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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 46:1’

Adversity

June 6th, 2014

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NKJV.

What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.

Today, my thoughts and comments are about “adversity.”

Adversity is inevitable and unavoidable. Adversity comes in varied forms and sizes – from mild annoyances to major problems. The source of adversity also varies – from complicating circumstances to complicated people. Adversity seems not to discriminate, intruding into the lives of one and all. The Bible is clear, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV. Assuming you can escape any and all adversity is unrealistic.

The worst thing that happened to you could become the best thing that happens for you. The final chapter is not written until you have experienced the grace and faithfulness of God and seen the providence and purpose of God in your situation. Your attitude is to be one of joyful anticipation and patience. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 NKJV.

In the Bible, just about everyone experienced adversity of one sort or another – Adam and his wife, Abel and his brother, Job and his accusing adversary, Abraham and his nephew, Esau and his brother, Jacob and his father-in-law, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and Pharaoh, David and King Saul, Paul and young John Mark, Jesus and Jewish leaders, and too many others to name. But you cannot consider adversity without including the long-suffering Job in any discussion.

One by one, everything important to Job was stripped away by one calamity after another, and then the well-meaning counsel of his friends assumed he was somehow to blame. Beleaguered by adversities, he struggled more with inexplicable questions than even the multiplying losses themselves. Job’s fundamental conviction of the sovereign goodness and faithfulness of God guided him through confusion to acceptance and understanding. Emotions in any present adversity must not cloud your abiding conviction of the character and authority of the eternal God in every adversity.  Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18/6:4-10 NIV.

The struggle of Job occupies 42 chapters; the resolution of Job’s adversity is told in brief, concluding verses, “The Lord made him prosperous and gave him twice as much as he had before . . the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first . . after this, Job lived a hundred and forty years, and he died, old and full of years.” Read Job 42:10-17 NIV. I have often heard it commonly said, “What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.” Job found that true; so will you. Psalm 46:1 NKJV.

God is not the origin of adversity to test you. He doesn’t need to be; there will be more than enough hardships in the normal course of life. But God wisely uses adversity to strengthen, perfect, and mature you. God didn’t put giants in Canaan to oppose Moses and Israel. Giants inhabited Canaan. The spies saw the abundance of the land of Promise. Read Numbers 13:17-33 NKJV. It was a rich land, overflowing with plenty – but there were fearsome giants that made them feel, “like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Their conclusion? “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” They feared the giants living there more than they trusted their God living in them. See Psalm 34:17-19 NKJV/1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV.

This day, I pray that you will remember the almightiness of God in every situation.

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Ally or Adversary?

March 29th, 2012

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NKJV

“God’s intent is that you enjoy supportive company in your journey of faith.”

My thoughts and comments today ask, “ally or adversary?”

Isolation is an unnatural circumstance, even unhealthy to your personality and development. Solomon wrote, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 NLT. You were made for meaningful relationships. You can be better if they are the right kind of friendships, not so good if the wrong kind. The Bible is plain and simple about that; “Don’t be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:35 NIV.

Just as truly as I learned a Law of Physics in high school that, “Nature abhors a vacuum,” I have learned you must choose the right kind of helpful companions, or you will find the lesser kind all too available. You must learn to differentiate between allies and adversaries. God’s intent is that you have and enjoy supportive company in your journey of faith. The reality also is that there are those who will be adversaries to your faith. You will have friends; choose them well and walk with them closely. You will have adversaries; avoid them when possible, and ask for help when you need to do so.

Life can be hard on your own, because God never meant for you to be without the mutual benefit of companions. That truth was established early at Creation when God made Adam, then announced, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 NIV. Generations later, David declared the same truth when he wrote, “God sets the solitary in families.” Psalm 68:6 NKJV. Though it sometimes feels like it, you do not have to be alone in life.

There are times you may feel as Joshua when facing the obstacle of a fortified Jericho impeding his journey. Read Joshua 5:13-15 NKJV. Standing before him with sword drawn was an imposing figure. Joshua, ever the courageous soldier, asked, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” That’s important to know. May you be certain as Joshua discovered – God will always be for you!

