Not out, but through

Isaiah 43:2 NKJV

Before God changes our circumstances, He often uses our circumstances to change us. Yes, He has promised to deliver us from our troubles, but not necessarily on our schedule or in the way we think. God wants to do more than just deliver us; He wants to develop us into the likeness of His Son and into the fullness of our God-given potential. Notice how often the word through is used in Scripture. To get to the Promised Land, Israel had to go through the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and through the Jordan River. Think about these two Scriptures: “As they pass through the Valley of Baca [brokenness, loss, grief, and weeping] they make it a spring…they go from strength to strength” (Psalm 84:5-7 NKJV). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV). God doesn’t work in minutes, hours, and days; He works in seasons. The refiner knows how long the ore must stay in the fire to produce gold. The potter knows how long the clay must stay on the wheel to become a thing of value, beauty, and usefulness. Trust God; He knows what He’s doing. Be patient; while God is working for you, He’s working in you. When you get through this experience, you’ll look back and thank Him for the things He has taught you.

Soul food: Ezra 9-10; Mark 1:1-8; Ps 78:32-39; Prov 20:1-3

Not out, but through

Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Before God changes our circumstances, He often uses our circumstances to change us. He promises to help us when we’re facing troubles, but God wants to do more than just get us out of the situation. He wants to use the situation to make us more like Christ and to help us fully discover our God-given potential. Ever noticed how often the word ‘through’ is used in Scripture? To get to the Promised Land, Israel had to go through the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and through the Jordan River. Take a minute to read Psalm 84:6-7 and Isaiah 43:2. Both of these verses show that sometimes we’ll have to go ‘through’. There are some situations we can’t avoid happening, we just have to go through them. These verses also suggest that God will not only be with us as we go through, but that we’ll make it to the other side and something good will come from it. In Psalm 66 it says: ‘we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance’ (v.12 NIV). Having to go through these things is hard, but we know God will never leave us and will bring us into better places – all in His timing. So when we’re waiting for Him to help us, grow us and bring us out the other side, we need to remember that God doesn’t work according to our schedule or in the way we think. We can trust God; He knows what He’s doing. And when we get through what we’re experiencing, we’ll look back and thank Him for the things He has taught us and the places He has led us to.

Ezra 9-10; Mark 1:1-8; Ps 78:32-39; Prov 20:1-3

Nie uit nie, maar deur

Jesaja 43:2 NLV

Voordat God ons omstandighede verander, gebruik Hy dikwels ons omstandighede om ons te verander. Ja, Hy het belowe om ons probleme op te los, maar nie noodwending op ons skedule of op die manier wat ons verwag nie. God wil ons nie net uit ons omstandighede red nie, Hy wil ons ook ontwikkel om meer soos sy Seun te wees en ons Godgegewe potensiaal ten volle te bereik. Let op hoe baie die woord deur in die Skrif gebruik word. Om by die Beloofde Land uit te kom, moes Israel deur die Rooi See, die woestyn en die Jordaanrivier beweeg. Dink aan hierdie twee Skrifgedeeltes: ‘Gaan hulle deur ‘n droĆ« vallei, word dit omskep in ‘n fonteinedal… Hulle kragte sal vermeerder…’ (Psalm 84:7-8 NLV). ‘Wanneer jy deur diep water gaan, sal Ek by jou wees. Wanneer jy deur riviere gaan, sal hulle jou nie wegspoel nie. Wanneer jy deur vuur stap, sal jy nie verbrand nie…’ (Jesaja 43:2 NLV). God werk nie in minute, ure en dae nie; Hy werk in seisoene. Die suiweraar weet hoe lank die erts in die vuur moet bly om goud te produseer. Die pottebakker weet hoe lank die klei op die wiel moet bly om ‘n item van waarde, skoonheid en bruikbaarheid te word. Vertrou op God; Hy weet wat Hy doen. Wees geduldig; terwyl God vir jou werk, werk Hy ook in jou. Wanneer jy deur hierdie ervaring is, sal jy terugkyk en Hom bedank vir die dinge wat Hy jou geleer het.

Sielskos: Esra 9-10; Mark 1:1-8; Ps 78:32-39; Spr 20:1-3

Sharing your life with someone

1 Corinthians 7:33 NLT

When four-year-old Sarah attended her first wedding, she had lots of questions. At the reception her mom explained there were two cakes – a groom’s cake and a bride’s cake. “What’s the matter, Mom?” Sarah asked. “Haven’t they learned to share yet?” Seriously, the Bible says, “A married man has to think about his…wife…a married woman has to think about…her husband” (vv. 33-34 NLT). If you devote more time to your career than your relationship, there’s a good chance it won’t last. That’s why 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Understand this: When you marry someone, you marry everything they are and everything they’ve been through. It’s a package deal! And if you ask God, He will give you the wisdom and grace to enable both you and your spouse to “grow in grace.” It may not happen right away. As Shakespeare said, “What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” It takes time for even a small cut to heal. But if you let Him, God will give you the oil of compassion and the wine of love to pour into your spouse’s wounds. Never become so available at work that you’re unavailable at home. Your first calling is to your family. Your priorities should start there, then spread to your vocation and other pursuits. In effect, Paul is saying, “I release those who are married from the level of consecration I expect from those who are single, so they’ll be able to spend time working on their relationship” (vv. 32-35 paraphrase). You say, “But I need to spend time with God.” You’re called to love the Lord – and your spouse!

Soul food: Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110; Heb 5:5-11


1 Corinthians 7:32 NIV

In society (and this often includes churches), being married or in a relationship seems like the preferred option, the thing that we’re all supposed to be aiming for in life. And if we remain single, well, it seems to be going against the norm. Not everyone is single out of choice; sometimes it really hurts that you’re not married. It’s okay to feel that hurt. For others, singleness is a conscious decision. They would rather do life unmarried – and that’s okay too. In fact, Paul recommends the single life: ‘Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do’ (1 Corinthians 7:8 NIV). So why does Paul recommend it? Well, being single means we have more opportunity to be focused on God, spending time with Him and seeking His will for our life. The Bible says: ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’ (Matthew 6:33 NIV). Of course, being married doesn’t mean that you can’t do this, it just means there are more distractions, because part of the God-given responsibility of being married is that you spend time working on your relationship. God doesn’t want us to live in complete isolation. But sharing our lives with someone may not necessarily include getting married. We may be blessed with a large group of friends, or a close family, or a supportive church family. If we’re struggling to handle being single, there’s one thing that we need to remember. Life is happening right now. And Jesus came so that we could have life to the full (take a look at John 10:10). We shouldn’t be seeing marriage as the time when our life starts. We can live our lives to the full right now, single or not.

Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110; Heb 5:5-11