Posts tagged ‘enemies’

February 5, 2013

Trials Make You Stronger

by pastortimfowler

rejoice1

I know its been a while and the blogs are further in between this year so far. Things have been very hectic and very trying in this first part of 2013. While I was planning on blogging through the Bible, I have found it hard to find the time to do as much as I originally planned. Today as I was preparing for my men’s Bible study on Thursday nights, I was reading in 2 Thessalonians and was inspired and encouraged by Paul’s words to this early bunch of Christians. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 … Your suffering proves that God’s judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom.
I am not comparing my suffering to that of a martyr or even that of the early church, but I have learned that anyone’s sufferings are real and challenging to them at the time. As I told you a while back, our church had a fire that smoked out a whole side of our building that included my office. My office is my sanctuary for study and thought and prayer and I do a lot of planning for our church there. Not being able to use it makes me feel like I am out of touch or at least out of sync with the church. That and the fact that dealing with insurance and contractors can be enough to challenge anyone’s faith, has made it a long 3 months.

Spiritual warfare comes in many forms. It can be as simple as strained relationships and as complex as attacks on one’s faith. It seems that mine have been on many levels. During this time I try to keep a smile on my face and my focus on helping others, but the smiles seem to be forced more than natural and the faith of knowing I am doing God’s will has been challenged with each decision. I have to continually remind myself that I am fighting battles that are not about people or me, but about people’s souls. The strained relationships cause tensions that make it hard to show love and feel love. Although I know love is not about one’s feelings, I also know that without the feelings it must be continually reminded in order to not forget who you love.
God has promised us victory over our enemies. He has promised to be with us in every situation and that His love is greater than my love. My challenge is to depend on His love when mine is weakened. Showing love is not always about a smile. It can be about difficult circumstance that makes happiness depend more on joy and peace rather than good times and good feelings.

So as I was reading this, I was reminded that suffering for Christ of any kind is part of being worthy of God’s kingdom. Worthy only because of what Christ did and never because of what I do and what I feel. That makes me feel better.
So if you find yourself feeling down and out or like you can’t stand anymore in the face of the attacks that are surrounding you, remember that Christ suffered for doing no wrong. He suffered for my wrong and your wrong and gladly bore our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven and made righteous and worthy of His kingdom.

I thank God that my feelings do not mean I am not loved. I thank God that He feels the same about me regardless of my feelings and that His feelings for me are pure love and unchanging. I thank Him that I am counted worthy to suffer for His cause and that I am in the battles that mean so much. Even if I fail, He will not. And if I fail while loving and serving Him, then I am ever bit as worthy of His kingdom and will never be condemned because of Christ’s work and not my own. Trials make you stronger because the Bible says when we are weak, then He is strong. Thanks God. I await your strength and thank you for the trials.

March 9, 2011

Why Tribulation?

by pastortimfowler

The Bible says that it is through tribulation that our patience grows. Whys that? It would have been a lot easier to be patient if we were waiting through a really good ice cream sundae or a parade of our favorite songs on the radio. But no, God chose tribulation or troubles. You have to have had “one of those days” to understand where I am coming from. You know, the ones that everyone and everything seemed to be going against you and your plans.
God even says that the first thing love is, is patient. Now I am expecting the wife to come home in a bad mood. Somehow I would have never put love, patience and tribulation in the same thought pattern. Like the old Sesame Street song says, “one of these things is not like the other…”
I have been around someone all day that gets on every one of my last three nerves. The way they talk, the way they look, and even the way they think bothers me. I was ready to slap them if given half a chance. I kept thinking, come one step closer, please, then BAM! Let them have it.
But God says to love even our enemies. I say “I need more patience to do that.” God says “okay, you can see them again tomorrow.” I say, “but that will cause trouble.” God says, “then you will have more patience.” I say, “I don’t want any more patience.” God says, “I feel the same about you sometimes.” I say, ‘ but you love me, God,” God says, “and that takes a lot of patience, Tim.”
You just can’t win an argument with God. But it think I will take some ice cream now.