What about your struggles? Is there any chance, any possibility, that you have been selected to struggle for God’s glory? Have you “given for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29)
Here is a clue. Do your prayers seem to be unanswered? What you request and what you receive aren’t matching up? Don’t think God is not listening. Indeed he is. He may have higher plans.
Here is another. Are people strengthened by your struggles? A friend of mine can answer yes. His cancer was consuming more than his body; it was eating away at his faith. Unanswered petitions perplexed him. Well-meaning Christians confused him. “If you have faith,” they said, “you will be healed.”
No healing came. Just more chemo, nausea, and questions. He assumed the fault was a small faith. I suggested another answer. “It’s not about you,” I told him. “Your hospital room is a showcase for your Maker. Your faith in the face of suffering cranks up the volume of God’s song.”
Oh, that you could have seen the relief on his face. To know that he hadn’t failed God and God hadn’t failed him—this made all the difference. Seeing his sickness in the scope of God’s sovereign plan gave his condition a sense of dignity. He accepted his cancer as an assignment from heaven: a missionary to the cancer ward.
A week later I saw him again. “I reflected God,” he said, smiling through a thin face, “to the nurse, the doctors, my friends. Who knows who needed to see God, but I did my best to make him seen.”
Bingo. His cancer paraded the power of Jesus down the Main Street of his world.
God will use whatever he wants to display his glory. Heavens and stars. History and nations. People and problems.
Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God.
I am so sorry about you being sent to the dog pound for the broken lamp which you did not break; the fish you did not spill; and the carpet that you did not wet; or the wall that you did not dirty with red paint.
Things here at the house are calmer now, and just to show you that I have no hard feelings towards you, I am sending you a picture, so you will always remember me.
The Old French root of the word “repent” is “repentir,” which actually means to be sorry. The cat may have said he was sorry, but there is no sorrow here.
It reminds of me of the story of a woman with fourteen children, ages one through fourteen, who decided to sue her husband for divorce on grounds of desertion. “When did he desert you?” the judge asked. “Thirteen years ago,” she replied. “He left 13 years ago? Where did all the children come from?” The woman looked sheepish. “He kept coming back to say he was sorry.”
Again, no sorrow here, for if he’d been truly sorry, he’d have stayed. Sincere repentance always leads to change.
We need to learn how to make a GOOD APOLOGY—one that is sincere and honest. One that gets the job done. Offering a good apology is not something many people do well. But we can learn. It is well said that a good apology has three parts: I am sorry; it is my fault; what can I do to make it right?
I am sorry. Three short words that, when they are heart-felt, can be most difficult to say. But when uttered, they can change lives.
It is my fault. No excuses. No blame. Psychologist Carl Jung insightfully said, “The only person I cannot help is one who blames others.” When we accept fault we have the power to do something about it. When we pass the blame, we are helpless to keep it from happening again.
What can I do to make it right? Unless we change something, nothing changes. A good apology is followed by action. Otherwise, it is only words.
If you are going to apologize, apologize well. Never ruin your apology with an excuse and back it up with action.
Learning how to make a good apology is too important to neglect. It’s part of maintaining whole and healthy relationships. And it’s something we can practice today.
—Steve Goodier —LifeSupportSystem.com Used by permission
The Akan people of Ghana have a proverb: “The snake is not as mad with the boys who threw stones at it as with the boys who stood by and rejoiced over its fate!” Rejoicing at someone’s downfall is like participating in the cause of that downfall or even wishing more evil on the person.
That was the attitude of the Ammonites who maliciously rejoiced when the temple in Jerusalem was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile (Ezek. 25:3). For spitefully celebrating Israel’s misfortunes, the Ammonites experienced God’s displeasure, which resulted in grim consequences (vv. 4-7).
How do we react when disaster befalls our neighbor or when our neighbor gets into trouble? If she is a nice and friendly neighbor, then, of course, we will sympathize with her and go to her aid. But what if he is an unfriendly, trouble-making neighbor? Our natural tendency may be to ignore him or even secretly rejoice at his downfall.
Proverbs warns us not to gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice (24:17). Instead, Jesus tells us that we show His love in action when we love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us] (Matt. 5:44). By so doing, we imitate the perfect love of our Lord (5:48).
Lord, open my eyes and my heart to be honest about my attitude toward those who are unkind or unfair to me. Fill my heart with Your love, Lord, and help me pray for them.
Joshua 2:1-15 RAHAB – REBORN: DON’T LET YOUR PASS DETERMINE YOUR FUTURE
The Context. When the spies arrived in Jericho, they entered into what everyone thought was a harlot’s house. After all, no one would be suspicious of men entering a house of ill repute. However, when they entered Rahab’s house, they found a woman who had already been touched by the Spirit and power of God. Her name was still Rahab, but Rahab was reborned! God was in the process of rehabilitating this woman’s entire life.
In Rahab, I see the power of God to transform the lives of those who come to know Him. Just as the Lord changed this woman, He is able to change any life that is brought to Him. Regardless of how wicked, how broken, how lost or how wretched it may be.
I want to share some facts about this woman’s life that are made clear by this text.
I. v. 1 RAHAB AND HER CONDITION Rahab in her past life is a picture of those individuals who have never been saved. Notice how this is true.
A. v. 1 She Was Defiled – A Harlot, living in a lost, pagan city. Eph. 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”; Rom. 3:10-23; Gal. 3:22. The lost person is in a helpless and hopeless condition, Eph. 2:12. Their sinful condition renders them unclean and unable to have fellowship with God, Isa. 59:2.
B. v. 1 She Was Dead – Rahab was living her life, but spiritually, she was devoid of life. She was dead in her sins. This is the condition of every person outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus today, Eph. 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”; 4:18 “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”
This is a spiritual death, not a physical death and spiritual death always ends in the Second Death, Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”;
Rev. 20:14 “ And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”.
C. v. 1 She Was Doomed – As a resident of Jericho, Rahab had a death sentence hanging over here head. She had already been judged by the Lord and she didn’t even know it! The same things is true concerning every person who does not know Jesus Christ.
John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”; 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Sentence has been passed and the judgment has been set, Psa. 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell,”;
In spite of her lifestyle; in spite of her pagan background; in spite of her lost condition; God had given her many years worth of grace and warnings.
How much time did He give you? What a gracious God we serve! The Bible makes it crystal clear that there is a limit to patience in calling the lost to come to Him for salvation – Gen. 6:3 “ And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man,”; John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:”;
Isa. 55:6 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”;
Pro. 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”;
Pro. 29:1 “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”
It is a dangerous thing to delay coming to the Lord!
II. v. 2-13 RAHAB AND HER CONFESSION
By the time the spies arrived in Jericho, Rahab had already been visited by the Lord. Before they have a chance to tell her who they are, she tells them what she knows about them and about their God. Turns out, she knew a lot already. Rahab had probably already repented of her sins and looked to God for salvation before the spies arrived at her door, Heb. 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,”;
A. v. 9-11 What She Confessed – She confessed that she “knew” some things about the Lord. And, that she had “heard” some things about Him too. She called Him by His covenant Name: LORD. She confessed her faith in the truth of what she had heard.
Rahab confessed what she had seen and heard about the Lord. Then, she confessed the fact that Jehovah is the only God. She confessed her need of a relationship with Him. She confesses the fact that she is lacking what the spies enjoy: a relationship with the God of the Heaven and the earth.
B. v. 12-13 What She Claimed – Rahab claimed salvation from the coming judgment on the basis of simple faith. She took what she heard and what she knew to be true as an invitation to believe in the God of the Israelites. She turned from the gods of Jericho to embrace the God of glory by faith!
Rahab’s confession is a picture of how salvation comes to a lost person. The lost person hears the message and the Spirit of God touch the heart, Rom. 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”;
The lost person sees the need and claims the invitation of the Spirit of God to come to Jesus by faith, John 6:47 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”;
Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,”; Eph. 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”.
It sounds too simple and too good to be true doesn’t it? That’s how salvation comes to everyone who receives it.
How people try to get it. There is only one way and that way is Jesus.
III. v. 14-24 RAHAB AND HER CONVERSION
A. Proven By Her New Labors – (1:2-24) – Rahab proved that she was a new creature by hiding the spies and by helping them to escape. By doing these things, she was working for the Lord and not against Him! (Ill. The saved person demonstrates a saved life by the works they do, Eph. 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”;
James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
The difference between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:19-24.
B. Proven By Her New Love – (1:12-13; 6:22-25) – When Rahab came to know the Lord, she wanted everyone else to know Him too. She became active in trying to bring others under the same umbrella of protection she no enjoyed. When you know Him, you will want to see others come to know Him too! You will pray for them; tell them; love them; and warn them. You won’t be satisfied to see them live and die without Jesus.
