Hebrews 4:15-16

This week concludes our study in the Foundations series, where we have examined how our foundation of faith has impacted the details of our living. Next week, we will begin several weeks of stand-alone messages, along with daily devotionals, so be sure to check back daily. If these devotionals have had an impact on you, we would love for you to share them with your friends.

 

God Understands?

 

Read:

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
 

Reflect:

“God understands,” sounds ridiculous. Don’t belittle my struggles by telling me God understands. Especially in times like these. The problems continue to stack up, the list of things to fix gets longer. Maybe for you, your list may include temptation, loneliness, sickness, a broken heart, stress, financial woes, family distress, or grief. 

God feels distant, even absent. We reach out to others for comfort, assurance and advice, the words of well-meaning friends. Yet, it still feels as though the person never really understood what you were facing. Their response was so empty and meaningless that it may have added to your problems. 

But God does understand, because He faced the struggle behind your struggle, He fought the battle behind your battle. Jesus’ battles and our battles are in different realms. Without relationship to Him, we will always feel He doesn’t understand. 

Jesus was lead into the wilderness, into the resting ground of the devil. Jesus felt, faced and fought all the enemy had and, in the battle did not grow weary. He retained His heart, in God, in His work, in our life, to shift our point of view away from the content of our inner life and to give us the value of knowing Him.

He is One who completely understands and is deeply moved emotionally, to the point that He actually understands your pain. Know that the Lord has experienced each and every aspect of the pains that you suffer. He understands! He takes those needs before your heavenly Father and intercedes on your behalf. He is your High Priest.

 

Respond:

Dear Father, I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone in my pain and suffering. I’m choosing to lean on all You have placed inside of me.

Lamentations 3:25-26

This week concludes our study in the Foundations series, where we have examined how our foundation of faith has impacted the details of our living. Next week, we will begin several weeks of stand-alone messages, along with daily devotionals, so be sure to check back daily. If these devotionals have had an impact on you, we would love for you to share them with your friends.

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

 

Read:

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26

 

Reflect:

One of the most popular hymns of the past one hundred years is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” This hymn, which recounts the faithfulness and mercy of God, was written by a surprisingly sickly and fragile man, suffering each day. He spent much of his adult life confined to a bed due to illness. 

Even in his infirmity, he recognized that God was faithful and merciful in the face of his sickness and suffering. He understood that God’s faithfulness and mercy were not contingent upon his physical state, impoverished lifestyle, or popularity amongst his peers. Rather than basing God’s faithfulness on his personal comfort, he concluded that God was faithful based upon the promise God gave to us in Lamentations 3 to deliver mercy to His people each morning.

These verses are meant to awaken us to the depth, strength and necessity of our relationship with the Lord. Suffering is a time to wait until you sense the presence of His strength, seek Him until you begin to feel His faithfulness saturating your circumstance. This is no time to pretend that your life is filled with joy, just wait on God until you’re grounded and assured He’s with you and it will be defeated. 

Our life circumstances will not always be as favorable as we would like. In these moments, it is necessary that we turn to His word and recognize that our circumstances are never greater than the promises God has given us. 

Each day we open our eyes is an opportunity to experience the faithfulness of God. When suffering and struggle seem to be daily occurrences, we must rest in knowing the eternal faithfulness of God will win out over temporary trials.
 

Respond:

Father, guide me to know Your faithfulness. Thank You for giving me the patience to endure trials and help me see that Your mercy is all I need. Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This week concludes our study in the Foundations series, where we have examined how our foundation of faith has impacted the details of our living. Next week, we will begin several weeks of stand-alone messages, along with daily devotionals, so be sure to check back daily. If these devotionals have had an impact on you, we would love for you to share them with your friends.

 

This Present Tense

 

Read:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Reflect:

Most Christians would rather see what is ahead of them down the road, especially when they are facing trials, suffering and difficulties. Suffering causes us to cry out, “How much longer?” or “How much more do I have to take?” or “Will this ever end?”

Paul was well acquainted with prolonged suffering, physical, emotional, spiritual pain ran throughout his life. Yet he refers to all his trials as momentary light affliction. His secret? He developed the habit of lifting his eyes above the horizon of discomfort, distress and hardship. His was no high-minded denial of reality. It was his hard times that exhibited the grace of God. He viewed his whole life in light of the greatness of God, from that place of perspective all difficulty shrank in the presence of God.

Our life should be showcasing the sweetness of God. Maybe we even confess that it doesn’t make sense that we face such tough situations when we are doing our best to walk with God. Psalm 34:19 exposes that “many are the afflictions of the righteous,” and often we are so caught off guard that we fail to read the last part of that verse, which says, “But the Lord delivers him out of them.”

When we have the right perspective on life, we can handle trials one day at a time. Once we see with those eyes, then we realize there is no comparison of our temporary trials and suffering to the eternal glory that God has in store for us.

Circumstances are the means God uses to reveal how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily beautiful Jesus is in this present tense. With each trial and conflict there comes a new way to manifest the Son of God in our mortal life.  

 

Respond:

Dear Father, may the struggles of my life never make me bitter, but instead make me better at anticipating Your glory. Amen

Romans 7:20

We are continuing our Foundations series, where we examine how our foundation of faith impacts the details of our living. If this devotional has had an impact on you, we would love for you to share it with your friends.

