God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble and to teach him valuable truths that he would never otherwise have learned. When Paul accepted this hardship, God used it in powerful ways. God also allows trials to come into our lives to stretch our faith, to deepen our love for Him, and to make us more cognizant of the needs of others. Are you allowing this process to take place in your life?
Let’s face it, life can sometimes be very hard. Suffering and pain can leave us wondering whether God really cares about us at all. Surely if He loved us, He would never let this happen! So how do we navigate our way through trials? How do we make sense of suffering? Today’s message provides some truths that will be anchors for you the next time the storms of life blow your way.
The birth of Jesus would have been very different if you and I had arranged the details. We would have chosen a better place for Him to be born instead of an unsanitary stable. We might have chosen a different time in history, a different city, even different parents. But God knew exactly what He was doing when He chose such lowly circumstances, and our lives are forever changed because of it.
There’s no denying it — God has blessed us beyond belief! We have received so much from His hands. But why? Why has He blessed us and what are we supposed to do with those blessings? Are we supposed to keep them all for ourselves, or does God have a bigger purpose in mind? Once we learn this important principle, we will discover the real definition of what it means to be blessed.
Jesus Christ is a great man. He is wise, compassionate, gentle, approachable, loving, caring. As a man he is top of the charts for a potential husband. He is the Son of God and is one with his Father. His bride, the church, is made up of people, but what kind of people? And how does Jesus show his love for his bride?
There is a tendency in human nature to take for granted the sacrifices that have been made for us during our lifetime. We often forget the blood of the patriots who gave their lives defending our freedom. We often forget the martyrs who gave their lives defending the Gospel. But are we also guilty of forgetting the greatest sacrifice ever made for us when Christ gave His life on the cross?
The world has tried every imaginable way to end war and crime and hatred and violence, yet despite all their best efforts to bring lasting peace to mankind through education, politics and money, nothing has changed. And nothing ever will change until we recognize and admit that our greatest problem is sin, and our greatest need is a Savior.
What is the greatest need in the world today? Is it a stronger economy, better government, less war? While those things are important, they pale in comparison to man’s greatest need, and that need was met in the One who came that very first Christmas so long ago. That Baby in the manger was the Savior of the world who came to forgive our sins and restore our broken relationship with God. Have you ever recognized your need for Christmas?
There are many preachers who say that if you send money to their ministry, God will give you ten times more money in return because He wants you to be rich. But is that really true? The Bible does say that we will be rewarded and blessed for giving joyfully to God, but what exactly are those rewards, and is there anything that will prevent us from receiving them?
Why should you take your hard-earned money and give part of it away? That is a valid question that needs to be asked, and today we will look into the Bible to see if we can find any valid answers. If there are no good reasons to give, then let’s not do it. But if there are good reasons, then let’s commit to becoming joyful, generous givers to the Lord!
When Christ left heaven to come and save us, He didn’t stop halfway or just give His second-best. He gave up everything for us by willingly pouring out His blood on the cross. Knowing that Christ gave His all for us, we must ask ourselves the question, “Am I giving my all for Him?”
Jim Elliot is quoted as saying “He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Jesus response to the widow who gave 2 copper coins is very revealing; he does not say she gave all her money, he says she gave all she had to live on. Luke 12:15 says “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”. If our life isn’t in our possessions, what is Jesus referring to when he says this widow woman gave all she had to live on?