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troubles

“What’s that, Dad?” asked his son, Ben.

“A rainbow,” responded his father.

“What’s a rainbow, Dad?” was his next question.

“Well, Ben, a rainbow is a promise from God that He loves us and will always care for us,” replied Ben’s dad.

What a comforting answer for us to think about when we face troubling times. The beauty and brilliance of the colors found in a rainbow are a result of “reflections and refractions” of the sun’s rays as they “light-up” the drops of rain that fall from the sky after the storm passes over us. But without the storm, there would be no rainbow.

We only see rainbows when the sun is behind us, and the rain is falling in front of us. As the rays of the sun pass through a drop of rain, it is “bent” - or refracted - and separated into the different colors that light up the sky. What we see is a brilliant display of colors produced in the countless drops of rain that fall in front of the sun.

All of us have experienced many drops of rain falling on our paths and into our lives. But God’s love shines through each of them as the sun shines through the drops of rain that fall from the sky. It is the glow of His love that shines through the tears of grief, pain, hurt and suffering that fall from our eyes and brings us His comfort.

No one has lived a “tear-free life.” And all of us have been caught up in the “storms of life!” Yet, we have survived. The Psalmist wrote, “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but have not gained the victory over me.” Storms and tears come and go, but God’s love always surrounds us.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your love. We look to You for healing when others harm us; and when we harm ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but have not gained the victory over me. Psalm 129:2

A young boy was sitting on the roof of his home watching his father repair a leak in the shingles. Not realizing the steep pitch of the roof, he began to inch his way upward and suddenly started to slide downward. Realizing the danger of his situation, he shouted, “O God, help me I’m in trouble and I’m going to fall to my death!”
Suddenly his jeans became snagged on a nail and he stopped sliding. Looking upward he said, “Thank you God, I’m all right now!”
Who do you call upon when you are suddenly faced with a life-threatening situation? We often have a loved one whom we can call upon in a moment’s notice. Most of us are blessed with a few faithful friends who respond immediately in times of disaster. But, when we are suddenly and without warning faced with what appears to be an imminent disaster, what are we to do?
Fortunately, our God has promised us that we will never face any adversity alone. Again and again, His Word assures us that He is ready, willing, able and wanting to rescue us when we are in trouble. He is always alert, awaiting our call and anxious to respond.PrayerFather, we are grateful for Your promise that we can always “call upon You in the day of trouble.” Help us to trust in the greatness of Your goodness and grace In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Psalm 50:15 Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.

