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12:29 PM   [12 Mar 2017 | Sunday]

Affliction and You (Part Two)

 As previously stated in part one of “Affliction and You,” it is important to view affliction through the correct filter or lens.

The temptation is to view affliction as all negative, which tends to stifle hope.  It is important to underscore that God indeed causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

He will use it for our benefit which points to the work He does in each of us.  Even Psalm 119:71 gives us one example: It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.  Think about it, some refused to humble themselves and come to the Cross of Christ until they faced affliction.  It took their falling into a pit of miry clay before they would call on Jesus.  It was only then; would their feet be placed on the Solid Rock.  For whatever reason, some have more of a tendency to draw near to God when they feel burdened or stressed than when everything is good.  Hopefully as they mature, they will continue to draw near to Him, minus the need for desperation as some sort of prod.  Even disciples of Jesus Christ may have blind spots until affliction forces them to open their eyes.  On the other hand, when others see those going through it, and observe the peace that surpasses understanding ruling in their heart, they find themselves drawn to the hope they carry.  These are just a few aspects to be considered.  If you face some sort of affliction, look for God in the center of it.  He is not going to force you to face it alone.  Ask Him for wisdom, and the revelation of what He is doing in the mist of it.  He may not reveal everything He’s doing, but rest assured He is working behind the scenes, and you will come out unscathed.  In fact, as you yield to the Potter’s hands, you will become a greater vessel of honor.

In order to allow peace to rule in your heart, it is important to decide to believe God, and totally ignore the false reports of the enemy. 

Sure, we do acknowledge difficulties and turmoil should they come, but it is vital to acknowledge the veracity of what God says.  He always makes provision for the promise, which means there’s a provision for whatever adversity you may face.  He knew what you would face before you were born, and it did not intimidate Him one bit.  Along with His Word, He gave you faith.  Faith in Him removes mountains while shielding you from the fiery darts of the enemy.  Indeed, it is His faith that removes them.

This leads to another important principle found in Psalm 91:1: He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  Going to the secret place, the shelter of the Almighty, is crucial. 

You enter in with thanksgiving and praise.  God inhabits the praises of His people.  His presence vacates turmoil.  In His presence is fulness of joy.  Guess what.  He is always present; so, enter in!  If you enjoy turmoil, if you love fear, anger and bitterness, then murmur away.  Complaining has the opposite effect.  Speaking negatively, especially about God, will make your pit become deeper and wider.  It makes it difficult to get out.  Remember what David said, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a Rock making my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:1-3).  This leads to another very important principle.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  The Bible tells us God has caused us to be born again to a living hope.  Furthermore, it says, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Never underestimate the power of rejoicing.  It helps you reconnect to trust.  It is something you must decide to do, but when you do, you’ll find faith rising up in your heart.

Joy enters in and refreshes your soul.  It not only brings peace to your heart, but it gives you peace of mind.  Rejoicing is an act of obedience, and obedience means to believe with the intent to conform to His desire out of love.  When you obey, your joy will be full (see John 15:10-11).

Finally, allow yourself to be comforted.  Allow peace to rule in your heart.  Let others minister to you as well.  Some have been taught worry is the responsible thing to do.  Perhaps in the world; but, not in the Kingdom.  The responsible thing to actually do is to have faith and trust in God.  It really is okay to be at peace.  It glorifies God.  Jesus paid the price for your peace, so it’s already bought and paid for!

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