The Eternal Weight of Glory

            “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:16-18).

In these verses the Apostle Paul teaches God’s children to have the right attitude towards afflictions.  It’s a new philosophy regarding affliction.  Only genuine Christians can live by this philosophy because it is based on our hope of a glorious future.  If you aren’t a born again child of God, there is little consolation we can give you when you face affliction.

As believers, we should be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:20).   This will give us the confidence that what ever happens isn’t just by chance.  Our all wise God has planned it all.  He knows what he is doing.  Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

In II Corinthians 4:16-18 Paul encourages us to take into consideration the fact that it’s just a light affliction.  It is a consolation to know that it’s not with full intensity.  If we will only look, we can almost always find a positive side to every situation.  When there is no earthly solution, we can lift our eyes heavenward and find consolation.  Revelation 21:4 gives us a glimpse of the glorious future that awaits us.  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The Greek word Paul used in verse 17 for affliction could also be translated “burden.”  It’s something that weighs us down.  For that reason we speak of it as “a burden we must bear.”  It’s something we feel.  When Paul says it’s light, he must mean that it’s not as heavy as it could be.  Many times we have a tendency to exaggerate the seriousness of our affliction.  That makes it seem more dramatic.  Perhaps it’s because we are seeking attention and sympathy.

Paul also tells us that our affliction is momentary.  Perhaps it’s just for today and tomorrow.  Even if it’s to endure the rest of our lives; what is that in comparison to eternity?  Once when I was a boy I stepped on a nail and got infection in my foot.  To me, it seemed like an eternity that I had to hobble around on one foot.  It was probably just for two or three days.  Afflictions are momentary.  Be patient.  It will pass and we will enjoy the eternal weight of glory.

That which gives us consolation and lightens the weight of our affliction is the knowledge that through it we are adding to our eternal weight of glory.  Our eternal weight of glory will not be a burden we must bear, but blessing we will enjoy for ever.  In Matthew 6:20-21 Jesus exhorts us to lay up treasure in heaven.  “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Bearing afflictions with the right spirit is just one way of doing that.  Our service for Christ is another way.  Paul says our afflictions work for us a far more exceeding weight of glory.

From our earthly point of view we say “How unfortunate is the one who has to bear multiple afflictions.”  When we get to heaven perhaps we will say “How fortunate is the one who bore multiple afflictions.”  Our earthly pilgrimage is a preparation for our heavenly paradise.  How would we know how to appreciate the treasures of heaven if we hadn’t experienced trials and tribulations in our earthly pilgrimage?

It may be that when we get to heaven you and I won’t have any more treasures than others have, but we will appreciate them much more because the former things are passed away.  Let’s go back to Revelation 21:4.  The multitude of tears we have shed will magnify the thrill of the realization that there shall be no more. We shall be thrilled to know that we shall never again experience the anguish of death or the sorrow that goes with the loss of loved ones.  The blessing in heaven of knowing that there shall be no more pain will be in proportion to the intensity of the pain we have suffered in this life.  There would be no blessedness in the fact that there shall be no more pain if the memory of the pain we suffered on earth was blotted out the moment we entered heaven.

Affliction is never easy and seldom sought after.  However, knowing that it adds to the eternal weight of glory that we shall have in the future, makes it easier to bear.  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”

(I Thessalonians 5:18).

Reader, If you’re not a child of God, you will suffer affliction along with the rest of us, but you aren’t laying up anything in Heaven.  You can become a child of God now by repenting of your sin and trusting in Jesus as your sin bearer.  Jesus died that you might have life and have it more abundantly.  (John 10:10)

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

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 Days of Prosperity and Adversity

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.”  (Ecclesiastes 7:14).

No one is fortunate enough to live without some days of adversity.  Some have more of them than others.   When they come, we are prone to ask why.  We seek an explanation.  Some blame the government and the corrupt politicians who abuse their power and live in luxury at the expense of the tax payers.  To a certain extent, they may be right, but we need to remind ourselves that our politicians are chosen by elections.

We need to ask ourselves;  “Isn’t it true that God has his hand in our adversities?”  Some say, “No, because God is kind, all wise and all powerful.  He wouldn’t permit adversities.” The Bible doesn’t uphold that way of thinking.  It’s true that God is kind, all wise and all powerful, but our text says that he makes both the days of prosperity and the days of adversity.

For some, it’s hard to believe that God would do anything that wasn’t for our good.  Isaiah 45:7 says “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.  At the bottom of the page where this verse is found in my Bible there is a note that explains that the word “evil” is the Hebrew word “ra” which can be translated “wretchedness,” ”adversity.” “affliction”  or “calamity.”  It is never translated “sin.”  God created evil only in the sense that he made sorrow or wretchedness to be the sure fruit of sin.

God has an abundance of ways to chastise, correct and control people.  More than once I have heard people testify to the fact that, in their youth, God sent a calamity that he used to rescue them from a life of rebellion and sin.  At the moment it seemed like a tragedy, but in the end God used it for good.  II Corinthians 7:10 says “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

If God uses adversity to correct and control a person, why can’t he use it to correct and control a group or a nation?  We should take into consideration the fact that the ways of God are higher than our ways and our thoughts are much inferior to the thoughts of God.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. “

If God lets a country fall into a crisis it is with a good reason.  Many are then forced to humble themselves and seek God.  The Christian worker finds people are more docile and willing to listen  and accept spiritual truth when they are going through a crisis.

We often suffer because of the sins of others.  When we sin those around us suffer.  We aren’t always to blame for the adversity we suffer.  It may be because of corruption in the government.  We may be the victims of a crime.  Some say “It isn’t fair.” They are right, but God can use even the sins of others to accomplish his purpose.  To be sure, the sinner will be punished.