 

The Beginning of the End

 

Read:

For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. Romans 7:20

 

Reflect:

Addiction involves craving for something intensely, the loss of control, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure, and then, corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation. It really just hijacks the brain.

One never knows the depth and strength of addiction until it’s resisted. Here, in this verse, Paul describes his ongoing conflict between two natures raging on. He finds himself failing to do the good he wants to do and instead, doing the evil he deeply despises. He’s not making excuses or rejecting responsibility for the struggle, and neither should we. He’s honestly admitting his need to be delivered from indwelling struggle.

Two indicators of any addiction are the gradual loss of identity and the progressive violation of one’s own values. The struggle is in contradiction to His new nature. Anyone who’s battled for freedom from addiction has felt the turmoil within, of the lure of the craving, while feeling the presence of God’s way to life.

The universal warning sign of addictions is the recognition that I have begun to do what I will not to do. This recognition is the beginning of the awareness of powerlessness and can be used by God as the beginning of the end of the addiction.

It is human nature to want to be in complete control of our circumstances and our lives, but the fortunate people are those who come to a point in their lives when they realize this is not possible. It is important to let go of the things that cause us misery. The first step is to pray as David did, “Lord, my longings are in plain sight, . . . my heart’s about to break; . . . I’m a burned out case . . . but I wait for you my Lord, my answer.” Psalms 38:9. God knows our struggles and will give us the power to look to Him for help. 

 

Respond:

Find a quiet place, open your Bible to Psalm 38 and read the whole chapter out loud; use it as your prayer for the beginning of the end.

Jeremiah 17:5

We are continuing our Foundations series, where we examine how our foundation of faith impacts the details of our living. If this devotional has had an impact on you, we would love for you to share it with your friends.

 

Are You an Approval Addict?

 

Read:

Cursed is the one who trusts in human strength and the abilities of mere mortals. His very heart strays from the Eternal. Jeremiah 17:5

 

Reflect:

The opinions of others matter to us. As harmless at it seems, many are held captive by what others think of them. When we think of addictions, we often think of struggles with substance abuse, gambling, or eating disorders. However, one common addiction we often don’t see is the secret addiction to the approval of people.

Jeremiah speaks to Judah telling them they are in a desperate condition. They had been drawn away from the Lord, and soughtapproval and acceptance elsewhere, they had placed their trust in idols and it resulted in their captivity. The desire for the approval of others cheats people, leads to their own ruin.

Many don’t want to hear the truth about themselves, they prefer to just be accepted. Here are a few signs that you have the disease to please:

  • You live to impress others and you adjust your appearance, your personality and your values based on the people around you.
  • You are extremely sensitive to criticism.
  • You describe yourself as a “people pleaser.”
  • You get preoccupied with how many “likes” you get on social media.
  • You get a high from a compliment, if you don’t get it you feel empty.

When other people’s approval becomes our source of joy and security, it will affect our lives, our relationships, and we will eventually stray from our relationship with God.

When you depend on the approval, attention and admiration of other people, you have no room in your heart for God. Leaning on fickle human opinions and emotions is unpredictable and it never lasts. You will be left wondering where you stand with people, insecure and afraid. 

We stand in need of grace. Honesty before God keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that, regardless of another’s approval, we are saved sinners. We never have to wear a false face, or pretend to be anything other than who we are. To live like that, it’s virtually impossible to be drawn away by the opinions of others.

 

Respond:

Lord, help me to not be addicted to people-approval, but only to trying to look to You, and listen to You and serve You.

Hebrews 4:16

We are continuing our Foundations series, where we examine how our foundation of faith impacts the details of our living. If this devotional has had an impact on you, we would love for you to share it with your friends.

 

Fights and Failures

 

Read:

“Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 

Reflect:

We are not tempted because we are evil; we are tempted because we are human. A common cry is, “I can’t seem to stop! Why won’t God take this desire away right now?”

Many face a daily battle. While we don’t always understand why temptation doesn’t go away, we can turn to God on whatever path we find ourselves. And perhaps that is the most important part of our struggle. We learn to exchange our futile efforts to change for complete dependence on God. Rest assured, Jesus has been where you are.

Jesus was tempted also, just as we are, so He understands what we’re feeling, facing, and fighting. He sympathizes with our struggles Jesus knows that sin is a foreign intruder that seeks to turn life into something He never designed it to be. 

Jesus extends to each of us a gracious invitation to confidently bring our fights and failures to Him. We are assured of Jesus’ warm welcome of us, there is no shame in the struggle, it’s there in His presence we receive mercy to find freedom. We draw near because He died to save us and lives to keep us. 

This verse from Hebrews uses the phrase “in time of need.” Today’s equivalent is “in the nick of time.” When temptation strikes, when cravings assault, when you feel powerless and helpless, when it looks as though you are going to lose another round to hurtful hunger, look to Him. He’s there to help in the nick of time. 

When the flaming temptation is in front of you, when you are buffeted by the winds of failure, battered by unruly emotions and bruised by frequent falls of lapses and relapses, turn to Jesus with a cry for help. Mercy and grace will be there to help in the nick of time. 

 

Respond:

Draw near to God, call out to Him in spite of addiction, lifestyle, or misplaced priorities. Regardless of destructive relationships, repeated failures, no matter what – draw near.