Thursday, March 30, 2017

To Whom Do You Turn To?

Psalm 119:28  "My soul is weary with sorrow;    strengthen me according to your word."

James 1:12  "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

James 5:10- 11  " Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

          Some days it can feel like a 'hard knocks' life.  Life is not heaven on earth, nor was it meant to be after the fall of man.  Adam and Eve brought us all into the sin nature and it's consequences.  We are given trials to show us our need for God and reveal our dependence on Him.  We are sustained by His grace, not by anything we do.  “All people are like grass,   and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.
       And yet, there are false teachers who proclaim a 'prosperity gospel' that says believers are to use God for their purposes, whereas the Truth is God uses the believer for His purposes.  "Prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God's will."  Wealth and idolatry are warned against many times throughout the Bible. Judas was the only disciple concerned with wealth and obviously it led it to his downfall.  According to prosperity theology, "faith is a formula by which we manipulate the spiritual laws that govern the universe. This movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts."  "The irreconcilable contradictions between prosperity teaching and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is best summed up in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:24,  “You cannot serve both God and money.
           Of course, life has many other kinds of trials that challenge us that require more than wealth to sustain us.  “How can we not only learn to cope with the fears and struggles and growing limitations we face but also actually grow stronger inwardly in the midst of these difficulties?"  We need hope, joy, comfort, forgiveness and direction to deal with our daily life and it's challenges.  Where do we find that kind of Grace?  In God and His Word!  God didn't give us a 'roses without thorns' kind of life.  When we turn to Him with our burdens, we can see past ourselves and possibly see a broader perspective.  We may have to suffer in this life for the greater good, maybe for the sake of our own life or for the sake of others.   We must trust God in all things.  He gives and takes away, will your heart choose to say 'blessed be His name'?  We can't dwell on what we feel we are missing, but focus on the many, many blessings we still have.  
         As for my own life, I look at pictures of myself when I was young and thank God He saved me at a young age.  How could that young girl have faced it all alone?  The trials of my life, both self-inflicted and those that just came as part of life, could have made me bitter, not better. God's promises and statutes have given me strength, courage and hope.  I could have lived in fear with every surgery or limitation I faced, but instead I've lived with assurance that God is with me and will never forsake me.  I've found myself assuring others that whatever happens 'it WILL be okay' and with 45.5 years into this life so far--it is still true.