The following is a devotion from a Bible reading plan on "Joy" by Oswald Chambers:
God’s blessings fall, like His rain, on evil and good alike. The great blessings of health, genius, prosperity, all come from His overflowing grace, and not from the condition of the character of the recipients. For instance, if health were a sign that a man is right with God, we should lose all distinction as to what a good character is, for many bad men enjoy good health.
There is a difference between environment and circumstances. Every man has his own environment; it is that element in his circumstances which fits his disposition. We each make our own environment, our personality does it for us. Happiness means we select only those things out of our circumstances that will keep us happy. It is the great basis of false Christianity. The Bible nowhere speaks about a “happy” Christian; it talks plentifully of joy. Happiness depends on things that happen. Joyfulness is never touched by external conditions.
Reflection Questions: How does adversity affect my joy? Do I measure God’s love by His blessings to me?
Quotations taken from God’s Workmanship and The Shadow of an Agony, © Discovery House Publishers
Does your character proclaim a beauty that is rooted deep within?
God's view of us is to look at our hearts. He already knows what's there. (Luke 16:15)
What God already sees in your heart is soon seen by everyone else around you.
An example of commended character... a woman whose story is familiar to all of us.
She was commended by God.
Definition of commend:
to recommend as worthy of confidence or notice
If the Lord was to look down on you right now and, seeing your heart, give a brief summary of the character flowing from your heart, what would He say?
This is a portion of a lesson on the heart, coming soon in pamphlet form.
"When I was a sinner, I was crazy. Now, I'm crazy for God!"
The statement above was a quote from a conversation I had with my uncle last week. We were discussing how God had used each of us to do what we never thought we would do. Him to pastor a church and youth center and myself to teach others of a passion for God at home and abroad.
When using the word crazy, he wasn't meaning an outrageous show in the church but a description of our fervent manner in worshipping our Savior and showing others the truth of the Gospel.
As we talked about our experiences he looked at me several times and would say,"You're crazy, too, aren't you?" I just grinned and let him take a guess. Ill admit it, many times I've felt the impression that God wanted me to do something out of my comfort zone and different in the eyes of others. Each time I have obeyed that prompting, I've felt His hand on me so strongly and witnessed unforgettable results.
Something I learned in my short time of working in the ministry is... "You must take drastic measures to get drastic results". If we aren't desperate enough to want action, we won't arrive for it.
Ponder this for a minute: How is it that we can scream and holler for our favorite team on the field or from behind a plasma screen, but when we enter the church doors we suddenly become shy or embarrassed to lift our hands or our voice?!
Are we guilty of the same denial as Peter had of Christ; to claim absolute faithfulness until we feel our reputation is threatened?
Are we to let the hate-filled sinners scream over us in the name of tolerance, or will we dare show them the light of the Gospel?
We are meant to be a separate people. Of course, they're gonna think we're crazy. Beyond the fact that we ARE different, what can they say about YOUR conduct and YOUR character that makes them want to change?
Just some thoughts from the "crazy" mind of SEV. ;)
At the start of the year 2013, I sat down to write a list of life goals. At the top was a dream that had been burning in my mind and my heart (so I thought)- to open a print shop. I saw it begin to miraculously accomplish when I was given all machines needed by my uncle at no charge until I was able to get it up and running. They sat in storage during the long and hard winter while I sought for a place to use them.
This year proved to be especially busy and time seemed to rush me into finding a way to start my own screen printing business.
There was a feeling in me that knew God was wanting me to take my time.
A few weeks ago, the Randalls, missionaries to Taiwan, came and delivered a powerful and moving presentation. When I left the altar that night, my destiny had changed.
Here's a glimpse into my journal entry that night:
"Tonight I learned a valuable lesson; goals and dreams are good to have but they are not worth our calling. Sometimes, God allows us to pursue a goal but may keep us from accomplishing it for a reason unknown to us. Such as when David dreamed of building a temple for God but that task was passed to his son.
I know now that my goal is not my calling... to fulfill my calling is my goal.
We had an amazing time in service with Cody & Hannah Randall on August 6th. Cody was so passionate about their work and spoke with such conviction on "the Sleeping Church."
At the closing of the service, the Lord spoke through several messages, most of which contained the words "strength" and "surrender". That's what had my attention. I've been SO stressed and worried over so many things this summer that God's reminder of His strength nearly broke me. I didn't realize I had anything left to surrender until I arrived at the altar. God impressed on my heart to sell the print shop and use the money to work for Him, whether by the distribution of my writings to Latin American countries or by just being a help to others. It would give me the opportunity to do more missions work, take GEM'S to a higher level, or further support the local church.
I'm trusting God to work out the rest.
When I said "Yes!" to God and "No" to fulfilling a goal on my life goal list, there was a great burden lifted!"
On that very day, He had already provided. My dad's cousin had just arrived from Texas to see my grandparents. It was the same cousin who had called my uncle a few months back to buy the machines. I had refused to sell at that time but now... Well, you know the answer. They were in search of exactly what I have and are interested in purchasing. All I'm waiting for now is to know that they accept my price but I have peace knowing that I have fully accepted the call.
Saying "No" to a dream has never felt so good!
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 23 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 27 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.