Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You vs. God: the Fight that Doesn't Last Very Long

"...for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.   Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
I Peter 5:5b-7

The most predictable battle ever recorded in the Bible is that of Jacob wrestling with God.  Hmm... a mere man fighting God... I wonder who's going to win!  Why would anyone dare take on the Lord Himself?  Isn't it kind of obvious that He is so much more powerful than we could ever imagine?  Actually, we have no right to point a finger at Jacob, because there are are even more fingers pointing back at us.

God absolutely abhors pride.  It's listed as the first of seven abominations in Proverbs 6:17; it was the cause of Lucifer's fall in Isaiah 14; it was the original sin of man in Genesis 3.  Strife, contention, and rebellion stem from the mother sin of pride.  Is it any wonder that God is sickened with this offense?  With this thought fresh on our mind, is it reasonable to accept that God resists the proud?  It is extremely reasonable!

When experiences come that seem like a direct attack upon us, we often automatically blame them on Satan by using the Scripture three verses ahead: "...because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8b).  Instead of going through this routine every single time, consider this:  Have I acted, spoken, or thought in such a way that God is executing judgement upon my pride?

If there is one thing God has no desire for you to be associated with, it is pride.  He loves you too much to let it slide, because He knows that it slowly leads you into worse atrocities.  Therefore, when we allow pride to creep into our thoughts and behavior, He cannot but resist us.  Willfully rebelling against God is an open invitation for Him to withstand you, and as we discussed in the first paragraph, it's a very predictable fight.

God knows what pride does to people, which is why He goes to war against it.  It caused Lucifer's Rebellion, the Fall of Man, Saul losing the crown, the downfall of Solomon, Haaman's death, and the list goes on and on.  If you are harboring pride or any of its ugly children, please humble yourself!  There is nothing more beautiful than nothing between your soul and the Savior.  Remember, He "giveth grace to the humble" (I Peter 5:5).  Instead of wrestling with God like Jacob, walk with Him in humility.  And when adversarial times do come, you will know that God is for you and not against you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Answer to "Why?"

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

II Corinthians 1:3,4

Some simple questions just don't have simple answers.  "Why?" is one of those questions.  Many a sermon has been devoted to this one word everyone at some point has asked God, and basically all of those sermons come to the same conclusion: we don't know why, but God does and we must simply trust Him.

Although this is 100% true, there is another dimension to the answer to Why? that I stumbled across just today.  It is found in II Corinthians 1:3,4.  Trusting God to work on the supernatural, infinite level is one side of the coin, but there is something you can do on your limited, finite side!

I. "The God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation"  We have no capability to provide ourselves with lasting comfort.  David said, "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4b).  David found his comfort in the leading hand of God in his life, and so did Paul.  If the Lord has led you to this valley, He will surely being you through it.  It would be totally against the nature of your Heavenly Father to drag you into a dark valley and leave you.  In fact, that's completely impossible.  So when you begin to ask "Why?" turn to the Word of God for comfort and you will not be disappointed.

II.  "That we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  Here lies the reason why you go through what you go through:  So you can be a blessing to someone else who will soon go through the same thing!  After you plug into the power source that keeps you going through tough times, show others how to find that same power source!  Comfort them with the same strength and grace that you have found in Christ.

That's the whole purpose of this blog!  I have been at the end of my rope, and I have experienced the God of all comfort lifting me up when I had no more strength left.  I have discovered that His grace really is sufficient, and is made perfect in weakness.  Come to find out, the command "Be strong" is followed quickly by "in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (II Timothy 2:1) and that means I can rely on His strength to make it through any hardship.

I have asked "Why?" and although God doesn't always give me the answer I want right away, He has given me an answer.  Instead of allowing yourself to become impatient, bitter, and angry, concentrate on what you can learn from your circumstances.  When you come across someone who is struggling just like you did, you will be prepared to share your source of strength with them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How to Make the Right Friends

Everyone knows the importance of making the right friends. They can make you or break you; the most influential person in the life of a young person is another young person; never underestimate the power of friends. We've heard all the catchphrases and one-liners there are to know about having the right kind of influences around you. But when it's your first week of college and you're scrambling around for a friend, how do you know who to hang out with and who to leave alone?

