God Intends It For Good

God Intends It For Good

Genesis 50:20“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – It is often hard to understand some things that happen in our lives.  When they are happening, we see only the negative and despair because of it.  But God has a plan for our lives, and even the “bad” things that come into our lives will be used by God for some good that will outweigh the bad.

My Advice – Bad things happen to all of us.  You do not have to be happy about them.  But you can be assured that God will somehow use it for a greater good, whether it is developing our character, being a witness for others, or something else.  Sometimes the good that comes (and we may never know about it in this life) could not have come about any other way.

Never Alone

Never Alone

Genesis 40:20Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.  But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – God never deserts us.  We may not feel His presence, because of the circumstances, but He is there.  And as bad as it might seem, the burden is less than it might have been because He is helping us bear the burden.

My Advice – Whatever situation you find yourself in, be encouraged that God is right there with you.  Try focusing on that eternal truth, rather than on the temporary circumstances.  You will be surprised to find how much it helps your attitude and your ability to bear up until, when the time is right, God delivers you.

Afterthought

Afterthought

Genesis 32:7, 9In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people. Then Jacob prayed. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – How typical of us when we encounter danger or difficulties. Our first reaction, Like Jacob, is to take matters into our hands, by planning and taking action to solve the problem or get out of the situation. Then, almost as an afterthought we bring God into it and ask Him to deliver us. At the very least, this is backwards.

My Advice – Always make it your first priority to seek out God in prayer whenever you face a problem or danger. Do what you can that seems prudent and consistent with God’s Word in the situation, but do not be afraid to wait on God for a solution before taking action. Because sometimes, our actions make matters worse rather than better.

I Got This One God

I Got This One God

Genesis 15:6, 8Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. But Abram said, “O, Sovereign Lord, how can I know?” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Abram believed that God could do the “impossible” (give him countless offspring when he was so old), but doubted He would deliver on the easy things (give him possession of the land). God is a God of the possible and the impossible, we should not doubt Him.

My Advice – Do not be reluctant to take both your hard and easy problems to God. We sometimes have a tendency to “do it ourselves” on the small stuff, reserving the big stuff for God. Often, the small things turn into big things that might have been avoided if we went to God at the outset.

A Dad’s Advice To His Son

A Dad’s Advice To His Son

When I was a kid we subscribed to the Chicago Daily News, a newspaper (like so many others) that no longer exists. On Sundays, my two brothers (and dad) and I could hardly wait for our turn at the Sunday comics. I’ve since grown-up (kind of) and have outlived many of those childhood comic strips. But I still enjoy a bit of “comic relief” now and then. Given that bit of nostalgia, I’ve decided that Sundays will be when I share my “amusings.” My first one relates to “A Dad’s Devotions.”

Below is an Arlo and Janis (one of my current favorites) comic that I included with “A Dad’s Devotions.” It is a stereotype of how a father’s advice is often viewed by young sons – ignoring it. In Joel’s case, unlike Gene, he has always been pretty good about seeking out and following his mom’s advice or mine. Following the strip is my introduction to the devotions.

Arlo and Janis by Jimmy Johnson
June 14, 1996

Arlo & Janis 1

Joel,
Things Joel might think or say about his Dad…
At 4 years old: My Daddy can do anything.
At 7 years old: My Dad knows a lot, a whole lot.
At 8 years old: My Father doesn’t quite know everything.
At 12 years old: Oh well, naturally Father doesn’t know it all.
At 14 years old: Father? Hopelessly old fashioned.
At 21 years old: Whoa, is that man out of date. What did you expect?
At 25 years old: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
At 30 years old: It’s amazing how wise he got in the last few years.
At 35 years old: We need to find out what Dad thinks about it.
At 50 years old: What would Dad have thought about it?
At 60 years old: My Dad knew everything.
At 65 years old: I wish I could talk it over with Dad one more time.

Author Unknown

These devotions are for that day.
My hope: that you will not wait for that day to read these pages to learn what I think. Hope does not disappoint.
My wish: that the advice will be a reminder of things you were taught and not a new revelation. Wishes can come true.
My fear: that you will find that I am better at giving advice than I have been at following it. Forgive me. Perfect love drives out fear.
My faith: that you will accept and follow the advice that is given and that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. Faith is being sure of what we hope for.

Congratulations on your College graduation (May 12, 2007).
Love and devotion,
Dad

Got Spiritual Milk?

Got Milk

 

Got Spiritual Milk?
Building Strong Bodies Twelve Ways – It Does the Body Good
Crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may [continue to] grow in [the Body]. (1 Peter 2:2)
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive. (2 Peter 1:8)

It’s Saturday, time to change things up a bit, and take a weekend break from a “Dad’s Devotions,” which will resume on Monday. “Got Spiritual Milk” is an illustrated Bible study that I wrote about twelve years ago. As you may have guessed, the title is a take-off on a popular advertising campaign from several years back that promoted milk sales. While approximately 96 percent of U.S. consumers believed that milk was healthy, and that they should drink more, sales had long been in decline. The campaign was an effort to reverse that decline.

From this, the idea for this Bible study on Discipleship was born. While most Christians believe that spiritual disciplines (Bible study, prayer, church attendance) are important for growth in the “Body,” in many cases these disciplines are in decline.

Over the next several Saturdays, I will cover twelve (an interesting number, don’t you think) vital steps to Spiritual growth from that study (condensed a bit and minus the illustrations). I wrote the study for those Christians who want to reverse that decline in their own walk of faith. We begin, naturally, with the introduction. Please feel free to click and comment so we can all help each other grow in Christ.

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The Holy Bible,
New International Version (NIV). Copyright 1973, 1978 and 1984,
International Bible Society.

Introduction – Growing In The Body
To this you were called…that you should follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

A: Discovering the Truth – Daddy, Where Do Disciples Come From?

Discipleship 1

To grow physically and learn the things in life that they need to know in order to get along, children initially rely upon others. At first Continue reading “Got Spiritual Milk?”

Letting Go

Letting Go

Genesis 12:1The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to a land I will show you.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – We always want God to show us what His will is and cannot understand when he “fails” to do so. Sometimes it is because we still want to hang onto what we have; not realizing that we cannot take hold of what He wants to bless us with if our hands are already full. He will show us, if we are willing to let go.

My Advice – Receiving God’s blessings will sometimes mean letting go of something we are clinging to. It may not be as dramatic as Abram’s story, but will most likely fall into one of two categories. The blessings He wants to give us are greater than what we have or He cannot bless us because what we are hanging onto is not good to begin with. Be willing to let go.