Monthly Bible Reading Plan - August 2022 - Seasons of Suffering
After a six month hiatus, we will be studying and discussing seasons of suffering. Whether Christians want to admit it or not, those called to be disciples will experience suffering. It’s how we respond in those seasons that help us grow our faith and grow closer to God.
While some may promise that a life following Christ is filled with blessings, the truth is, there will be heartache, setbacks, disappointments, and many moments in the valley. However, there will be victorious mountain top moments as well. But what do we do when we are in the valley?
How we respond there determines whether we will be victorious or not. We can choose to run from trouble, or we can choose to bring our troubles to God. It is our hope that as you study this devotional daily, you begin to see that there is purpose to your pain, even if it has yet to manifest in your life.
It is our prayer that you would use your season of suffering to draw closer to God and encourage others in Christ.
Day 1: 1 Peter 5:10 - Firm Foundation
💜 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Firm Foundation (He Won’t)" by Cody Carnes. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💛 Daily Verse: “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”
~ 1 Peter 5:10 NLT
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: I can vividly remember the moment I gave my life to Christ. The first thing I was told was, “get ready to fight! The devil’s gonna come after you now!” While that made no sense in my mind, and I certainly didn’t receive it cheerfully, I now understand what that person meant.
Some people say that the moment we accept Christ, we simultaneously place a target on our back. While the enemy of our souls would love to get the glory, the truth is, he is merely a checks system put into place for us by God. Stay with me for a moment. Don’t let your flesh pull you away! 😇
The enemy is not omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), or omnipresent (always present). He doesn’t have limitless power like God. He doesn’t know everything. And he cannot be everywhere at once.
We see his limitations quite clearly in the Book of Job when he is seen going to and fro between earth and heaven (not omnipresent) and has to wait for God to mention Job in order to ask to sift/test Job (not omnipotent or omniscient). When God brought up Job, Satan accused Job of only being devoted to God because he was blessed. So God allowed Job’s faith to be tested by allowing Satan to do anything to Him but afflict Job directly.
God, being omniscient (all-knowing), knew the heart of Job and knew he would pass the test. I believe God allowed it for additional reasons as well - to increase Job’s dependence on God, increase his wisdom of who God REALLY is, and bring blessing in abundance.
What the devil meant for bad, God meant for good!
The same is so for us! God is not vindictive. He does not gain any ounce of pleasure from seeing His children suffer. However, He does allow it for our betterment and benefit. Our suffering enhances our faith and knowledge of God. When we see God move on our behalf and answer prayers, we get to evidence God’s comfort, support, restoration, and strength.
The trial you are now facing isn’t meant to kill you, friend! It’s meant to make you stronger! It’s meant for you to realize the faithfulness of God! Remember, if the foundation of a home isn’t sound, the entire structure falls apart. Likewise, if the foundation of our faith isn’t strong, we waver with each wave of suffering that comes our way. But when our foundation is firm, and we understand God is on our side, we can withstand ANY storm knowing He won’t fail!
💙 Additional Reading: Job 1
🙏🏻Prayer: Father God, thank you for my season of suffering. Thank you for not only teaching me the lessons you desire for me to know, but thank you for the promise of eternal life due to the finished work of Christ Jesus. Thank you for giving Your only Son to save me. Thank you, Yahweh, for restoring, supporting, and strengthening me! I will praise you in the storm because like the song says, I know you hold every tear in Your hands and use those tears to water the seeds of next season’s harvest. I am amazed by your power and presence. Thank you for calling on me, and thank you for setting me on a firm foundation. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 2: Romans 5:3-4 - Rejoice
💜 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Rejoice" by Andrew Ripp. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💛 Daily Verse: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
~ Romans 5:3-4 NLT
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: Imagine celebrating that which society views as a hindrance. The word used here for rejoice in the Greek is καυχάομαι “kauchaomai” (kah-kow-my). It has two meanings; 1. to take pride in something & 2. to make a boast about something.
So, how do we go from complaining about our season of suffering to rejoicing in it? Well, when we can understand that these seasons produce an endurance or steadfastness, that cannot be produced any other way, we gain character traits (fruit of the spirit).
As Paul explains, endurance produces strength of character. This doesn’t mean that we are strong, but what Paul is actually referring to is that our endurance proves our character as a disciple of Christ. This means that our endurance leads to the fruit of the Spirit which testifies to Christ’s saving grace in our life.
All of this, in turn, gives us hope that while our season of suffering may be difficult, we won’t always be suffering. Even if we aren’t set free from suffering on this side of heaven, when we realize our hope is in Christ—that He is the author and finisher of our faith, we realize we can withstand any storm.
💙 Additional Reading: 1 Samuel 17
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, thank You for every season. Even the seasons I’m not comfortable with. Your ways are higher than my ways and Your wisdom much greater than I can imagine. I am so thankful that You always do what’s best for me, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I rejoice in the fact that like Christ, I suffer, for in my trials is where I’m closest to Jesus. Lord, thank You for not leaving me in the fire but dancing in the flame with me. I know I can endure anything with You by my side! I am in awe of Your goodness, and Your endurance. You never gave up on me and always pursued me. I am eternally grateful and will faithfully serve You all the days of my life. Lord, please provide supernatural strength to each person facing a season of suffering, those in the valley…give us Your joy Lord. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 3: 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT - Comfort
💚 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "He Is" by Crowder. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
🤍 Daily Verse: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
~ 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
🧡 Let’s Talk About It: This season I’m transitioning out of has not been an easy one. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes, you can do everything right, and things just may not happen as you’ve seen them happen for others. I know some of you know what I’m talking about!
I’m talking to the woman who’s watched every single one of her friends have babies while she can’t get pregnant. The one who’s done everything suggested, but still suffers from the emptiness of a quiet home not filled with the cackle of a laughing child.
