Simple words of encouragement… “God is for YOU!”

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Has discouragement tried to enter where God has placed you today? Has confusion tried to make you feel less than; as if God is not for you today?  Has your day already started off on the wrong foot?

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation. . .,” John 16:33a. He knew that there would some days where we face trouble and discouragement; there would be times when we feel like we are in this alone. In those times, He wants to reassure us that He is for us. He has never left us. He has never forsaken us. His plans for us have a glorious end so don’t let any circumstance make you believe that God doesn’t have your back because He does. He’s here and He is for you!

Jesus went on to say, ” …but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33b; and if you are in Him and stay with Him and believe in Him, you will too. Because God is for you!

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“Peace on Earth”

Sin has destroyed peace.  Circumstances try to overrun peace.  Emotions can’t seem to grab hold of peace but, if this time of year teaches us nothing else, it’s that peace is still a very real thing to not only seek after but to find.

The Savior was born for peace.  He came to reconcile, restore, and offer peace to mankind of the likes they never could have else wise imagined having.  His peace is not commercial and it’s not superficial.  The peace of Christ is an inner peace that comes from knowing that even through the hardest trials of life, God’s love for each of us is so magnificent that He offered us this great gift, the best Christmas gift we could ever hope for, through His Blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace should not be so elusive for the heart to behold.  While the Shepherds were in that field on that holy night, the chorus of the angels rang out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,” (Luke 2:14).  Peace is part of the salvation package; it’s part of the gift we have received through Him.  While it may not always seem like it or even feel like it, in Christ you have a peace which, “passeth all understanding,” and this peace “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:7).

Your life hidden in Him is something beyond human comprehension.  You are cemented in a joy that cannot be moved because the One who holds your hope cannot be moved.  Your Redeemer came as a babe and reigns as Victor and He, being the Author of your salvation, is not only your eternal reward in heaven, but He is your peace on earth today.

Father God, Help us through this season.  Not just the holiday season, but these seasons of life that we find ourselves wrapped in.  There are so many questions of why that we may not always understand.  There are circumstances that often we just cannot figure out.  Thankfully, You know it all together and you didn’t ask us to try to know the beginning from the end because You already do.  You asked us to have faith and just rest in the peace that Your Son has already given us.  For many, this time of year is very hard.  For some situations, we can’t begin to imagine the hurt and confusion one carries, so we stand and pray that people everywhere would feel a refreshing of Your peace in their lives today.  AMEN!

“Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone”

One thing I have reluctantly had to admit is that I don’t always have Abraham faith.  When one really delves into his story, his story was laden with change.  Change, often times, is something I have been pretty resistant to.

Let’s face it, leaving your own home is no small feat (Genesis 12:1), especially during the Bible era.  In our day we have options to hop back on a plane and usually, there are provisions and backup plans that are available if that adventurous leap of faith didn’t work out.  And, this could all be done in a matter of hours.

I imagine it wasn’t quite that easy back then.  But, then again, maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe not having easy access to falling back into one’s comfort zone is a blessing in disguise for it forces that venture forward.  It forces us to take on new terrain and enter new callings as we try to acclimate and navigate our new surroundings and circumstances.

Often I feel the ease of looking back hinders our progress.  Unchartered territories can be scary, uncomfortable, and demanding of our time, talent, and emotions.  But what if it leads to something greater?  What if that step of faith allows you to do something miraculous that you could never see yourself doing?  What if it opened new doors of opportunity that you never could have imagined being able to walk through?

I guess that’s why it’s called faith.  Almost blindly, without full perception and without knowing where every piece of the puzzle already fits, we are asked to play along anyway.  Engage in the unknown no matter what the current reality says.  After all, according to the Bible, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1).

Comfort zones, though they appear safe, are in fact very dangerous.  Walking in the land of familiarity may seem like a sure bet but in them lays unexpected traps.  Traps where dreams lose their freshness.  Traps where ideas lose their strength to be propelled forward.  Traps where talents get wasted in this pit of unseen snares.

God has always wanted the best for all His people.  But, when He calls, it is up to them to make the move.  He may not be asking you to leave your homeland, but where or what do you feel Him pulling you toward?  What area of your comfort zone has become so stale that now it too is very uncomfortable, yet, you’re still too afraid to make a move?

If Abraham had not put action behind his calling, he would have never been dubbed the father of faith, and so many things in our biblical history would not be traced back to his stepping out moment.

I wonder if we boldly step out today, what miraculous future events will point back to our time when we chose to leave the safety of our comfort zones?

One thing is for sure if we stay where we are, and if we keeping doing the same thing over and over again, nothing will ever change.  Don’t substitute comfort and reluctance to change for what can be.  Who knows what God wants to write in your future story?  Step out of your comfort zone and let Him write something amazing!

 

“…But Lord, I Thank You!” – Word For Life Says

Job 1:20-22 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Ephesians 5:20 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”

Anytime we see a “…” in a sentence it expresses a train of thought and direction or a transition if you will.  That “…” is very important to this message.

Times of transition can be good and bad.  When one is engrossed in unpleasant circumstances a nice change of pace can be just what the doctor ordered.  It breathes new life into you and lifts your spirits high making you feel as if you are on cloud nine.  At the same time, when one is entering times of affliction, lack of any sort of substandard anything compared to what they are used to, the feelings of dread and just suffering through take over.

There are different seasons that everyone goes through in life.  There are times of joy and there are times of pain.  While we don’t mind dealing with the seasons of joy and happiness that come our way, a whole other story could be told for the times of pain and suffering we encounter.

There are seasons, even for the Christian, that come that are not too pleasant.  There are times when the people of God had to endure trials and tribulations.  There are episodes of turmoil that have wiggled their way into our families, our lives, our jobs, and our finances.

Sometimes difficult and new stuff pops up out of nowhere, things you weren’t looking to happen in this season of life, and it has blindsided you and caught you off guard.  There may be things that surprised you and now you just don’t know which way you are going.  The road hasn’t always been easy to travel.  We are looking for the new.  We need a transition.  We are in need of a “…” moment.

It’s time to move from the victim mentality and don a praise mentality.  It’s time to move from the feeling defeated mentality to no matter what’s going in my life, “…Lord, I just want to thank You” mentality.

A praise mentality says no matter the situation we are going through I still have a reason to worship.  We still have a reason to lift our hands in utter adoration!  We still have a reason to fall to our knees in prayer!  We still have a reason to believe His grace and mercy is at work in our lives!  I still have a reason to say, “Thank You!”

Job is one of the most figurative Bible characters who we surmise as suffering outside of Jesus Christ our Savior.  So, I figured if anybody can teach us how to be thankful despite what we’re going through it could be Job.

Job was a man whom God describes in the Bible as being upright and perfect, Job 1:8.  He is known for turning himself away from the path of evil, not giving it a foothold in his life.  Yet, in his righteous living, he was still susceptible to being tested in some of the worse ways possible.  He lost everything from possessions down to the very people he loved the most in life.

Job’s experiences can be summed up in that one word: suffering. Job knew suffering.  Job knew what it was like to love and lose; to have and to have not.  What’s more is he lost everything at the same time, piling traumatic event after traumatic event on till he thought his heart couldn’t take any more (read Job 1-2 for greater detail).

Sitting in a pile of ashes with seemingly nothing left, could he at least find comfort in the good word of a friend? Will they speak encouragement to help him carry the weight of his burdensome troubles?

The answer sadly is, “No.”  His friends started out with good intentions but by the time they reach chapter 4, Job’s friends became what is known as “miserable comforters.”  They decided to chime in with their opinions of what was right and wrong.  This was where their attempts at comfort went downhill.  They berated Job and blamed him for all that he was going through.

Job literally had no one and the weight of the world was upon his shoulders, but his response to his trials is what blew my mind away.  When things first began to unravel for him, in the verses we read in chapter 1 he shaved his head, fell down on his face and he worshipped.

The words that came out of his mouth were of praise and thanks.  He said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!

That word “blessed” is synonymous with celebrating God with praise in spite of.  That word blessed is acknowledging God is good no matter what the circumstances around me say.  That word blessed is also translated in the New and Old Testament to give thanks!  “Blessed be the name of the LORD!”  Job, with his shaved head of sorrow and humble spirit, gave God thanks amid the sorrow he was going through!

His response reminds me of Psalm 34:1 where the psalmist proclaimed, “I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall continually be in my mouth!”  I will thank God always and I will never stop celebrating His goodness!  I will show God gratitude always and I will never stop lifting Him up.  I will appreciate God even in this and I will never stop recognizing that He and He only is God of my life.

Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  My always for all things may not look the way I want it to right now, but Lord I thank You, is what he’s saying!  I am not saying thank you because I like problems, but I am saying thank You because I know the God I serve.  I am saying thank you because He is working on the inside to change things on the outside.  I am saying thank you because God is setting us up for a future that is glorious in Him!  Therefore, “…Lord, I just want to thank You!”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  I am in Christ; therefore I give thanks!  I have been washed by the blood, therefore I give thanks.  Yes, life hurts sometimes and yes, the walls come crashing down sometimes, but I owe God a praise.  I thank God for seeing me through every trouble, every storm that blows my way!  “…Lord, I just want to thank You!”

Job’s response went even further than this.  In Job 19, he said, “For I know that my Redeemer lives.”  Things were not exactly turning in his favor.  At that time, his today didn’t look any better than his yesterday.  His friends are still in his face challenging him with their accusations.  But, despite his personal persecutions, he emphatically declares, “I know . . .”

Knowing speaks of assurance. A declaration of knowing tells doubt there is no place here for you. “Know” is certain that this is what it is. And, what he is certain of is “my redeemer liveth.” God is alive and will always be alive. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” (Revelation 1:8).

“He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”  Job knew that God was and is the end-all of all authority, victory and power. Standing upon anything denotes mastery and dominion of said object.  Job knew where his trust lies.  In God who is victorious: “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him,” (Psalm 68:1).  Paul, speaking of Christ said He, “hath put all things under his feet…,” (Ephesians 1:22).  Even this.

“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”  There is hope beyond the here and now. Physically, it didn’t look good for Job. He had “sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown,” (Job 2:7).  He, in dealing with the pain of his body and the pain of his heart must have thought there is not that much more time left. At one point of desperation, things had gotten so bad, Job prayed for death (see Job 6:8-9).

Despite it all, he knew that there was a better day beyond the corruption of his flesh.  His body, when the time came, would lie in the ground and the worms would have their way with him, but he looked forward to another glorious time when “in my flesh shall I see God.”  Things were hard for Job, but in his speech, you can still see his faith alive and active in what he believes: and he believes GOD!  Therefore, “I bless God!  I give God thanks!”

Job teaches us how to respond to God in midst of trials and troubles.  He may have been down, especially when his friends attacked him, but he still recognized God for who He is.  He basically transitioned his mentality to shift his focus from what was before him to the God who can save Him.

Yes, he grew weary and even questioned why he was going through what he was going through.  Who wouldn’t?  But, through it all you still see his faith in God come to the forefront in the midst of his story.

In the end, Job was blessed with a double portion of blessings.  God testified of Job to his friends.  God spoke up for Job and said, “My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath,” (Job 42:7).

It’s not too late for God to turn it around and to testify on your behalf.  The week of Thanksgiving is here, and this year is not over yet.  There is still room for a blessing.  And, even if not – if God never does another thing for us, can we say, “Lord, I thank You?”

