Welcomed Annoyances
July 27, 2017, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations:” (James 1:2). So, are you facing a difficult time in your life right now? Have your best plans failed and now you don’t know what to do? Ready to give up? The word of instruction from God through James is difficult but essential when our lives seem crowded with trials, tests, temptations-COUNT IT ALL JOY! Instead of resenting them as intruders and annoyances see them as blessings from God. Welcome them as gifts being sent from God in His process of transforming us into Christ-likeness. So now that you have read this truth, what is your choice- obey and count the bad things in your life as joy because God is using it for His plan for you, or rebel and keep stressing and trying to control your life according to your plan.


Bringing the Church Back Together
April 9, 2017, 12:24 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , ,

First John is the heartfelt writings of a man who sought to please God in all He did. Although at one time, this son of thunder, called upon Christ to bring fire down upon a group of people who didn’t receive Jesus he would have his life changed. Instead of speaking in anger, the Holy Spirit who was working in him transform him into Christ-likeness, and by the time of the epistle, he was known as the Apostle of love. His heart ached for his people to have the relationship with God that was a part of His plan. John writes to guide his people toward this relationship that brings joy and fulfillment. As a result, John write to encourage young Christians not to give up and become mediocre. Here are the four reasons for John writes the epistle:
I John 1:4- “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
I John 2:1- “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.”
I John 2:26- “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.”
I John 5:13- “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.”
In our world today, we have a tremendous problem with the “unchurched” or “de-churched”. Two thousand years ago, John the beloved apostle wrote to people who were facing the same problem. Seemingly, there were those within the church that struggled with sin, which hindered the Holy Spirit’s control in their life, robbing them of joy. In their desire to be happy in the midst of their persecution, the turned to false teachers who misled them as they pointed them in the wrong direction. John writes to remind these believers to focus on Jesus, the Son of God, and to realize that it was in Him and Him alone that they were given the gift of eternal life. This personal relationship with God, when cultivated and developed produces true faith, godly ethics, and a passionate love for our God and for His people.

A Strange Reason to Rejoice
August 20, 2016, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , ,

jump for joy

I Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

Doesn’t is seem a little strange to read a passage of Scripture that talks about rejoicing during trials?  Okay, I know that this is a message found several times in the Bible, but really when things are going great it is easy to rejoice but how about when life is falling apart?  For me, it is abnormal to my nature to rejoice when everything is goings in ways that I consider bad.  Guess what, this passage is even stranger that our first glance suggests.  Let’s look at the verse.  First look at “greatly rejoice”.  It comes from a Greek word, which is written in the present tense here and occurs 11 times in the New Testament, with three of those times in I Peter.  The correct translation would be something like “always jump for joy”.

I guess this leads to the question we are to ask “WHY?” especially considering some of the up and down experience that are a part of each person’s life.  Peter tells us in the verses at least three reasons we can jump for joy.  First, our experiences in this life are temporary.  Notice “though now for a SEASON”.  The things we deal with are limited, especially with eternity in view.  They are not permanent conditions.  They had a beginning and they will have an end.  Here’s the great news:  God is already at the end, just like He was at the beginning.  Nothing catches Him by surprise and nothing is out of His control.

Second, notice the phrase “if need be”.  There is a purpose in why we go through these experience.  We need them.  Perhaps John Piper has it right when he observed “this is God’s universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.”   Paul talked about knowing the “fellowship of His sufferings.   Charles Swindoll concluded “the path of obedience is often marked by times of suffering and loss.”  Peter knew first hand that when we go through things in life, we can be emptied of self-reliance and able to be filled with God and His strength.  Remember the encouragement to be filled (controlled) with (by) the Holy Spirit.  He is our strength but we can also respond to life in a Christ-like way when we have the Fruit of the Spirit.

Third, perhaps the greatest purpose is “that the trial of your faith . . . might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.  As Elisabeth Elliot observed, “we want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others”  That is a life that brings praise, honor, and glory to Jesus.  Joni Eareckson Tada, who knows something about being emptied of self through the event of life observed “the greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God.”

So, here is my final thought about these verses.  The word “heaviness” signifies physical or emotional pain or distress that brings extreme sadness into my life.  When Jesus questioned Peter about whether he truly loved Him after his three denials, Peter was grieved (the same Greek word).  He was heavy through the experience of his failure.  When Jesus experienced Gethsemane, a form of the same word, it demonstrates that human life is full of painful experiences.  Yet in both of these we see that sweetest victories came in the midst of great sufferings.  The distress comes in many various forms, some of which show the reality of our relationship with Christ.

How about you?  In the midst of your life today, what experiences are you facing?  Jump for joy because God is using them to show the reality of your relationship with Him and transforming you to be like Christ!  What you really believe is what you live.  What does your life say you believe?  Jump for joy!  God’s got this!