Saturday, October 24, 2020

When we appear to lose...we must choose

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the 
flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls … 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17–18

At times it seems that everything around you is collapsing. Endeavors you invested in may fail. People to whom you minister may disappoint you. The business or career you worked hard to build may crumble. These times, as difficult as they are, are opportunities to stop and examine what is truly important to you.

Habakkuk witnessed the collapse of most of what mattered to him. Yet through the loss, failure, and disappointment, he was able to distinguish between what was precious to him and what was transitory and empty. He came to the point where he could sincerely say that even if everything around him failed, he still would rejoice in God. If the fig tree bore no fruit; if the vine produced no grapes; if the flocks and herds stopped reproducing; he would still praise God. His praise might not come easily, as he watched everything fall short of his expectations, but he would praise God nonetheless. Habakkuk could not make fig trees produce figs. He could not control the productivity of the flocks and herds, but he could control his own response to God. He chose to praise the Lord.
Do things seem to be falling apart around you? You can still praise God. Your praise for Him does not depend on the success of your endeavors but on God's nature and His love and faithfulness to you. Ask God to help you look past worldly concerns to understand the reasons you have to praise Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh this one certainly fits 2020.  The year's description of itself being that which we see more clearly.  

But do we?  Do I?  Is our 'world' more important than our walk with God?  Is our being at ease more important than what we do or can do for God?  

Spurgeon, in his devotional today was talking about the dangers of sleeping as a Christian.  Of what happens to them that get too comfortable with no temptation.  Stating that the most dangerous temptation of all is not to have any temptations.  

There's a passage in Proverbs that mentions as iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another. 

Interestingly there was a Star Trek episode where all that the inhabitants did was enjoy all pleasures with no stress at all, no strife.  It was a trap. To sinful, unrepentant, unatoned for humanity it is a trap.  Only those who've had their sins erased by the blood of Jesus can afford to understand true peaceful life in Heaven where the promise of peace both exists and is fulfilled without any hint of temptation. 

Jesus promised that in this world we would have tribulations. We would have struggles.  Trees that grow big and strong only do so when they hold their ground, literally, in the storm!  Our roots, as believers, only grow deeper in Christ as we experience pain, trials and temptations.  We learn to rejoice in the Lord. Because in those trials and temptations we can rely on Christ. If we were always at ease we wouldn't see the need to have a relationship with Jesus.  He would be no more than one tool among many in a tool chest.  

We indeed face a great many things in this world today.  Yet we cannot lose sight of the truth that it is us who can still choose to worship God in the storm.  We choose to praise Him when things are going well, it is still us who choose to during the hard times.  Habakkuk was told in advance of what and who was coming and why.  He and everyone else were about to be in a situation where things were going to be out of their control.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  

Do you remember to always rely on Christ?  I don't always, but, I am striving to do so.  I often try to pray throughout the day.  Because I often don't know which way to go, of what to say or not say.  People may think that I have some incredible way about things at work, but the truth is it's not me.  It's Jesus keeping His promise. The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs.  I ask Jesus to control my mind and my mouth when I am at work.  I cannot fail when I am directed by my Savior.  I cannot go wrong when He leads me. Neither can you. 

Our lives are not our own, if we are in Christ.  We live for Jesus.  That's the Biblical truth. The sultry sensual world would tell Christians to take it easy, to stop n smell the roses.  To stay away from things that cause you angst.  To relax. You deserve peaceful enjoyment of life.  You deserve this thing or that pleasure.  
As the song goes the highway leads to glory but it's no easy ride, you'll find all kinds of exits to throw you off your stride. Some will lead to fortune and others lead to fame, some will lead you so far off you won't return again. Oh you must stay between the white lines, never pass for the yellow lines and you'll get to Heaven right on time...
That's an interesting play on what Paul also says about Christian's being both soldier's who serve Jesus as well as runners in a race that must run with the point being to win.  Distractions in this world will take your mind off of God.  Even the NFL is on record to say that Sunday's used to belong to the Church, now it belongs to them. 

Do you follow the world or do you follow Christ?  You must decide. 
Do you seek only comfort and nothing more?  Or are you following Christ?
The only Biblical retirement Plan begins when we enter Heaven, for those in Christ Jesus.  Without Christ it begins at death then arrival in Hell.  Retirement is the reward, what you get for how you worked, or lived.  The wages of sin is death. Separation from God. Hell.  For those in Christ, He paid those wages in full. For them that are in Christ, there is no separation from God. They enter into Heaven.  Two destinations that are arrived at by YOUR choice. 

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