The following was sent to me. It might encourage you. No idea as to author. I usually don’t pass on anonymous stuff, but here’s an exception —

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless effort,

God knows how hard you have tried.

When you have cried so long, your heart is in anguish,

God has counted your tears.

When nothing makes sense, and you are confused and frustrated,

God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter, and you find traces of hope,

God has whispered to you.

When things are going well, and you have much to be thankful for,

God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens, and you are filled with awe,

God has smiled on you.

Remember that where you are or whatever you are feeling,

God knows.

It has been proven to me that God will take care of His children. He will take care of us in the best way and to an extent we haven’t imagined. Instead of having a family that is afraid to subject itself completely to the Father’s guidance and commands, He plans for sons and daughters who can say in each and every situation, “If God is for me, who can be against me? Everything will be for my good, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant now.”

Crossing a street may be dangerous. Crossing a street to speak the gospel to someone is relatively easy to contemplate. Crossing a state, a nation, an ocean offer no more security risks than crossing a street, to God, for whom all things are possible, for whom nothing is too difficult. Risks are obviously greater in some situations than in others, but they are no match for the Almighty. One is at risk in his own house, town, and country. How many times does the prayer come to the evangelist’s mind, “Father, you know I’m here for the gospel’s sake, not for my own enjoyment or profit. May Your will be done.” And it is done! You can make your plans with confidence.

You see, we are God’s because we are entirely the products of His creation. We are His. We did wrong and separated ourselves from Him. He bought us back. Can’t we say we’re doubly His? He promises to take care of us. He doesn’t lie. You can be sure He will take care of you as you serve Him.

—Jerry Hill, Guatemala: Joy and Crown

Thought for the day:

The past has much to teach us, so that the future can be brighter and better, and our service to God more effective.

The question is how to sift through and evaluate the past. The judicious use of good questions can take you far.

Another feature of using the the past is to remember how God has blessed and cared for us. Use the past as a register for God’s providence in your life.

My personality has little use for the past. It is wholly geared toward the future. This perspective has much to commend it, but having the past to bolster your present can provide much impetus and motivation for the future.

It all depends upon how we look at it.

In today’s devotional, Ed M. cites Esther 4.14 and ponders human action under divine sovereignty. His prayer caps off the devotional so well.

Almighty God, what I do matters. And what I do not do matters, too. I need to know which is appropriate under what circumstances. Please give me insight to know when and how to do Your will. Through Him, who knows, Amen.

Focus question: Do I find myself thinking that someone else will act if I don’t, or that God will provide in spite of my inaction, and thus excuse myself?

In the secular American culture, if we believe in God at all, it is hard for us to believe that God is profoundly interested in the ordinary activities of human beings; profoundly interested in a young man chasing his father’s donkeys who have escaped their pen, or profoundly interested in the time and talent of a young man making his living by extorting money from his neighbors who pay taxes. Is it possible that God is profoundly interested in what I am doing today? In what you there at your computer are doing? In what we could be doing for the Kingdom today?

Is it possible that God is inviting, calling, cajoling us to come join HIS enterprise of saving the world? It is not only possible . . . it is the promise and fulfillment of all that is important about being human. Saul and Levi can help us see that as ordinary as we might be, God has great things in mind for us. Things far more important than any petty pursuit of our own. Let’s go – it is a new year and a new opportunity to become what we were born to be. “This will be a sign for you, that the Lord has anointed you . . .”

God uses events to bring forward his will. Interesting connection in the post above.

I think the Lord wants to remind me today of his sovereign hand that accomplishes his will. Ed’s words are powerful today, from Ezra 7.

The divine element. This whole episode was guided by “the hand of the Lord,Ezra 7:27,28. Persian policy became favorable because God intervened. He molded history behind the scenes. In ways the pagan monarch did not suspect, he facilitated the purposes of heaven: “teaching all who do not know the will of God,” Ezra 7:25,26.

God’s providence is best seen as we look back over his care in the past, since his work is not always evident in the present. He has revealed his plan, but man cannot always see its outworking.

Focus question: Where have you seen God’s hand molding your history behind the scenes?