Rethinking Hardships

January 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

Difficult times come into everyone’s lives. Incomes drop, jobs are lost, loved ones die too young, health issues, relationship struggles. We all face some difficult situation that drives us to our knees. Some of us are blessed with hardships. It seems like we are similar to Job. One difficulty or trial comes after another, like labor pains when we are about ready to push. There is no time between hardships as they crash against our souls. Some of us have smoother roads with hardships scattered between like valleys and canyons between mountaintop victories.

No matter how or when they come, we have decide our reaction to these times. How are we going to think about the difficult business situation or the new diagnosis or the loss of a child? Are we going to shake our fist at God? Spewing hate and demanding that we deserve better? Are we going to blame someone, something? Finding a scape goat for the pain we are enduring? Are we going to carry around guilt and blame ourselves? Our choices have contributed to the hardship so are we going to walk the road of self-condemnation?

God’s word tells us the truth about these times. No matter how they come to us. He tells us in Hebrews 12:7, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?”

Don’t take this wrong. Discipline can mean punishment, but it also means training. Yes, God allows hardships in our lives to discipline us for the wrongs we have done. Oh, but His discipline isn’t like our imperfect discipline. He doesn’t almost blow His top and then start screaming, “Off with their heads,” as I am apt to do. However, He also allows hardships to train us.

Hebrews 12:9-11 says, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

So the hardships that we face in our lives are training us. In fact God says that He disciplines us so that “we may share in His holiness.” God is more interested in us being holy than happy.

How does knowing this change how I see hardships? I am going to view hardships as training. They are not fun times, they are not easy times, but they are training moments. God is teaching me to rely on Him, to give grace, that I need grace. He is purifying my life so I am more like Him. He is showing me the ugliness still in my heart. He is training me. I just need a willing heart to learn His lesson.

Currently God is teaching me His sovereignty through some hard times. He is in charge of it all even when it seems chaotic. He uses our sin, others sin, our wise choices, our poor choices, everything to accomplish His perfect plan. He won’t hesitate to use a severe mercy to shake us out of ourselves so that we can say no to self and yes to Him. I am humbled by His sovereignty.

What lesson or lessons has God been teaching you through hardships? I would love to hear from you.

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Clear Minded…

October 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

The canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke &...

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You know how God has a way of using your words against you? My last post was on being clear minded…Well, I have been anything BUT clear minded lately. Let me give you an example…

Fall is the time I LOVE to burn candles. I don’t know why, but I do. So I lit several candles around my house this past weekend. In my haste to put them out, on two different occasions, I poured wax on myself and the surrounding area. UGH! The bottom line, if I had been thinking clearly, I never would have spilled wax every where. FYI, it was the cool burning wax so I managed to come away without third degree burns. Thank You God!

Why was I so distracted? Because I had not been spending my mornings with my Lord. Yes, I read my Bible every day this weekend, but not until the evening. All day long I ran on empty, attempting to fill my children, my husband, my friends with something I hadn’t filled up on myself. While on empty myself, everything distracted me; from my e-mail, to my wild children, to my messy house, to when my team was playing football next. I was unable to pray effectively and I was unable to get anything done. Seriously, my house remained a disaster. I cannot account for much of the time I spent in front of my computer yesterday because I didn’t get any work done. I was running in circles, on empty, completely distracted. UGH! Not the way, I want to spend my weekend.

Joshua 1:8 tells us to “..meditate on it [Book of the Law] day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything that is written in it…”

Day and night. Morning and evening. So I am dedicating myself to waking early every morning to spend time in God’s word. Not only that, but to spend time before I go to bed in His word as well. Who wants to join me? I will be including how I am doing on the morning/evening routine in each of my posts from here on out. Let’s pray each other through this challenge. So that we can be clear minded and so that as Joshua 1:8 concludes, “…then you will make your way prosperous and then you will find success.”

Father God, forgive us for ignoring Your Word and thus ignoring You. Help us to wake early each day to spend time with You. Help us to get to bed a bit early so we can spend time with You then as well. Keep us clear minded so we can pray and do what You have for us to do throughout the day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Healthy Fear…

August 24, 2010 § 1 Comment

I have mentioned in the past that I have been writing things down for YEARS. In fact I have some thing I wrote in grade school squirreled away in a notebook. For grins I started reading some of the things I wrote back when. Unfortunately I rarely wrote a date on things. However the fact that I have not only a pencil and paper version, but also a dot-matrix printed version of this article, dates it to high school or early college. I will attempt to edit it some, but for the most part this is exactly what I wrote.

Remember how scared you were of your dad when you were little? Let’s face it, he could spank harder than mom and he was BIG!!! The thing was that the fear you had for your father never stopped him from loving you nor you from loving him. He was the guy that showed you how to play basketball or softball, who would read you bedtime stories, and who would give you a hug and a kiss before he tucked you into bed. He often frightened away the monsters in your dreams. He was wonderfully scary. You respected him because you understood that when you did something wrong he would spank you. At the same time you knew he loved you and would never let you down. So why do we often forget that fear is part of the whole father package? Look at how we as Christians treat God. We are often lackadaisical towards sin and how we treat Him. Sometimes we forget that God can spank harder than even our dads and that He is MUCH, MUCH bigger than our dads ever could have been. So why should we are about fearing God? God is the author and pure picture of love. Without God there would be no you or me. Nothingness would reign. We forget that God gives us air to breathe, families, and friends to love and most importantly His son to die for our sins. God not only loves, He also disciplines. God is perfect and holy and He is not beyond disciplining His children. Since God has everything under His control His discipline can hurt much more and cut much deeper than our own earthly father’s spankings. So in fear of God lies complete love and trust. Without the fear of God no one can get to know God. You must come to Him in fear and trembling!! Understanding why you should fear God brings you one step closer to knowing and understanding Him. If we fear our earthly fathers, how much more should we fear God, our Father, the Father of the universe?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

So I ask you, do you have a healthy fear of God?

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