Tuesday, March 23, 2010

At least you are not dead, yet!

So what kind of world are you waking up to this morning? I would suppose that the answer to that depends on how you feel. Those feelings can be tricky little creatures as we often times wrestle with our emotions for all kinds of reasons. I think it is the enemies favorite little play place in our lives. If you can find a trail of why you feel the way you feel then it is all you. Example, you had a fight with your best friend last night and you did not resolve it before parting ways. This morning you have woken up feeling pretty low as a result of it. That is all you.  However, there will be other times when there will be no trail or root to what you are feeling, you are just overwhelmed by depression, loneliness, anger, or any number of other negative emotions. That is the enemy playing around with you. These emotions can isolate you and cut you off from reality. Let me share a wake up call with you:

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
   "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
      and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
   because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
      and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.
(Hebrews 12:4-6)

I have no idea what you are facing or feeling this morning but this one thing I do know, you are not dead yet. That is how far gone we are in our self-absorbed world; we treat our stubbed toe with the same emotion as a life and death situation. We are victims of our emotions which rob us of our resolve and determination to press on. Also realize we have a lot of support and encouragement in the world to put an overemphasis on our emotions. With a few things I agree because, being emotional creatures, we would be fools to ignore our emotions but at the same time we cannot allow them to master us either. The fact is we serve a God who will lead us through things that will require our full determination to get through it. We have to acknowledge our emotions but then make decisions and take actions according to our relationship with God.

The fact is our Father does not want us to arrive at the end of the race fat and spoiled. He is using this place to condition us, so that we are able to receive what he has prepared for us. Things need to be removed from us, we need to develop determination and perseverance, we need to become mature in our knowledge and understanding. We should consider these difficult times, which can be very emotional, times of discipline and development. These are the times that we should be convinced of our Father's love. After all, what is more important, all the creature comforts of this world where we live and serve for 70 or 80 years, or the "right stuff" that will enable us to claim what Jesus has prepared for us for eternity? I guess the answer to that will be determined by where your treasure is found. Jesus did say that wherever our treasure is our hearts will be found in the same place. So, is that treasure in this place or in the next?

It's okay for the moment if you do not yet feel strong ties to the land our Father has reserved for us; just don't lie to yourself about it either. Understand where you are on your journey so that you may also understand what our Father is doing when he leads you through the hard times. You are not yet ready for the end and you have much to go through in order for Dad to prepare you. He is bringing in discipline because he loves you and does not want you to lose out. In the context of this world these times will be hard but in the context of what has been prepare for us these are "light and momentary" troubles that are for your betterment not your destruction. Let me give you the full quote:

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 4:16-18)

Tomorrow we are going to look further at this reality that our Dad loves us enough to discipline us but let me give you something to chew on for the rest of today; something that will let you know you are not crazy but only human:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

As you wrestle with your emotions and the place you find yourself in today, you are going to have to reach the point where you decide to let go of it and give it to God. It does not mean that the situation will change but the emotions will. It is a situation that you will realize will not disappear, that you will have to ride it out to the end, but that you can trust God with it. Our struggle is often not with the situation but instead with our resistance to change. God is working it out for your good. You have to trust him with your future and his intentions for you. Allow your perspective to be changed so these things become light and momentary as you trust the Father to make Jesus your "everything".

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