Traveling Through Life

Traveling Through Life

John 16:33 (NLT)

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 

Traveling is a chore. (Deep sigh!) To plan a family trip for someone who is a Type A personality requires months of preparation. Booking flights, reserving hotels, and buying tickets while planning each day when trying to stay in control over all the details of that day is overwhelming. Some days I wish that I could be spontaneous and free-spirited but that is not how God wired me. It takes a week of packing, unpacking and repacking to be sure we have what we need away from home. If children are involved, this is a compounded effort especially when flying. Our girls are teenagers and it is the first time that we have flown with them. They are used to throwing whatever they want in the car unrestricted. What is this concept of one outfit per day and only two pairs of shoes? Is forty pounds even possible and still have the proper necessities of life? When the big day finally arrives, it is all about timing and execution. Driving to another city to catch a flight, spending the night in a hotel, racing to the airport, checking bags, going through security, waiting at the gate, boarding the plan, calming the fears of first time flyers, ears popping not only from the ascent but from the child who wants “out”, arriving at the new destination, finding luggage, grabbing the shuttle to get the rental car, loading the luggage, setting the GPS and discovering we are not in “Kansas” anymore. Finally, unloading at our new temporary home for a couple days, running to the store for some snacks (forgot to eat since breakfast) and forgotten necessities (how is that even possible) and finally after all that deciding we made it. Meeting up with our precious loved ones that we have missed so very much, only to realize that you are too tired to enjoy them longing for bed. Falling into the bed that doesn’t smell or feel like home, wanting to cry because you made it but it doesn’t feel like you thought. Where is the elation? Where is the enthusiasm? Where is the triumph? Today is another day!

Life is a journey. Just traveling to another city for a visit poses so many details, one can only hope it works out. Dependent on others – it is anyone’s guess what the outcome will be or is it. While I was exhausted from our cross country journey, I realized when I woke up this morning that we made it. This trip planned to see our children in New Hampshire was not what I had originally decided. I was going to send my husband to a football game to see our hometown team play rivals and bless him. But as I planned and prepared, I could sense the Lord impressing on my heart the notion of everyone going. Sending one person turned into taking the whole family, what a task! In the dark stillness of the morning, I could hear the soft snores of my family sleeping soundly. I began to thank God for this trip. We made it safely without a single hiccup along the way. Even though it was still a long, exhausting day for my body – the Lord led us safely to our destination. There were some frustrations, waiting and a few delays but we made it. Ironically or maybe not so much, our son releases his new CD compiled for his church. It is called “Overcome.” The church has proclaimed this “Overcome” weekend. I am laughing on the inside as the Lord draws me into His Presence and we talk about overcoming.

Jesus said quite frankly and emphatically, “Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows…” He did not mix words, but so often Christians have. Somehow thinking that to enter a relationship with Jesus Christ should eliminate trials, sorrows and the many hardships of life. That is not what He said. Why would we even think that? What Jesus did says is “take heart because I (Jesus) have overcome the world!” To overcome means to “get the better of in a struggle or conflict; to conquer; defeat; prevail over and to overpower or overwhelm in mind or body. The word itself implies the very things that we are experiencing meaning everything is going according to His Plan. There must be conflict and struggle to overcome and be victorious. What’s the point of this journey called life if it is going to be filled with trials? Why follow Christ if we cannot avoid struggle? It is all about victory. It is to be redeemed by our Champion and win the war against sin so we will live forever as overcomers and become more than conquerors in Christ.

Romans 5:2-5 (NLT)

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

 

Faith is the purpose of our life and every detail in it. Christ brought us to this place of undeserved privilege so we can confidently share in God’s Glory. This is an act of faith, produced by faith and requires faith. There is absolutely no way to have God’s Plan and Purpose along with every single promise outside of faith. Problems and trials produce faith in us by developing our character. Endurance strengthens our character as our faith is stretched well past our patience and ability to withstand the pressure of each trial. As our faith is developed it brings about confident hope which never leads to disappointment. “Never leads” means we have to go somewhere. We cannot stay where we are within our comfort zone and experience this kind of hope but must go where He goes. God loves us and fills us with His Holy Spirit who is helping us each step of the way no matter how difficult it may be to achieve the level of faith required to produce the hope we need to keep going.

I Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)

And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

A trial is an “act of testing, trying or putting to the proof” of something. Trials test our faith to make sure that is genuine and authentic. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Faith makes all things possible beginning with salvation. We have to know that our faith is real to have confident hope that we will one day be with the Lord. When our faith becomes strong, the trials of life no matter how difficult will no longer sway us from believing that God loves us and that He is always good working out every detail of our life for His Glory. These two concepts make everything we go through in life worth it knowing His Glory is coming.

I Peter 4:12-13 (NLT)

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

 

These trials and hardships in life that reveal more and more faith demonstrate our partnership with Christ. When we emerge from an experience, giving praise and honor to God, still walking in the Light – we made it. We are victorious. It doesn’t mean we have arrived. It certainly doesn’t mean that we will not go through something else sooner than later – it just means that our connection to Christ is becoming stronger through genuine faith and confident hope which makes it worth it every single time.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)

 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

 

A strong connection to Jesus Christ means disconnecting from this world. Sorrow is produced by death. The death of our flesh can cause sorrow in life. Sorrow is distress caused by loss, affliction, disappointment, grief, sadness and regret. The transforming power of God’s Love will cause change to come about in our life. The enemy will attack the “good work” in us being performed and executed by God’s Holy Spirit inside of us. There will be things in our life that must be relinquished to the Cross. Sorrow is good when it leads to repentance. Our new life in Christ unfolds much like the peeling of an onion layer by layer producing the same amount of tears. The closer we become to Christ the more we will see our inability to do anything for the Lord outside of what He is doing in us and through us. It is a surrender to total weakness. For when we are weak, we become strong in the sufficiency of grace which is everything we cannot do for ourselves.

Ephesians 4:30-32 (NLT)

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Today is my birth mother’s birthday. She passed away last November. We had not seen each other in a number of years. Her addictions separated her from her family and eventually cost her life. When my son was battling cancer, the Lord impressed it upon my heart to call her and tell her. I did not want to. I was not up to it. Our relationship was so difficult. We had not spoken in years. But finally to relieve the pressure, I called her. We talked. I told her that no matter what I loved her. It was the last time that I spoke to her. I believe that sorrow in life opens up areas that we have closed. Areas of unforgiveness, bitterness and all the kinds of behaviors to expose them and allow the work of the Holy Spirit. Even though it was a difficult conversation to have with my mother, I was able to tell her that no matter what I loved her. I would probably never have made the call if not for the brokenness of the situation. The pressure and pain of the trial made it the only way to find relief and release so I did it. Every trial we go through in life has purpose and meaning with the promise that it will produce faith and confident hope to those who remain connected to Jesus Christ. It will always be worth it.

I Timothy 6:10-12 (NLT)

For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

We all have the propensity to wander from true faith for a number of reasons which pierce us with many sorrows that the Lord has already overcome. Calvary satisfied the price put on our life because of sin. Grace affords us the opportunity to discover true faith, be fully redeemed and by confident hope become overcomers in life. The self-inflicted wounds were paid for when by His Stripes we are healed mind, soul and body. Every trial and every sorrow that we face surrendered to Jesus Christ moves us to a higher level of faith and deeper confidence in the Lord so we are not easily moved. The tests and trials many times become tougher because we are stronger in the Lord. Jesus wants us to fully realize His Potential in us and live out that purpose that turns ashes into something beautiful and our mourning into dancing.

Mark 9:21-24 (NLT)

“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.  “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

I am excited about this journey we are on. I cannot wait to do all the things we planned and experience all the things that the Lord has hidden for us in this visit to New Hampshire. I know it will be well worth the journey because it is my experience that whatever the Lord impresses us to do and we do by faith yields results we cannot fathom. I was tired last night from travelling. The journey was long and jet lag set in but with this morning came new mercy.

Life is a journey like traveling to a new place. It requires total faith and dependency of God to experience what confident hope has to offer that never ever leads to disappointment. Every trial and sorrow has the potential to lead to more faith and dislodge disbelief that joy killer and faith robber of life. There will always be areas from now until we step into Eternity that produce problems but these are opportunities in God’s Eyes to increase our faith and hope that allows us to experience the fulfillment of true redemption body, mind and spirit. What are you going through? Is it a trial? Are you experiencing sorrow? Jesus is saying that anything is possible for those who believe. Overcomes say, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Romans 4:16-20 (NLT)

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.

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