Has Satan ever tried to ruin your day? Well let me tell you about when I ruined his day. Years ago, I was driving in the middle of the night across country to see my sister and see about a job. I had just quit a job that was not working out and had no idea what the future held. I had no job, no money, no future, as far as I could see, and then, to make matters worse, I looked in my rear view mirror and see lights flashing! Just what I needed— a speeding ticket while I was broke without a job! I honestly had no idea I was speeding enough to warrant a ticket, but the officer was not the least bit sympathetic.
Needles to say I was very frustrated. I was already feeling down before I got the ticket. Now I was in despair and gloom, as I asked God how He was going to take care of this ticket for me, since He knew I had no money when He allowed this to happen. (Never mind the fact that it was my foot and not His on the gas pedal!)
As I was complaining to God about the situation He had just placed me in and asking Him in despair how in the world He was going to provide the money for the ticket, I suddenly realized the obvious: God does not have to provide for this ticket. God does not have to do anything for me! God does not owe me anything! Then it hit me what I was doing. After He created me and died for me, I was withholding my praise from Jesus until He took care of this ticket for me. All at once it dawned on me, if God never provided the money for this ticket and stopped giving me any more blessings from this day forward, He still had already given me way more than I deserve! As a matter of fact, Calvary alone warrants all of my thankfulness, praise and devotion, without God ever giving me anything else.
There in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, I changed my attitude from gloom and despair to joy and praise. I decided not to ask God to help me pay for the ticket, but instead just thank Him and praise Him for everything else He has already done for me. I then remembered reading a passage from inspiration about how Satan cannot stand to be in our presence when we praise God, “When the evil one begins to settle his gloom about you, sing praise to God. … strike up a song about the matchless charms of the Son of God, and I tell you, when you touch this strain, Satan will leave you. You can drive out the enemy with his gloom; . . . and you can see, oh, so much clearer, the love and compassion of your heavenly Father. (Ellen White, Heavenly Places, p 95.)
Considering the above passage, I thought to myself, “Hey, if Satan is going to try to ruin my day by giving me this ticket (Remember it’s never my fault when I get a ticket), then I am going to ruin his day by singing praises to my God. I started singing praises at the top of my lungs. I was traveling in the middle of the night hundreds of miles away from my friends or family, but I felt the presence of angels as they sang with me. I wasn’t worried about the ticket any more. I was worried about making sure God knew I appreciated His sacrifice at Calvary. By the way, God did take care of the ticket for me. My sister also happens to be an angel. But even more impressive were the two lessons I learned that night:
One: God owes me nothing and I owe Him everything. After Calvary if He never gave me another gift, I still have cause to praise him for the rest of my life!
Two: If Satan tries to ruin your day, instead of murmuring and complaining, start singing songs of praise and ruin his day instead!
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.
Main Theme: Understanding God’s love gives us hope in our crucible.
Read in Class: Habakkuk 1:1-4. What did Habakkuk face?
Study: How does the introduction to the promised destruction of Babylon in Habakkuk 2:2-3 give hope?
Apply: Read Habakkuk 3:16-19. What does Habakkuk identify as his reasons for hope? What is the hope of God’s people as we wait for the last prophetic scenes to unfold? How can you make this hope your own?
Share: Your friend tells you they feel just like Habakkuk, when he said there was no justice. The court system is a joke and the wicked get away with everything, and the righteous suffer. What do you answer your friend?
Read in Class: Isaiah 41:8-14. Discuss the main idea of this passage.
Study: What reasons for hope can you identify for people waiting eagerly for future deliverance? How does this promise help us as we wait for our exile on earth to end?
Apply: How does knowing that the God of this universe is close enough to hold your hand, change the way that you live? How does it change how you cope with your crucible?
Share: Your friend asks, “what if those who are against us claim the promise of Isaiah 41:8-14? What if our enemies believe we are the ones in verse 12 who will become nonexistent? How do we know if this is really talking about us? How do you answer your friend?
