The Desert Comes Before the Promised Land

Posted: December 12th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 The Desert Comes Before the Promised Land

20 Days of Believing God (Day icon cool The Desert Comes Before the Promised Land

After Jesus was baptized we read, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”

After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he preached there, but then went into Arabia for several years. The origin of the word Arabia can also mean “desert.”

After Moses killed an Egyptian, he fled to the land of Midian where he stayed for 40 years. Midian? It’s right next to Arabia.

Before God led the Israelites into the Promised Land, Moses said to them:

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”  (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)

We know that after Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, He went on to call His first disciples and begin His public ministry.

After Paul’s season in the desert, he began his mission of taking the gospel to the Gentiles.

Moses spent 40 years in the desert before God called him back to Egypt to lead His people into the land He’d promised to them.

I don’t think Jesus, Paul, Moses or the nation of Israel loved the desert. I know I don’t. And I’m sure you don’t either. Unless of course, there’s a resort in the middle of it.

The desert is a prerequisite though. It’s a training ground for for whatever God is calling us to do next.

God is up to something in your life. He has you in the desert for a reason. He wants to reveal Himself to you. He wants to teach you. He wants to humble you. He wants you to know you don’t live on bread alone, but on every Word He speaks. He is the One who is causing you to hunger and He is the One who is feeding you.

The desert won’t last forever. God uses it for a season and then brings you into a land of fruitfulness. If you don’t experience the desert, then You will not be prepared for how He will bless you and use you in the future.

Hold on. Don’t quit. God is at work. He will lead you out at just the right time. Keep your eyes on Him and trust Him.

The desert comes before the Promised Land.


What Does God Want?

Posted: December 10th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 What Does God Want?

20 Days of Believing God (Day 6)

Last weekend, my right eye was watery and bloodshot. Then I felt a mild sore throat coming on. Then some congestion. And by Tuesday night, my eye was fine, but my throat was not. Mildly sore had become severely sore. I didn’t get much sleep that night and didn’t get much work done yesterday. Including a post for day 5 of our 20 Days of Believing God.

After a trip to my doctor, I’m already starting to feel better, but not getting a post done for your yesterday is probably a good reminder…

We can make all the plans we want, but we’re just not in control…and our plans are rarely, if ever, the point.

We can get frustrated when things don’t go our way, but maybe when they don’t, they’re actually going exactly as God intended. Maybe being sick when you feel like you can least afford it is God’s way of saying, “I’m not dependent on your work to meet your needs. I’ve already got this!” Or maybe, “Why don’t you slow down for a moment so you’ll hear My voice?”

I’m not saying God is going around making us sick, but I sure do believe He can use our sickness or failure or confusion to get through to us…if we’re open to Him.

So what’s not going right in your world today?

Did you oversleep and miss a meeting?

Open an email and discover you’re late on a payment?

Did your baby poop or throw up on you…right after getting both of you dressed?

Was it an argument with your spouse before you even had your first cup of coffee?

What’s confusing you or frustrating you today?

Whatever it is you’ve already faced, are facing now or will face later today…remember that the One who made you and loves you is never taken by surprise by your frustrating day, your messed up plans or the vomit stain on your shoulder.

So if God isn’t making all our plans succeed or making everyday go smoothly for us…let’s remember what’s really going on.

Let’s not lose sight of the simple fact that God wants you. Not your plans. Not your work. Not your promises to do better.

He wants YOU.

He desires you. He longs for you. He watches and waits for you. He enjoys the time you spend with Him. He loves it when you talk to Him while you drive or go for a walk. He delights in you. He enjoys you.

He didn’t make anyone else just like you. He wanted a unique relationship with YOU.

And He wants you to love Him and know Him. He likes it when you seek Him. He enjoys it when you believe Him…not your out-of-control circumstances.

And He invites you to experience Him and His rest today. Right now. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

That’s a wonderful invitation, isn’t it?

But let’s not miss our part, because if we do, I’m afraid we never get to experience what He’s promising.

We must come to Him and take His yoke upon us. When we do, He promises rest, He promises to teach us and He promises to give us a light burden.

To experience all He has for us, we must say “no” to all the distractions, so we can say “yes” to time with Him. Time alone with Him in His word is what allows us to learn to think like Him, to see life like He does, to know Him better so we can trust Him more.

And then what a privilege to also take our heavy burdens and give them to Him. Our financial worries. Our health issues. Our broken relationships.

“Here, Jesus, I’ve been carrying these for too long. I really don’t think I can take another step with them.”

I will never suggest this easy. If you’re like me, you give your burdens to Jesus, but take them back when you don’t see Him doing anything with them. We can know He’ll do something with them…it just won’t look like what we would have done OR when! And we need to be okay with that, because what we get in return are peace and a light burden.

So what’s ONE thing you can do right now to intentionally come to Jesus and give Him your heavy burdens? If you have an accountability partner, talk about it together.

And I’ll see you tomorrow. I think. That’s the plan anyway.


Why I was SO Annoyed at My Wife

Posted: December 6th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 Why I was SO Annoyed at My Wife

20 Days of Believing God – Day 2

A number of years ago, my wife, Robyn, ruined the floors in three rooms of our house. It was thousands of dollars in damage. Money we didn’t have.

I won’t even go in to how she did it. That’s not important. The floors were ruined.

Can you blame me for feeling annoyed with her? (That’s the kind way of saying I was angry!)

You’d probably feel the same way if your wife (or husband) did what she did.

There was a problem though with how I was feeling. What I didn’t mention was that the damage to the floors occurred in my dream. None of it was real.

That didn’t stop me from waking up in the middle of the night and feeling annoyed with her though…until I realized the truth.

So why was I so upset? After all, it was only a dream.

Because my mind was not able to distinguish between what was real and what was not. I believed something was true, when in fact it wasn’t. The wrong thought then led to a wrong feeling.

Our thoughts are powerful and will determine how we feel and act today. What are you believing? About God? About your circumstances? About yourself? Is it true? Or do you just think it’s true?

This is key: sometimes we can believe something for so long that we just come to believe it’s true. When, in fact, it’s not.

If you don’t know the truth, then your feelings, actions and words will be based on something false. How you treat your spouse or children or co-workers is based on what you believe.

How you respond to your financial situation today will depend on your beliefs, as well. Do you believe God sees your situation? That He understands what you’re facing? Do you believe He’s true to His promises?

Romans 12:1-2 says:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We will only experience the good, pleasing and perfect will He has for us as we allow Him to change the way we think.

So what does God have to say about you and your circumstances today? What does He say about Himself?

You need to know if you’re going to experience the life He has for you.


What Do You Do When You Feel Like Quitting?

Posted: December 1st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Before I get to the post, I want to let you know about my new video course, “How to Understand Your Spouse and Transform Your Marriage.” It’s on sale until the end of the week. I want to ask you to imagine what it would be like to wake up on Christmas morning, not only excited about family and presents, but knowing your marriage is better than it’s ever been and you’ve never been so in love with one another. I’ve put this course together to help you understand one another in a way that leads to seeing your marriage transformed in a short amount of time. Click here to check it out. Now on to the post…

Do you ever get to the point where you’ve had enough? I mean really had enough. Like you’ve given it your best shot, but it just didn’t work out?

Maybe you feel that way about your marriage. Or a relationship with one of your kids. Or someone you’ve been dating. Or the business you started.

And do you ever feel like you’ve given it your all, but God didn’t come through the way you thought He would? You did all you knew to do…worked hard, prayed even harder, walked by faith and anticipated God’s blessings.

And then you waited patiently. And you waited. And waited.

And you’re still waiting.

And have you ever looked around at others and wondered why things seem to be going so well for them? Why is God blessing them, but not you? They don’t seem to be smarter or more talented than you. They don’t even trust God the way you do.

And yet, they seem to be enjoying the success that keeps alluding you.

Now what?

What do you do when the doubt creeps in, the anxiety takes over and you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options? What do you do when quitting feels like your only choice?

I’ll be honest…I can relate to those feelings. And there are no easy answers to those questions.