Andrew – John 1:40-42; Gaderene Demoniac – Mark 5:1-20; when their life was changed, they wanted to share.
C. Proven By Her New Life – When Rahab came under the umbrella of the nation of Israel, everything in her life was transformed. The same day the walls of Jericho fell down, she received a brand new life. Rahab is once again a picture of the person who has come to Jesus by faith.
When a person is saved by the grace of God, everything changes for them forever, 2 Cor. 5:17; John 3:3; John 10:10.
1. New Realities – (6:20-25) – She was spared from judgment and death. v. 18 – The Scarlet cord made the difference. It is the blood of Jesus that sets the sinner free from the sentence imposed by the wrath of God,
Rom. 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”;
1 Pet. 1:18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”;
The blood of the Lamb in Egypt, Ex. 12. The blood alone makes the difference!
2. New Relatives – (Ruth 4:21; Matt. 1:5) – Rahab’s new family connections.
When a sinner is saved, they are removed from Adam’s family and adopted into God’s family,
Rom. 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”;
1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
They become His heirs, Rom. 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; ”.
3. New Reputation – Matt. 1:5 – Rahab was taken from a house of shame and wound up in the hall of fame!
Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,”
Victory Baptist Church 16 September 2020 victorypalmetto.com
The story of Corrie ten Boom has been told countless times through the years. Most of us are familiar with her experiences in WWII. Yet, even today, it remains one of the most beloved stories of forgiveness this world has ever known. During World War II, she and her family saved Jews from being sent off to concentration camps by hiding them in a room at the top of their home.
When Nazi officers learned what was going on, the house was raided and Corrie and her sister, Betsy, were sent to a political concentration camp, and finally a death camp. But, miraculously, she survived. Betsy did not.
As you can imagine, there were many moments of hardship that Corrie had to overcome even after the war ended. One such moment was at a church where she saw a former SS man who guarded her in the concentration camp. As the man approached her to shake her hand, everything in her reminded her of the horrid pain this man had brought upon her. And even though Corrie often spoke of the need to forgive others, she knew she couldn’t forgive this man in her own strength. God had to do it through her.
Corrie writes, “When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.” God gave Corrie the strength to forgive and love the man when she could not.
Is there someone you need forgive right now? Take courage from Corrie ten Boom: “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”
May we never have to deal with such heavy forgiveness in our life as Corrie ten Boom has, but there are many times in life when we will have to both forgive and be forgiven. Below are four things to keep in mind when you forgive someone.
1. Realize everyone has to be forgiven. It will save you a lot of trouble to understand early on that we all will make mistakes and need forgiveness at some point.
2. Forgiveness isn’t earned. Grace is undeserved favor that no one can earn. Therefore, forgiveness should be given with no expectations in return and no strings attached.
3. Don’t bring it up again. Sometimes people forgive like they’re burying the hatchet but keeping the handle uncovered in case they need to use it again. This only prolongs the conflict.
4. Make the decision and your heart will catch up. If you wait to “feel ready” to forgive, it’s never going to happen. Rather, you must make the decision to forgive and soon enough your heart will catch up.
Emotional storms within us can be as hard to handle as external physical ones. Grief, fear, and worry can cause us to be in great turmoil.
To see us through the rough times of life, God provides His protection and peace. But protection does not mean that troubles won’t occur. Jesus allowed the disciples to experience the fear and anxiety of being in a boat on a turbulent sea. He permitted them to suffer because He had something far more important in mind. He wanted to teach them to recognize their own helplessness, His sufficiency, and their need of Him.
The peace that God provides is not dependent upon the quieting of our circumstances or the removal of external pressures. Nor does it mean the absence of conflict. The promised peace comes in three ways:
First, Jesus Himself becomes our peace. Through His death, He has reconciled us to the Father, and we are no longer His enemies (Rom.5:1). In God, we can be at rest.
Second, when in right relationship with the Father, we have the ability to live at peace with our fellow man (Eph. 2:14). Through God, we have the power to choose to forgive, to keep no record of wrongs, and to show love to people who oppose us.
Third, the transforming work of the Holy Spirit enables us to experience an increasing sense of inner tranquility (Phil. 4:7).
The heavenly Father will provide what we need spiritually to both endure and grow stronger in our Christian faith.
What challenges do you face? Are you using what God has provided?