I’m talking to the former addict who is doing their best to stay sober when every demon and principality in their area is placing every hindrance and distraction in their path in order to get them to fold and sink back into bondage.
I’m talking to the veteran who’s watched all his/her buddies come back from combat and find jobs and move on with life only to wonder why he/she can’t cope, feels guilty for even being alive, and/or can’t close his/her eyes without seeing the lifeless bodies of the innocent lives lost, entrenched in another price of war…a fractured mind.
God doesn’t always protect us because He’s going to use us to speak life into someone else who will go through what we’ve gone through.
During this past season, while I’ve been contending for my healing, my step daughter was needing advice. Answering her questions concerning very adult situations, I remembered walking through a similar situation.
It was then, as I shared the outcome of my decision when I faced the same situation, that I realized why I had to suffer. Maybe she wouldn’t have to go through that because she could make a better choice. The hurt I felt, maybe she wouldn’t have to feel that. And if she made the same choice I did, and would feel the hurt, I would be there to walk her through it because I would know exactly what she was walking through.
That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks! Our seasons of struggle don’t just help us build our faith and get closer to God, they also give us opportunities to comfort others as God has comforted us.
I’m not sure there’s anything better than having someone understand what you’re going through, encouraging you through it. It means so much when life has beat you down. So, if you’re in a season of suffering, allow me to encourage you that nothing is wasted with the Lord! Not one thing, especially the hardest things. He specializes in using our hurts in order to comfort the hurting.
❤️ Additional Reading: Psalm 34:18, 2 Cor. 4:9, Isaiah 30:21, Isaiah 43:4
🙏🏻 Prayer: Abba, thank You for loving me like only You can. Thank You for comforting me when I fear, doubt, become anxious, or worry. Holy Spirit, thank You for dwelling in me and leading me in all truth. Thank You God, for comforting me. I know You catch every tear I cry. I am so grateful for Your mercy. Thank You for loving me lavishly! In Jesus name I pray, amen!
Day 4: 1 Peter 4:12-13 - Refining
💙 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Oceans" by Hillsong. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚 Daily Verse: “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.”
~ 1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG
💛 Let’s Talk About It: So far, we’ve talked about how our seasons of suffering can help grow our faith, understand who God is at a deeper level, and allow us the opportunity to comfort others the way we have been comforted. However, our seasons of suffering are also seasons of refining.
My husband reloads ammunition and casts his own lead bullets. It’s one of his favorite hobbies. However, he can’t just take the lead as it comes and start making bullets.
The lead is filled with impurities of all different kinds, so in order to make it useful, it has to be heated up to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit. As it is heated, impurities begin to float the the surface, and as they do, he scoops them out and stirs up the pot.
He doesn’t just scoop one time. He sits there for a long time just stirring and scooping, stirring and scooping. Then, once all the impurities have been removed, he must mold the lead into the specific shape he needs to make the specific bullet he is making.
Sometimes though, bad weather starts to roll in and he only has time to remove the purified lead and turn it back into bars. In this case, in order for it to be used, it will have to be heated again.
The same is so with us and our Christian walk. We don’t receive the gift of salvation and instantly become like Christ. Sure, we can change the way we dress, the music we listen to, the habits we have, etc. but if we’re doing it out of obligation rather than conviction, no change is really being made.
Religion tries to tell us that if we change what’s on the outside, the inside will change, but God understands that in order to be like Christ, our ungodly ideas, habits, mindsets, etc. have to be removed. We can’t hold on to those impurities and be useful to the Kingdom. When we change on the inside, that which is outside will naturally change.
So, God turns up the heat. He stirs the pot. He removes everything that is not pure and holy in order that we may be used. If you find yourself in a season of suffering, it may actually be a season of refining, and that, my friend, is something to get excited about because the manifestation of God’s glory is just around the corner!
💜 Additional Reading: Zechariah 13:9, Isaiah 41:10, Galatians 6:9
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, I am in awe of Your goodness and power. I see that seasons of suffering aren’t done in order that I may suffer but in order that I may be refined. Thank You for turning up the heat and removing the impurities within me. Thank You for trusting me to do Your work. I want to be useful to Your Kingdom, Lord. Use me, for I am a willing vessel. I trust Your process and I am thankful that You don’t desire to leave me how You found me but that You are molding me into the image of Your Son, Christ Jesus, the Anointed One. I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and I put my trust in You, Lord. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 5: 1 Peter 2:21 - Our Example
🧡 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Weary Traveler" by Jordan St. Cyr. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
❤️ Daily Verse: “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”
~ 1 Peter 2:21 NLT
🤍 Let’s Talk About It: While Peter’s original audience for this message were slaves, those of us who are Christians have become slaves as well, slaves of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22). Therefore, it is important to remember that we are to emulate Christ.
As the verse for today says, Christ is our example. However, in the Greek the word used for example is ὑπογραμμόν (“hupogrammon”) which means underwriting and refers to a piece of writing a student reproduces. So, Peter is explaining that we are to reproduce the actions of Christ, but it is actually deeper than that.
In a culture that was largely illiterate, not everyone could read, let alone write. So, to copy someone else’s work was a painstaking process. There were no laser copiers in the first century. It was time consuming and exhaustive.
Sounds similar to our walk with God at times, especially when we are called into unfamiliar territory. We are running a race, but it isn’t a sprint. It isn’t even a marathon. It’s a decathlon! There are seasons of sprinting, dashing, standing still, jumping over hurdles, and everything in between.
So how did Christ respond to suffering? Submission. He simply understood that God was in control and knew that the Father would enact justice on His behalf when the time is right. He remained fixed on what He was called to do and left the details to God.
We, as the body of believers, are called to do the same. We are not always treated fairly. Sometimes bad things happen to good people—it’s the byproduct of a broken world. But we too, have hope knowing that God will enact justice in His perfect timing.
