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Thursday, April 2, 2020
"A Most Necessary Perspective"
Message summary: Understanding the bigger picture begins when we commit our lives to Jesus Christ.
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"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (Job 2:10). "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:17,18).
Sometimes a perspective from Scripture can be troubling; sometimes it can be encouraging; sometimes it can be both. Today's text talks about a necessary perspective especially as we consider world conditions in light of eternity.
What a probing question Job asks that believers of all generations need to contemplate: "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" It's not only a question but a faith-filled declaration demanding an answer - we must accept both. As the great hymn states:
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
"For our light and momentary troubles." What kind of light and momentary troubles are you dealing with today? For most all of us it has something to do with the virus but other troubles haven't stopped. At the time we may not see them as light or momentary especially when we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The degree of suffering varies in this current coronavirus crisis with some experiencing relatively mild to severe consequences, others deadly.
But in the daily text Paul is writing of troubles that would rival or surpass our most difficult experiences in life. He had written a few verses previous to this: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesusí sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body" (2 Corinthians 4:8-11).
The point he is making is a matter of perspective, of seeing the bigger picture. These troubles are "light and momentary" in comparison to the ultimate eternal glories of heaven. They sure may not seem light and momentary at the time weíre experiencing them. Some of these troubles are constant or recurring and weigh heavily on our hearts.
Yet we need to embed this truth deep in our hearts, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all". Does that apply to our troubles today? Of course it does! These troubles are fulfilling a purpose ordained by God, achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs any trouble we'll deal with. The three letter word, "all" encompasses the multiple "light and momentary troubles" we experience as trials on this side of eternity.
The "eternal glory" must be the ultimate outlook by which we view all that happens to us personally or in the world about us. We must live in view of the "there and thenĒ, not just "here and now". Itís something Iíve known theologically and know in my heart to be true but I must constantly remind myself. As a believer in Christ I must remember that my times are in His hands. With my eyes I see only the physical present, but in my spirit I must view by faith my future eternal reward.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." The big picture is so powerfully expressed by the Apostle Paul in this passage. Iíve memorized it and even now, through eyes of faith, rejoice in its truth. But it only pertains to people of faith in Jesus Christ. People without faith are blind to the bigger picture. Understanding the bigger picture begins when we commit our lives to Jesus Christ. Have you done that?
Hereís a prayer of faith that essentially begins the journey of seeing beyond this immediate life to receiving the promised eternal life through Godís plan of salvation. If you have not done so already we urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today. And if you are a believer join us in reaffirming your faith in Christ today.
"Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I am afflicted by the universal sin pandemic. I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me. I place my faith in You and what You have done for me. I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You. Thank You for hearing my prayer."
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is so much that we can learn from our temporary problems here on earth that better prepares us for eternity. As we work through these troubles, they enable us to have the mind of Christ so that attitudes reflecting the fruit of the Spirit become a spontaneous response to the difficulties that challenge us daily. Just as light, soil, air and moisture are requirements for growth in vegetation so must faith, prayer, self-denial and persistence in obeying Godís Holy Word be requirements for growth in our Christian walk. Help us not to become so caught up in viewing our daily challenges from an earthly perspective that we lose sight of our future home in heaven where no storm clouds ever gather. We stand in the strength of the Lord Jesus and in the power of His might. Amen.
A word from Mozambique. Joel Charest and his wife Adrienne assisted us when we served a church in New England in the 1990's. They have been missionaries to Mozambique for many years. During their last visit we had breakfast together at Casey Jones Restaurant at the Red Caboose in Ronks. What a powerful word Joel shares in an email regarding perspective:
"As we face the global pandemic of a virus, we choose to stand on the truth of who God is and His promises found in His Word. This virus does not surprise Him, nor does it intimidate Him. He is all-knowing, He is all-powerful, and He is present everywhere. Our natural minds may be full of questions of why He would allow such a pandemic, and there are even those who blame God for this. But in the midst of all our wondering we choose to simply trustótrust the One who gave us life. We trust that God knew this would happen and for reasons that only He knows, we have been placed on this earth for this time. So the question that we ask ourselves is not "Why God?", but "How can You use me in the midst of it?". We trust that God has a plan, He is capable of fulfilling that plan, and that we have a part in that plan. Therefore, we want to encourage you today to have this perspective and ask Him to show you how you can be a vessel of hope and peace to a friend in need."
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Like a River Glorious" Video Sovereign Grace Music This hymn has the verse quoted in our message today.
"Christ Our Hope in Life and Death" Video Keith & Kristyn Getty, Matt Papa
This is a powerful reminder of the big picture!
"I Can Feel You Healing Me" Video The Taylors "Maybe you can tell me - when will this be over?" Isn't that a question we have all asked and surely are asking during this critical time of the pandemic virus that has spread throughout the world.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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