Lacking In Nothing

Lacking In Nothing
--from September 10th--
Days 1-4 written by Pat and Liz Neuschwanger.  Day 5 written by Michael Brittenham

Day 1

Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
A theme we’re realizing in the book of James and with this sermon is that God’s Word should give us a different perspective.  From the sermon sentence, “Enduring faith does not result from a comfortable situation.”, we know that we want enduring faith, but that such is not simply going to be “magically” given to us.  And even if it were, our frail, short-sighted, self-centered nature would likely not be truly humble enough to retain that enduring faith.  In this passage of scripture, Paul “pleaded with the Lord…” to remove the thorn from his flesh.  But God’s answer was not only, “No”, but He also mentioned that such was actually for Paul’s benefit “…for [God’s] power is made perfect in weakness.”  Just like the trials that James describes, Paul experienced a situation where he learned that his perspective may not match God’s perspective, but to learn to trust that God’s plan is better.
Give some thought to how you can rearrange your perspective to see what God may be doing in certain circumstances in your life.
Make your response to what you learn a prayer to God of thanksgiving for His love and plan for your life.
Consider sharing some thoughts and lessons you’ve learned on the app so others can share in your lessons and progress.

Day 2

Read Romans 5:2-5

Take this time to think about a trial that you are facing or faced some time in your life.  Spend some time in prayer and thank God for the good He is bringing about or brought about in your life through this trial.  Some of us have much larger trials than others.  Some may feel that they move on from one trial right into the next.  Trials test our faith and develop perseverance.  But it has taken me a long time to learn and experience this.  In fact, prior to learning this perspective, I had never looked at a trial and said, “I’m so happy to be going through this trial.”  But what I’ve learned to say is “I know that God has my best interests at heart and that this trial is now an opportunity to rely on the Lord instead of my own understanding”.

I can remember times when the trials were so bad that I never thought I would get through them.  But God taught me lessons and I grew from the experience.  It is rarely as “clean” as we go through a trial, learn from it, and never walk through the trial again.  It seems more common that we have to keep going through the same trial over and over again until we learn what God is teaching us.    

What does “joy” look like?  Is it the same as happiness?

What are some ways that you can have joy in the midst of your trial?  

What can you learn through the trials you are going through?

How does this become your prayer today?

Day 3

Read Matthew 5:3 and Proverbs 19:1
I love to listen to music, and I love to sing out loud when nobody is around (for good reason…😊).  One of my very favorite songs (and even sayings) is “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw.  As I was taught Catholic religion growing up, it was never about having a personal relationship with Jesus.  I was never taught that.  The focus was on being kind to others.  The more you do for others and the kinder you are, the more jewels you’ll have in your crown.  Life often was about keeping up with everyone around me.  It wasn’t until I grew more in my faith that I began to replace humble and kind with humble and content.  If you have little, don’t focus on that, but set your mind on things above.  If you have much, don’t focus on that either (though you should be thankful). Instead, put your mind on things above and be thankful for blessings in Christ.
How do you just become content in life?  Is it a process or a mindset that just has to change?

Why not try taking time to write out the things you are thankful for? 

And then, maybe take it a step further and pray thanksgiving back to God for those things.  

Day 4

Read Proverbs 3:5-7
How many times have you gone into prayer ready to hear God speak a word, but then a couple of minutes into it, your mind starts to wonder on things of this world?  And before you know it, you’ve just prayed a prayer to the Almighty Father and you can’t remember what you prayed or how you even got to the end of the prayer.  Or, when you settle yourself into reading your Bible your mind races on all of the things that need to get done and that your to-do list is never going to get finished…  So, you glance over the words, tell God that you’ll pick back up tomorrow and move along with your day.  God will give us true wisdom from Himself when we ask Him to.  The problem is sometimes we’re too distracted or we don’t want to take the time to ask.  If we’re honest with ourselves, I think we’ll agree that we all lack wisdom quite often.  I ask you this week to see if you can be honest with yourself and admit it.  God will give us generously of wisdom if we have faith when we ask (James 1:5).

Do we really believe God will answer our prayers (knowing all of our faults and shortcomings)?
Do we really believe He is listening?
Do we really believe He is all-powerful and all-good?
If your answer to all of those questions is yes, why not try reviewing Proverbs 3:5 one more time.  Then go to Him in everything and work to “…lean not on your own understanding.”

Day 5

Read Hebrews 11:8-10 

God may have made us of dirt, but he formed us with His own hands.  That tells me we are made of sterner stuff than we realize perhaps.  James wants us to realize this but not to take pride in our ability but rather to marvel at how God uses our circumstances to refine and shape us.  We read about Abraham in Hebrews 11, and he is a prime example.  The trials, tests, and struggles Abraham faces would have caused most people to fold up and go home.  Instead, Abraham embraced God’s call and, as a result, what God created in him was the character needed to be the father of a nation and a blessing to the world.   

We worship the same God as Abraham, so ask yourself what is God forming in you through your circumstances? 

Do your past experiences now enable you to minister to, and bless, others who are dealing with the same circumstances? 

How can you do that this week?

How does this become your prayer today?

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