Archive for the ‘difficulties’ Category

If we are growing as a follower of Jesus, we all experience times when God seems to have left town on a cruise. We’re not sure how to trust him as our dark night goes on and on. Maybe God is hiding or a more damaging thought creeps in telling us maybe he was never there in the first place. The truth is we will neither understand how God works throughout the world nor in our life developing our trust in.him.

Hebrews 13:8 is a huge statement because we learn that God cannot change who he is…ever. He is not hiding but trying to teach us something in the darkness that we can’t learn in the light. Trust is only wasted when the object being trusted in is unreliable. We must learn that trust in God is essential for developing a relationship that is not based on what we can see but on when we can’t see our hand in front of us.

Have you come to a place where you can agree with Jeremiah as he loudly says in Jeremiah 32:17 “…you created earth and sky by your great power-by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can’t do?” Something in our relationship with God deepens when we think he is hiding in the dark but learn by trusting him that he never changes and is present in that darkness.

Paul echoes this in 2 Corinthians 1:8 & 9 and 9:8. Listen to how trust was developed in Paul-“The West Turkey trip was a total nightmare! Everything hit the fan…we were comparing notes on our funeral services…you know he”s the only one who can get you going again.” ( Word on the Street) In 9:8 Paul adds that God is with us to enable us to be ready for anything (especially in darkness).

So, the adventure takes us into the most unlikely places and situations where darkness tries to choke out our confidence in God but is a mere whisper compared to the volume of God’s voice in reassuring us that this is where we learn.

Are you unsure about God’s faithfulness because nothing is making sense with…? Allow God to change that darkness into something you never thought possible.

In Joy and Sorrow-Pretending

In Joy and Sorrow-Pretending (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1956 and the group was the Platters. The song was “The Great Pretender.” It was popular in that year and unfortunately still popular today but there are different words. It may not be easy to detect in others but we recognize it in us. We know ourselves too well.

Jesus knew that the evil one would focus on wrecking our life if we got serious about following Him. He would use multiple strategies all of which were designed to steal the freedom and life Jesus gave us. Being more clever than we could ever imagine, satan throws many darts our way over the years and it becomes easier to give in to them and pretend and flash the same smile or serious look whenever it is necessary. In John 17:15 Jesus prayed for those in the first century and us today that we would be protected from the evil one. Some of that protection comes from other followers who love us enough to ask us hard but necessary questions to help us stay on track. We never outgrow the need for this.

Paul picked up on it in 1 Corinthians 15:58 and 16:13 saying we should stand firm and not to let anything knock us off of the road. These discomforts, heartaches or painful events are our teachers and there are many classes we must take to become the followers Jesus is after. We don’t have to pretend, we don’t have to give in to the junk satan has up his sleeve for us. He knows we are going to win the game but he puts up quite a fight.

Do you have someone in your life who will not let you get away with shallow answers to those questions that develop our life with Jesus and ministry with others?

change

change (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

We all know that a good coach who cares about their players will always be committed to helping a young man or woman learn a better way of playing the game. It might  be correcting a batting stance, or how to hold the football when running or how to grip the tennis racket. However, to improve you must cooperate with the coach’s instructions.

God started the whole process of life on the planet and created us to live in a way that would not only bring glory to himself but would also enable us to enjoy life as he intended it to be lived. The enemy got wind of this and ruined the whole deal. Every since, Jesus has been working to restore us to that original plan.

However, for us to see change in our life whether it is in relating to people, knowing the right direction to take, having the right perspective of who God is, or whatever needs to change in us, we must cooperate with God. This means among other things we must take the classes he tells us to enroll in. We would rather these classes be electives but they are part of the curriculum. Some of these classes are Pain, Darkness, Confusion, Frustration and Anger, and the Unexpected. If we seek to learn as we take these classes, we will begin to see change in our life. If we don’t cooperate with God, we probably will have to take the class over.

Colossians 2:6 and 3:1-10 show that we must focus on what is worthwhile and make the decision to get rid of the dark secrets and habits that have gotten us nowhere. Jesus is offering us freedom from the jails we have been locked in but we must cooperate with him.

Do you want to change?

Why do we avoid everything that makes us uncomfortable, forces us to look at life from a much different perspective than we have always had, drives us deep into our soul and is painful to consider differences? It is only when we are seriously challenged like this that we learn the heart of God, have the veil pulled back a little more and understand the depths to which God loves us and others.

On every overseas trip my wife and I have had we have been forced to look at how to do life with God in different ways. We h

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. S...

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable right now, know that the change taking place in your life is a beginning, not an ending. (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

ave been stretched to see how God speaks to people in different cultures often in different ways. It has made us think and has greatly enlarged our understanding of the essentials of the Christian life.

In order to do church and experience the life God wants us to have we must embrace the tough things that force us to not look at life like a straight line but as a line with many dashes in it that often curves and in some cases looks blank. God knows exactly what it takes for each of us to experience and enjoy his life, so let’s get out of the leather boy chair Christian lifestyle and experience God in ways we could never imagine. He’s really for us.

A further look: Jeremiah 33:3; Acts 8:1-8; and 1 Corinthians 13:12