Here are some essays that can serve as good food for thought.
» Glory in Tribulations
» Life after Being Saved
In the Garden – We Glory in Tribulations
This essay on tribulations comes from a friend, Pastor Bruce Patterson of Northside Baptist Church.
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." – 2nd Corinthians 12:9
Our access to God as those who are justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ does not mean that every time we come boldly to the throne of grace with a prayer request that God will give us the answer we seek. What we are promised in Hebrews 4:16b is "that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Three times Paul besought the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh from him. It would be gracious indeed that if every time we had a problem be it physical, spiritual, emotional, financial or what ever, that God would simply remove the problem for us. But prayer is not to get God to do what we want as if He is some sort of a puppet on a string, it is to enable us to do His will.
Paul as promised found mercy and grace at the throne of grace to help him in his time of need. But that grace was not grace to remove his thorn, but grace that enabled him to glory in his infirmities and grace that gave him the power of Christ to serve God faithfully despite his infirmities.
Paul says in Romans 5:3, "we glory in tribulations." Tribulation presses us like a grape or an olive to get the best that is in us out. Tribulation does not get the best we can do out of us. It brings us to the point where our best is a futile effort. It brings us to the point where the power of Christ must rest upon us to enable us to continue. Then we will glory in the strength and power of God not in our own strength. Then those that see our good works will glorify our Father in heaven. Then those around us will ask the reason of the hope that is in us – even in the midst of tribulation. Then our lives and our words can share the reason: God has shed His mercy and grace upon us through His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our reason for hope.
Life after Being Saved
Have you ever wondered why God does not call us home right after salvation? Well I have. And while reading in the Gospel of Mark chapter 1, I believe that God has shown me an answer to this question.
The Bible says in Mark 1:2-3, "As it is written in the prophets I send my messenger before thy face , which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His path straight." (KJV)
In that passage of scripture, the phrase that jumped out at me was the phrase, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" And that's it. That's the answer to the question that for so long had puzzled me. It's so simple.
We are here on this earth to "Prepare the way of the Lord."
You may ask yourself "How can I prepare the way of the Lord? Well I am glad you asked. You can prepare the way of the Lord for your children.
If God has blessed you with children, He has given you the responsibility of raising them up in a Godly manner. We must prepare the way of the Lord so that when they are passed the age of innocence they will have seen our Godly example and walk the path that we (hopefully) have faithfully made for them. Then we can tell our children, as Paul told the church, "Follow me as I follow Christ."
You might say, "The children are grown and out of the house." Well, if you have grandchildren you are still able to prepare the way of the Lord for those little blessings that God has allowed you the opportunity of helping to raise.
You may say, "I have no children or grandchildren." Well, you can prepare the way of the Lord for your friends, family, and co-workers. Those in your sphere of influence need to have the opportunity of knowing the Lord. Please live a Godly life so that others may see Christ in you and accept Him as Savior and live forever in heaven.
The last group of people for whom you can prepare the way of the Lord is the folks you don't yet know. By your life and testimony, God may lead a stranger to you to ask you about why you are different from the rest of the "crowd." At that point you will be able to share Christ with them.
They may not make a positive decision for Christ at that time, but our job is to tell the Good News. It is the Holy Spirit's job to bring the increase. The Bible says that some plant, and some water, but God giveth the increase.
So when you feel tired and want to retire to heaven, remember we are here to "Prepare the way of the Lord."
(KJV = King James Version)