Posts Tagged ‘ Hard Knocks ’

VerseD: Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13, NASB

When life gets hard and uncertain, look for God, how He is moving and acting in every situation. He is there. You will find Him if you search in earnest.

The Hard Knocks Life: Choosing Trouble

Choose to find some wisdom through the commentary over at Proverbial Thought.

We have been looking at why we may experience difficulty in this life. Last week I discussed how God puts us through things in life and even allows our horrors to persist for a time so that we may show His mercy, compassion, and love to others going through similar circumstances. Two weeks ago I started off with describing how a life following God can bring troubles, through persecution or, like last week’s post said, circumstances to grow our faith and understanding.

This little post is about when we bring about our own troubles. It really is quite simple.

Each moment of each day we have a choice. It is basically the same choice offered to the Israelites after taking the promised land.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15, NIV

More Simple Than We Think

Here is how simple it is:

Every morning we are faced with a decision. Every time we have to make a choice, we have two options (though those two options may have multiple choices, as well).

Do I serve God or my own selfish desires?

Do I act in love or for personal comfort and gain?

It is our own selfish choices that lead to fights and arguments.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to loss and confusion.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to pain and difficulty.

It is our own selfish choices that lead to sin and death.

Yet even these God can use for His glory and redeem for good, when we choose Him daily.

Ask any (ex-)con, any thief, any adulterer, any violent or gossiping or lying person who has been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and they will tell you the same.

This is not that all our troubles simply go away. Many times, we must still live with the consequences of our decisions.

We may not get our money returned to us.

We may not get our health returned to us.

We may not see justice served (at least, not they way we expect).

Though we can find peace.

We can learn to love.

We can become wise and compassionate.

We may even see our lives restored to greater than they were.

It will certainly be greater in the next life, which is what we earn through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After all, it was all of the selfish choices of each and every person who ever lived who put Jesus on the cross.

It was also shows that God chose to go to the cross for us.

Then Holy Spirit empowers us with strength, faith, wisdom, and grace to change, to choose God.

Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve: God or your own selfish desires.

The Hard Knocks Life: Cursed to Bless

When life is hard, wisdom can be found to help at Proverbial Thought!

Last week I began a discussion on why our lives may be hard. I started with God leading to our difficulties for the purpose of strengthening our faith and preparing us for holiness.

As I said, it had to come first, no matter how much I wanted to build up to it, because God is always involved in some way with whatever is happening in our lives.

Now, before I hear any complaints or accusations about God causing our problems, hear me out.

Living with pain

3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

. . .

13 When they [the Sanhedrin] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Acts 3:1-10, 4:13-22

Here is a man who was born without the use of his legs. I am sure many people told his parents it was because of some sin in their lives. I am sure many people told this man that he remained crippled due to some unconfessed sin. I am sure many people questioned God’s goodness.

Yet, what do we see here?

This man was used to bring glory to God.

By his healing, many believed in Jesus as Savior and God.

Useful?

So many people grow up in and live through horrible circumstances.

Some grow up in poverty, barely living a life as they wonder if they will eat today.

Some grow up being abused by a parent or both parents, other relatives, friends, or some authority figure(s).

Some get into an abusive relationship with another person.

Some are hit unexpectedly with an illness or injury that turns their lives upside down (See Matthew 9, Mark 5, Luke 8).

Some are hit with financial calamity.

Most who go through these ask a question something like this: “Am I good for anything?”

God says “Yes!”

God is in the redemption business. He can even redeem your pain, confusion, and loss.

God may not have been the primary cause of your circumstances, as was discussed last week, but in any event He is in control.

While that may sound like God is an evil tyrant, the truth is that He works with sinful man’s actions and orchestrates them out to His glory.

Are you useful?

For starters, you can appreciate God’s love, mercy, and grace in ways many other people miss or can not.

Secondly, you may be able to help others going through similar circumstances.

No two circumstances are identical. There will always be differences, whether great or small. However, the great connection found through the similarities offers a closeness and ability to help that few others may ever find.

Lastly, you bring glory to God!

When you believe Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord and live a life dedicated to serving Him, you bring glory to God.

When you ease the suffering of another human being, you bring glory to God.

When you help lead another person to belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you bring glory to God.

God redeems your life to use you for His glory.

Your life may be hard, but it helps you appreciate God and love Him more.

Your life may be filled with pain, but it gives you the gift of being able to help others.

Your life may not be what you would have wished, but God will be glorified through your life.

That is the highest calling one can receive. It is the greatest gift one can be given.

As Paul instructed in Ephesians 5:20, we should be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” While it may hurt, cause discomfort, or create a living hell out of your life, God can use it for good.

Does God want you to suffer?

No. He does permit it, though, because He can see the bigger picture.

He wants you to spend eternity with Him. Sometimes, we have to go through pain to get there. (Like facing the needles to get antibiotics that can save your life.)