Posts Tagged ‘Troubles


Standing Firm

In Philippians 3, Paul reminded his readers that they were destined for Heaven. No matter what came their way as far as threats of persecution or death, they could have joy because they were citizens of Heaven. He then told them what to do in the face of threats. He wrote:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! – Philippians 4:1 (NIV)

When we go through trials, tests and troubles, we need to remember that in the end, Jesus wins and we will overcome this world. It is not in our strength or power, but through the power of the Son of God. We have to remind ourselves and one another often that this world is not our home. The troubles and trials we face are only temporary. So stand firm in the face of difficulties. Stand firm in the face of persecution. Stand firm in the face of fear. Don’t give up! Don’t give in to fear! Stand firm!

Pressing On Toward Heaven

We all go through various troubles, trials and tests in this life. Followers of Jesus are not exempt. It would be nice if God would bestow a kind of “most favored nation” status on us, but He doesn’t promise a pain-free life for anyone. He promises something else – Heaven. Paul wrote:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

There’s kind of a past, present and future thing going on in these verses. Paul chose to forget the past while pressing on in the present toward an amazing future in Heaven. We would all do well to follow His example. Forget about the past while pressing on in the present toward an amazing future. This is how we can get through the troubles, trials and tests of life. Keep your eyes on Heaven where Jesus waits for you.



Paul asked a question in Romans 8:35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” He then listed some possibilities – trouble, hardship, persecution or sword? Paul then answers the question in verse 37. He wrote:

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:37 (NIV)

Jesus loves you and because of His love for you, He is fighting for you. He is on your side and He gives the ultimate victory. He makes you a conqueror. One commentator said that He makes you a “superconqueror!” It’s not you who earns your own victory. It’s Jesus who conquered the grave and gives us victory. You can’t do this on your own. The enemy cannot overcome you because greater is the One who is in you. You have the victory through Jesus Christ. So don’t give up when trouble comes your way. Instead, trust in Jesus for in Him you will conquer any trial, test or trouble that comes your way.

Troubles Prove Christ’s Love

Good Wednesday morning to you! The apostle Paul said that God justifies us when we put our faith and trust in Jesus alone for salvation. He also said that because of our faith, no one can condemn us. He then continues by talking about the love of Jesus. He wrote:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” – Romans 8:35-36 (NIV)

Who can separate you from Christ’s love? Even though we face many different kinds of trials and troubles, we are still loved by Jesus. The proof of His love is found in His grace. When we go through trials and tests, it may seem like we’re unloved. If God loved us wouldn’t He protect us from trials and troubles? Not necessarily. God can work these things out for our good by growing our faith. God never promises a trouble-free existence here on earth. It is the love of Jesus that helps strengthen our faith and learn to rely on Him.

A True Friend

When it comes to your relationships, what kind of friend are you? Are you there only for the good times? Do you run at the first sign of trouble? Do you bail on your friends when they go through difficulties? Solomon wrote:

A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity. – Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

If you want to be a true friend, you need to be there for your friends through thick and thin. No matter what they’re going through, love them at all times. When they face adversity and hardship, stick with them.
When it comes to your friendships with others, do your friends do the same thing for you? If you’re facing a hardship, do they go through it with you? Or do they jump ship when you need someone to support and love you? They might not be true friends if they’re only around for the good times. Be the kind of friend you want others to be today. Don’t leave your friends high and dry when they’re going through troubles and they won’t leave you.

Light And Momentary Troubles

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.  All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 (NIV)

As we go through the difficult days of our lives, it is hard not to get discouraged.  You watch as someone gets the promotion for which you were in line.  You struggle financially as you wonder how you’ll make ends meet.  Your heart aches as your relationships seem to fall apart.  Your body is, as Paul puts it, “wasting away” as you feel the aches and pains of many years on your bones.  You don’t know what to do as it seems as though life is a boxer and is giving you quite a pounding.  Can it really only be the fourth round?

Paul says we should not lose heart.  God is able to renew our hearts, minds and our spirits.  He called his own struggles (physical pain and the threat of death in every town) “light and momentary troubles”.  How can we gain such an understanding?  How can we face heartache, disappointment, pain and discouragement with such a perspective?  The real question is, “What are you looking at?”  Are you looking at your troubles or are you looking at your prize?  Are you focused on what you can see or what is unseen?  Our hope is not in the here and now.  Our hope is in heaven.  Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

There is a prize we are running towards, my friends.  Keep your eyes on the prize today!

PRAYER: Dear Father in Heaven, thank You for giving me the strength to deal with the light and momentary troubles in my life. Help me to remember to be thankful. Help me to remember that these troubles are temporary and that Your love lasts forever. Amen.


Everybody’s Got A Story

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that everyone has a story.  There is a fictional book of the Bible that I (and many other pastors) like to quote.  It’s the book of Hezekiah.  It sounds Biblical, but there is no book of Hezekiah among the 66 books of Scripture.  I believe that if there were a book of Hezekiah, the very first words of chapter 1 would be, “Everybody’s got a story.”  Verse 2 would be, “Everybody’s got a thing.”  We’ve all got some kind of story to tell about where we’ve been and what we’ve done and how God has gotten us through the difficult times in our lives.
Psalm 107:2a (NIV) says:

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…

The rest of Psalm 107 is about the stories of God’s people.  How God has done amazing things for those He has redeemed.
I want you to think about your story today.  From what past has God saved you?  From what danger and heartache has God kept you?  How has God come through and provided in your deepest times of emotional, physical or financial need?
You see, our stories really aren’t about us.  Our stories are about God and what He has done in us and for us.  So what is your story?  Everybody’s got one.  Says so right there in the good old book of Hezekiah.  Or, at least, it should.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I thank You for my life and my story. Thank You for helping me through the years. Thank You for keeping me from pain and heartache and trouble. Thank You for saving me by Your grace. Thank You for Jesus, my Savior and Friend. Amen.

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