Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Trouble With Trouble

Sometimes life is blissful, peaceful, wonderful, but sometimes life is not so easy.  In the developed world we have things pretty easy, but in most of the world life is really hard.  But no matter where we live, life is a mix of times of ease and times of difficulty.  Sometimes natural disasters strike.  Sometimes we find ourselves in crisis.  Sometimes we seem to go through trial after trial and life can be overwhelming.  Why doesn't Jesus take away all our problems?  Why don't Christians have a trouble free life?  Why do things have to be so hard?  I don’t like trouble.

I’ve come to understand that it is in those times of trouble and trial that we really, truly come to trust God.  When things seem darkest we have to go to our Lord Jesus to beg for help and He is always there to help.  When I go to Him and fully trust Him in difficult times I grow the most in my Christian life.  That’s right, it’s during difficult times, not during easy times, that we see most growth as Christians.  When things are easy we can depend on ourselves and our own strengths and abilities, but when things begin to fall apart around us, when trials come into our lives, that’s when most of us turn to God for help.  That’s when we learn to trust Him, when we grow and mature in our faith.  I don’t like trials in my life, but in the beginning of the first chapter of the book of James is says,

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Maybe I should learn to depend on God all the time, not just in the tough times.  That would probably make life easier.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Truth in Advertising

Don’t you just hate false advertising?  You read the advertisement, look at the product and marvel at what it can do.  You buy it and then find it doesn’t perform as advertised.  It isn’t the cleaner you were led to believe.  It doesn’t make your car go 20 percent further on a tank of gas.  You don’t shed pounds as if they were drops of water falling from a tree.  False advertising.

This morning I was thinking of some of the false advertising done by Christians.  “Accept Jesus into your life and everything will go right.”  “Become a Christian and you won’t have any more problems.”  You’ve heard it.  And it isn’t true.  Christians have lots of problems.  Some are caused by the sinful world in which we live, some caused by our own actions, some caused just by the fact we are Christians in a non-Christian society.  Jesus told his disciples that they would suffer for their faith. He didn’t say problems would go away.  What Jesus did promise is that He would always be with us because we Christians have the Holy Spirit living within us.  We may have problems but we never have to face them alone.  No matter what happens in life we Christians have the Holy Spirit to walk beside us and see us through.  We are also told we can always have joy in our life no matter what is happening around us.  That’s a statement that is almost impossible to believe but it is true!  Eternal life is a promise as are many other wonderful things.  However, no problems?  That was not one of Jesus’ promises to us.

As we share our faith with people we need to be careful to not use false advertising.  Tell the truth.  And the truth is pretty incredible.  As a Christian I have the presence of God with me 24/7.  I never have to face anything alone.  His presence will allow me to have joy, true joy, no matter what is happening.  And at life’s end, I will pass into the presence of the living God with whom I will live forever.  Let’s hear it for Truth in Advertising.