Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Proverbs 24:10

"If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small."

Pressure tests the degree of our strength. Pressure may also increase it. The underlying goal in God's allowing pressure in our lives may be to make us strong enough to withstand the pressures of living in a fallen world. We want him to take the pressure away, but he allows it in order to strengthen us. In what ways has pressure strengthened you? What pressures do you feel right now? How might you allow them to strengthen you?


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

John 8:31-32

"Jesus said to the people who believed in him, 'You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"


Obeying the truth leads to freedom. The ultimate freedom is freedom from our own sinful nature. Jesus is the only one who can save us from that slavery. Examples of the bondage of sin are addictions, relationship dysfunctions that recur despite our best efforts to change; destructive habits that cannot be abandoned. What bondage binds you? In what areas might obedience set you free? What step of faith can you take in a new direction that would mean freedom from whatever binds you? Take that first step, and the next ones become easier and easier.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Isaiah 30:19-21

"O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
  you will weep no more.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
  He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
  and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
  You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
Your own ears will hear him.
  Right behind you a voice will say,
'This is the way you should go,'
  whether to the right or to the left.
Then you will destroy all your silver idols
  and your precious gold images.
You will throw them out like filthy rags,
  saying to them, 'Good riddance!'"


If you are going through a hard time, let these verses comfort and instruct you. There are two issues implicit here. First is the question of how you respond to suffering. Do you trust that God is with you and will respond to you? Or is there a lie lurking in your heart, a belief that perhaps he doesn't care? Let the truth of these verses replace that lie. Or have you perhaps turned to something other than God for help? That is the idolatry mentioned in the last verse. Trust God, God alone, and see what help he brings!


Psalm 111:2

"How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
  All who delight in him should ponder them."


Do you delight in God? Do you want to delight in God? Here's the way to do it: Ponder what the Lord has done. Meditate on what Scripture says God has done. Look for what he's doing in the church and in the world. Focus on what he's doing in your own life. Ponder, and renew your wonder at God's power and grace, and delight in God himself.