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“Master Using.”

When I was a wee child, one of my favorite video games was Legend of Zelda on just the old Nintendo system. I remember coming across several sword upgrades in the game and when I tried to get the swords, a message would appear “Master using and you can have this” and for years I did not figure it out that the only way to do this was to collect a certain number of heart containers in each level after beating a number of bosses throughout the game. Each heart container increased the capacity of health and Link started out the game with only 3 hearts I believe but as he aquired more health- heart containers it would go up.

Got to thinking of an analogy for the Christian life. Many of us start of our journey with small beginnings of faith and love and maturity when we first start following Christ. His word wants us to grow to excell in things such as faith, hope, wisdom and love. Yet if you were anything like me when you first believed in Christ and began following by faith, you may now look back and see, “Whoa I had so many issues and the Lord has been faithful to do his part to grow me!” And not to say I do not still have problems because we will be challenged to keep growing till we finally die and meet the Lord. Yet I may have often used the Word of God more so in those days without as much caution or wisdom or love- yet throught life’s little game, God gives us deeper insight and wisdom into the truths we start of with and ugrades our ability to use the Word of God as we grow deeper in love for God and our neighbor.

The abilty to effectively and rightly use God’s truth in his Word hang chiefly on out love for God supremely and our love for others Jesus taught we should have for all, even our enemies- in Matthew 5 Jesus commands we “Love your enemies” and this does not mean we are down with their behavior but rather

We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. [2 Corinthians 6:3-10]

Paul was not advocating we fight in the way the World who does not know the Lord fights, by revenge or malice or a backbiting tongue but rather faithful proclaiming God’s good message accurately and with gentleness and kindness even when we are treated unfairly as a result. That is one of the hardest things to do though so often, and though it is still so much a struggle for me even to this day though God has grown me, the work of deepening our love is never fully done until we are in the presence of Christ in heaven and we are glorified with him in immortality. Yet down here, the battles must go on and we must faithfully not just preach the truth but practice it too!

Suppose I tried to beat those harder levels on that fun game without aquiring what the easier levels had to give after each boss was defeated, well then I couldn’t. Each level had harder enemies and more challenging dungeon bosses at the end so if I tried to just go to level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or worst of all 9, before the sword and health upgrades I would be history.

Yet many who endeavor to do God’s will for their lives or work for his kingdom may get overwhelmed with the process he uses to grow us and if we do that, we miss what he wants to develop in us along the way, deeper faith, hope, love, and a greater understanding of the Word to use well, honorable and effectively.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

[1 Corinthians 13:1-13]

When God sees we manage well what he already reveals he can then in his own time and will entrust us with more knowlege, more responsibility and greater influence but we must be as Jesus taught “See you have been faithful with few things, I will put you in charge of many things” and “He who is faithful in that which is least will be also faithful in much”

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God’s Unexpected Transportation Means

When God gives you a vision or dream for your future he seemingly leads us through the unexpected means to get there. We see that with Joseph in Genesis and Abraham’s journey of faith had a longer wait then him and Sarah wanted before they received a son but what can we learn. Lets also remember:

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Acts 23:11 –

Paul’s vision was to testify about Christ in Rome and what was the way he got their, in chains. Seems to be that in order for God to give us his best he usually takes us through what may seem like the worst, yet faith says “Look beyond the present crisis to the hand of Christ that guides you. Remember who leads you and his heart for you and do not become distracted by present chains that seem to hinder or the imprisoning problems that seem to hem you in. God has the key to your future and it is your duty chiefly to trust and ovey him where you are at.”

And that is how we get God’s very best for our lives. We must stand by faith or fall on our face friends!

Daily Martyrdom for One’s Wife.

Many a man say they would take a bullet for the lady they love yet the truest test of love id daily taking bullets from a gun in her own hand- no Im no expert on matriage yet felt so led to share!

