God Remains Patient with Our World

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9 NLT).

History is moving toward a climax. Why doesn’t God just shut the earth down now? Because he wants to demonstrate his grace.

The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent” (NLT).

God puts up with all the grief that he sees on this planet because he’s being patient. And he’s waiting for more of us to step across the line and start a relationship with him.

When somebody comes to you and says, “I can’t believe in a God who would stand by and watch people suffer,” here’s what you say: “I don’t believe in that kind of God, either. God isn’t that kind of God. In fact, you have no idea how much it hurts God when he sees all the sin on Earth. It hurts him more than anybody else! It grieves him when he sees what his creation is doing to each other.”

I believe in a God who one day is going to stop evil dead in its tracks. There’s going to be an accounting. One day he’s going to judge all evildoers, and he’s going to bring those in his family to live with him forever in a perfect place.

If you’ve never turned your life over to Jesus, I am confident you received today’s devotion because God wants you to hear this message. Jesus says in John 10:10 that he came to give us a full and abundant life, but we will only find that life by following him.

Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart?
Are you ready to receive God’s gift of grace to you? It’s a simple prayer that will tell God you accept the gift of Jesus.

Prayer:

“Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you were with me, even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me—that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me.

“I admit that I never even realized I needed a Savior, but today I want to receive the gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. I need you to take away the stress and fill me with your love. I need to be at peace with you, and I need you to put your peace in my heart.

“I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you created me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Use Your Resources to Encourage God’s Family

Love one another with mutual affection” (Romans 12:10 NRSV).

God wants you to invest in other people in God’s family. This is what I call the “Mutual Fund.”

The Bible says in Romans 12:10,“Love one another with mutual affection” (NRSV).

How do you invest in this Mutual Fund? By using some of your money to encourage fellowship, to build relationships, and to demonstrate love.

Anytime you give your money to God, it draws you closer to God. Anytime you give your money to someone, it draws you closer to that person. When you give money to people in your small group or invest in your small group, you grow closer to them. Anytime you write a note of encouragement, you’ve invested in the Mutual Fund. Anytime you prepare or buy a meal and take it to somebody who’s sick, you’ve just invested in the Mutual Fund.

Anytime you open up your home to your small group and you provide refreshments and that costs you, you’ve just invested in the Mutual Fund. Anytime you provide a babysitter for somebody who needs to go to a conference or retreat, you’ve invested in the Mutual Fund. When another believer is discouraged and needs somebody to talk to and you take that person out to lunch and pay for the meal, you just invested in the Mutual Fund.

You can give to God, and God says that’s storing up treasure in heaven. But you can also give to other people. God says that when you do that as an act of love, it’s like banking it in heaven. Anytime you use your funds to show love to somebody else in the family of God, you’re investing in the Mutual Fund.

Why should you do this? Why should you give to encourage fellowship? The Bible says, “This service you do not only helps the needs of God’s people, it also brings many more thanks to God. It is a proof of your faith. Many people will praise God because you obey the Good News of Christ—the gospel you say you believe—and because you freely share with them and with all others” (2 Corinthians 9:12-13 NCV).

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
Talk About It

  • How have people in God’s family invested in your life through their giving? What has been the effect on your life?
  • How might God want you to encourage other believers even if you can’t afford to give them money?
  • How do you think God responds to giving that is done without love?

You Need the Support of Your Spiritual Family

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5).

The Bible says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5).

God wanted more than angels and animals and plants. He wanted a family. The Bible says the whole reason you exist is because God wanted you to become a part of his family, and that family is going to last forever.

Your spiritual family, God’s family, is going to outlast even your physical family. Physical families don’t last. They grow up, they move away, they die. But the spiritual family of God is going to go on and on for eternity.

The Bible says that God never meant for you to go through life alone. In fact, God hates loneliness. When God created man, he put him in the Garden of Eden, a perfect environment, and the first thing God said was, “It is not good for man to be alone.” God wants you to be part of the family of God.

What is God’s family? “That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 NCV). The church, the body of Christ, is not an institution. The church is not a bureaucracy. The church is not an organization or a social club. The church is God’s family. It’s not about rules and regulations and rituals and religion. It’s about relationships. It’s about love.

