Monday, July 26, 2010

The Grace To Trust God in Adversity

Just before signing off from FaceBook last night, I noticed a post that read, "Actually, life DID come with an instruction manual. It's called the Bible."

How true! The limited knowledge of any secular, worldly-minded humanist, psychiatrist, psychologist, politician, teacher, college professor, business person, physician, nurse, scientist etc. could not possibly compare to the wisdom and knowledge of God contained within the Bible.

I have been thinking about how chaotic our world continues to be. It is only growing worse. The confidence that we once had in our government here in the United States has been shattered. We see so much corruption going unpunished that it could be easy for us to lose heart.

I know that the majority of Americans are deeply alarmed over ObaMarxist, the progressives in Congress and the unelected lunatic-leftist czars who are writing all the damaging legislation that will further hurt our economy, freedoms, and liberty. They look forward to the 2010 election - with millions of conservatives hoping and praying for the removal of the corruptocrats in Congress through the victory of Tea Party candidates and conservative Republicans. Such a victory would make Obama a lame duck pResident until the new presidential election in 2012. Hopefully, the new Congress will be taken over by Republicans and the checks and balances against the far left Marxist policies of Obama that are damaging our country so badly will be stopped. Some (like government-run healthcare) may even be overturned.

No matter what happens, as believers in Jesus Christ and his eternal promises, we are given the grace (through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit) to trust God in adversity.

In his book "Trusting God," Jerry Bridges had this to say about troubled times: "The moral will of God given to us in the Bible is rational and reasonable. The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable...It is only from the Scriptures, applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that we receive grace to trust God in adversity...The faith to trust God in adversity comes through the Word of God alone."

This is what it means to set our minds on God through His Word. As Bridges affirms, the Scriptures often turn worldly logic on its head. People may think we are unreasonable. The truth is that only those with their minds set on God know what reason really is; only God's course is the course that will ultimately prevail.

Thinking about how chaotic our world is today brought back to mind one of the best book that I have ever read on this topic - "Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World" by Dr. David Jeremiah. [Note: The above quote is taken from this book.]

One bookmarked page in Chapter Five, entitled "Stay Connected", has suggestions for three ways to stay centered in Christ.

After Dr. Jeremiah discussed the importance of staying centered in Christ he goes on to describe just how do we go from being earth-centered to being heaven-centered?

Here are three suggestions to help you in your quest for Christ-centeredness.

Seek God's Will. "but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

I had to chuckle when I read what Dr. Jeremiah states next. It seems to meld with the thoughts of those whose eyes are only on this world - and not God's heavenly kingdom.

What is it about this verse? People insist on reading it backwards, as though from some spiritual strain of dyslexia: "Add all these things unto you, then seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness in whatever time is left."

Doesn't that describe today's worldly-minded people? I like that phrase, "from some spiritual strain of dyslexia." It proves how true the Bible is when we read:

1Cr 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Dr. Jeremiah:

Blessed are those who read it as written, as intended, as the truth happens to be. One missionary rephrased it well: "Take care of the things that are important to God, and He will take care of the things that are important to you."

That is good advice for every single individual on earth. No one else can take on YOUR PARTICULAR responsibility (whatever that may be) in order to "take care of the things that are important to God" in your own life. Thus, God taking care of the things that are important to you cannot follow without first trusting in God and having faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

I have seen this scenario played out over and over again in my own life as well as in other's lives. I can discuss this kind of advice freely with my Christian friends because they believe in Christ and agree that the Bible is God's Word and contains absolute truth. However, non-believers often take offense at such a notion.

The second way to stay centered in Christ:

Search God's Word.

This is how Christians can keep their sanity in the midst of all the chaos going on in the world today. Sometimes, I wonder how non-believers can keep it together. If they are paying attention and are seeing all of the evil, corruption and sin being unleashed - without the perpetrators receiving their due punishment for it - how do they hold out any hope? If their hope relies only on the "things of this world," they will continue to be sorely disappointed throughout their entire lives. The things of this world only end up falling to dust and blowing away because reliance on such things do not last. Only God's eternal Word and His Kingdom through Jesus Christ will last for all eternity. Remember, the Bible tells us that one day "every knee will bow" before Christ, and "every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" - which means even the non-believers and followers of other pagan religions - will one day realize who Christ is when He returns to this earth.

