SEP 17  / Sunday – Read John 16:33

Overview: Sort of a “why do bad things happen to good people” message, with the added benefit of hope over the troubles of this world. 

18 / Mon – Even in Australia  |  Read Psalm 139:9-10 / Lamentations 3:17-23

In Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst chronicles a little boy’s bad day. Everything that could go wrong did and he wishes he could move to Australia, where he thinks life will be better. Have you ever felt like that? Alexander’s mom tells him…some days are like that. Even in Australia. God gives us the blessing of sleep and the next morning things often look different. How can the truth in these verses encourage you at the end of a tough day?

19 / Tue – True stories  |  Read Psalm 107:1-32

The psalmist starts by stating why we can give thanks, even on bad days. He goes on to say you have a story to tell (v2-3). From what places – literally or figuratively – has the Lord brought you to Himself? Next, the writer gives four accounts of people in trouble and what God did. Notice each ends with reasons to give thanks to the Lord in v 8-9, 15-16, 21-22 and 31-32. Which one resonates with you? Reminding yourself of God’s help in the past can help you deal with present troubles.

20 / Wed – Bad things happen to good people  |  Read Job 1:1-3, 8-12, 20-22 / Job 2:3-10

Tragedy happens every day, even to good people. Job was such a righteous man that the Lord held him up as an example. How did Job respond when God allowed his blessings to be taken away? Job was hurt, angry and vocal about the injustices but, even in his pain, he did not sin by blaming God. It is good to praise God for your blessings but it’s okay to be honest about your feelings when bad things happen (see Ps 42). What anchored Job (42:2)? What anchors you during rocky times?

21 / Thu – Not only undeserved but illegal  |  Read Acts 16:19-40

Another example of unjust suffering is what happened to Paul and Silas at Philippi. Notice the treatment they received. It wasn’t even illegal (v 37-39). What did Paul and Silas do even though they were in extreme pain (v 25)? What was God’s response to their sacrificial praises? They could have escaped but they did not. What impact did their actions have on those who were there? No one can respond the way they did without God’s help. But when they did, lives were changed.

22 / Fri – Fire and gold  |  Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 / 1 Peter 4:12-13

Gold is purified by fire because it burns away all the impurities. When you go through a ‘fiery’ experience that you did not anticipate or deserve, it tests your faith, which God considers much more precious than gold. Peter’s readers had experienced rejection from family, friends and their Jewish community. They had lost homes and businesses and reputations, were physically beaten and unjustly jailed. How did they respond (v 1:8)? How will you?

23 / Sat – False beliefs  |  Read Jn 11:33-36 / Mk 14:34-36 / Jn 14:17 & 16:33 / Rev 21:1-5 

Did you grow up believing life should always be fair, that yours would be good, happy, prosperous? You aren’t alone. You can hear it in comments like God just wants me to be happy or I don’t deserve this kind of treatment or I know my rights! Jesus said there would be trouble. He experienced grief personally, losing his earthly father and the death of his good friend Lazarus. In Gethsemane, he agonized over God’s will that lay before him. So he understands. Yet he offers his peace. Will you let the promise of sorrow’s temporary nature help you persevere through the bad days?

The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey, whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith or are a long-time Christian.

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The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey, whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith or are a long-time Christian.