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.
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.