Answers and Promises, Day 4

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Today’s reading is drawn from Joel 2:12-13 and Joel 2:18-19.

Observation

Often an answer from God will come packaged and delivered in a promise — as something potentially available. That is how God dealt with his people through the prophet Joel. He answered their pleas with a call to return to him so that he could make good on promised blessings.

Application

We’d rather the answer come in concrete form — fully assembled and ready to use, with a full guarantee. But God has spoken more than 7,000 answers to our problems and questions in promise form. So how do we get these answers wrapped in “potential packaging” to become reality? God gives his answers in potential form because his greatest goal for us is not making us comfortable, it is building our characters. He makes promises reality, not through obligation, but through obedience. God’s promises are converted from potential into reality by steadfast faith and adherence to his commands. God’s promises require us to walk with him in a covenant — his promises are converted from potential into present reality through patiently waiting on him.

As we understand why his answers come in promise form, we better understand how “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3 – 4).

Prayer

Father, help me to be obedient and faithful, not only to benefit from your promises, but also to partake in your divine nature — to look more like you and give you glory!

God Bless you,

Later,

Pat.

Doctrine: The Resurrection of the Dead, Day 4

Today’s reading is drawn from Job 19:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.

Author Tony Campolo tells the story of a funeral he attended for his friend Clarence when he was 16 years old. For the last 20 minutes of the sermon, the pastor preached to the open casket. He yelled at the corpse: “Clarence! Clarence!” He said it with such authority. Campolo said he wouldn’t have been surprised had there been an answer. “Clarence,” the pastor continued, “there were a lot of things we should have said to you that we never said to you. You got away too fast.” He listed a litany of beautiful things that Clarence had done for people. When he finished, he said, “That’s it, Clarence. There’s nothing more to say. When there’s nothing more to say, there’s only one thing to say. Good night. Good night, Clarence!” He grabbed the lid of the casket and slammed it shut. Shock waves went over the congregation. As the preacher lifted his head, you could see the smile on his face. He said, “Good night, Clarence, because I know God is going to give you a good morning!” Then the choir stood and starting singing, “On that great morning, we shall rise, we shall rise.”

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Overcoming Financial Fear, Day 4

Money Management

Today’s reading is drawn from Matthew 6:25-34.

These words of Jesus teach us how to live in uncertain financial times without stress or fear.

Financial fear is: 1) unreasonable (verse 25). We are not to become distracted from the substantial issues of life over less important matters like what we will eat or wear.

It is 2) unnatural (verse 26). We are the only creation of God who worries. God provides for the birds He created, and we are more valuable than they are. We are outside of God’s natural design when we worry.

It is 3) unhelpful (verse 27). Worry and fear do not produce anything worthwhile.

It is 4) unnecessary (verse 30). God provides for His own and promises to take care of our needs.

It is 5) unbelieving (verses 31, 32). We are acting as if God did not exist when we live in financial fear. Our heavenly Father knows our needs, and He will provide.

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What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Worshiping, Day 4

Habit: Worship

Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 40:1-3 and Matthew 15:7-8.

We’re singing the hymns and praise songs, listening to the preaching and fellowshipping with other believers. But something is missing from this worship service. There’s an absence of genuine emotion, a lack of real feeling. The usual awe and gratitude that accompanies worship is replaced by emptiness.

What can we do in times like this when we don’t feel like worshiping God?

Don’t try to fake it — There is a common admonition to “fake it til you make it,” to act as if you feel something until you actually begin to feel it. But God doesn’t want this type of faux worship (see Matthew 15:7 – 8). We can neither ignore our emotions nor act as if we are feeling something toward God that we are not.

Clarify our emotions — Sometimes the issue is not that we don’t feel anything, but rather that we are overcome by other strong emotions. For instance, if we have recently experienced loss or grief, we might not feel like singing songs of praise. In such situations, the answer could be to find other ways to commune with God, such as fasting.

Confess our sin — If we feel cold toward God, it could be a sign of hidden sin that needs to be confessed. Examine your heart and repent of any behavior that might be causing you to distance yourself from the Lord.

Wait patiently for God —David likely found himself in such a situation at the beginning of Psalm 40. But he “waited patiently for the LORD” (verse 1) until God “put a new song in [his] mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (verse 3). As Steve Fuller explains, “The Hebrew word [for waiting] does not mean passive waiting; it means eager seeking. It means taking the steps that God has promised to use to help us, while trusting him expectantly to work.”*

Seek God by turning to him in prayer, reading Scripture and meditating on his Word. Recognize that, like David, if you wait on God, he will in due course pull you from the mire and put a new song in your mouth.

PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: When we don’t feel like worshiping, we can examine ourselves, confess our sins and wait patiently for the Lord.

* Steve Fuller, “When You Don’t Feel Like Worshiping,” Desiring God, August 24, 2014, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/when-you-don-t-feel-like-worshiping.

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