Little Martha was in a hurry to run out the door so she would not be late for school. In her haste she tripped and fell, hitting her head on the floor. Immediately, a bump appeared and frightened her. As the tears ran down her cheeks she climbed into her mother’s arms to be comforted.
Her Mom, holding her tightly, placed a cold pad on the lump and said, “Let’s pray and ask Jesus to heal you so you can go to school.”
Soon the tears stopped, Martha left her mother’s lap, stood up and said, “Jesus healed me. Now I can go to school.”
That night when they knelt to pray the mother asked, “What do you want to thank Jesus for tonight.”
“My bump,” answered Martha quickly. “Because now I know He loves me because He made my bump go away.”
“Whenever trouble comes your way,” wrote James, “let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested your endurance has an opportunity to grow.” In the life of every Christian, there is always a connection between the problem and the promise, between the hardship and the hope.
James reminds us to turn our difficulties into optimism and to have a positive outlook for life. Troubles are not an end in themselves. If we are willing to work with God, He can teach us perseverance.
Prayer: May we understand and accept, Father, that “whatever comes our way” is for our good and that we can profit from every hardship as we learn to trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Twelve men, who met regularly to discuss the problems they were dealing with, began to argue about which one of them had the most serious problem. Unable to come to a conclusion, they decided to go to a counselor for his views.
As they began to discuss and debate their problems in his presence, each tried to make his situation sound the worst.
After a few moments the counselor asked them to divide themselves into two groups of six and sit in chairs facing each other. After sitting and facing each other, he gave them a piece of paper and said, “Write your problems on the paper and then exchange it with the one who is sitting opposite you.” They did as he asked.
As they read the other persons problem, they realized that their own problem was not as serious as it had been and asked for their problem to be returned.
As believers we must accept the fact that God causes everything to work together for our good. This does not mean that everything that happens to us is good – but that God will use every “thing” to His good. He does this to accomplish the purpose He has for each of us in knowing and doing His will.
Prayer: Give us strength Lord, to accept everything in our lives as a gift from You that can, if we let it, shape us into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
After an experiment failed, Lord Kelvin said to his students, “Gentlemen, when you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.” This is true not only in learning but also in living.
David was face to face with a difficulty and he came upon a discovery.
If it had not been for David’s pains there would not be many of the Psalms. These treasures came out of his trials. He went from strength to strength because he went from struggle to struggle.
The person who has no trials has no triumphs. Joseph’s prison was the path to the palace. If he had not become Egypt’s prisoner, he would not have become Egypt’s prime minister. Even Job’s boils became his blessings.
And in heaven there are no crown wearers who were not cross bearers on earth.
Are you in distress? It is not to overwhelm you but to grow you. Turn care into prayer and your trials will become your triumph.
Prayer: Lord, thank You that I can come to You when I am overwhelmed with trouble. Thank You that You listen to me. Help me, Lord, to give my trials to You: in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
James Whitaker was the first American to conquer Mount Everest. A reporter asked him, “Why did you risk your life in such an endeavor?”
“Because,” he said, “of the challenge. I wanted to see if I could stand on the top. You don’t conquer the mountain. You conquer yourself. You overcome your sickness, your pains and your fears to reach the summit. Man needs challenges.”
Life is full of challenges. Some we create to develop our strength or potential. Others come at us as a complete surprise with no warning in advance or means of escape. Many are short term while others may last a lifetime. While we can overcome most of them, there are some that overcome us.
There are times when God uses certain trying situations in our lives to prepare us for tasks that are in our future. There are times when He knows that we need to increase our faith and trust in His grace and mercy. And there are times when we face hardships because of our poor choices or not following His will for our lives.
The Bible tells us that we will encounter many trials in this life. But it also promises us that God will be with us, and that His presence, love, comfort and strength are ours for the asking.
Prayer: Father, when we go through the difficulties of life we ask for Your hand and the assurance of Your presence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Enterprise, Alabama is known for having a monument to an agricultural pest - the boll weevil. In 1915, the “pest” invaded the area and destroyed their only crop - cotton. This disaster left the farmers destitute and nearly hopeless. However, in 1917 the county produced and harvested more peanuts than any other county in the nation.
The monument, erected in 1919, stands in the center of the downtown district as a symbol of their willingness and ability to adjust to and overcome adversity. The residents are quick and proud to remind visitors of the lessons they learned from the boll weevil.
One resident said, “There was a time when we had one crop - cotton; the boll weevil destroyed it. Then we were forced to diversify. Now we are doing better than ever. The boll weevil was a blessing in disguise.”
Paul said, “We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Difficulties are not to be dreaded. They are to be accepted as unique opportunities that God brings into our lives as challenges to help us “diversify.”
Prayer: Lord, help us to trust in Your goodness and grace, believing that all things are possible through You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
Joseph Turner was standing in front of one of his paintings of a raging sea. A friend beside him asked, “How did you paint such a realistic picture of a storm at sea. It is so real.”
He answered, “I was on a ship in the midst of that storm. Not only did I see it, I was there and felt it.”
Like that painter, Jesus felt the storms of life.
Whenever we lose a loved one, we must remember that He stood beside a grave and wept.
If ever we are a victim of poverty or lack a place of our own, let’s not forget that Jesus had no place to lay His head.
Whenever we feel alone, abandoned or even neglected, we need to recall the times when His followers forsook Him and His disciples deserted Him.
Every event that God brings into our lives is one that Jesus has encountered, endured and experienced and successfully survived. Whatever God brings into our lives is temporary and will pass into the pages of history.
Because He has overcome the extremes of life, we can take great comfort in the fact that He is willing to share His victories with us if we look to Him for His salvation.
Prayer: Father, You have been where we are or soon may be, so we know with certainty that we can survive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
There is a story of a young girl who was demon-possessed and a qualified fortune teller. A group of men saw an opportunity to make large sums of money from her talents so they formed a syndicate, bought her time and talents and made a good deal of money.

