Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Life is Hard

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I guess this is kind of a book review.  I had mixed emotions about this book.  Especially at the beginning it appears that Mr. MacDonald believes that hard times are discipline from God.  I agree this may sometimes be the case.  I agree that God allows things into our lives, as in He could surely stop them from happening.  But a child who has cancer is discipline upon whom??

Okay, so that was the part I struggled with.  But, for me, in the place I am there was lots of good stuff.  Encouraging and convicting stuff.

"You can't make yourself joyful.  Joy comes only from God.  When James says, "Consider it all joy," he's telling you, "Reach out to God.  Get God's heart in this matter."...Joy is a supernatural delight in the Person, purposes and people of God....A supernatural delight in the purposes of God means you know there's something bigger than yourself going on here.  There's something unfolding that is so far beyond the here and now.  God has a purpose.  Joy in trials says, I'm going to find a way to trust Him even though I'm not seeing Him."

"The life of a true Christian is about displaying the superiority of the life lived in God...The contrast is deep between how a son or daughter of the kingdom and how a son or daughter of this world handles hard times...Whatever you are facing-in this moment-your situation is your opportunity to shine the light of Christ to those who observe you.  You can display the superiority of a life lived in God.  Realizing that reality and embracing it with your whole heart allows first a sprinkling of joy...and then a stream and finally a downpour to flood your soul.  But you can't come to that conclusion coping on your own.  You can't consider it joy when you're filling your face with food to dull your pain."

"Only by considering why you are here, and what life is really about and where you will be going very soon can you consider your trial joy.  Paul said, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.'"

"We think the answer is a new environment but the real answer is a new me."

"What God allows for your good, Satan wants to twist into evil.  Sin that hasn't tempted you for a long time can crush you during a trial, when all of your strength and all of your resources and all of your energy are going into surviving!  You're just trying to get by when Satan will come in and make a rush on you.  You can find yourself stumbling and falling into thought and action patterns that you thought were gone forever."

"You con't be successful in trials without Him.  You can't do anything right spiritually without Him."

"...grant to me an unusual submission to You.  This is the life that You have marked out for me...this is Your plan for me here and now...Forgive my rebelliousness.  Forgive my stubbornness, God...I can't get through this on my own...Forgive my stubborn, rebellious ways."

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" because,  without it, you are up a creek (AMEN)...Grace is the capacity to do anything spiritually profitable...The time that we need most to recommit ourselves to the things God has called us to is exactly when the times are toughest.  Stan desires to have us so that he might sift us like wheat.  Yet the Lord has promised that He will be with us in the hour of the trial."

"Sufficient grace is not just enough to survive, but enough to have supernatural joy in the midst of anything He allows to go through."

"God knows you better than you know yourself.  You don't know what you are capable of when you're resting in God's strength and not your own.  You're going to get through this one way or another.  It's not going to last forever and you will get through it- because God is faithful.  Reassure yourself, I'm not going under."

More tidbits...
1.  Do you believe God is in control?   YES
2.  Do you believe that God is good no matter what you see, no matter what you face, no matter what you feel?  YES
3.  Will you wait on Him by faith until the darkness becomes light?
How will you spend the time waiting?

When life is hard or during your trial...
1.  Guard your behavior.
*display the fruit of the Spirit
*get ready for battle, put your armor on
*it is not the hardship but your response that matters

2.  Grace your relationships
*love, forgive, show hospitality without grumbling

3.  Give away your gift.

4.  Glorify God.
*the centerpiece of God's creation is us, we are here to display His glory

"Strive for peace"  Hebrews 12:14
Absence of relational strife.  Strive for no strife...with everyone!

People are watching my life!

Scary for me.  And don't worry I don't consider my family a trial, most of the time:)  But I do feel like life is HARD right now.  I feel like I am definitely in the midst of the refiner's fire.  Perhaps if I could learn the lessons God wants me to learn more quickly, He could turn the heat down a little!!

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