Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is Your Life a Trial or a Lesson?

Study Passage: Luke 12:30-34

Is your life filled with trials or lessons? Your answer to this question will determine your level of frustration or your level of maturity. A life of trials can be exhausting, often leaving a person weary and defeated. On the other hand, a life filled with lessons creates experiences that build on each other. Life becomes one growing experience after another, a testimony of God’s grace and sufficiency.

Now please do not confuse a struggle with a trial. A struggle can be missing the ball game only to encounter someone who tells you the score. A struggle is burning an evening meal or missing the bus after work. A struggle is temporal, short lived and can be easily overcome. A trial is different because it can be a persistent health issue, being laid off while on a tight budget that is supplied from paycheck to pay check, or being a single parent with no financial support while having kids that are consistently giving trouble at home and at school. A trial is not always easily resolved by human effort and sometimes an attempt to resolve the trial only complicates the experience. This is why trials can be problems or lessons.

David, while tending his father’s sheep, was anointed by Samuel to one day become the king of Israel. This historical event and his defeat of Goliath created a major trial for David as Saul, the king at that time, persecuted him. David could not stop the trial from persisting, and he could not control its intensity. This trial caused David to dig down deep to apply God’s Word, trust God and as a result, there is a transition from Saul’s reign to David’s kingship. The more David ran from Saul, the more popular he became and the larger his following grew (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel 9). However in the case of Jonah, who was told to go to Nineveh, he saw all the problems with the “call” rather than the lesson and chose to run from God. He encountered trials that were beyond his control and could not be easily resolved with human effort. Jonah’s trail remained an unresolved problem because he remained upset with God. By choosing to lean to his own understanding, Jonah’s trial was one problem after another rather than a continual developmental process (James 1:2-4). David’s trial turned into a lesson, a growth process, and a course that led to his ascension to king because he decided to trust and obey God. Trials can be growing lessons or remain persistent problems.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28)

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Who is Jesus to You?

Study Passage: Psalm 23, Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21,

John 21:7-17, John 15:13-14

Our level of response to anything in our lives depends on what it means to us. If our kids are important to us, we would nurture and care for them; if our cars are important to us, we will wash, polish and care for them; if our home is important to us, we would properly care for the air conditioning system and such. If our jobs are important, then we would be careful not to act in a way that would risk being laid off or fired.

What does Jesus mean to you?

What He means to you will dictate your response to Him each day. This answer will determine the significance of your worship to Him today. Is He your Savior or has He become your friend? Has He become an integral part of your life? Is He your strength for living?

Who is Jesus to you?

David would respond by saying, "God is my rock and my shield" when He needed God in battle, but in his daily walk, God was his Shepherd (Psalm 23). Daniel would answer, "God is the best prayer partner he ever had," and Paul would say, "Christ is his strength and reason for living" (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21). Peter says, "Christ is a patient and forgiving God" (John 21:7-17). John would probably say, "Christ is my friend" (John 15:13-14).

So, again I ask, what would you say He means to you? Answer this question today and allow Christ to develop a meaningful relationship with you as He had with Peter, James, John, and Paul.

Happy Father’s Day

Study Passages: Malachi 4:6; Proverbs 17:6

Being a father is as important as breathing. Our children, families and society cannot function in a healthy manner without fathers. "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse." (Malachi 4:6; NASU) Fathers are as essential to God’s plan as brakes are to a car traveling at a high rate of speed. The beginning work for being a good father starts when a child learns to say ‘no’. This verse has shaped by life; “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6; NASU)

There was an 11 year old who was traveling with his family from Toronto to Eastern Ontario, the birthplace of his father. They reached the neighboring villages of Ventnor and Spencerville around midnight, long after the residents had gone to bed. Although his father was hesitant to wake any families, he needed directions to find the old homestead where they were to spend the night. Reluctantly he stopped at a darkened house and knocked on the door. After several minutes of waiting, the yard light came on, and an older man opened the door. He could hear his father apologizing for the inconvenience and then he identified himself as the son of Pearson Lockerbie – the boy’s grandfather who had died more than twenty years prior. “Oh, come in, come in,” said the old man. “No trouble at all. We knew your father.” This is the greatest legacy a father can leave his son.

In our society, there are many things more important than being a father – dating lots of women or owning a lot of worldly goods, to name a few. Even being respected by others is more important than being respected by our families. Satan always reverses God’s order. God made Adam to have a relationship with Him and after that was established He gave him a wife and children, who all lived peaceably in the Garden. This order must be maintained because without a relationship with God, man would have many wives and many children in many places, resulting in chaos.

A grown man awaiting surgery in the hospital was talking with his father. “Dad,” he said, “I sure hope I can be home for Father’s Day. I still remember how awful I felt when I was 10, because I never gave you a gift that year.” The father replied, “Mark, I remember that Saturday before Father’s Day. I saw you in the store. I watched as you picked up the cigars and stuffed them in your pocket. I knew you had no money, and I was sad because I thought you were going to run out of the store without paying. But as soon as you hid the cigars, you pulled them out and put them back. When you stayed out playing all the next day because you had no present, you’re probably thought I was hurt. You were wrong. When you put the cigars back and decided not to break the law, Mark, you gave me the best present I every received.”

Being a father is more than just about DNA, it is about giving life to many people for many years to come. Allow God the Father, by way of God the Son, through God the Holy Spirit to carve out His life in you so that through you His life blesses the lives of your children.

Have a Happy Father’s Day!!!!