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—

Ephesians 5:25-29 –

Many a man can profess to die for the woman he loves yet after years of familiarity and marriage he may see her as “difficult” or “A nag” yet what does the Scripture say O man of God, “Husband love your wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her.” For many a man may say he would die for his love but wont die for her while he yet still lives. What an honor to enjoy the fact that Christ loves us still when we are not all we wish we could be for him yet lovingly he bears with us O so patiently, not seeing what we are but what we can be as a result of his love and great patience. Yet what of a man who was redeemed after he married? What if Christ redeems him yet his wife remains among those chained in unbelief and the shackles of sin? What then? One might ask, but to that effect, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her.” Before he saw the Church for who she is now, our Savior saw indeed her sin, her cruel anger that pierced his hands and put upon him a crown of thorns and let him die there up on the cross. Now O man of God every time your wife so sins against you then look first to the nail scarred hands of Christ and remember how he saw you at one time too. Hear now O man of God and remember that you must love your own wives as he so loved his Bride, for before she was, she spat on him and she pierced his side. Bear the cross your master gave you man of God because Jesus bore an even heavier cross for you and I.

The Devil’s Strongest Arm, Pride

THE DEVIL’S STRONGEST ARM

PRIDE.

JANUARY 9, 2018

JESUS’S TEACHING ON THE HOUSE DIVIDED

LUKE 11:17-26

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. 23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” [Luke 11:17-26

What then is the strong man? The devil, yet what often is the arm he uses to hold sinners in the strangle hold of deception? Is it not what Satan was thrown out of heaven for, that namely, pride? The deceptive work of Satan convinces a sinner to hold on to his or her pride. The false sense of security in our own acts of righteousness, our own wisdom and might that we would use in our wills independently of God. The lost soul first, does not know God’s depth of love, nor the depth of his or her own sin, nor the limits of their own wisdom and reasoning in their minds. They know self and the cruelty of the world yet many a proud man or woman cannot see the cruelty in self. They overestimate their good yet underestimate their sin.

Pride is both the necklace of the arrogant but the fortress of many fearful among mankind. For fear speaks to pride so they rely on one another to build a lofty fortress to hide in. The proud man’s walls is his prideful schemes and clever ways that have been built for many from their fear of others, fear of the God they no nothing of, or not enough to let him in to be a warrior to them and then relinquish the vain wall they built to keep God and everyone else out. For deception deceives the blinded eyes of humankind and dulls their ears so they neither see God, Christ for who He is and sin for what it is. So this poor sinner relies on self and pride to be his or her defense, for some because they love the sense of power they feel yet for other they use the power of pride because they fear being victims themselves of others cruel sinfulness. Yet many have both, they crave power to trample down the people who wronged them, then reign over the ones who did them evil yet forget their own potential to do great evil. Woe Woe Woe is the fallen unregenerate heart of man, so many bound long in the chains of the Evil One, tied in his ropes of deception and pride and sinful entrapments! Yet what does the Lord say, “But if I by the finger of God drive out Satan, then the kingdom of heaven has come to you.” And he said, “But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.”

The “plunder” the hostages of the devil, and the plunder of the proud- the prideful man or woman’s treasured pride must first be removed by the finger of God, The Holy Spirit enlightening the heart of someone of their sin, this he produces “Godly sorrow” and as it says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

When we were brought to Christ, The Holy Spirit of God revealed our sin before God, but showed us God’s solution, Christ!

Yet worldly sorrow leaves no option for change nor power to do so, Jesus said the devil was a liar and murderer, so how does he murder? By tempting people into sin and after sin produces poison fruit he murders them with words of hopelessness, words that drive them far from God’s Son who came to “Take away the sins of the world” as it is written.

No sinner is to hopeless unless he turns from Christ once he has knowledge enough to trust and believe in the Son of God and power to forgive. For Jesus says in this passage or a similar version in other gospels, “All blasphemies against the Son of man can be forgiven, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven.” To be like Judas, who eventually had remorse yet committed his own suicide, rather then turning back to the Savior and Lord. Rather his sorrow turned him toward self. Peter on the other hand denied Jesus three times, yet wept bitterly and came back to the Master.

Reader, indeed if you are reading this and yet to know The Lord Jesus Christ, are you afraid of coming before Almighty God and sow fig leaves of your own good works in fear God sees your naked soul and your sins? Or are you ready to let the Lord clothe you with the white robes of what Christ paid for so you can live in freedom and walk as a freedman in the Lord, free from guilt, sinful ways and the fear that likely tempts you to hide from the gentle heart of the Lord Jesus Christ? You can trust him, and if he caree enough to save your desperate soul, will you let your pride and doubt tell you that your ideas for your future are more loving and wise then his?

Far Off Love Signals.

Far Off Love Signals

[Jeremiah 31:3] The LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Everlasting love it says, before a start without a finish. So it is with God’s love for those he has saved us and all who will be saved. Before human beings were created, or brought into existence he saw her- the Church, those he redeemed as a people for himself. Forknowing her, before she became a reality. Choosing her long before she could choose to respond to him.

“Like a man, knowing a woman from a dream, a vision in the night seeing his beloved from afar-

Like a man who dreams of a bride to be, yet in the present he yet does not see.

Waiting day by day for her to come to pass yet seeing her substance in faith but not in grasp.

The woman he loves, yet knows no face, yet in his heart, he does embrace.

Though she remain out of his range of sight, he keeps her close in his dream by night till finally she is his in full light.”

So it was also in a sense with the man Jesus Christ, who was chosen to come find her his bride, the Church, before the foundation of the World. He saw her not for what she was but what his love could bring out of her. He saw her beauty when she lived in ashes, her crown of glory he would bestow on his beloved, before yet she was called “Beloved”

What was it that Christ Jesus saw in any of us to make us worth his sacrifice? Not in us but in His Everlasting love. He loved us because he had everlasting love in himself. We couldn’t work for it, earn it, do enough to lay hold of it but rather we gratefully received it, and it produced love for him to follow so close, yes like that of a woman who truly follows a man she trusts loved her and responds in adoring him and wanting to follow. For as it says, “We love him because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3 –

Where then is the true test of love for God? In loyalty and obedience to the one who gave his all to make us his own!

The Longing -Restaint.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! [Isaiah 30:15-18]

Was thinking of this verse while driving today, and I felt as though the last part was what most hit me. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise to show up to show you compassion.”

There has been a few people in my life that have really made me angry and hurt me deeply as a person, yet some of these people have been very close and one so more so then the rest. Yet I feel this passage reflects my feelings toward this individual. So often God takes the opportunity to teach us about himself through experience, it is one thing to read the Bible but it adds a entirely different demension to feel transcends into your experienced reality. God was grieved because the people he chose to love and treasure, turned their back on him and started worshiping idols, sinning by violence and deception, turning from his laws and forsaking Him. He had done so much to fulfill his good promise to Abraham by multiplying his descendents and then saved them from slavery in Egypt. Yet after they were settled in the promised land and place of abundance and blessing they as we all so often are tempted to do, forgot their need for God and lost their desire for him. They started “Prostituting themselves with their idols” as scripture says and turned their backs on God. They did pretend to love God, because it says “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Isaiah 29:13 –

They acted loyal to God but only tried to keep him around as just another God, and throughout Scripture He spoke of his hatred of idolatry, “You shall not make for yourselves idols” and “You shall have no other gods before me” – Scripture says “For I, the Lord am a jealous God”

Does God have a right to be jealous and demand we give him our all? Yes! He also knows we were created for him and are truly sustained only in Him. He has given us so many good things in life to enjoy and has blessed each living person with every breath they take and could pull the plug on any of us without consulting anyone. He answers to none but the His own counsel and will. So to demand God to lower His standards to meet our whims is ridiculous yet such a human temptation.

The people in Israel were in these times also under the impression of religion toward God but rejected relationship with God. They would fast, offer thank offerings and give tithes and do in thise days yes “Religious duties” but merely I venture to say, keep God off their case. Yet we see that God was not pleased by them. No more pleased with them then a wife who is given fine jewelry by a husband who also chooses to keep a brazen love affair with another woman.

