Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Purpose Driven Life - Day 25 - Transformed by Trouble

Ben and I had an excellent time at New Frontiers prayer and fasting. It's a real privilege to take time out from the normal run of things to stop and worship, pray and spend time with God. There must have been of the order of 500 leaders there from across the UK. So many people I don't know but good to meet up with old friends such as Sean Green, Mick Taylor, Malcolm Kayes and Andy Martin. Also to meet some of the leaders I've been getting to know at the "Leaders of Larger Churches" gathering I went to last November in Catford. I'll talk a bit on Sunday about the situation with Edward Buria in Kenya and how I'd like us to respond as a church. In the meantime please remember Edward and our friends in Kenya as you pray today.

I spoke on Sunday of the importance of us living our lives in the light of Romans 8:28 if we are going to do life, well so you won't be surprised to hear me say that I think today's chapter is one of the key ones in understanding God's purposes in the things which happen to us in life.

Simon.

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God has a purpose behind every problem!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)

He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact, he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible. The reason is obvious: You face circumstances twenty-four hours a day.

Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days—when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great—and you turn to God alone.

Everything that happens to you has spiritual significance. Everything! Romans 8:28-29 (NLT) explains why: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.”

You see, every problem is a character-building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber. Paul said, “We know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character.” Romans 5:3-4 (NCV)
What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. Your circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like yesterdays chapter about how we will base decisions on reason, emotion etc and not on God's word, todays reading just highlights for me how important it is.
Struck again by how God uses circumstances to cause us to look to Him for help and not the world because he wants us to be built up and rooted in Him.

Particularly liked the bit about "every problem is a character-building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber" and then reflected on the number of times i have been in situations where this has been true.

Good to have you back and looking forward to Sunday

Chris M

sandra said...

Romans 8:28 is one of my favourite passages in the bible and one I have had to continually revisit particularly over the last two years.

I believe God has grown me more when I've been struggling. As a result of this growth I am now able to bless others and am being blessed abundantly because of it.

I was particularly encouraged to hear from one of our housegroup members who has been stuck in Zimbabwe since last Easter and unable to return to Bracknell after numerous appeals. He is also reading the purpose driven life with us and is very positive about his situation and in particular the way God uses such circumstances for our good.

Anonymous said...

This really is one of those 'where the rubber hits the road' chapters. We know that we will have troubles - they are not avoidable! We looked at this area in life group last night - there are some folk in the group who are hanging onto God in the midst of troubles at the moment, others were able to share about times of trouble in the past and how God was with them at that time and in those situations.

The daily devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries which dropped into my e-mail box this lunchtime was reflecting the same message too. I guess it's one of those messages that I need to be reminded of more than once.

Jo

Frances said...

Today's chapter cut to the bone - again! With perfect timing I was hit by some unexpected and fairly major troubles this morning. Reflecting back on some tough times last year, has been a great way to gain understanding of how God works all things together for good. Like Simon said on Sunday when talking about a journal, it's good to go back to and consolidate our understanding of how things work out over time.
So a tough time today but also a good time of holding onto the experiences of God taking away second best in order to give the very best.
I've had that verse from Philippians 4 (part of Sundays sermon notes) going round my mind, from the Message it reads 'I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.'

Anonymous said...

so good to read others comments....

this chapter made me reflect back on my years as a christian and the times when i felt overwhelmed by all the struggles of the early years...oh how i longed for that depth of character that would have enabled me to "stand firm"

i would say that it has only been in the last few years that i have been able to stand on the truth of this chapter and oh boy...how comforting to have it re-affirmed again and again....."that all things work together"...

and now i can look back and see how God was using everytime...even when i didnt cope....to keep on maturing my character

and i know that He will continue to work it out in me in these coming days....

the great thing now is that i can see and trust in the truth that .."character produces hope." and that gives me another rock to cling to in times of trouble....

irene m.

Anonymous said...

Well I really think that everyone has said what I feel really.

the Romans 8:28 -29 is what has seen me through lots of times when things were not going well. Over the years itr has been what kept me going.

I think when we are in problem times that is when community comes into its own. You can share with those you know and trust to help you and pray for you.

I am soooo glad that God knows all that we are going through and that and He is there for us. Just to keep our eyes on Him is sometimes all we can do. Sometimes His answers are not the answers we want...BUT He does know what is best for us.

This chapter has been soo encouraging.

iris j

Simon Benham said...

I'm really enjoying reading all the comments, very inspiring.

This Sunday is going to set us off on a different tack so get all of the discipleship stuff whilst you can!

Simon.