God

Goodness

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The doctrine of providence teaches Christians that they are never in the grip of blind forces (fortune, chance, luck, fate); all that happens to them is divinely planned, and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey, and rejoice, knowing that all is for one’s spiritual and eternal good (Romans 8:28).

Commentary from Concise Theology, p. 56, by J. I. Packer.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  1993

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Obstacles as Opportunities

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Learning to see obstacles as opportunities takes time. 

Recalling certain truths can help our perspective:

GOD IS AT WORK.  As barriers remain in place and our situation seems unchanged, God is orchestrating people and events to move His plan forward.  He works silently, invisibly, and effectively.

GOD PREPARES THE WAY.  He has already decided in His mind which hindrances to remove and which to leave unaltered.  For the obstacles that remain, the Lord will arrange a way around them or fit them into His plan.  What He has determined will be accomplished.

GOD REQUIRES OUR COOPERATION.  He wants us to be ready to face difficult situations.  Through His Word, He communicates what we need to know and also equips us (Hebrews 13:20-21).

GOD IS PERSONALLY INVOLVED.  He wants to develop in us a greater sensitivity to His presence.  Through Scripture, prayer, and other believers, we can receive the assurance that the Lord is near.

GOD GIVES CLEAR INSTRUCTION.  He does not bring confusion.  Whether we receive His direction in stages or all at once, He asks us to trust in Him rather than our own thinking (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Facing challenges involves courage, patience, and faith.  It takes courage to accept the presence of barriers, to move in step with God, and to do what He asks.  Patience is required as we wait for Him to equip us and reveal His plan.  Faith is necessary for us to trust God with the outcome and to focus on obeying Him.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, August 15, 2017.

Overcoming Obstacles

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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-Matthew 17:14-21.  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 mind-set 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.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, August 14, 2017.