The Apostle Paul recites difficult life experiences and then asks, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NKJV. In that truth safety and assurance of soul is found. David recalled his own difficulties and dangers, recounting, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side . .” Read Psalm 124:1-8 NKJV. I cannot imagine my life without God on my side, and Jesus at my side. When God is on your side, “No weapon turned against you will succeed . . When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” Isaiah 54:17 NLT/Proverbs 16:7 NIV.

The Bible warns, “Be vigilant because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV. You have a dangerous, credible adversary but God is your ally, “an ever present help in time of trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NIV. Be persuaded that “God is for you,” and live in such a way that He can be. Do not live in a way that sets you in opposition to God. “You are of God, and have overcome . . because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:5 NKJV. God is greater than any and all who would posture themselves to harm you.

My prayer for you today is that you live with courage and confidence in God’s strength.

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From Maybe to Miracles

October 4th, 2011

“Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord.” 1 Samuel 14:6 NLT

“Perhaps this is a time to ask God to turn your maybe into His miracle.”

My thoughts today are about times that change from “maybe to miracles.”

Do you need help? You are not alone. Everybody needs help from somebody sometime. Even the Beatles confessed in their song’s lyrics, “I get by with a little help from my friends . . I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.” Life is not all that easy without a little help, or a lot. Without the help of other people, I really cannot imagine my life as it has been. I could not be the man I hope to be, without others’ help. I would not have had the opportunities given me, without the help of friends. Nor would I want to look at the future without assurance of people’s example, encouragement, and assistance.

As I write this, I envision when the battle was hot and heavy as Joshua fought the Amalekites. Read Exodus 17:8-13 NLT. Moses held his hands and shepherd’s staff heavenward, and Israel prevailed. But when Moses grew weary, the tide of the battle turned in favor of Amalek. Joshua and Israel needed God’s help; Moses needed the help of Aaron and Hur to support his arms until God gave Israel the decisive victory.

Generations later, Israel under King Saul was opposed by the Philistines. Read 1 Samuel 14:1-23 NKJV. Jonathan, the King’s son, went to the garrison of the Philistines with only his armor bearer. In his heart was faith and desire for a decisive victory. His words always inspire me to remove my limits from God. “Jonathan said to his armor bearer, ‘Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few.’” 1 Samuel 14:6 NLT. Jonathan’s “perhaps the Lord will help us,” could have been either reckless presumption or righteous faith. The result shows it was the latter – righteous faith. At such a moment, it can be hard to know the difference, but God knows. The Lord did help, and the Philistines were confused and a great victory was achieved. See Psalm 46:1 NLT.

Do you need a victory in your life right now? Perhaps this is a time to ask God to turn your maybe into His miracle. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need . . So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 4:16 NIV/13:6 NKJV. When you need the Lord’s help, you must at least be able to muster a maybe if you ever expect to see a miracle.

In your heart, you will know whether you are being presumptuous, trying to force God to do what you want, or whether God, by His Spirit and/or through His Word, has placed in your heart a powerful “perhaps the Lord will help us.” As uncomfortable as it is, you will have more times of maybe than you will ever experience guarantees. That’s when you exercise faith in God’s character and power. “For without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV. I would rather trust God for something great than doubt God and by doing so allow nothing at all to happen.

My prayer for you today is that you will make room for supernatural possibilities.

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Living Simply

April 14th, 2011

“Live a quiet life; mind your own business; earn your own living . .” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 TEV

“Success is a process of giving sufficient time and concerted effort.”

My thoughts today are about “living simply.”

Life is not as complicated as some make it out to be. Too many are always angling for an easier path, a shorter road, or mysterious good fortune. If anyone spent as much time and effort working hard as they do trying to get by without hard work, they would find satisfaction, achievement and reward. There are no short cuts to success; it’s a process of sufficient time and concerted effort.