Read in Class: Jeremiah 29:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What specific sources of hope are provided in verses, 4,7, and 10?
Apply: Read Jeremiah 29:11-14, saying your name after the word you, as if God is making these promises to you personally. Apply these promises for yourself in whatever your present struggles might be.
Share: Your friend points out that the promise in Jeremiah 29:11 was given to the Jews. Your friend asks why the same people who claim the promises in the Old Testament turn around and say the commandments in the Old Testament were only for the Jews? What do you tell your friend?
Read in Class: Hebrews 12:1-13. Discuss the main idea of this passage.
Study: In verses 5-13, what is our source of discipline? What should be our response to discipline? What is the goal of discipline?
Apply: Read through Hebrews 12:1-13 again. Make a list of all the reasons you can identify with as grounds for hope. How have you experienced this hope in your own times of spiritual “education”?
Share: Do you have a sharable testimony on how it has gone the last week or so when you have reached out to encourage a friend with a thought from the recent lessons?
The Main Idea: God will do whatever it takes, even being misunderstood in order to help us become like Jesus.
Read in Class: Hosea 2:1-12. Define what the main idea is in this passage.
Study: What methods does God say He will use to pull Israel back to Himself? What would these experiences have felt like?
Apply: Read Hosea 2:14-23. What does this passage reveal about God? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if you have been running from God in any area of your life. If you are convicted that you have been, why wait to go through the crucible? What’s stopping you from surrendering all to the Lord now?
Share: Are you willing to share with the class, what you consider is the most sever means God has used to bring you back to love and obedience to Him?
Read in Class: Job 1:6-2:10. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What causes Job’s sufferings and how does Job respond to these trials?
Apply: How does Job’s trials help you with your own trials?
Share: Have you ever been tempted to just “curse God and die?” Why did you or why didn’t you? What was the final outcome of your crucible in this specific situation?
Read in Class: 2 Corinthians 1:4-9. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: In 2 Corinthians 1:4, Paul states that the reason for receiving God’s compassion and comfort is “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (NIV). To what extent might suffering be a call to ministry? How could we become more alert to this possibility?
Apply: What can you learn from Paul that can help you keep from falling into self-pity amid your own struggles?
Share: Can you share how others have comforted you during a hard time? How did it make you feel? How did you respond?
Read in Class: Isaiah 43:1-7. What is the main idea of this passage?
Study: What are the different ways in which God assures His people of comfort during the times of water and fire. What picture of God does this paint in your mind? Which promises can you claim for yourself?
Apply: What do these verses teach you about the actions and character of God? Ps. 103:13, 14; Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 1:7. How have you experienced the reality of these verses in your own life?
Share: Can you write a letter, text message or email this week offering encouragement to someone you know who is going through a crucible?
Monday’s section of this week’s lesson, reveals the relentless love of God. For me, here is the key verse.
But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there. Hosea 2:14 NLT
I am so thankful for parents who understand this. I wish all parents understood this is the way to win their children’s loyalty to God and to themselves
.Several years ago I was preaching for Father’s Day, and I had a few people, young and old, tell us what they liked about their fathers. One young man, about 12 years old, gave a powerful, heartfelt tribute to his dad, even saying “nobody reminds me of Jesus more than my father.”
That same Sabbath morning, the son was offered some cookies in his Sabbath School class which he gladly took. His father saw him eating the cookie and starting publicly berating him and telling him how sinful it is to eat in church! (News to me!) The son could not hide his hurt and humiliation. The son definitely was not trying to be a hard-hearted rebel by taking a cookie just like everyone else. I know the father meant well too, but you don’t have to be a parent to know that publicly embarrassing and humiliating your child is not a good thing to do. Remember, Jesus worked His first miracle, turning water into wine for no other reason than to save the host from public embarrassment. It would not have killed them to just drink water, but Jesus is a Savior from public humiliation and embarrassment. It is not one of His tools.
