Do you realize how many people around you are in need of hope, light and a future?


Do you hear about it over lunch? Do you hear about it near the water cooler? Do you hear it in the restroom? Do you hear about it in conversations around your desk or office? Do you hear about it on the streets? Do you hear about it in your neighborhood? Do you hear about it in your community?

Are you listening? Are you listening to answer or listening to understand?

Are you ready to share the hope that is within you? Are you will to share the light that shines within you? Are you willing to share the plans of God to give people a hope and a future? Are you willing to tell people what Jesus is doing and has done in and through your life?

Do you realize there are desperate situations taking place around you? Are you willing to open your eyes, your mind, and your heart to know what’s going on? Are you willing to listen to what others have to say in order to understand better what is going on? Are you willing to come alongside them and help them along their journey? Are you willing to share Jesus who is the answer to giving people hope, giving people light, and giving people a future that goes beyond this lifetime!

As we prepare to jump into our reading for today, remember and consider the highs and lows of David’s life and how much he leaned on God in those desperate times! Consider where you are at and lean on Jesus! Consider where you are at and share Jesus with the people in need around you! Remember Jesus is the answer that gives people hope, light, and a future!


How to Deal with Desperate Times — Day 133: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 60:1-4, John 7:45-53, John 8:1-11, Judges 16, Judges 17


1. Hope despite apparent defeat … Psalm 60:1-4

Don’t lose hope…put your trust in God! Keep your focus on God and trust in Him as He will get you through the valleys, through the storms, and whatever is thrown your way when you try to walk in out in His strength! There are times when we will face trials of many kinds, but when we walk it out with Jesus, we can consider it pure joy! There are times when we will face troubles, but when we walk it out with Jesus, we can have hope because Jesus has overcome the world!

Today’s devotional speaks to what we have read from Psalms as follows…

Sometimes it appears God’s people are being defeated. While there is a great revival in many parts of the world, such as Asia; in Western Europe, for example, church attendance has been in decline. Churches get closed. Christian morals are no longer seen as important.

There are desperate moments in the history of the people of God. This psalm is a national lament after a conquest by their enemies. The people of God felt rejected. David says, ‘You have shown your people desperate times’ (v.3a).

He uses the image of an earthquake to describe the desperation and uncertainty they faced: ‘You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking’ (v.2). The same image is used today to describe turmoil in all spheres of life. The instability of the economy, corporate institutions, marriage and community are all often portrayed as shaking and fractured.

Yet, there is hope. David writes, ‘But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow’ (v.4). The Lord has designated a place where his people may find refuge under his protection and be confident in the Lord – even in desperate times.

–from Day 133: Bible In One Year 2017

 

2. Love rather than condemnation … John 7:45-8:11

There will be many people who are out for blood! There will be many people who are looking to condemn rather than forgive! There will be many people who lead with condemnation rather than love! But Jesus shows us that this isn’t His way! Consider the woman from today’s story! Consider the accusers who left from oldest to youngest, most likely because they had more wisdom about what they have done! Consider what Jesus might have been writing in the sand! Consider Jesus’ response to not only forgive her in love, but also to instruct her to go and live a new life! We can be our own worst critics! We know what things we have done and the devil is trying to rob us of the hope, the light, and the future God has for us by getting us to dig a hole for ourselves and to setup roots that would keep us from being able to move forward and grow up in the ways of the Lord! So let’s consider what Jesus is teaching us today and consider how we can take hold of the love, the light, and the future He has planned for us to be with Him forever!

Today’s devotional speaks to this reading as follows…

Is sex outside marriage acceptable? Or is it sinful? If it is, what should our attitude be to those who are guilty of sexual sin?

The debate about sexual ethics continues to fill our newspapers and other media today. The words of Jesus are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago.

The words of Jesus were the greatest words ever spoken, the kind of words you would expect God to speak. The temple guards declared, ‘No one ever spoke the way this man does’ (7:46). (It is so sad that some religious leaders failed to recognise him and regarded those who did believe in him as ‘this mob’, v.49.)

This woman, caught in the act of adultery, must have felt absolutely desperate. Despair can come from defeat. It can also come from moral failure. She must have been experiencing both – filled with guilt, shame and fear of death.

