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When Daniel came over last night (what a blessing that my 18-year old wants to stop by to visit!) he briefly mentioned that he's been studying in James during his personal time with God and knows that his current challenges are being used by God to make him more who God wants him to be. (Double blessing that in this crazy world that God's goodness has reached into the life of my 18-year old and is holding him steadfast!)
Though he didn't speak of it I know that he's told me in the past that sometimes it's hard because he sees situations around him so differently than his unsaved contemporaries. He has lots of friends, many of whom don't yet know Jesus, and sometimes he feels alone because his reality differs from most of those around him.
I felt impressed this morning to do some studying about God's working in our lives through hardship and to maybe share a few verses with Daniel. These are the treasures that I was blessed by:
I adore the way Peterson paraphrases this passage in The Message, the 2nd part of verse 3-5 reads this way:
We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.
There's so much here....perspective-this life is just a very small part of the picture, the fact that the Holy Spirit in us prays when we don't know how, that God turns every single thing around to our good, but most of all....GLORY!!! His glory, and His working in us to participate in that Glory - WOW!
Ephesians 3:12-14, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8
Sometimes God allows our suffering to be used to help others. If it weren't for the fact that God's blessed me with children, I'm not sure how well I could understand this. To be candid, I basically struggle with selfishness; but I'd do anything for my kids. We have spiritual children too, or people who are watching us and that God uses our hardship and how we let Him empower us to deal with it, to witness of His greatness. Our example might till the soil of their hearts to be able to accept the Word when it comes.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10
It seems that hardship is an expected part of life, and that we can count on the Holy Spirit to see us through and give us joy in the midst of hard times.
2 Timothy 1:7-12
Again there's this thought that suffering is expected. But that God's grace, and His Holy Spirit in us, is more than enough to see us through. That our focus, our priorities, are to be on His Kingdom work.
2 Timothy 2:1-10
We've got this thought process going on that shows our desire above all else to please our God and Savior Christ Jesus. That we'll endure any hardship or suffering by His power in us so that we can participate in His Kingdom work and so that others might become part of this movement.
1 Peter 2:11-12
This is one of my favorite passages because it points out that our lives are not about this world and what we see in front of us. This passage is not directly about hardship or tribulations, but it's about focus; that our focus is not to be about this world but about His Kingdom.
Gosh, I started looking up these verses for Daniel, and I hope they're a blessing to him, but I know that I'm one who needs to meditate on them. That I need to keep in the forefront of my mind that my life was bought with a price and what I see in front of me in the day to day is not exactly what its all about. It's about letting Him re-frame what's in front of me so that I can make the most of every opportunity to advance His kingdom.
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