Wednesday, January 18, 2017

SEEING GOD’S GUIDING HAND

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Hope is to leave unanswered questions unanswered and unknown futures unknown.  Hope makes you see God's guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the shadows of disappointment and darkness.

-- Henri J. M. Nouwen in Secrets of a Good Life, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


#4019

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

LEARNING AND TEACHING

The soul that wishes to live according to the will of Christ should either learn faithfully what it does not yet know, or teach openly what it does know. But if, when it can, it desires to do neither of these things, it is afflicted with madness. For the first step away from God is a distaste for learning, and the lack of appetite for those things which the soul hungers when it seeks God.

-- Abba Palladius as quoted by Thomas Merton in The Wisdom of the Desert


#4018

Monday, January 16, 2017

GOOD OUT OF EVIL

Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”  (Genesis 50:20 NLT)

Although Joseph’s brothers had wanted to get rid of him, God used even their evil actions to fulfil His ultimate plan. He sent Joseph ahead to preserve their lives, save Egypt, and prepare the way for the beginning of the nation of Israel. God is sovereign. His plans are not dictated by human actions. When others intend evil toward you, remember that they are only God’s tools.

God brought good from the brothers’ evil deed, from Potiphar’s wife’s false accusations, from the cup-bearer’s neglect, and from seven years of famine. The experience in Joseph’s life taught him that God brings good from the evil for those who trust God. Do you trust God enough to wait patiently to bring good out of bad situations? You can trust Him because, as Joseph learned, God can overrule people’s evil intentions to bring about His intended results.

-- from The Life Application Study Bible


EDITOR'S NOTE: This has been reported by Snopes.com as an urban legend.


#4017

Friday, January 13, 2017

THE JADE CARVER

A Chinese jade carver finds a  priceless piece of jade -- with a major flaw. He could try to hide the flaw. Instead he carefully studies the jade and its flaw and plans an exquisite carving, making the defect the central part of a perfect design.

God did this for Joseph’s brothers in Genesis. In bitter hatred they sold their brother into a life of slavery in a distant land. They almost caused their father’s death by lying about it. Through much suffering God made them willing to repent. But He did more. He used their sinful failure to save multitudes of people, including themselves, from death through famine. He took the blackest fragment from their lives and made it central in a beautiful picture of salvation for themselves, for Joseph, and for their entire family.

This is also what God did at Calvary. He took man’s greatest failure, his most shameful atrocity -- killing the Son of God -- and made it central in a perfect picture of salvation, available to all people for all time. He can do this today with the black events of your past. He’s not pleased when we waste our lives by endlessly focusing on our terrible backgrounds, our wounds, our handicaps, or our sins and failures. He wants you to rely on Him to forgive, to overrule, and to bring about beautiful results.

-- Warren and Ruth Myers in Discovering God’s Will: Experiencing Afresh How Good God Is


#4016

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A DIFFERENT KIND OF INHERITANCE


“Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,…”  (Ephesians 1:18)

Have you dreamed about inheriting treasures from a long lost relative?  To be "in the will" would change your life forever!  Consider the rags-to-riches story of Jack Wurm.  In 1949, Mr. Wurm was unemployed and bankrupt.  As he strolled along a San Francisco beach, he found a bottle with a scroll inside.  He discovered that this "message in a bottle" was the last will and testament of Daisy Singer Alexander, heiress to the Singer Sewing Company fortune.

The faded paper read: "To avoid confusion, I leave my entire estate to the lucky person who finds this bottle, and to my attorney, Barry Cohen; share and share alike."  The courts discovered that she had written the note and thrown the bottle into the Thames River in London.  It had drifted across the oceans to San Francisco and reached a penniless Jack Wurm.  Jack inherited over $6 million in cash and Singer stock.

Similarly, God has sent us a "message in a Bible."  Within this book you'll find the "last will and testament of our Lord" with a different kind of inheritance -- spiritual treasures.  How will you respond?  Will you walk past it?  Or, like Jack Wurm, will you step out in faith and take action?  Failure to take God's promises seriously leads to spiritual poverty.  Jack's inheritance can't begin to compare with the spiritual wealth God offers His heirs!

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


#4015