4 Ways God Can Use You Today

Encourage Someone Today

I recently read that smiling is as contagious as yawning. So is encouraging someone. Paul wrote that we should “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thess. 5:11) and not tear each other down. They say it takes ten positive words to build someone up who’s been discouraged by one bad word. Why not build someone up today? Up is where heaven is anyway, and that’s where we’re headed, right?

Give to Someone Today

Have you given someone something today? You can, if it’s still early. It doesn’t have to be money. You can give of yourself. You can hold the door open for someone. You can pick something up that they drop. You can smile at them, shake their hand, or give them a hug. Give yourself away. The interesting thing is the more of yourself that you give away, the more you actually receive in blessings. Paul reminds us to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35)

Visit Someone Today

I had a friend come into town recently, whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. It was refreshing to catch up on things, but you can also pick up the phone and call someone today, email someone, send an unexpected “thinking of you” card. Whatever you do, try to go out of your way and visit or talk to someone today that you normally don’t talk to or see. Make it a special, no-occasion thing. Paul tells us to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).

Thank Someone Today

I believe that one of the greatest sins a Christian can commit is the sin of omission. It is the failure to give thanks to God but also to others. On occasions, I just tell my wife “thank you for…” and then start listing the many things she does. Paul said, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Phil. 1:3). I like to borrow Paul’s line and tell people I thank God for them–for being my wife, daughter, son, friend, etc. Even a thank-you note makes a great and lasting impression. It costs very little, but, oh, the benefits they and you reap are priceless.

Conclusion

Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Jacob was a deceiver, Moses had a speech impediment, Peter swore and denied Jesus three times, David was an adulterer and murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Rahab was a prostitute, Joseph was innocently thrown into prison, and, oh yeah, Lazarus was dead. Do you still think God can’t use you!? Nope. God can use you in these four and many other ways today to glorify Him. Everyone can be used by God, no matter who they are. If you are reading this, God can use you.

Attributes To Identify A Truly Evil Person

Blasphemy of God’s Holy Name

No one who is saved characteristically continues to use God’s name as a swear word. I don’t mean when someone loses their temper and does it on an occasion when they’re extremely angry. I mean when someone uses “damn” as God’s last name and Jesus’ holy name is thrown around as if it’s just another word. In the first place, we all fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), and not one of us is really good (Rom. 3:10-12). I mean someone who swears and curses all the time. Believers treat God’s name in a holy, reverential way and always with the deepest respect and fear. Not so with someone who is bent toward evil.

Money Is Their God

When nothing else matters but money and they will hurt anyone at any cost as long as it helps them financially, then that person has made money their god. They worship the dollar, and if someone gets in their way, they don’t care who gets hurt; they will get what they want no matter what. There are some that will use people instead of hard work in climbing the ladder of success. They use people as the rungs in a ladder, stepping on people in order to climb over them in trying to reach the top.

Taking Advantage of Widows and Orphans

I have experienced a few people who’ve taken advantage of their elderly parents or widowed parent to get what they want. I remember doing a funeral one time, and when the family returned home afterwards, they discovered that some of the family’s relatives had pilfered through and taken many of the possessions of their deceased parents while their parent was being buried. Can you imagine how evil that is?! While we were burying their parents or relatives, they were at their home going through and taking as many valuable possessions as they could get. That is so despicable.

Someone Who Abuses Children

There are fewer things that are more intolerable than someone who physically or sexually abuses children. How evil can you get!? That is truly a mark of someone who is evil of heart. Who hurts defenseless children? How can someone even consider wrecking some child’s life and leaving behind psychological scars that will last a lifetime?

Conclusion

If you take these four attributes and reverse them as something that a believer never does, then you also have the attributes of a believer. They never blaspheme God’s name, they never use people to acquire money, they never take advantage of the elderly or orphans, and they certainly never abuse children. Those who do are headed for the swift and sure judgment of God, and unless they repent and trust in Christ, they face the wrath of God for all eternity (Rev. 20:12-15; Rev. 21:8).

4 Common Stumbling Blocks to a Stronger Faith

The Demon of Doubt

Doubt is the near opposite of faith because it undermines what we believe to be true without even seeing physical evidence. For example, I have never seen Jesus, but I know He exists and died to take my sins away. Jesus told Peter in Matthew 14:31b, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt.” This was right after Peter had actually walked on water. But where did his faith start to fail? It was when he “saw the wind” (Matt. 14:30), and doubt crept in because he took his eyes off Jesus. So if you start looking at your problems and they become bigger than Jesus or they take your eyes off Jesus at all, it could be a huge stumbling block to a stronger faith.

Substance Abuse

I battled a strong addiction to marijuana for many years, and it made me doubt my salvation many times, but God was patient with me. Over time, He helped change my heart’s desire to overcome this. For others, it is alcohol. They just can’t quit drinking, and time after time they fall back into it. They are not overcoming alcohol; it is overcoming them. We need help. Sometimes we just need to swallow our pride, acknowledge our substance abuse problem, and reach out and seek help. When we struggle with substance abuse, it can create a huge stumbling block to a stronger faith because we feel unworthy and unlikely to actually be saved.

Isolation

I just counseled a man the other day who said that he is so shy, he can’t be around many people. He feels unwelcome by others in the church, even though they are trying to show themselves friendly. He said, “It’s a pretty lonely path to walk.” He admits that it’s his perception and not reality, but for him, perception is reality. I told him about the giant sequoias that grow in California. The interesting fact is that these huge trees can grow to well over 300 feet, and many have lived for over 2000 years, but they have extremely shallow roots. In fact, if they stood alone, they’d collapse in a strong wind. But the fact is that the sequoias’ shallow roots intertwine with one another, and so do their branches. This is exactly how the church is designed because without the help of others to keep our roots firmly planted and with no support from others, the individual Christian would soon fall. Like sequoias, we grow tall when we stand together and support each other, but alone, we fall so easily. Therefore, isolation can be a huge stumbling block to a stronger faith.

Illness and Disease

I don’t know how many people in the last few years I’ve personally known who have been diagnosed with cancer; some have even died of it. Many people begin to question the goodness of God, and that is completely understandable. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. You’ve been hit by a fatal disease, battle chronic illness, or have been diagnosed with cancer, which can undermine our faith and create a huge stumbling block to a stronger faith. These are the times when believers can put things into an eternal perspective. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They could die but then be present with the Lord. I certainly have no answer as to the “why,” but I do know the Who, and He is sovereign over all things.

Conclusion

I hope that we don’t become a stumbling block for others by doing something that others consider sin but we think is not. Paul warned us to “take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Cor. 8:9). People have enough trouble with their own stumbling blocks to a stronger faith without needing any help from us.

10 Ways You Might Be Blocking The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Here are ten ways you might be blocking the power of God’s Spirit in your life.

Grieving the Spirit

You can actually grieve the Holy Spirit by not confessing sin (Eph 4:30). Just as a person grieves over the loss of a loved one, the Spirit is said to be grieved when we sin (Eph 4:26-30). That will not only block the Spirit of God’s power, it will actually grieve the Third Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit. He is called “Holy,” because He is holy, and is God, but He also works to create holiness in us, but unconfessed sin blocks that growth.

Quenching the Spirit

The Apostle Paul says that it’s possible to quench the Spirit of God because that’s just what he told the church at Thessalonica: “Do not quench the Spirit”(1st Thess 5:19). When we quench the spirit, we’re trying to silence what God is trying to say to us or motivate us to do something by the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Sometimes we quench God’s Spirit without even knowing it.

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Ignoring the Spirit

This is what unbelievers do. They ignore their conscience and suppress the knowledge of God, and even though they really know that God exists, the push back that knowledge in their consciences. Paul writes, “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”(Rom 1:18), and “although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom 1:21). After a person ignores their conscience for so long, eventually God will just give them up to their own depravity.

Resisting the Spirit

When Stephen was on trial for his faith in Christ, he bluntly told the Jewish religious leaders, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51), and all you need to do is read about ancient Israel’s history to see that it’s true. They resisted God every step of the way, so God allowed them to wander in the wilderness for forty years until that generation was gone. God may put us in a “wilderness” for a time, until we stop resisting the Holy Spirit and His power.