Remember, there’s nothing you will be called to do that Christ was not called to Himself. If you find yourself in the midst of a difficult season, I encourage you to emulate Christ and remember, you’re in great company, sharing in the sufferings of Christ!
💚 Additional Reading: 1 Peter 2:22-25, Romans 8:29, 2 Timothy 1:9
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, I thank You for using my season of suffering to help me better understand Your ways. I know You have a good plan for my life and no level of suffering can undo what have arranged for those who love You. I especially appreciate that You are re-wiring my mind to not look at seasons of suffering from a personal standpoint but a Kingdom perspective. When I understand that I am simply one piece You are using to bring the Gospel message to the world, I understand that I have a purpose and it is for Your glory. Help me to remember to be like Christ in my trials—a willing servant who is patient and joyful during testing and/or refining. In Jesus name I pray and give thanks, amen.
Day 6: Romans 8:17 - Conditions and Glory
💙 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Holy Ground" by Passion. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚 Daily Verse: “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”
~ Romans 8:17 NLT
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: Conditions. The truth is, we don’t like to talk about them however, conditions are a part of life and something we learn to look for.
Think about it, if I were to come up to you and say, “here are the keys to my car. Take it, it’s yours,” what would your reaction be? Perhaps you’d ask, “what’s the catch?” or “what’s wrong with it? Surely it doesn’t run if you’re giving it away.”
We’ve been conditioned to conditions and for good reason, the blessings of God are conditional in nearly all circumstances.
Want to go to heaven? The condition is that you must believe Jesus is the Son of God who died and was raised to life three days later and profess such (Romans 10:9-10).
Want to share in the glory of Christ? Well friend, we must share in His sufferings then. But what does this mean?
We live in a world that says there is no truth, or worse, that truth is subjective; a world that calls the Bible a book of man-made lies rather than Holy Spirit inspired truth. We must understand then that when we stand for the truth (God’s Word) and the claims it makes, we will face opposition.
Sometimes we lose jobs because of our faith. Sometimes it’s relationships. At other times, it’s family members, material possessions, and the like.
It isn’t always easy living for Jesus, but oh is it worth it! We may be walking through a season of suffering, but the glory that awaits us overshadows our current circumstances and gives us hope that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for God is with us. He is for us, and He is bringing comfort, strength and peace in our time of need.
💜 Additional Reading: Matthew 19:29, Psalm 23
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, thank You for teaching me how to endure the valley as it makes the mountain top so much sweeter. Lord, I understand that I must suffer as You suffered if I expect to see Your glory, so thank You for teaching me that. I thank You God, that Your ways are higher than my ways. I am grateful, Holy Spirit, that You didn’t leave me as You found me, but that You continually help me become more like Christ. Thank You for every blessing, Lord, those I can see and those I don’t even know about. I trust Your process and submit to Your ways. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 7: 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT - Suffering for Glory
🤍 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Who Else" by Natalie Grant. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💛 Daily Verse: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT
🧡 Let’s Talk About It: Since last Thursday, I’ve had a toothache. If you’ve ever had one, then you know it’s agonizing and all consuming. I have been working towards returning to work since June. Three fingers were broken and I’ve been doing occupational therapy to get my range of motion back.
I had just let my boss know I could return when this new hurdle popped up in my path. Can I be honest? My first inclination was not to praise. It was not to give thanks. My first inclination was to ask, “why me?!” And think, ‘not again!’
But the truth is, why not me? What have I done that excludes me from the sufferings this life holds for each of us? I was glad this verse was the one I was writing about today because let me tell you, I am preaching to myself!
Our lives are like wisps of wind…here today and gone tomorrow. In fact, if I close my eyes, I can go right back to when I was 5 in my mind and it feels like yesterday.
The truth is, like Paul says, this present trouble I have won’t last long. I won’t be reflecting on this toothache in eternity. No, there are far greater things that will consume my thoughts then. So, I choose to think about those things now…those things of heaven, those things that are noble, pure, and true.
It may not take away my pain, but it will ensure my focus remains on Christ alone. It is only then that His glory will shine brighter and my life can be an example to others of the power of God and His faithfulness towards those who put their trust in Him.
No matter how great your pain or suffering is today, friend, remember, it won’t be this way forever and while we wait for this season to pass, we can cling to Christ knowing this too, will be turned to good for God’s glory.
❤️ Additional Reading: Philippians 3:10-11, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 91:2
🙏🏻 Prayer: Dear Lord, You are my strong tower, my place of safety, my refuge in times of trouble. When I am attacked from all sides, I know You are with me, protecting me. While I do not understand the why, I know it is for the glory of God that I face insurmountable odds and suffering. I praise You for who You are Abba, not because life is without difficulty. I thank you for using my season of suffering to call me closer to You, Lord, and while it may not make sense, I know all things will be revealed in heaven. Thank you for keeping me in perfect peace, even in the midst of turmoil. There is none like You, God. May this season enhance our intimacy And draw me closer to You than I have ever been before. I love You and in Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 8: 1 Peter 4:12-13 - Mind Over Matter
💚 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "For God Is With Us" by for KING & COUNTRY. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
❤️ Daily Verse: “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
~ 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT
💙 Let’s Talk About It: Peter begins this portion of His epistle by telling us not to be surprised. The Greek word he uses here, ξενίζεσθε (“xenizesthe”) means to cause a strong psychological reaction through introduction of something new or strange. Therefore, Peter is warning Christians to be mentally ready for persecution.
Let’s face it, many times we find ourselves suffering, the mental attack is greater than the physical, even if we are contending for healing in our bodies. This is because the enemy knows the power of our mind.