The church is “the support and foundation of the truth.” What happens when a building has no support and foundation? It collapses. Those of us in California understand this more than most because we have earthquakes. If you don’t have a good foundation under your building, it’s going to collapse when the earthquake comes.

God says your life is the same way. You’re going to experience some earthquakes in your life—financial earthquakes, health earthquakes, emotional earthquakes, relational earthquakes, career earthquakes. When those tough times come along, you’re going to collapse if you don’t have a spiritual family to support you.

You cannot fulfill God’s purposes by yourself. God wired us to need each other. We need each other in the family of God.
Talk About It

  • God wants you to have the support of your spiritual family when life’s earthquakes come. How can you support someone in the family of God who is experiencing tough circumstances right now?
  • How do others in the family of God know the best ways to support you when you need it?

This Is How God Feels About You

”Long before he laid down the earth’s foundations, [God] had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love” (Ephesians 1:4 The Message).

When my three children were small, I used to sneak into each of their rooms at night and sit down by the side of their bed and just watch them sleep. I got so much joy from it! I’d watch their chests rise and fall. I found so much pleasure in watching them sleep peacefully because I was their father. They were created simply out of my love.

That’s the way your heavenly Father feels toward you. God looks at you, and he loves you simply because he made you.

The Bible says, “Long before he laid down the earth’s foundations, [God] had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love” (Ephesians 1:4 The Message). Before God even created the universe, he thought of you. The Bible says that the entire universe was created so God love us. We are the focus of his love, unlike the rest of creation—unlike animals or angels or stars or anything else. We were created to be loved by God.

If you ever grasp the profound truth I just shared with you and let it sink into your soul, you will never again have a problem with insecurity or low self-esteem. Because when you realize that God created the entire universe just so he could create the conditions for human beings to exist so he could create you and love you, it will take away all those feelings of insecurity. God created you in order to love you.

In Hosea 6:6, God says, “I don’t want your sacrifices—I want your love; I don’t want your offerings—I want you to know me” (Hosea 6:6 TLB). That’s the first purpose of life. The most important thing you can know is that God created you to love you. And the most important thing you can do in life is to know and love him back. That’s the number one purpose in life.

The tragedy is that most people go through their entire life missing the purpose of it. They know all kinds of things—stock quotes, sports scores, who’s on the cover of People magazine—but they don’t know God.

You may know about God, but do you know him personally? Do you have a friendship, a love relationship with God? If not, that’s the first step you need to take today.


Talk About It

  • In your life, what does it look like to have a friendship with God? Or if you don’t have that friendship, what’s holding you back?
  • How does your life look different as you find a deeper and deeper love for God?
  • What habits can help you know God better?

The Summary Of Obadiah

The book of Obadiah is a book of Prophetic Oracles. The prophet Obadiah wrote it. Its authorship is difficult to date but was possibly written about 853-841 B.C. or 605-586 B.C. The key personalities are the Edomites. The purpose of Obadiah is to show that God will judge all those who are against His children, His chosen people; Edom is used as the example of this truth.

Obadiah is only one chapter (the shortest book in the Old Testament) yet it tells of God’s prophet Obadiah as he announces God’s powerful and authoritative judgment on the nation of Edom. This is the fateful end of the nation of Edom. They had been in conflict with Israel since ancient times, in reality Edom is the descendants of Esau, Jacobs’s brother.

•    In verses 1-9, Obadiah declares the wickedness of the Edomites and gives examples of their pride, “In the loftiness of your dwelling place, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?” He proclaims God’s judgment on Edom, “Will I not on that day,” declares the LORD, “Destroy wise men from Edom and understanding from the mountain of Esau?” (vs 8).

•    Verses 10-14 tell of the transgressions and offenses of Edom. Implying that they should have acted like a brother who would stand for them, since they descended from the brothers; Jacob and Esau. “Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever” (vs. 10).

•    In verses 15-21, we read about the victory of Israel in the end, “Esau’s house will be as stubble” and “The house of Jacob will be afire” (vs. 18). Edom was utterly nonexistent by the 1st century A.D.

Fill Your Mind with Biblical Truth

A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (Proverbs 15:14).

If you want to become wise, the first thing you have to do is feast on God’s Word every day.

Proverbs 2:6 says, “It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding” (GNT).

You don’t get it from television. You don’t get it from the internet. You don’t get it from magazines. Wisdom comes from God.