Not Following the Spirit

When Paul wanted to go into Asia to preach the gospel, it was said that the Spirit blocked him from doing so (Acts 16:6). This didn’t mean Paul wasn’t following the Spirit, but the Spirit was trying to make Paul to go where He wanted him to go, and not where Paul wanted to go. The Holy Spirit always seeks to have us do the will of the Father, and so when we resist the Holy Spirit, we resist God Himself.

Bonus Content

Going through the Motions

Traditions are fine, but when these traditions can become just going through the motions. When we do things without much thought, we’re blocking the Spirit’s power in being spontaneous. When church services become “automated,” then the church might be blocking the Holy Spirit’s power in worship services. For example, if we are singing songs without comprehending their meaning, then we’re just going through the motions and just “checking things off our list.”

Doubt and Fear

Doubt and fear are the enemies of faith and trust. To have fear is to show a lack of faith and doubt can rob our joy. Both doubt and fear can suppress the work of the Spirit in us and strip us of our desire to serve Christ. Perfect love should cast our fear (1st John 4:18). A great way to dampen the doubt and face the fear is to be in the Word of God. That’s where the Spirit can help give us assurance and faith.

Harboring a Grudge

When we are holding a grudge against someone, it’s like a nagging thing in our mind that we quite can’t shake. The Spirit convicts us when we sin, but when we refuse to confess them, we can be grieved by God’s convicting Spirit. David said “my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3a), and it was “when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer”(Psalm 32:4). Unconfessed sin can put God’s heavy hand upon us just like holding a grudge can.

A Resistant Spirit

I would rather it be, “Have your own way with me Holy Spirit” than “This is what I’ll do next.” If we have any pride at all, God’s going to resist us (James 4:6), and since the Holy Spirit is also God, the Spirit can resist us if we get full of ourselves. God’s Spirit can do little in someone that is full of pride. Until a person comes before God and is emptied of self, He cannot fill them; until they admit they are broken, God cannot fix them by His Spirit.

Not Walking in the Spirit

The Apostle Paul admonished the church at Rome to walk in the Spirit, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”(Rom 8:4) because “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8:6).

Conclusion

We need all the help we can get from God’s Spirit in not grieving the Spirit, in not quenching the Spirit, in not ignoring the Spirit, in not resisting the Spirit, and in not following the Spirit and holding onto doubts, fear, being prideful and not walking with God, in the Spirit. Perhaps the greatest block of the power of God’s Spirit is pride. God cannot work with people that feel they have arrived in life. God resists the proud, but only gives His grace to the humble (James 4:6). When we block God’s Spirit, we also block His power working in us. That’s important enough reason to not grieve, quench, ignore, or resist the Spirit of God, but rather, to follow the Spirit

SIGNS THAT WE’RE NEARING THE TIME OF JESUS’ RETURN?

Perversion of the Gospel

We don’t know if Jesus’ stepbrother, Jude, believed what many others did. That was their expectation of Jesus returning in their own lifetime, but he did seem to have a sense of an end-time scenario. By the way, most of the first-century church lived with the expectation of Christ’s return. Obviously, they missed it by at least 2,000 years. But are there signs today that precede Jesus’ coming? Jude writes as if he is writing about today, saying, “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3-4). These ungodly “people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals” (Jude 1:10). Jude writes that “in the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:18-19). A clear sign of Jesus’ coming are these distorted versions of the Gospel, which can be seen everywhere today. There are unbelievers everywhere, scoffing at the idea that there is even a God at all.

The Days of Noah

Jesus referred to the end of the age by saying, “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37-39). In other words, it will be business as usual. And just as the people in Noah’s day never would have expected a flood, neither will many expect Jesus to come and bring a flood of judgment against all unbelievers. Perhaps another sign that it’s just as it was in Noah’s day is that “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12). Sounds like today’s headlines, doesn’t it? The phrase “the earth was filled with violence” is repeated twice in this chapter because God is emphasizing the fact that violence had grown so bad that the whole earth or population of man was full of it (Genesis 6:11, 13). Can you see how this same violence that was taking place in Noah’s day is similar to what’s happening today in our streets?