A good life can be simple. The Bible says, “Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living . .” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 Today’s English Version. The one who claims the name of Christ should live in such a way as to bring credit and honor to Him in their everyday life.

“Live a quiet life” suggests to me that your goal is tranquility not turmoil, that is in contradiction to the pace and noise of most lives. There is so much about God that you will know only in the quiet times. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:1 NKJV. Withdraw on occasion into His company and know Him well.

“Mind your own businessrecommends that you avoid messing where it is not your business to mess. The reality is that every one of us are busy enough without inserting ourselves into others’ busy lives, without their invitation. The Bible describes some who “are . . wasting time meddling in other people’s business.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11 NLT. An older translation calls those folk, “busybodies.”

“Earn your own living” directs you to be responsible to provide your own needs. As a teen, I heard my Dad say, “Nobody owes you a living.” Dependency on others is debilitating to the human spirit. Paul was pretty blunt about this: “Whoever refuses to work is not allowed to eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10 TEV. A hungry man is willing to work for what he needs.

Neither your wants nor your needs are anyone else’s responsibility – not your parents, not your spouse, not your friends, and definitely not the government. God is the One who promises to “supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:16 NKJV. How does God do that? He blesses the work of your hands!

Living in such a Godly way is clearly your goal; now, see what God promises the result will be. “Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living . . in this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 TEV.

Winning the respect of those who are not believers results from exemplary, believable lives that starkly contrast the norm. You can best accomplish that by how you live, more than what you say. God wants your life to make a difference in others’ lives. I have heard it said, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” Your everyday life might be the most influential sermon someone near you ever hears. To make a difference you have to live differently!

My prayer for you today is that your life stays simple; love God and live well.

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The Blind Side

June 8th, 2010

“God is our strength . . an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NIV

“Going through trouble well requires the company and support of someone alongside you.”

My thoughts today are about, “the blind side.”

Don’t be surprised; no one is immune all the time from trouble’s painful reality. The ancient man, Job, explained his discovery of this truth, “How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble.” Job 14:1 NLT. Trouble is a common experience of life, and some of it is an unexpected or inevitable result of choices made and actions you’ve taken. At other times, trouble that touches you may be an unintended result from some action of another person.

Some trouble just comes randomly from life. I have been spared much that others may well have experienced, but I have had a share along the way with everyone else. Trouble often comes on your “blind side.” I wasn’t looking for it; I didn’t welcome it; I didn’t enjoy it, but I have tried to learn from it.

Trouble is not fun for anyone, but it can yield a maturity of life and faith learned in no other way. Trouble is to be faced, with faith not fear. The Bible says, “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when it is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. If you need wisdom – if you want to know what god wants you to do – ask Him, and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” James 1:2-5 NLT. James understood three elements in character and spiritual development: trouble, everyone experiences it at one time or another; time, you must exercise endurance to rightly learn from it; and truth, Godly perspective brings wisdom. Trouble is something you will have; time is something you must give; truth is something you must know!

Among the things I have learned, a very important thing is this: going through trouble successfully requires the company and support of someone alongside you. “Two are better than one . . if one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble . . a person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT. Who walks alongside you when life is difficult?

In current vernacular, you need someone who “has your back.” In the recent movie, The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock’s character tells the young football player the single necessity of the left tackle is to protect the quarterback’s blind side. Everyone has a blind side. There are two questions of the soul that you will ask when you face troubling times or people (what the Bible calls “tribulation and persecution”): are you there for me, and do you care about me? Prize the gift of those who offer their company and answer those questions of the heart when you struggle.

There will be times when you may feel alone and vulnerable, and you may actually be alone at that moment. Fortunately, even when no one else can be there for you – when they cannot, or will not, do that, God has your back! Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10 NIV. The dearest of friends may not be able to be near, but God can and will be there for you always. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore, I will not fear . .” Psalm 46:1-2 NIV. God is ever present with you, even when every circumstance and emotion suggests differently – He is ever present, always there!

My prayer for you today is: be confident in God and His care for you.

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