Bible

Our Unmet Needs

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God has promised to supply all our needs, yet fulfillment is sometimes slow in coming.  What could be the problem?  Perhaps we are.

When our Father fails to meet our expectations, we generally look outside ourselves for the reason.  But while God’s love is unconditional, many of His promises are not.  For example, Philippians 4:19 is a “family promise” – it can be claimed only by those who rightly call the Sovereign of the universe “Father.”  His unlimited resources are not available to men and women who reject salvation through Jesus Christ.  Moreover, when we look at the whole framework of Scripture, we see that the Lord makes obedience a condition for fulfilling our needs.  (See Ps. 81:10-12.)  He will not condone sin by blessing us while we rebel against Him.

Think of yourself as part of an army at war – which is what you are, in a spiritual sense.  A top military priority is to keep the supply line open, as victory is impossible if the soldiers are weaponless, cold, and starving.  Our willful disobedience allows Satan to cut our supply line from the Lord.  Restoring that connection is a matter of repentance.  Those who walk in God’s way are protected, provided for, and satisfied (Ps. 81:13-16).

Taking a promise out of its biblical context is very dangerous.  And expecting God to keep a conditional pledge when we aren’t meeting its requirements is even more unwise.  The heavenly Father keeps His word but rightfully expects us to do our part.  Thankfully, His expectations of us are not burdensome but reasonable:  What He requires is that we simply love, honor, and obey Him.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, July 7, 2017.

Take the actual steps laid out in God’s word to be nearer to the Lord-He wants to meet our needs.  Taking any other steps are no steps at all.

God Knows the Heart

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The amount of money we have is not so important as the way we use it.  Rich people can be generous or stingy – and so can those with less money.  What is your attitude toward your possessions?  Do you hoard them selfishly, or do you use them to bless others?

Commentary from the One Year NIV Devotional NT, July 8.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  2003. 

Build Something Beautiful

Profiting from Perseverance

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People can be easily discouraged in the face of adversity-like John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, who accompanied Paul and Barnabas at the start of their first missionary journey.  As they prepared to enter the difficult region of Asia Minor, John Mark left and returned to Jerusalem.  John Mark had not yet learned that “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

If you are thinking of quitting something that is difficult, think of the character and hope you will forfeit if you do.

“Genius, that power that dazzles mortal eyes,

Is oft but perseverance in disguise.”  Henry Austin

Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, May 18.

Delaying

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Christ’s return at an unexpected time is not a trap, a trick by which God hopes to catch us off guard.  In fact, God is delaying His return so more will have an opportunity to follow Jesus.  During this time before His return, we have the opportunity to live out our beliefs and to reflect Jesus’ love as we relate to others.

People who are ready for their Lord’s return are 1. not hypocritical, but sincere; 2. not fearful, but ready to witness; 3. not anxious, but trusting; 4. not greedy, but generous; 5. not lazy, but diligent.  Are you delaying?

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, June 25.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  2003.

The Testing of Our Commitment

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In situations when God is testing us, He will teach us new and deeper truths about Himself, His purposes, and His promises.  Though we feel stretched in painful seasons, such difficulties are always designed to be beneficial.

From a human perspective, times of testing can be baffling, because we don’t understand how anything good could result.  Consider God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his long-awaited son Isaac.  Abraham’s earthly viewpoint could have regarded this order as:

UNREASONABLE.  “I cherish my son above all else.  How could you ask this?”

UNTIMELY.  “Why now, Lord?  My son is still young.  He is the one through whom my descendants are to come.”

UNFAIR.  “It’s not right that You ask this.  Haven’t I left home to follow You?”

UNBEARABLE.  “This is too hard for me.  I cannot take this pain.”

Abraham rejected that kind of thinking.  Instead, he trusted God.  The trial revealed Abraham’s unshakable commitment to the Lord’s plan.

Knowing which circumstances will help us grow, our Father asks us to exercise faith and choose His way.  Recalling His unending love and wholehearted commitment to His children will help us do this.  Be assured that God makes no mistakes in His dealings with us.

Imagine Abraham’s joy when the Lord provided a ram as a sacrifice in Isaac’s place.  We will receive that same reward of spiritual joy when we remain steadfast.

Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, June 19, 2017.