Be usable during the trials

Laying block with oxygen.  What’s stopping you??

My father was bed-ridden for several years, and then weak for several more.  Why not healed?  One night the Lord spoke to him and told him to build a house for someone he’d never met.  He wasn’t able to in his own strength.  The Lord also spoke to the pastor at his church and told him to give away a substantial amount of money.  He spoke to another man and told him to donate land.  Person after person stepped forward, obeying God’s leading, and a home was built for a family from start to finish in 40 days.

My dad’s weakness enabled God’s strength to be perfected and manifested.  Might I suggest that before that time my dad may have been too busy to hear the voice of God in that way?  Or too busy to take the time to help organize and attend a project of that magnitude?

God uses us all in different ways and for different reasons.  We just have to be available for His purposes and plans.

“Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

These are the words the Lord spoke to the disciple that was sent to put his hands on Saul (who would later become the apostle Paul–missionary to thousands), when he would regain his sight.  And yet, Paul always had what he called a “thorn in his flesh” that God never removed.  He said he prayed for the Lord to remove it and the Lord told him no.  The Lord told Paul that His grace was sufficient and that His strength would be made perfect in Paul’s weakness.

It’s interesting that when Paul was called into ministry he was shown how many things he would suffer God’s name’s sake, and how the Lord told Paul no, and how now, in 2019 we think our Christian walk should be about our comfort, our happiness, our delight….about us.  When did things get so twisted?

Christianity just simply isn’t about us.  It is about the Lord.  It says about Saul, “Immediately he preached the Christ in synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”  He began immediately doing what he was called to do, and people immediately began wanting to kill him.  (You can find all of this in Acts 9)

Job, in his agony and suffering repented and humbled himself before the Lord…before he was ever healed or restored.  Then, in Job 42:8, the Lord put Job in charge of praying for his friends.  In his state, he was best suited to pray for his friends.  He was the one God called to pray, to work, to do His will.  And then, praise God for him, He was restored.

Sickness and trials are not a problem that keeps us from fulfilling God’s call in our lives.  It may hinder us from doing all the things we want.  I know I still have times when I can’t sing, can’t raise my hands in worship, can’t teach or even attend church; however, if we are still alive then God can still use us.

Ask God how He can use your vessel.  When He gives you an opportunity, don’t let it pass you by.  Don’t fear that you’re too weak.  In your weakness, His strength is made perfect.  It has been proven over and over:  see David and Goliath, Noah and the Ark, 3 Hebrew’s in the furnace, on and on.  God will give you all that you need to complete the task He sets before you.

Be available just as you are,

jamie

 

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The suffering is a good thing

Pr. 1:22:  “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?  For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.”

This morning I read 1 Peter 4:1-2, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”

Seems to me that living a life where you attempt to cease from sin is far from simple.  Peter says that those who have ceased from sin suffer in the flesh.  Ceasing from sin requires an intentional decision, perseverance, and endurance.  It requires faith in God, a strong desire to submit to His will, and a decision to separate oneself from the will of the world around us.

At every turn, we are met with lusts and enticements of sin.  As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted.  Deciding not to give in to our temptations is a decision that requires consistent effort.  When the temptation comes, sometimes our flesh causes us to suffer, or to experience a very uncomfortable battle within us as our flesh and the Spirit within us battle for the win.

Having knowledge of the Holy One, His Word, His will, and His strength within us is what will see us through.  Instead of hating knowledge, we must embrace it and allow His wisdom, His precepts, and His guidance to see us through the times of suffering.  Rather than giving in to the feelings of simplicity we think will come from giving in to sin, from compromising, or from giving up the fight, we must cherish and hold dear to the knowledge we get from reading God’s word and from the Holy Spirit ever reminding us of the truth.

Delighting in knowledge won’t be the easy route.  We will have battles.  Those battles are worth the fight; however, as suffering as a Christian brings glory to God above.  Don’t love simplicity, but take heart in the fact that you are quite blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Suffering alongside you,

jamie

 

Sowing while we wait

Ps. 126:5-6:  “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bring his sheaves with him.”

While we are waiting for Christ’s return, we are living in a fallen, sin-cursed world where there is indeed pain and suffering.  Here we still experience sorrow, death, and tears.  So, in the midst of our trials, how does our trust in God come forth?

We know God’s universal law of reaping and sowing:  whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  Gal. 6:7.  This Psalm tells us something even more.  When we sow in tears we will reap in joy.

If, in the midst of our sorrow and weeping, we continue to sow the seeds of righteousness, we will reap a harvest of joy.  Gal. 6:9 promises that, “in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Trials are common to us all.  Suffering is a sad result of sin that affects each of us.  Christians, in particular, suffer further persecution at times that can cause even more heart-ache.  The promise we have; however, is that even in the midst of the trials, the tears, and the weeping, our faithful sowing will reap joy and we will have a harvest to show for it.

In faith, we can continue to sow seeds around us, even through our tears.  Actually, doesn’t it seem sometimes that the best seeds are planted when tears are present?  Our experiences give our testimony of faith more weight.

Our trials and painful experiences are like fertilizer that gives the seed the extra nutrients it needs to grow strong.  If we can still plant seed and walk in faith even during trials, it gives others the proof they need that God is faithful and mighty; and this can help them to grow strong in the Lord and in their own faith.

I encourage you today, while you are waiting, to continue trusting in God’s faithfulness and to continue sowing seeds.  Water the seeds with your tears, if need be, but continue to sow.  You will reap joy and come back rejoicing, harvest in hand!

Keep trusting.  He is coming again!

jamie