God Controls the Outcome
How do you gain favor in bad situations? It’s easy! You trust and obey God. Sometimes God uses you to save others, and sometimes He uses others to save you. We can never understand the fullness of His reasons, but we need to trust it even if the situation turns dire. You may be the reason some people are thriving.
I look back at my life, and I have been in some shady situations. I know myself and the people around me only made it out by the grace of God. Maybe the favor on my life saved us, but there was no doubt it was God.
I grew up in a rough neighborhood, and even when God delivered me from it, I found a way to get in the middle of trouble. I caused a lot of my problems. I remember when I was falsely accused and facing legal troubles, God used my cousins – who were not Christians – to save and help me in my time of need. God allowed me to have supernatural favor with them, and they were able to help me. What the devil meant for evil, God turned it around for my good. The charges were dropped, and my record was clean. God cleared my name, and I learned a huge lesson about being with the wrong people. God spared my life may be to do what I am doing now, sharing my testimony to bless someone else’s life.
In Acts 27:27-44, Paul was the reason everyone on a shipwreck survived. He was favored and blessed, so those around him received the blessing.
“The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way, everyone reached land safely” (Acts 27:42-44).
Paul’s wisdom from God helped keep them alive. The soldier didn’t understand, but God was using him. Even if you are with people who don’t know Jesus, God can use them. He may give you favor with them to save your life and to be a testimony to someone else. Paul was spared to save another. Know that your life is not your own. God controls all things for His Will. How cool that we get to be part of His story!
1 Chronicles 21:22-24 22David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” 23Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.” 24But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
Because of David’s sin in numbering the people (see previous two days), he had chosen between three possible curses. He chose three days of plague. When the angel stood over Jerusalem with his sword drawn, David knew he must act. 70,000 had already died. He interceded for the people and asked that the curse fall on him and his family since he had committed the sin. The LORD told David, through the prophet Gad, to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah.
This was the same place that Abraham had offered Isaac. It is the same ridge upon which the Lamb of God would be offered for the sins of the world. It is where the chaff is blown away, and what is of value remains. For Abraham, the hope in his son was blown away and trust in God remained. For Jesus, the sins of the world were blown away with his blood, and the redeemed children of God remained. For David, the guilt was about to be blown away, and a forgiven man would remain. David wanted to purchase the ground upon which to build the altar and later the Temple. Araunah offered to give it to him. You might say he was generous, but remember that he is standing in the shadow of an angel with a sword. David insisted on paying full price. Though Jesus paid our sin debt, it was not as if it were inexpensive. He paid the full price in our place. Offerings cost. It cost God the greatest price that could be paid. When we give to God our own hearts, we, too, should be willing to pay with lives of service.
Consider: Will you sacrifice to God what costs you nothing or will you give Him your all?
Streams in the Desert – July 27
- 202227 Jul
Prove me now (Malachi 3:10).
What is God saying here but this: “My child, I still have windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would rather fling them open, and pour forth, than keep them shut, and hold back. I opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened them for Joshua, and Jordan rolled back. I opened them for Gideon, and hosts fled. I will open them for you–if you will only let Me.
On this side of the windows, Heaven is the same rich storehouse as of old. The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure rooms are still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on my side. It is on yours. I am waiting. Prove Me now. Fulfill the conditions, on your part. Bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance.
I can never forget my mother’s very brief paraphrase of Malachi 3:10. The verse begins, “Bring ye the whole tithe in,” and it ends up with “I will pour” the blessing out till you’ll be embarrassed for space. Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He promises.”
–S. D. Gordon
The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father’s giving: it is beyond that we can ask. –J. H. Jowett
Getting Back on Course
If your relationship with God has grown stale, make this the day that you return to Him.
No matter how far away from God you have drifted, you’re always welcome back. That’s the lesson from Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son—the foolish boy who followed a pleasure-filled path to ruin before returning to his father and finding redemption (Luke 15:11-32). Whatever your drifting story, make this the day that you return to God.
As with any sin, the first move toward getting back on course is to confess your sin, acknowledging that you have slipped away from the Lord. Then you repent. If you’re wondering exactly how to do that, here’s my practice: Every morning, I surrender my life to the Lord. During the day, if I consider pursuing something that runs counter to His plan, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am not my own.
In today’s passage, Peter gives a warning to be on guard against attitudes and ideologies that would carry you away from truth (2 Pet. 3:17). Instead, choose to paddle your lifeboat in the Lord’s direction by meditating on Scripture, praying, and living obediently. Practicing these spiritual disciplines keeps a heart warm toward God.