Isaiah 7:4 Keep Calm

Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do  not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood–because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Isaiah 7:4

While Ahaz was the king of Judah, the nations of Aram and Israel had worked together to try to destroy the city of Jerusalem. Having two nations together against one, made their armies very large and powerful. King Ahaz and all the people were scared and did not know what to do.

Speaking through Isaiah, God told them to not only be careful, but to be calm and not afraid. They were to no longer shake with fear because of the armies coming against them. God describes those two armies as just pieces of smoldering firewood.

Smoldering firewood is not a very large threat. It can break out into flame and cause a lot of damage, but at the same time it can easily and quickly be put out before it bursts into flame. If a fire is smoldering it only takes a little water to put it out. Once a flame is going, it will take a lot more water to put it out.

As you are going through life, there will be times that there will be smoldering firewood in your life. There will be situations that are brewing underneath the surface threatening to burst into flame and destroy your life.

At times these smoldering pieces of firewood may only be one thing, but other times it will be multiple things all at the same time. Bills, health, vehicles, jobs, family, natural disasters, and the list goes on. Usually it is more than one thing happening that puts pressure on you.

God wants you to trust Him in every situation. When you put all of your trust in God, you will be calm and not afraid. There is nothing to fear when God is on your side.

Jesus paid the price for your life and said He would never leave you. Since He did that, you have a reason to be calm in spite of all the threats going on around you in your life. All those threats are just smoldering firewood that God can control and put out, in His time and way.

Trust God today and be calm.

I pray today that you will know God is in control; that you will know the peace of God in your life; that you will not fear any threats in your life; and that God will calm your heart and mind.

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Proverbs 3:1 A Time For Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Proverbs 3:1

People hear this statement that there is a time for everything, but most do not want to believe or accept all of those times. Solomon continues on with listing many different things that there is a time for. Some of these are: to be born, to plant, to heal, to laugh, and to dance. People like these things and want more of them. These are the good times in a person’s life.

The other side of his statements, however, state that there is also a time: to die, to uproot, to tear down, to weep, to mourn, and to be silent. These are the ‘negative’ times in a person’s life. These are the times that very few people look forward too. Yet, God has ordered them in each person’s life.

It is easy to look at the good times of blessings from God and enjoy them. Everyone wants to be happy and have life go smoothly.

Yet, there are supposed to be times that are not so pleasant. Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it will only be a single seed. Things have to happen to make things grow larger.

Take a look at the book of Acts. Until the persecution of all believers started to rise, the gospel message did not spread very far. It stayed among the Jews in a very small area. Once persecution set it, many people scattered and spread the message. The process was not fun, nor easy, but it brought about new life in the end.

When you live your life based on times of being happy, you will be disappointed and you will miss out on many other blessings in this life. It is in the difficult and painful times in life, that God can show up and do miraculous things. It is in those same times that God can move you to a new location in life to do great things through you and for you.

God is the one who is in control of everything. He has a time for every event that occurs in your life.

Are you trusting God in all the seasons of your life?

I pray today that you will know God’s plans for your life; that you will know God is in control; and that you will know God’s purpose for events in your life.

Job 40:3-4 Silence Before God

Then Job answered the LORD: “I am unworthy–how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer–twice, but I will say no more.” Job 40:3-4

God asks who is trying to correct Him. Job had been saying that he would stand before God to state his case and show that God made a mistake in punishing him with all the struggles he had been going through. Job realizes who God really is and states that he made a mistake in judging God. He will now keep silent before God and no longer accuse God of doing something wrong.

When people are going through a tough time, most people like to blame others for what is happening. It is easy for a person to think that the fault is someone else’s.

This also happens with blaming God for what is happening. There have been people who served God for years, then something catastrophic happens in their life. They choose to blame God for the problems and feel He is in the wrong. Then they choose to walk away from God, because they refuse to follow a God who allows bad things to happen.

God only allows things to happen in a person’s life that is the best thing for that person. As a person is going through a hard time, it is difficult to see how it can be the best thing to happen. It may feel like God made a mistake…but He never does make a mistake.

Take a look at the natural world around you. Look at how the stars and planets move in perfect sync with each other. Look at how the animals survive. Look at how the oceans stay in place. Look at how the rains come and go as needed. See the wonder of the sunrise and sunset. If God can control all of those great things correctly, don’t you think He can control your life correctly?

Paul said that all things work together for your good. God is working to bring about the best in your life. Although Job felt pain and sorrow, he was going to be rewarded in the end. He would be set as an example of great faith and trust in God.

Are you blaming God?

Or will you trust He knows what He is doing?

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will trust God with your life; that you will trust that God knows what He is doing; and that you will be a great example of faith for God to use.

