Suffering

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“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God does not cause suffering, the broken world we live in does. The broken people who live in it ( including ourselves) do. God doesn’t cause suffering but He will use it to do a divine work of growth in you.

He will use it to grow the strength of your character, the perspective of perseverance and your capacity for hope.

Suffering can produce hope.

How? 

Because Jesus will use the suffering others cause to challenge every false belief,  reveal every lie that trips you up and shows you how to persevere when you want to quit. He will uncover the misconceptions you have about Him and open your eyes to see how even in the hardest of times, hope will hold on to you.

“The typical view fo the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different.”

– Oswald Chamber, My Upmost for His Hightest

 

Don’t give up.

Anchor yourself to His Word and hold on.

Today’s Challenges

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God will use today’s challenges to give you the skills you need for tomorrow’s assignment.

Look to Jesus to guide you through it and help you navigate all the way to the other side of it. Don’t give up halfway through. Storms do not last forever but the lessons you could learn from them will.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, God will use It to get you going in the right direction.

God will use whatever opposition is coming at you as an opportunity to grow your faith and character.

Let Him.

What is God using your current challenge to develop in you?

Opposition vs. Opportunity 


The challenge you are facing is a gift. It is an opportunity with a divine purpose.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

God will use today’s challenges to give you the skills you need for tomorrow’s assignment.

Look to Jesus to guide you through it and help you navagate all the way to the other side of it. Don’t give up halfway through. Storms do not last forever but the lessons you could learn through them will.

It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, God will use It to get you going in the right direction.

God will whatever opposition is coming at you as an opportunity to grow your faith and character. Let Him.

What is God using your current challenge to develop in you?

God Is Not Done


God is not done with you.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God will not abandon your character to chance or sacrifice your growth to unforeseen circumstances.

He knows where you are and what you are facing.

In fact, He will use the very conflict you are asking to get out of to grow you into the person He created you to be.

Hold on.

God is not done with you.

In fact, He has only just begun.

What the World Won’t Tell You

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭3‬ NIV)

The world won’t tell you to do nothing out of of selfish ambition, in fact it will tell you the opposite in dressed up terms like, “dream big and work hard“, and “believe in yourself“.

It won’t say that the way to get ahead is to step aside and help someone else.

It won’t tell you that to way to true success is to look at your motives more than your actions.

It won’t tell you those things but God will.

God is more interested in who you are than what you do.

He cares more about the quality of your soul than height of your success.

You will not take your worldly success or status into eternity. No title other than “saved by the grace of God” will matter there.

“Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭1-4‬ MSG)

God Is Not Done

God is not done with you.

You are a work in progress, his unfinished masterpiece, his precious treasure.

He will not abandon your character to chance or sacrifice your growth to unforeseen circumstances.

He knows where you are, what you need and what will happen.

In fact, he will use the very conflict you are asking to get out of to grow you into the person he created you to be.

Hold on, God is not done with you, yet.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. “(Philippians 1:6 NIV)

Going for the Gold

I am completely obsessed with the 2012 London Olympics. It is because of the “perfect storm” of my life: being on a stay-cation (vacation at home), having mobile devices (iPad, iPhone) and the live streaming capability of seeing it all wherever I am. I barely remember the last two Summer Olympics because we were neck deep in summer ministry. For the Beijing Olympics, I only got to see Michael Phelps win his 8 gold metals (I’m not complaining- it was pretty awesome). We were doing Sin City Outreach at the City Impact Center in Las Vegas. At the end of those very long, hot days I would huddle around this huge TV in a tiny condo living room and watch whatever was on. With a sleepy 6 year old and a hyped up 8 year old (Justin is never tired) we cheered Phelps on and felt that magical moment of knowing you just watched history being made. But that was it- I pretty much missed everything else.

All that to say- I am really enjoying the London Olympics and the time I have to get into them. I have no idea what my life will look like in four years. Life seasons change quickly. I might miss the next ones too. I know that my oldest son will be 16 (ek!), my baby will be 14 years old and I will have been married for 22 years. I know that I will be pursuing my purpose wholeheartedly and passionately equipping women to go after theirs. That is about it. That is all I can know and even then, the future is a mystery.

As I watch the Olympians go after their dreams, I am inspired and moved by their stories. I cheered on Ryan Lochte as he won his gold and held my breath on the team relay to see them grasp the silver. My heart just broke with Jordyn Wieber, the reigning World Champ Gymnast, when I watched the realization come over her face that she would not move on to compete for the all around gold metal. Even knowing what happens (because of twitter and live streaming) doesn’t lesson the impact of watching that moment.

It is another reminder that we just don’t know what life will bring us. Jordyn said bravely just moments after grappling with reality, “It is what it is.” For Jordyn, this experience is more about a test of her character rather than a test of her ability. She is clearly the reigning World Champ and one of the best gymnasts in the world. Bela Karolyi says that her character is the stuff of champions as well. We will see. She comes back to compete in the team and individual next few days.

When life throws us those kind of brutal curve balls, we find out that the real race isn’t to get a gold but to allow God to forge our character into pure gold.

“But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10 NKJV)

I am as inspired by how the athletes come back after a loss as I am by how they rejoice in the win. I am inspired by their passion, their sacrifice, their focus and the character that is forged by it all.

I don’t know how Michael Phelps will do in these games but I loved what his coach Bob Bowman said about him, “I don’t know if Michael is coming back to these games as a better swimmer but I know he is coming back a better person, he has matured.”

That, I think is the truest definition of going for the gold.

Photograph: Julia Hoyle/PA

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