VIDEO Faith in Every Circumstance

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Even those who don’t believe the biblical story praise the book of Job for tackling one of life’s thorniest questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? In fact, critics of the Bible suggest that Job was written in relationship to the Babylonian captivity of Israel with Job representing the nation: a choice servant of God suffering unjustly.

But there is no reason to doubt the biblical record: Job was a historic person who lived in the Middle East. He was righteous and upright and feared God—the greatest man of his era. Yet he suffered miserably when all he had was taken away (Job 1–2). But he refused to curse God, believing both God and himself to be free of blame for his condition (Job 2:10). When his suffering ended, his faith was rewarded (Job 42:10-17). Job’s troubles gave him a clearer vision of God than when he lived in ease.

When you go through troubles, believe God will use them for good (Romans 8:28). Wait patiently and expect to see the outcome of your faith.

It’s a weak faith that only serves God in times of blessing. Ray Stedman


Groanings Too Deep for Words (Romans 8:26-28)

A Joyful Celebration

The wedding of the Lamb has come. Revelation 19:7

My friend Sharon passed away one year prior to the death of my friend Dave’s teenage daughter Melissa. They both had been tragically killed in car accidents. One night both Sharon and Melissa were in my dream. They giggled and talked as they hung streamers in a large banquet hall and ignored me when I stepped into the room. A long table with white tablecloths had been set with golden plates and goblets. I asked if I could help decorate, but they didn’t seem to hear me and kept working. 

But then Sharon said, “This party is Melissa’s wedding reception.” 

“Who’s the groom?” I asked. 

Neither responded but smiled and looked at each other knowingly. Finally, it dawned on me—it’s Jesus! 

“Jesus is the groom,” I whispered as I woke up. 

My dream brings to mind the joyful celebration believers in Jesus will share together when He returns. It’s portrayed in Revelation as a lavish feast called “the wedding supper of the Lamb” (19:9). John the Baptist, who prepared people for the first coming of Christ, had called Him “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He also referred to Jesus as “the bridegroom” and to himself as the “friend” (like the best man) who waited for Him (3:29). 

On that banquet day and for all eternity we will enjoy unbroken fellowship with Jesus, our groom, and with Sharon and Melissa and all of God’s people.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

What does Jesus’ invitation to come to Him for forgiveness and eternal life mean to you? Who could you tell your story to?

I look forward to that day of celebration and seeing You, Jesus. Come quickly.

Read more about Christ’s ultimate triumph in this study of Revelation: ChristianUniversity.org/NT228.

Accepting God’s Solution

2 Chronicles 20:14-25

When we pray about a matter that is very important to us, it’s easy to begin telling the Lord how to answer our request. We’ve all done this, haven’t we? We start out asking God for help, but as our emotions enter in, we become more passionate about explaining what we want Him to do about it.

God promises to answer prayer (Mark 11:24), but sometimes His answers don’t satisfy us. Oftentimes we want relief from pain and difficulty rather than an extra measure of grace to endure in a manner that glorifies God.

King Jehoshaphat may have expected the Lord to answer his prayer by giving the army supernatural strength to win the battle, but God’s solution was entirely unexpected. His method was to send the choir out singing praises. Then God took care of the enemy without any help from Judah’s soldiers.

Instead of dictating a solution, Jehoshaphat trusted God to answer the prayer as He saw fit. And we should do likewise. Prayer is an opportunity to bring our concerns to the Lord and trust that He will answer in a way that brings glory to Him, not to us.

Our Ministry to Angels

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” (Ephesians 3:10)

There is “an innumerable company of angels” in heaven (Hebrews 12:22) who serve as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).

At the same time, it is instructive to realize we also have a ministry to the angels. Despite their great power and knowledge, angels are not the “heirs of salvation” themselves and so will never personally experience that peculiar type of love and fellowship that we share with our Lord and Savior. Nevertheless, as personal beings with the free will to reject their role as God’s servants if they choose, they are intensely interested in our salvation. “Which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12).

In addition to serving for the protection and guidance of individual believers, apparently certain angels are also assigned by God to serve Christian congregations functioning corporately, especially in true local churches. Paul mentions the observing presence of angels in the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 11:10), for example.