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah is recounting an awful time in his life. Click here to read the entire chapter. Here are verses 19 to 27:

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline

The chapter hinges on verse 21 which begins with that little three-letter word, “yet.”

Things are awful…yet.

You don’t know how you’re going to make it…yet.

You’ve never been this discouraged…yet.

You see no way things can get better…yet.

Yet you can still dare to hope. Why?

Because you remember His love never ends. His mercies never cease. His faithfulness is great. He is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.

God sees you. Right now. In this very moment of fear and worry and anxiety. In this moment of disappointment and despair. He knows what you’re feeling. He understands your heartache.

He hasn’t forgotten you. He knows what He’s doing. The pain and confusion won’t be wasted.

Later in the chapter, Jeremiah says:

54 The water rose over my head,
and I cried out, “This is the end!”

(Can you relate?)

55 But I called on your name, Lord,
from deep within the pit.
56 You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading!
Hear my cry for help!”
57 Yes, you came when I called;
you told me, “Do not fear.”

If it feels like the water is rising over your head and you’re deep within the pit…call out to Him again. Do it now. He’s listening.

I know it’s hard, but don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep going. Keep crying out to Him.

And then listen as He whispers to you, “Do not fear.”


Marriage Breakthrough

Posted: June 11th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Do you ever feel stuck? Like you’re not sure how you got into your current circumstances? Or how to get out?

Have you ever wondered if what you have now is as good as it will ever get? And what you have now isn’t so hot?

Have you ever lost hope?

Have you hoped or prayed for a breakthrough?

On Friday, June 12th, my friend, Jeff Caliguire, and I will be doing a live session online:

The Top 5 Breakthroughs Wives Believe Their Husbands Need to Win at Work and at Home

You’re invited to join us to hear what wives had to say about their husbands, the state of their marriages and what they believe their husbands need most to breakthrough in life. We’ll be covering some good stuff!

Click here for more information on the time in your area and to register.


Expectations of God and Life

Posted: May 20th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

20351974 s 300x176 Expectations of God and Life

Years ago, I heard it said, “Life wouldn’t be so hard if we didn’t expect it to be so easy.”

Apparently I wasn’t listening well enough. That one expectation may be the source of more of my aggravation and disappointment than anything else in my life. On second thought, there’s no reason to include the words “may be” in that sentence. Let’s replace them with the word “is.”

My default setting is to expect things to always go well. As in easy. As in my favor. As in without struggle.

Where did I get that idea from? It’s not even close to reality. It’s certainly not found in the Bible. There’s nowhere in all of Scripture where God promises a life of ease and comfort. In fact, the opposite is true. We’re promised hardships and trials and suffering.

Yesterday, we looked at Israel’s trek through the wilderness and how after a little over a year, they were whining and complaining about their conditions. They missed the food they had in Egypt. They were tired of manna and wanted some meat.

Even Moses started griping at God. He ended his little rant with, “If this is how You intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

I understand how Moses felt. Don’t you?

Moses expected it to be easier. He thought they were headed to the Promised Land. Instead, they’re camped in the wilderness. If you’re a mom of young children, you know how frustrating it can be when they’re whining and complaining. Moses had two million of them to deal with.

After making their way to the edge of the Promised Land, they send spies in to scout out the land and bring back a report. The spies tell of a great land, but also strike fear in the hearts of the people by telling them they’ll never be able to defeat the nations already in the land. That’s when God sends Israel back into the wilderness as punishment.

Fast forward forty years…

Moses says to the nation of Israel:

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

I’ve seen this pattern in my life and in the lives of others. God begins to change your circumstances. Maybe it’s a new job. Or a new relationship. Or a new place to live. Everything looks great! God has answered your prayers!

But often times, there’s a wilderness between where you’ve been and where God is leading you. And there are lessons to be learned there before moving on. God humbles us. He tests us. He causes us to hunger and then feeds us. He’s teaching us that we can trust Him. He’s disciplining us and training us for our own good and for greater fruitfulness.

My problem is forgetting that. I expect things to be easy. I fail to remember there’s often a wilderness to cross first.