Bee researchers have discovered that there are more than 20,000 species of bees. Each species of bee has its own colony or community and bees can be found in most parts of the world. Each species has three types of bees: the queen bee, the worker bee and the drone. Bees can see all colors but red and have a strong sense of smell that helps them find flowers to gather pollen that produces honey. The honey that bees produce has been prized for years because it is a source of sweetness and energy. Recently, however, honey has been identified as a resource that may be helpful to contribute to certain types of healing.
While information about bees may be interesting to some, most of us care only about their honey or the fear that we might be stung by one. At least that was the attitude of the Psalmist. When surrounded by his enemies he said, “They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns.” Obviously, he was terribly threatened by those who would destroy him, but his faith and trust in God put him at ease. “In the name of the Lord I cut them - my enemies - down.”
Each day we face many “enemies.” They come at us from every direction. Whether our “enemies” are doubts or fears, a life-threatening disease or the loss of a loved one, financial woes or being abandoned - you name it - enemies come in all sizes and shapes and from every direction.
No one is immune from the “sting” of an enemy. But, thank God, when we Christians are besieged by the hurts that come from the “stings” of life, the Lord will heal them.
Prayer: How grateful we are Lord, to know that when we are “swarmed” by the “bees” of life, You will rescue us! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 118:12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
TRYING TO ESCAPE GOD
God seems to appear when we least expect Him. He certainly will not be confined within the walls of a church or restrained within the rituals of a religion. He is, after all, God the Creator, Sustainer and Savior. He makes Himself known when and where and as He pleases.
Once, during the transatlantic crossing of a large ocean liner a major storm erupted, breaking the silence of calm seas. A huge wave swept over the bow of the ship and swept a sailor into the raging waters. His cry for help went unheard.
Far away in Philadelphia his Christian mother, who was sound asleep, suddenly awoke with an urgent desire to pray for him. Even though she was not aware of what had happened or his threatening situation, she prayed for his safety with urgency and intensity. She then returned to bed and fell asleep with peace in her heart.
Weeks later her son returned home, opened the door and shouted, "Mother, I'm saved!" Then he described what had happened: how he had been swept overboard. As he was sinking in the swirling waves he remembered thinking, "I'm lost forever!" He remembered a hymn he once sang in church about looking to Jesus to be saved. He cried out, "O God, I look to Jesus to be saved," and another wave swept him back onto the ship.
When he finished his story, his mother told her story. They then thanked God for the storm that saved his soul. As the Psalmist wrote, "Pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with your storm." Our God is amazing.
Prayer: Thank You, God, for what You are willing to do to save the lost. We will never understand Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 83:15 So pursue them with Your tempest, And frighten them with Your storm.
GROWING WITH GOD
Miss Sims taught the third grade Sunday school class. One morning she was struggling to teach them the importance of cleanliness – personal cleanliness and Godly cleanliness. She spent a considerable amount of time in her effort to compare germs and bacteria to disobedience and sin.
After going to great lengths to make what she thought was a good comparison she asked her class, “Cleanliness is next to what?”
“Impossible!” shouted Blair.
What an honest answer! So many of us seem to have a difficult time trying to survive the temptations of life. We read God’s Word, understand His expectations, and ask Him to keep us from sin. Then, just when we think we have life under control – it happens once again. The power of temptation is greater than our faith in God and we fall into sin. Living a godly life does seem next to impossible.
In Psalm 71 the author writes, “You will restore my life once again.” Though we fail He will not forsake us. If we fall He will lift us. Any time and every time. There is no limit to the grace of God for those who love Him, seek His guidance and look to Him for His cleansing.
God offers us the presence and power of the risen Christ to face the temptations of life. And He offers us His strength – which can never be exhausted. He offers us His love – which endures forever. He offers us His salvation – which can never be taken from us. And He offers us His forgiveness – which continually restores us.
Prayer: How grateful we are, Father, that Your mercy does not depend on our goodness but on Your love and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 71 …Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up…
A fierce tornado destroyed his home. Finally, when the rains stopped and floods subsided, he returned to look at the damage. All had been destroyed. His home was gone. His belongings had been washed away. There was little more than the foundation and piles of rubble.
But as he stood at the site, dazed and discouraged, he noticed something shining in the midst of a pile of debris. As he looked closely at the glimmering object, he discovered it was a large piece of gold bullion. He did his best to find the owner but to no avail. No one knew where the gold came from or who it belonged to.
After waiting for weeks for an owner to come identify the gold he was told by his attorney and the police department to keep what he had found. What the flood destroyed and took from him also brought him wealth.
Many of us have stories that are similar to this one. What we once viewed as a tragedy turned into a triumph. What we once believed was a trial and time of testing eventually turned into a gracious gift of God’s grace as He protected us from being destroyed by the Enemy.
Beethoven, the great musician lost his hearing but became a great composer and his music still lives. John Bunyan was thrown into prison and forgotten for years. But through his adversity he glorified God by writing Pilgrim’s Progress. Fanny Crosby lost her sight but wrote over 6,000 Christian songs.
“We went through fire and water,” wrote the Psalmist, “but you brought us to a place of abundance!”
Prayer: Enable us, Father, to trust in the wisdom of the plan You have designed for each of our lives as we follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 66:12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
David was hunted, haunted and harassed. Often he was forced into a crevice and had little room to move or stretch. But in his moments of oppression he did not seem to suffer from depression. He felt free to sing a song of hope that God planted in his heart. He found a source of strength that came to him from his dearest friend and constant companion – God!
“I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble!” wrote David as he reflected on the troubled times of his life. And he was not the only one who found themselves in life threatening and even life ending situations.
Do you remember what Paul and Silas did when they were thrown into prison for serving the Lord? At midnight they were praying and singing hymns of praise to the Lord while the other prisoners listened to them. God joined in the celebration, sent an earthquake that caused so much shaking that the prisoners’ chains fell off and doors flew open. The confines and chains of being in prison could not silence them.
Josephus, the historian, wrote of the Christians awaiting death in the Coliseum. Waiting on the lions to maul and mangle them, they sang songs of joy so loudly that their voices were heard above the roar of the lions and the cheers of the crowd. As they faced the lions that would devour them, God put His song in their mouths, His peace in their hearts and angels to comfort them.
Prayer: Lord, when we face the confinement of a cell or the threat of being devoured, we know You are present. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. 
My mother was a most wonderful Christian who always taught her children by example. She taught Sunday school, child evangelism classes, ladies Bible study groups and weekly prayer services for missionaries. Each Thursday was a day of fasting and prayer.
I remember overhearing her pray on one occasion. She was praying for her children: “Oh God,” she cried, “don’t ever let my children have an easy life. Let them experience sorrow and suffering, pain and problems.”
That prayer shaped all of us children. It has given us a heart for those who are broken-in-heart. As a result of her prayers when we see the tears of others we want to dry their eyes because we can understand their pain. When others go through a time of grief we can identify with them because we’ve been there. When others are in need it motivates us to help them because we have been without. When we see the unsaved we are encouraged to pray: Lord what can I do to win them to Christ.
We must also remember that Jesus went through these very same experiences. He was beaten and spit upon, abandoned and betrayed, went through hours of excruciating pain – even death itself. Now, in heaven He remembers these feelings and through His ever sufficient grace will give us hope, help and healing.
Prayer: We are grateful, Father, that You know first-hand what we go through in the dark hours of pain and suffering which assures us of Your compassion and care. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd…

Centuries ago, a king had a group of his soldiers place a large stone in the middle of a road during the night. They worked in silence following his orders because he wanted no one to see them place a sack beneath the stone.
The next day he sat in a balcony where no one could see him and watched as the people passed by. All of them looked at the stone, paused a moment and then walked around it. Some became angry and wanted to know who could possibly have a reason to interrupt their lives with such a horrible inconvenience. Others cursed the stone thinking that their oaths would make a difference and the stone would move under its own power.
Finally an elderly peasant paused, looked at the stone and then summoned all of his strength and pushed it out of the way. To his surprise he discovered a purse beneath the stone. When he opened it he discovered many gold coins and a note from the king. The note read: “Whoever moves this stone is entitled to the coins in this purse.”
God works “in everything,” according to Paul, “for our good.” It does not mean that whatever happens to us is good. But that “good” will come to us if we fulfill His purpose for our lives and grow into His likeness.
Prayer: Give us, Dear Father, the vision to see every obstacle in life as an opportunity to use the strength You have given us to grow into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
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.
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