Tagged: tribulation

Are you having a pity party?

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So… I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately.

During my primary school years – around age 9 or 10, one of the most anticipated events at the end of the school day was the ice cream man. As my mind shifted from the joy of not being the last one to be let out of the classroom (everything was a competition when I was younger lol), I could hear the chugging ice cream van parked on the other side of the leafy school fence. Most of the time I would have already spent my pocket money for that day on sweets, which I bought whilst making my way to school in the morning – golf ball chewing gums, jaw breaker fire balls, strawberry pencils – the list was endless. On those days I had no choice but to reluctantly walk past the ice cream van, envying the reception kids, who were not old enough to appreciate the flake vanilla ice cream they were allowing to melt all over the sleeves of their school uniform.

Other days I resisted the morning sweet binge in order to buy my double cone, three scoop ice cream with nuts, sprinkles and strawberry sauce on top. I had a very sweet tooth growing up. But on most days, I had done the former and therefore missed out on ice cream after school, so I felt sorry for myself. It’s not fair, if only I was like the kids whose parents picked them up from school, surely I would also enjoy this privilege. The truth is I needed to practice self discipline, sometimes it’s better we don’t get everything we want, when we want – everyday could not be “ice cream man day” because that would be bad for my health and I would also probably take it for granted – it took me a while to learn this.

Some 16 years later, as I analyse my current place in life, I still find myself grumbling “it’s not fair”. Perhaps there are aspects of your life that cause you to do the same. Why isn’t my reality like so and so’s? Why can’t everything be perfect all the time? It got to the point where I started to question God: why did You allow things to be this way? I was throwing the biggest pity party. Then I started thinking about Job and how unfair his whole experience was. Here was a guy who was so “faithful” to God, even offering sacrifices for the potential sins of his children and yet God still allowed the devil to take everything away from him! Surely he didn’t deserve that,

why would our loving, good God do such a thing?

The Holy Spirit led me to the book of Job and directed me to read the last 5 chapters and they completely shut down my pity party. If you are feeling discontent or frustrated with where you are in life or a particular ongoing situation like Job, I would encourage you to read just these five chapters – Job 38 to 42.

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The truth is our understanding of “morality”, “justice”, “good” is so warped by our sinful nature that we can never ever rightly question God. Yes you can take your questions to God like I did, but accusing God’s nature and character because you’re uncomfortable with where you are in life right now, only shows how wavering and fickle our faith in Him really is.

My mind went to sessions of praise and worship were I had heartily bellowed the song lyrics of the band Housefires’  “good good Father”. I thought to myself, am I not the same person that passionately sang these words to this same God? Why was I struggling to grasp His goodness now? The truth is God is constantly molding and shaping our faith, so that it is steady, firm and sure.

Romans 5:3-4
And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].

Our faith in God should not be based solely on how comfortable He has made us, or the fact that we prayed and got what we prayed for, or the latest “good thing” that has happened in our lives. God is calling us to a faith that is based on our reverence and understanding of who He is first and foremost.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

It isn’t logical, it isn’t transactional, it’s supernatural – it requires the inner work of the Holy Spirit to sustain this kind of faith, but it is possible to believe God simply because He is God – even when you’re in the storm. You’ve heard of child like faith – it’s very simple – young children believe even before they’ve seen the evidence. So things might be really challenging and discouraging for you at the moment, be encouraged things will get better. My prayer is that the Lord will enable us to wait upon Him, our hope will not be disappointed!

I Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

May God enable us to be steadfast in our faith and confidence in Him, so that even in the valleys, the fiery furnace, the oppositions our hope will be firmly planted in Him until He comes to our aid in Jesus name amen.

Peace & Love ❤

While I Wait

[Image: Martin Cathrae]

[Image: Martin Cathrae]

 

One thing I think a lot of Christians struggle with is waiting…

 

For some people working in faith, serving in faith, sowing in faith, even being persecuted and still having faith, is not as much of a challenge for them as waiting in faith.

