Proverbs 3:1 A Time For Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Proverbs 3:1

People hear this statement that there is a time for everything, but most do not want to believe or accept all of those times. Solomon continues on with listing many different things that there is a time for. Some of these are: to be born, to plant, to heal, to laugh, and to dance. People like these things and want more of them. These are the good times in a person’s life.

The other side of his statements, however, state that there is also a time: to die, to uproot, to tear down, to weep, to mourn, and to be silent. These are the ‘negative’ times in a person’s life. These are the times that very few people look forward too. Yet, God has ordered them in each person’s life.

It is easy to look at the good times of blessings from God and enjoy them. Everyone wants to be happy and have life go smoothly.

Yet, there are supposed to be times that are not so pleasant. Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it will only be a single seed. Things have to happen to make things grow larger.

Take a look at the book of Acts. Until the persecution of all believers started to rise, the gospel message did not spread very far. It stayed among the Jews in a very small area. Once persecution set it, many people scattered and spread the message. The process was not fun, nor easy, but it brought about new life in the end.

When you live your life based on times of being happy, you will be disappointed and you will miss out on many other blessings in this life. It is in the difficult and painful times in life, that God can show up and do miraculous things. It is in those same times that God can move you to a new location in life to do great things through you and for you.

God is the one who is in control of everything. He has a time for every event that occurs in your life.

Are you trusting God in all the seasons of your life?

I pray today that you will know God’s plans for your life; that you will know God is in control; and that you will know God’s purpose for events in your life.

Hebrews 12:7 Hardship Is God’s Discipline

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7

When going through a hard time, most people do not like to see that as something for their benefit. There never seems to be a good reason for the hardship. Hardship is painful and very difficult, yet is necessary. God uses hardship to discipline His children.

Then comes the next challenge–accepting discipline as a good thing.

In this world, discipline is often looked at as a negative thing. Too often that is true about discipline being a negative thing.

Most parents discipline their children to some degree or more. The problem many parents have is that their discipline is done out of anger and to punish the child.

God does not discipline to punish, but to turn the hearts of His children back to Him. All punishment is being reserved for when Jesus returns. Those who have accepted and followed Jesus will not be punished, since their sins have been removed. Those who have rejected Jesus will be punished since their sins have not been removed.

God allows hardship into the lives of all believers to correct them and bring them closer to Him and make them into the image of Jesus more and more.

In sports, the athlete disciplines himself to be the best he can be. He goes through the hardship and pain of hard practice daily. He pushes himself to do better and better, so that he can be the best.

God is doing that in your life. He is pushing you to be perfect as Jesus is perfect. When you are going through a hard time, turn your eyes on Jesus. Learn His patience and perseverance. Learn to trust God more. Know that God is right there with you.

Do not look at hardship as punishment for past sins or God hating you. God loves you with an undying love and Jesus has forgiven you.

Allow God to use those hardships as training ground to become more like Jesus.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in all hardships; that you will turn your eyes and life towards God during hard times; that you will trust God knows what He is doing and that He is doing the best for you; and that God will make you more like Jesus everyday.

2 Corinthians 12:10 The Value Of Weakness

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul is talking about something that most people do not want to discuss at all. It is the things that he is weak in. He is willing to talk about his short-comings.

Most people are ashamed of anything that they are weak in. Unless they are complaining, most people won’t even discuss what difficulties that they are going through. People feel that they should be strong and be able to handle any and everything that comes their way.

The world does not like weakness at all. Children who are going to be born with a disease or deformity are often aborted, because they will be weak and a shameful burden to parents. Elderly people are often allowed to die, rather than keep them alive, because they are weak and difficult.

In the church people who have a weakness in a certain area of their lives are often shunned by others. Leaders who have a weakness in one area, are often cast out or ridiculed because of it.

Paul had a different look at weakness. He stated that when he is weak, he is strong. In the eyes of the world this looks like a contradiction and is crazy.

When a believer is weak in some area of his life, it gives God a chance to step in and do something. It allows the grace of Jesus to fill his life. Scriptures say that God chose the weak things of this world to confound the strong and wise.

