Devotions - Charlie Ingram (20/05/19) Monday’s devotion was led by Charlie Ingram from Bessels Green Baptist Church. Having had to give advice recently to a couple going through challenging situations Charlie thought he would share with us some phrases from the Bible and their meaning particularly the phrase: "God will not give you more than you can handle". Charlie introduced to us the book Half Truths by Adam Hamilton who is exploring popular sayings from the Bible that sometimes miss the point. They are simple phrases, they sound Christian and we’ve all heard this words and maybe we’ve said them. They capture some element of truth, yet they miss the point in important ways. Some of them are: Everything happens for a reason. God helps those who help themselves. God won’t give you more than you can handle. God said it, I believe it, that settles it. Love the sinner, hate the sin. The way Adam Hamilton explained is that: "Most of us as Christians have things we believe, and tell others, and even count on, that we’ve not carefully examined. Some of the things we accept and repeat to others sound so true, and we’ve believed them for so long, that they become what some call- sacred cows – things above questions or criticism. When these beliefs are questioned we become defensive or irritated. We may even worry that if the beliefs aren’t true, the rest of our faith may crumble" When we read the Bible we must look at the context and find the meaning of it. The phrase: "Live like a Corinthian" doesn’t necessarily mean have a promiscuous life. The Greek for temptation and tempted can also mean testing and tested. With temptations God will always provide a way out, each time there is a temptation there is always exits. Let’s look for example at the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 : No temptations has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. James 1:13-14 When you feel overwhelmed rely on others to help you carry the burden, ask for help and advice – being part of a community and having friends can make things easier. Carry each other’s burdens Galatians 6:2 What Adam Hamilton is saying is that: The promise of Scripture is not that we won’t go through hard times. It is not that we can handle by ourselves everything that life throws our way. What Scripture does promise is that at all times, good or bad, God wants to be our help and our strength. And so in the words of Peter: Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares for you 1 Peter 5:7 The author is also saying: My trust in God is not that he won’t give me more that I can bear, because I don’t believe he’s the one who would give those things. It’s not that God is testing me by bringing bad things into my live. Instead, I trust that when bad things happen during the course of my life, God will sustain me, walk with me, hold me near, comfort and care for me. He is a close as the air I breathe. Though I might experience the pain of a traumatic event. I maintain faith that, at some point joy will overshadow the pain. I know that I can turn to God and cry and kick and scream and he will comfort me. God is turning the challenges and using them for good. Adam shared with us the story of Annie Johnson Flint who was born on Christmas Eve in 1866. Her both parents have been taken from her in childhood and her foster parents both passed away. She was also diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Despite all this she was a very cheerful and optimistic person, always looked on the bright side of life was quite fond of jokes and able to get much enjoyment out of life. Annie loved to write and she wanted to become a teacher. One of her poems show how her faith never faltered and the faith in the goodness and mercy of God never wavered. "God hath not promised skies always blue Flower strewn pathways all our lives through God hath not promised sun without rain Joy without sorrow, peace without pain But God hath promised strength for the day Rest for the labour, light for the way Grace for the trials, help from above Unfailing sympathy, undying love" Always remember God is with you and will help you to handle all that comes your way.