Instead of having a fit of anger towards the one who caused the adversity, or towards God, we ought to ask ourselves, “What can I learn from this?” Ecclesiastes 7:14 says that we should consider in the day of adversity.  That means to muse or meditate.  There may be something for us to learn from it.  The days come and go.  We know not whether they will be days of prosperity or days of adversity.  In John 15:5 Jesus said “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”  In days of prosperity we are inclined to think that we can do all by our own strength, without the help of God.

Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” When we are in days of prosperity, it’s almost certain that there will be some around us who are in days of adversity.  If possible, we should be ready and willing to help them.   In our days of adversity  we will need and appreciate the help of others.

Days of adversity bring us closer to God.  We learn what it is to ask God for our daily bread.  We are left with a closer relationship with God.  They are days to prove our souls.  In Job 23:10 we find the promise that “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Yes, days of adversity may be difficult, but, at the same time, they can be for our good if we don’t faint and lose faith and patience with God. (Galatians 6:9)  Are you in a day of adversity?  Psalm 94:12-14 promises a day of rest.  “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;    That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.    For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.”

 

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

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Gaining Victory Over Anger

                  Anger is included among the things we need to put off in Colossians 3:8. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”   Unger’s Bible Dictionary says “Anger is the emotion of instant displeasure, indignation, arising from the feeling of injury done or intended.”  He goes on to say, “If anger were in itself sinful, how could God himself be angry?” He then explains that “Anger is sin when it arises too soon, without reflection; when the injury which awakens it is only apparent; when it is disproportionate to the offense; when it is transferred from the guilty to the innocent; when it is too long protracted and becomes revengeful.”

Much of what is presented in this article was gathered from a message preached in Spanish by S. M. Davis on the subject.  He has been greatly used of God in helping parents facing the problem of rebellion on the part of their teen agers.  Sometimes he finds that the root of the problem is not in the teenager, but in the parents.  He gives testimonies of cases when the problem with the young person was solved when the parents won the victory over anger.  He says there are people he hasn’t been able to help because they weren’t sufficiently humble to recognize that they had a problem.

Our emotional well being is often affected by our relationship with those around us.  If we are in the presence of someone who is easily provoked it’s like a contagious disease that can easily affect us also.  That’s why Proverbs 22:24-25 tells us that we should “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to they soul.”  Peace and quiet are often lacking in an environment where someone present is angry.  Proverbs 15:18 says “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

The only biblical justification for anger is found in Ephisians 4:26.  “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”     We are justified in hating sin and what sin does.  Even that anger should have its limits.  We shouldn’t let the sun go down on our wrath.

Anger leaves us with a troubled spirit.  It robs us of the joy of life.  Many times it also results in irrational acts.  Moses paid for his anger.  He lost his temper and murdered an Egyptian, and had to flee.  He lost his temper again and cast down and broke  the two tables of stone on which were written the ten commandments (Exodus 32:19).  As a result, Exodus 34:1-2 says he had to make two more tables of stone and carry them back up the mountain so that God could write on them again.  On still another occasion Moses lost his temper.  It’s found in Numbers 20:10-11.  He hit the rock twice instead of once as God instructed him.  As a result, he never got to enter the Promised Land.  Sin always has consequences.

Victory over anger is gained by taking control of your spirit.  Proverbs 16:32 says “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”  We need to have control over our passions.  Anger is just one of them.  If we surrender ourselves to the will of God, as Romans 12:1-2 says we should, then  we will no longer have a problem in controling our spirit.

In conclusion, I want to give you the following steps to gain the victory over anger.

*  Recognize that you have a problem with anger and that it is serious.

*  Call it sin,  repent, and ask God to forgive you.

*  Try to avoid circumstances and people who provoke you to anger.

*  Pray every day for the filling of the Spirit and that God will enable you to produce the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-24.

*  Seek out a Christian partner to pray for you and help you gain the victory.

May God help you gain the victory.

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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How to be a Judge of Character

            Mathew 7:7 says “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  From the context it appears that Jesus is talking about being a critic.  There are those who delight in finding fault with others.  In the next verse Jesus says that if we are that kind of person, others will also try to find fault with us.

 

I John 4:1 says “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”   There is no way we can do that without judging.  Proverbs 2:6-13 says “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly  .    He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.   When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;   Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:    To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;   Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.”

 

In personal relations there are often occasions when we have to put confidence in someone.  Only a fool puts confidence in someone without having reason to believe that he is worthy of his confidence.  We do well by being slow to trust in someone we don’t know.  We need time to observe them and thereby know if they deserve our confidence.

 

Below are three windows we can open that will give us insight into the character of a person.

 

First we need to take into consideration a person’s relationship with God.  Mathew 7:17 says “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”   If one has the right relationship with God it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for him to sin, but, in general, it will mean that he will have a number of good qualities.

 

We also need to take into consideration one’s relationship with those around him.  Is he submissive and respectful of those in authority?  Is he humble and willing to acknowledge his faults?  Is he compassionate and willing to help others?  If one has these qualities, it’s not likely that he will take advantage of others.

 

The third window that reveals one’s character is the matter of self discipline.  Does he respect and keep time schedules?  Does he know how to redeem the time as it says in Colossians 4:5?  “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”   Is he prudent with his money?  Does he keep his promises?

 

Our character manifests itself in a number of other ways.  We can save ourselves from a number of misfortunes by judging the character of others.  I Peter 5:8 says; “The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” There are also people walking about seeking who they can take advantage of.  It’s not enough just to pray “Deliver us from evil.” The Lord expects us to vigilant and not fall into the traps that are set for us.

Our E-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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