Posts Tagged ‘adversity’

1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Following my ‘We Must Go’ post, one thing that I know is that I have been guilty of not bearing with the failings of the week. It is so easy for us who are strong to expect others to be just like us or to be just as mature as we are but we often forget how many of us were when we just came to faith. Many of us (including me) had a lot of zeal without knowledge and maturer christians had to bear with us. At the same time I must balance this because there is a difference with ‘bearing with the failing of the weak’ and ‘bearing with the failing of those who know better but REFUSE to do better’. The danger sometimes is that those who should be mature (Hebrews 5:12) , try to justify their sin with a ‘God is not through with me yet’ attitude and refuse to receive godly counsel and instruction at every turn. Matthew 18:15-20 deals with this subject.

Then there are those who have been genuinely hurt by life. My wife goes to The Feast every Wednesday to help feed the homeless and disadvantaged and she tells me of where people are coming from. Sometimes we as christians are so used to be in our christian bubble that we forget that there are real people out there with real problems who need to experience a real God. This came home to me as well when I helped hosting a table at an Alpha Course and knowing that different people are at a different stage in their christian walk or in their searching.

Below are examples taken from I am Second which provides “insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed” 

I Am Second – Michelle Aguilar

 

I Am Second – Lecrae

 

I Am Second – Josh Hamilton

 

I Am Second – Karen Green

 

I Am Second – Nate Larkin

ONLY the gospel can save but we must take into consideration where people are coming from, not diluting the message but speaking the truth IN LOVE

 13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”
16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21)

Lately, God has opened my eyes to the real plight of real people. The fact is in this fallen life we live in, many people struggle with life in one way or another. My wife is involved in The Feast in my church which meet every Wednesday evening and supply the homeless with soup, a hot meal and pudding for all who come, with hot drinks, clothing, emergency food packs and housing advice provided – as well as fun and friendship. The Feast is part of the Jericho Road Project which was ‘set up with the aim of supporting those who live on the streets and helping them to become functioning members of society’.  My wife always tells me about the real problems that these people have which could range from alcoholism to drug addition to teenage pregnancy to sexual/physical abuse. I think sometimes, we (including myself) as Christians are so used to being in our Christian bubble or we are so used to being around ‘safe’ people that we forget that the good news of the gospel is for everyone in spite of their background and what they have gone/are going through.

Last year, I remember seeing this program on TV and it broke my heart to see that children could live in these conditions

Sometimes, we can feel helpless and overwhelmed that we cannot solve all the worlds woes or make a difference in the whole world but we CAN make a difference in one persons life. Maybe give some money to a worthy cause or give someone who is ‘going through’ a listening ear. Make them feel like somebody and that they are valued. Do something. Jesus was moved with compassion and told US to ‘give them something to eat’. I love this song below which challenges us to move into action.

One thing we must be careful of though is not to omit the gospel when caring for the disadvantaged.

The Gospel – Social Justice = Not true Christianity

Social Justice – The Gospel = A better earth to go to hell from

The Gospel + Social Justice = Christlike Christianity

WE MUST GO!!

Here is a question for you? Do your work colleagues or your school friends know that you are a Christian. If so, how do you act in front of them? Does your light shine? Do you laugh at their ungodly jokes? If most of us are honest, we have all failed in one or more of these areas

However, the bible gives us instructions on how to act in these situations

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life… (Phil 2:4-16)

Being blameless doesn’t mean we can be sinless but what it means is that our life should be such that the unbelievers
around you will have to really pick their brains to say anything bad about you that will damage or destroy your christian witness

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:14-16)

Jesus said that if we ashamed of him then he will be ashamed of us. This does not mean that you preach at them at every opportunity. This would be totally inappropriate but what it does mean is that they should be aware, in one form or another, that you are different. The bible says that we should be ready at all times to give someone an answer to the hope that lies in us (1 Peter 3:15). If someone is hopeless, be the one who can give them hope. As stated above in Phillipians 2:16, ‘hold up the word of life’ to them

Another thing we need to do is…wait for it….work. And not just when our bosses and teachers are watching us.

 5 Slaves (employees/students), obey your earthly masters (employers/bosses/teachers) with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

 9 And masters (employers/teachers/bosses) , treat your slaves (employers/students) in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.  Eph 6:5-9) (italics added by me)

 I have a Christian group at my work place and I received this email so thought I would share it with you

In Between Times 17.9: Sleep and Awake: Joseph’s Career

Discovering The Therapy of Work

When Joseph was 17 years old, he had a dream that his father and brothers would bow down to him. As a result of that dream, his brothers treated him terribly and then lied to their father. Joseph experienced nearly 15 year of injustice as a direct result of his brothers’ reaction to his dream.

During those 15 awful years, Joseph was a slave and a prisoner, working long hours for no pay and little comfort. It was an agonising ‘in between time’ and there must have been times when he really struggled to understand what was going on. He was slandered, abused, used and forgotten , and needed all his strength to carry on.

There was one stream of life in which he found his path. Sure he was faithful to God and seemed to find reasons for hope under terrible circumstances.

But Joseph’s expression of faith during this dream-initiated ‘in between time’ was his conscientious work ethic. Everywhere he went, he did his job well. In Potiphar’s house he was a professional, upright estate manager. In prison he became a supervisor over other prisoners. For Joseph, his work-style was his therapy, his sanity, and in the end, his passport to success. It was his work that earned him a place in the national government and gave him the route to the fulfillment of his dreams. It was his career path that enabled him to confront his family damage and a toxic behaviour of his brothers.

Many of you reading this piece will know only too well some of its themes. Around 17 years of age, lots of us carry a dream, an ambition or a hope. Similarly, life can be unjust, unfair and damaging both in family and work context. Surely one key feature of Joseph’s story is that his conscientious, uncompromising, honourable and hard working approach to his job opportunities paved the path for dream fulfillment and family reintegration. Perhaps this year is a good time to choose working hard and well as a redemptive path, all the time recognising the inner work of God as your source of progress, so in 2011 work well.

If I’m honest, I was hesitant in sharing this video as I know God has a way of testing you on what you put out there (forgive me Lord) but I pray that it will minister to somebody