Ezekiel 6:9-10 Calamity For A Purpose

Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me–how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them. Ezekiel 6:9-10

It was because of the sins of the people that God chose to destroy Jerusalem and place all the people in captivity in Babylon. In the process of doing that, God kept a remnant alive. Those who survived would realize what their sins had caused and would repent of those sins. The few left would turn their hearts back to God and the purpose of the calamity would be fulfilled. The captivity was not to just destroy the people, but to get them to turn their hearts back to God.

From the beginning of time, God has always wanted to have a relationship with mankind. He always wanted to be able to spend time with people and bless them with a full life. Never once was the final purpose of what happens to just be destruction.

God allows calamity and trials in the lives of those who follow Him for a purpose. Sometimes it is just to test the person and see if he is really following Him or not. Other times it is to draw the person back to God.

When a person begins to go through a hard time because of sin, he will realize how good he really had it when he was following God. At that point, he may turn back to God, hating the sin he had fallen in to. Some will fall away from God and give up on Him, while a remnant will turn back to Him during such times.

Throughout your life, God is working out all things to keep your focus on Him and to make you more like Jesus each day. Some of those things may be calamity. They may be painful and hard to go through, but the purpose is still the same.

Keep your eyes and life focused on God. Strive to be more like Jesus everyday. In that way, all the things you are going through will be for a good purpose. And God will not have to strike you to get your attention.

I pray today that you will be more like Jesus; that you will not fall away from God in hard times; and that you will turn from all sin in your life towards God.

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Lamentations 3:22-23 New Compassions Daily

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is  your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

As the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon, there was a lot of destruction and suffering. At the time, there did not seem to be a lot of hope. The end could not be seen and it appeared as though God had completely abandoned them for all eternity. Yet, Jeremiah notes that God’s love is so great that they would not be completely destroyed. Despite what was going on around them, he could see God’s compassion for them being renewed each day.

When people are going through hard times, they often feel as though they are completely alone and that God has abandoned them. It is common for a person to feel as though God is full of anger and hate, not wanting anything to do with him ever again.

These hard times can be something physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, or one of many other difficulties in life. The pain that one is feeling is real.

You may be going through a situation right now in your life, or you may have gone through one, or you will go through one some day. Jesus had said that you will have troubles in this world.

As you are going through a troubling time, keep in mind that God has promised you life and salvation through Jesus. There is a hope that one day Jesus will return and take you away from all the troubles of this world.

Another thing to remember is that no matter how difficult your situation is, it could be worse. The situation could be worse if you had no hope of salvation. If you do not believe in Jesus, then you can only look forward to an eternity of separation from God. As long as you are believing in Jesus and trusting in His work in your life, you have the hope of eternity in heaven.

As you get up each morning, realize God has spared your life on this earth for a purpose. He is showing you great love in keeping you going forward. Do not lose hope or give up. You may be hard-pressed, but you are not crushed or destroyed. Trust God through the tough times because He is faithful and will not abandon you.

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will know God’s faithfulness; that you will know God’s love and compassion; and that you will have hope in Jesus. 

James 1:2-3 Pure Joy

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

James starts out his letter with a very powerful, hard-hitting, and not so cheerful statement about being joyful. Everyone loves to hear about being joyful and wants to hear good news. Yet, at first, James’ statement does not sound like it was said correctly and is not really good news. He tells the people to have pure joy when going through a trial.

No one likes to go through a hard time. Most people will be complaining about having to go through a difficult time. Every believer will be crying out to God to remove a difficult trial in their life. They will be seeking any way possible to get out from under that challenge that is going on.

Yet, James is telling the people to consider it pure joy to be going through the trial. Pure joy is an extreme excitement.

Think about what you feel when you are suddenly promoted to a position you have long desired and worked for. Or when you graduated high school, or college and earned your degree. Or the day you proposed and she said yes, or he proposed and you said yes. Or the day you got married. These are all days where you experienced pure joy. You were excited.

This same excitement should be felt when you are going through a hard time. It goes against the nature of man to have that joy. The reason for that joy is that it is God’s way to build you up. God is working to build up your perseverance, your endurance to keep going forward for Him.

An athlete has pure joy when finishing a difficult workout. He feels invigorated and ready to compete because of the workout. The reason is because he knows the value of that workout.

Look beyond the pain of the moment and look to the value on the other side of the challenge. Think about how you will be able to tell that God was there with you and for you through it all. Think about the great testimony you will have afterwards.

Consider it pure joy this new year as you go through challenges and trust God in and through them. Grow closer to God and more like Jesus everyday.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in every challenge you have; that you will trust God through everything; that God will reveal Himself to you more in each trial; and that you will be more like Jesus each day.

James 1:2-3 Joy in Trouble

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

What a harsh way to start out a book–consider it pure joy when you face trials! Why should a hard trial or trouble bring you joy? Most people do not find any joy in troubles. Often people start blaming God for their problems; or they blame others; or sometimes blame themselves for a past sin and God is now punishing them for that sin with trouble. James, however, calls these trials or troubles a ‘testing of your faith’.

How is a trial a testing of your faith? When everything is going smooth and good it is very easy to forget God is in it or think you are someone better than you really are. You may lose your faith in God and put it in your own abilities. Trials are supposed to have you focus on God and trust Him to guide you through them. Are you remembering and trusting that God is in control and will take care of you?

The testing of your faith will then produce perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to keep going when things are rough. It strengthens a person for a longer time of work. The walk of a believer is stated as running a race and a battle. It takes a lot of endurance to finish a race or win a battle. Giving up a run or battle is easy when you get tired and have been at it for a long time with no end in sight. Being ready for either does not happen overnight it takes practice, working and training. In the walk with God this practice, work and training is found in trials and troubles. In this sense you are to count it as joy that God is putting you through a trial, because He sees you as getting ready for a greater work or a larger battle.

Today do not grumble about a hard time you are going through. Thank God for that trial. Ask God to show you how to grow through the trial. Use the trial for God’s glory. Trust God to bring you through the trial.

I pray that today God will strengthen you in your walk with Him; that God will help you find joy in the trials of life; that God will bring you through your trials shining brightly; and that God will greatly reward you for your troubles.