Natural and Man-made Catastrophes

Jesus, in giving the so-called Olivet Prophecy, said just before His return that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). These are not the signs of His return, but they are like “the beginning of the birth pains” (Matthew 24:8). During the time leading up to Christ’s return, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken”(Matthew 24:29). And only after this “will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31). The darkened sun and blotted-out moon could be from volcanic activity, earthquakes, meteorites, or asteroids striking the earth. Most somber of all could be the result of a nuclear winter after another global or world war.

Being Ready

We can’t pin down every single sign of Jesus’ soon return any more than we can understand all prophecy, but that’s okay. We’re not commanded to understand all prophecy; we are commanded to be ready at any moment. Jesus says, “Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”(Matthew 24:36-37). “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”(Matthew 24:44). Those who sit on the fence about Christ today might be cast into hell with those on the other side someday. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2), as there is no guarantee for either of us that tomorrow will even come. It’s too great a risk to delay your salvation. Come to Christ today and you will be ready for His return; delaying could prove disastrous (Revelation 21:8).

Conclusion

It’s great to understand prophecy and be looking for the signs of Jesus’ return, but this can take our eyes off Jesus. He must remain the central focus of our studies in the Word. We don’t know when Jesus will return; we only know He will, which means we have work to do while it’s still day. The time is coming when no one will be able to work and the age of grace will be over. We must warn others of the coming wrath of God (Romans 2) so that the grace and mercy of God will be relevant to them. Unless we tell them of the need to repent and believe, they will die in their sins with the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36b). Let God use you as a means to save some by bringing them to Christ and then letting Him save them (John 3:16; Acts 4:12).

FIVE TRULY HORRIFYING MOMENTS FROM THE BIBLE. 

The Passion

What was at first horrifying became glorifying for God through Jesus Christ at Calvary (Isaiah 53). No event in human history has been declared to be more unjust and cruel than Jesus’ scourging and death on the cross, because He was totally innocent and unworthy of such a horrible, agonizing death. The shame, scorn, ridicule, and rejection Jesus suffered on our behalf was the most horrifying of all biblical moments, but one that made possible our salvation (John 3:16), because God uses evil for good (Gen 50:20).

Slaughter of Children

King Herod has gone down in history as one of the most evil kings of all, even though he was only a puppet king of the Romans. When he discovered that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, “he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men” (Matt 2:16). This horrific event fulfilled Jeremiah the Prophet’s prophecy of, “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation. Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matt 2:18), which was a quote of Jeremiah 31:15.

Found Wanting

In Daniel chapter five, King Belshazzar was having a great banquet for a thousand of his royal guests, and during their drinking binges, the king ordered the sacred vessels that his father, King Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the temple and King Belshazzar wanted to used these gold and silver goblets to give to his wives and concubines so that they might drink out of them. Then, Belshazzar saw something horrible. It was a finger writing something on the wall. All of a sudden there was no more fun and games. Daniel the Prophet interpreted “Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin [and] this is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (Dan 5:25-28). In other words, it was the end for Belshazzar and his kingdom.

Sulfur and Fire

One of the most horrific events that happened in the Bible was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Thankfully, God sent two angels to save Sodom and his family, but Lot still lingered, so “the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (Gen 19:16), and “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Gen 19:24-25). Today we know there is sufficient archeological evidence that just such an event took place there.

The Flood

I’m not sure which was worse; the great flood that destroyed all but Noah and his family or the evil wickedness that had come to dominate humanity. That’s because “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5), meaning evil is all they thought about. They probably had contests to see who could come up with something new and evil, so “God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen 6:12-13).

Conclusion

The most horrific thing any person could ever do is reject Jesus Christ and saving faith in Him and then dies in that state. If this happens, a person’s fate is sealed forever (Rev 21:8). There is no repentance in hell…only eternal regret and remorse. Please tell any family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor that unless they repent and believe, they cannot be saved (Mark 1:15; John 3:36; Acts 4:12). For those who trust in Christ, they are saved from the wrath of God and eternal damnation, and will be in the presence of the Lord for time without end.