At the end of the day, as hard as it may be sometimes, we must transition our thinking and say “… But Lord, I thank YOU!”

 

An Incomplete, Complete Mess | Word For Life Says

 

 

Incomplete really speaks to the idea that I, we, us, don’t really have it all together like we think we do at times.  I mean, really, we are often so short from where we need to be; from where God wants us that we can feel the dragging of lack in our spirits.  If we were really honest with ourselves we would see within us deficit upon deficit without any real way of adding up to that holy mark of perfection our soul longs for.  If left to ourselves and our own ingenuity we would find that we are an incomplete mess.

But, thanks be to God that our completeness is not dependent upon us.  Rather, it is in Christ alone where we find everything that makes us 100% whole in Him.  In our relationship with Jesus as our Savior, there is no lack.  The Bible assures us, “You are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power,” (Colossians 2:10, NKJV).  On the cross, Jesus secured everything we need to have a full relationship with God Almighty, leaving nothing out.  Jesus Christ really does become more than enough for believers to rest in His salvation.  Through Calvary’s sacrifice, Jesus turned our incomplete mess into something completely beautiful.

More encouraging verses:

2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

John 1:16 “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

Colossians 1:19 “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.”

“You Are the Light of the World!”

Do you ever wonder why Christians have to deal with so much stuff from people?  Why does it seem the rights of everyone else are important all the while our rights are trying to be diminished by opposing forces?  Why does it seem that we are singled out to be somebody to mess with when the cut-ups of this world get by on a free pass.

I’ll tell you why.

Things are set in motion like that to try to discourage us from our walk with Christ; our belief.  The fact of the matter is our lives are convicting to those who fight against God and His plan for humanity.  God, through His Word, tells of a holy requirement He desires to see played out in the lives of each and every individual.  Those who seek after the flesh and revel in carnality and sin don’t want the same desires as He.  Rather, they fight vehemently against it and anything that resembles it (i.e. Christians).

Once Jesus taught, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid,” Matthew 5:14.  You shine for Him.  You magnify His brightness and glory in the midst of degradation and sin.  You are a beacon to show people the way to this wonderful life in Him through the darkness and disparity of this world.  As a Christian, you look like Him (in character), you talk like Him and that bothers those who oppose Him.

In a life that has been transformed by His renewing power, it becomes a living testimony to grace, mercy, and the power of salvation working itself out in humanity.  Although these wonderful things are available to all for the asking, few choose to look to Him for those wonderful gifts.  They would much rather pursue the things of the flesh than that of the Spirit causing war and contentions with those who walk and talk differently then them.

Nonetheless, I urge you brother and sister in Christ, keep walking the holy walk.  No matter the fighting.  No matter the contentions.  Keep showing this world, through the life you live, what a mighty God we serve.  Philippians tells us we are, “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” (2:15).  By the continual light of Christ beaming from your life, you are helping others to draw nearer to Him; you are helping others to see the hope that is available if they would but turn.

The life we live may cause us discomfort at times, but the reward of having others see Christ in us is immeasurable.  You and I can positively effect change in the lives of others for eternity.  I think, my friends, that far outweighs the opposition we may face today.

And, as we are living, let us always remember we have nothing to boast or be arrogant about.  We are saved today because somebody else stood up as a light for us showing us the way; somebody else’s lives were convicting, pricking our hearts to want to know Him more.  Our salvation is NEVER anything for us to glory in.  We can only glory in our Savior who gave His life that we might have new life in Him.  We are now vessels filled with His grace that we might positively pour into and shine in the lives of others.

“It’s Saturday!”

The day before Sunday is like no other. It’s the day that comes at the end of the work week and comes before the day of worship. There are so many possibilities with this day. Sleep in or go out? Veg out in front the TV or seek adventure? Clean or do you say forget it, “I clean every day and today I’m taking a break!” How will you spend your time?

Time. That’s a four little word with great impact. Time is something we can never get back. Time is something that will keep moving forward whether you are ready to go with it or not. Time is precious. Time is valuable. How one spends their time can either add to their life or take away from it.

Time. Extra time is not promised. We can’t buy more time. Rather, we must lay hold of with an iron grip the time that has been allotted to us and make the best use of it for our lives, our families, and our ministries.

Time. What will you do with it? We deserve rest because we worked hard. Take the time. We deserve adventure, something that will heighten our senses because we have stayed the course of the mundane all week. Take the time. Clean? . . . well, we’ll just leave that one alone for now.

Time. As crazy as it seems to us, it goes by in a flash when you don’t want it to and it drags when you wish it would speed up. That’s why every moment counts. Every opportunity should be seized. Every second savored.

Time. We don’t have as much of it as we would like, and yet God blessed us with the amount we need. How we choose to use it is up to us.

What will you do with your time today? There is no right or wrong answer. If you worked hard and want to sit in front of the tv because your brain needs a few hours vacation, then do so. If your body has been stuck in the office all week and you feel a need to stretch and exercise to get it moving, then do so. If you chose to let the house go one day so that you can have time for yourself, then do so. It’s Saturday! It’s your time! Make the most of it for you!

Keep in mind, once this Saturday goes by, it will not come again. Oh, yes, there will be other Saturdays, but not this Saturday. There will be other chances and opportunities, but not like today. Today is for you – it’s your Saturday, what will you do?

Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to redeem the time. Grab hold of today and make the most of it! It’s only here today. So, what will you do with today?

Whatever you do, make today count! It’s Saturday, enjoy “you” on this day!

God bless you and enjoy your Saturday 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

“When the Father speaks…”

There is a lot of inner dialogue that goes on and there is a lot of outer dialoguing that goes on.  The inner dialogue comes from the person within.  It talks to oneself sometimes words of encouragement, and that’s okay.  But, when it begins to express doubt, confusion and rehearses hurt repeatedly, it becomes a dangerous voice causing one to lose out on some of the best stuff God has for them.

The outer dialogues we hear daily comes from the voices all around.  Again, sometimes one may hear words of love, but when these voices speak criticism, discouragement, and put-downs, their words need to be silenced and replaced because they are not doing anything to one up or to help along the way.

Any voice, inner or outer, which speaks contrary to the words of the Father, must be made to shut up.  When the Father speaks, His is a heavenly dialogue, and what He has to say far outweighs any word on earth.

When the Father speaks His words are power.  “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God,” (Psalm 62:11).  Every other speech will fail and grow weak when it meets up against the strength of what He has to say.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).

When the Father speaks His words are fulfilling.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).  In the sea of worthless words that drown the hearing of this world, God’s Word can be trusted to do what He said He would do.  It will succeed at everything spoken of it.

When the Father speaks His words are truth.  False speech seems to dominate this world.  Whatever the platform, people are careless and deceitful with the words that they throw around.  But God’s words are dependable and faithful.  They are “truth” (John 17:17) and His words don’t lie (Numbers 23:19).  “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth,” (Psalm 33:4).

When the Father speaks His words are life.  Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63).  Not only are His words filled with life-giving power in the here and now, but when He speaks they are words of eternal life (John 6:68).  For those who believe in His Word, it will provide them with everything they need to live.

And, when the Father speaks, it is forever.  “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” (Isaiah 40:8; see also Matthew 24:35).  There will never be a time when His Word will not be.  All the inner and outer dialogues that take place daily will eventually pass away.  But, everything declared in His Word, shall be forever.  It’s not going anywhere.  Therefore, we can stake our very lives on it, live by it, and hope in it.  Because, when the Father speaks, His Word will always be there for us through it all.

Today, when the Father speaks, let His voice be louder than all others and let His words be the strength for your day.

“If I choose…”

If I choose to be silent I could

be viewed as weak or wise,

depending . . .

If I choose to fight I could

be viewed as aggressive or brave,

depending . . .

If I choose to hope I could

be viewed as naive or optimistic,

depending . . .

Father God, depending on where life takes me I pray that you would help me to handle this daily life with the same grace You give.  With every step, help me to choose to look to You, O heavenly Father because I want to be wise, I want to be brave, and I want to expect the best of every day You give.  Amen!

Inspiration for choosing to look to God and let Him have control of this day:

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” – Dwight L. Moody

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Trusting in the Lord means every decision you make is done with Him in mind.”– Bernita Weston

“Let your life reflect the faith you have in God. Fear nothing and pray about everything. Be strong, trust God’s word, and trust the process.”  – Germany Kent

“Allow God to take control in your life, so the enemy will have no control over you.” – Gift Gugu Mona

“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” – Job 12:10

 

“Don’t Romanticize Life!”

“Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,” 1 Peter 4:12

“Confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we may through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22

One of the best things about being an avid reader is the happy ending that appears at the end of almost every book I read.  When you first dive into a new book you begin to get familiar with the characters and their life.  Each turn of the page takes us along on their journey, revealing to us their joys and sadness, hardships and pain.  By the time we reach those last few pages, everything has worked itself out.  There’s almost always a reason for celebration and the typical “aww” moment, especially if you’re into romance novels.

That’s the great thing about books.  They allow your imagination to soar, taking you into worlds you may not otherwise get a chance to explore.  Your mind’s eye gets hooked up with the writer’s vision for the book and soon a vivid story begins to unfold before you.  Though there are no pictures, illustrations begin to form revealing all that is written therein.  Television has its place – oh, but to read a book!

Whether it be a movie, television program or a book the stories we hear and see transport us, giving us a reprieve from reality.  But, when the last page is read or the screen goes blank, it’s back to reality.  And, reality isn’t always as picturesque as the stories we left behind.  Sometimes love does not find its way.  Sometimes the bad guy does get away.  Sometimes the hero doesn’t make it home.  Sometimes the disease doesn’t get healed.  Sometimes the child does not find their way home.  Sometimes the friend does not stick closer than a brother, and so on.

Sometimes life is just plain ole not fun!  I think more so than ever that we have not heard enough about the reality of life.  Instead, we are raising up a generation of rose-colored glasses wearers.  Even from the pulpit of most American churches, the messages of peace, prosperity and wealth has taken over the reality of life.  Jesus Christ, Himself clearly stated that in the world you will have tribulation, John 16:33.  Peace and blessings will come.  Promises will be fulfilled.  But our physical being is planted in the world right now, and while we are here we have to face the reality that everything, every day is not going to be easy.

This philosophy breeds a culture of disillusionment.  Romanticizing life leaves one totally off guard and taken aback when troubling times occur.  A hard life is a hard life no matter which way you look at it and when one is not ready in the least for it, the residual effects can be devastating.  “We may through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God.”  It is going to be hard sometimes.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,” 1 Peter 4:12.  In other words, the test is going to be hard sometimes.  Tests are not passed with a fly by the night attitude.  Tests are passed when people are prepared for them.  But, the wearer of the rose-colored glasses with will have a harder time because the tests seem like a “strange thing” that has happened unto them.

Listen, prepared or not, some things in life will just come out of the blue and whip your world around causing you to say, “What the what?”  It’s inevitable.  The idea behind not romanticizing life is to expect the unexpected.  We don’t want to lose out on those promises God has for us because we have the false illusion that nothing will ever happen to us.

The promises are coming, that’s a given.  In John 16:33, after Jesus warned, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” He also gave us cause to celebrate.  He said, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  And, after Peter wrote of the “strange thing,” he exhorted his readers with verses 13-14a.  He said, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you . . .”

Oh yes, thank God for the promises.  Every word that speaks of them is true.  But, don’t be surprised when we have to go through some stuff today before we reach those promises.

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