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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Eternal Satisfaction

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Sometimes people are shocked when I say, "I don't drink- I'm a teetotaler." I think others think that I'm regretful I never partied hard or tried drugs in high school- because I never did. And clubbing? Nah. No regrets- for any of those. I made a choice not to participate in those things, mostly because they are not appealing to me in any way shape or form, but also because, as a Christian, my life is dedicated to Christ.

And that further begs the question others seem to have, "Why?"

Well to that I say, "Why not?"

I know what it's like to be at the "end of your rope," to be depressed, to lack a future, to be lonely, to experience failure, to be rejected, to lose loved ones, to break down, to be hurt. I know what it's like to have everything you love completely stripped away from you, to be stuck at nothing- a bleak future with no one to confide in because no one cares. I know what it's like to have a hardship pressing on your heart so badly but your sole confidence couldn't care less, so you have to keep those issues to yourself. This was especially true when my mother had a cancer scare- nobody cared. I knew it. I saw it. It hurt. I was in pain- I'm an only child. How does it feel to continue on in life with perhaps just one parent and no one else very close? But still, nobody cared.

I have experienced all of these things, and yet I am not completely destroyed by them because of my faith in God. The "person" who has been there at the end of my rope, when everything I loved was taken from me, is God. He was there in my depression. He was there when my future was uncertain. He was there when my best friend left me. He was there when I failed for the first time in my life- such a deeply-ingrained failure I will never forget. He was there when I was rejected by someone I thought cared about me. He was there when my grandfather and my friend's brother died. He was there when I felt the stress and pressure were too much for me, and I couldn't take it anymore. He was there every time I was hurt by a human being, when no one else was.

All of those experiences brought me to God- to see his great love for me, for you. To see the miracles he works in the midst of hardships. To see that darkness ends, light begins. To see what matters most in life.

Each event drew me closer- How can I refuse such a loving God? And that wasn't the reason why I became a Christian- we don't become Christians to improve our lives or so that we will be happy all of the time. That's obviously not what my life has been. I became a Christian because I wanted to follow Christ- I didn't want the world. I knew that materialism couldn't satisfy my greatest need. Neither can friends, family, or love. Believe me, I've tried them. They always let you down. And if you find yourself highly contented with either of the above, I can guarantee the feeling will be short-lived. No, I wanted the One thing that would fulfill my empty soul eternally. I wanted to be forgiven of the miserable way I have treated God and my sins- because they are many. I wanted to please God, to call Him for my very own. He has been sufficient.

Being a Christian has been very difficult, as problems don't automatically disappear, but life has become bearable. I can face each day because of God's strength. I understand the purpose of life now. I'm not afraid of my future because He guides it.

And perhaps you feel content right now with all of your stuff. One day you won't though. I can guarantee that. One day, you will be at the end of your rope and come to a point where it's decision time. Will you accept Christ as your deliverer or will you reject His help and go your own way? Don't let yourself get to that point before making a decision; sometimes we don't even have that much time to decide. You never know what's going to happen. Accept the satisfying God who never fails. He's never failed me once- He's always been there in the good and bad times, and He will be there for you too, if you just let Him.

No regrets.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Glimpse of Hope in Suffering

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Christ guarantees the believer will suffer- salvation doesn't make life's trials disappear. It makes them bearable. Nobody wants to hear they will suffer. Nobody wants to continue groveling in the pit of despair. It's miserable. We want to hear of the way to get out. But did you know that God promises us one thing during our suffering?

He promises to comfort us.

2 Corinthians 1:1-7 reveals this promise:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

There's an end to the suffering- comfort. Isn't that wonderful? The pain you experience now will be relieved. The end is in sight. We don't have to wonder if the pain will ever end because it will. We are promised final comfort. We may not get what we want from the situation. It may not turn out as we had hoped, but in the end, it will be okay because we will be comforted.

And what's more is that you who are suffering are suffering to be comforted by those who have suffered through the same trials. You're not alone. You never will be. Someone else has walked in your shoes. God enabled them to do so to comfort you, ultimately His comfort sent down to you. And once your suffering is over with, you are used to comfort those are going through what has now ended for you.

Don't lose hope. This passage unveils a beautiful promise that the future will be better. There is no need to be discouraged to the point of death because you will soon be comforted!