Tension is part of our life. Tension if not confronted and dealt with will wear your out. If you are a believer, you have tension between right and wrong, good and bad. If you are a believer, you have tension between the flesh and the Spirit.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,
for these are opposed to each other,
to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Let’s look at the life of Job. in the first couple of chapters, he loses his wealth, his children and his health.
His wife’s advice: “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (2:9)
Job’s lament: ”After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.” (3:1)
What I find interesting is the word “hope” is used 19 times in 18 verses. Hope is used in both a positive sense and also in a sort of mocking sort of way.
The tension of Job’s life is between
hope and surrender –
belief and doubt –
staying and leaving –
trust and anger –
truth and feelings –
living and dying.
Hope & Surrender
Hope – patient endurance with great expectation.
Surrender – declaring defeat
Belief & Doubt
Belief – holding on to faith.
Doubt – second guessing everything.
Staying & Leaving
Staying – remaining spiritually grounded.
Leaving – looking for something else.
Trust & Anger
Trust – resting in God’s hand.
Anger – running from God’s presence.
Truth & Feelings
Truth – what has God promised?
Feelings – emotional responses.
Living & Dying
Living – continuing to get up everyday and being who and where God wants you to be.
Dying – removing yourself from God’s purpose.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.
It is the crucible (you should look at that definition and the next) of affliction where our faith, love and hope in Jesus is revealed. It is easier to abandon than commit, leave than stay, judge than love when the crucible of affliction is present in your heart, mind, body and soul. God is a redeemer of people and He often has to take us to the furnace before He takes us through refining.
So today, for the love of Jesus, commit, stay, love because of your faith, love and hope in Jesus. I know it is hard on some of you right now, but know that God is at work even when you cannot see Him. Trust His heart when you cannot see His hand. Be encourage God ain’t finished!
I write this for my own therapy and maybe it will help you too.
The last few days have proven especially tough for many people. Contemplating the tragic loss of a young man has not been easy. It has not been easy for family, friends or mere outsiders. I have come the conclusion that so often I do not understand God. I do not understand His ways. I do not understand how He can take something so tragic and work it for good (Rom. 8:28). Why does an 18 year old boy who loves Jesus and serves Jesus have to exit so soon? How is that better?
Life does not quit. Life never seems to say enough. God will allow more on you than you can bear. He will let life get really hard and sometimes it seems to catch it’s second wind when you are totally exhausted.
So, what now? I have found comfort only in Jesus. We are not as those without hope (1 Thess 4:13). We can trust Jesus! Jesus will be the way we all make it through this tragic moment! Jesus will be the way we don’t fall under the weight of it all! Jesus is sufficiency! Jesus understands!
Pray not for explanation but for revelation. We need to see Jesus more than we need to know why!
Nathan had this verse on his Instagram description and are words we can live by!
This morning God led me to 1 Thessalonians to begin a new personal time with the Lord. Paul’s letters to Thessalonica were very encouraging to the local church then and great guidance for us today. I believe God clearly gave three significant indicators of living God’s will. Look at this verse.
“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. “ (1 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV84)
Work produced by faith.
Labor prompted by love.
Endurance inspired by hope.
The Spirit then brought to my remembrance
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV84)
Consider this today and your life. Are these three indicator’s your life and legacy?
We all have someone that we really want to encourage when they are going through a tough time. Trying to find the right words to say seems to sometimes be the most impossible thing to find. It is like trying to make a sentence out of alphabet soup. The letters are always moving. I know so many people right now that I do not know what to say. The cliches that I have often used, “It will be okay.” “God will work it out.” “This too shall pass.” “You grow in the valley.” (ha) “We live in the valley.” “Roots grow deeper during a drought.” all seem empty. Here is the truth and sometimes the truth is not what we want to hear.
Sometimes there is no making sense of it. There is no understanding it. There is no way to change it. It is what it is.
But then what? There is no hope in that. For the person that does not believe in Jesus, I cannot help. For the believer here is what I have to give.
We don’t live as those without hope.
Jesus really does love you.
Jesus is sufficient in our weakness.
Joy trust God even when the circumstances don’t change.
Realize when you are confused Jesus isn’t.
Heaven is real and life is a vapor.
Hold on to Jesus and there will be times when you have to hold on so tight that your knuckles will turn white.
Don’t judge the world through the lens of your suffering but through the lens of God’s love.
Do you remember your life Before Christ (BC)? “Remember” not in a way that you try to recall something forgotten, but that you recall from your memory. It seems to me that most of us have forgotten our life BC, or what we remember is not the whole story. Most of us remember BC we were good people with a good work ethic and tried to be a good citizen. So, our life BC was pretty good; however, that does not align with Scripture. Scripture indicates we were “in the flesh…separated…alienated…strangers…without hope…without God”. It could be that we don’t remember what we were saved from so we lack passion in what we have been saved to.
Have you been praying for something that just has not happened yet? Is there something you have been waiting on for quite some time? Is there something you have just quit asking for? Have you give up? You believed at first things could be different but that has long passed. You tried to keep the faith, as some would say, it you have just grown weary. You have quit trying because it seems to always end in futility. So, you are tired of waiting and are ready to give up! Take a minute to read these few verses.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. (John 5:2-9)
I think on the first day someone believed this man would be healed. I believe on the 7th days someone thought he would be made complete. I believe someone somewhere was praying. I believe people came and went. People had hope and gave up. This man had a place, a place that revealed he had been here a long time – too long. He had given up the thought of walking but still wanted to walk.
I don’t know how long you have been waiting. I don’t know how many people have came and went. I don’t know many people have come along your side with great hope and left in disappointment. I don’t know if Jesus will “fix” your situation, but I know he has in the past. I know he can. I don’t know if he will. But one thing I do know, it is still worth hope. It is still worth prayer. It ain’t dead until God kills it. Stay strong and continue on.