In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
—2 Timothy 2:20
This is the fifth message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read previous posts in this series. Last week, I talked about renewing our minds to the mind of Christ. This week, we will focus our minds on God’s blessings. Thinking God wants us to continually suffer is a wrong mindset that can keep us from following God’s plan for our lives. When we see all the persecution and suffering Jesus and His disciples faced, we can often become fearful from following God’s will.
I read a message recently. A woman was complaining to God about her trials when she heard Him say, “Don’t give the devil glory. Give me the glory.” The devil throws a lot at us, but his attacks are nothing compared to all the glory and blessings God provides for those who follow Him with all their hearts.
I recently wrote a timeline of my life from birth until now. As I was writing about some major trials in my life, I was amazed how God’s blessings were by far greater than the devil’s destruction.
May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!
The disciples understand God was so much greater than the devil. They were full of joy despite the suffering they experienced because of the gospel. Paul said their light afflictions were momentary and nothing compared to the everlasting glory they would see (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Paul’s “light” afflictions were:
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open seas, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
Even though Paul faced hardships, the Lord not only rescued him from ALL of them (2 Timothy 3:11), but He also gave Paul “surpassingly great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
God’s blessings and glory are greater than our trials. When I am starting to feel down in my spirit I will often ask God to bless me to remind me that He is greater. It helps take my attention away from my problems and the devil, and keeps me looking expectantly to God. Just last week, I was starting to get down about my finances. My husband’s hours were cut short recently and our bills were higher. I asked God one morning to send us a blessing. Later that day, my husband received a note from his boss informing him that he would be receiving a bonus in his check. Then a couple days later, he was informed that he would also be receiving a pay raise.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
In the two years it took me to write my first book I experience many trials and opposition. As it started to weigh down on me, I asked God to send me a special gift to refresh my spirit. Since my birthday was coming up, I asked Him to send me a message on my birthday through someone that didn’t know me. I asked Him to answer a question I had and to give me confirmation that I was in His will and going in the right direction.
On my birthday, I was answering emails when I accepted a friend request from a man I didn’t know. I sent him a general thank you for adding me to his network. He replied that he didn’t know how he found me, but when he sent me a request he strongly heard a message from the Lord for him to give to me. At first, I was a little skeptical, but as I read the message I knew right away it was from God. It was exactly what I had asked for. It was so personally directed to me that no one could have known except God.
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
I can sit here for days sharing all the wonderful blessings God has worked in my life. God is so faithful, even when we don’t see it right away. I have prayed for years for God to answer a specific prayer about a person who is very dear to me. Just this past week, I have seen an amazing transformation take place in this loved one. Just when I’m about to lose hope and give up, God shows me how faithful He is. God’s glory is greater than we can ever imagine. No matter what trial you are experiencing today, give God the glory, not the devil. God who is in you is greater than the devil who is in the world (1 John 4:4)!
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
I praise You for Your faithfulness. You will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you for sending Jesus to redeem me. Pour out Your blessings and display Your glory in me. Keep my mind focused on You and not my trials. I look expectantly to You. I praise You that You will do above and beyond what I can ever imagine according to Your power working in me. I give You all the glory and not the devil!
In Jesus name, I praise You! Amen!
Have a blessed Christmas celebrating God’s greatest blessing to us, Jesus!!