Job 34:11 Payment For Actions

He repays everyone for what they have done; he brings on them what their conduct deserves. Job 34:11

Elihu, a younger man, chooses to speak to Job. He focuses on the statement that Job had made saying that he was innocent of any wrong-doing. He then defends God by showing how God works with people. Elihu stated God brings judgement onto people for what they have done, causing to make them pay for their sins.

When people are going through a difficult time, or major troubles in their life, many believe that God is punishing them for some sin. God is making them pay for their sins in this life.

Believers in the church, have often been known to shun others going through a difficult time. They try to get the person to repent of some sin. To them, God is punishing the person.

Individuals are often known to kick themselves for sins that were done years ago because right now they are going through a difficult time in life. Many fear that God is looking down from heaven and striking them for a sin that was done a long time back, even though repentance for that sin has occurred many times.

Job had not done anything wrong to bring on the difficulties that he was going through. Look back at the first couple of chapters and see that God put Satan up to this trial.

If God were to give everyone the punishment that their conduct deserves, not a single person would be alive today. Everyone has sinned and walked away from God. No one has done perfectly right. Every person who has given his life to God, believing in Jesus, has also sinned since he gave his life to Jesus. The payment for sin is death.

Jesus came to forgive and save, not condemn and kill. You may be going through a difficult time. Look at your life. Are you living in some type of sin on purpose? If so, then change. Seek Jesus and His forgiveness.

If you are not living in a sin on purpose, then trust God. He is allowing a trial in your life for a reason, and it is not because of sin. He may be working to build you up. Or to make you His witness to this world.

Be willing to accept all that God gives you, both the blessings and the trials.

I pray today that you will see God’s purpose for your life; that you will trust God’s work in your life; that you will serve Jesus with your life; and that you will know that Jesus will forgive all sins.

Job 29:2-3 Only Looking Back

How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! Job 29:2-3

Job starts to complain as he is looking back on his life. He is remembering the good times in life, when everything was going exactly as he thought it should be going. Looking back at the times of blessings when he felt God was on his side and pouring out blessings and there were no troubles in his life. He wants to go back to those days.

It is very common for people to look back on the “good old days” when things seemed to be much better. Every generation has a period in their lives when years ago life was easier and not as many problems.

Young adults look back at their high school years, when they did not have so many responsibilities or bills to pay. Middle aged people look back to when they were younger and had more time and dreams still seemed possible. Seniors look back to when their family was closer and they had more energy and less body aches.

Believers in the church are always talking about how God moved in their lives or church twenty years ago.

Looking back is good to remember, but not to want to go back to. Job was desiring to go back to those days, while missing what God was doing in the present time. God had never left his side. God was still pouring out blessings, in spite of all the trouble.

Jesus had said that He would be with you always. All throughout the Bible God told His people that He would never leave them, nor forsake them.

Keep this in the front of your mind when you are going through some of the many challenges of life. God has great things in store for you. Part of those things may include some suffering or challenges.

During those tough times, God is right there with you building you up to be more like Jesus. He is using you to be His witness to this lost world.

Do not fear the present and only long for the past. Look to the God of the present and future. Embrace what He has for you today.

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will see God’s hand at work in your life; and that you will know the joy of the salvation Jesus has given you while in the trials of this life.

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.

Hebrews 12:7 Hardship Is God’s Discipline

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7

When going through a hard time, most people do not like to see that as something for their benefit. There never seems to be a good reason for the hardship. Hardship is painful and very difficult, yet is necessary. God uses hardship to discipline His children.

Then comes the next challenge–accepting discipline as a good thing.

In this world, discipline is often looked at as a negative thing. Too often that is true about discipline being a negative thing.

Most parents discipline their children to some degree or more. The problem many parents have is that their discipline is done out of anger and to punish the child.

God does not discipline to punish, but to turn the hearts of His children back to Him. All punishment is being reserved for when Jesus returns. Those who have accepted and followed Jesus will not be punished, since their sins have been removed. Those who have rejected Jesus will be punished since their sins have not been removed.

God allows hardship into the lives of all believers to correct them and bring them closer to Him and make them into the image of Jesus more and more.

In sports, the athlete disciplines himself to be the best he can be. He goes through the hardship and pain of hard practice daily. He pushes himself to do better and better, so that he can be the best.

God is doing that in your life. He is pushing you to be perfect as Jesus is perfect. When you are going through a hard time, turn your eyes on Jesus. Learn His patience and perseverance. Learn to trust God more. Know that God is right there with you.

Do not look at hardship as punishment for past sins or God hating you. God loves you with an undying love and Jesus has forgiven you.

Allow God to use those hardships as training ground to become more like Jesus.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in all hardships; that you will turn your eyes and life towards God during hard times; that you will trust God knows what He is doing and that He is doing the best for you; and that God will make you more like Jesus everyday.