• Remember that God causes all things to work together for our ultimate good though we might not see it right away
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
• Remember that your times are in God’s hands because he planed and numbered your days with the events of those days
“My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15), “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting” (Psalm 104:19). “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecc 3:1)
• Remember that God changes events as he pleases and he has set a time for everything on earth
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons (Daniel 2:20-21). “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccl 3:1).
• Remember that, that is the best God has for you at that time though it might not seem best to you
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)
• Remember to do all your planning with a view of God’s sovereign control of the universe in mind
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15)
1. Suffering is a gift of God to his own. “It has been granted (bestowed as a gift) to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” Phil 1:29
2. It is far better to suffer for Christ’s sake than to enjoy fleeting worldly pleasure because there is reward for those who suffer for Christ’s sake. “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He (Moses) considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” Heb 11:24-26
3. Suffering works in us (christian) virtues that we will not have otherwise. “we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, an endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame” Romans 5:3-5
4. Present suffering–of what ever nature–cannot sever us from Christ but will make us savor Christ more if we respond properly to it. “who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us…..for i am sure that neither death nor life….will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:35-39. “it is good for me that i was afflicted, that i might learn your statutes” Ps 119:71
5. If we suffer the lose of everything but Christ, we have everything in Christ. “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” Matt 19:29. A w Tozer said, “he who has God as his one treasure has all things in one”
6. The present suffering are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:18
7. It is a privilege to suffer for Christ and with Christ since our hope is beyond this life. “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” Acts 5:41 “it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will” 1Peter 3:17
So, “count is all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” James 1:2 for “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God” Acts 14:22
Thus, through prayer to God, the study of His Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. I have found this method always effective (Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace : 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, Includes Indexes. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990), 234.)
Jesus told his disciples a parable that we all need to learn today. The conception has been that only sinful things like sexual immorality, lies telling, deceitfulness etc can keep someone from entering the Kingdom of heaven. These things truly do hinder people from the kingdom. But, not only those things we generally know to be bad are hindrances to the kingdom.
In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus gives a parable of the kingdom, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
Right at the time when the banquet was ready, the invitees all gave excuses (legitimate)
1. I just bought a field, and I must go out and see it
2. I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them
3. I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come
Buying a field, buying oxen, cars, televisions, dresses, cloths, etc are not sinful in themselves, but they can become great snares if God is not held in the right perspective. We should not let gifts hinder us from the GIVER. Gifts are intended by the GIVER to point us to him. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Let no “good thing” keep you from ultimate Goodness.
For your ultimate Joy
Thanks for your prayers. God has been very good to me most especially in drawing me closer to him. And he has given me a great family to live with. It is such a joy to live with the Stellers (Tom Steller).
In regards to studies I am enjoying my classes so far especially “Reading the Greek New Testament.” At the beginning it was fussy but God through your prayers has been lifting the fork.
Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf. Pray that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea and that my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. Now may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen.