Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Little Help from our "Friends"

God often brings us to His throne by challenging us to become more childlike in our faith. He will remind us that we are powerless in our own power. These trials and tribulations are our "friends." Jesus said, In this world we will have tribulation, however be not afraid for I have overcome the world. In Philippians 1:12 the Apostle Paul said,  "Whether I live or die, everything is working out for the furtherance of the Gospel." The Gospel is our testimony ... it is how we respond through the trials of life. According to James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

Jesus and James remind us that when we are patient through trials we will be perfected through the trial. Oswald Chambers said, "Ministry is about creating an environment where the Holy Spirit can come and help himself to our lives." A servant with his own agenda is of no good to God. However, What if God said, "I'll give your wife breast cancer, then a brain tumor, then a cancerous spot in her lung and you won't know where the spot originated?" The journey of life is a journey of unknowns. We don't know the future and we don't know the prognosis and treatments for the problems in our life.  

According to the word, God will teach us what it means to be committed to God and to believe according to His purpose and His provision. Which decision requires the greatest amount of faith?  The things of this world are confusing and contradictory.  When God helps himself to our lives, it's like the quote from the Chronicles of Narnia:  "Aslan the Lion (representing Jesus Christ) is good, but he is not safe." Harm, risk, loss, and danger are part of the reality of life in this earthen vessel. However, Jesus is Lord of our life. It's our Lord's agenda, not ours. God asks, "Can I trust you to look to me to glorify me and to respond as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane: 'not my will but Thine be done?" The world is merciless and will do anything to "have its way with us." The thief cometh not but for to steal, to kill and to destroy.  However Jesus Christ is come that we may have life and have it more abundantly.  The more abundant life is defined by God's terms as we delight ourselves in the Lord. 

God reminds us that all things work together for good, for the furtherance of the gospel, to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. The bigger picture through the trials of life is for His purpose: the furtherance of the gospel. The gospel is our testimony and our witness for Him. Through the trials and the fellowship of His suffering is how we get to know Him intimately. These trials are so that we can get to the end of ourselves, so that we can acknowledge Him and lean not unto our own understanding. God needs to shake us, like he did the apostle Paul, in order to bring us to the next level of fellowship with Him. When God gets us to the point that we have nothing to lose, then God can work within us. At that point we have no selfish motives.  Our safety is not in the security of our own comfort ... the safety is in the midst of the battle leaning on His everlasting arms.  

It does not yet appear what we shall be. The nature of the spiritual life is not the uncertainty of the situation, but rather the certainty that He is leading us ... that He will open and close the doors in front of us ... that He will open the windows of blessing so that the blessings of His glory will flow. This can either be the worst thing that ever happened to us or the greatest moment of our lives. The trials of life do not show how "safe" God is. Rather trials show how loving, great, and glorious our God is.

Romans 8:38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

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