me in Your Kingdom.
I am committed to Your word found in Joshua 24:15b: “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Friday, December 5, 2008
I am often amazed at the lessons God imparts through others.Because I can’t see the big picture, I view the world through a fairly narrow prism shaped by my limited knowledge and a lifetime of different experiences.
In a message by Bishop T.D. Jakes, he showed me another facet of a prism that I had not considered.Did you realize that some people come into your life but they aren’t meant to stay?Some are placed there to help you to your next destination.
According to Bishop Jakes’ analogy, some people are like scaffolding.Visualize with me for a moment.When a building is under construction or repair, you usually see scaffolding.This is done to protect workers and passersby alike.When the building is finished, the scaffolding is removed.
One doesn’t need to get upset about the fact; one needs to handle people leaving.God giveth; God taketh away.
As you’re building (or perhaps rebuilding) your life according to His plan, you often need a two-handed approach – building and battling.Because we are constantly in a spiritual battle, we need to use both hands!
And, even more importantly, we need a confidant, someone we can trust to hold us accountable.This is someone that knows us well… just as we are…no faēade, no pretense.This person should always be with us and have a relationship where we don’t have to change in their presence.We are, as declared in the book of Nehemiah, prone to repeat our same destructive behaviors.However, with God’s help, there is ample opportunity to seek repentance, forgiveness and a restored life.God has those restorative powers.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I am in the house you continue to provide and I am at a place of peace and contentment.
Thank You, Lord, for the scaffolding and for holding me accountable.I may not be able to effect change, but I have changed because of You!
And, when I am discouraged from time-to-time, let me cry to Jesus and live!