Dear Church, I know you are tired

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.

(Gal. 5:17)

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.

Therefore choose life,

that you and your offspring may live,

(Deut 30:19)

Life, Wonder and the Gospel

Have you ever wondered if God even noticed you? Those times when the valley seems so deep that you feel like the Psalmist in part when he wrote “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” but you don’t feel the second part, “I will fear no evil for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4). Those times when life seems to be unraveling. Well, 2014 felt like of year of that for me.

I will not bore you with the detail, for many of you know them in part but not the whole and for now part is enough. Just to put it plainly, I was confused on LIFE and God or God and LIFE or me and LIFE. Life was moving fast, uncontrollable events were happening and somewhere deep within me I knew God was with me but thought I might be included in the last part of Hebrews 11 (Heb 11:36-40).

Today, I stand in WONDER of what God was doing in so many areas in tough times. I still have many areas of uncertainty but the wonder of God has been in high display as I see answers to many prayers that He was working in before I even prayed or saw the need. I am reminded of Job (though I am no Job in either godliness or loss) when God said, “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14).

The GOSPEL has been revealed to me as something bigger than salvation; however, it is salvation. In the Gospel, God draws me to come to Jesus. He draws me to eternal salvation, but more. I dare not add to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but now I see it in it whole form. The Gospel is my salvation. The Gospel is my deliverance. The Gospel is my restoration. The Gospel is my healing. The Gospel is my freedom. The Gospel is my life. All areas must come to Jesus and come under Jesus. I have been saved eternally. I am being saved in the midst of life. I will be saved to eternal glory.

LIFE – I don’t know what your life holds right now, but I know it is real. Probably no one knows your life in whole but only in part except for Jesus. He knows the whole – past, present and future. It’s real and He knows.

WONDER – God is the God of wonder. He is so much bigger than LIFE and sees it beginning, middle and end. Sometimes you will have to look at creation to remember this, for there will be times when He don’t feel close or caring or concerned. He is able and He cares.

GOSPEL – God continues to draw everything in your life to the Gospel – to the Good New of Jesus. Jesus is the deliver, restorer, redeemer and fulfillment and He is ready. I believe Jesus shared his mission statement in a clear and concise form in Luke.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:18-19

LIFE, WONDER, GOSPEL

When You Just Feel Crappy, 50@50, Lesson 11

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Life Lesson 11

Perspective, I need perspective. 

Some days you wake up and you are not sick, but you just feel crappy. It’s those days when you can’t find your keys, your wallet, you cut yourself shaving, your clothes are too tight, you feel like you have been drunk for a week and someone hid everything from you. You don’t need some medicine to take because that will not make you better. You do not need someone telling you how forgetful you are because you already know that. You know you have Jesus and that’s good but at the moment doesn’t change things. You are ill (bad attitude, not sick) for no reason and now you have made everyone ill (bad attitude, not sickness) around you.

Nice start to the day isn’t it. I know I might be the only person that ever has those days but this will help you understand those around you who do. What it takes to help on those days is PERSPECTIVE. This now will turn into a “Jesus Juke” of sorts.

Perspective

true understanding of the relative importance of things;

I have clean water.

I woke up in a nice bed.

I have toothpaste.

I have food.

I have coffee.

I have health.

I have a home.

I have a car.

I have a wife.

I have kids.

I have a job.

I have friends.

I even have a dog (no cats please).

I have so much.

The Spiritual

I have salvation.

I have Jesus.

I have the Holy Spirit.

I have God’s love.

I have God’s loyalty.

I have a Bible.

I have a church family.

I have eternity.

I start the day with more than most of the world.

When I feel crappy,

I need perspective. 

Don’t Dodge Difficulty

Our human nature usually confronts difficulty with fight or flight. We either fight against it or we seek to find a flight away from it. It is the courage and strength to go through affliction and difficulty looking to Jesus for His work and wisdom that give the best result. George MacDonald wrote, “No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in the wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. The greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers have all passed through the fire.” Lee Strobel put it well, “We decide whether suffering in this life will harden us or soften us”.

Don’t dodge the difficulty. It might be the fire that makes you workable in the hands of God. The same sun that harden the dirt softens the sap of a tree. Will you allow the heat of difficulty to harden you or soften you?

After Job had experienced difficulty and affliction greater than most of us ever will said, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” Job 42:5