#1. Don't be in a hurry. It's easy to spot a popular looking girl and start a conversation with her in the lunch line, hang out that night and become fast friends, only to find out later she has a bad reputation for making it her point to break every rule in the handbook. The solution: Instead of desperately clinging to the first girl or group that appeals to you, stay back and watch for the first few weeks. Don't be antisocial, but don't "commit" to one single group either. The reason you should stand back and watch is because the rebels will always find other rebels, and the ones who actually want to serve God will do the same. Wait until basically all the awkward social categorizing is over, and a godly girl or group of girls will always accept you.

#2. If you want a friend, be a friend. True friendship is more than just, "I need a friend. Will you be my friend? I want a buddy. Will you hang out with me? I want... I need... I... I... Me... Me..." Don't be selfish when looking for someone to befriend. More than you might need someone, someone out there might need you. Look for ways to encourage people, and you will discover that the grateful ones will absorb every bit of it and will encourage you in return.

#3. You don't have to "get rid of" bad friends. If you've made the mistake everyone else has at some point and hastily made a friend that you'd really rather not be hanging all over you, there is hope! You know it's just not Christian to blurt out, "You're rebellious and annoying, please go away." The great thing is, you don't have to! Next time she brings up a "stupid rule" in the handbook, ask her if she's ever thought about why they made that rule and proceed to tell her. When she complains about a project or paper, tell her something that the Lord taught you through studying it yourself. Basically, combat evil with good. Eventually, your bad friends will get rid of you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Coke Lady

It was my first week working at Chick-Fil-A, almost three years ago. A short, stout, elderly lady shuffled in and got in line at the front counter. "Uh oh, look who just walked in," said a fellow workmate. "Who?" I asked. "The coke lady," another workmate whispered. The two of them slowly began occupying themselves with other tasks so I would be the one who would have to help the dreaded customer.

The grumpy old woman ordered a medium coke and I began to fill her cup. She waved her hand and said, "No, get it from this one." She tapped the fountain that was on the complete other side of the counter! "This one tastes better," she finished. I thought to myself, They all come from the same box! But I complied and refilled her cup.

Later on that day I asked a little bit more about "The Coke Lady." Everyone described her as a miserably mean old wretch without a friend in the world. She lived alone and seemed to find her pleasure in giving the younger generation a hard time. She would comment to mothers about their misbehaving children and verbally abuse anyone who sat at "her booth" at Chick-Fil-A.

Curious, I decided to be a friend to her, instead of just a cashier. Over time she warmed up to me, then started sharing a little bit of her life story with me. I learned her name, greeted her with a big smile whenever she came, and started sitting at her booth with her and talking with her about dead-bolt locks, the restaurants in the mall, and the potholes in Oklahoma City roads.

As it turns out, she's not a mean old wretch after all. She's a very sweet lady, if you take the time to invest a little love into her. Many times the reason we have preconceived ideas about people is because we just haven't taken the time to get to know them. If there is someone you totally avoid just because you "get a bad vibe", let it go for five minutes and start a conversation with them! You might be surprised how quick you were to write someone off just because you didn't take the time to be a friend.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How to Stop Discouragement

The whole reason we get discouraged is because we begin feeling sorry for ourselves. It's a normal part of life; Elijah, Moses and David went through seasons of discouragement. However, when we stay discouraged for prolonged periods of time, bad things happen. This is one of Satan's favorite weapons, because he knows that if we continue to wallow in self-pity it will develop into depression, which eventually leads to a defeated Christian life at best, and suicide at worst.

How do we stop from sinking into this easy trap? The answer is found all over the Bible. When did Peter start sinking? When did Elijah ask God to kill him? When did King Saul fall on his own sword? They all took their eyes off of the Lord, and consequently, lost all hope. Everything was fine when they were in touch with God and understood that God had everything under control. It was when they stopped looking straight up and started looking around them that everything fell apart.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Discouragement is easy to fall into because we're selfish and would really like it if the world actually did revolve around us. However, God designed us to rely on Him, not on ourselves, to get through tough times. There is only one way to survive the death of a loved one, a rough summer, a move, or a dissapointing experience without getting bitter at God: stop focusing on your misery and start focusing on how faithful God has always been to you. He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Swidget 1.0

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...