God has a esteem of himself not of arrogance or sinful pride, yet knows his worth, and he knows human frailty and how we are not as independent and powerful as temptations of pride whisper.

God knows his worth, he knows the quality of his love and goodness and “Longs to be gracious” however, human sinfulness causes us to fall to the temptation of becoming spoiled fast, how often is it, that we take for granted most those we feel love us unconditionally. Its so easy to take for granted those we think are never going to turn their backs on us yet also, our human nature by default would try to do so with Almighty God like these people did! In the wilderness before this, the people grumbled and “Put Him to the test”

Human beings do test the limits of tolerance, they may have mixed motives, and some do so to see what they can get by with, others hope they can find a love from some other person strong enough to see the better of them while they try to show their very worst, yet still often its not always just one or the other but can be an amount of both and may more so one at a given time and may be so more of the other at an other time. Yet, God said, “He longs to be gracious to you, he rises to show you compassion.” And contrary to many people’s view of God, God seems eager to be able to do good to these wayward people even though they had nit treated him worthwhile. God shows his goodness was not contingent on these people’s goodness to Him but more so the character of God. However, it says shortly later “The Lord is a God of justice!”

Imagine being God one moment and imagine having the true desire to do good and be close to people who sorely offended you and grieved your heart. A relatable example is the love a father or mother has for their dear child who is doing things to damage this relationship and damage their own lives in the process. Now of course you want the best for that child, however, the fear is, if you are to lenient and just passively do the things they want in hopes they will turn around, they may see your lenience and grace, patience and longsuffering as weakness and be emboldened all the more to persist in a harmful course. To scatter acts of goodness, to overcompliment a child or do to much that they want can actually do them more harm. Yet let’s not look at children negatively since we all can be like this.

So the hard choice is- do you show your love in a way only to make them temporarily happy if only to stifle them as a person or do you have to be stern and even withold what they think good so they wont destroy themselves by themselves.

So God did what he warned and removed his hand of protection from them and allowed Babylon to invade them and take them away. God after 70 years fulfilled a prophesy made about a Persion king long before Babylon came- Cyrus the Great, the ruler of the Persian Empire defeated Babylon and was favorably desposed to letting the people return to the land of Israel in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild the temple and their city.

Isaiah prophesied long before

“I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.” This is what the Lord says: “The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and those tall Sabeans — they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’” Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting. For this is what the Lord says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited — he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right. “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him. [Isaiah 45:13-25]

God’s overarching plan though extends beyond just the loyalty of Israel- though at one time she was His chosen, we see how even a nation chosen by God and given the law of God could not keep their own hearts from turning away from Him. This resuted in her captivity, though she was originally depicted as “small” she became numerous, and she was a “slave in Egypt” she was freed by God literally but though she became what was the metaphoric many and free- she like the rest of humanity and the other nations was still by nature slave to sin- that was before the Messiah came through her, born from her, Israel, to save the World from slavery to sin.

Now there are many out there that try to be “good” yet deep down many still see that they cannot change the ugly things they feel lurk in their own heart that cause them to react and behave ways they wish they did not. They say, “Im trying to be a good person” but they do misunderstand the power of sin in their own heart and natures inherited- to try to be free from a physical dungeon or literal chains is indeed good, yet no amount of human strength can break iron chains. There may be a desire for the sinner to live even better, or try harder to practice better morals and be a good neighbor yet deep down they see their own failure to change what is in their nature. As the case with Christians also that say, “I try to be a good Christian” they forget, you cannot try enough but must have the power of Christ do the heavy lifting through you.

“For what the law was powerless to do, in that it was weakened by the sinful nature” Scripture says- which highlights one can know the good they ought to do yet still feel powerless to practice the knowlege they have, so indeed the Law, God’s written code must become more then just read by the eyes but also become programmed into the heart- the greatest law, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” But what is love? Is it not delighting in God and seeking to honor him while seeking the greater good of all we interact with? Do we say we love people, then complacently do things we know hurt them, make them feel used or say things we know damage and then say we love? If we love- we are indeed imperfect at it but strive to grow better at it toward both God and our fellow human being. When we love the God we know, do we dare say we love him if we make a practice of doing what displeases him regularly? What husband or wife, mother or father, feels loved when their closest intentionally do what wounds their heart yet shows no concern but keeps up with it? So too with God and our neighbor.

