Friday, February 9, 2024

Lessons aren't what We think

Lessons aren't what We think
by David Brenneman 

"Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

"Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness." 2 Corinthians 11:23-30

In his life, there is no doubt that Paul, even when he was Saul, was thoroughly convinced of his identity. In his road to Damascus experience, he was thoroughly silenced. After Ananias visited him, there was no silencing the soon to be great Apostle to the Gentiles. Akin to Isaiah's experience of having his iniquity taken away, he became unstoppable in Christ Jesus.   

In the life of Joseph...he goes from a normal day of a teenager right into having all his rights stripped away and being sold into slavery. Living among people whom he didn't know how to communicate with. Still...Scripture says that God was with him. 

The lessons brought by the Spirit are not what we might think that they are. It took probably a dozen years for Joseph to understand his own dreams and that they indeed WERE a precursor to saving his family.  

Paul's lessons were as unique to Paul as Joseph's were to Joseph. Likewise as yours are to you. 

At his beginning we read what Jesus said to Ananias...that Paul would be shown how much he would suffer. Paul did indeed suffer, but the fruits were evident.  
We read in the opening passage from his letter to the Philippians of things that he had learned. 

We too are in the midst of lessons to be learned.  

The real question is are we paying attention?

I often pray that I might not miss the point of the things in my life that I am going through that are indeed lessons from God. 

To not consider such things is often the real reason of the anxiety of some. Paul suffered from anxiety often. He wrote about it. Anxiety happens and we read of how to deal with it when our minds are clear enough to accept the answers.  

Life is life, as Mark Lowry said it, it's a series of ups and downs. Hills, valleys, mountains and low places. We come to Christ, we can expect what? An abundant life. A life with higher highs and lower lows than we thought possible. In all of this, we find the truth of being His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. In this we find that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. 

Being anxious for nothing isn't a pill to take when anxiety hits. It's learned over time.  

Some of my most anxiety laced dreams are of driving on a road and all I see is the horizon. Can never see over the hill ahead. Never knowing what's coming. 

The reality is even in such situations, my Savior is right there with me.  

It takes time for me to focus on that particular truth to the point of noticing that He's not panicking and to take solace in that. 

It took Joseph about 18 years to learn a language and a culture that wasn't his own.  

We know not how long the trials of Job lasted.

We know not how many days and what all transpired between Jesus and Paul after he met him on the road to Damascus and he went silent.  

We know of the faith chapter in Hebrews 11.  

Anxiety happens. Many times our greatest fear isn't going to happen. Many times we just need to sit with Jesus until we can breathe again. Maybe many times our denial of it makes it worse. We put on a front of calm when we really aren't.  

What we, individually, are going through after coming to Christ at its core is to become more like Christ. What paths we take to get there are dependent upon our learning the lessons brought and our obedience, our repentance, where needed and where necessary. 

God does not bring punishment upon Believers. Scripture is very clear that there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Until Peter let go of the boat after stepping on the water, he was not going to see the works of Jesus in him. 

If life is indeed rough for you, you're in good company. Rest in your relationship with Jesus. We often think we must keep doing something but miss out on resting. 

Mary n Martha...Jesus would not take away what Mary found in resting at the feet of Jesus.  

Are you in need of rest but keep pushing the thought far from you? 

Are you constantly wondering why situations keep repeating themselves in your life?

Are you thinking that what you're going through is only happening to you?

Jesus is waiting for you to rest in Him. Go back to Psalm 23. When you're feeling wounded, lean on Him until you can walk again. When it's not making sense, sometimes it's best to just be silent until it does. 

Dr. Charles Stanley said in a Life Principle that adversity will only last as long as is necessary to achieve the will of God for you.  

I said earlier that I pray that I don't miss the lessons that I am being taught. I may be smart but I am not that smart to recognize some things in life. It's not how my brain works. 

Pray on, pray over, pray through. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

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