There he tested them.
I was thinking on a question a friend asked me several months ago, why is there suffering? God is powerful enough to make us not suffer. My answer to her was without suffering there can be no compassion or mercy.
I don’t think that answer was a wrong answer but I decided to examine the question a little closer. I myself have recently been asking this question. Why Lord? Why Lord are there good people suffering everyday that ask for your help and it seems nothing is done?
The answer I came across and have heard before but maybe needed some reminding is that we are being tested to become as strong as we can become. You see, these are not the weak. In the bible God is always using weakness to be the strength. It is the same here. You might feel weak or that you have nothing else to give but the fact that you survive is a miracle.
He is maturing you. Teaching you to ask questions, so that you might learn more about him. He wants you to develop into the mighty oak that weathers the storm rather than a small plant that gets blown away. He wants his wisdom to be rooted down deep never to sway in the storm.
When metal such as steel is formed to build buildings and great monuments the breaking point of each piece is known. The pieces are stretched, strained, twisted, and pulled to achieve maximum strength within the limitations of their breaking points.
Just like the steel God twists and bends us, sometimes coming very close to breaking. But he does this so we can achieve our maximum strength.
Whatever struggles you might be going through, remember that God is strengthening his steel.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. (Psalms 63:3, 4 KJV)
I have had a rough last few months, especially with my health. Most days I feel like I will never be well. But even though I have had some bad months, at the same time they have been some of the best.
I have enjoyed the blessing of spending time with my wonderful husband who the Lord only brings me closer too. I have also been able to enjoy some simple things in life that I had been too busy to enjoy.
Even through suffering God shares his blessings. No matter what the situation, we are all able to look forward to the greatest gift of all, heaven. So no matter what you are going through, I know it might be tough, just remember that God loves you. Ask him to show you his love through the little things. I guarantee you will see his mercy.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
The key to this story and this verse is that Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. His mind was already made up and he was sticking with his decision.
It didn’t matter to Daniel that this was the best food and drink in the kingdom. He knew in his heart that it would be a sin against God to eat the food that had been offered to idols.
He had a great amount of courage to go against the king’s orders and ask the servant for vegetables and water to eat instead. Many of us lack this type of courage that is much needed in our Christian walks. The servant thought Daniel and his friends would be sickly because they didn’t eat the meat, and he tried to convince them to eat so that he would not get in trouble by the king.
In the end the servant consented not to make them eat the meat but to feed them vegetables, and they were healthier than ever. The Lord blessed them. They had not been persuaded by the world.
Some of you need to stand up against those who are pressuring you to eat the king’s meat and drink the king’s wine. Do not be pressured. Purpose in your heart to take a stand for Christ and not defile yourself.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
When you are at a standstill in your life and you don’t know where to go or what to do, do the next right thing. Meaning, just keep doing what you know is right with God and he will eventually show you his plan. It might be as simple as getting up and going to work or church, or even just making dinner or cleaning the house. Whatever the task may be, continue through Christ.
For example, Ruth and Orpah both had husbands die, and I am sure they weren’t at all sure what to do. So in verse 12, when Naomi tells them to go their own way, they have to make a decision.
Orpah chose to return to her people. It might have been familiar, but it wasn’t right. It wasn’t right because she would be leaving her widowed mother in-law alone and she would be returning to a people who didn’t believe in God.
Ruth may not have known what to do, but she knew the right thing to do. She knew she needed to stay with her mother in-law and she knew to serve God. She did the next right thing.
Ruth also did the next right thing by gleaning the fields and obeying Naomi. By just doing what she was supposed to do, God blessed her and led her and Naomi to a new life of provision. God led her to her future husband Boaz. Such a fairy tale.
God will provide for you too. Not sure what to do? Do the next right thing.
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
I was recently faced with a situation that I thought I personally would never deal with. I was wronged by someone very dear to me and I wasn’t sure I could overcome the hurt I was feeling to arrive in a place of forgiveness and trust.
After taking several hours to be alone with God, telling him about my problem and asking for help, I still hadn’t developed a solution. And that is when it hit me, I thought to myself,”do you love them?”
Like it says in the verse above,”love covereth all sins.” Because of the love of the father and the forgiveness he has for our sins, differences and transgressions can be overlooked and worked through.
