Christianity 201

December 2, 2020

When God Humbles Us

Today’s hunting and gathering for new writers to recommend to you took us to Nicholas McNeill‘s blog, From Gideon to Jesus. (Twitter: @Designed4Impact). I just finished reading four of his devotionals and each was thoughtfully written. We chose this one, which you should read by clicking the header which follows. Then, after the article ends, we have some extra resources for you today.

Have we forgotten?

He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your ancestors had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

God is the giver of all good things in our lives. We know this because of what we are told in Matthew 7:11. Sadly, many of us enjoy the good gifts that are given without ever acknowledging the giver. If we look around, the vast majority of people only give God credit for the “bad” things to happen in life. This is one of the biggest plagues of our culture when it comes to a proper view of who God is.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.

It wouldn’t take long for anyone to realize that Israelite people continually did this during their journey out of Egypt. Not only did they do it after God freed them from Egyptian slavery, He continually did it throughout their lifetime. Time and time again God would do something amazing for them and they would quickly forget. There would be a short time of them giving God thanks and then it would fade into grumbling. We cannot let this be said of us. They saw so many amazing and miraculous things but still shook their fist at God.

There would be a short time of them giving God thanks and then it would fade into grumbling. We cannot let this be said of us.

Let’s not overlook the fact that “He humbled you…” is a key phrase in this passage. There will be times in life that God will allow circumstances to come into our lives to humble us. The big difference isn’t the circumstance, but instead, it is the reaction of a believer. When “negative” circumstances come into our lives most of our auto-responses would be grumbling, pleading for something different, or just straight up complaining. Maybe there is a better way of responding?

WHAT IF our automatic response is to ask God what He is wanting us to learn from this? I mean, if there is one thing that can cause us all to say WHAT IF it is this pandemic. In my county, we were able to open up for about a month or so, and as a youth leader, it was incredible! We are just starting to get kids coming back, momentum is growing and things are going great! Then boom…. we are put back on time out and can no longer meet inside.

From here, we have two reactions we can take. We can get frustrated and shake our fist at God OR we can pull ourselves back and ask God what manna He wants to provide for us… You see, for me… This concept has completely changed the way I live my life. God is the giver of all good things and He is the sustainer of life. If a “negative” thing comes into our life, we simply must sit back and ask God for clarity…

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” – Charles Spurgeon


Extra resources for you today:

■ Sometimes we find longer blog posts than we’re able to run here, or the blog isn’t published under a Creative Commons license. The title, Hebrew Roots Mom caught my eye, as did this article, The Feast of Unleavened Bread vs. Passover: What’s the Difference?

■ Fuller Seminary in California recently posted some 2014 lectures given there by N.T. Wright. Each of the lectures and panel discussions is about an hour long. I’d recommend starting with this one on Paul’s Trinitarian Theology. (If you want your end times rapture view shaken up a little, check out the one on the future of the church. All were posted consecutively, so use the link to the channel and scroll back to the last week of November.)

■ Clint Archer has posted a longer piece at The Cripplegate delineating the five claims that Jesus made which would place him as equal with God. Check out Napoleon Syndrome.

September 27, 2020

How God Uses the Problem(s) You’re Facing Today

Today again, we’re introducing a new (to us) writer, K.K. Hodge, who describes herself as “a family nurse practitioner, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, Sunday School teacher, church treasurer, and crazy critter farmer.” She’s also the author of three books, but only began blogging daily devotions at Inspirations from the Funny Farm after Coronavirus hit. Click the link below to read today’s at source. You might also enjoy the one she posted this morning.

Give me a word, Lord: PICTURE THIS

Isaiah 41:13 For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, “Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

Isaiah 46:4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

We’ve been reading in the book of Isaiah the last few nights as we continue our reading through the Bible in a year plan. There are some very good words of wisdom in this book and many great reassurances. I praise God for His Word. I am so thankful that He provided His Holy Word to give us guidance, strength, and peace. We have God that is bigger than all our troubles and problems, and His Word reveals that to us over and over again.

We all have problems. We may not admit them, but if we are living and breathing, we probably have some sort of problem or concern. The problem with our problems is that we try work them out on our own. I’m a very visual person. I love to take pictures. I take pictures of anything and everything, and when I’m working things out in my mind, I do so with pictures or images. Sometimes we have to picture things in order to get a clear image of the situation at hand.

When we picture all our problems in our mind, we see all the different problems in the picture. We may see financial problems, relationship issues, concerns about our children, health troubles, job stressors, and the list goes on. We see all of these troubles in the picture, and then we see ourselves sitting in the middle of the picture surrounded by all of these problems. The problem with this is that we are seeing it all wrong! When we look at a picture of all those problems, we shouldn’t see ourselves sitting in the midst of the trouble, but rather we should see GOD in the picture with our problems. We have to take ourselves out everything, and we need to give everything to God.

Some might say, if God is handling all of my problems, why do I have so many? Well, my friend, sometimes we bring those problems on ourselves. We aren’t perfect. We goof up every now and then even when we are trying to live a good and righteous life. God can and will handle any and all problems that we are enduring, but we have to trust Him through the process. Psalm 119:71-72 tells us, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.” What? Did he say that suffering is good for me? Yea, buddy! When we go through the struggles in life, we learn from the difficulties and we learn to lean on our Lord and Savior. We are going to have problems in this life. Life is a problem solving adventure. WE may not choose the problem, but we get to choose how the problem affects us. The problem will either develop us or defeat us. We get to make the choice.

No matter what type of difficulty you are going through, you can rest assured that God will use the problem for your benefit. Sometimes He uses the situation to direct you. Maybe He needs to get you to start moving in a certain direction, and He uses a problem to ignite you and get you going. Maybe, just maybe, God has placed something on your heart that He wants you to do, but you won’t budge. Maybe He uses a problem to get you moving in the direction in which He desires for you to go.

Sometimes He uses a problem to correct you. Maybe you are going down a path of destruction, and God uses a problem to teach you a lesson. Ouch! We don’t like the sounds of that one, but there is truth there. Just as a parent disciplines a child who is doing wrong, God is going to discipline His kids. He’s going to get our attention, and a lesson will be learned. Just as we love our children too much to allow them to do things that will harm them, God loves us too much to ignore us when we are doing wrong.

Maybe God is using the problem to inspect you. Did you ever think of that? I’ve read this little saying on social media. “You are holding a cup of hot coffee, and someone bumps you and causes the hot coffee to spill everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? Because there was coffee in the cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. The point is whatever is in the cup will be spilled out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, whatever is inside of you will spill out.” So…what spills out when you are struggling through a difficult situation? Do people around you see fear, anger, bitterness, or do they see love and grace as the marks of a true child of God? What does God see when He inspects you?

Maybe God is using your problem to protect you. Perhaps He has closed the door on a job, a new place to live, or a dream that you had, and it seems like the end of the world. We have to remember that God knows what is coming down the road, and sometimes He closes doors so that other doors can be opened. We can’t see as God sees. He is all knowing, and He knows just what we need when we need it. He may remove a person, a thing, or even a job from our lives in order to provide needed protection.

Our problems weigh us down. We try to carry the burden all alone. Oh, if we could only see the big picture. All those problems that we picture are not too big for God. We may or may not have invited the problem in, but regardless, God is going to use the situation for our good and His glory every time. Stop picturing yourself surrounded by all of the problems of the day. Begin picturing our perfect Lord and Savior…sitting right there in the middle of it all…working it all out. He’s working on each one of us. He’s directing us, correcting us, inspecting us, and protecting us, and ultimately, y’all, He is perfecting us. Just picture it!