No where in Gods word does it say that life will be easy. In fact it says just the opposite. If we live Godly we will suffer persecution. Also there will be times when God prunes us so that we may bring forth more and better fruit. This pruning process can be painful as God works to strip away things in our lives that hold us back and teach us things that will make us more Christlike. No believer gets a free pass or is exempt from hard times. No amount of obedience will keep us from from troubles if it is Gods will to allow them for some reason.
But what God does is call us to persevere, just as He did the church at Philidelphia. God said that the Church had a "little strength". And maybe thats how you feel, that you only have a little strength. God knows that about you just as He knew it about the Church at Philidelphia, and He wants to give you His strength and help you persevere.
Is perseverance easy ? Of course not. We can only do by His grace and His empowerment. His Holy Spirit dwells within us us to supernatuarlly help us to endure and persevere. He calls us to persevere when we are in less than perfect circumstances, but He doesnt call us to do it on our own, He desires to help us. But we must rely on Him, confessing humbly that we cant do it on our own.
Maybe you are in the midst of a trying time right now. And maybe God has chosen to allow this time to stay for now. Friend hang on to God, depend on Him and trust him to help you to persevere. You will find that what God chooses not to change, He gives us the grace to not only endure, but to thrive and be blessed by Him in the midst of it. Just like Joseph who God blessed amazingly even while he was a slave and in prison. we serve that same omnipotent God. He will help you to persevere. Trust Him and lean on Him.
Joseph had a deam. He had two in fact. And in these dreams his entire family would one day bow down to him. But shortly after that, his brothers attacked him and sold him into slavery. And from there he went to prison becuse of his masters wifs false accusations. Im sure there were many time during all of this that Joseph thought about those dreams and maybe felt hopeless. Maybe he felt that well, there is no way those dreams are going to happen now. But as we know they did happen. Even though it looked like the dreams that God had given Joseph would never be fulfilled, they were. His dreams looked crushed, but they werent.
What about you ? Has God given you a dream, or a goal ? Does it look like your dream maybe is crushed ? Dont dispair. If your dream or goal is truly from god He will bring it to pass, no matter what it may look like now. Josephs dreams looked crushed as well, but in time God accomplished what He had planned.
God is under no obligation to help you fulfill the dreams that you have for your life that were made apart from Him. Though He may do just that out of His great love for you. But the goals and dreams that have came from Him, that are a part of his plan for your life, never give up on them. Just as suredly as God accomplished His will for Joseph he will do it for you. Joseph is no better or more important for you. Gods plan for your life is every bit as important as the plan He had for Joseph.
Do you have a dream or goal that came from God ? Dont give up. Joseph saw thirteen years of slavery and imprisonment before his dreams came true, but they did come true in Gods timing. Continue to obey and trust God. Dont give up or let go of the dreams and goals that come from God. Imagine what would have happened had Joseph gave up. He would have missed out on all that God had planned for him. Persevere, have faith, trust Him, and look for Him to accomplish the dreams that He has given you.
In these verses we see where Gods anger is kindled because of Judahs sins. Verse 4 mentions their "altars" and "wooden images" which is clearly a reference to the nations idol worship. in the verses that follow He lays out the severe punishment for their sins of idolatry and its clear that God takes idolatry serious.
We may be quick to say that we dont worship any wooden images and im sure thats true. But maybe we need to take an inventory of our lives and just ask ourselves if we do have any idols.
An idol can be anything that we place ahead of God. It can be anything in our life that is more important or more valuable to us thatn our Lord. We may not bow down to it physically, but make no mistake, if its more important to us than god its and idol in our lives.
God wants no challengers to His rightful place in our lives. And when there is some thing or some person that is ahead of God then we are guilty of idolatry and we are putting ourselves in danger of his chastisement. An idol in our life can be many things. Our jobs, another person, our interests and hobbies, sports etc. It can be different from one person to the next.
Its not that God is petty, wanting us to not enjoy anything else in life. He just knows that when we put anything ahead of Him it is the start down a road that leads to poor choices and consequences that are not pleasant. God wants us to enjoy life, have hobbies, enjoy our families and friends, but ultimately He is to be first in our lives.
Its wise from time to time to take a look at our lives and see if there is anything we have greater allegiance to than God. if God does show us something the we need to repent and take steps to put things in proper order.Its not about God being a harsh taskmaster. Its about making Him the center of our lives. And when He is in His proper place then He will put everything else in your life into its proper place as well. You cant go wrong by tearing down idols.
We have many reasons why we disobey the clear direction of God. In this passage we see that Esau reasoned and rationalized his selling of his birthright. He reasoned in his mind that he was about to die anyway so what good was the birthright. So he traded his birthright, which was of great value in those days, for a bowl of stew. And we see later on how this choice came back to haunt him as Jacob was the one who got the blessing from their father. One of the worst feelings that we can have is regret.
We do the same thing often. I know that i have. The reason we disobey God may not be a bowl of stew, but the end result is just the same, regret and remorse. Maybe our reason for disobeying God is we dont want to be left out. We reason in our minds that we need these people that we call friends. Therefore we choose our friends over God. Just like Esau chose stew over his birthright. Maybe we reason that we cant afford to give to the Lords work. We think that we will "need" all that we have. So we chooses our wants over Gods work.
When we know Gods will and then we start thinking and resoning we have taken the first step down the road to disobedience. If we have clear direction there should be no reasoning. Its Gods will that we obey, reasoning is not even necessary. We dont have to know all the details, we are to obey. God knows all the details and He will take care of everything. Our responsibility is to follow His guidance and when we do, He takes responsibility for the consequences of that obedience.
Is this always easy ? Of course not. The forces, desires, and fears that cause us to disobey are strong. Obedience is an act of faith. When we know clearly what God wants us to do the time for reasoning or searching or thinking is over. Yes we should search out Gods will and know it before we act. But once we know it the time for reasoning is over. The only thing left is obeying.
Maybe you are in a position right now where you know Gods will about something but for whatever cause you are attempting to reaon away obedience. I know from experience that this will result in suffering. Your best bet is to step out on faith and do what God is telling you to do. If you do that there will be no regrets and you will be in the safety of the center of Gods will.
We all want to be liked. Liked by our co-workers, family members,acquaintances etc.. But the truth is most people have somone who they know that doesnt really care for them. It might be that co-worker who always seems to take credit for the work you do, or talk bad about you to the boss. Or it might be that family member who likes to tell lies about you, and try to ruin your name.
If we are not carefull we can live in fear of what these people can do with their lies and their sabotage. And living in fear of people is not what God wants us to do. In fact when it comes to fearing others verse 4 says "I will not fear. What can flesh do to me ?" (NKJV). Instead of fear we are to put our trust in God. He is on our side. And He is for us (v.9).
There may be times when it looks like those who oppress and lie about us are winning. But that is only temporary. Josephs brothers sold him into slavery. it looked like they had won but what happened in the end ? They bowed down to Joseph. In the end Joseph was victorious.
Should we live in fear of others ? Should we live in fear of what they might do to us, or the trouble they may cause us ? No we shouldnt. God is in control. And when fear of any kind, or for any reason, creeps into our lives we are to place our complete trust in Him and praise Him.
The fear of others will be a trap to us. It will cause us to do things that do not honor God. We are not to retaliate. Instead we are to trust Him. This honors God and paves the way for Him to act on our behalf.