The Bible says in Proverbs 15:14, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (NLT). You can either feed on truth or feed on trash. Whatever you fill your mind with is what’s going to come out—garbage in, garbage out. If you want to be wise, you’ve got to feed every day on truth, not trash.

There are three kinds of things you can fill your mind with: You can fill your mind with poison, you can fill your mind with junk food, or you can fill your mind with health food.

Poison is stuff that destroys your system. It’s bad for you. It takes you down. Pornography is poison. For instance, they may say, “I can watch that stuff. It doesn’t bother me anymore.” That’s the problem! When you can watch and read stuff that is profane, blasphemous, evil, vile, and abusive and it doesn’t bother you, you have a problem. You have become a fool.

Wise people protect their mind. They put on the helmet of salvation. They don’t just allow anything into their mind. They keep the poison out.

Junk food is neither good nor bad. It just has no nutritional value to it. Most of the stuff you see on tv is not evil. It’s just junk food. It’s what I call stuffing. But the problem with stuffing is that when you stuff yourself with stuffing, you have no hunger for truth. If you watch TV for four hours, your mind is full of empty calories that don’t help your body or your mind.

Health food is nutritional food. It helps you grow and maintain your health. It is truth, and the wise person feeds on truth. It makes you wiser—in your relationships, your time, your money, your business, your parenting, your marriage, and every other area of your life.

The first place you need to go to fill your mind with truth is God’s Word. The more you develop the habit of spending time each day reading and studying the Bible, the wiser you will become. 
Talk About It

  • What kinds of junk food do you allow to fill your mind?
  • What difference do you see in your day when you spend more time watching TV and on the internet than you do in God’s Word?
  • What practical step can you take today that will help you make your quiet time with God a priority?

God Is Never In A Hurry

Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed” (James 1:4 The Message).

Be patient with God and with yourself. One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life.

Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.

The Bible is filled with examples of how God uses a long process to develop character, especially in leaders. He took 80 years to prepare Moses, including 40 in the wilderness. For 14,600 days Moses kept waiting and wondering, “Is it time yet?” But God kept saying, “Not yet.”

Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering. Be patient with the process. James advised, “Don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed” (James 1:4 The Message).

Don’t get discouraged. When Habakkuk became depressed because he didn’t think God was acting quickly enough, God had this to say: “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” (Habakkuk 2:3 TLB).

Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. Years ago people wore a popular button with the letters PBPGINFWMY. It stood for “Please be patient. God is not finished with me yet.” God isn’t finished with you, either, so keep on moving forward. Even the snail reached the ark by persevering

Talk About It

  • What are some lessons you have learned when God has delayed something in your life?
  • What do you think God wants you to do when you get discouraged with his timing?
  • How can you show patience with others like God is patient with you? How can you encourage people today in their spiritual growth?

Create a Spiritual Growth Chart

“It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off”(Hebrews 2:1 The Message).

As you grow to spiritual maturity, you will have to cooperate with God in the process.

One way to do that is to believe God is working in your life, even when you don’t feel it. Spiritual growth is sometimes tedious work, one small step at a time. Expect gradual improvement. The Bible says, “Everything on earth has its own time and its own season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 CEV).

There are seasons in your spiritual life, too. Sometimes you will have a short, intense burst of growth (springtime) followed by a period of stabilizing and testing (fall and winter).

What about those problems, habits, and hurts you would like miraculously removed? It’s fine to pray for a miracle, but don’t be disappointed if the answer comes through a gradual change. Over time, a slow, steady stream of water will erode the hardest rock and turn giant boulders into pebbles. Over time, a little sprout can turn into a giant redwood tree towering 350 feet tall.

Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. This is not a diary of events, but a record of what you are learning. Write down the insights and life lessons God teaches you about him, yourself, life, relationships, and everything else. Record these so you can review and remember them and pass them on to the next generation (see Psalm 102:18 and 2 Timothy 3:14).

The reason we must relearn lessons is that we forget them. Reviewing your spiritual journal regularly can spare you a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache. The Bible says, “It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off” (Hebrews 2:1 The Message)

Talk About It

  • How have you seen yourself grow in spiritual maturity in the last month? The last year?
  • What season of spiritual growth are you in right now?
  • What are some ways that you can keep a spiritual journal without having to use pen and paper?

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