Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Look to the Eternal

Tonight at Bible Study we talked about faith.

I struggle with faith, y'all.  I'm not one of those people who have great imaginations. I can't always see the big picture.
I am, however, encouraged that Jesus never talked about a great amount of faith, as I was reminded tonight. He talked about faith the size of a mustard seed. I've never actually touched a mustard seed, but I hear that it's pretty small.

There are all kinds of verses about faith. Brother Bellamy said tonight, "Faith is seeing what others don't see.".  Jesus looks at things and sees the possibility. He sees hope. He sees how things will turn out.

We tend to look at the obstacles. The impossibilities. The grief of it all.

One of the last verses we read tonight comes from 2 Corinthians 4. In the Bible study I'm doing through P31 OBS, our memory verse this week is verse 18, which talks about fixing our eyes on what is unseen, because it is eternal, compared to the temporary status of what is right in front of us.

And thank God this world is temporary. These troubles are temporary. This seems to be a recurring theme these days for me. I've been reminded over and over again, through conversations that I've had and devotions and books that I've read...

We're only here for a little while. Even though it's hard. Even though it hurts.

It's not permanent. He's made everything perfect in His own time. We have a heart for eternity, which is why this world aches so bad sometimes.

The verse that I shared in my picture above really spoke to me last week. As you can see from my highlights, this is one of my favorite chapters of the book.

We hold this truth in earthen vessels...

earthen vessels that sometimes crack and leak, but are broken to allow His light to shine through.

His light that lights our heart.

The truth we hold in our cracked, broken vessels? His power. It's from Him... for us. And it promises that He'll help us get through our troubles.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Hard pressed- feeling like the world is caving in on us. It reminds me of when I went to Natural Bridge a few years ago, a heavy girl trying to squeeze through Fat Man's Squeeze. I felt crushed. I got claustrophobic. I started actually smothering.

This world and it's troubles press down on us. The enemy does everything he can to make sure we feel defeated... but Jesus. His Spirit has breathed the life into us, and it's a breath that renews us daily.

We're perplexed. We don't understand why good people get sick. We don't understand why life can't just be easy. We're troubled and confused... but not hopeless. We are not a people without hope. We have hope here. WE have hope now. And we have hope for the future, the hope of glory.

We are persecuted. You see it more and more. Mocked because of our faith. But we are not abandoned. "I'll never leave you or forsake you." He's here. He's gone before. His angels are surrounding us.

We're struck down... and you think we're down for the count... but we're not. Just like a prize fighter, we rise up just before the winner is declared... because we know that victory is ours.

And then it goes on to talk about faith... believing. And grace.

Sometimes, the biggest act of faith is receiving that grace.

Grace to be weak.

Grace to admit you don't know what to do.

Grace to admit that you sometimes just want to give up.

Grace that keeps us from giving up...

We faint not, because we know that He is working in us.

He is faithful, even when I am of little faith.

There's another recurring theme.

Even when I feel faint, His grace is sufficient. He holds me up and renews me and tells me, "You can do it. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard."

And even though outwardly we look like we're not going to make it, we will.

Because inwardly, He's working perfection.

These troubles? They feel so heavy...

But they are light afflictions when you balance them out with glory.

His glory... in us. Because His glory is eternal.

Cling to that, tonight. No matter how much you're hurting, or how much you're struggling, or how much you feel like throwing in the towel...
He loves us.

His glory. I can see it on you.  And it looks beautiful.

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