Differing Assumptions

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:5

As in last night’s story, “The Argument,” a difficult day can quickly lead to an unnecessarily heated exchange between spouses. Fatigue, problems with the kids or job, illness, or financial worries can make anyone more susceptible to a fight. So can the condition I (jcd) call “differing assumptions.” For example, after a particularly grueling series of speaking appear‐

ances some years ago, I came dragging home on Friday night feeling I’d earned a day off. I planned to watch a USC‐Alabama football game on TV the next day. That seemed like a reasonable plan for a guy who had been out earning a living day and night. Shirley, on the other hand, had been running our home and watching the kids for six weeks and felt it was time I pitched in on a few chores. It was entirely reasonable for Shirley to think that she deserved some help at home after doing “domestic duty” for six weeks. Our assumptions collided about ten o’clock Saturday morning. Harsh words froze our relationship for three days. It was a stupid fight, but understandable in light of factors like overwork, fatigue, selfishness, and very different views of what the other was thinking.

When we’re making our own plans we need to remember to consider our partner’s mental and physical state. During stressful circumstances, we should take extra care to communicate our expectations ahead of time.

Just between us…

  • Have differing assumptions caused us to argue recently?
  • How can I do a better job of being aware of your mood?
  • Do we communicate our expectations ahead of time?

Lord, by Your Spirit, help us to be aware of each other’s needs and to take care in our communication. Draw us together in unity and in love of You. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

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Encouragement

When Love Hurts
SHARON JAYNES

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Don’t let them hurt me!”

My son, Steven, was about 3 years old when he contracted a severe case of the flu. His slumped body snuggled listlessly like an old, worn rag doll.

When I carried him into the medical clinic, the doctor quickly diagnosed dehydration and immediately sent us to the hospital.

My heart ripped apart as the nurses strapped my little boy onto a table and began placing IVs in his tiny arms.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Make them stop! They’re hurting me.”

“No, honey,” I tried to assure him. “They’re going to make you all better.”

“Mommy, help me!”

Steven cried. I cried. The nurses cried.

I could only imagine what was going through Steven’s little mind. Why are these people hurting me? Why doesn’t Mommy make them stop? She must not love me. She’s not protecting me. If she loved me she wouldn’t let them do this. She must not care about me.

Standing in the corner watching my little boy cry, I wondered if that’s how God feels when I’m going through a painful situation that’s for my ultimate good. I cried out, “God, why are You letting this happen? Don’t You love me? Don’t You care about what’s happening to me? Why don’t You make it stop?”

It was a picture I wouldn’t soon forget.

I envisioned God speaking to me in my pain. You don’t understand the reason for the pain. You might think I’ve deserted you, but I will never leave you. You might think I don’t love you, but I love you to the height of heaven and the depth of the sea. You might think I don’t care about what’s happening to you, but I am orchestrating your days and care about every hair on your head. My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Yes, I do care about you and what’s happening to you. In the end, this will make you better.

C.S. Lewis, who watched his beloved wife die of cancer, put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Because God loves us, He desires our conformity more than our comfort. Allowing troubles, trials and pain is one way our loving God makes that so. No one likes getting stuck with a sharp needle, but if the needle brings healing or prevents greater suffering, it’s just what we need. Faith in Jesus Christ does not guarantee an easy life but a perfect eternity.

I don’t know what difficulties you’re facing today. It could be the toughest time of your life. But I do know that during tough times, the devil will tell you (falsely) God doesn’t love you, doesn’t care about you or isn’t doing anything to help you. Don’t listen to him. Satan is a liar—an opportunist who looks for vulnerable times to convince you to question God’s power, provision and promises.

Here’s my process when those lies wiggle their way into my thoughts:

  • Realize the enemy’s true identity: He’s the father of lies.
  • Recognize the lie: God doesn’t love me.
  • Reject the lie!
  • Replace the lie with truth: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

When we feel like a little kid, thinking our heavenly Father’s standing in the corner not doing anything, we can know He is. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17b, NIV).

No matter what you’re facing today, remember this:

God loves you.
God is good.
God wants what’s best for you.
God is always at work on your behalf.
You can trust Him.And that’s the truth.

Heavenly Father, sometimes life is just hard. I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel like You’re standing in the corner watching and not working. However, I know deep down that’s not true. Thank You for never leaving nor forsaking me. You always work for my good even when I can’t see it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 5:3-5,“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Today’s devotion is adapted from Sharon Jaynes’ brand new book, Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence. It’s time to silence the voices in your head that say you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough … or just not enough, period. Trade in self-defeating thoughts for God’s truth that you are an incredible woman of worth, uniquely fashioned and empowered by God!

CONNECT:
Head to Sharon’s blog for a free download of 24 Truth cards to replace the lies with God’s truth. While you’re there, sign up for the 7-Day Mindset Reset, to revamp your thought life.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What lie or lies have you been believing about yourself or your circumstances? What truth do you need to replace that lie? Leave a comment and let’s encourage each other.

© 2018 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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Answers and Promises, Day 4

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Today’s reading is drawn from Joel 2:12-13 and Joel 2:18-19.

Observation

Often an answer from God will come packaged and delivered in a promise — as something potentially available. That is how God dealt with his people through the prophet Joel. He answered their pleas with a call to return to him so that he could make good on promised blessings.

Application

We’d rather the answer come in concrete form — fully assembled and ready to use, with a full guarantee. But God has spoken more than 7,000 answers to our problems and questions in promise form. So how do we get these answers wrapped in “potential packaging” to become reality? God gives his answers in potential form because his greatest goal for us is not making us comfortable, it is building our characters. He makes promises reality, not through obligation, but through obedience. God’s promises are converted from potential into reality by steadfast faith and adherence to his commands. God’s promises require us to walk with him in a covenant — his promises are converted from potential into present reality through patiently waiting on him.

As we understand why his answers come in promise form, we better understand how “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3 – 4).

Prayer

Father, help me to be obedient and faithful, not only to benefit from your promises, but also to partake in your divine nature — to look more like you and give you glory!

Today’s Reading

Morning

Ye are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Hebrews 12:24

Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came–the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of his blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, “It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness.” Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be “Looking unto Jesus.” Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this–“To whom coming.” Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

Evening

“We would see Jesus.”
John 12:21

Evermore the worldling’s cry is, “Who will show us any good?” He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. “O that I knew where I might find Him !” When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, “Take it away: I want to find Him.” It is a blessed thing for a man when he has brought his desires into a focus so that they all center in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mire of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who hath one desire if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul’s desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, “I want Christ; I must have him–mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul’s desire. I would see Jesus!”

Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven. Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus’ blood? Canst thou really say, “I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ?” Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.

 

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