Not long after they formed their syndicate, an evangelist and his young associate saw the girl and felt sorry for her. The evangelist stood before her, addressed the demon in her and said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Instantly, the demon left her when he heard the voice of the evangelist.

When the owners of the girl realized that their investment and future income was gone they succeeded in having Paul and Silas arrested. They were given a bloody beating and then thrown into a dungeon and their hands and feet were clamped into stocks.

When we look at this story up to this point we see two men imprisoned for doing what was good and right yet were deeply wronged. Did they stop and pity themselves and complain to the God they were serving? Indeed not! At midnight they began to pray and sing praises to God and a revival broke out: the jailer was converted.

One thing that cannot be taken away from a Christian is the presence of Christ. With Him and in Him there is a freedom that only He can give - even at midnight. Might they have been familiar with the words of the Psalmist: “At midnight I rise to give You thanks.”

Prayer: It’s easy, Father, to give thanks when things are going our way. May we also give thanks in our trials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
As James was preparing to leave for the weekend, the vice-president called him into his office and asked him to sit down across the desk from him. In a somber voice he said, “I’m sorry, James, but we are reducing the sales staff and this was you last day with this company. Here’s a severance check that will help you make the transition.”

Now he was not only out of work but facing a difficult job market. He was overwhelmed with the prospect of going home and telling his wife the news. She was a stay at home mom with a child that was paralyzed from an automobile accident. He could not help but ask, “Where’s God in all of this? Is He for me or against me?” Those certainly are fair questions.

Life often is one storm after another. None of us escape the crashing waves or the fierce winds and the storms that we cannot escape. Sometimes they come swiftly. Other times they seem to brew slowly and painfully. Often a problem that started as a whispering breeze turns out to be a tornado.

The Psalmist said, “Deep calls to deep...all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” It sounds as though he is accusing God of a conspiracy. But that is not true. He wants us to realize that our God is a God who, in the midst of life’s storms, will never forsake us.

Think of it this way: In the depth of life’s storms and in the midst of life’s sorrows, God wants us to call on Him for the depth of His sympathy and support. He is ever present and all powerful and His grace is more than sufficient.

Never forget that whatever sorrow we experience in our lives Jesus experienced it before us. He has been there, endured that and understands our greatest sorrows and deepest needs.

Prayer: We are comforted, Lord, to know that You have gone before us, know us and care for us. Give us your grace to survive. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 42:7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
Imagine, if you can, leaving your loved ones behind as you depart for a war zone. Think, if it is it possible, how you would feel if you were told you had stage-four cancer and there was no treatment to help prolong your life. Consider, if you will, what you would do if you discovered that your loved one had abandoned you.

While we hear of these tragedies impacting on others, few of us would welcome or want them to invade our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But what happens if they do? The Psalmist gives us comfort if or when we must embrace the unwelcome tragedies of life.

“In times of trouble may the Lord answer your cry,” he writes. Not hear your cry, nor think about your cry nor put your cry on His waiting list. But may He answer your cry.

Life is filled with unexpected tragedies. One moment everything is the way we had planned it to be and the next moment things are upside down. Often we are faced with unforeseen temptations that present choices we never thought we would have to face. But we do not face life alone. We have the protection of God, the power of the risen Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit to rescue us from defeat.

We cannot avoid the trials or tragedies of life. Nor do we need to face them alone. God is there to protect and defend us. Victory is ours when our lives are in God’s hands.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, that Your ear is open to our cry and Your strength available when we need help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 20:1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Lord Kelvin is recognized as one of the greatest Scottish engineers, mathematicians and physicists of his day. He had a profound influence on the scientific thought of his generation.

On one occasion, while he was conducting an experiment with his students, it turned into a disaster. Looking at each of them he said, “Gentlemen, when you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.”

This is not only true in learning, it is true in living. When David was face to face with a major difficulty, he made a discovery that lasted throughout his entire life. Faced with a dilemma he cried to God, “Give me relief from my distress, be merciful to me and hear my prayer, O God.”

If it had not been for the pain he experienced, we would not have his psalms of praise. If he had not been tested and tried through his trials, we would not understand the triumphs he enjoyed. If he had not struggled to survive, we would not understand the strength he received from God.

Joseph began his path to a palace from a prison. He became the prime minister of Egypt after he served a sentence as a prisoner. And remember, Job’s boils? Ultimately, they became a blessing to him.

Whatever God brings into our lives is not to destroy or defeat us, but to develop our faith and to enable us to discover His goodness and grace.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for working in us and through us to develop us into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
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