God Changes Us

This week, Pastor Rick began a new series, Life is hard, God is good. May the following scriptures and devotional reflections assist us in allowing God to develop our trust in His goodness when we encounter challenging times. 

Monday – Luke 22. 27-28
When we think about Jesus going through trials, we often think about the last few days of His life. But this passage indicates Jesus went through many trials throughout His life. Even before His actual trial and crucifixion, Jesus affirms His disciples as “those who have stood by me in my trials.” In our tough times, we need others who will stand by us. And when others go through trials, they need us to stand by them. After reading this passage, think about those who have stood by you and give God thanks for them.

Tuesday – 1 Thessalonians 3.2-4
We often view tough times as something “out of the norm.” But in today’s passage, Paul reminds those in Thessalonica of something they “know quite well”—that “we are destined for trials” (v. 3). Have you ever thought about the fact that we are “destined for trials”? How would our thinking and actions be changed if we accepted the fact that trials are really not avoidable but rather, inevitable—part of our "destiny" in this life?

Wednesday – 2 Thessalonians 1.3-5
Have you ever “boasted” about another person’s tough times?  Probably not, but perhaps you have boasted about how another person was handling their tough times? That’s what Paul says about the Thessalonians in this passage. “We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” Do you know someone who is handling their trials remarkably well? Brag on them today.

Thursday – 1 Peter 1.6-7
If we go through a tough time and know it is for a purpose, we can endure it better. Have you ever had to suffer for a purpose? Perhaps going through chemotherapy in order to defeat cancer?  Or having to live frugally in order to save for some important goal, like college?  Peter tells us in this passage that the way we endure tough times proves the “genuineness of our faith” and results in “praise, glory, and honor” when Christ is revealed. Ask yourself, “Does my faith prove itself genuine in how I handle tough times?”

Friday – 2 Peter 2.4-9
Peter has a lot to say about trials because he went through a lot of them!  In this passage, Peter alludes to the story of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Lot. God brought judgment on the city, but rescued Lot. Peter reminds us that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.” God not only knows how—He also knows when. Take comfort today in the assurance that God knows both how and when to rescue you. God is seldom early, but He’s never late.

Saturday – 2 Corinthians 4. 7-12, 16-18
You think you’ve had troubles? Look at the list of woes Paul endured and contrast his woes with how he bounced back: “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” What was it about Paul that allowed him to bounce back? It was his vision! He had his eyes fixed on the eternal unseen rather than the afflictions seen. When you endure trials and tough times, what are your eyes focused on?