Page 196 – When Jesus told His disciples to get into the boat, He didn’t say, “I’m sending you into a storm, so get ready.” He didn’t even say, “You might want to have your lifejackets handy on this trip,” to give them a hint of what was to come. He did say, “Go…to the other side.” If God sends you to do something, He’ll make sure you get there, but that does not guarantee that it will be a smooth ride. In fact, obedience often leads to testing before it arrives at the blessing.
Excerpt from ‘The Heart and Soul of God’ by Dave Stone.
Page 192 – God is not ultimately concerned with life in this present world. He is preparing us for eternity. Our tears and our trials do not go unseen by God. Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Again, in 2 Cor. 4:17, he wrote, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
As you go through times of trial, always remember the eternal perspective. You may not see the good that they are producing in this lifetime. But your trials are never wasted. When you reach eternity, the glory they have produced in your life shall be revealed and you will be able to see that your trials really were working for you, not against you. Be encouraged, God is doing a good and perfect work in your life.
Page 188 – Hebrews 12:2 gives us the example of Jesus, “who, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” Did Jesus enjoy being nailed to the Cross? No! Did He enjoy the crown of thorns and the stripes upon His back? Certainly not! What then was His reason for joy? It was not the joy of the cross, but the joy that was set before Him because of what would happen after the cross. It was because He knew that through His death and resurrection those who believed in Him would be reconciled to God. That knowledge filled Him with a joy that gave Him the strength to endure the suffering of the cross.
Page 186 – James tells us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” To count something is to acknowledge it and give it a place of importance. When something doesn’t count, it means that it is not included or is not important. So, when James says to “count it”, he is referring to our trial and is telling us to take note of it as something to be included and considered important. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, what kind of trial it is, or where it came from. Do not ignore it. Do not despise it. Do not deny it. Count it. Consider it a tool in the hand of God.
Page 178 – Jesus showed total love, acceptance and forgiveness of Peter, and confidence in his commitment to do the right thing. “Feed my sheep,” Jesus instructed him. And then He said two words that all of us need to hear, “Follow Me” (John 21:19)
There is no better advice that that. If you want to know the best way to successful living, it is found in those two words. No matter what the situation is, just keep following Jesus. When you have accomplished something great – follow Jesus. That will help to keep you humble. When you have fallen flat on your face – follow Jesus. He will pick you up and put you on your feet again. Just keep following Jesus.
Page 171 – Dr. Sam Middlebrook once described God’s will in this way. Rather than being alike a blueprint that is all laid out at the start, it is more like a scroll that is unrolled day by day. If it is like a blueprint, and you make a mistake along the way, you mess up the rest of the plan and miss fulfilling God’s will. But, if it is like a scroll, God’s will for each day is determined by the decisions you make, or the decisions made by those around you, and you get a fresh start each day. His will is constantly being adjusted to your reality.
Page 168 – In his book How To Be Born Again, Billy Graham writes: “There is a well-known story of some men in Scotland who had spent the day fishing. That evening they were having tea in a little inn. One of the fishermen, in a characteristic gesture to describe the size of the fish that got away, slung out his hands just as the little waitress was getting ready to set the cup of tea at his place. The hand and the teacup collided, dashing the tea against the whitewashed walls. Immediately an ugly brown stain began to spread over the wall. The man who did it was very embarrassed and apologized profusely, but one of the other guests jumped up and said, “Never mind.” Pulling a pen from his pocket, he began to sketch around the ugly brown stain. Soon there emerged a picture of a magnificent royal stag with his antlers spread. That artist was Sir Edwin Landseer, England’s foremost painter of animals.”
Billy Graham continued, “This story has always beautifully illustrated to me the fact that if we confess not only our sins, but our mistakes to God, He can make out of them something for our good and His glory. Sometimes it’s harder to confess our mistakes and stupidities to God than it is our sins. Mistakes and stupidities seem so dumb, whereas sin seems more or less to be an outcropping of our human nature. But Romans 8:28 tells us that if they are committed to God, He can make them work together for our good and His glory.”
Page 163-164 – Satan is crafty, cunning, subtle, sneaky and a master of deception. He is a liar and the father of lies. He will tell us anything just to get us to fall into his snare. It might be that he will make things look pretty bad in order to destroy our faith in God. Or, he might make things look good in order to get us to do something we shouldn’t do. Even circumstances engineered by God can be misunderstood. That is why it is so important to know the Word of God and to learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit of God. Circumstances can help to guide us, but they can also lead us astray.
Page 163 – Walking by sight and not by faith is one of the most common mistakes believers make. We tend to believe our circumstances more than our hearts. To think that just because something looks good means that it must be right is a dangerous way to live. Circumstances can be very deceiving. Yes, circumstances can help to confirm God’ will, but we shouldn’t depend upon them as our main source of guidance.
Page 162 – As New Testament believers, we have a big advantage over the Old Testament saints. We have the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives. If we will learn to listen to His voice, He will warn us when things are not right.
Colossians 3:15, says to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts…” The word “rule” used here means to act as an umpire, to arbitrate or to decide. The peace of God should be the deciding factor in the heart of the believer. When we feel uneasy about something, it may be that the Lord is warning us to hold off… Take advantage of the Holy Spirit as your constant companion and guide. He can save you from making a lot of mistakes.