Neuroplasticity is the study of how the mind continuously changes based on our thoughts. Negative thoughts breed disease and death while positive thoughts breed life. It is not an immediate process, however. Negative thoughts breed anxiety, depression, etc. and those mood disorders and negative thoughts disable our immune system, allowing us to succumb to sickness more readily.
Many in our culture believe our thoughts control us, but the truth is, we control our thoughts. This is why the battlefield for Christians (and nonbelievers as well) always begins in the mind. If we take our focus off God and the promises contained in His Word, it’s easy for us to believe the fiery arrow of a lie headed our way.
But Peter is reminding first century Christians, and those of us submitted to Christ now, that we should expect it and not only expect it, but rejoice in it because it brings us closer to Christ. To suffer is to understand what He went through and not just sympathize (understand) but empathize (feel) with what He went through for our sake.
This further helps us identify with Christ and reminds us that we have the hope of fellowship with Him, being glorified with Him, and reigning with Him. Those who, like Job, prove that their faith is sound and true by staying faithful during seasons of suffering are found to be worthy to receive these blessings.
I know seasons of hardship are not easy. They are not painless. They are not quick in many cases (heaven doesn’t operate on our time but God’s timing), but they can be celebrated when we understand that God uses them to draw us near and uses those seasons to teach us how to hear Him more clearly.
Allow me to encourage you today, there is reason and purpose to your pain, even if it isn’t obvious now. God will answer your “why?” in due time. Remain faithful. Remain true. God is for you and He is with you!
💜 Additional Reading: Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Timothy 2:12
🙏🏻 Prayer: Abba, thank You for being so good that You use the bad in my life to bring about good. Thank You for knowing what’s best for me and for every promise that reminds me that You are good, and faithful, and true. Thank You for giving me a mind that can be changed. I don’t have to keep my stinking thinking and I’m grateful for that! Thank You for teaching me that suffering is not something to run from but embrace for as I embrace it, I embrace You and what You went through, Lord. Thank You in advance for my healing and my recovery. While this season has felt long and arduous, I know it isn’t much in terms of eternity. I thank You for allowing my hard seasons to be used to draw me closer and hear You at a deeper and more profound level. I want to be closer to You Father, and I understand that may mean that I suffer. It is well. May Your will be done. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 9: 1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT - Don’t Give Up
💛 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Don’t You Give Up On Me" by Brandon Lake. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚Daily Verse: “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
~ 1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT
🤍 Let’s Talk About It: Many of us want to leave a mark in this world. Many are striving to make their name well known. Unbeknownst to many, the way to be revered and praised is to suffer AND REMAIN FAITHFUL through it.
Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? The more we make Christ known, especially in the midst of suffering, the more we will be celebrated alongside Him when He is revealed to the whole world.
So, what are you striving for? Are you fighting demons that come with sickness, addiction, hate, rage, depression, and/or anxiety with faith and reliance on God or are you giving in and giving up because things aren’t going the way you thought they would go?
Suffering gives us the opportunity to put what we’ve learned into action. What we do in FAITH will last for eternity, so make it last! Walk in faith! Be a light! Remain faithful! Good is moving on our behalf, even if we’ve yet to see the manifestation of His work.
❤️ Additional Reading: Romans 12:12, John 16:22, Job 23:10, Isaiah 48:10
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving me the opportunity to exercise my faith. Lord, I understand that in order to have a quick response in times of great sorrow or stress that I must be so used to doing something that it becomes second nature. Allow my faith to rise so that when life begins to throw detours on my path I remember that I can remain faithful and bring Your name glory. I can do nothing without You, Holy Spirit, for I know You are convicting me and cleansing my mind from my former ways which will allow me to be better equipped and able to co-labor alongside You. Help me to remember when I am tempted to think otherwise that You know exactly what I am going through and it will be turned for good in Your perfect timing. I praise You and pray in Jesus mighty name, amen.
Day 10: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT - HopeFULL Not Hopeless
💙 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Promiseland" by TobyMac. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
🧡Daily Verse: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT
💜 Let’s Talk About It: These troubles Paul is speaking of in this passage are both physical and mental struggles. While many of us can relate to this due to life circumstances, Paul is actually referring to the demands of ministry.
Paul had previously referred to those chosen in ministry as fragile jars of clay containing treasure (v.7). He then gives us four pairs of terms to express this idea.
Jars of Clay
Not in despair
While we are the jars of clay, the precious Holy Spirit that is always at work within us (God’s power demonstrated) is the treasure Paul is referring to. He is who keeps us from being crushed, in despair, abandoned, and/or destroyed.
Interestingly enough, the word perplexed means being in a state of confusion. The Greek word used here for despair, “exaporeomai” means lacking all hope or positive counterbalance. This means, even when we get to the point that we cannot make sense of our circumstances, it is impossible for us to become hopeless. This is due, in large part, to the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Even when we are in hopeless situations, we don’t give up because we have treasure within us. Additionally, we must keep moving forward in order that we may share this treasure with others.
We must come to the point in our walk where we learn to trust God, even when everything doesn’t make sense. We must get to the point that we understand God uses the bad alongside the good so that we can testify and help others on our journey.
As disciples of Christ, we must understand the focus of our life is no longer ourselves, but that the focus of our life is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Introducing others to Him, His love, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy is necessary for people to understand who He is. He didn’t walk around pointing the finger at sinners, but he did call out the self-righteous.
This may not be an easy season for you. Perhaps you’ve been rocked by the passing of a loved one. Perhaps the dream you’ve been working toward has not yet come to fruition. Perhaps your financial situation is dire. Be encouraged that though these things are difficult, they will not overpower the treasure within you.
They won’t even deter you from the plans and purpose God has for your life. In fact, they may be exactly what God uses to bring you closer to Him than you’ve ever been. God brings beauty from ashes and uses the broken pieces of our life to create a beautiful mosaic of restoration.