Are you in a wilderness? If so, don’t lose heart. God’s at work. He’s not planning to abandon you where you are now. He’s bringing you through this difficult season to prepare you for what’s ahead, to reveal Himself to you and to teach you that you can count on Him no matter what you’re facing.


Aggravated With God

Posted: May 19th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

38999995 s 300x198 Aggravated With God

It’s been over a year since Israel left Egypt. They’ve camped at Mt. Sinai, received the law and now they’re on the move. They know when to move and when to stay because God leads them through the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The cloud or the fire are always visible.

God also provides food for them every morning. The manna appears on the ground with the dew. They gather what they need, grind it up and bake it like flat cakes.

Wouldn’t you think these people would be in awe? Wouldn’t you think they’d be blown away after seeing all the plagues God sent in Egypt, how He parted the Red Sea and how He’s been leading and providing for them in the desert? Wouldn’t you think?

Well, they’re not in awe. Or blown away. In fact, they’ve had enough already. And they’ve started complaining.

I’d like to ask them what in the world they were thinking when they started complaining, but I don’t need to. I can just ask me. I’m them. I totally get where they’re coming from.

In Numbers 11, they’re complaining about their hardships, so God sends a fire into the outskirts of the camp. They scream for Moses to help and after he prays, the fire stops. But some of them die.

Then some of the foreigners traveling with Israel start reminiscing about the good old days in Egypt when they had all the delicious food they wanted. Well this gets some of the Israelites stirred up again and they start complaining again.

Moses can hear the people complaining, so then he gets in on it. Here’s the account in Numbers 11:10-15…

10 Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the Lord became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated. 11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? 12 Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? 13 Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! 15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

Can you relate? I can.

Moses didn’t ask for this. He didn’t want to be God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. He didn’t want to lead all these people. He didn’t ask for this trouble.

And yet, here he is. Right in the middle of a big old mess trying to lead a couple million complainers through a desert.

I counted them. He asks God seven questions. Are any of them familiar to you? They sure are to me.

Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly?”

What did I do to deserve…?”

Did I…?”

Did I…?”

Why did You tell me…?”

How can I…?

Where am I supposed to…?”

Moses isn’t a little frustrated. He’s aggravated. Very aggravated. I get it. I would be too. To be honest, I’m aggravated about far less than that right now. And I’ve got some of those same questions for God.

What about you?

Are you aggravated with your circumstances and with God?

Maybe you’re wondering why God is treating you the way He is. Or what you did to deserve the situation you’re in. You’re wondering why God told you to do the things He did and why things are falling down around you. And now you’re trying to figure out how to fix the problem God has gotten you into. So you’re looking around for help or answers you need and can’t find any.

I’m right in there with you if you’re going through a hard season. And you and I are in good company. Moses struggled too.

More thoughts tomorrow…

By the way, if one of your aggravations is your marriage, then let me encourage you to check out my FREE video by clicking here.


Freak Out or Faith?

Posted: April 14th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 Freak Out or Faith?

How do you respond in a crisis? I don’t mean your first reaction. No one does well when the phone rings at 2:00 a.m. I’m talking about your second reaction. After you’ve had a little time to process.

Do you panic? Feel overwhelmed? Worry? Get anxious? Are you filled with fear? Or dread?

Or maybe you respond well. You pray, assess the situation and take action. Instead of fear, you respond with faith. You might feel powerless, but that drives you to pray.

How do you respond?

In Luke 8:22-56, there are a number of people who are facing a crisis of one kind or another. Some are in fear of their lives. Some are facing serious health issues. And it’s fascinating to see how they respond and then how Jesus responds to them. Click here to read the passage.

The first group of people we see are the disciples. They’re out on the lake in a boat when a fierce storm hits. The boat was filling with water and they were in real danger. How do they respond to the crisis?

They freak out by waking Jesus up and shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

Jesus calms the storm and then asks, “Where is your faith?”

When they arrive at the other side of the lake, a demon-possessed man approaches Jesus just as He’s getting out of the boat. This guy was homeless, naked and had lived alone in the cemetery for a long time. The demons have a crisis on their hands. The Son of the Most High God has just shown up. How do they respond?

