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Hebrews 12:4-7 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

I am struggling with a major disappointment in my life at the time I am writing this. It is in a situation where I feel very betrayed by an agency that was supposed to bring an improvement into my life with a whopping price tag. But the improvement is not an improvement at all, it has become a hindrance.

I have the faith to believe that God disciplines those he loves. If this is his discipline then I am willing to adjust my paths accordingly. But I can’t help but question that this is one of those situations. I hope my readers will pray with me on this as it really has me depressed.

I feel the need to return to the prayer I mentioned in a very recent post: Lord, don’t let this hardship go to waste. Let me learn what you would have me learn through it.

Many of the comments I made in that earlier post are appropriate for today’s scripture as well, so I encourage my readers to read it by clicking here. The last section of that post especially focuses on how God disciplines us as his children because he loves us.

A part of me feels guilty about not writing a more upbeat post today. But my heart says, not. It is time for Christians to admit when it is hard. Being a Christian doesn’t turn us into sugar coated cookies. It is for real with daily situations that are sometimes very hard to deal with. But God loves us and knows what we can endure. He knows how much pain he can trust us with. So as I sniffle like a child, yet I will trust him with all my tomorrows, and I will wait to see what tomorrow will bring and how he will bless it in the end.

AMEN

 Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:18-31  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

The impact of Solomon’s words in verse 18 is a reflection of the wisdom God gave to Solomon. In spite of all the great craftsmanship and the elaborate construction that went into the building of the temple, Solomon knew that the completed house of worship could never contain the totality of God himself. God’s spirit could indwell the temple and it would certainly be a holy place. But it could only limit God to expect him to allow himself to be contained in the temple.

Solomon continued to pour out his heart in prayer for the people who would come to the temple. He prayed for justice among his peoples and forgiveness for the repentant. He prayed that the people’s hearts would be teachable when God’s discipline brought famine or other afflictions upon them, bringing them to repentance, followed by God’s forgiveness and healing. Solomon prayed that as a result of their afflictions, repentance, and forgiveness, the people would learn to fear God and walk in his ways.

There are many truths we can take away from these verses.

  • We cannot put God into a box. We can search the scriptures to learn about him, and sometimes it may stretch our minds beyond where they want to stretch. But we must never assume that the almighty God we worship must fit into a shape or form that we can understand fully. If he could, he couldn’t be God – we would be greater because we could contain him.
  • We should regularly pray for God’s spirit to indwell our churches, that God’s presence would be so strong that it would bring conviction on those who would do wrong.
  • We should pray for teachable spirits among our church members so that they would recognize situations when personal hardships or disaster is brought on by the hand of God to bring them to repentance for some grievous sin. (I am not saying that every such disaster is caused by our own great sins, though more often than not God will use our hardships to teach us something we need to learn.)
  • We should pray for members to come to God with a repentant heart that they may know the cleansing freedom of his forgiveness.
  • We should pray that Christians will have a healthy fear of God, that they may always walk in his ways and enjoy a growing relationship with him forever.

Father God, may we never tire of praying for our churches that they may truly glorify you. May your spirit indwell every worship service, that those who are in your house will feel your presence. May those who worship you with a right heart be filled with your refreshing joy. May they leave your sanctuary as salt and light that will draw others to you. And Lord, may those who come into your heart with wrong motives, or with sins they are trying to hide, may they feel the conviction of your presence. May they feel their hearts laid bare before you that they will repent in shame, receive your forgiveness, and then discover the true peace that comes from having a clean heart before you, the same peace that had been waiting for them from the beginning.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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