💚 Additional Reading: Isaiah 61:3, Matthew 5:3-12
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father, we thank You for everything you do. Thank You for making us and giving us air in our lungs to praise You with! We cry out to You today because we are facing situations that are out of our control. However, we know You are in control of all things. While we see ourselves blessed, there are some with real needs that they desperately need met. Lord, I lean on Your Word and declare that those who mourn will be comforted, those who are merciful will be shown mercy, and those who are poor in spirit for the Kingdom of God is theirs. We know that our ways are not Your ways. We thank You t for our treasure. May Your will be done, Lord. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
Day 11: 2 Corinthians 1:7 NIV - Comfort From Christ
❤️ Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "With You" by Elevation Worship. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💙 Daily Verse: “And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
~ 2 Corinthians 1:7 NIV
🤍 Let’s Talk About It: Comfort from the Lord is all that can really comfort us during our seasons of suffering. There will be people who the Lord can use to speak life into us—to remind us that if He’s done it for us once, that He will do it again, but our endurance to continue to walk in faith through all circumstances, even the most difficult, comes from the comfort of Christ.
Honestly, who else could comfort us like He can? When we think about what He went through for us, it has a two-fold outcome. One, we become thankful that we have not had to endure what He went through. Two, we can better relate to what He went through and understand that though we wouldn’t ask to be in the position of suffering we find ourselves in, there is good that will come from it.
I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but God is for you, even in the midst of suffering. Don’t run from Him. Run to Him. He’s waiting to comfort you in your time of need.
💛 Additional Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, thank You for the opportunity to praise You and be an example of Your love today. Forgive me for doubting your goodness towards me in the difficult seasons. Thank you for bringing Your divine comfort when I need it most. I am so grateful to be Your child, Abba. You take good care of me, and I am grateful. May Your will be done in my life. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 12: 1 Peter 4:1 NLT - Finished With Sin
💚 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "The Anchor" by Crowder. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
🧡 Daily Verse: “So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”
~ 1 Peter 4:1 NLT
❤️Let’s Talk About It: God has always called His priests to live a pure and holy life. Don’t believe me? Go back to Leviticus and see the requirements of the Levitical Priesthood and you will see that there were high standards expected of them. Some of those standards were to be adhered to by the High Priest alone, and in turn, they had access to God at a greater level.
Likewise, those of us who have been called by God are also asked to give up aspects of this world that do not go hand in hand with where God is leading us and/or our calling. We suffer for His namesake. Oftentimes we look at suffering from a physical perspective, but the truth is, it can be mental or spiritual as well.
Mindsets that need shifting, ideas that are not Christian but touted as such, and our own boxes built for God need to be broken down at times so that truth can penetrate our soul and faith can flourish. However, Peter is speaking of a physical suffering here.
When we decide to suffer for God’s Kingdom, it is a sign we are not willing to hold on to sin. Think about the intercessors and watchmen who cover their homes, towns, states, and this nation—they face storms due to their offensive and defensive strategies waged in their prayer closets. Their willingness to suffer for the Kingdom earns them treasure they will have waiting for them in heaven.
Or Pastors who face persecution because of their willingness to shepherd, cover, and protect their flock. Anyone who has ever participated in ministry or even an outreach can understand the target individuals have on their back as soon as they accept the call.
However, like Peter suggests, our suffering has another purpose—it burns away our inclination to sin. It burns away our worldly desires and sets our hearts on Christ and His Kingdom objectives.
If you find yourself in a season of suffering, may I encourage you to look deep within? Perhaps there is something God is trying to get to you—a shift in your thinking, or increased faith to believer for greater. Whatever the reason, the pain you may be experiencing is not for nothing. While I wish I could tell you your why, this is something God will reveal in His perfect timing. Just trust that He is for you and He is faithful, no matter what the season you find yourself in.
💜 Additional Reading: Leviticus 8:34-36, Leviticus 10:8-11, Matthew 6:19-21
🙏🏻 Prayer: Dear God, I am so thankful for Your lovingkindness. Your ways are higher than our ways and I am thankful for that. I thank You for giving me a desire for purity and holiness. Lord, I understand that there are many purposes to my suffering and I trust that this season is burning away every sinful inclination in my heart. Forgive me for desiring my own ways before Your ways God. Give me a heart after Your own. Renew my mind and help me to focus on accomplishing Your will first and foremost. If this means I may walk through storms, I do so willingly for Your glory. I thank You for the opportunity to grow in love and faith. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 13: Romans 8:18 AMPC - Suffering Becomes Insignificant
💚 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "The Father’s House" by Cory Asbury. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
🧡 Daily Verse: “[But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!”
~ Romans 8:18 AMPC
❤️Let’s Talk About It: The Word Paul uses here in the Greek for suffering is πάθημα (“pathēma” - path'-ay-mah). While it means suffering, it can also mean that which one suffers or has suffered; externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction.
While we may be going through a trying time, the truth is our suffering holds no comparison to the coming glory of Christ. Because of this, we can view our sufferings differently than those who suffer without Christ. Firstly, we DO suffer WITH Christ. He is with us through every trial. That can be quite comforting as we understand there is a higher purpose to our pain.
Secondly, once we understand we are not alone, that there is a greater purpose to our pain, and that because we suffer with Christ we will share in his glory, our present trials slink back into insignificance.
Remember friend, what you’re going through today is not going to last forever. There will come a time when you won’t even view this season of suffering in the same way. There will come a day when you will look back at your current season and thank God for the lessons you’ve learned, or perhaps the mindsets that were broken and exchanged for godly insight.
This is not the end of your story because we as servants of Christ understand that the story isn’t over if the story isn’t good.
