Considering Life

f4e0c0d1ce501cce64555b51034afabeProblems and trials large and small confront us in this life, how are we to consider and respond?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4).  Our faith must be tested, it runs counter to this world system and our fallen nature, so we know that we are on the right path toward heaven.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14).  R. T. Kendall said be happy if you have a person who is your enemy, because it will be a gold mine of blessing when you love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you, scripture guarantees it.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.  For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!  They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” (Heb. 12: 7-10).  Brother Lawrence in “The Practice of the Presence of God”, said, as to our propensity to sin, “I shall never do otherwise, if left to myself.”  But God does not leave us to ourselves.  He transforms us through discipline by His great love and mercy.  The resulting work of God upon and in us is holiness, without which, no one will see God.

” ‘Consider carefully what you hear,’ he continued.  ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.  Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’ ” (Mark 4: 24-25).  We make many mistakes, some unknown to us.  We must be gracious and forgiving if we want to receive grace and forgiveness.  Suffering unjustly, but leaving the justice in God’s hand is what our Lord Yeshua demonstrated so clearly, when He  said, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”

“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12: 23-31).  Give the reigns of your life over to God.  In resignation to God’s will we receive peace in all circumstances, as we trust in Him.

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8: 5,28).  A mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because we know God is working to bring about His good purposes in us.

Paul said, “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church. (Col. 1:24).  We are being conformed to the image of Messiah.  He suffered and so will we in thus life.  In that sense, I believe Paul saw the afflictions he suffered as completing “Christ’s afflictions.”  My loving mother suffered much before she died from a horrible wasting disease. My mind cannot make sense of this, but I believe her suffering may have been part of what was still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions.  We can’t understand everything, but we trust God in both good and bad times.  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5: 18).

Father God, all things are in you your hands.  You have not abandoned your children, nor has your goodwill and purposes for us been taken from you.  You gave your one and only Son, Yeshua, for us.  You are in the process of restoring all things and us together in your presence. We surrender to you with thanksgiving and praise, in the mighty name of Yeshua our Messiah.

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