Not long after this, the father called me up and wanted me to lecture his son because he was becoming defiant. I came to their home as requested, but the talk did not actually go the way the father expected. The father was accusing the son of being disrespectful. With father and son both present, I asked the son about the beautiful tribute he gave to his father. Both agreed that was very nice and respectful. I then asked the son how he felt when later, his father publicly berated him for eating a cookie just like everyone else. He said it was very hurtful and you could see the hurt in his eyes as he said that. I shared Hosea 2:14 with them both and asked the father if he thought he could be a little more tender when correcting his son. I was not asking him to change his standards, just his approach. But I did share with the father that I was unaware of any Bible teaching against eating a cookie in church. Being a father is a very sacred calling, and I did not want to distract from that or appear to try to trump him. However I did encourage him to follow 2 Timothy 3:16 and be sure to correct his son according to Scripture.
Tears were in the son’s eyes by now as I explained to the father how much his son loved him, and how hurt he was, when publicly humiliated for doing something he thought was totally innocent, with no rebellious intentions. I assured the father that his son would not have written such a loving tribute if he did not deeply love and respect him. His son nodded in agreement with tears still in his eyes.
I thought the father was going to turn on me now for not ganging up with him on his side, but, instead, he actually thanked me! I know the father had a good heart and really cared about his children. Why else would his son write that no one reminded him more of Jesus than His father?
Parents, please be tender with your children. You may not think they love, appreciate and respect you, but at school and church I hear them say things you may never hear. I always tell kids, “Your parents love you more than you think they do,” and I say the same to parents. “Your children love you more than you think they do.” As a third party observer, I know this for a fact.
If you don’t want to take it from me, take it from God,
But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there. Hosea 2:14 NLT
Main Theme: God leads His people into situations where He knows there will be suffering, for a greater good.
Read in Class: Exodus 14. Discuss the main idea of this passage.
Study: Why did God bring the Israelites to a place where He knew they would be terrified? In verse 31 what lesson did the Israelites learn from this experience?
Apply: Why is trusting God sometimes so hard, even though we may know many of the wonderful promises He has for us? Recount some difficult situation you believe the Lord led you into in order to teach you to “believe” in and to “fear” Him.
Share: Your friend says, “In the Bible we read about faith moving mountains, and God opening up the sea, but we never see that today.” How do you reply to your friend?
Study: What did God reveal to Israel about Himself at Marah and at Rephidim? What lessons should they have learned?
Apply: In Rephidim, what question did the children of Israel ask? Exod. 17:7. Have you ever asked the same question? If so, why? How did you feel, and what lessons did you learn after you had it answered? How many times do we need to get it answered before we stop asking it altogether?
Share: Your friend says she wonders how a piece of wood made the water sweet. Any ideas? Here is one idea.
Read in Class: Luke 4:1-13. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What lessons can you learn from this account about how to overcome temptation and not give in to sin?
Apply: What resources did Jesus use to overcome temptation? Which of these resources have you used to overcome temptations?
Share: Your friend asks you why the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted? Does God lead us into temptation? What do you share with your friend?
Read in Class: 1 Peter 1:6-9. Define the main idea of this passage.
Study: What ultimate assurance does Peter seek to give these people amid their trials? What does this hope mean for us, too?
Apply: How have you benefited by your trials?
Share: Can you think of someone going through a particularly difficult trial? Can you reach out to them this week with a visit, phone call, or card, offering them encouragement and hope from the Bible?
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NLT
It was a special Sabbath today at the Homosassa Seventh-day Adventist Church as Eddie gave all of his life to Jesus, because Jesus gave all of His life for Eddie. Several months ago Danny and Maritza started coming to our church and we began studying the Bible together. Soon their friend Eddie started coming to church with them and joined our Bible studies. Eddie Started telling me about the changes he was making in his life, as he decided to live for Jesus and be baptized. Eddie has family members who have fallen asleep, and he wants to be with them and Jesus one day. All of heaven and the Homosassa SDA church rejoiced as Eddie was baptized today.
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” Galatians 3:26-29 NLT