Overcoming Obstacles

Matthew 17:14-21

Nothing is impossible for the heavenly Father. No obstacle confuses God or poses any kind of challenge for Him. Though we know He is sovereign over every situation, we have trouble maintaining this perspective, just like the disciples in today’s passage. Too often when difficulties arise, we …

Experience a shift in focus. During trials, we tend to take our eyes off the Lord and instead see only our problems. The longer we look at our circumstance, the larger it seems. As we dwell on it in thought and conversation, our mindset can become very negative. Though God still has a direction for us to take, we are no longer concentrating on His purposes.

Develop an incorrect assessment of resources. In our troubles, we start taking inventory of our own strength and abilities. When they prove insufficient, we become discouraged. The truth is that we don’t have what is needed for life’s trials—Jesus Himself told us that. (See John 15:5.) But God’s capabilities are unlimited, His power is never-ending, and His wisdom is complete. We need to take stock of His resources, not our own.

View obstacles as barriers. For the obedient believer, impediments represent opportunities, not problems. The Lord can demonstrate His awesome power through our difficulties. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.) At such times, we grow in our faith and learn more about our Father. If we view hardships simply as troubles, then we can miss demonstrations of God’s love, power, and wisdom.

Start each day committed to a Christ-centered focus, a dependence on His resources, and an “opportunity” mindset.

God Is In Control

Deuteronomy 29:9

Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, the biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering. Because of the Bible, we can be certain:

God is in control (Psalm 103:19). Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His rule and authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them to run their course. Although we cannot know for certain if He has sent a catastrophe or allowed it, we can trust in His goodness and wisdom.

The Lord loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17). Giving His Son for the salvation of the world proves without a doubt that He loves each person. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior. He cares for us, even when we can’t feel it or won’t accept it.

God works circumstances for His good purpose (Isa. 46:10). Though we can’t fully comprehend what He’s doing in each incident, every disaster is a wake-up call for humanity. God is alerting us to the need for repentance—so the lost can be saved and the saved can be revived to live totally for Him. The Lord wants to get our attention, and catastrophes open our ears to hear from Him.

The One who loves us perfectly is in full control, working everything out according to His plan. Knowing this should fill us with hope, even in the midst of crisis situations. The Lord promises to turn disaster to good for those who “are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

The World Treasures vs Heavenly Ones
Psalm 145:13 (WEB)
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Yahweh is faithful in all his words,
and loving in all his deeds.

 

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God’s Calling is the Qualifier

God’s Calling is the Qualifier

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Think of a time when you were asked to handle a particular task but felt you didn’t have enough education, experience, or ability to do it. We all tend to feel like this on occasion and may even offer God excuses why we couldn’t possibly be the one to take on the project. But the Lord doesn’t always use strong, influential, or accomplished people to do His work.

In fact, God often chooses to have His work done through those whom the world regards as foolish, weak, unimpressive, or ordinary. He has two main purposes for doing this. First of all, by accomplishing great things through unexceptional people, He proves that the world’s wisdom is foolishness. And second, God’s people don’t have any reason to boast: They have no power to save themselves and no ability to serve Him apart from His strength and wisdom.

God isn’t interested in impressive human talent and natural ability. He’s looking for humble people who are totally dependent upon Him and willing to make themselves available for whatever He calls them to do. Moses didn’t feel the Lord could use him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt because he wasn’t eloquent, but he became one of the greatest leaders in Jewish history. David was young and had no experience as a warrior, but the Spirit of God empowered him to kill a giant with one small stone.

If you’re a believer, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are or how qualified you feel. If you’ll simply depend on Christ, make yourself available, and obey Him, He’ll use you for His glory.

Travel Plans

Travel Plans

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15

When deciding whether or not to go on a long vacation with a friend, a few things are carefully considered, including interests, expectations, and personalities. After all, we want to enjoy the trip and keep the friendship intact.

As we travel through life, our minds know that we have God traveling with us, but it is easy for our hearts to forget and feel disconnected, especially when our requests are not fulfilled.

Jesus understands. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that the cup would pass away from Him and it did not. Although Jesus surrendered to the sacrifice, it was difficult beyond words. Whatever situation you find yourself in, He is with you. Like the thief hanging on the cross beside Jesus, we can cry out to Him in the midst of any mess or consequence we find ourselves in, whether or not we caused it. He is here. The winding journey of our lives can bring us closer to Him, if we will allow it to.

We weren’t meant to be somebody—we were meant to know Somebody.
John Piper

Saying YES When HE Calls

Saying YES When HE Calls

Exodus 3:1-14

I’ve met people who know the Lord has called them to do something, but they are so focused on their perceived lack of ability that they keep telling Him, “I just can’t.” Did you realize this is a form of rebellion? It amounts to telling God that He isn’t powerful enough to equip you—and that His will being done on this earth depends upon your natural skills.

On being called to lead the Israelites out of slavery, Moses complained that he was the wrong person for the job and offered an excuse of not being a good speaker (Ex. 4:10). God’s response underscores that not only was He more than able to equip His chosen leader, but He also planned to accomplish His purposes with or without Moses.

The Lord is the one who gives us the ability to live within His will. It’s a divine promise: If we believe Him and move forward in obedience, He’ll show us what we’re to do and then will energize us to get it done. Philippians 2:13 says that God Himself “is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” There’s nothing to fear: You never have to take on His work in your own strength, and He won’t ask you to do anything that He will not enable you to carry out. The Father is committed to equipping His children to do whatever He asks.

As a follower of Christ, you have a personal responsibility—first, to say yes when God calls, and second, to allow Him to achieve His purposes through your life. He won’t let you down. Watching Him work through you will strengthen your faith and further the process of conforming you to His Son’s image.

Staying The Course No Matter What

Staying The Course No Matter What
Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 28:20

Near the end of his life, evangelist George Whitefield grew weak but refused to give up. His prayer was: “Lord, I am weary in Thy work but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields….” Writing to a friend, Whitefield said, “O to stand fast in the faith…and be strong.” No matter what comes, stay the course.

That’s what we need too—the determination to stand strong till the end. Scripture repeatedly counsels us to take courage and be strong. We may become weary while serving the Lord, but we mustn’t grow weary of serving the Lord. We’re to follow the sample of David, who, in a time of crisis, “strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).

Later, in 1 Chronicles 28:20, David advised Solomon to keep going in the strength of the Lord. The New International Version translates 1 Chronicles 28:20 like this: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.”

Be strong and courageous today, and He will strengthen your hands.

What! Get to heaven on your own strength? Why, you might as well try to climb to the moon on a rope of sand!
George Whitefield

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