💜 Additional Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Colossians 3:4, Matthew 5:11-12, 2 Thessalonians 2:14
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father, I am so thankful that when calamity strikes, I can run to You and find comfort, strength, endurance, and even increased faith. As crazy as it may be, I thank you for every single trial for I know that there is purpose to every ounce of pain and suffering. Thank You Christ Jesus for never leaving me nor forsaking me. You are the most steadfast friend one could ask for and I am grateful to have You to walk through life with. Thank You for giving me the strength to continue standing in faith, especially during my difficult seasons. I could not stand if it were not on Your firm foundation. I am grateful to be Your child, and I even more grateful to be Your friend. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 14: 2 Corinthians 1:5 NLT - Comfort Through Christ
💚 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "So Close“ by Brandon Lake. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
🧡 Daily Verse: “For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.”
~ 2 Corinthians 1:5 NLT
❤️Let’s Talk About It: I am part of a few Christian groups on Facebook, and while I don’t usually post or comment, I saw a post yesterday in which someone asked, “Why does God allow His children to suffer?” I remember asking this question myself, and remember the confusion within me over the subject.
In fact, there is an entire aspect of Bible college that deals with these types of questions and more; it’s called Apologetics. Never the less, I said a prayer for the individual, that God would allow them to receive answers as He did me when I heard the Holy Spirit speak, “tell them, remember Job, defend the Word and the character of God but do so in love.”
So, I commented and provided much of the information I’ve provided throughout this month’s devotion. Nearly immediately I was met with a “YOU’RE WRONG! People suffer because of the choices they make!” While this can be true in some circumstances, it most certainly isn’t true in all cases.
I know many people who have suffered due to the sinful actions of others. I also happened to be one of those people. I also know people who suffer because of their choices. I happened to be one of those people as well. Rather than attack back, I asked questions to see where this thought held its basis. After countless times of asking this individual to back up their claims with scripture, I was met with continual dogma (a Christian belief derived from doctrine, not scripture).
Rather than get caught up in a theological debate, I said another prayer and left the conversation, allowing the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of that individual. I had done what God asked. I defended His Word and character. It was up to the faith and wisdom of that person and the work of the Holy Spirit to bring revelation.
The truth is, sometimes we do cause our suffering. Type 2 diabetes is caused be many factors but overeating or eating the wrong foods and lack of exercise is usually the primary issue. Liver failure is seen in alcoholics more so than the general public. Our choices do have consequences, however, even though this is the case, God doesn’t leave us to suffer alone.
No, rather He comfort us. He offers advice on how we can better help ourselves; like eating right and exercising for those dealing with type 2 diabetes or quitting drinking for those suffering from liver failure due to alcoholism. He isn’t as flippant as we are. PRAISE GOD!
Maybe you’re the reason you’re in your current trial. Maybe you’re not. The truth is, either way, there is a God that loves you enough to help you out of your mess, whether your actions led you there or not.
He doesn’t want any of us to suffer, which is why He sent His Son—so we could come back into relationship with Him and find comfort, peace, joy, and spend eternity with Him in which all pain, grief, and turmoil is terminated.
It is only through Christ that we find comfort. If you need comfort today, reach out to the Father. He is waiting and He is faithful to provide!
💜 Additional Reading: Psalm 94:19, 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, Isaiah 43:4
🙏🏻 Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your Son, Jesus. Thank you Lord, for giving me breath in my lungs this morning. This is the day that You have made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. My God, I am so grateful that You saw fit to save me because that opened the door for me to call on You when I need comfort. While I will not ever understand the reason for suffering in its entirety, I do know that it is for my betterment, someway, somehow. I trust Your ways that are higher than my ways. I trust You, God. Continue to lead me and thank You for reminding me I am loved. I love you, and in Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 15: James 1:2-3 NLT - From Trials to Trust
💙 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend " lI Will Follow“ by Chris Tomlin. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
❤️ Daily Verse: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”
~ James 1:2-3 NLT
💛Let’s Talk About It: Let’s face it, the life of a Christian is a life of paradoxes. Here we have James telling us that when we face trials, we should do so with joy. This is the opposite reaction that the culture of the world would suggest. It is also the opposite of what most of us have even learned.
Think about it, as a child, when we face consequences from our parents, it’s for breaking the rules or doing something we shouldn’t. We don’t get grounded for getting straight A’s. However, James is reminding Christian Jews that even though they live in a pagan world and face trials, they should rejoice.
Our trials show us where our faith is lacking, and a lack of faith is equivalent to a lack of trust. So, our trials show us where we need to trust God more. This, in turn, increases our endurance.
The disciples are great examples of how we should view trials. When they began being persecuted, they rejoiced because they realized they were walking in the literal footsteps of Christ. He was persecuted for saying He was God. The disciples were persecuted for being followers of Christ. Christ’s allegiance led to persecution, and if we’re serving God with all of our being, it will lead us to persecution as well.
But don’t let this obscure your walk or slow down your progress. Rather, remember, if they persecuted Christ, we should expect the same treatment and rejoice when we receive it for we know that God has something much greater in store.
No one could have thought good could come from the crucifixion, but God is so good that even evil can’t beget evil once He has skin in the game. Whether you’re walking through a trial right now or not, the time will come when you are, friend.
Remember, God may be testing to see the reaction we have…do we trust Him or do we complain? Are we contemptuous and believe we’ve been punished or do we realize that something bigger is at play for the glory of God?
As a child of God, He is always for us. Don’t let your season of suffering provoke you to think otherwise!
🤍 Additional Reading: Acts 5:39-42, Hebrews 12:1-3, Romans 8:31-32
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father, thank You for calling me Your child. Thank You for teaching me that persecution isn’t punishment. Your ways are higher than our ways and even though I struggle to understand at times, You are patient and loving and gentle and I thank You for that. Thank You for allowing me to see where my faith may be lacking and for teaching me, through tangible lessons, how to increase my faith, increase my trust in You, and gain endurance in this race You’ve called me to run. You are my God and Your praise will continually be on my lips. Help me to remember these things when I face trials, Holy Spirit. I thank You for helping me mature, and in Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 16: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT - He is Strong
💙 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Glorious Day“ by Passion. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
❤️ Daily Verse: “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT
💛Let’s Talk About It: As we wrap our study on what the Bible says concerning suffering this week, we must remember one precious truth from scripture—when we are weak, He is strong!
