Psalm 107 encourages God’s people to give him thanks for his steadfast love and wonderful works. Though we get ourselves into an array of difficult circumstances, some caused by our sin and others brought on by the trials of life, God is faithful to come to our help.
The psalm centers on four vignettes of groups in exile facing a struggle.
Continue reading Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 107: How Pain and Problems Lead to Prayer
- Weak and Weary Travelers Lost in the Desert (4-9)
- Prisoners in Darkness and Bondage (10-16)
- Sick Sufferers on the Brink of Death (17-22)
- Overwhelmed, Storm-Tossed Sailors (23-32)
(This devotion is day one of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Yesterday’s devotional and texts focused on recognizing God as the source of blessings. We feel gratitude and we give thanks.
Blessings include gifts in our life and God’s provision, but it can also include God’s comforting presence, His ongoing work in us, His involvement in our life, ministry He’s doing through us, what He reveals in His world, and what He teaches us in His Word. “Blessings” encompasses many things. It’s broader and deeper than idyllic stock-phots and Pinterest boards. But we often focus only on positive things with thanksgiving.
Continue reading Give Thanks in Trials: November Gratitude Reading Plan (Day 2)
“Brokenness precedes usefulness.”
Despite our failures, weaknesses, and weariness, despite what was done to us or what we’ve done, and despite hard seasons that feel like we’ve been put in the garage because we’re no longer useful, God uses broken people. In fact, God often walks us through a season of suffering or humility to make us usable.
Continue reading The Broken are the Useful
I posted this on Facebook after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, but sadly, it is fitting again this weekend.
Recently I’ve been reading Dane Ortlund’s wonderful book Gentle and Lowly. The book focuses not so much on the person and work of Jesus—like so many books do—but on helping us see Christ’s heart of compassion and love. Yesterday, I read chapter 11 on “The Emotional Life of Christ,” which focused on how Jesus felt a righteous anger toward death. Jesus felt and feels an indignant anger against anything that is “not the way it should be.”
Continue reading Christ’s Heart that Righteously Rages Against Hurt, Death, and Injustice
In his sermon, “Direction in Dilemma,” Charles Spurgeon helps us consider God’s good purposes in suffering.
Continue reading C. H. Spurgeon on Purpose in Pain
When we walk through spiritual droughts, we’re tempted to believe this time is an unusable, accidental derailment in our Christian journey. Maybe God was asleep at the wheel or took a wrong turn, but somehow, we’ve veered off the road and gotten lost in this desolate place. Read the rest here at For the Church.
Continue reading 4 Reasons the Wilderness is Not a Waste
Whether you call it a spiritual wilderness, drought, dry-season, or rut, the experience of distance from God and apathy in our Christian walk saps us of life. It confuses and frustrates us. Why doesn’t God feel near? Why can’t I get out? Why aren’t my passion or desires for the things of God increasing?
Continue reading Lessons Learned in the Wilderness
I love books, whether it’s reading them, talking about them, giving them as gifts, or even flipping through them at the library or bookstore. Books become a conversation partner stirring us to action or stretching our thinking. At any point, I’m reading (or researching) several books, so it’s easy for me to get excited about new books. But, having grown through Mark Vroegop’s preaching, serving under him as a staff member, and getting the chance to see this book develop, I’m especially excited to share with others what I think will be a very helpful gift to the Church. Here are my top 5 reasons (among others) to read Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament.
Continue reading Top 5 Reasons to Buy Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy
The Bible speaks about various positive outcomes to suffering, or reasons why we can rejoice in suffering. However, one which I think we often miss out on is that as we suffer Christ actually suffers with us. It’s not simply that we suffer like Christ or that we suffer in his name—although both are also true—but the NT offers tremendous encouragement in the mystery that Jesus actually in some way suffers with his church. This truth, forged in the OT with texts about God walking through the fire with us or being in the fire with us (cf. Is. 43; 63:9; Dan. 3:25; Ex. 33:14), is only ratcheted up in the NT through union with Christ.
Continue reading Suffering with Jesus