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Sunday, July 5, 2015

When Times Get Tough

When times get tough how do we respond?

We often seek to escape suffering, and try to find an easier way.
Whether dealing with recent court rulings, personal suffering, or a set back or discouragement in serving God,  people either pull back or they endure with patience.

It's normal to desire another way when facing suffering. 
Jesus on the Mount of Olives (garden of Gethsemane) said, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Found in Luke 22:42.)

The important thing for us is not to react with a sinful response by disobeying when God doesn't take away the trial.  Jesus didn't go to a plan B, even though He was rejected  by His enemies and abandoned by friends.
When we act in obedience and faith and perseverance, we are given grace and God is perfecting us (James 1:4).

Jesus gave us so many examples of obedience and how to endure suffering.
Though He was God, He humbled Himself and became a servant and obeyed to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-11).

So, what should be my motive for obedience?

Jesus had the motivation of joy set before Him. 
The Father exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every other name, so that at His Name all will bow and confess Jesus as Lord.
We also know that God has love for His sheep, and He laid down His life for those sheep (John 10:11).
I'm sure there are many motives for obeying, reverence, love for God which spreads to others, thankfulness, etc..
We endure for discipline as true children (Hebrews 12:7).
The joy set before us culminates in being with God, eternal pleasures, reward, and no more sin and suffering. 

Are we willing to sacrifice all to follow Christ?

If it means losing our source of income and freedom of speech (as the couple running the bakery in Oregon), if they come to take your children due to teaching them the truth about sin,  if our health suffers, and if our very lives are threatened and even taken....will we take the easy way out?
When others sin, do we pull back and give up or hide?
I think we need to be very careful before we in pride say that we would never run when the going gets tough, but what about the disciples who fled when Jesus was arrested?
Peter even swore He didn't know Jesus.  He was one of the most verbal and brave souls amongst them.  Would I be like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego (only a feminine version)? 
I know that my body reacts terribly to stress.
Then again Jesus' body reacted to a greater stress, and He is the example I want to follow.  I need to fix my eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:2-3). 

So, let's not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9).

I need to love lost sinners, as the only good that is seen in me is really Christ's work and I have no righteousness of my own.

Murderers, homosexuals, gossips, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, liars,  etc. ....those behaviors are not found in the Kingdom of Heaven. 
We also know that such were some of us (Christians), but we were washed (cleansed) by the blood of Christ.  We weren't saved to continue in those sins, but we should see a change wrought in us.  God changes us, and we desire to obey Him.

So, we should have love and compassion though they mock us and prosecute us.

So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
Hebrews 13:13-14 NASB

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This should be great for those who like to have access to some great teaching when they are out and about.

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