August 2008

Why does God allow suffering?

Story of the day:  Why does God allow suffering?

     On one of our many trips this summer, Jeff and I were asked the following question:  “Why does God allow suffering?”  This isn’t the first time that we have been asked this question.  Billy Graham writes that “it isn’t an easy issue, because it goes to the heart of our deepest questions about God.  After all, (the argument runs), how could a loving and gracious God allow suffering?  To put it another way, if God lets us suffer, He must not love us–and the proof is the suffering He allowed His Son to endure on the Cross. 

     So what then is the answer to this age-old question?”  The following answer comes from a “Christian man who has been an invalid all his life, one of those lonely and obscure people who live in constant pain, who do not know what it means to be able to use their physical body in any way without pain and suffering.

     “Lonliness is not a thing of itself, not an evil sent to rob us of the joys of life.  Loneliness, loss, pain, sorrow, suffering, these are disicplines, God’s gifts to drive us to His very heart, to increase our capacity for Him, to sharpen our sensitivities and understanding, to temper our spirtitual lives so that they may become channels of His mercy to others and to bear fruit for His Kingdom.  But these disciplines must be seized upon and used, not thwarted or opposed.  They must not be seen as excuses for living in the shadow of half-lives, but as messengers, however painful, to bring our souls into vital contact with the living God, that our lives may be filled to overflowing with Himself in ways that may, perhaps, be impossible who know less of life’s darkness.”

Quote of the day:  Yiddish proverb

“He who can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good.”

Bible verse of the day:  Job 37:1

“At this also my heart trembles, and my heart leaps from its place.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We all have questions, and as much as my little mind can’t understand things sometimes, it is very clear to me from Your Word that just as You laid the foundations of the earth, I wasn’t there helping You plan things!  I wasn’t there helping You determine the earth’s measurements or where to place it.  Father, I pray to not be conformed to this world.  I pray to see beyond this world and that the things that I am doing while here on earth on done with an eternal mindset.  Thank You for all the safe travels that You have given to me and my family over this summer.  Thank You for opening many doors and showing us Your steps and guidance throughout this move.  Father, as we continue forward with Your plans, may we not get distracted by lures that can quickly throw us off course.  May we continue individually and as family to bring our prayers to Your feet that they may be heard.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

May 2008

Spiritual Battle

                                                                                                     

Story of the day:  Spiritual Battle

In the past few weeks, I have come across a lot of people who have been experiencing some troubled times in their lives.  And although our troubles could probably not come close to what a man in the Bible named Job experienced, those tough times can be hard to cope with and often lead us to question why sometimes.  The following story puts theses times into perspective and left me encouraged so I thought I would share it with you all.  The short story is entitled Job’s Birthday and was written by Julie Ackerman.

“Death, divorce, and disease could be called the three D’s of misery.  They slice through life like a tsunami of sorrow, raising doubts and destroying dreams.

Recently, a friend and I agreed that the previous year was one that we both would just as soon forget.  Each of us had suffered one of the three.

Our conversation brought Job to mind.  In a short period of time, he lost his children, his health, his wealth, and his wife’s respect.  Job’s distress was so great that he pleaded, “May the day perish on which I was born” (Job 3:3).  Job wanted God to erase not just a year, but all memory of his existence!  He had enjoyed years of success and respect.  Now, he questioned the purpose of living (3:20).

Job wanted to die and be forgotten, but instead God made sure his name and story would be remembered forever.  Rather than give Job what he asked for, God gave future generations what they would need—an inside look at the spiritual battle between God and Satan.  The result is a God inspired document about suffering that has comforted countless people.

When what we fear actually happens, we know, thanks to Job, that God can use it for good.”

Quote of the day:  Our Daily Bread

“Our highest good may come from our deepest suffering.”

Bible verse of the day:  Job 42:2

“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for such a blessed weekend.  Father, I pray for those that may be experiencing rough times in their life today.  I pray that during these times that they call out to You and that You will turn their situation around and use it for good.  Father, there have been times in my life where I have called out to You and have wondered why, but because of Your faithfulness and the truth that was revealed to me, You stood by me through my suffering and I grew stronger because of it.  Because of Your Grace and Mercy, I know that when troubled times come, that You will be my Rock.  I thank You for this day and the promise of tomorrow!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen