Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY

Life is hard isn't it? Sometimes we have those days where we just simply don't know much of anything. We are broken, bruised, and battered through the storms. The rains are heavy, and the winds are about to bend us at the knee. We can't see to the other side, and right now, well, it seems as though it will never end. We struggle through the day, tears come easily, and we are rocked by news. News comes and it just doesn't seem to be getting better, if anything worse. So what do we do? We call upon Christ. We pray. We pray. We pray. Then what happens? We wait. We wait. We wait.
God is not our genie in a bottle. We can't rub His belly and we get three wishes. We pray, we share with Him, and we trust Him. We must believe that He is here, He is listening, and He is working in our lives.

There have been times where I have prayed and God has answered me quickly. But more times, I pray, and I wait for His answer. But in that waiting is where He is working. Through all those storms that come, making us so very weak is where Christ is the strongest in our lives.

We always seem to think we are the only people going through a situation, but that is not so. In Matthew 26 we find Paul crying out to God. (verses 8-10) "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, MY grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Paul knew of pain. We are not told what this pain is, this thorn. It could be an ailment or something in his life bringing great struggle. But in Paul we see he prayed three times. Three, and although God heard his prayer, He knew what was best. He chose to leave that thorn there. And in Paul's greatest time of weakness, God shined through him. He used that weakness to bring great glory to Him.

Life is hard, and life as a Christian does not mean we will have an easy road before us. At times it means anything but that. But Paul was not the only God used to bring glory and honor to Himself. He also used His Son, Jesus, in great and mighty ways.

In Matthew 26 we get a glimpse of Christ praying. He is opening His heart to God. (verse39) "He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, My Father! If possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet I want your will done, not mine." (verse 42) Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, Your will be done." (verse 44) "So He went to pray a third time, saying the same things again."

Even Christ knew what is was like to suffer. He knew the pain of life and death. He knew struggle and faced fear with the Hope and belief in His Father. He knew there was a plan and purpose. God would gain glory in Christ's life, in His Son's life, so why would He ask any less from us, His children?

God hears our prayers my friends. He sees our needs. He knows what is best for us. In our weakest moments is where we find strength in Him. At times it is when we are at our weakest, when we are alone, is when we realize Christ is all we need. His grace is sufficient for us. When God heals, it may be here on this earth or in heaven. He knows what is up ahead in our lives and if we find ourselves totally in Him, nothing will destroy us, but through those hard times God will gain glory and honor if we just allow Him to work in us and through us. I must say at my weakest moments is where I see God's greatness bring me through.

I have prayed for years for my migraines to leave me. They have not. But I know when they hit, Christ is there with me, and He is doing a mighty work in me. As we prayed for my husband to find a job for two years, that was a struggle. We began to ask, "Is He hearing us?" He was, and He was doing a mighty work in my husband and in myself, changing us, molding us and He brought that job. He provided all we needed, and now we are reaping those blessings.

When hard times come, you are not alone. God knows what is best for us. In our suffering we find peace in Him. Through letting go and letting God we find wisdom and understanding.

We can learn how to live by looking at the life of Christ. By opening up His word we are opening up opportunities to grow with Him, to experience life on a new level and in a new way, trusting God.

There are times I believe my prayers are selfish. I am praying for my needs and wants. I am praying for what I think is best. That is not the way to pray my friends. Christ showed us that through His prayer. Although He didn't want to carry that cup, He prayed for God's will to be done. He wanted to bring glory and honor to His Father. I am learning the difference in my selfish prayers, and praying for what God wants for me and others. He can see much farther than I, and He knows exactly what is needed and when. Don't you love to see God at work? That only makes our faith stronger.

Romans 5:3-5 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love."

1 Peter 1:6-7 "So be truly glad. there is a wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
For God to bring us to perfection we first must go through the fire. It is in that fire we find His strength. It is there He is creating in us who we were meant to be. In our weakness He is strong. If you are hurting today, find comfort in the love of Christ. Know He is there, He is listening, and He is at work. We will see His glory through our lives if we only trust Him. Trust Him today, and He will show Himself to you in great and wonderful ways.
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