We become uncomfortable, we pray and we don’t hear anything, we fast, we seek counsel, and that feeling of waiting grates on us. We read over the scriptures that are supposed to encourage us, but we use them to fuel our anxiety. If God said I should ask, and I have asked, and He promised I will receive – why am I not receiving?

But a persevering faith is precious and it will only reap reward from Heaven.

When I feel like doubting God, trying to find a compromise to what I am waiting on God for, I hear the Holy Spirit cheering me on, encouraging me. Telling me to keep on waiting, not to relent in waiting, to be hopeful in the character of the Almighty God and confident in His love for me. Don’t stop looking unto God for this, He will do it.

If we are able to persevere in trusting God, even when everything and everyone else is counting the seconds, minutes, hours, days, years. We show God that our faith in Him goes beyond us getting things from Him. Instead we put our faith in God because we believe He is the only Way worth pursuing, the only Truth worth knowing, and the only Life worth living.

 Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

God’s grace is sufficient for us.

Have a wonderful day.

Peace & Love

The Armour of God

seashorePicture this image.

A raucous scene, a battlefield, contention on every side. Bodies throw against one another. Who but who will surrender? Who will stand?

And there in the midst of it all, one stands, a solace surrounding him. In the chaos, the quiet abides with him. Soon they notice, the tranquil site on the battlefield.

He holds a sword, but this will not stop them from tempting him.

I have often imagine myself, in a complete suit of armour, walking slowly along the seashore, the sea air clean and clear, in the shadow of my Father. His peace quietens me, but still I hold in my hand the sword ready to fight.

Simply holding a sword on a battlefield will not fend off opposition, it certainly won’t win the war. And like this man, sword in hand, we cannot simply have the Gospel and persevere. At all times we must use the Gospel, put it to use as shield, armour and weapon.

It is the good fight of faith.

 

1 corinthians 15:1 – 3

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

 

Even in trials and tribulations, may God continue to renew in our hearts, the Good News of the Gospel and a revelation of Himself, that we may continue to stand and persevere in Jesus name amen.

Peace & Love

Peace Series 2 – The Hero Cannot Die

imagesBefore Christ was crucified, he gave his disciples something special:

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Peace is so scarce in this world – it can only offer to its inhabitants temporal and artificial peace. The kind of peace that many seek in relationships, experience artificially through drug abuse, some are so overwhelmed by the struggle to find peace in this world that they decide to take their own lives, whether it be intentionally by suicide or more subtly by various forms of addiction and substance abuse.

It’s unlikely that “world peace” as the pageant girls often add to the end of their speeches will ever be achieved by mankind, especially when most individuals have yet to discover peace: not within themselves, but within Christ. He is the Prince of Peace. Any hope of having peace in this life, can only be realised through Christ.

There are many thought-provoking quotes, which talk about man’s pursuit for happiness, but in actuality, man’s spirit does not desire happiness, man’s spirit desires peace.  If you have peace, you will be happy – sometimes, but being happy doesn’t mean you have peace and having peace doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time.

Even if you accomplish every aspiration, you’re rich, famous, look the way you want, have everyone in the world following you on twitter, all of the above, even when you think – I’m happy – your heart gives that off beat that lets you know your spirit is not, because you don’t have peace.

Christ for instance, endured scrutiny, constant criticism, many times crowds gathered with the intention to stone him and he saw his own crucifixion ahead of him, he wasn’t always happy, yet in Christ there was peace, because he knew there was something greater to look forward to. Beyond this temporal world is – everlasting love, peace and joy in heaven.

Its kinda like when you watch a film, and the hero is hurt and you think 😮 will he make it, but deep down you’re not worried because you know, the hero will not and cannot die. Of course 21st century cinema brought much pessimism and many hero-less films into existence. But life with Christ cannot end with a cliffhanger. 

If  as a Christian you struggle to keep your peace at times, have faith in the God you serve, the God whom if you call, he will answer. Always remind yourself that you are under the covering of the Prince of peace. I leave you with this:

John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you that ye might have peace.

 In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

May Christ’s peace be with you x