What a wonderful God we have–He is the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships, and trials.
~II Corinthians 1:3, LNT
Don’t treat people the way they treat you: treat them as God treats you.
I like modern translations. You can’t make it any plainer than the Living New Testament…“What a wonderful God we have!” When I read that my heart shouted ‘Amen’! Paul mentions hardships and trials and we all have them. Paul was a very little man, some believe he was less than five feet tall. I can see the little man syndrome in him. He is super aggressive and he does not think small. His mind was not small nor his heart. He may have been a little man but he had big courage. We don’t know the details but this little frame was thrown into the arena with wild beast while he was at Ephesus. How he survived the ordeal, no one knows but at the time, Paul thought that he was history. There was nothing he could do to save himself and obviously, he trusted God to do what he could not. All we know is that the lions didn’t eat him; he survived. What this trial did was make Paul stronger in his faith, more determined than ever to get the gospel to the Gentiles. Now Paul is using this experience to comfort and help others.
So, why does God allow us to have hardships and trials? Paul gives us five reasons right here in chapter one of second Corinthians:
- So that we can help others when they are going through trials and hardships.
- To increase our capacity for Grace–to make us more gracious and merciful.
- To use us as examples; positive illustrations of what God’s grace can do in us.
- To destroy our confidence in the flesh and to teach us to rely on God for every need.
- To make us thankful. I have never meet a truly grateful person who has not endured trials and hardships.
When I preach this, I add three others:  Hardships get us on our knees,  They draw us closer to Christ and they  Created a deep disatisfication with this world. I heard a story many years ago and I can’t remember exactly how it went but this is the jest. A man bought a piece of property and had it cleared leaving a series of huge brush piles. A neighbor living next to the property walked by one of the brush piles and noticed that a Robin had build a nest in the brush. Being a bird lover, he gently removed the nest and placed it in a safer location but the Robin rebuild the nest in the same brush pile. He tried several things to discourage the bird from building it’s nest in a pile of brush that would someday be burned but nothing worked. Finally the bird lover put some thorns in the nest and this worked. The Robin found itself another place to build its nest. The hardship and the trials are our thorns. They are to discourage us from making home in a world that has no future.
God was not satisfied with His children living in Egypt; that is not where He wanted them so He put some thorns in their nest, giving them the desire to get out of Egypt. He does the same for us. The song says it best, “You can have this whole world, give me JESUS!”
- Praise the LORD for another great VBS. They keep getting better and better. I had a ball this year and I think that is obvious. I make no decisions; all I have to do is what I am told and of course I take a few liberties…Mandy did not tell me to get a horn, that would be Jack. We averaged over 220 which is the best in recent history. The same trend continues, older children don’t attend VBS as they once did because they don’t want to. We live in a culture where kids rule and it is not a good thing. The none stop school activities don’t help either.
- Tonight we will begin our first VBS at Grace Point. We begin at 6:00 and go to 8:30. We begin with a meal, hallelujah! Grace Point reminds me of Lebanon, they love to eat and that is right down my alley.
- One of our goals this week is to get the DIGEST out. We also want to get the church yard sprayed a second time because the clover is coming back.
- The Blog is late due to me being exhausted: when I got home last night, I crashed!