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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ten Things to Remember While Riding Out a Crisis

I suppose I have always thought that thing should go wrong when I am not doing God's will. It just makes sense. I should reap the consequences of my bad behavior. It serves as a future warning if I am tempted to violate God's will again.

Yet, this isn't always true. Often, it seems that the consequences for bad behavior or so hidden that I fail to notice them until things get seriously wrong. It is only then that I notice what I am doing and return to God. 

On the other hand, there are times when I am completely committed to God's will; close to Him spiritually: listening intently and careful to carry out everything He has commanded which do not go well. I am surprised by the bad things that happen to me and those whom I care about. I wonder why these things happen if I am truly following Him.

I am not alone in this wonder. Many of the Lord's servants wonder why they are tested so severely when they are fully obedient to Him. We all wonder why these things happen and have no real, solid reason. 

So, if you are following God intently but having a terrible time of it, I would like to suggest some things I have learned from the scriptures and personal experience which may help you understand it all.

1. Neither you nor God is finished yet. We are looking at the moment in time as if that moment will never change. It is like saying that it is dark at night and it will never be morning. Of course, there will be a morning but we must wait. (Exodus 6:1- God tells Moses what He will do now. God was not finished.)

2. We don't know how these difficulties we are facing now will turn out. Never forget that Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, accused of a crime he didn't commit and thrown in prison and forgotten in prison after he served others. There were over twenty years between the time that he had a dream that he would have his family bow down to him and seeing God preserve his family because of all of his terrible experiences. (Matthew 6:34)

3. God knows exactly how much you can take. This is often more than we think we can take. It seems that just the moment that you tell God that you can't take another step that He gives you a push and you are forced into another step. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

4. God will make these bad things result in good. That doesn't make bad things good. They remain bad but God will make something good happen out of them. (Romans 8:28)

5.There are always people watching to see how you are going to handle the bad times. Faith cannot be tested without pressure. Genuine faith stands true under pressure. Many people who will never read the Bible or permit you to tell them about Christ will watch how you respond to the negative things happening to you. They can deny the plan of salvation and the words of the Bible but they will be confronted with faith that stands true under fire. (1 Peter 2:12)

6. Bad times are great excuses for God to perform miracles. Miracles enhance our own faith. (Exodus 4:21)

7. God's will is more often understood looking backward at events than looking at the events while we are in the middle of them. Joseph saw his brothers' actions as intended for evil but knew them as God's act of goodness after these acts were instrumental in preserving his family. (Genesis 50:20)

8. God's character does not change. He is still as much the loving, omniscient, omnipotent God in the middle of a crisis as He was in the middle of a blessing. God must have a plan or He wouldn't let you go through this crisis. (Hebrews 13:8, Romans 8: 31-39)

9. You are not the only one God is working on through this crisis. Many people will benefit from what you are going through. (Exodus 12:36)

10. This will not last forever. Be assured there is a glorious end. (1 Peter 1:6)

Some of the greatest servants of God have wondered the same things as you have while they were in the middle of a crisis. I guess we all believe that doing God's will means we will always receive gumdrops and lollipops. Not true, is it?

Exodus 5:23 (ESV)
23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”


Anonymous said...

A good piece. 

For point 4, typo error: should have been Rom 8:28 not 6:28.

While we do NOT and we must NOT, dilute the imperative that we are to do the will of God, and live a righteous life, we should also give people the understanding from the Word, that our journey in salvation was NOT promised to be without troubles, even when we are doing the will of God or living a righteous life.

First of all, Jesus said, in John 16:33, that in this world we will have trouble. In the same verse, Jesus did NOT omit to tell us to take comfort, for He had overcome the world.  We are to realize that, first of all, those words were said to His disciples then, who then were serving, and continued to serve after the Lord's resurrection.  So, formal servants of the Lord, should NOT be surprised that despite their serving the Lord, their lives could still be with troubles.  Then, we also should know that all of us, believers, are servants of the Lord, even if we do NOT serve in a full-time ministry.  All believers are disciples of the Lord, as such, we will have troubles in our lives.

But is it that only when we stray that we will have trouble, and so, if we do NOT stray, we will NOT have trouble.  In other words, are the troubles of John 16:33 only come to those who are NOT doing the will of God or are NOT acting righteously? No, it was without that qualification.