1 John says, “We love Him because he first loved us”

1 John also says, “There is no fear in love but perfect love cast out fear.”

Like a woman in love has no fear of the man she loves and adores because she trusts he loves her enough to be kind, patient and gracious in spite of her flaws. There is seemingly one thing a woman really yearns for out of a good man, someone who delights in her regardless of all her fears and insecurities yet sees her as a delight and pursues her from desire for her.

Yet, behold, that us how Christ loved us, he saw the worst yet sacrificed his best, emptying all the heavenly vessels of divine love to put in the hearts of those who lay hold of it by faith. Faith is the check to receive what God already longs to give, forgiveness, healing, hope and wholeness, true faith always produces changed lives, not perfect lives but consistent lives motivated by God’s love! He pursued her- before he made a people for himself to be recipients of his love to then “Go into all the world and preach the good news to every creature”

To truly believe God is compassionate and wants to save people from sin, error and deception yet to never share this is to only try to hoard such great love and good news only for ourselves.

Hydrocephalus Of The Soul

In medical terminology, hydrocephalus is a condition where excess fluids accumulate in the skull and put pressure on the brain. As a result this condition can lead to serious complications. The procedure often needed is what they call a “shunt” and it creates a way for these excess fluids to be redirected out of the minor recess between the brain and the skull so no excessive fluid pressure is problematic.

God seems to show us much about spiritual realities with the physical world. Pride or “having a big head” or “swollen ego” is a lot like this, except it is a spiritual form of hydrocephalus! It can create problems for us and our walk with the Lord and others and paralyze our usefulness in the Christian walk!

The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 speaks of a “Thorn in the Flesh” and from the sound of it, it became like a spiritual shunt to drain away excess pride!

“or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 –

Sometimes God does allow certain circumstances to buffet us for the sake we do not become too full of ourselves! When we are full of ourselves we leave no room for the power of Christ!

Paul on another occasion says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. [1 Corinthians 1:17]

Often God has to empty us of our own vain self sufficiency and trust in our resources and might in order to fill us with His even greater power. We always must leave room for him and not let self eclipse his bright glow!

Juicing Joy Out Of Life’s Lemons

If God was to deliver us from hardships as fast as we would like, it would be like taking a weightlifter out of the gym and expecting him to look all bulked up- so in times of hardship, strain and challenge as believers in Christ we can look at it a different way because we know God is training our spiritual and character muscles to become stronger and better conditioned! Troubles come on everyone and sometimes life is so hard that some despair and end it as a result! And the Christ follower is not immune to hardship either and in someways standing for Christ will mean in a sense, greater opposition, yet there is joy! There is a joy in becoming a blessing to those who are suffering because of our hope! There is a joy in knowing God is in control and loves us and saved us, so we can inherit his promises, favor and eternal life after! There is a joy in knowing that no matter how dark things seem, the same God who allowed hardship is good and can once again bring us into the light of day again, after we have learned what we needed to in the shadows of night! There is the joy in knowing that through his light burning in your and my heart in the darkest places, many may also see and too turn to Him! There is a joy that hardships can be the materials he uses to make us better blessings and more able to be useful instruments of healing, and our hearts can hold more love after he has shaped us on the wheel of adversity! Who has ever been a great and compassionate person who has been spoiled in luxery and never suffered pain, loss, heartache or sorrow? Who has ever been a strong shoulder to lean except someone who knows the strain? To lean on the spiritually obese that have been fattened with life’s cakes and candies only shows to topple them over also!

The joy of knowing that He is with us in these times of sorrow and grief and hardness and lack, he is able to be sweet to the soul and strength to the heart!

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:6-11