“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
I have discovered that life is not fair. We do not always get treated the way we deserve and/or desire to be treated. We suffer unnecessarily at the hands of people who claim to love us. Family members and friends at times say and do things that are hurtful. Our spouses/significant others act in ways that cause us to feel unloved or unwanted. Even those in the church treat us in unloving ways at times. If you have ever suffered in any of these ways I encourage you to learn to find contentment in your suffering!
The Apostle Paul penned at least three letters to a group of Christians in the city of Corinth. He had shared the gospel with them and they came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Yet Paul’s relationship with them was never that great. In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul is sharing about his vision and his thorn as he admonishes the Corinthians. In verse 10 the apostle makes a statement that merits our attention “For I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul had learned to find contentment in his suffering. He had learned to count it all joy. The apostle learned how to suffer without becoming hopeless. We would be wise to do the same.
How did Paul learn to find contentment in suffering?
The answer is found in the passage (verses 7-9). Paul learned to find contentment in suffering by seeking God, accepting God’s answer, and trusting God’s strength. If we are to find contentment in suffering we must do the same. Our ability to find contentment in suffering is based on seeking God, accepting His answer, and trusting His strength.
Live reignited today as you learn to find contentment in your suffering.
“And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district (Luke 4:36-37).”
Picture this—Jesus enters your town and begins preaching the gospel of the kingdom. While preaching the gospel, He heals the sick and casts out demons. He speaks as one with complete authority and power; everyone who hears and sees Him is amazed. Are you amazed?
The scene described in Luke 4:31-37 provides us with a great picture of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He spoke and acted with such authority and power He left the people amazed. They had not experienced that type of authority and power in their day. Certainly the Pharisees did not operate in it. The authority to speak directly to a demon and it respond in obedience. This was no ordinary teacher. He was one to whom one should pay attention. Luke recorded their reaction to the ministry of Jesus in this way “And amazement came upon them all…For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits to come out.” They were completely amazed. Are you amazed?
It seems that marketing and publicity have replaced authority and power in the modern church. The Jesus we preach and present seems to be more of a marketing image than a miracle worker. Yet, I am convinced that the spirit of Jesus continues to move today to leave us amazed if we allow Him the opportunity. I am confident that the same Jesus who operated in authority and power during His earthly ministry continues to do so through the ministry of the Holy Spirit operating in the lives of His servants in the local church today. Let us rekindle our spiritual fervor and live in expectation of the manifestation of the authority and power of Jesus in our lives today. Let’s live in amazement of His authority and power. Let’s expect Him to leave us amazed. Are you amazed?
“Now Nebuchchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard saying, “Take him and look after him, and do nothing harmful to him, but rather deal with him just as he tells you (Jeremiah 39:11-12).””
Often when we choose obedience it does not feel as though there is much of a benefit to it. In fact many times it seems that our obedience, rather than making things better, only makes things worse. However, it is important to know that obedience has benefits. When we obey the Lord we position ourselves to enjoy the benefits of obedience. I encourage you today to continue obeying God so that you are positioned to enjoy the benefits of obedience!
Jeremiah suffered greatly at the hands of wicked men in Israel because of his obedience to God. His life was in jeopardy on more than one occasion. Jeremiah learned to live with the constant threat of violence and death. Yet he continued to obey God. All that changed when God finally allowed Babylon to conquer Judah as He said He would. King Nebuchadnezzar immediately gave instructions concerning Jeremiah to “…take him and look after him, and do nothing harmful to him…” Jeremiah’s obedience to God benefitted him when God executed judgment against Israel because of their sin. Jeremiah was able to enjoy the benefits of obedience.
Today you may find yourself living in obedience while experiencing pain and problems because of it. It may seem as though your obedience to God is not worth what you are enduring. If so I encourage you to rekindle your spiritual fervor and prepare to enjoy the benefits of obedience. Live in expectation that God will release the benefits of your obedience in due time. While now things may not be going your way, keep on obeying God. He has the last say and He will make sure you enjoy the benefits of obedience.
Live reignited today as you prepare to enjoy the benefits of your obedience!
“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to you? I lay my hand on my mouth (Job 40:4).”
I have often said and continue to believe that God can handle our questions. I am convinced that asking why does not trouble God at all. Yet when we ask God why, we must be prepared for His response. God’s response to our questions has a tendency to teach us the beauty of silence. When the Almighty begins questioning us we quickly find ourselves without words. As a result we learn the beauty of silence.
A few days ago we examined the beginning of God’s questioning of Job (Chapter 38). Now we examine the continuation of His questioning. In verse 2 of Job 40 God says “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.” In other words God challenges Job to answer His questions. Job’s response is powerfully humbling “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to you? I lay my hand on my mouth.” Job learned the beauty of silence. He had no words to say to God in response to His questions. Job realized that he was not able to contend with God. So he put his hand over his mouth in silence.