Five bad habits that will kill your spiritual growth as a Christian and stunt your faith? What things can you think of? 

A Bad Temper

One guy said that he lost his temper with his wife and said something he regretted. In actuality, he didn’t lose it; he found it. But maybe he needed to lose it. Anger is almost always a pride issue when we lose our temper. Righteous indignation is not what I’m talking about here because when we see a child abused, children aborted, or rioting and looting, getting angry is a natural feeling. What I mean by losing our temper is when someone cuts in front of us in traffic or in line and suddenly we unleash the middle finger or profanity-laced words come flying out of our mouth. The thing is, you can’t ever take words back. It takes 10 times the amount of time to clean up the damage by one single outburst. James wrote that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God,” and so we should “put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness” (James 1:20-21). A bad temper can destroy your spiritual growth because you’re always doing damage control by trying to apologize time and again, and it really does destroy your Christian testimony and kill your spiritual growth.

Failing to Assemble Yourselves in Worship

I knew a couple that had problems coming to church. Their attendance was very sporadic. They would be gone about two out of every five Sundays, and then it got to be three out of every four. Over time they stopped coming to church altogether. The man started drinking and became hooked on pornography. His wife was on the verge of leaving him, and that was when he contacted me for some counseling. What he and his wife were doing was “forsaking the assembling of[themselves] together, as is the manner of some” (Heb 10:25), and they missed the encouragement of one another in the church (Heb 10:26). Not being within the Body of Christ, they missed out on worshiping God and the joy that brings. They missed out on the fellowship of the saints, and they missed out on being fed the Word of God on a regular basis. They were literally starving to death from a lack of the Bread of Life. This really stunted their spiritual growth, and it about caused them to divorce.

Absence of Prayer and Bible Reading

One of my old seminary professors wisely said that prayer is the pulse of the believer’s spiritual temperature. If there’s a slowing or decreasing pulse in prayer, then there is spiritual decay, and the fellowship between them and God is affected. Add to that a lack of regular Bible reading and you have a recipe for killing your spiritual growth. I have counseled so many people who are struggling with their faith. They begin to doubt their salvation, and then they stop reading the Bible altogether. It is a self-replicating cycle. They pray less; they read less. The less they pray and read, the more they get into the habit of doing neither. Reading the Bible will lessen your doubts. Not reading the Bible will increase your doubts. The exact same thing goes for prayer.

Bonus Content

No Integrity

If you are a church member, the janitor, or the pastor, it really doesn’t matter; if you or I have no integrity, we are grieving the Spirit and quenching His work in us, and it will kill your spiritual growth. Let’s say some Christian is hedging on his taxes (a fancy word for cheating). Would you want them to be the church treasurer? What does this person do with Romans 13:7 where it commands believers to “to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed?” A lack of integrity will kill your spiritual growth, because you cannot read the Bible long before you are convicted by your lack of honesty, and that plagues you when you read the Bible (as it should), so you stop altogether and don’t even read it anymore, or at least very much. A lack of integrity doesn’t only kill your spiritual growth, it robs you of the joy of your salvation.

Selfishness

The Apostle John writes, “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him” (1st John 3:17)? That’s a very good question, isn’t it? I relate an experience recently where a pastor I know very well said he had a man who had been financially supporting the church’s missions, the church itself, and the pastor, and before he left, he said, “You know, I have given you about $1,500 in help and thought you should…,” I don’t want to tell you what he said, but the pastor got the message. He had been keeping track, apparently. His financial support made him feel he had more say in the way things are in the church, so even though he was generous, he did it for selfish reasons; for personal gain, like having more control over the church. Others give little of their time, talents, and treasures, but when they are in need, they ask, “Where is God? Where are my friends?” I would say, “Where were you (and I) when your neighbor needed your help and you didn’t help him?” I plead guilty too, but today, I’m a little more radical in my giving, because God is a generous God, and I think we should all be more generous too.

