Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Response to "Why do Calvinists place their hope in election?"

The post below was in a forum against election. My remarks are in capital letters (I'm not screaming, just trying to separate my comments from the poster's comments. I will also change the color)

Why do Calvinists place their hope in election?

I believe the answer is simply a lack of faith. HOW CAN YOU JUDGE A PERSON'S HEART AND THEIR FAITH OR LACK THEREOF? YOU ARE NOT GOD. Historically, when a person lacks faith, they try to enter the kingdom by works. TRUE. Since it is a forgone conclusion that works will not get you in the kingdom, the alternative became election. WHERE IS THE SOURCE TO PROVE THIS? Calvinist reason in their minds that if there is anything that makes you desire to know the Lord, surely you have already been regenerated. TRUE.

Eph2:1 And you were dead (SPIRITUALLY DEAD MEN CAN'T RESPOND) in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive (GOD CAUSED US TO BE ALIVE SPIRITUALLY SO WE COULD RESPOND) together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

All that’s left for the Calvinist is to do is have faith, because regeneration precedes faith, according to Calvinism.TRUE, SEE SCRIPTURE ABOVE...I WOULD ASK WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO BESIDE HAVE FAITH IN THE WORK OF JESUS ON THE CROSS? ANYTHING ELSE ADDED TO FAITH IS WORKS.
But why? Simply because this allows them to reason in their mind that in spite of the sin they still commit, the sin that they struggle to overcome, the fact that they lack faith that Jesus has truly paid it all, they will not go to hell because they are God’s elect; chosen from the foundations of the world before they did any good or bad. NOT SURE WHERE YOU GET THIS REASONING. I HAVE NEVER REASONED THIS WAY IN MY MIND. I AM SAVED BECAUSE JESUS PAID IT ALL ON THE CROSS FOR ME.

They reason that there is no way that God will forgive some of the sins they have committed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! ? I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU HAVE BEEN TALKING TO OR BOOKS YOU ARE READING BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS.
     Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
            And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
            He does not retain His anger forever,
            Because He delights in unchanging love.

      He will again have compassion on us;
            He will tread our iniquities under foot.
            Yes, You will cast all their sins
            Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19

Also, if they are still sinning or having sinful thoughts, they are not deserving of the gift of salvation. AGAIN, THIS JUST PLAIN RIDICULOUS. WHERE DID YOU GET THIS IDEA?

They forget that the beauty of God’s grace is that you get what you don’t deserve. TRUE, THAT GOD'S GRACE GIVES US WHAT WE DON'T DESERVE. I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN THAT.


Election has replaced the necessity of faith. FALSE. Election is another way. FALSE. But, it is by grace that you have been saved through faith…not election, but through faith. TRUE.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Devotional: Your Comforts Delight My Soul

Unless the Lord  had been my help,
My soul would soon have settled in silence.
If I say, "My foot slips,"
Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul. 
Psalm 94:17-19

Anxieties.  We all have them.  It comes with the territory. Goodness, there are a thousand things to be anxious about!  I won't even name them because in naming the things we are anxious about, something will be left out.  So just think in your mind what you are anxious about right now.  That will work.

Okay, so do you have in your mind the things that make you anxious?  Good.  Now let's think about the Lord's comforts and let that delight our souls.  What are His comforts?

God is sovereign over all.

If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?

If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?

Amos 3:6

Now, I know this verse is not a touchy feely verse.  In fact, for some, it is a trigger to send them running for safe spaces!  But I find comfort in this.  Why? Because it tells me that God in control.  If trial and difficulty come into my life it is because God has allowed it and He only allows that which will strengthen me and make me grow stronger.  There is a popular song out that says, "If it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger."  You know what?  The trials of this earth will make me stronger and when the time comes that they overtake me and I die...guess what Paul says! 

 Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 

We are winners no matter which way we look at it.  We become stronger through the trials we face and if those trials take us out of this world, well then we are a winner on that account too because we go to heaven to be with Jesus!

For God's comforts to delight your soul, you need to look at your anxieties from a different perspective, God's perspective instead your own anxiety ridden perspective.  Only in His mercy will He keep your foot from slipping! What wonderful comfort.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Devotional: Rest from the Days of Adversity

Psalm 94:12-14
Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord,
And teach out of Your law,
That You may give him rest from the days of adversity,

Until the pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off His people,

Nor will He forsake His inheritance.
But judgment will return to righteousness,

And all the upright in heart will follow it.

