Good morning Friends!
Never when I study
do I find some great truth to teach to others
without learning so much more
that I need to apply to myself.
When I began this study, I had much to overcome and to learn. And as I have gone through this study again for this post, I have found myself ever learning, and realizing more than ever how much I need to grow.
My prayer is, Dear LORD, increase my faith.
This lesson continues to be given as it was for our Ladies Day.
II. I shall not be moved from my hope in Christ ~
With all the discouragements we find on this earth is it easy to lose track of what our focus should be, our home in Heaven. I know. It’s easy to forget that this life is not about this life. It’s about the one to come. When our hearts are overflowing with anguish from the suffering we see our loved ones endure or that we are enduring ourselves, we can temporarily lose site of that hope. God knows that. That's why He gave us His word and His church to lift us up when we're having trouble shifting our focus from the sufferings of right now, to how it will be one day. If only we will stay grounded in His word, it will help us to focus on our hope of Heaven.
Heaven is real. It’s a real and perfect, beautiful, sin free, pain free, illness free, trouble free, joyful paradise that will be ours for all of eternity. We need to remember that. But Hell is real too. It’s a horrid bottomless pit of darkness, burning, weeping, pain and suffering that would make all the troubles of this life seem like nothing at all. We should live every day remembering it’s a real place that we don’t have to live for one second, let alone for all of eternity, because of the hope we have in Christ.
Satan wants us to lose sight of that. He wants us overwhelmed with sorrows, focused on all the struggles and troubles of this sin sick world, not focused on the joy that awaits us, the joy that will make every bit of this suffering on earth nothing but a dim memory. "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
Whether our discouragement comes in the form of physical suffering, illness, struggles with overcoming sin in our own lives, the effects of sins of others in our lives, financial troubles, or even discouragement from fellow Christians, God is faithful with an answer for any and all trials that come our way. Unfortunately, they will come to one and all. Being a Christian does not absolve or exclude us from experiencing pain and suffering. The wise man, Solomon wrote “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11
And in the New Testament “…He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45. Some suffering that takes place on this earth is simply a result of the natural laws that God has set in motion, such as the laws of gravity or inertia, laws that we can not live without, but that can result in serious physical suffering in the case of an accident such as a fall from a building, or a car wreck. Other suffering is brought on by men’s sins, resulting in trouble for themselves or others. Still other trials are brought on by living in a sin sick world that now has numerous genetic mutations in our gene pool that cause multiple and varied illnesses.
Knowing all of this, God inspired the Psalmist to write, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;” Psalm 46:1-2. He is a God of constant, unfailing love, mercy, grace and hope, and He reminds us of this hundreds of times over in His word of the hope he has for us.
Paul shares “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
He continues in chapters 4 & 5 “Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
Listen also to Peter’s powerful words! “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 Aren't those powerful words! He is talking about preparation here, hard defensive action to muster a defense against the wiles of the devil. He goes on to warn in chapter 5:8-10 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
Through all of our suffering and distress we must remember to “Cast all our care upon Him, for He careth for you” 1 Peter 5:7. We simply are not strong enough to do it on our own. We must lean upon Christ and on one another, as we are told in Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When our sisters in Christ are too weary to lift their heads, when their hearts are too weakened by pain and fear, we need to do more than just point them again in the right direction. We need to put our arms around them and lead them back to the hope we have in Christ. We need to read for ourselves and for them verses such as Romans chapter eight. We need to see and hear our blessed assurance that God is always here for us.
“What shall we then say to these things: If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter; Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If we remember these things, we shall not be moved.
All that we are suffering will one day be gone. We are going to make it through to the other side some day!
Let's just keep studying Our Holy Father's word,
and keep our focus on our Hope.
Along with these two things, we, as women, have a third tenet to focus upon if we want to stand firm. That final point on staying rooted and grounded in love has to do with our roll as women in the church and the unique work we have to do.
Our final point to follow soon.
Much love to you all.