Peace Like A River (September 22, 2014)-Stauffer
Isaiah 48:18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
There are few sights and sounds like that of a majestically flowing river. For this reason, the Lord promised His people that they would have “been as a river” through simple obedience. This analogy using the river not only speaks of quality but also of quantity. Israel’s obedience would bring a peace similar to the calming effect of a flowing river. This peace would also be quantitatively associated to the vast amounts of water which flow down a river. The Lord reaffirmed this truth when He said of Jerusalem, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river” (Isaiah 66:12). This peace too was dependent upon the obedience of the people of God. Unfortunately, for most people, life is more like the raging waves of the sea rather than the pristine flowing waters of a river. God in His grace desires to reward the obedient with peace like a river, but disobedience has its own set of unmanageable outcomes.
· (For children): Put some water in a bowl. Blow hard on it as though you were making waves. When we disobey God, our insides feel troubled like the raging waves of the sea. However, when we obey God, our insides feel calm and peaceful like the still water in the bowl when you quit blowing upon it.
· (For everyone): Have you ever sat down beside a gently flowing river? Did the sound of the water give you a sense of calmness? Do you enjoy that same calmness in your daily walk with the Lord?
· Would you describe your level of peace as a raging sea or a calm river? Do you feel as though your life seems more like the crashing waves rather than the peacefulness of gently running water? If you lack the peace promised of God, what do you think you can do about it?
· Ask the Lord to grant you peace like a river.
· Ask God to show you that peace is dependent upon obedience.
Song: It Is Well With My Soul
Sep 17, 2014
Wisdom for the Trials of Life
Read | James 1:5-8
At first glance, today’s passage on wisdom doesn't seem related to the subject of trials, but James is actually continuing His thoughts from the previous three verses. We need wisdom to know how to respond to suffering. This means we should see trials from God’s viewpoint and understand His purposes in allowing them in our lives.
If you want to profit from struggles, be sustained in them, and come through with joy and victory, you must understand the following truths:
1. God’s in full control of the timing and intensity of your trial, and He won’t let it go beyond the boundaries He has set.
2. He has a specific purpose for your suffering, which you may not understand until it is over.
3. This trial will be profitable if you submit to God and trust Him through it.
4. A trying situation is a chance for faith to prove genuine and grow stronger.
5. When you endure extreme pressure with unexplainable peace and joy, the Lord will demonstrate His sustaining power to a watching world.
6. The Father will use your difficulties to produce Christ-like character.
7. God will walk with you through trials.
8. The Holy Spirit will enable you to survive this and to come out a conqueror.
If you believe these principles, they will shape how you respond to difficulties in your life. This perspective eliminates the negative reactions normally elicited by trials and makes supernatural responses possible. Instead of feeling miserable and hopeless, you’ll experience amazing peace and joy.
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What Is Patience? (Monday, September 1, 2014)
2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
Have you ever heard that it is unwise to pray for patience? Since “tribulation worketh patience”(Romans 5:3), it is thought to be dangerous to pray for patience. The idea may be quaint, but it does not make for good advice. The word patience is historically connected to the word passion which is biblically defined as suffering (Acts 1:3). True to its association, the word patience means to suffer or endure some time of trial. No wonder doctors and hospitals refer to a person suffering from health issues as a patient. The Bible bears further testimony to these truths by associating patience with waiting (James 5:7) and enduring(2 Thessalonians 1:4; James 5:11). The Bible also combines patience with the word longsuffering(Colossians 1:11). These words may appear the same, but they are not. Longsuffering has to do with the quantity (or length of time) of endurance, whilepatience has to do with the quality of endurance.
· (For children): The apostle Paul spent time in jail because of his preaching. Instead of complaining, he sang songs of praise to God, wrote some books of the Bible, and told others about the Lord. Those who wait for something unpleasant to pass without complaining are truly patient.
· (For everyone): While in the midst of trials, do you endure those trials without murmuring? Are you able to give God glory through them? Are you patiently trusting the Lord to work in His time or in your time?
· Patience is not merely waiting on something but involves the manner in which we wait. What do you need the Lord to do in your life? Are you patiently praying for wisdom for what you need to learn through the trial?
· Ask God to show you whether or not you are patient.
· Ask God to build you into an example of patience.
Song: Day by Day
Sep 01, 2014
Eternal Life: Rest Assured
Read | Romans 3:21-24
Babies have the wonderful ability to fall asleep in the midst of great commotion. They close their eyes, untroubled by worry or fear. Our heavenly Father’s desire is that we would have the same sense of security about our life in Him. He wants us to live certain of our everlasting relationship with Him through Jesus.
Have you ever noticed that when babies become toddlers, fear begins to enter their minds? Many cry over small disturbances or become unwilling to leave a parent’s side. They seem unable to accept their mom or dad’s reassurance that everything is fine. Much of the time, their situation has not changed at all—they have the same safety and protection they had as babies—but they've lost their sense of assurance. They will not believe the one who knows the truth: their parent.
This is just what some of us do. We fail to believe the assurances given by our heavenly Father. At the moment of salvation, we entered into a permanent relationship with God through Jesus and received eternal life. But at times, we have trouble trusting that it’s true.
Certainty about salvation doesn't come from applying human logic. It is a matter of faith. Do we believe what God tells us or don’t we? Assurance grows as we believe God’s Word and no longer rely on our own thinking. First John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Believe the God-breathed Scripture and rejoice.
"Good people" don't get to Heaven, only saved ones do. Are you saved from your sins by true faith in Jesus Christ?