I’ll admit it. My dog is spoiled. He has three dog beds throughout our house, but of course, he sleeps in bed with us at night. I bought him a doggy raincoat because he doesn’t like going out in the rain. He has an entire bin of dog treats in our kitchen pantry. Plus, if I’m eating something, chances are that he is, too. He loves peanut butter, cheese, cashews, chicken, and ice cream. I told you. He is spoiled.
As much as I spoil my dog, there are times—believe it or not—that he doesn’t get whatever he wants. I make him take a bath, despite how much he hates it. I don’t always let him get into everything that he wants to explore while we’re on our walks. I don’t let him play with every dog that he wants to meet. There are even times that I refuse to share my food with him.
There are times when I feel that my Heavenly Father is treating me this way. Whether it’s putting me through a pruning process that is uncomfortable for a period of time, holding me back from things I want to explore, or even taking away seemingly good things that I feel I deserve. When I don’t understand what He is doing in my life, I can’t help but ask, “Why, God?”
In Job chapter 38 when the LORD speaks out of the storm, He asks Job
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? … Who marked off its dimensions? Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together, and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).
Wow! What an amazing reminder of our God’s infinite power and wisdom. He laid the very foundation of the earth! We may not always see or understand all that is going on around us, but we can trust that God is always in control. When we find ourselves asking why, we can trust that His ways are always good, even in the midst of the storm!
When I withhold something from my dog, it’s never without reason. I don’t share certain foods with him because they’re not safe for dogs to eat. I don’t let him get into certain things outside that I know will make him sick. I keep him away from dogs that aren’t friendly and might hurt him. My dog doesn’t understand that this is all for his good, but I do!
What I have to remember is that God’s reasons for withholding, taking away, pruning, etcetera, are infinitely better than my reasons could ever be. As the LORD reminded us through the prophet Isaiah,
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9).
Father God, help us to trust completely in You. When we are confused, questioning, or have found ourselves in a storm, remind us that You are the God who laid the foundation of the earth. Though we might not understand the why, help us to place our faith in who You are as our Creator and Redeemer!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Jesus Describes His Mission
Roy Berkenbosch Today Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — LUKE 4:14-21
“He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”
As a teacher, I have often asked my students, “Why was Jesus born?” Invariably they answer by leap-frogging over his life to his death: “Jesus was born to die so that we can be saved and one day enter heaven.” And these students are often surprised when I suggest that this answer, which is correct, is also incomplete and misses a lot of good news. Jesus, I explain to them, was actually born not only to die but to live! He was born to take on the mission of bringing the kingdom of God into this world. This kingdom is marked by love for God and neighbor, justice, peace, joy, and the restoration of shalom.
In Luke 4 Jesus describes what it meant to be the Messiah (the “Anointed One”). Anointed by the Spirit, he had come to announce the presence of the kingdom of God, to speak good news to the poor, to announce freedom for the captives, release for the oppressed, and the year of the Lord’s favor, a year of Jubilee. That was his mission.
It is important to accept the gift of Jesus’ offering his life for our salvation. And it is equally important to marvel at his life and to ask the Holy Spirit to anoint us too—so that we can follow him in his mission of justice and mercy.
God of grace, thank you for the gift of Jesus and the life he lived to show us the way of the kingdom of God. In his name, Amen.
Streams in the Desert – July 7
- 20227 Jul
He hath made me a polished shaft (Isa. 49:2).
There is a very famous “Pebble Beach” at Pescadero, on the California coast. The long line of white surf comes up with its everlasting roar, and rattles and thunders among the stones on the shore. They are caught in the arms of the pitiless waves, and tossed and rolled, and rubbed together, and ground against the sharp-grained cliffs. Day and night forever the ceaseless attrition goes on–never any rest. And the result?
Tourists from all the world flock thither to gather the round and beautiful stones. They are laid up in cabinets; they ornament the parlor mantels. But go yonder, around the point of the cliff that breaks off the force of the sea; and up in that quiet cove, sheltered from the storms, and lying ever in the sun, you shall find abundance of pebbles that have never been chosen by the traveler.
Why are these left all the years through unsought? For the simple reason that they have escaped all the turmoil and attrition of the waves, and the quiet and peace have left them as they found them, rough and angular and devoid of beauty. Polish comes through trouble.
Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to shape us to it. Since He knows what work we are to do, let us trust Him to drill us to the proper preparation.
O blows that smite! O hurts that pierce
This shrinking heart of mine!
What are ye but the Master’s tools
Forming a work Divine?
A wise desire
By: Charles Spurgeon
“He shall choose our inheritance for us.” Psalm 47:4
Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 45:4-11
If you turn to the pages of inspiration, and read the lives of some of the most eminent saints, I think you will be obliged to see the marks of God’s providence in their histories too plainly to be mistaken. Take, for instance, the life of Joseph. There is a young man who from early life serves God. Read that life till its latest period when he gave commandment concerning his bones, and you cannot help marvelling at the wondrous dealings of providence. Did Joseph choose to be hated of his brethren? But, yet, was not their envy a material circumstance in his destiny? Did he choose to be put into the pit? But was not the putting into the pit as necessary to his being made a king in Egypt as Pharaoh’s dream? Did Joseph desire to be tempted of his mistress? He chose to reject the temptation, but did he choose the trial? No; God sent it. Did he choose to be put into the dungeon? No. And had he anything to do with the baker’s dream, or with Pharaoh’s either? Can you not see, all the way through, from first to last, even in the forgetfulness of the butler, who forgot to speak of Joseph till the appointed time came, when Pharaoh should want an interpreter, that there was truly the hand of God? Joseph’s brethren did just as they liked when they put him into the pit. Potiphar’s wife followed the dictates of her own abandoned lust in tempting him. And yet, notwithstanding all the freedom of their will, it was ordained of God, and worked according together for one great end; to place Joseph on the throne; for as he said himself, “Ye meant it for evil, but God intended it for good, that he might save your souls alive!”
For meditation: You may find yourself in undesirable circumstances, but God can take these bad things and work them together for your good and his glory if you are his child (Romans 8:28). The all-knowing God knows what is best for us and can direct us clearly by our circumstances (Isaiah 48:17).