Tag Archive | troubles

Victory in Jesus

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Have you ever purchased an item that you just had to have only to get rid of it a year or so later? You didn’t use it as much as you thought you would or it didn’t work the way it said it would. I’ve done this way too many times. Usually, I’ve been looking for something that would make life easy and convenient. Sometimes, we just want the hot new product so we can be part of the “in” crowd. Sometimes, we just want to prove we can have it.

I recently saw a restaurant menu that said, “You can have it all!” The truth of that statement is you can have it all…eventually. It comes at a price. And then, you will be empty again because it does not last.

This is the way of the world. We can have it all. All the world has to offer, that is. And the lie the enemy wants us to believe is that it’s worth the price. You can satisfy your every desire. You deserve it, you’ve earned it and without it, you won’t really be happy.

The truth of Jesus says you don’t deserve it, you can’t earn it but with Him, you will have unending joy. In Jesus, there is joy and satisfaction like you’ve never experienced. No food or drink can feed your hunger or quench your thirst like the love of Christ.

When we live like we believe this, we are not distracted from our work, our purpose in the LORD. God has something for each of us to do for His world, His kingdom. The enemy loves it when we don’t complete our missions, don’t live out our purpose and are completely ineffective for Christ. He throws material possessions, status, and conveniences at us hoping to distract us. He uses struggles, troubles and temptations through our circumstances and people in our lives to try to get us to give up. We may begin to think we will never really be able to do what the LORD has called us to do. We can’t really have victory in Jesus here and now in this time and place. It’s just too hard, too much work.

We allow the perishable things of this world to keep us from a life of victory in Christ. Once we accept the gift of Jesus and His salvation, we know we will be with Him in heaven some day; but, we do not need to wait until then to live in that victory.

Something to Consider…

Where do you go to find satisfaction? Do you look to the people and things around you to fill you and bring you happiness?

Do situations, emotions and others move you? Do they cause you to doubt your faith or why you do what you do?

If we stand firm in our faith we cannot be moved from the purpose God has set before us. And what is that purpose? To share Jesus with others. What does the way you live your life say about what you believe about Jesus?

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life where you do not believe victory in Jesus is really for you right here, right now. He has overcome the world. In Him, so have you.

Knowing and Doing

My daughter often takes dinner to dance class with her and eats during a break. Many nights, she sends me a text message asking how to warm it in the microwave. I send her a quick note with the time and power settings; but sometimes I want to say, “The answer is the same as last time you asked.” On occasion, I miss her text and she manages to heat her food and eat just fine without my instruction. She really does know the answer. What she is looking for is confirmation because she doesn’t want to mess it up.

Often, I feel like I keep asking God the same questions and asking for help in the same areas over and over again. He has answered many times but I wonder if He ever thinks, “The answer is the same as the last time you asked.” Sometimes, I feel like He’s missed my request and not answered when really He wants me to remember and be confident in the answer He has already provided.

While I should never stop seeking God and His counsel, at what point will I simply do what He’s already taught me? How many times will I ask the same question? Do I really not know the answer?

There are three main reasons why I continue to ask the same questions: one, the answer might be different this time; two, maybe I misunderstood the answer; third, sometimes, I simply don’t like the answer. So how do I know for sure? I get out my Bible and I do a little reading.

“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.” Psalm 33:4

While my specific situation or question may not be in the Bible, God’s promises and principles are included and they don’t change.

Am I trying to hide something I’ve done or want to do? Am I trying to right a wrong or prove a point? Am I really not able to help or is it simply an inconvenience? Am I faithful in all I do or do I make excuses and break commitments? Do I honor my parents, love my neighbor and most of all, love and honor God?

It ends up not being so much a question of should I or shouldn’t I. More often it’s why do or don’t I want to?

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.” Psalm 33:13-15

God knows and sees all we do. He formed our hearts and knows what is at the core of each one. Do you trust that He is faithful? Do you believe He will or has answered you? Are you willing to do what He says?

Something to Consider…

Are you struggling with the same situation or question as you have before and you feel like God just hasn’t answered? Do you wonder if you’ve misunderstood?

When God appears to be quiet, seek Him and His counsel through His Word. Choose to step out in faith and do what it says. We all make mistakes but God loves a heart set on Him. He will help you see your way and make your path straight.

The Golden Rule

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

My daughters and I were talking once about another child at school who was giving one of them a hard time. She wanted to be able to come back at this person and say something really mean just to show them what it was like. I completely understand this thinking. We think if we can make them understand or show them what it’s like to be in our shoes, they will stop. But really, what it shows is that we can be just as mean.

