Matthew

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.

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Don’t Worry, There is a Bridge

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Think of all the different kinds of “daily bread” that can be here today and gone tomorrow: money, house, cars, possessions, jobs, health, and more.  In fact, every tangible thing in our life is something we have no ultimate control over.  And those are the things Jesus said we should never spend time and energy worrying about-which makes perfect sense.  Why worry about those things over which we have no control?

The one thing that cannot be taken away is the only thing we need going forward into the future: our faith and the intangible values (perseverance, hope, and the like) that arise from our faith.  The apostle Paul confirmed the necessity of faith:  “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).  We are stewards (slaves) of the God who has bought us for Himself.  Our provision is His “worry”, not ours.  He has promised to meet the needs of those who love Him.

Don’t worry about tomorrow, Jesus said.  Trust your heavenly Father with the faith you can never lose. 

“Worry over poverty is as fatal to spiritual fruitfulness as is gloating over wealth.”  A. W. Pink

Commentary from Turning Points devotional by David Jeremiah, May 12, 2017.

This song has a country/blues/gospel sound and may not be your taste, and is not necessarily my own, but I appreciate the words, which relate to this post, are meaningful, and I hope helpful 🙂

God On The Mountain, Gaither VEVO, featuring Lynda Randle.

Made Perfect in Weakness

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In reading in the Bible in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 about something that tormented Paul, we see that although God did not remove Paul’s physical affliction, He promised to demonstrate His power in Paul.  The fact that God’s power shows up in weak people should give us courage.  When we are strong in abilities or resources, we are tempted to do God’s work on our own, and that leads to pride.

We must rely on God for our effectiveness rather than our own energy, effort, or talent.  Our weakness not only helps develop Christian character, it also deepens our worship; in admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength.  When we are weak, and when we allow God to fill us with his power, then we are stronger that we could ever be on our own.  We must depend on God-only His power makes us effective for Him and does work that has lasting value.  We must daily be mindful that God is our source for every need.

Give us this day

our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, May 14. Tyndale House Publishers (2003).

The Cold

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As Christians, we have the opportunity every day to pay it forward to those who are lost in this world by giving them a glimpse of Christ through our kindness.  We were each given a gift when Jesus hung on the cross and died for our sins; and every time we demonstrate His love to someone, we not only bless them, we also bless our Lord and Savior.

Let us eagerly search for ways to bless those that God places in our path with the ultimate aim of glorifying our Heavenly Father.

“All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.”  John Calvin

Portions of commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, November 18.