Conclusion

Take your spiritual temperature once in a while and ask yourself: Is my temper ruling me, or am I ruling my temper? Am I failing to assemble and worship with the saints? Then I may be failing in other areas, too. Is my prayer life and Bible reading declining? If so, my spiritual growth is, too. Those are three bad habits that will kill your spiritual growth for sure.

What are you supposed to do when God doesn’t answer your prayer?

God’s Timing

When you’ve been praying and praying about something, and yet God hasn’t answered, maybe it’s just not the right time for what you’re praying for. A friend of mine who had been waiting and waiting to hear about a job he had applied for finally thought God wasn’t hearing his prayers, so I asked him, “Do you think maybe the timing’s not right?” Perhaps God was working behind the scenes…and indeed He was. Two weeks later, my friend applied for another job and got hired almost immediately. When the other employer finally called and offered him a job, it was a job for better pay, but it was a job in human resources, something he didn’t like, so by my friend’s waiting, he landed a job that paid a little less, but a job in an area he really wanted. If the first employer had called him earlier, then he’d have been less satisfied at his job and stuck doing something he liked less than the job he finally got. The point is, God’s timing is not our timing. He knows better than we do. It might seem like God’s delaying His answer, but God’s timing is always best for us, no matter what happens to us (Rom 8:28).

When the Answer’s “No”

It’s hard to accept, but sometimes “No” is the answer we’ve received from God, but it’s just so difficult to accept, however, if we look at things from an eternal perspective, it might make us realize, it’s best for us anyway. Think about this: If Joseph had not been thrown into a pit to die, his brothers wouldn’t have sold him to slave traders. If Joseph hadn’t been sold to slave traders, he wouldn’t have been sold to Potiphar’s household. If He hadn’t been sold to Potiphar’s household, he wouldn’t have been unfairly accused and thrown into prison. If Joseph hadn’t been unfairly accused and thrown into prison, he wouldn’t have interpreted the two prisoner’s dreams. If Joseph hadn’t interpreted the two men’s dreams, he wouldn’t have had a chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and if he hadn’t interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he wouldn’t have been put in second command of all Egypt, and if not for that, the great seven-year famine that came would have caused millions to die, perhaps even Jacob’s children who became the 12 tribes of Israel. When Joseph finally saw his brothers, he said, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen 50:20). Joseph didn’t deny that what they did was evil; he only shows that God can even use evil for good. Just look at the cross. If the Apostle Peter had his way, Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the cross, but then, we’d all still be in our sins. Of course Jesus didn’t listen to Peter and this great evil brought eternal life to all who would trust in Him.

Finding God’s Will

Praying is not so much getting our will done on earth but getting God’s will done on earth, but God’s will being done on earth starts with God’s will being done in us! And I mean myself too. I am at the foot of the cross just like everyone else. It’s level ground and I’m just as much in need of God’s mercy as you are, but if we are seeking to pray for something, and it may not be the will of God, then we’ll be praying for something that’s not going to happen…or as they say, “Be careful about what you ask for (or pray for)…you might just get it.”We know it’s God’s will for others to be saved, but we may not know if it’s God’s will for us to marry that person, get that job, buy that house, or whatever it might be. God’s will is always best, and it’s always best to align our prayers with His will, and not the other way around. I know I’ve prayed for God’s will to be mine, without even knowing it. God’s will is best because He knows all (omniscient). We know precious little in comparison. There are many verses that tell us what God’s will is (Rom 12:2, 1 Thess 4:3, 5:18, 1 Pet 2:15), but if we know these verses and don’t do them, knowing that they’re the will of God, we’ll have a difficult time finding out God’s will when we are faced with big decisions. If you obey His revealed will, He’ll give you more revelation of His will for your life. When family, homes, jobs, and things like that come up, you want God’s will, because what may look great on the outside, may end up being bad on the inside. One man bought a house down the block. It looked beautiful on the outside, but when he moved in, it was full of termites and dry rot. The former owner had only put a fresh coat of paint on dry rot wood. This man later admitted that the house was more important to him than God’s will, and he didn’t even pray about it, so he said, “I got what I deserved.” At first, Joseph got what he didn’t deserve; then he got all he could have imagined. It wasn’t Joseph’s will to be thrown into a pit or prison, but somehow, he had faith that God was going to use all of this for his own good. There’s no Scriptural record that Joseph wailed or complained, but rather he was content to wait on God’s timing, but more importantly, for God’s will to be done and not Joseph’s.

