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Remember prodigal son was still distant from his father, their relationship estranged, but when he "came to himself" and headed home - even when he he was yet a GREAT way off - "his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him"(Lk. 15:17, 20). God knows where you're at and what direction you're headed in your heart and mind even if your actions haven't caught up yet with your attitude! God knows they will, with time. "For He remembers our frame [make-up]; He remembers we are but dust" (Ps.103:14). God wants to encourage us to change, not discourage us from even trying (2 Cor. 2:7).
Constructive criticism, not destructive. Judgment with mercy. God helps but Satan hinders progress, but we CONQUER BY CONTINUING, one step at a time (I Thes. 2:18; 2 Pet. 3:18). God gave David Kingdom, but he had to fight for it! So do we! (Matt. 11:12; I Tim. 6:12). Otherwise we'd take it for granted. Keep up struggle (Lk. 13:24). All things you believe in are worth fighting for. Growth comes in stages. We must patiently let our trials run their course and create God's character within us (Heb. 12:11; Jas. 1:4).
Satan wants to extinguish your light (I Tim. 4:16). He hates sacred embers of God's Spirit, Light and Truth we maintain and represent, as a royal priesthood (I Pet. 2:9; Jn. 17:17; Ex. 27:20). God doesn't kick us when we're down and out, but encourages us to GET UP AND GET OVER IT and get on with His Work! (Ps. 37:24; Philip. 3:13). When your faith falters and your confidence is shakey, Christ won't snuff you out but will ADD MORE OIL so we can rise and shine! (Isa. 42:3). "For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to OBTAIN SALVATION... Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as you also do" (I Thes. 5:9-11).
"For God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us...For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life...by whom we have received atonement" (Rom. 8-11). If God can express such love for us when we weren't even trying to lead a Christian life pleasing to Him, how much more now that we're trying - however imperfectly? Don't we suffer because we hunger and thirst for righteousness?
Brethren appreciate your HOLY SUFFERING! It's working out a PURPOSE in your life that will last throughout eternity! Growing pains hurt.
We ought to love God all more when we glimpse His mercy and patience towards us. His goodness ought to stir us to want to get closer to Him and do what we can to show how much we appreciate His tender love (Rom. 2:4; Lk. 7:47). Nothing should get between our relationship with our Creator God! If God would rescue our forefathers time and again, when they cried out to Him, HOW MUCH MORE will He save us from Lake of Fire? (Jude 23, 24). God can save us out of sinful situations and restore His Priesthood Promise to us (Zech. 3). We can be "a brand plucked out of fire," saved from "the furnace of affliction" (Isa. 48:10). God can forcibly remind us hard way that He's what we really want, His fulfilling Kingdom and righteousness, not shallow things that couldn't possibly fill void in life (Ps. 106:15; 107:9).
We must keep UPPERMOST in mind meaning and purpose of life: to develop God's holy, righteous character in joyful anticipation of God's Kingdom. This will help us to confront every challenge that life affords us in this process of purification that we call conversion. We must remember: "There has no temptation taken you but such as is common [not unusual] to man: but GOD IS FAITHFUL, who will not permit you to be tempted above your tolerance level; but will provide with every temptation a way out, so that you can handle it" (I Cor. 10:13 paraphrased).
And realize "...that sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with GLORY which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18) because Christ will soon return and every practicing Christian will be made perfect! Then we'll assist our Savior in preparing way for our Father's awesome arrival with NEW JERUSALEM! (Rev. 21:3).
God's Kingdom is closer with each day, so we should hold our heads up and not stay discouraged, but permit ourselves to BE ENCOURAGED to carry on (Isa. 35:3; Lk. 21:28). All stumble, but don't wallow (Ps. 37:24). Let your attitude be; "I shall NOT die, but live, and declare works of LORD. The LORD has chastened me sore: but He has not given me over to death"(Ps. 118:17-18). Hallelujah!
God's forgiveness and Christ's cleansing power remain in effect (Isa. 18). God knows what we've been through and has gone through it with us, in thick of it, bearing His Crown of Thorns (Isa. 63:9; Gen. 22:13; Ex. 3:2). God couldn't get much closer (Jer. 23:23). The bottom line is: have HOPE and not despair; FAITH and not fear! After all, "...it is your Father's good pleasure to give you Kingdom" (Lk. 12:32).
David Ben-Ariel, an American author who has travelled widely and who has lived throughout Israel, shares a special focus on the Middle East and great interest in Jerusalem, reflected in hard-hitting articles that help others improve their understanding of that troubled region that is destined to affect us all. Check out http://www.benariel.com and http://www.pushhamburger.com/david.htm/