I have been returning to Psalm 94 again and again over the last couple of weeks.  If you have not read the entire Psalm, please do.  It will encourage you in these crazy, evil days.

We see here that the Lord blesses those who are teachable.  It says, "Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law..."  We have to be teachable in order to be instructed and taught.

A teachable person is humble, willing to learn.  It seems that in this Psalm, the writer is contrasting the evil doer with the one whom the Lord is able to teach.  The difference is humility versus pride. Verses 6-7 show the pride of the wicked. Contrast this with the man whom the Lord teaches (see the verses above).

They slay the widow and the stranger,
And murder the fatherless.
Yet they say, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob understand.”

The person whom the Lord teaches out of His Law will gain the benefit of rest from the days of adversity. It isn't saying that we will be taken out of adversity or escape the days of adversity, but that we will have rest from the days of adversity.  

Things are evil and crazy in our nation right now.  Adversity may very well come to you and me in the form of wicked people if not through the regular rigors of living and aging. The biggest problem with adversity is not the physical temporal problems that it causes so much as the emotional, spiritual toll it takes on us. When we are taught out of God's Word about the nature of God, the sovereignty of God over all things, and the glorious future in heaven we have waiting for us, we can have rest in our souls from the adversity that surrounds us.

We need to be willing to be taught God's Word, and learn from Him the truth of all that is going on in our world. Then we can cast all our worries and anxieties on Him because He cares for us!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Devotional: Delivered from the Domain of Darkness

Colossians 13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We don't have to look far to see what the domain of darkness is.  This past election year has given us a big glimpse into what the domain of darkness is. The Wiki leaks opened a Pandora's Box of darkness as we saw references to child trafficking rings and more.  I dare say we got more of an education this year than we ever bargained for.  It reinforced to me the reality that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

As hopeless as all that seems to be, we can be encouraged in Christ, because God has redeemed us and forgiven us and rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His dear Son.

It may not seem like we have been rescued since we are still living with this squalor all around us and we have to fight to keep ourselves un-spotted from it. The transfer to the kingdom of God is a spiritual reality, that will be a physical reality when we reach heaven.  Philippians 3:20 "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;"  This should give us hope.

The other thing that the revelation of Wiki leaks underscored for me was the need for me to pray for our nations leaders.  Money and power corrupts and they need our prayers for God to restrain them if it be His will, that we might live a peaceable life.

Most people have smart phones or devices similar that have reminder programs built in.  I would like to suggest that you make a prayer list in your reminder app with the names of key national leaders.  Set it up so that each day different names come up on a rotating basis to remind you to pray for them.  I recently started doing this.  I wonder if all Christians would join me in doing this what a difference it might make? 

Be encouraged!  The domain of darkness is real, but God is more powerful!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Devotional: Do Not Trust in Mere Man

John10: 9“I (Jesus) am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

In the aftermath of the election and all the protests and violence that has come as a result, I couldn't help thinking about Jesus' words in John 10.

Many people were looking to whoever they voted for as a savior of sorts, to right all the wrongs they felt had been done to them, or to make what already was continue in their favor.  

The sad reality is that we can not look to man to save us from anything.  The Psalmist warns us,   

Do not trust in princes,In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. Psalms 146:3
Our only refuge and salvation comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Jesus said that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  As I look at what is happening in our nation after the election, what do I see?  I see people breaking store windows and stealing. I see people attacking and even killing others for their choice in the election.  I see people destroying our nation through false narratives, funding the terror that is taking place and encouraging more people to go out and destroy people, places and things.

 1 John 3:4Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.. 10By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The Bible says that these people are lawless,and  children of the devil.  Those are strong words.

But the good news is that these people do not have to be stuck in the role of being children of the devil.  In the last part of the verse I started with, Jesus says this:

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
We can have life and have it more abundantly when we turn to Christ as our Lord and Savior instead of trusting in mere men.  This doesn't mean that things will magically change in our world, but it does mean that there is a reason to live that transcends this life here on earth.  It means we don't have to resort to violence when we don't get our way.  It means we can live at peace with our neighbor even though they might have voted a different way than we did.  It means that we can have forgiveness of our sin, peace with God and a home in heaven with Him when we die.

This is great comfort to me as a Christian.  This can be good news to those who are unhappy about the election.  Jesus is the answer.  Put your trust in Him, not in mere man.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Devotional: Civil Disobedience (Hebrews 11:23 NKJV)

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. (Hebrews 11:23 NKJV)

Here we have a case of civil disobedience.  We are commanded in the New Testament to obey those in authority over us.  Is this a blanket command no matter what?  No.  When the commands of a tyrannical government clash with what we know to be in direct disobedience to Scripture, then civil disobedience is the only direction we can take.