We read this in 2 Tim 3:12 - In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,. What this verse is saying, is that even when we are doing the will of God and are living righteously, we will face persecution.  Will everyone who lives a godly life, be whipped and murdered? No, I am NOT saying that, and the Word is NOT necessarily saying that, that everyone will be subjected to the same, as was suffered by Jesus.  For some individuals, yes, they would suffer hurt and death, but for all others, varying degrees of troubles, hardships, afflictions, and losses.  There is no need to confine persecution to heavy physical hurt and death. Men and Satan and his minions can try to make life difficult for you; try to snare you, and deceive you.  Jesus came to give life, life abundant, but Satan, to steal, kill, and destroy.  When you are for God, Satan is against you, and you and I are still in the world, the domain which Satan is perpetuating his rule.

Should you and I then just bow to Satan (and his ways), be his friend, and NOT do the will of God or the live the righteous life which God prescribes? "Maybe, the Devil won't make life difficult for me then; is it?!"  Be wise; Jesus said, in Matt 16:25, that those who save ( NOT giving it up) their lives (worldly life) would lose their lives (godly life), and those who lose (give up) their lives (worldly life) would gain their lives (godly life).  Satan cannot be trusted; his aim is to steal, kill and destroy.  Even if Satan does NOT devour you now, and even grant you the desires of your worldly life, do you want to be counted with Satan and go where he will go - burning fire of Hell?  Satan said to Jesus, that he would give Jesus the world if Jesus would bow down and worship him, but Jesus refused that, and chose to be with God.  Jesus said, "worship the Lord your God, serve Him only" (Matt 4:10).


Anonymous said...

Cont. From above

What if you love God; does it mean you will NOT have trouble or be persecuted? No, even when you and I love God, it does NOT mean we will NOT have trouble or be persecuted!  We read this, in the great psalm of protection - Ps 91.

Ps 91:14-16 - 
14 "BECAUSE HE LOVES ME," says the Lord, 
“I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I WILL BE WITH HIM IN TROUBLE, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

When you love God, and you should love God, He will be with you in trouble; that was and is His promise.  God did NOT promise a life of no trouble.  God promised "He with us"; and in line with that, He has sent Emanuel.  What is Emanuel? God with us.  Jesus was and is the Emanuel.   When Jesus walked the earth, He was "God with us", to the disciples, in the man or bodily Jesus.  Post resurrection, Jesus is still "God with us", to all his disciples, us all, in the spirit; the Spirit of Christ is with us, as the indwelling Spirit.

Before I am being accused of being promoter of gloom and doom, let me join and add, from the Word, some encouraging words:

Matt 5:10-12 - 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Ps 37:25 - I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
.  Ps Prentis talked about God is NOT finished yet, and this verse apparently is confined, too, to our bodily life-time.  I want to add that God does look beyond our bodily life-time, and it is possible, to us, with our focus on bodily life-time, we perceive we have been forsaken, when to God, He is having better thing or thought for you.  For example, when one dies despite having pleaded with God, we may feel God has forsaken, but to God our mortal death is NOT the end; better thing could be ahead.

Ps 91:14-16 - this I have already quoted above.  When you are doing the will of God and are living righteously, the good news is that you are obeying God, and you are loving Him.  Jesus said the one who love Him obeys His commands, and the ones who obey His commands are the ones who love Him (John 14:15, 21a).  When you are loving Him, you have the great promises of Ps 91.  Believe that in your trouble, Lord is with you.  


Anonymous said...

Cont. From above

In recent time, a church leader of a mega church was in trouble, terrible trouble, I would say; his own words, he spun into depression as a result of it.  Deep into it, this leader one day openly said that God told him that He, God, was so sorry that he, the leader, has to go through the trouble by himself; in other words, purportedly, God NOT with him.  Now, one cannot be insisting that one is doing the will of God and is acting righteously, and at the same time, claiming God is NOT with him or that God said he is on his own, in the midst of the trouble.  Now if he, indeed, is doing the will of God and acting righteously, he ought to know, that correlates to he loving God, and there are ample and trustworthy promises of God for him, including this Ps 91 text.  The other powerful promise is the Rom 8:28 already mentioned by Ps Prentis under point 4.  Now, if God is NOT with him, would he have heard God spoke to Him that He, God, was so sorry .......!  It is sad that such incongruences (he loves God, but God NOT with him; or God NOT with him, yet he heard God spoke to him) have been publicly expressed, and invoked many "angry" comments.  

So, what kind of mindset should we be having on this subject of "trouble, nevertheless"?  1 Cor 4:12 said this: We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;

Well, Ps Prentis also have given us, in his entry, good points to bear in mind, from other texts of the Holy Scripture.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions