Happily Persecuted

1:Tim 4:10  This is why we work hard and continue to struggle,[d] for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

As a Christian we are called to be different and to stand out from the normal way of seeing and reacting to the situations we face in life.  A Christian can be happy during hard times and persecution because they know that they are being prepared for a much greater place.  The Christian realizes that this world is not their home, but rather a training ground to prepare us for heaven.  Persecution, suffering, trials and tribulations are to the Christian what “growing pains” are to the adolescent youth.  If we don’t go through the struggles, we can not develop into the spiritual being that God wants us to be.  Without pain there is no growth, without suffering there is no glory, without struggle there can be no victory, if there is no persecution there is no reward. 

Christ never promised us an easy life here.  He promised us that our life here would be abundant with struggle and temptation.  Every day we are given opportunity to grow, situations that we face can either be building blocks or stumbling blocks as we pave the road to our home in glory.  May we embrace each day as a challenge to find the path that God desires our feet to follow.

Prayer:

Father,

Help me to see the difficult times as preparation for a greater day.  Help me to embrace those that are hard to reach as a challenge which I must overcome with love and compassion.  Show me the true path that I am to follow in all adversities that I find in my life and guide me into your everlasting home.

Love Michael

What’s Really Real? Really?

1 Cor 13:12 says “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Often times we think we have a good handle on things and we believe that we understand what’s going on, but in reality something totally different is happening.  Things that are said can easily be taken in the wrong way and things that are unsaid are often misconstrued as an intentional kick in the teeth.  As a pastor I have often been on both sides of these misunderstandings, I have misunderstood others and had many misunderstand me.  Sometimes these unfortunate occurrences can lead people to leave a church and start searching for a new fellowship.  Outside of the church setting misunderstandings can lead to lost friendship, estranged family members and even broken marriages.

So how do we handle these most difficult situations?  WWJD?  First of all we need to remember that sometimes what we think is real, may only be a shadow of how things really are.  Until we meet Jesus face to face, our own perceptions of reality can never be fully trusted.  When we run into a case of misunderstanding I think Jesus would want us to address it in a spirit of love and understanding.  Go the extra mile to make things right.  Sometimes an apology (whether we feel we should have to make one or not) will salvage a valuable relationship.  Maybe you have a broken relationship in your life caused by misunderstanding – if so have you done everything you can to make it right?  You can not control the actions of others, the one thing you can control is how you deal with and respond to others. Look at it from a different point of view and remember that to them their version of what happened is just as real as yours is to you.

The last verse of 1 Cor 13 says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” When you aren’t sure of what is really real, you can be sure that the love of God through Christ Jesus is the ultimate reality that all Christians are called to embrace and demonstrate in their actions and words.

Prayer:

Father God,

You are love – teach me to deal with misunderstandings in a way that demonstrates your character within my own.

Love Michael