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Archive for the ‘It's Not Easy’ Category

He’s Always There

I know Jen sorta covered this earlier, but it goes with what I’m saying. Here’s the deal, it’s not easy following God, but you know what, we don’t ever have to face life alone. Why? Because God is always there, He’s always with us. We can face anything because God is by our side.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

even when it feels like you’re the only one, even when it seems as if no one else understands you, God does. God understands you, and God knows the pain you feel. Because you know what, God can relate to anything you go through, because Jesus came and lived as a man. But more than that, God will carry you through the hard times. That’s not to say it won’t still be hard. But He’s there for you.

for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)

Finally I want to leave you with this story by Mary Stevenson, it’s one of my favorites.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

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Sheep Among Wolves

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.-Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

I love this verse. Why do I love this verse? Well, first of all it covers that promise of persecution, but also it gives us instructions for dealing with those tough situations.The first instruction that Jesus gives here is, “be wise as serpents.” Knowledge. Knowledge is the key to almost everything, and is certainly important when fighting a battle. I think though, that Jesus isn’t telling us to have a general knowledge on everything. Instead I believe He means a very specific knowledge. Particularly a knowledge of the Scriptures. When Jesus spent forty days out in the desert He used Scripture to combat temptation. So guys, guess what! (and I KNOW that if you’ve grown up in church you’ve heard this a ton, but I’m going to say it anyways cause it’s true.) Memorizing Scripture is important. But more than that. knowing and understanding what the text says so that when someone comes along spouting heresies you know what the Bible really says.

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
-Psalm 199:11 (ESV)

The second instrusction given in Matthew 10:16 is to be “innocent as doves.” This one may seem a bit harder to figure out, but it isn’t really. If you have ever read the the requirements given for Elder in 1 Timothy and Titus you’ll notice that both passages call for Elders (Overseers in the ESV) to be “beyond reproach.” I have also heard it a “men of good repute.” What does this mean? It means that our church leaders should be men who have good standing in not only the church but also in  the community. In the same way we should strive for a good reputation. WWhy? So that our witness will have meaning. So that your testimony will not be discounted. This may sound difficult, but you know what, very often ifyou are doing God’s work, you will probably have a good reputation in the community as well. Not always mind you, but often.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. -Proverbs 20:1 (ESV)

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. -Ecclesiastes 7:1 (ESV)

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In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. -1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)

Yesterday I told you that Jesus promises us persecution. He does, but now I have something on the encouragement side of things. No matter how long that persecution lasts, no matter how long we live in this sinful world, it’s still only a little while. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that 20, 30, 40, 50 years is a really long time. I have news for ya, it’s not long at all. We may think that it’s a long time, but to God, it’s nothing. Compared to eternity, my life here on earth doesn’t last long enough to even register as a blip on the screen. I could live for two hundred years and it would still be only a little while. There’s an example my mom found one day that I really like. The neat thing about this example is that it is actually based off of the theory of evolution, but it still works for this. Imagine a very long wall. Now suppose that the eras of every single living creature were displayed on the wall. The section representing humanity would ve only as wide as a single hair. And that’s for ALL of humanity. So even evolution says we’re only here for a short while! A lifetime may seem like forever to you right now, but gues what! We have an eternity with Jesus to look forward to! What are a few decades compared to forever?

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. -John 14:2-3 (ESV)

On the one hand I want you to see that the persecutions you face here on earth will only last for a little while. But there is something wlse I would like you to take away from this post. Yes, we are only here for a short time. Because of this I encourage you to make the most of it. And by this I mean that we should all take every chance we have to show God’s love to the world. Because you know what guys and girls? There is a lost and dying world out there, and we don’t know what tomorrow will hold. So take every oppotunity you are given to tell someone that God loves them ,either in word or deed, and hopefully both. Cause you know what, the people you see today may not be here tomorrow. YOU may not be here tomorrow. SO take ever chance you’re given and let His word and His love shine forth.

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Persecution- Garunteed

There is a myth, or an urban legend, that flies around the US. It’s called the”American Dream.” The “American Dream” tells us that we should always have it easy, that we are entitled to a good job, nice car, big house, loving family, and the works. There are those who want to apply the “Dream” to Christian life. After all, if the aethist across the street is entitled to comfort, shouldn’t the “good” Christian be more so? The answer is no. Christ never promises us that it will be easy. In fact, He gives us a very different promise. Jesus promises us that we WILL be persecuted.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.-John15:18-20 (ESV)

We WILL face persecution, as a Church, as a congregation, as individuals. (Note: I am using Church here to refer to the international body of believers and congregation to refer to the local body.) The form that persecution may take will vary from person to person. Some will give their lives for their faith, just as many have already down. Others may live long lives but face financial trouble, harassment, condescension and various “minor” forms of persecution. We may not have our lives threatened, but our faith could cause us to lose friends or be at odds with teachers, co-workers, employers, neighbors and family members. No matter what form persecution takes in your life, take comfort in this. The worst thing that anyone can do to you is kill you. Now, you are probably looking at your computer screen wondering how I can think that the idea of someone killing you (or me) is comforting. Well, because if someone walks up to me tomorrow and kills me for being a Christian, then they are sending me to be with the Father.

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
-1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 (ESV)

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
-Psalm 118:6 (ESV)

The worst thing that someone can do to me is send me to be with my heavenly Father. What then do I have to fear?

There is another verse that gives me comfort. John 16:33 (ESV) says:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

It doesn’t matter what happens on this earth. Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord has overcome this world and because He has, I have a place by His side.

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