Have you considered the side effects?

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Today’s chapter: 2 Samuel 7

Television commercials for new drugs make me laugh. For the first half of the commercial, the medicine sounds like exactly what you need to alleviate your joint pain. Even if you don’t have the condition it’s designed to treat, you start wanting this medication just so you’ll be as happy as the smiling people in the commercial.

Medical Pills And Medical Drugs On Pharmacy Stand In Supermarke

Then in the second half of the commercial the announcer begins talking super-fast, like he just downed a couple of Red Bulls, as he lists out all of the potential side effects.

For some people, this product may cause leg cramps, impotence, excessive flatulence, and lockjaw. Women have reported noticing a dramatic increase in ankle hair. Some test subjects have experienced uncontrollable cravings for dairy products and beets. One in ten patients have felt compelled to watch reruns of old sit-com’s for hours. If your trips to the bathroom become greater than 12 per hour, you should consult your physician.

When you hear all the problems that could accompany the pharmaceutical company’s “cure,” suddenly your joint pain doesn’t sound so bad.

Similarly, I’ve found there have been times when if God had given me what I asked for, the side effects would have been disastrous. I’m so glad God loves me enough to bless me in the ways He knows are actually best for me.

That’s probably how David felt when he wanted to build the temple. Even though he didn’t get the blessing he wanted, God blessed him in a way he never expected. God told him through Nathan the prophet that his house would endure forever. And even though he would not be the one to build the temple, his son would have that honor. David was truly blessed.

When we get overly focused on the blessings we want, we overlook the blessings we have. My idea of blessings tends to be that all the traffic lights will be green on the way home, the kids rooms will all be clean, and Erin will tell me I’m right about whatever I say. But a universe built around my whims and preferences isn’t really a blessing at all. God loves me too much to give me whatever I want, when he knows what I really need.

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Today as you pray, before you talk with God about the blessings that you want, thank Him for at least five specific blessings He has already given you.

What are some of the ways God has blessed you?

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PowerBall odds and depending on God

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Today’s chapter: 1 Samuel 22

The PowerBall jackpot has now soared to $1.3 billion. Lottery fever is running rampant. Even Hollywood celebrities are talking about what they’d do if they won the prize.

The lottery mindset is kind of funny. When the grand prize is $10 million, nobody cares. But when the jackpot climbs over $100 million, suddenly everyone takes notice. It’s as if a few million dollars wasn’t worth the drive to the convenience store, but now a $100 million award is a whole different story.

Of course, the odds at this point of having the winning ticket are worse than ever. Statistically, you have roughly the same odds of bowling a perfect 300 game (1 in 11,500) AND losing an appendage from a chainsaw accident (1 in 4,464) AND ultimately dying in an asteroid apocalypse (1 in 12,500). Yes, I seriously calculated that.

David has gone from living palace in the palace to hiding out in a cave. He had been on the fast track and people were writing songs about him, but now he’s in a cave. He used to be the golden boy with lucrative offers to endorse everything from Famous Dave’s barbecue sheep sandwich to Nike’s new Air David slingshot line, but now he’s in a cave. He thought it was God’s will for him to be king, but now he’s in a cave. What once seemed like a sure bet now appears to be the longest of long shots.

The cave is where you end up when your life doesn’t unfold the way you had thought it would. You had plans for happiness and success, but then your circumstances end up very differently.

Maybe you’re in a cave right now. Perhaps you are out of work, coping with financial pressures, reacting to a health crisis, or dealing with a rocky relationship. Whether your journey to the cave was due to your own bad decisions or someone else letting you down, it can start to feel like God has forgotten you. Caves can be incredibly lonely and even seem like they’re going to last forever.

But caves are where God does some of His best work on us. Perhaps it’s because we are finally away from everything that distracts us from His voice. Maybe it’s because when He is all we have left, we realize He is all we need. For whatever reason, God has shaped me during my times in caves like no other times of my life.

If you think about it, the odds of winning the PowerBall are actually the exact same every time. You always have to match all 6 numbers and the odds of successfully doing that never actually changes. Your chances of success are always about 1 in 300 million.

David learned the odds of God accomplishing His will in David’s life hadn’t changed either. Even though his circumstances had temporarily shifted, he was learning some valuable lessons. Perhaps most importantly, he learned he could talk to God about anything.

The odds of God accomplishing His will in your life haven’t changed one bit. God hasn’t abandoned you. If you’ll allow Him, He will use this time in your life to mold you into who He wants you to be. The odds of Him being right beside you and loving you unconditionally haven’t changed, either. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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Read David’s prayer in Psalm 142 to see the honest prayer David wrote during this time. Then talk just as honestly with God about how you feel about your own circumstances. Not only can He handle the truth, it’s what He wants to hear from you. Then ask Him what you can learn from your time in the cave. Allow Him to shape you into who He wants you to be.

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