Hard Stuff


II Peter 1:5-9 (NASB), “for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

Life is tough, living in this fallen world isn’t always easy, and we have an enemy who loves to tempt our fleshly nature to take over. On top of all of that, sometimes we are just plain stupid and we do stupid things, think stupid thoughts, and say stupid words. One of my favorite quotes is a John Wayne quote: “Life if hard, it is even harder when you are stupid.”

That kind of stupid can only be fixed by one kind of education, educating yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit, in the word. Finding out who God really is and how He thinks of you. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a Christian keeps you from living a life that is harder than it has to be.

I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV), “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Sure we all go through stuff, hard stuff, ugly stuff, and unwanted stuff. Stuff happens! We don’t get to choose what we are handed, but we do get to choose how we handle it. I want to learn from my mistakes, don’t you? In fact I would prefer to learn from other’s mistakes and not have to deal with it in a close and personal way, but sometimes I am hard headed and hard hearted and God allows me to go through the fire to get rid of the junk. When I do, if I really surrender to Him, I come out looking, feeling, and living better. The dross is skimmed off of the top and all that is left is the precious metal. Like silver and gold that goes thru the furnace so that it can be purified, I come out stronger, with more faith, and more confidence in the Father.

Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to so that our lives get better. We stand in the gap for a loved one (or an enemy). We do the job no one wants, we work out things in our lives that shouldn’t be there, when the easy thing is to just pretend it isn’t there. We tell others when we mess up, we confess our sin, we repent, turn back to God and move on. I choose to obey God, to follow instructions, to submit to those in authority over me because they watch over my soul.

When I do this I grow up, I mature. My weaknesses are shored up, and my strengths are used for His glory.

Today I will do what others want so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” – Football player Jerry Rice

We all go through the same stuff, but in Christ, we don’t lose our joy over it.

I Won’t Be Moved!

House built on Rock[1]

Psalm 125:1 (NAS), “A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.”

We all go through stuff, from a “bad day,” to acute trauma. Its part of the human experience, part of the earth cursed system. We live in Satan’s domain, right in his territory. He doesn’t like us born-again-believers. He fights us tooth and nail, (that’s a metaphor, because Jesus has pulled his teeth, he can only roar). So, life can be hard. Loved ones pass away, jobs are lost, and sometimes we just make very bad choices with uncomfortable consequences. However, if we belong to God, if we name Jesus as Lord and Savior, we don’t have to let all that shaking dislodge us!

Proverbs 10:25 (NASB), “When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”

We all go through it, saved and unsaved. The difference, and it is a huge one, is that we don’t get blown away. Our foundation is everlasting. We are like the wise man who builds his house on the rocks.

Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV), “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

God doesn’t bring the storm. I have to make that clear. Storms aren’t a “punishment” from God. He doesn’t bring sickness, poverty, troubles, or trials. Jesus said being in this world we would have trouble, but to be of good cheer, He overcame the world. (John 16:33). This world fell, and is falling. If you haven’t noticed it gets darker and uglier by the day. People say all the time, “What’s this world coming to?” I think the answer is clear, “the end.” This time more than ever we need to stand on God’s word and His promises. Do what He says to do. I love the way the Amplified Bible says “the uncompromisingly righteous.” We can’t compromise. We can’t try to keep one foot in the world and one in Heaven. There is no dual citizenship for those who are Children of God. We can’t serve two masters.

The great news is that if we serve Him, without being double minded, those storms pass us by. Sure there may be a few broken branches, maybe a shingle in the yard, but our house will not be moved! We can’t be shaken. In these last days God said that He would shake everything.

Haggai 2:6 (NIV), “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.

Joel 3:14-16 (NIV), “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is ear in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.”

This shaking will be for the unsaved, those trying to straddle the fence. Those who teeter on that dangerous high wire, they will fall on one side or the other. The final choice will be made.

I want to live on a firm foundation, not a slippery slope. I want to know and be confident that God’s ways are good and perfect. I want to stay rooted and grounded in His Love and remain steadfast, unmoving.

I may shake and tremble at times. I may stand afraid, but I will stand, and I will not be moved!