“Be Very Glad”

even-smaller-bug-light1

13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. – 1 Peter 4:13 NLT

Some of us have thought or been taught that once we are saved, life is just sunshine and roses. This can be true for us inwardly because we have the joy of the Lord abiding in us as our strength. But on the outside, satan is still around and sin still abounds, so we are going to have to face some offenses and situations. We should not be surprised when these issues arise.  Instead, we should rejoice in the situation.  Not because of the situation or offense, but because we know that if satan is confronting us with his garbage and lies, we must be messing with his plans. Sometimes it hurts deeply, but warriors on the front lines are the ones who get wounded. Should we complain?  Was Jesus not “wounded for our transgressions”?  Yes, He was and He suffered silently. Is the created better than the Creator? No, we are not.  We should count it a privilege and a joy to participate in the sufferings of Christ.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. — James 1:2, 3 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-20-2018

Pure Joy

even-smaller-bug-light1

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  – James 1:2 NLT​
 


Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV

It is not a sin to wonder or to question “why?”. It is only a sin when we take it to the point of being disobedient. We need to pray for wisdom, but when we pray for wisdom, we need to understand that acquiring wisdom requires experiencing a lot of things and some of them will be painful.

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.–Luke 9:23 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 3-11-2018

Giving Our All to Jesus

even-smaller-bug-light1

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”–John 10:17,18 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our guide, but He will never make us do anything against our own will. We have the power and the authority to make the same decision that Jesus made. We can decide to hold onto our earthly, physical lives if that is what we want or we can decide to put our lives on the cross that Jesus gives us to bear. We will never do this as long as our own pride and other people’s opinions of us are more important than pleasing God. There is one funeral that we all need to attend and that is the death and burial of our fleshly desires. Anything that we put above our love and obedience for God has to be removed. It is a decision that Jesus had to make and so must we. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ended His prayer with “not My will but thine be done”. So should our prayer be as well.
44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.–Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)
Are we ready to commit our whole lives, mind, soul, body, and spirit into the hands of God? The way of the cross leads home, but we have to go through the cross, the blood and the darkness to get there.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 01-08-2018

Don’t Worry! Be Joyful!

even-smaller-bug-light1

When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. –John 14:3
 
​​We have a place that has been prepared for us by God Himself.. One day, Jesus will return and take us there to live with Him for eternity. Paul said that if Christians had hope only for this life and not for eternity, we should be pitied..
19 If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.—1 Cor. 15:19 (NCV)
But because we have placed our faith in God and, in God alone, we can be assured of life eternal. We can know the way by accepting Jesus and being led by the Holy
Spirit. We are guaranteed that this promise will be kept. Because God has deposited the Holy Spirit in our hearts and He abides there to lead us.

21 Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. 22 He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.—2 Cor. 1:21,22 (NCV)
If we truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible and that Jesus is the truth, we have no reason to fear or dread anything that man can do to us. Jesus gave us a gift of His peace, not like the world’s peace that means no storms will ever come our way. His peace keeps us calm in the storm because we believe He is in perfect control of every situation.
10 God says, “Be still and know that I am God…”–Psalm 46:10a (NCV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 11-02-2017

Joyfully, Joyfully, We Serve You

even-smaller-bug-light1

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing,
— Phil. 2:14 NLT

Joy is contagious and it attracts other people to us when we are joyful. No one wants to spend all day, every day, with a complainer. So, if we want to attract others to Jesus, we should serve with a heart full of joy. That joy should be as pure as the joy of a small child. It should have no pretense, people can easily see through that. We want to be bright lights leading others to Jesus. We should be the kind of lights that cause as much excitement and joy as a lighthouse on a shore that is being beaten by crashing sea waves causes when it is seen by the lookout on a ship. Our lights should warn people of the dangers of sin just as surely as the lighthouse warns sailors of the danger of rocks. Keep your lights trimmed and burning bright by studying and meditating on God’s Word daily. Spend time each day with just you and Jesus.

Matt. 5:14-16 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-25-2017

Joy Unspeakable

even-smaller-bug-light1

7  And though you started with little,  you will end with much.. Job 8:7 NLT
Bildad also wrongly assumes that Job has committed some transgression and God is disciplining Job for  that sin.  But Bildad is correct in the statement that he makes.  “But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home”.  And his statement in verse 7 above turns out to be a prophecy for Job.  Job definitely ends up with twice as much as he had in the beginning.  If we faithfully persevere in the times of testing, we will be blessed here on earth.  The greatest of these blessings is not material possessions or anything that money can buy.  It is the peace and the joy that comes from knowing that we are pleasing our heavenly Father. From my own personal experience, I can testify that there is a peace that each of us can access that is different from what the world knows as peace. It is a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds.  It is a peace that keeps from thinking those thoughts that satan would use to destroy us. It is a peace that assures us that we are not alone now and we will never be alone.  Although the peace you have now may be little, focus on Jesus and you will have abundant peace and joy that is truly unspeakable.
Post 06-23-2016

We Are Never Alone

even-smaller-bug-light

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

We are so blessed to live in a country where we can still worship as we are led by the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to be concerned about being persecuted for our beliefs.  We try to avoid those situations where witnessing for Jesus might embarrass us much less those where we might be physically abused.  But, we are living in an age right now where Christians are being beaten and imprisoned for their loyalty and obedience to Jesus.  We need to prepare ourselves for those times even here in our own country.  Our Savior and Lord, the prophets, the apostles and all of those that have gone before us suffered very much. We are not better than our Creator, so we should expect to suffer as well. There are over one-hundred scriptures in the Bible that speak about rejoicing in the sufferings.  We are to “count it all joy”. 

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. — James 1:2-4 NKJV

Will it be easy to suffer for Jesus?  No, but God does send His angels to strengthen us, just as He did for His Son.

42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.– Luke 22:42, 43 NIV

Post 09-0402015