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Overcoming Obstacles


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.

Taught By God To Love Each Other


Ambition is a characteristic that people in our society value greatly. ¬†However, society’s view of ambition is “getting ahead,” “grabbing all the gusto,” “living for number one.” ¬†All of these ambitions center on pursuit for the self. ¬†The Christian’s ambition, however, is to strive for the kingdom of God. ¬†Christians do not live to be flashy; instead, they seek to be obedient servants of Jesus Christ who is Lord of the church. ¬†Whatever we do, let us do it faithfully, as unto the Lord, and let us be a positive force in society – serving those around us rather than stepping on people to get to the top.

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional NT.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  (2003)

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Our God Is Able


Through the ministry of His Spirit and the Word, we start to see things as the Father does and learn what pleases Him (Romans 12:2).  By believing that God keeps His promises, we will become stronger in our faith and more at peace.  Hardships that once would have thrown us off course will lose their power to shake us.  Hope will replace discouragement, and trust will overcome doubt.  Each time trouble comes, focus your attention on your loving heavenly Father and His ability to care for you.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, August 5, 2017.



Miracles are not merely superhuman happenings, but happenings that demonstrate God’s power. ¬†Jesus performed miracles to renew people – restoring sight, making the lame to walk, even restoring life to the dead. ¬†Believe in Him, not because He is a superhuman, but because He is God, graciously renewing His creation. ¬†Although God does not always choose to bring full restoration this side of heaven, God does have a special concern for the poor, the weak, the crippled, the orphaned, the blind, the lame, and the oppressed. ¬†Our concern should be like God’s – to care for the powerless in society by bringing Christ’s message of redemption in both our words and actions.

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional NT.  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  (2003)

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Not everyone has the privilege of attending a large family reunion in their lifetime.  Many families are widely dispersed and have lost touch with one another.  But when large families get together and meet distant cousins, they have no trouble bonding.  Why?  Because they share a common heritage.

Strangers in the body of Christ should be that way – distant spiritual cousins who bond immediately. ¬†After all, we have “one body and one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). ¬†Unfortunately, Christians too often stick to their own ‘families’ – Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and so on. ¬†The world looks at the body of Christ and wonders why we can’t seem to get along better than we do. ¬†The early church, in its pre-denominational days, was known for its oneness and unity. ¬†It is a characteristic every Christian should work hard to restore to Christ’s body.

When you meet Christians who are strangers, give them the right hand of fellowship. ¬†There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a taste of eternal unity right here on earth.

Commentary from Pathways Devotional by David Jeremiah, July 31.