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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons..

I was looking through Stephen & Carson's latest yearbook last week and was captivated with the 8th grade section. Much to my laughing pleasure, each 8th grade student had a quote under their picture. I must admit, I was laughing so hard at some of the quotes that I thought I was going to cry. Most of the girls gave nice quotes about their future and what's in store, however, most of the boys wrote hilarious quotes. One that I thought a lot about went like this, "When life gives you lemons, freeze them & throw them back harder."

Here's the fact, life is hard. There are throughout our lives a lot of proverbial lemons thrown our way. This is a principle taught throughout Scripture. No where in Scripture are we even remotely told that the Christian life would be easy. Christian people still get terminal illnesses, lose babies, face financial hardships, etc. Life is hard, but as a believer, we can find comfort through Scripture. 

I want to share with you some Scriptures that speak to the trials and tribulations of this world, but also give the believer encouragement in the midst of those times.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Here Jesus is ending His earthly ministry. He is on His way to the cross and wants to help His disciples. Jesus, knowing the onslaught that was around the corner for the disciples, warns them that they are going to face tribulation. That is to say, life is going to be hard, however, they should not lose faith because Jesus has already overcome the world. Friend, we don't fight for victory, but we fight from victory! The war has been won by God, and He will stand victorious in the end. Be of good cheer that you are a victor through Jesus Christ.

"Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22

The context of this verse is astonishing. The Apostle Paul had just been stoned, dragged out of Lystra, and left for dead. When they found him, he was alive. He then went right back to proclaiming the Gospel that he had just been left for dead. As he returned, he was exporting the believers not to quit because of what they will face. Here's the point, if you are going to go to Heaven, then you are going to get there through many trials and tribulation. Paul knew this truth, oh so well, and it would do us well to remember it. Paul knew the glories of the kingdom of God far surpassed the tribulations of this life.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed." 1Peter 4:12-13

Peter, writing to Christians, implored them to not think it uncommon that why face severe testing. In other words, get used to it because it is going to be happening quite often. Instead of sulking during these times, Peter tells us to rejoice. We rejoice because we are sharing in the suffering of Christ. Now this doesn't mean that we suffered like Christ, but rather that we are suffering for Christ. It is our allegiance to Him that has caused the world to hate us, therefore, they attack us. The great thing about a test is that you gain valuable wisdom through each one. We are to use that wisdom to help us during the next one.

Be of good cheer, believer. The same God who saved you is the same God that will sustain you. May we look at our trials as an opportunity for God's glory to shine through our lives for the world to see.

Be further encouraged by one of my favorite pastors on this same subject John Piper.