Phl 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Phl 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

Phl 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Phl 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Phl 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

Phl 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

Phl 2:11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Also take note of what is written in Romans:

Rom 14:11 For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God."

Rom 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

The book of Isaiah in the Old Testament is filled with prophesy, as well as prophetic verses. Take note of this wisdom:

Isa 45:20 "Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

Isa 45:21 Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.

Isa 45:22 "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

Isa 45:23 I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.

Isa 45:24 He shall say, 'Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, And all shall be ashamed Who are incensed against Him.

Isa 45:25 In the LORD all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified, and shall glory.'

Dr. Jeremiah:

Jesus was a guest in the home of Mary and Martha one day, as Luke's gospel tells us. He found Himself caught in the crossfire of warring priorities. Martha was playing hostess and housekeeper, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened intently to His teaching. It didn't seem fair to Martha, and she told Jesus so -- Mary, she said, should do her part. As always, Jesus gave the least expected response: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42).

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we ALL need to be focused on what Jesus has instructed and "chose that good part" daily.

It's fine to be involved in family [I believe in God first, family second, job (or other interests) third], work, politics, and any other activity as long as it doesn't compromise what the Bible teaches as truth. However, when we seek and study God's Word on a daily basis, it helps us stay focused on Jesus - the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Hbr 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hbr 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hbr 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Dr. Jeremiah:

We face this choice every single day. Staying centered on Christ requires us to stay focused on God's Word. Geoffrey Thomas has written, "The love of Christ is the strongest constraint to knowing the Scriptures, and if we have little desire for the Bible, we should ask if we indeed know the Savior." In other words, our relationship with the Bible mirrors our relationship with Christ."

The third secret to staying centered in Christ is so simple, so powerful, and so often forgotten.

Support God's Work.

Simply go where His action is--and if you can't go there, find other ways to get involved.

The Sermon on the Mount instructs us:

Mat 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

Mat 6:20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Mat 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Dr. Jeremiah:

Pour yourself into eternal things, things that affect the invisible world; things that change the population of heaven.

Jesus says that our hearts naturally follow our treasures. What we value most is a magnet for our thoughts and emotions. Therefore we must learn to value God's things the most. The more we give ourselves to His purposes, the more centered on Christ we will become.


Dr. Jeremiah:

There are many other means of staying centered on Christ in chaotic times. But if we start with seeking Him first and searching for Him in the Scriptures, if we remember that our heart follows our treasure and we invest that treasure in things above, we will be well on our way toward starting centered in Christ.

Hat Tips:

Reference: "Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World" by Dr. David Jeremiah, published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson, 2009 pp. 128-132.

Blue Letter Bible


Susan Smith said...

Christine said, “No matter what happens, as believers in Jesus Christ and his eternal promises, we are given the grace (through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit) to trust God in adversity.”

“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). “He who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:17). You shine brightly when you share the written Word of God, Christine. The written Word becomes the living Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our connection to the one God of Israel is the most important connection we will ever have. Love to you and your family, Christine. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Thanks for adding those perfect verses to this post, Susan! When I read them, I immediately thought of one of my favorite songs - sung and written by Michael W. Smith:

I Am Love

I am not passers by
I am not a white lie
I am not left to die
I am love, I am love

I am not feeling sad
I am not the new fad
I am not quickly mad
I am love, I am love

You can try to hide
You can try to run
But you'll never run far enough
This is my flesh, this is my blood
And I am love
You can fly up high
You can dig down deep
You can flee to the west
You can flee to the east
But you can't escape what I've done cause
I am love

I am not standing by
I am not letting go
I am not leaving you
I am love, I am love

I am love
My blood fell like rain
I did not bleed in vain
But from my veins
I am love, I am love

Listen to the song HERE.

Love & God bless your day, Susan!

Christinewjc said...

Another beautiful song from the same album - Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith - is All I Want.

Listen HERE.

All I Want Lyrics

All I have in this world
Is fire from above
All I have in this world is You
All the journeys I have walked
I know You've walked them too
All I want is to be faithful
All I want is You

All I have is love
That set my world on fire
Let it fall, let it burn in me
Oh to be a friend of God
Is all that I desire
All I want is to be faithful
All I want is You

All I have in this world
Is fire from above
All I have in this world is You
All the journeys I have walked
I know You've walked them too
All I want is to be faithful
All I want is You
All I want is You