A WORD for the Week
Like everyone, I have those times in my life when I need a little attitude adjustment. Recently I tried reading a book that claimed if we just had the right attitude; God would bless us in this life beyond our wishes. A positive attitude will bring about God's blessings - it didn't feel very true to me. Sure God says "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7), but did that mean life would be a bed of roses? Then, as I was washing dishes and thinking about the difficulties our family was facing, the following popped into my head:
"I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine there's got to be a little rain sometime."
Some of you may recognize these lyrics from a song written by Joe South and made a hit by country singer Lynn Anderson in 1970. I was just a kid when that song came out and I hadn't thought about it in years. While it was written as a love song, now I was hearing it as a call back to reality, leading me to look into what God really says about the tough times of life.
God didn't promise life would be a rose garden. He created this world to be a perfect garden, but that was ruined by Adam and Eve's actions. Now we all work hard, deal with illness, disappointment, and death. It's all part of life. Life is full of troubles. So what does God say about troubles?
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)
The troubles of this life are only temporary and they work to bring us closer to God and prepare us for eternal glory. If this life were perfect would we ask, seek, or knock? Would we look forward to spending eternity with God in heaven? Not likely. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13 NIV) That is the comfort that keeps me going day to day, not the promise that this life will be a rose garden.
God of all comfort, comfort us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. Amen
130. Now I "Get It" by Janet Gehlhar
I like to imagine what it would have been like to be one of Jesus' disciples. Imagine being with Jesus for 3 years and hearing him preach, observing him heal, witnessing his miracles, and having Him as a personal instructor. And yet, through all of that, the disciples didn't fully "get it" and when Jesus was arrested and crucified, they were hiding in fear. Seeing the empty grave wasn't an "ah ha" experience either. Maybe a glimmer of understanding was beginning? It wasn't until Jesus came to speak to them after his resurrection - and more than once - that they finally "got it" and saw the whole plan of salvation had been completed. From my 20/20 hindsight view, I could scoff at their denseness, but in reality, I know I'd have done the same. I do the same now. How often do I wonder why something bad has happened or fail to trust God's promise that He is working everything to my eternal good? I scoff at my own denseness!
Isaiah 12:2 - Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my
I'm looking forward to heaven when my sinful nature will be gone and I will completely "get it" and will have no more questions, doubts, or fears. In the meantime, I'm praying for God's strength to trust His promises and follow Him because He will lead me in the way I should go.
352. God’s Limitless Forgiveness by Erica Koester
Is there a sin you’ve committed in your past which causes guilt and shame every time you think of it? Maybe it’s that pet sin you always come back to. Despite prayerful repentance, you feel immense guilt and never truly feel the freedom of forgiveness.
Recently I felt burdened about a few sins from long ago. I have prayed and repented over these sins many times, and yet, my guilty conscience reared its ugly head once again. Only this time, I finally realized that my feeling guilty was just believing the lie the devil constantly feeds us, “God could never forgive this.”
Of course, I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of sin. Scripture is so clear on the fact that God hates sin, and that the proper response to our sin is a sorrow-filled heart. But thankfully, it doesn’t stop there! God extends his grace to the repentant sinner again, and again, and again. There is no sin too great. There is no limit to the number of times God will
forgive you. The grace of God is so beautiful and freeing that at times, it is hard to fathom. But God’s grace is true. It’s true for the sin you committed years ago that still causes you guilt and shame. The grace of God far overwhelms the guilt of our sin; it is so much greater.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
May we approach our Father’s throne with full confidence of our forgiveness.