Moses' parents didn't  hide him simply because he was a beautiful child.  If you read the account in the Old Testament you find that the Pharoah had commanded the people to commit kill all the male babies as soon as they were born.  This is similar to abortion, closer to partial birth abortion, and out right murder of innocent lives no matter what way you slice it.  It is in direct disobedience to God's command, "Thou shalt not kill."

I don't know what will happen after tomorrow (Nov. 8). We have a pivotal election on our hands and civil disobedience has been threatened by both sides depending on who wins the election.  I'm not sure civil disobedience is the answer, but if whoever is elected were to make laws demanding us to support or do things that are clearly against the dictates of Scripture, then civil disobedience is in order.

Moses' parents had faith enough to take their own lives in their hands by civil disobedience to a tyrannical government's command to disobey God's Word.  I hope I will have that kind of faith if the occasion ever dictates it.

We need to be in prayer for our elected leaders and those who will be elected. We also need to remember that God is in control of this election, even though it doesn't seem like it from our point of view.  Who ever ends up in the White House is by God's doing, either to bless our nation or to judge our nation. Go vote and trust God for the outcome.

God Has Already Determined The Outcome of The Elections

Daniel answered and said:
"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:20-22 ESV)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Devotional: Complaining versus Contentment

Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

I don't know about you, but complaining is a weak point for me.  Growing up I was constantly admonished for complaining.  "Quit complaining!", was a familiar refrain that I remember hearing.  Now that I am older, I see how bad complaining is, but I still struggle to keep it in check.

Complaining is being discontented with God's Providence in our lives. In this verse, the reason we are not to complain and dispute about things is so that the world will have nothing to accuse us of.  We are lights among a crooked and perverse generation.  Complaining and disputing is what they do.  If we act just like them, where is our light?  This is convicting. 

It says do ALL things without complaining and disputing.  This doesn't leave any wiggle room, does it?  The Apostle Paul said, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." (Philippians 4:11 ESV)  Can we say this?  It's not just a matter of keeping our mouths shut so that no complaining words come out.  It's a matter of the heart.  It's a deep abiding contentment in whatever our situation is at the time.  It's knowing that whatever God in His providence has brought into our lives, He is allowing it for our good and His glory.  I have a long ways to go, how about you?

Monday, October 24, 2016

`Marsha's Musings: The Lord Knows How To Deliver The Godly (II Peter2:4-11 NKJV)


For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. (II Peter 2:4-11 NKJV)

We see terrible wickedness every day in the news. Each day new revelations come out from Wikileaks and The Vertas Project about how certain ones in our elections are conspiring to rig the elections and do other devious deeds.

These verses today tell us that God will not spare these wicked, evil doers on judgement day.  When He decides to rain his wrath down on them there will be no escape for their souls.  

However, God has delivered the godly from destruction in the past as detailed in these verses.  If He can do this for them He knows how to deliver His godly ones today if He so chooses.  This is not to say that God's people will not have to endure suffering and even death for their faith as some of the New Testament saints did.  God may not deliver us in this world, but make no mistake, He will deliver us on judgement day if we are in Christ.  The salvation of our souls is much more important than the saving of our earthly bodies.

The last part of this passage is sobering.  Peter mentions two categories of people that are especially subject to God's punishment; those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and those who despise authority.  He goes on to describe them as presumptuous and self-willed, not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries.  Peter says even angels do not bring reviling accusation against dignitaries before the Lord.

These categories aren't surprising to me, but the part about speaking evil of dignitaries was.  I have been guilty of this as have many of my Christian friends.  We get national leaders in Washington D.C. that  we are not happy with and the nasty accusations fly.  I'm not saying that we should turn a blind eye and go along with everything that comes out of our White House/Congress/Senate.  But I have a hard time keeping my remarks and comments limited to what I think about the decisions that come down.  I often find myself engaged in character assassination.  It is difficult to not assign bad motives to some decisions as it looks blatant at times.  

We need to refrain from speaking evil of our dignitaries. We need to limit our comments and remarks to our  dissatisfaction with decisions that are handed down.  Rather than complaining and not doing something to change it, we need to sit down and take the time to write or call our law makers and respectfully tell them why we are dissatisfied and ask them to try to change it or block whatever is coming down the pipe. This is a better way to channel our frustrations than assassinating the character of those in office.  My goodness!  If the angels won't even bring accusation against them, why on earth are we doing it?  Yikes!

God knows I am so guilty of this!  It is so easy to just hit the retweet button or the share button on posts that say terrible ugly things about the character of our leaders.  But what if it's true?  Perhaps we can point out what their deeds are if it's a case where people need to know in order to make an informed decision such as in voting or letter writing to fight it, but refrain from descending into name calling and ridicule.  

So here I sit talking about all of this!  Will I remember it later?  Apparently I did not the last time I posted this devotional back in 2014.  Shame on me!  I hope I will do better this time around. 

So  two lessons here:

1. God knows how to deliver the godly from evil.  Whether He decides to do it in this earthly life  or at judgement day is His choice.  We  know He will deliver His godly ones on judgement day regardless.

2. If the angels will not bring reviling accusation against dignitaries, why on earth should we be doing it?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Devotional: A Purpose for Suffering #7

James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Suffering allows others the privilege of ministering to our needs. James says the sick should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over him, attending to their spiritual needs.

There are those who would pray over a sick person and if the person does not get well, they say that the sick person did not have enough faith. This is so wrong. This does nothing for the faith of the sick person. In fact, it causes untold damage to their spiritual well-being as it lays blame for their illness on themselves and their supposed lack of faith.

God does not always give physical healing as a result of our prayers and faith. We see an example of this in the Apostle Paul. He prayed three times for God to remove his "thorn in the flesh". But God chose not to. Rather, prayer for the sick should be in humble submission to His will. It should be an act of yielding to God's will and prayer that the sick will respond in a godly fashion to their circumstances. It should be a request for healing if that is God's will for this person and if not, that God would reveal the purpose for the illness.

James says for the elders of the church to anoint the sick with oil. In the Jewish culture of the early church, pure olive oil was used as a healing agent. It was always carried when one traveled. It was applied to recent wounds and bruises with great results. (Albert Barnes Commentary) Anointing one with oil was not intended to be some sort of magical or miraculous incantation. Rather, it was the act of attending to the sick person's physical ailment. We see an example of this in the story of the Good Samaritan:

Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

When one is suffering or sick, we as Christians should seek to minister to that person's spiritual and physical well-being. In this day of modern medicine, anointing a person with oil is not a typical thing that is done anymore. However, we should seek to do something to help make them more comfortable and let them know in a practical way that we care about their physical well-being. Having the elders come and anoint the sick with oil and pray over them would be appropriate in that the touch of another can have a healing affect emotionally if not physically.

Are you suffering? Be willing to allow others to minister to your needs. This may be humbling for you to do. Think of it as an act of humility towards God in allowing Him to minister to you through them. So often when we are suffering, we say nothing because we don't want to be a bother, so no one knows we need anything. We are so self-sufficient and proud of our independence in our society, that we isolate ourselves from God-given help and encouragement from our friends and we deprive them of the privilege of ministering to others.

We need to all be alert to the needs of others and be willing to lend encouragement and practical help where needed. God planned it that we should bear one-another's burdens in this way.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Devotional: A Purpose for Suffering #6

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (KJV)

I struggled with this verse a bit. I wondered how is it that those who endure great hardship are counted as happy? Hardships and trials are not fun. I've got my share of them. Can I be counted happy that I have these things to deal with? What about you?

As I was doing the study on this verse, I came upon a bit of interesting information in Albert Barnes' New Testament Commentary. He says that the Greek word rendered "we count them happy" occurs only twice in the Bible. Here and in Luke 1:48 where it is rendered "shall call me blessed". The other Greek word that is rendered "blessed or happy", however, occurs often. See Matthew 5:3-11 for an example.
"The sense here is, we speak of their patience with commendation. They have
done what they ought to do, and their name is honoured and blessed."

This makes a lot more sense now. Those who suffer through trials and endure it with patience are to be commended, honored, and blessed by others for how they have endured. This makes me ask myself this question: How do I endure my trials? Do I endure them with patience? Do I grumble and complain? Do I take it with grace and lean on my Savior's strength to help me through them? What kind of example do I give to those who watch?

Albert Barnes says,
"The book of Job was written, among other reasons, to show that true religion
would bear any form of trial to which it could be subjected. See Job 1:9-11; Job
2:5-6. "

The phrase, "have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" talks about what God's intended purpose is. His intended purpose is to be compassionate and merciful toward us in the end. As we trust His purposes in our lives, we will experience His compassion and mercy. Now with Job, He restored everything he had and more. God may not choose to do that with us here on earth like he did with Job, but we can be assured that one day when we reach heaven, He will restore everything and more to us.