I mentioned the “Golden Rule” in our conversation and this was the reply: “Well, if this is how they are treating me, it must mean they want to be treated this way.” I think I laughed out loud! That is one way to view it; it’s wrong, but we probably think this more than we care to admit.

This verse does not put the responsibility on the other person to treat us right; it puts the onus on us to treat others right.

  • If we want to be loved, we need to love.
  • If we want compassion, we need to be compassionate.
  • If we want people to be kind, we need to show kindness.
  • If we want to be able to trust someone, we need to be trustworthy.
  • If we want people to help, we need to be willing to serve.
  • If we want _____________, we need to_____________. (You fill in the blanks.)

Which of these pieces comes first? Our willingness to love and listen, follow through and serve should always be first in our minds.

I have seen so many postings on Facebook to re-post the condemnation to bullies that they really don’t understand how they hurt others when they bully and if they only understood the other person’s situation, they would stop. I believe for the most part that they do understand the pain and hurt because they feel it from others as well. It’s what they’ve been taught and have learned.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:44-45a (NKJV)

So my prayer is this:

I pray for every bully who has ever been emotionally, physically, or mentally abused by a parent, relative or friend. I pray for every bully who has ever been told they would never amount to anything; that they are stupid or worthless. I pray for every bully who thought they finally had a breakthrough only to be told it wasn’t good enough; they are second-best, second-class. I pray for every bully who thinks the only way they can feel better is to know there is someone who feels worse. I pray that the love, kindness and compassion of Jesus would be made real in their life through a person who is willing to serve and show that their real value is found in Jesus. In His precious name, Amen.

“If we say we are His, we must follow the example of Christ.” 1 John 2:6 (CEV)

Jesus did not shake His finger at those who didn’t know and understand His ways. He reached out His hand in love and compassion to show them the love of His Father in heaven.

Something to Consider…

Is there someone in your life: a spouse, co-worker, boss, in-law, or friend, who wears you down rather than builds you up?

While there is no guarantee they will change, I challenge you to pray for them and love them like Jesus. That, I can guarantee, will change you!

The Gift of His Life

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

God has not only provided the gift of a baby this Christmas, He has also provided the gift of a perfect example of living life His way.

God knows us so well. We can be so predictable. Since the beginning, God has known that what we see, we desire; what we focus on, we are drawn to; and what we think about, we become. While after generations of other Christ followers, we have current day examples from whom to learn; through the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, we still have the perfect example to follow.

Ultimately, Jesus taught us to love one another. That love is shown through sharing the truth of His Word, serving those in need and suffering for the good and glory of God. Sharing the truth and serving others are easy when there is no resistance; no temptations, trials or troubles in our life. But add suffering to the mix and things can suddenly change.

Our character is who we are at all times. Does suffering cause you to change your words, actions and behavior? Can your outlook on life go from rosy to bleak in the blink of an eye?

Through the gift of Jesus, the living example of God’s grace, truth, love and righteousness, we can see a man just like us. He had family, friends, celebrations and troubles. He worked, was tired, hungry, in need of alone time and rest. But nowhere does Jesus complain about the troubles He faced. He talked about the reality of the troubles, but He did not complain. Why not?

He knew these troubles had to take place. He had absolute certainty that God would see Him through His suffering and God’s purpose through Him would be accomplished. That is joyful hope!

There is a difference between wishful thinking and certain hope. Wishful thinking leaves room for worry and doubt. What we hope for might not really be true. But, if we profess to believe in the hope God’s love for us has accomplished through Jesus, we will have peace because what we believe is true. We are resolved to continue in the path God has laid out before us regardless of our problems.

How do we know if we simply wish or truly hope in the truth of Jesus? By how we stand up under suffering. Do we worry or rejoice? It is easy to rejoice and be glad in good times but can we still do this when times are difficult, conditions unfavorable and our circumstances down-right painful?

As we allow Christ’s example to be our reality, our character grows and becomes more like His. He trusted the Father completely, seeking His will and following His lead. He trusted in the hope that through His suffering, we would come to know the Father and His love for us.

Something to Consider…

Jesus willingly endured for our benefit and He patiently showed us grace and mercy in our weakness. God has poured is love out for us through the blood of Jesus and in that we can have true joy and gladness regardless of our circumstances.

Consider your temptations, trials and troubles. How can you rejoice because you have hope that through your suffering, you can lead others to Jesus?