A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Good Advice for Tough Times

What you do with your circumstances.
First, tough times are not about what happens to you-- they’re about what you do with what happens to you. God, in knowing all things, was not ignorant about this era of your life. In fact, He has spent your whole life preparing you for this moment and others that you are yet to face. Will you keep believing that He’ll use everything you go through for His kingdom purposes? Or will you sour along with so many others who base their relationship with God on their prosperity? Tough times prove our faith.

You: Influencing others.
Second, tough times are about influence. How you handle these times will have great influence on two sets of individuals: those who watch how you handle your own adversity and those who will be changed by the counsel you give them. Now, I don’t mean the answers you may or may not have for them--everyone has answers, usually of the negative kind. But here I mean counsel that gives them hope. Hope that helps them discover a God who knows their potential, a God who’s taking them on a journey of discovering new adventures and possibilities they may never have thought about. Hope that aids them in making different choices than they may previously have made. Hope that allows their creativity to spring forward when others around them are in despair. Perhaps you need this kind of hope as well.

God allows tough times to happen so that massive, lovely, brilliant, you’ll-want-this change is the result. And He will use you to deposit this hope in others. He birthed you, created you, shaped you for such a time as this. You won’t only make it, but you will be an example for others, and as such you will have more influence than ever.

The stuff of champions.
Third, it is the people who focus on others and guard their words—that is, people who order their conversation to reflect the provision and kindness of God, even in the midst of the storm--who will see His salvation.

There isn’t a single generation that hasn’t gone through tough times. Yes, some are tougher than others, but as the Lord once told me, “Little battles produce little victories and result in little champions. Great battles produce great victories and result in great champions. Which do you want to be?”

The justice of God and a faithful heart.
Fourth, the first thought most Christians have when tough times hit is to diminish or even stop their giving. Wow--wrong move! It was the widow of Zarephath’s faithful, sacrificial giving in the middle of a severe drought that threw open the door for her to prosper. Paul exhorted the church in Philippi to give so that fruit would be added to their account. He urged the church in Corinth to be like the poorest church in Macedonia, which had given to the Lord’s work even in the midst of deep poverty and affliction (see 2 Cor. 8:1–4). When Paul returned to the Macedonian church a few years later, he found them prospering.

It is the gift you willingly give that allows God’s justice to be active on your behalf. In tough times especially, you really want God to act on your behalf! This is why Paul told the church in Philippi that, more than the financial gift he needed, he desired that heaven’s fruit would abound in their lives. That fruit is what God gives to feed and bless and meet the needs of all who give to Him.

Written by J. Paul Jackson

1 comment:

  1. Here here! I'm amazed at how much American churches have bought the lie that trials=sin and an easy life come to those who follow God.
    What a bunch of bunk!
    A part of me is really excited about this recession!
    (found you on the pw blogroll)