The next time you see a toddler throwing a tantrum because he doesn’t want to obey his parents, just remember that we all come into the world demanding our own way. None of us really want to submit to anyone else. We sometimes even try to get God to agree to our plans rather than surrendering to His plans. But when we can pray “Your will be done” and truly mean it, we will begin to discover God’s very best for our life.
Joseph and Mary would never have planned for their lives to turn out the way they did. They wouldn’t have chosen all the hardship, criticism and inconvenience that the birth of this Baby brought into their lives. Yet they willingly accepted God’s plan because they surrendered their future to Him. Becoming a follower of Christ means that your future is not your own. Are you willing to accept whatever that may bring for His glory?
Does the birth of Jesus actually make any difference in our lives today, right here and now in our present circumstances? Yes, it does! When Jesus came into the world, He was “God with us”, and because God is with us, every moment of our lives is radically different. Because of His abiding presence, we can face the confusing, troubling situations of life without fear, knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us.
After winning such a stunning victory over their enemies, the people were once again faced with the realities of life. Taxes were raised, new enemies came along, and there were more battles to be fought. The peace they enjoyed was only temporary. All this was a reminder that the peace man works for doesn’t last. True lasting people can only be found in Jesus Christ. Have you ever brought your troubled heart to Christ to find peace?
Whenever Satan rules a city, or a family, or a heart… it is always filled with darkness, sorrow, brokenness and despair. But the moment God steps in, it is transformed into light and joy and wholeness and hope! God takes our ruins and restores them; He takes our rags and clothes us in His robes of righteousness. Have you ever experienced this amazing transformation in your life?
The king turns his favor toward Mordecai and Esther, and evil Haman is hanged on his own gallows. But was it really Esther’s cleverness that brought all this about? No, once again we see that God was lining these events up long before Esther spoke a single word. And the same is true in our lives. Even when God seems absent, He is actually at work behind the scenes, moving in ways we cannot see, and in this we take great comfort!
As you go through the mundane events of your daily life, are you aware that the providence of God is at work in you and around you in every circumstance, encounter and decision? God is working for you, or in spite of you, to bring about His ultimate will so that He may be glorified, and so that you will be conformed into the image of His Son. You can find rest in knowing that regardless of what you are going through, God is in control of it all.
In a world of more than 7 billion people, it is easy to feel that your life has no significance to God. But as we look through the Bible, we do not see God using hundreds or thousands of people to bring about His plans. Instead, we see Him using individual men and women. God is still looking for just one willing person to stand up and say, “God, I choose to be identified with you. Please use my life for your glory.” Will you be that one?
What do you do when you’re living for God, but your life is still filled with hardship, yet evil people are prospering everywhere you look, and it seems like nothing bad ever happens to them? Even though it may feel like God has forgotten you, He has not. Even though it seems at times like evil will triumph, always remember that God is at work behind the scenes, and one day, He will make all things right.
No one likes to suffer. We don’t even like minor inconveniences. But the Bible makes it clear that suffering is part of God’s plan for the Christian life. So the real question is, how will you respond to suffering when it does come? Peter gives us a blueprint to follow and shows us that there are actually some surprising benefits that can come from our moments of suffering.
“Don’t worry, I know where I’m going!” Have you ever said that to anyone in the car, and then you ended up getting lost? It’s one thing to be on the wrong road while driving, but it’s a far more serious thing to be on the wrong road in life. How do we find direction for daily decisions? Is there anything more reliable to go on than just our feelings or how things look, and if so, how do we discover it?
Have you ever felt disappointed with Jesus? Have there been times when you cried out to Him for help, but He didn’t show up the way you prayed and hoped He would? We must learn that His delays always have a purpose, and in those times when we cannot see the power of Jesus, we must continue to trust in the person of Jesus. Although He may delay, He always knows what He is doing and He knows what is best!