In the mean time, we often do experience His compassion and mercy in our trials. It may be a kindness done for us by a friend, or a medical bill that we thought would be very large that turned out to be a lot less. It could be the sunshine coming through the window to warm sore neck and shoulders. If we look for it, we can find His compassion and mercy daily in our trials and we have much to be thankful for.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Devotional: A Purpose for Suffering #5

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (KJV)

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (NIV)

I can't help but think of Job when I read the verses above. Here is a man who is an example of persevering under trial. Look at what he says below:

Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.(KJV)

Those who love God will persevere under trial. This is not to say they won't get discouraged or they won't stumble, but God will give them the strength to get back up and keep going. God knows the trials we are going to face and He has control over them. He is waiting to award us the crown of life when we persevere through them. His strength is perfect in our weakness. We must trust in Him, not ourselves, to persevere through our trials. We must keep our eye on the prize.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.(KJV)
What are your trials today? What are you facing? Don't look around at your circumstances. Look up and embrace the strength that God will give you to persevere. Look up and keep your eye on the prize...the crown of life! God is faithful...
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Devotion: A Purpose for Suffering #4

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I used to say, "Don't ask God to give you patience because you will get a lot of trials instead!" But you know what? Patience can't be developed in any other way but through those things that cause us frustration and grief. If everything in our lives went along just like we planned it and nothing ever went wrong in our lives we would have no opportunity to learn patience.

In the verses above, when it says "...that ye may be perfect..." in the Greek it actually carries the meaning of being mature. So when our faith is tried, it is exercising our patience. We are to be joyful because God is giving us the chance to develop patience in our lives. If we don't fight against it, not only will patience be developed but we will grow into maturity.

I don't know what your particular trials are, whether it be pain, a wayward child, death or illness or financial difficulties, Scripture isn't saying for you to be happy go lucky in the face of difficulty, but it is saying that you can count it joy knowing that you have the opportunity to develop patience and maturity in godly character.

There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is fleeting and depends on the circumstances, but joy is deep and abiding in the soul even in the face of difficulty because we know God is working all things together for our spiritual good and the spiritual good of others around us. Do you have this joy?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Devotional: A Purpose for Suffering #3

2 Corinthians 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

Just prior to this verse above, the Apostle Paul said, "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: "

Have you ever been to the point of despairing even of life? Have you ever felt like you could not endure any more? Have you been to the place where you realize you have no control over how long you will live? This is where the Apostle Paul had been. This is why he said that he and his comrades had the sentence of death in themselves.

I think what is really neat though is that he didn't leave it there. He goes on to tell us what the result should be when we feel this way. When we feel like we can't take any more, we should let that feeling drive us to God. When we come to the end of ourselves, this is where we learn that we can not trust in ourselves. We can not pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. We have to trust in God, and what a God He is! He raises the dead. If we are trusting in ourselves then we will be miserable people indeed. We must trust in God for our salvation. We must trust in God for our strength in weakness. We must trust in God for our joy in spite of our circumstances. He is faithful, trust Him alone.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Devotion: A Purpose for Suffering #2

1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

I used to pencil in a small "T.P." by verses in the Bible that I had tried and proven. This is one of those "T.P." verses. God has used and is using trials in my life to bring about the results listed at the end of the verse. I don't claim to have perfected these things by any means and perhaps that is why God continues to take me through the refining fire.

The word perfect means mature. Looking back at my life, I can see where the trials I've been through have had the effect of helping me to mature spiritually. I have a long ways to go, but I do see where this is one of the purposes of suffering.

"Stablish you" means to set fast or firm. Trials have made me dig into the Word of God and send my roots down deep to take firm hold of the Rock. What a blessing this has been in my life!

"Strengthen you" means to make you strong. I can say that my trials have made me stronger in my faith and trust in God.

"Settle you" means getting you to the place where you come to rest in Him. This one has been a little more difficult, but with each trial that comes my way, I am finding that it is getting easier to let go of my worries and simply trust and rest in His plan and purpose for the trial.

The pain of trials is not fun, but when we bow in humble submission to our loving Heavenly Father, He will bring us forth from the furnace as gold in His hands. Do you see yourself making progress through your trials in these areas? Don't give up! God will finish what He has started in you.