The condemners tried to ‘trap’ Jesus with a question (8:6). Jesus gives one of the most brilliant, memorable and often quoted replies in the history of the world: ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’ (v.7).

Jesus did not condone her adultery, nor did he regard it as the unforgivable sin. He demonstrated how easy it is to condemn others while being guilty of the same sins in our own hearts (vv.7–9). This can be applied to many areas of our lives. Before we criticise others it is worth asking ourselves whether we are ‘without sin’ in that area that we are about to criticise in another.

When we judge, accuse and condemn others, we project on to them what we refuse to see in ourselves.

As is often said, ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’ In the context of the debate about sexual ethics, as we look at our own hearts there is often a lot of glass around.

In the account of the woman caught in adultery, each of the condemners is convicted by Jesus’ words until eventually ‘only Jesus was left’ (vv.7–9). Jesus asks her, ‘Has no one condemned you?’ (v.10). When she replies, ‘No one, sir’, he says, ‘Then neither do I condemn you… Go now and leave your life of sin’ (v.11).

Guilt is a horrible emotion. Condemnation is a terrible state to be in. How amazing it must have been to hear the words of Jesus: ‘Then neither do I condemn you’ (v.11). Since he was without sin, Jesus was the one person there in a position to ‘throw stones’, but he did not.

There is an extraordinary balance and almost unique combination in the words of Jesus – full of wisdom and grace, mercy and compassion. Jesus could not be clearer that adultery is sin. Yet he does not condemn her in any way. This is the message of the New Testament. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). As a result of Jesus’ death for us on the cross, you and I are totally forgiven, however far we may have fallen.

Yet, this is not a reason to go on sinning. Jesus does not condone her sin. He says to her, ‘Leave your life of sin’ (v.11). Jesus does not condemn us. But he does say to us, as he said to her, ‘Leave your life of sin.’

Jesus’ words, as always, are motivated by love and compassion. We are called to follow his example.

It is easy to fall into one of two opposite extremes. Either we condemn people or we condone sin. Love does not condemn nor does it condone sin, because sin leads to people getting hurt. If we love, like Jesus, we will neither condone sin nor condemn people, but lovingly challenge people (including ourselves) to leave sin behind.

The Greek word for ‘to forgive’ also means ‘to liberate’. Jesus came to liberate us by the power of his Holy Spirit. We are liberated to love as God loves us. Forgiveness is at the heart of every relationship. It is the essence of love.

–from Day 133: Bible In One Year 2017

 

3. Faith in the midst of chaos … Judges 16:1-17:13

Remember Jesus saying “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.Remember Jesus saying “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the troubles, in the midst of the trials, we need to put our faith, our hope, and our trust in Jesus!

Will  you walk in obedience to God’s will and God’s way in order to walk under His covering and blessings and protection? Will you walk in obedience to God’s will and God’s way in order that in your weakness God’s strength will be revealed?

Today’s devotional speaks to this reading as follows…

These were desperate times. There is a refrain that runs through the book of Judges: ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit’ (17:6). This was a time of chaos.

In these desperate times God raised up judges like Samson. He led Israel for twenty years (16:31). He was one of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

Anointed by the Holy Spirit, God used him powerfully. However, he also had a weakness that led to immorality (sleeping with a prostitute, Judges 16:1–3) and deception (vv.4–10). Eventually, he pushed God to the limit through his persistent disobedience and ‘the Lord… left him’ (v.20).

Samson received extraordinary strength from God. But it was directly related to his obedience. God had told him not to cut his hair. So long as he obeyed God he would have supernatural strength.

However great a person of God may be, it is vital to remember that strength comes from God alone. Jesus said, ‘Without me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5, NKJV). Never rely on past victories but rather on God who gave them.

After persistent temptation, Samson gave in and told Delilah the secret of his strength – although it must have been obvious to him by then that she would take advantage of him. She cut his hair and his strength was gone.

Not only was the society chaotic, but also Samson reached a point of utter desperation in his own life. He was in captivity, he was blind and his captors were about to make a spectacle of him (Judges 16:21–25).

In the midst of his despair, Samson prayed to the Lord: ‘O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more’ (v.28). And God heard his prayer of faith. Even after all his failures, God still answered Samson’s cry. No matter what the situation, and no matter what you have done, it is never too late to turn back to God.

–from Day 133: Bible In One Year 2017

 


 

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