It’s a Hard Knock Life or Is It?

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I love Jeremiah 29:11 as seen in the photo above. We’ve been talking about suffering. Depending on where we are focused, on the evil in the world or on God, determines whether it’s a hard knock life or an adventure with God. Let me unpack this statement.

If I were a person who had an easy life, you could dismiss me and move on. I have not had the luxury of an easy life. It’s been filled with challenges just like your life. I know what it’s like to be abandoned, rejected, persecuted for my faith, to watch someone I love die a slow and painful death to cancer, to experience my own health issues, and I’ve cheated death numerous times including a car accident that left me trapped in my car under water. I understand pain; physical, emotional, and mental pain. The problem with pain is that if that’s where we stop, it’s not the full story.

Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. He came so that we could be free! It does not mean a life free of problems, challenges, heartache, or pain. It does mean we have a Healer, Comforter, Advocate, and someone who suffered beyond what we could bear or would even dare to bear. Many of us would bypass the cross for the pain of it was beyond our ability to handle. We have someone who will never leave or forsake us (Duet 31:6). We have someone who bottles our tears (Psalm 56:8). We have someone who is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

So I ask, “What is the purpose of this life?” If it’s to be comfortable, then we will never be fully happy. If it’s to win the approval of people, that’s another unsure thing. If it’s to be rich and wealthy, money can not go with us. If it’s to have all the pleasure we can consume, then we end up addicts and slaves to what feels good.

I believe the purpose of life to be the following:

1. To know God. Knowing God trumps all the world can offer. He’s simply the best, better than all the rest.  Knowing Him is more valuable than anything this world has to offer. For this life is but a whisper in comparison to eternity. We will reign with Him forever and ever!

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness,~Jeremiah 31:3.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you,~Jesus. John 14:2.

Because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,~2 Corinthians 4:14-18.

We have a greater life coming. A life with no sickness, no sorrow, no death, no fatigue, no evil, no sin, and we will be reunited with loved ones who died before us loving Christ. Jesus paid for a better ending! An ending that is unfathomable. He also paid for a better today. We have a friend for our time here on earth; to learn about Him, to be with Him, to become more like Him. He still heals, comforts, and provides in this life. He gave us the Holy Spirit so we have a Helper. He did not leave us powerless or without help.

2. To Make Him Known. We are His ambassadors of love in the world. We are not here just taking up space until Jesus returns. We are called to live a life that helps others, blesses others, and demonstrates God’s love to the world. When the purpose of life is to make Him known, the journey is more enjoyable. Anything we go through can be a testimony of God’s greatness for another. I am truly inspired by people who overcame tremendous obstacles and continued to trust God. It causes me to trust Him even more. You may be someone’s inspiration. You may lead others to Jesus with your story! You are here for a reason.

Lastly, I will say if you have pain in your body, I am praying for healing.  If you have pain in your emotions or mind, I am praying you are healed. By His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). We don’t ignore pain, dismiss pain, or pretend we don’t have pain. We take all pain to the Healer. Often we cry or mourn. We lean on Jesus. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory, ~Isaiah 61;3.

God has prepared something great for you. It may not seem like it right now, but the best is yet to come! Hold fast to hope. This life is 100 years at the most, eternity is forever (no end). God is working things together for a blessed future for you and not just in eternity-here and now as well! You are deeply loved.

 

The Perfect Father’s Discipline

The Perfect Father’s Discipline

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clipart

Written by Erin Lamb, all rights reserved.

God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love, ~Psalm 145:8.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is
patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to
repentance, ~2 Peter 3:9.

Dear friends, nothing raises more arguments than the subject of how God disciplines His children. Some cling to the Old Testament examples of God striking people dead while others believe that God is okay with whatever we do. Let’s allow the pendulum to swing to truth and dissect a perfect parent’s discipline.

1. The Perfect Father protects. God is holy (has no fault; He is perfection) .God hates sin. Why? Sin is falling short of His standard. He is spotless, and sin is pollution. Sin also separates us (His children) from the best life possible. Sin is like cancer, it multiplies and destroys its host. Think of it this way, we keep poisons away from children. We tell them no when they try to get to them. We do these things out of love. We know more than they know that what they are after leads to death. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, ~Romans 6:23. Adam and Eve didn’t die physically when they sinned but they did die a spiritual death. We too suffer when we choose our way above God’s way. He is always right. So…

The Perfect Father points His children away from things that will harm them, especially sin. He doesn’t say no because He hates us or wants to spoil the party. He knows that sin will lead to our destruction. God is love, life, peace, hope, and joy.

2. God disciplines primarily through words, not killing people. If you pick up a Bible and read it, you will notice God spoke to people either directly or through someone else to warn them of their behavior. He asks questions. Why did you do this? If He was out to kill every person who didn’t do what He said, then we would all be in trouble. Adam was the first sinner. He directly disobeyed God. Adam lived.  Abraham lied on several occasions and he lived. He became a great father of faith. David committed adultery and had someone killed to have their wife. David lived and was called a man after God’s own heart. God never condones bad behavior. He does however give us a chance to repent (change our ways), and He is generous with forgiveness. See 2 Peter 3:9.

4. God knows our hearts and weaknesses. Some of us do the wrong thing and have no idea we are falling short. There are some of us who willingly do the wrong thing. God knows whether we understand or we don’t understand. For example a parent would have a different response to a 2-year-old who destroys something in the house and a teenager. Either way, God is patient with us. If He weren’t, I certainly would not be typing to you.

5. God is not out to get you. There are so many people who have an unhealthy fear of God. It is true that we reverence Him as God. However, He is not sitting in the heavens looking down for someone to pick on. He is not cruel or blood-thirsty. God is love. More than anything He wants a relationship with His children, to protect them from harm, and to bless His offspring. Jesus came not to destroy the world, but to save it so we could all be reconciled to the Father (John 3:17).

6. The Perfect Father gives freedom. God gives us many chances to choose the right path before He allows us to be turned over to our own desires. He pursues our best interests right up until the point we say, “I don’t need or want you.” I have seen people self-destruct not because of what God was doing, but because of their own poor choices.  Even still, if they turn around and want Him, He runs with arms wide open (think..prodigal son story-Luke 15:11-25)

Lastly, just like the photo in this post, God is looking at you with the eyes of love. He is saying, “This is my child and I want nothing more than to be in this moment with you. I am so glad I made you.”  God is a loving, patient, and caring Father. My prayer is any ideas of Him you have that contradict that truth are uprooted. He does not want to harm you, but to give you an amazing life. You are deeply loved.