Making the Most of our Problems

Problems and problematic people continue to exist in our lives for certain seasons. And, though we may not feel like it, we need to remember the truth that God is in control.

  1. Problems and problematic people play a role in testing us – especially our faith. Do we keep on trusting God in all situations? Particularly so, when we get the much desired relief from God, do we see the need to trust God. When we are free from our problems we need to be very careful. For when we do let our guards down and stop feeling the need to trust God – pop – the problems come back.
  2. Problems and problematic people exist for the purpose of training us – especially our character. It would do good for us in great measure if we can begin to see our life more like a preparatory school and battleground experience combined – to make us what God wants us to be for eternity. Sadly, we prefer to see our life like a picnic or an extended vacation. So, whether we are presently having problems or we are going through a time of relief – having the mindset of a learner/disciple that recognizes the ongoing battle would greatly help our growth and fruitfulness.

Life offers immense opportunities for us to grow in faith and character. And it is possible for those who have received the grace of God to trust God for victory every time and all the times.

The early chapters of the book of Judges teach us that – God did not drive out the Canaanite people groups for some reasons. The primary reason being to test their faith in God and the secondary reason was to train them for war.

However, instead of understanding what God intended for them through these circumstances, we find the people defeated in faith, defeated in their character, and also defeated before their enemies. The people were leading confused lives.

Every act of deliverance from God and the years of rest that followed offered them valuable lessons to learn and also mend their ways, which they failed to do.

Do we who call ourselves God’s people live miserable lives under the heavy yoke of defeat and hopelessness or do we soar high in the strength of God as more than conquerors in Jesus Christ?

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Faith has Great Backing!

We are called to walk by faith and not by sight.

The walk of faith seems like a journey into the unknown. Often, deep into the unknown.

And sometimes like a journey into the depths of the ocean.

The biggest challenge is in not having the desirable level of control that walking by sight seems to provide.

Abraham walked the walk of faith in his call to offer his son, his only son, Isaac.

What kept him going was nothing but faith in God whom he knew to be absolutely faithful.

As far as he looked ahead – there was nothing to be seen as providence from God whose character he deeply trusted.

But, then after God stopped him from harming his son – behind him was a ram that was offered up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (ESV)

So, there was nothing to be seen ahead of him – walk of faith.

But, behind him was a ram that was offered instead – providence of God.

In our own walk of faith – we may have nothing to look forward to in concrete terms – but we do have Jesus Christ our Lord walking just behind us, though we may not be aware.

Jesus Christ – the ultimate and perfect offering – is always behind us in our walk of faith.

No doubt when we are victorious we win by his backing and when we fall we only fall into his wounded hands.

May the God of Abraham give us victory in our walk of faith because He is always close behind us;  whether we realize it presently or if He chooses to surprise us later on. Amen.

Do We Choose Life or Do We Choose Death

One Sabbath day Jesus went to the synagogue.

There was a man there with a withered hand.

There were also people there waiting to find fault with Jesus.

Jesus upholds life and goodness.

The people bent on finding fault with Jesus are silent, and wickedly so.

Jesus is angry at them. Their silence actually revealing their hardened hearts that did not want to be helped by the teaching or reasoning of the Lord. Such silence is nothing but a deafening wail of the dying, of those who are very dead on the inside.

The man in need receives life and goodness as he is lovingly healed by Jesus Christ.

The people who wanted to find fault with Jesus are now convinced of their mission in life. they want to destroy Jesus.

They uphold death and evil!

 

The scene at that synagogue may be compared to the scene at the garden of Eden.

God is, on the one hand, upholding life and goodness. We do not read about any restriction from God for eating from the tree of life until they had sinned.

The ‘old serpent,’ on the other hand, was teaching them to find fault with God. Eve’s assertion about death by disobeying God  was easily brushed aside by the cunning serpent.

The sly and slithering serpent stuck to his argument – “What is life until you go out of the confines of God who is somewhere up there….”

They quickly earned their ‘freedom’ and also found themselves in league with the serpent subject together to the law of death.

 

Back to the scene in the synagogue –

The Creator God is there, offering life and goodness, to mend and make right what all is withered because of sin and death.

His motive is love. He cannot bear to see us withered. If not on the outside definitely we are all withered up on the inside, and also wasting away to death and the possible eternal damnation in hell.

There are many who would, like that man, draw near to Jesus Christ and be made whole.

There are also those who would rather buy into the lie of the serpent that God should be destroyed.

 

If only we can keep on depending on God and thus be made whole and also remain so. Thus, receive life and goodness from God.

Or do we go away, walking in arrogance, blinded by the thought that we do not need God.

 

God alone, help us still, and keep us forever. For ever we only depend on you Holy Father along with Your Holy Son and the blessed Holy Spirit, Amen.

Moving our Problems Towards Jesus!

Certain problems in our life can render us to an incapacitated state. We are hardly able to move. We come to a standstill.

However, a closer examination of our condition may show that we may actually be exaggerating our condition and much of what we feel may be the overarching influence of fear, distaste, prejudice, etc.

Probing deeper, we can relate our life situation to one of the three ways as give below:

  1. Life is not reduced to a paralyzed state but we are only thinking and lamenting in those lines.
  2. Life is sort of reduced to an incapacitated state but we can, with God’s grace, shrug it off and move on.
  3. Life is actually at a dead end. There is no way available and no movement is possible.

Though it may sound like over-simplifying – “movement helps.”

We need to move.

If only we can move our condition or problem and present it before the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ –

Rather than making passive reference about our problems in prayer – if we can, with determination, bring the issue, as it is, to Jesus Christ – then Jesus can bring great changes.

Some people brought a paralyzed man to Jesus Christ who was carried by four people. They were determined enough to ‘dig through’ the roof (NRSV) and present him before our Lord.

And then Jesus, forgiving his sins, heals him and makes him stand up, take up his mat and go home.

If we can dig through all the things that keep us away from Jesus, and if we put our problems before Him – then Jesus will do for us what He did for the paralyzed man!