I grew up going to church with my grandparents when I spent the night over at their house. I remember they would have gatherings where everyone would just get together and worship, almost karaoke style; people would bring their instrumental tracks and play them while they sung.
My fondest memory was when my grandpa had me come up to sing “Jesus Loves Me”. I couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 at the time, so I didn’t truly understand what I was singing, but as I prepared for today’s devotional this memory flashed in my mind along with the particular lyrics “they are weak but He is strong.”
Another paradox of the Christian faith is the willingness to proclaim our weakness. Paul explains this is due to the fact that as we proclaim our own weakness, we can better boast of the power of Christ at work within us. Our society will say one should never admit fault, but as believers when we admit ours weakness, it allows others to see the might and power of our God.
I do not claim to know what I’m doing when it comes to art. I was told at a very young age that I shouldn’t even try, that I just wasn’t created to create. That stayed with me for over 25 years until that still small voice of the Holy Spirit told me that I needed to begin to paint. Like Sarah, I laughed and said, “I wouldn’t even know where to begin.” God responded with, “I know what to do, and I will teach you. I just need your hands.”
Now, four years later, I understand that while I’m not an artist in a traditional sense, I’ve been given a gift of prophetic art. I take no credit as the Holy Spirit paints pictures in my mind that I try to replicate, gives me colors to use and ideas, and even detailed directions on what brushes to use or how to swipe the brush to create certain effects.
The art created during my prayer and worship is straight from the throne room. I cannot take credit. I am simply a submitted vessel; no different than an Evangelist called to the share the Gospel on the streets, a missionary called to a foreign land, or a Pastor called to protect and shepherd a flock.
Most people aren’t born understanding how to serve in these callings, yet as believers filled with the power of God, they operate in those areas, and if they are truly submitted, make it look easy to operate in their respective calling.
This is because what we are actually witnessing is God working through them, and friend, there is nothing more powerful than the power of God. When He speaks, things come into existence from nothing.
So, what are you struggling with today? Allow me to encourage you that though it may look like weakness to you, it is actually the power of Christ being perfected within you.
🤍 Additional Reading: Isaiah 40:29-31, Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 4:16
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, thank You for teaching me that it is ok to boast in my weakness for in doing so, Your power is better displayed. I am so grateful for Your precious Holy Spirit that guides and directs me. I may not always be able to understand Your ways, as they are higher than mine, but I know that they are good, so I trust Your plan for my life. Thank You for using me to teach others about Your Word, may people only see You and Your anointing and power. I am but a submitted vessel. My life is Yours, May Your will be done. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 17: 1 Peter 5:9 NLT - You are Not Alone
🧡 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Together“ by for KING & COUNTRY. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚 Daily Verse: “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”
~ 1 Peter 5:9 NLT
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: You are not alone! There are many suffering for Christ this very moment. Those in some parts of the world suffer at greater levels than we do here in the West. Some Christians are persecuted for merely saying the name Jesus.
Many Christians in the Middle East, China, and other nations are hunted down and killed. Those in China hold services in the middle of the night. They play no fancy instruments to worship. They merely use their voices to praise YHWH.
When we look at what other Christians go through and when we look at what Christ went through, our suffering pales in comparison. Pain in our body doesn’t seem to hurt so much when we appreciate the fact that we are still alive to feel.
One of the greatest ways I’ve found to help me through my seasons of trials is to read about those in the faith who have come before me. People like Smith Wigglesworth, A.W. Tozier, and Corrie ten Boom, just to name a few.
Their books filled with testimonies of how God impacted their lives and ministries are faith-building and they remind us that though we may feel as though we are in a cave, we are not alone. There is a God who loves us that is always by our side and there are brothers and sisters in the faith that are going through their own trials walking right alongside us.
You are not alone. If you feel that you are, can I encourage you to shoot me an email or PM me on Facebook or IG. We are one body and while I may not have the answers, I can remind you that there’s another in the fire. And if He is for us, who can be against us?
💜 Additional Reading: Daniel 3:16-29, Romans 8:31
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, thank You for never leaving me nor forsaking me. Thank You for giving me sisters and brothers in the faith that I can walk through trials with. Thank You for reminding me that I am never alone, and for Your precious Holy Spirit that dwells within me. Lord, I pray for those who may not have many saved friends they can turn to when life gets hard, help them make connections. Lord, if anyone reaches out to me in their time of need, help me to respond in love as You would, Jesus. I am grateful for every season, even the most difficult ones. In Jesus name, amen.
Day 18: 1 Peter 4:16 NLT - Called Christian
🧡 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "You Raise Me Up“ by Josh Groban. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚 Daily Verse: “But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!”
~ 1 Peter 4:16 NLT
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: While we wear the title of Christian proudly as believers today, this was not always the case. In fact, in the first century, the term “Christian” was known to be derogatory as those who were known to be “followers of The Way” became known as “Christians”.
As Peter suggests, it is a privilege to be called by His name. This is due in large part to what Christ means; it is the Greek term for the Hebrew term Messiah. Messiah (and Christ) mean Anointed One. Therefore, to be called a Christian is to be referred to as anointed.
Let’s face it, we don’t feel very anointed during our season of suffering, but aren’t you glad we don’t operate or walk in our feelings?! We operate and walk by the Spirit. He is not fickle like our feelings. Thankfully, our anointing doesn’t change based on our feelings. We are still anointed by God, even when we don’t feel like it.
However, the enemy of our souls loves to take advantage of our feelings. He would have us believe that what we feel is more real than who we are. Realistically, though, our mind controls our thoughts and feelings, our feelings do not control our mind.
You may be in the midst of a season in which you are struggling. Remember, you are still chosen. You are still loved. You are still a friend of Christ. You are still a citizen of heaven. And friend, you are still anointed! Receive it and believe it, today, Christian!
💜 Additional Reading: Hebrews 12:2-3, Philippians 1:20, 1 Peter 2:12, 1 Peter 4:14
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father, thank You for another day. Thank You for creating me, all of us really, with a mind that can think for itself. I am not at the whim of my emotions, no, the joy of the Lord is my strength. Today, I choose to walk in my anointing, even though I don’t feel anointed. I choose to walk in love. Help me to remember Jesus, that my anointing comes from knowing You and that my mind is more powerful than what is the matter. I thank You Lord, for creating me and fashioning me in this way in order that I control my thoughts, they don’t control me. Thank You for the mountain tops, but I thank You as well for the valley for it is there that I am closest to You. I love you, God. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 19: 1 Peter 4:19 NIV - Commit Yourself
🧡 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "For All My Life“ by Taya. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚 Daily Verse: “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
~ 1 Peter 4:19 NIV
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: There’s an old adage in our culture that states, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I’m not sure where this cliché comes from, but I do know that it’s not true. In fact, the opposite is true. We go through the valley so that we will draw nearer to God.
The truth is, He does give us more than we can handle ourselves, but once we surrender to Jesus and His Holy Spirit, God helps us carry the weight of that which we are holding. In fact, He takes it from us, as if we are yoked together. He takes on the full weight of our obstacles, whatever that may be.
This is actually quite amazing because as He frees us from the burden, we are free to praise, pray, and devour the Word of God. These are our weapons. However, carrying more than we’ve been designed to carry impacts our ability to do just that.
So, remember, if things get heavy, hand them over to Jesus. Praise Him, even in the midst of your storm. He never promised us an easy life, but He did promise to be there with us through every single part of it, especially when we’ve been given more than we can bear.
One more interesting fact before I leave you to meditate on this verse yourself, the word here “commit” means to “to entrust yourself for safe keeping”. When we understand God is in total control, even during seasons of suffering and trials, we can trust that He has a plan. It may not make sense to us, but praise God, He knows what He’s doing!
💜 Additional Reading: Psalm 37:5, Psalm 146:5-6, Psalm 138:8
🙏🏻 Prayer: Dear God, I am grateful that You give me more than I would take on myself if asked because I know that what You have me walk through is not only for my good, but for Your glory. I thank You for using seasons of suffering as stepping stones in character building. I commit myself to You Lord, knowing that You have every detail already figured out. I trust You and believe that though it is uncomfortable and it doesn’t make much sense now, that You will bring revelation in Your perfect timing. Help me to see the beauty in this season. Help me to mature in You, Lord. You are a good God and I am grateful to be called Your child. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Day 20: Romans 8:28 NLT - For the Good
🧡 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Better Word” by Leeland. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💚 Daily Verse: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
~ Romans 8:28 NLT
❤️ Let’s Talk About It: Let’s face it, as believers we have the assurance that all things will work for good, but we don’t always sense this experientially. This, I believe, is because we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and the human experience is filled with stress, heartache, grief as well as love, joy, and excitement.
It is interesting how this verse is translated due to that fact that in Greek it literally says, “to the ones who love God He works all things together unto good”. This verse is not a blanket promise to all people. It is for those specifically who love God.
This is due in large part to the fact that He is using our tough experiences to mold us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. The seasons filled with trials aren’t meant to stop our progress. God is not sadistic, nor does He enjoy seeing His people upset. Not at all! Our experiences are woven together with every aspect of our life, good and bad, even aspects experienced before we encountered grace.
However, like a good Father disciplines His children and sets boundaries and limitations for their health and safety, our Heavenly Father does the same for us. His rules aren’t rules. They are safeguards. The enemy wants you to view God’s safeguards as limiting beliefs that hold you captive to religious regulation. The truth is quite contrary. His safeguards free us from being trapped and ensnared in sin, sickness, and death.
Nevertheless, our seasons of suffering have purpose. Even if we don’t understand it now. Our desire to live for God and our willingness to do what He asks doesn’t always lead us to mountain tops of prosperity, notoriety, prestige, or worldly possessions and/or accolades. No, for many of us, it leads us to the Cross where we lay down our burdens and yoke ourselves to the One whose yoke is easy and burden is light.
As we end this study and reading of what the Bible has to say about suffering, I feel the unction to remind you, dear friend, that though you may fall at times, the Bible reminds us that as righteous men and women we may fall, but we always get back up.
So get up, dust yourself off, God is walking with you every step of the way and when He’s finished with your story, you can rest assured it will be good!
💜 Additional Reading: Proverbs 24:16, James 1:2, Galatians 6:9, Romans 11:29, Philippians 3:14
🙏🏻 Prayer: Father God, I thank You for the opportunity to study Your Word and encourage others in the same way You have encouraged me. Thank You Jesus, for laying your life down so that I may be saved. Lord, forgive me for the times that I let my seasons of suffering take my eyes off of You and Your goodness and kindness. Your lovingkindness endures forever and I am grateful to be called according to Your purpose. Teach me how to endure trials with more joy, generosity, and mercy towards others. Remove any cynicism, stoicism, and apathy within me. Burn away every inclination to judge anyone other than myself. Search my heart, oh God. I know you have a plan and purpose for my life, even if I can’t make sense of it all in this moment. Holy Spirit, thank You for doing a wonderful work within me. Be my guide for all the days of my life. Set a fire in my soul for the things of God, purity, and holiness. You are good and I love you. In Jesus name I pray, amen.