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Today’s Truth
Romans 8:28 (NIV) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Friend to Friend
A daughter was telling her mother how everything was going wrong. “I am failing Algebra. My boyfriend just broke up with me, and my best friend is moving away,” she wailed. Her mom listened patiently and then asked, “I made a cake for dinner. Would you like a snack?” The girl grinned and said, “Sure, Mom. I love your cake.” The mom smiled and asked, “How about some cooking oil?” The daughter looked surprised at the offer and responded with a loud “Yuk!” The mom tried again, “How about a couple of raw eggs?” With a look of confusion, the daughter said, “Gross, Mom!” With a smile, the mother offered, “Would you like some flour or maybe a cup of baking soda?” The daughter responded, “Mom, all of those things are gross!” The mother cut a piece of cake and placed it on a plate with a fork. As she handed the delicious snack to her daughter, she explained, “Honey, all of those things seem bad when you think about eating them alone, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a delicious cake.”

God often works the same way. We sometimes wonder why He allows us to go through such difficult times, but when God puts everything in the right order, they work out for our good. We just have to trust Him to do so. I will never forget the day I learned how God really can turn tragedy into triumph. I was sitting at my desk, working on an assignment from the counselor I had been seeing. For months, I had been wrestling with my past - slowly, methodically working through painful issues and buried memories that seemed to be feeding the clinical depression I was battling. As page after page filled with harsh realities, a memory slammed into my heart and mind.

The pain was overwhelming as a vile scene from my childhood slowly took shape. I could hardly breathe as I frantically tried to escape the certainty I had been molested. The perpetrator had been our family doctor and a trusted friend. He had even provided free medical treatment when we couldn’t pay for it. I trusted him, counted on him. As a nurse, my mother worked beside this man every day and often babysat his children to earn extra money.

Anger unlike any I had ever known fueled violent thoughts of revenge and retaliation. I was angry with this man – and angry with God. How could He have let this happen? Where was the light in this dark place?

For months, I worked through painful memories and raging emotions until I saw the first glimmer of light. It was wrapped in chosen forgiveness. I began to see that had I never been wounded so badly, I would never have been able to forgive so freely – and in doing so, discover a depth of healing and freedom only the greatest pain can produce. Today, I can honestly thank God for all He has accomplished in me through the sin of that man.

There are no accidents with God, nor is He surprised by anything or anyone in the life of His child. God uses even the most horrendous circumstances for our good. Every circumstance comes to us for a purpose, bound by God’s love and plan and faithfully delivered with His permission. While we cannot go back and change our past, we can change the way we respond to our past and determine how much power it has in our lives today.

Only God can take the broken pieces of your life and make something beautiful out of each one. He is waiting for you to let go of your pain and trust Him. And you really can. No one loves you like He does. You may not always understand or even like His process, but you can always trust His heart of love for you.

Let’s Pray
Father, I choose to believe You are faithful and will do what You promise to do in Your Word. I believe that when I lay the pain and hurt of my past at Your feet, You can and will transform it all into something beautiful. I choose to believe You will turn the broken places of my life into living illustrations of Your sufficiency and healing power.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Read the following verses about the good God can bring out of the storms in life.

Isaiah 45:3 (NLT) “And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Psalm 103:12 (NLT) “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

What one new truth has God given you in each verse? Record those truths in your journal.

Girlfriends in God

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Matthews, NC 28106

Winning an Offended Brother
Answers With Bayless Conley

Proverbs 18:19 tells us,A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.When this verse refers to a "strong city," it means a fortified or a guarded city.  You cannot just waltz up to the gate of a fortified city and say "give up."  It takes strategic planning to take such a city.  You have to think things through and have a plan.

It also means there is going to be strenuous effort involved.  And, more than likely, you will be in a vulnerable position.  In fact, you don't take a strong city without taking risks, without becoming vulnerable.
The same things come into play when a brother is offended.  It takes thoughtful planning, it takes effort, and sometimes you have to become vulnerable when you do not want to be.

Perhaps you are struggling with a damaged relationship today, and you haven't pursued healing this relationship because you don't know how to do it.  It always starts with prayer.  You talk to God about them and about yourself, and then you need to go and talk to them.

When you do, I want you to listen carefully, it should not be with a view to prove that you are right.  Being right is not the goal.  Peace is.  Most of the time it is more important to be kind than it is to be right.
If you try to work something out, but only with the intention of having them understand your point of view so that you can prove you are right, you may win the argument, but you will never make peace.

So when you are endeavoring to win an offended brother, listen carefully to them, and endeavor to understand where they are coming from.  Seek to hear and not just be heard.  Though it may be difficult, you can win peace and see a broken relationship restored. 

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God 

Add To The Beauty- Sara Groves


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