Sky

6:17

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~Wordless Wednesday~

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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.

God’s Ways

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In Isaiah 55:8, God declared, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”  And in fact, one of the biggest frustrations of the Christian life stems from a lack of understanding about God’s ways.  There are times when we could really use a miracle, but He does not come through for us the way we think He should.  Our unmet expectations lead to confusion, disappointment, and even anger.  We might think, Why did the Lord let me down?

Some people don’t believe God performs big miracles at all, while others are convinced that if He’s not doing the miraculous every day, then something is wrong with their faith.  Neither belief is true.  We need a balanced perspective, which we find in the Bible.

God works in both supernatural and ordinary ways, and He determines the method.  Elijah ate food miraculously delivered by ravens, but his water supply from a brook was completely natural.  When the water dried up, the Lord could have made more spring from the ground, but He didn’t.

Sometimes God uses ordinary means to move us in a new direction.  The curtailment of Elijah’s water supply opened the door for his next assignment.  When the Lord withholds miraculous intervention and lets your brook dry up, He has something else planned for you.

Seeing the work of God in the miraculous is easy.  But He’s just as involved in the everyday aspects of life as He is in any supernatural event.  Look for His fingerprint in the day’s mundane activities.  He is there, opening and closing doors, drying up one opportunity but initiating another.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, August 2, 2017.

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.