Many today could learn the beauty of silence from Job’s experience with God. Far too many challenge God’s sovereign authority when He fails to act as they think He should. Too many blame God and shake their fist at God because He does not do what they desire. If that is you I admonish you to learn the beauty of silence. It would be wise to put your hand to your mouth and be quiet. God sees what you can’t see and knows what you don’t know. He is sovereign. The next time you are tempted to point the finger at God or to challenge God’s sovereign will I admonish you to learn the beauty of silence. Keep quiet and accept what God allows!
Live reignited today, as you learn the beauty of silence.
“My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes (Psalm 59:10).”
No one really likes having enemies. It is taxing to deal with people who seek to harm you. Conflict is never really enjoyable. Yet the reality is we have to deal with foes at times. People who for whatever reason have decided we are their enemy and they need to do us harm. Spiritually we know that it is really Satan with whom we are at war (Ephesians 6:12), but naturally it is disheartening to know that there are people who what to see us fail. If you find yourself facing foes today, I pray that this word will encourage you to go forth knowing God will meet you.
David penned this psalm when his life was in danger. Saul had decided that David was his enemy. In fact Saul had positioned men to watch the house where David was in order to kill him. In this very trying time David wrote these words “My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes.” David had confidence that God would meet him in the midst of his trouble. He knew that God would give him victory over his foes. He could praise God even while in danger because of his relationship with Him. David knew God would meet him where he was.
Today we can have the same confidence David had. If you are a child of God, you can confidently declare “My God will meet me…” God has promised to meet us in our place of trouble. He has said He will fight our battles. God will keep His word. No matter how many foes you may be facing, know that God will meet you. When He meets you, He will secure victory for you. He will “let you look triumphantly upon your foes.” Take courage today in knowing this truth. Rekindle your spiritual fervor realizing that God will meet you. He will come to you in the midst of your trouble to secure victory over your foes.
Live reignited today; God will meet you!
“Then the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses (2 Samuel 15:15).””
It is undeniable that many are not loyal to leaders anymore. It is estimated that up to 80% of church growth is transfer growth. Most adults entering the work force will have 5 to 6 jobs before they reach retirement age. The idea of being loyal to one leader, organization, church, or company is foreign to most people in America today. Loyalty is not a trait that many desire to possess. Yet it is a mark of spiritual maturity to remain loyal. Let’s take a look at a picture of true loyalty as we rekindle our spiritual fervor today.
In 2 Samuel 15 David is going on the run from his son Absalom. Absalom has deceived the people into making him king at Hebron. He is preparing to overthrow his father David and take the throne for himself. Upon hearing of Absalom’s plan, David sets out to flee Jerusalem. As he is leaving he instructs his servants “Arise and let us flee (verse 14)…” The servants’ response to David provides us with a true picture of loyalty. They said to David “…Behold your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.” In other words these men were so loyal to David that they were prepared to flee or fight. Whatever the king wanted them to do they were prepared to do. That’s true loyalty. That’s what it looks like to be committed to a God-ordained leader. Loyalty is the willingness to do whatever the leader instructs one to do (of course as long as it is according to the will and word of God).
As you live reignited today ask yourself the question, “I am truly loyal to the leader God has placed me under?” Would you flee or fight with your leader? Are you loyal to the point you would lay down your life for your leader? Here’s a truth worth noting—loyalty to God’s assigned leader is loyalty to God. Today as you rekindle your fervor for the Lord, ask Him to teach you to be loyal to the leader He has placed you under.
Live reignited today and become a picture of true loyalty!
“Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them (Exodus 25:8).”
I have never been homeless. I do not know what it is like to have no place to live. In fact I have enjoyed the privilege of being able to choose where I want to live. God has never been homeless either! He has dwelled in heaven for all eternity. Yet He chose to have Moses and the Israelites make Him a dwelling place so that He could “…dwell among them.” Today God still desires for His sons and daughters to make Him a dwelling place so that He can dwell among them. In view of this truth I encourage you as you rekindle your spiritual fervor to make God a dwelling place.
Israel was in the wilderness. They were on their way to the promise land. While they were traveling God met with Moses on the mountain to give Israel His commands and statutes. As God is giving Moses the commands and statutes He instructs Moses to receive an offering from the people in order to build a tabernacle for Him. His words to Moses are worth our consideration as we live reignited: “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” There really was no need for God to dwell among the Israelites. H could have led them from afar. Yet He wanted to be near them. Today God still wants to be near us as His children. He wants a dwelling place so that He can commune with us. Make God a dwelling place so that He can dwell with you!
How do we make God a dwelling place today?
In John 14:23 we read these words “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our abode in him.”” We make God a dwelling place by living according to the word of Jesus. When we live our lives in faith as a response to the gospel, we create a dwelling place for God. The good news is that God no longer dwells in tabernacles and temples. He now dwells in each of us through faith in the gospel. Though He doesn’t have to, God wants to dwells in you!
Live reignited today and make God a dwelling place!