2 Peter 3:15
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
When I arrived home from work this evening I discovered that our dog had eaten the decorative woodwork off of a piece of our furniture. I was angry to say the least. This was not her first offense. I honestly thought there was nothing in the house she could find to destroy that she hasn’t already. Well, she did and I was mad as fire. It took me late into the evening before I finally could forgive her.
This makes me think about how amazing and patient God is with us, not just in the area of salvation but in our every day lives. The word longsuffering means patiently enduring lasting offense or hardship. I’m sure, like my dog, that I have done things to make the Lord fuming mad, might even be a return offender in some cases. But the Lord is always patient and just to forgive.
I need to put on the Lord’s form of patience, do you?
… and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, Esther was chosen to become the bride of the king which would make her the queen of Persia. Esther was a Jew and had kept this a secret. The royal advisor, Haman an evil man, asked Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and a Jew, to bow at his feet. He refused because he only bowed to God. Haman became enraged and asked the king to declare death on the Jews. This is where we run into a major problem because the queen was a Jew.
Mordecai asked Esther to go to the king for their people. She told them to fast and pray. To make the story short, the king accepted the queen and her requests and instead of Mordecai being put to death, Haman was hung on the same gallows he had built for his enemy.
God sent Esther to save the Jews. He knew everything that was going to happen before it was set in motion. God has a plan for your life. You may not know what it is, but each step and each choice you make leads you closer. And who knoweth if you come for such a time as this?
Esther also sought the Lord. Before she went charging in to see the king she prayed and fasted. Had she not been patient and followed the will of God, she might have been killed when she approached the king, because it was against the law for her to see him at that time.
Be patient and seek the will of God. He might have something unexpected planned for your life.
Luke 9:16, 17
Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
Little is much when God is in it. As I was reading this chapter and thinking about this childhood story of the two fishes and the loaves, I couldn’t help but think how amazing God is.
“For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.”(Luke 9:14) So with two fish and five loaves, they ended up with 12 baskets of fish. 12 baskets out of two fish! And this feed 5,000!
I can’t make my leftovers stretch like that. This was a miracle. Something to get excited about. This is a demonstration of God’s almighty power.
And just think about how many of us worry about not having enough money for bills or provisions. Don’t you think a God that loves you, a God that created 12 baskets of much-needed leftovers, could stretch a dollar for you? Quit worrying about where your next meal will come from and put your trust in God. Ask him for his blessing and help in your life.
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
The man referred to in this verse was the Angel of the Covenant — a Son of Man. God was working on Jacob and was trying to renew his life. By morning, God had won the battle, for Jacob’s “hip was wrenched.” “And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.” (Genesis 32:25)
So the Lord prevailed. Jacob fell into God’s arms, letting go of his old life but still wrestling for what he desired. Jacob would have fought till all his bones were broken as long as he got his blessing. The next morning, he had become a broken man on the outside, but on the inside he had gained a renewed spirit and walk with God.
Wrestling requires a huge amount of physical exertion and is a symbol of faith and fervent prayer. Though Jacob struggled for a long time, his faith was not shaken, nor did his prayer cease. He was determined.
We need to be like Jacob in our prayer lives. Those who want the blessing of God cannot accept denial. Fervent prayer is rewarded. Be mighty in prayer.
“And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28) Jacob prevailed and received the blessing he sought after. His name was changed to Israel because he had struggled and yet overcome. We need to be like this, princes of God that overcome. Overcome your struggles and receive the blessing.
Before we can receive a blessing, we must reach a point of submission to the Lord’s help. Are you wrestling with God? Fall into his arms and let him take control of your life. He will pull you through to the life of blessing.
…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
Picture a small child pushing his tiny bike up a hill. He struggles and huffs and puffs with each breath as he takes each new step. His father walking much faster than him, catches up to where he is. The child holds out his hands and the father swoops him and the bike up with little effort, carrying him to the top of the hill so he can try again.
I am sure we have all felt like the child at some point, huffing and puffing to get through the day. All we need do is hold out our hands to our Heavenly Father so he can pick us up and carry us through the day. Just as the verse says, “not by might, nor by power”, but by the spirit of the Lord.