In His letters to the seven representative churches, Christ addressed the individual angels of each church (Revelation 2:1, etc.). That these are heavenly angels (not human pastors or other human church leaders) seems probable from the fact that the word “angel” is used 65 other times in Revelation and always refers to real angels.

Finally, the words of our text for the day give a special incentive for our lives, for there we are reminded that it is through God’s dealings with “the church” that His holy angels are able to learn for themselves “the manifold wisdom of God.” HMM

Our Fear of Emotions

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. —Acts 3:8

One cause of the decline in the quality of religious experience among Christians these days is the neglect of the doctrine of the inward witness.

Stamping our feet to start the circulation and blowing on our hands to limber them up, we have emerged shivering from the long period of the theological deep-freeze, but the influence of the frosty years is still felt among us to such an extent that the words witness, experience and feeling are cautiously avoided by the rank and file of evangelical teachers. In spite of the undeniable lukewarmness of most of us we still fear that unless we keep a careful check on ourselves we shall surely lose our dignity and become howling fanatics by this time next week. We set a watch upon our emotions day and night lest we become over-spiritual and bring reproach upon the cause of Christ. Which all, if I may say so, is for most of us about as sensible as throwing a cordon of police around a cemetery to prevent a wild political demonstration by the inhabitants.   BAM011

Lord, open up my heart to receive, and then open up my mouth to declare, the glory of Your mighty work! Amen.

Inward Blindness

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. —Romans 6:17

I once read a book about the inner spiritual life by a man who was not a Christian at all. He was a sharp intellectual….He examined spiritual people from the outside, but nothing ever reached him. And that is possible!

You cannot argue around this. You can read your Bible…and if you are honest you will admit that it is either obedience or inward blindness. You can repeat Romans word for word and still be blind inwardly. You can quote all the Psalms and still be blind inwardly. You can know the doctrine of justification by faith…and be blind inwardly. It is not the body of truth that enlightens; it is the Spirit of truth who enlightens.

If you are willing to obey the Lord Jesus, He will illuminate your spirit. He will inwardly enlighten you. The truth you have known intellectually will now be known spiritually. Power will begin to flow up and out, and you will find yourself changed, marvelously changed. FBR032

God works for a wholly blessed end, namely, Himself: to bring the soul and all her powers into that end, into Himself. BME016

The Trinity for Us

Matthew 28:19

Trinity Sunday does not appear on our Salvation Army calendars, but that does not absolve us from the need to instruct our people in the meaning of our third Article of Faith. Our Handbook of Doctrine admits the difficulty of the task, saying that “It is impossible adequately to picture… the complete truth concerning the mystery of the Godhead.”

From the work of theologians, ancient and modern, guidelines can be singled out. Paul Tillich said that “Trinitarian monotheism is not a matter of the number three. It is a qualitative and not a quantitative characterization of God.” That is to say, when we speak of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we are not making a mathematical statement. We are using the only language at our disposal to attempt to define what lies beyond definition, for in the Godhead there exists a richness of personality which is both beyond our conceiving and our describing. In the scriptural sense a mystery does not contradict reason though it may transcend it. No way can we describe infinity.

The doctrine of the trinity is more than a means of expressing what men have thought about God; it declares what God has revealed to men in history about His own nature.

In the fullness of time came the Incarnation, and in the life, death and rising again of Jesus the church of the New Testament saw God at work. Their experience of Jesus was nothing other than an experience of God. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 KJV).

More was to follow. Jesus told His immediate followers that it was expedient for them that He should go away, at which announcement sorrow filled their hearts. But their sorrow was turned into joy when the company of about 120 found themselves visited by the very Holy Spirit of God in their lives, both individually and corporately.

Yet the last truth must be that for all the unimaginable richness of His complex nature, God is one. The verb was, is and ever must remain, singular. The three persons share every act of thought, will and feeling.

How then does this affect my habit of prayer? Only to help me recognize that there is no activity on the part of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit that is not shared by the entire Godhead.

These revealed truths, even if apprehended only through a glass darkly in our personal experience, help us to appreciate the mystery and yet the reality of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Frederick Coutts, In Good Company