They freak out, too. They beg Jesus not to send them to the bottomless pit, but to instead allow them to go into a herd of pigs. Jesus gives them permission and they enter the pigs. The herd then rushes over a steep cliff into the lake and drowns.

The people of that region hear what has happened and rush out to Jesus. When they see the man who’d been demon-possessed sitting there, fully clothed and in his right mind, they face a crisis. Something powerful and mysterious has just occurred and they don’t understand it. How do they respond?

They freak out, of course. They’re afraid of Jesus and beg Him to leave. The one person who isn’t freaked out is the guy who’s been made well. He begs to go with Jesus, but Jesus tells him to go home to his family and tell them all God has done for him.

Jesus gets back in the boat and heads to the other side of the lake again. When He arrives crowds press around Him, including a guy named Jairus who’s 12-year-old daughter is dying. How does he respond to his crisis?

He believes Jesus can heal her begs Him to come with him. Jesus agrees to go with him, but then gets sidetracked by a woman in crisis. She’s been bleeding for twelve years without relief. Nothing she has tried has cured her. How does she respond?

She believes that if she can just touch the cloak Jesus is wearing, she’ll be healed. And she is. Jesus says, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

While Jesus is speaking with her, word comes to Jairus that his daughter has died. But Jesus says to him, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”

When Jesus arrives at his home, He tells the mourners to stop weeping because the little girl is only asleep. They all know she’s really dead and so they respond by laughing at Jesus. Of course, Jesus gets the last laugh when He brings her back to life.

Let’s recap…

The disciples face a crisis and freak out. Jesus asks them where there faith is.

The demons face a crisis and freak out because they know who Jesus really is. He exercises His authority over them and drives them out of the man, who is then healed and sane again.

The people of that region face a crisis and freak out in fear and beg Jesus to leave, which He does.

The man who was now free of the demons demonstrates faith by begging to go with Jesus.

The woman who’d been bleeding for twelve years faces a crisis and exercises her faith and experiences healing. She goes in peace.

Jairus faces a crisis when he realizes his daughter is dying. He has faith in Jesus and begs Him to come heal her, which He does.

The mourners face a crisis by laughing at Jesus. The gospel of Mark tells us Jesus made them leave the house before he raised the little girl to life. Could they have witnessed the miracle themselves if only they’d had faith like Jairus?

What’s your crisis today?

Is it financial? Health-related? A troubled marriage or relationship with a child? An issue at work? Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the state of the world.

You and I really have two choices. We can focus on the circumstances we’re in and freak out OR we can focus on Jesus, exercise faith in Him and experience His joy and peace.

I don’t know what Jesus will do in response to your faith. I wish I could tell you the crisis will be immediately resolved. That probably won’t happen. And I wish I could tell you it will be easy to focus on Jesus and trust Him. It won’t be.

Keeping your eyes on Jesus and trusting Him will require diligence. Your circumstances will cry out for your undivided attention. Whatever situation you’re in will feel more real than Jesus does.

But don’t give up. Make the choice to see your circumstances through the eyes of Jesus. Know beyond any doubt there’s nothing too hard for Him. Bring Jesus into the midst of your fears, worries and weaknesses. He sees. He understands. And He’s at work right now.


Prayer for a Breakthrough

Posted: January 30th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I don’t want to suffer. I know you don’t either.

We want good health for ourselves and those we love. We want to always have enough money to pay the bills with some left over. We want our relationships, especially with family members, to bring us joy and satisfaction. We want to be successful in our work. And we want our neighborhood, our city, our country and our world to be a safe place to live. And when we pray about something, we want God to answer. Sooner than later.

Does that pretty well capture what we want?

I’ll be honest. I don’t want to walk by faith. I don’t. A few days ago, I wrote a post on this site about seeking and trusting God. And really, that’s what this blog has been about for the past seven years. But if I’m honest, I have to admit I don’t really want to be in a position to have to trust God.