Conclusion

If you’re coming around a blind corner and can’t see what’s around the bend, then you’re going to slow down, but if we’re in a rush to get something for ourselves but fail to consider if it’s the will of God or not, then we’re flying around a blind corner, not knowing what lies ahead. I will always choose God’s timing over mine, and although I don’t always like it, I can trust Him more than I can myself. Also, if you’ve had evil done to you, consider Jesus Christ endured. That great evil done to Him brought us much good (John 3:16), so we can trust God to take care of things, but in His time (Rom 12:17-21). It’s also important to consider God’s will over our own. Jesus submitted to the will of the Father, even though He prayed three times to have the cup removed…the cup bearing our sins, the cup of the shame He would face, the cup of excruciating suffering like no man has ever had, and the death on the cross.

Four Steps That Will Give You More Peace In Your Life.

Step One: Make Peace With God

You can never have the peace of God until you are first at peace with God, and the very first step for everyone is to trust in Christ “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Jesus Christ paid the highest price for us to be at peace with God, and this was all about His “love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Since we “have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom. 5:9).

Step Two: Peace of Mind

God knows everything about you and me, and He still loves us. “Indeed the very hairs of your head are numbered” (Luke 12:7), which shows that He has “loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). That “everlasting” love means that His love is unconditional and eternal; it is not conditioned on what you do. He will never love you any less when you disobey Him, and He will never love you anymore when you obey Him. His love abides with us forever, and that ought to give us a secure peace of mind that is also everlasting.

Step Three: Peace for the Future

God was actually speaking through Jeremiah to Israel, but these words have no less meaning for the believer today than they did for the ancient Israelites, and that is that He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). The future is so incredible that I cannot even describe it, nor could Paul when he wrote to the church at Rome, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). With this knowledge, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Step Four: Peace of His Presence

God is not just up in heaven watching over us. He says to us, as Moses told Israel, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deut. 31:6), and God says to Joshua (and to us, too), “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). Even through the author of Hebrews, He writes, “I will never leave you; I will never run away from you” (Heb. 13:5b). God has not changed. He will be with you today, tomorrow, and for all time.

Conclusion

We have the peace of God because we’ve made peace with God through Jesus’ payment at Calvary, we have peace of mind because God knows every intricate detail about us down to the last atom in our body, we have the peace to know that our future is secure, and we have the peace of His presence as He goes with us wherever we go.

BLESSED BY INSULT.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today(Gen 50:20).

Bad things happen to good people just as good things happen to bad people. In this day and age what used to be deemed good is now evil and what used to be called evil is now acceptable (Isaiah 5:20). You are deemed narrow minded if you call something sin that the world believes is “normal.” What happens when a Christian suffers for something they didn’t do? They actually receive a blessing. The word bless comes from the Greek markarios which means to be happy or blissful. The implication is that it is a self-contained happiness. That means that it is inherent in the person who is blessed and they are perpetually in a good state of mind. So how is a person blessed when they are hated or insulted?Jesus was clear that a person is blessed when they are reviled for His name’s sake. In Matthew 5:11 He says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Peter understood persecution for he surely faced a lot of evil in his day but he didn’t complain. On the contrary he wrote, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Pet 4:14). I want that! I have many enemies but they really don’t hate me so much as they hate Christ. They hate the message more than the messenger. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22). It may get so bad that there may be a time “coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God” (John 16:2b).

Take heart the next time your character is assassinated, someone speaks evil of you, a person insults you, a co-worker persecutes you…because to be insulted, hated, persecuted, and rejected for Christ‘s sake, “you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Pet 4:14b). How great is that?!