The more you rely on the strength of Jesus, the stronger you will be. The world will often say that they do not need a crutch and that Jesus is just a crutch.

When you have a broken leg, you need a crutch to support you to walk. In the same way in your life, you are broken and need a crutch to support you. You need Jesus to hold you up.

Do not be ashamed of your weakness, but allow God to use that weakness to His glory. Allow God to be strong in you and through you. Whether that weakness is in hardship, persecution or difficulties, or just personal weakness, God is strong in you. Lean on God for your strength.

I pray today that you will know the power of God in your life; that you will lean on God for strength; that you will not boast in your own power; and that in Christ you will be strong.

John 16:1 A Warning

“All of this I have told you so that you will not fall away.” John 16:1

Jesus has been telling the disciples about His having to die and go away. He also tells them about how the world will hate them and persecute them. The things He is telling them are not all of a beautiful rosy picture perfect world, they are of struggles and hard times that are coming. His whole purpose for telling them was so that they will not fall away when it comes.

People love to talk about the love of God and the blessings God provides. They will also talk about the power of God and His great ability to heal and rescue people and defeat the enemy. When they look at just these aspects of God and what Jesus said, things look very great. It looks like everything will go great and smooth, that there will be many blessings and God’s favor.

Yet, that is not what Jesus is saying. He tells you that there will be problems and trouble. In the very next verse Jesus states that there will come a time when people will think they are serving God by killing believers.

Jesus is promising trouble. If you forget to look at that, you may, like many others, fall away from Jesus when those troubles come.

When hardship comes it is easy to think that maybe you failed God and are getting punished, or that maybe believing in God is not the real truth and that maybe the world is right after all.

You are warned by Jesus before things happen so that you will not fall away. Jesus told you it would be tough, so that you do not question what is happening when it happens. These things are to build your faith and trust in God.

Who is in control? God. Do you really believe that? When things go bad or from bad to worse, do you still believe that?

Do not give up on God. Do not lose your faith in Him. Everything that happens is happening for a purpose to build you more like Jesus and to bring others to Jesus. Use those bad things as a testimony for Jesus. Do not let them cause you to fall away.

I pray today that you will trust Jesus in the bad times; that you will rely upon the power of Jesus; that you will not doubt Jesus; and that you will be made more like Jesus through all you go through in life.

Hebrews 12:7 Hardship Equals Discipline

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12:7

Everyone goes through times of hardship. During those times the most common question asked is “why?”. Whenever someone is going through a hard time, other people will try to explain it away, giving all types of reasons. The author here explains it very simply: discipline is because God loves you and is treating you like His child.

The challenge here is the understanding of discipline. Most parents will discipline their children for doing something wrong. The focus is more on punishment for doing wrong, then on correction to do right. Long before an act is thought of to be done wrong there should be training in how to do the right thing. This is where discipline comes in. A runner disciplines himself to practice daily and to work at running better and faster. If he does not do this, he will not succeed in running and winning. In this same way a person must be dedicated to living the Christian life God has called him to live. He must work at it daily to be successful.

During the time of training it does not always feel good or fun. It will be hard work. It takes a sharp focus and dedication. God is training you to be the best you can be in Jesus. He wants you to be just like Jesus. Jesus lived His life for God and for all people, not for Himself. God uses hardships to keep your focus on Him at all times. Hardships will cause you to lean on God and trust in Him and in Him alone. The world will let you down, God will not.

Today, or the next time you are going through a hardship, remember that God is using that hardship in your life to mold you into His image. God is not trying to beat you down, unless you are refusing to listen. When going through a hardship ask God what you need to learn and how you need to change. Ask God how you can bring Him glory through the situation. Do not grumble and complain about it. Remember God is in complete control of everything and knows your situation. He is using that hardship to make you a better you.

I pray that today God will help you to see all hardships through His eyes; that God will give you the strength to accept all hardship as from Him; that God will help you to grow more like Jesus everyday; and that God will reveal to you the blessings that will come on the other side of every hardship.