I want all of my needs met today, not tomorrow. I don’t even want to know how things will work out in the future, because that implies they’re not worked out today. And that makes me uncomfortable. And I don’t want to be uncomfortable. I know you don’t either.

That’s just not reality though. It’s not the way life works. It’s not the way God works.

James 1:2-4 says:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James is cluing us in to how life really works. And it’s contrary to the way we want it to work. It’s contrary to the way the world system tells us it should work. It’s even contrary to the way some Christians tell us life should work. We’re told that if we just have enough faith then we’ll have all the money we want and we’ll be healed of every sickness.

That’s not true though. My good friend died from colon cancer last year. He had great faith.

James doesn’t say “if” troubles come our way, he says “when” they do, we’re to consider it an opportunity for great joy. Yeah, I wish it didn’t work that way either, but it does.

We’re to consider troubles to be joy because we know that when our faith is tested, our endurance grows. When our endurance is fully developed, we enter into a new dimension of relationship with God where we discover He’s all we need, that in Him, we lack nothing.

When we pray for “breakthroughs”, I think what we’re really praying for is a quick way out of our troubles. At least that’s what I’m doing. It sounds something like this: “Oh God, please help me! I need a breakthrough today!” We want an end to the suffering today, don’t we? Have you ever prayed for a breakthrough to come in six months? Me either.

Maybe the better prayer is not for a breakthrough, but a go-through: “Oh God, give me the wisdom and strength to go through these troubles. Increase my faith. Help my endurance grow. Help me see I need You more than I need comfortable and pleasant circumstances.”


Do You Make This Serious Error?

Posted: January 19th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

In Mark 12, some religious folks have come to Jesus to try and trap Him. These guys didn’t believe there was a resurrection. When you’re dead, that’s it, they said. No afterlife. So they come to Jesus with a question they think will trip him up.

They present this hypothetical situation where a woman gets married, but before she has a child, her husband dies. The law stated that the man’s brother should marry the woman, so the family name could be carried on. So she marries the brother. Well, before a child is born to the second brother, he also dies. And so does the third. And the fourth. And so on until all seven brothers are dead.

These religious leaders then ask Jesus this question: “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”

With that big set-up, I figure these guys had to be thinking, “Oh boy, we’ve got him now! There’s no way he can talk his way out of this one!”

Jesus replies with these words: “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” He then goes on to explain how it is they’re wrong. And then He ends by saying, “You have made a serious error.”

I wonder if Jesus would say something similar to you and me. Like when we’re feeling anxious or worried. Or afraid. Or when we’re feeling angry or bitter or jealous or resentful. Or when we’re feeling discouraged and are losing hope.

Here’s what I do to get myself in trouble…

I see my circumstances. I analyze the situation. I can’t figure out how to fix whatever problem I’m facing. And so I get anxious. Then I usually analyze some more. But I still can’t fix the problem, so the worry and anxiety get stronger. Then fear creeps in. And if I let the process continue, I’ll sometimes end up with a migraine.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but praying doesn’t always help. And I think I know why. My prayers are usually so focused on the circumstances that I don’t allow God room to even get involved. I keep rehearsing the situation with Him over and over.

If I would listen more, I wonder if what I’d hear him say is: “Whoa! Gregg! Slow down a minute. Let me say something. Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know My power. Why don’t you dig into my Word and find out what I’ve already promised you and then believe Me?”

Could that be your mistake, too? Could you be too focused on what you see rather than what God says?

What circumstances are you facing today that are causing you to feel discouraged or worried or overwhelmed or angry?

Now do you know what God says about your circumstances? If not, then maybe your mistake is the same one I often make. We’ve forgotten what God has already revealed in His Word and we’ve forgotten His power.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 2 Peter 1:3-4, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

God has (past tense!) given us everything (not just some things) we need for living a godly life. He has also given us great and precious promises that enable us to be more like Him. The religious leaders who came to Jesus had made a serious error because they didn’t know His power or the Scriptures.

You and I don’t have to make the same mistake.

Read on for a free offer…

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The Intimate Evening Planning Guide 231x300 Do You Make This Serious Error?