Monday, September 7, 2015

You'll Get Through This --- Max Lucado

     So this is kind of a shameless plug for Max Lucado’s Bible study “You’ll Get Through This”.  Usually his studies are not really ones that I am interested in but this one spoke to me and opened my eyes in amazing ways drawing me closer to the Lord at a time I really needed it. We have been going through a really difficult trial the last couple years, sometimes making it hard to have hope and easy to look at tossing in the towel and giving up (not in life but in the situation). We have prayed and cried, and cried out to the Lord, begging for a change in the circumstances, wondering when this situation will end, wondering how much more we can take. I saw the quote in the above picture on a FB post, it jumped out at me and I looked up and ordered the material. This study came along at just the right time. I shared in my timeline posts at the time but wanted to kind of bring those thoughts together in one place.  The good very praiseworthy news is that it does appear there may be a change in our circumstances soon. I am scared to hope that it will happen but need to trust in God’s timing.

     Most of the Bible study revolves around the story of Joseph. Max Lucado pointed out that if it were not for Joseph’s trials and hardships (thrown into a cistern, sold into slavery, jailed) the young coddled, spoiled, rich Joseph in his father’s household could not have become Pharaoh’s right hand man that literally saved nations from starvation and was in a position to bring his family to a protected place, which ultimately saves the lineage of Jesus. From the time Joseph was sold into slavery to the time that he was re-united with his father it was 20+ years. That is a long time to go through trials.  Makes our two years look like not much. I want to cry out to the Lord and have him deliver us from our troubles now, have him bring us up out of the miry clay now, bring us up out of the cistern now. I do not want to consider staying in our troubles indefinitely. However I know and trust in God’s timing, not my own.  In the meantime I will stay prayerful, stay faithful, hold on to hope, draw strength and rest from Him. 

     Max Lucado talks about Joseph being in a deep dark pit, not being able to see his way out. But he did not stay in the pit, God was with him. God was with him, placing him in prominence in Potipher’s household. Then later while in prison he continued to remain faithful, and God was with him showing him kindness and granting him favor with the prison warden. He was able to be in a position to interpret dreams which years later led to him being in a position of authority working for the king, and ultimately reunification with his family. We can see the big picture now piecing all of the events together but Joseph went through a time of suffering during which God was with him and eventually brought him out of.  Lucado states “He gets us “through” the Red Sea, he gets us “through” the fiery furnace, he gets us “through” the storm, He gets us “through” even crucifixion.”  “The boy in the pit became the prince in the palace.” Life in the pit stinks but the God that brought Joseph up and out of the pit is the same God that will see us through. The pit does one thing, it forces us to look upward.

     In a chapter of the study titled “Wait While God Works”, Max Lucado draws attention to Daniel 10 when he mourned, fasted and prayed for 21 days. An angel appeared to him and told him that his words were heard from the first day but the angel was held up in spiritual warfare for those 21 days. While Daniel was waiting steadfastly in prayer, God was working. We may not get the answer we want in the timeline we want it in, but that does not mean that our prayers went unanswered, we continue to pray, fast, focus on God, and wait while He works. Obviously this is easier said than done. :)

The following are some other quotes from the book that spoke to me. 

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20  Satan is the source of this evil, but God comes in and takes the actions of evil and reweaves them for good. God will use this mess that you are going through right now. It may take some time but God does not waste this time. He will use this time to train and develop us into the person he needs to accomplish his will. He will use this time to teach us something that he wants us to know.” 

“What is the one thing you still have that no one can take? The answer is God’s destiny. No one can touch it. They can take a lot of things from you but no one can take your destiny. You are God’s child. He chose you. No one can take that from you. He placed you on this planet, in this generation, with these skills, in the place where you live, for a purpose. You are his child, you have to hang on to that. I am still God’s child. I may pass through a tough season, but I am his for eternity, he is still on the throne.” 

"Rather than ask "God, why?" ask, "God, what?" What can I learn from this experience? Rather than ask God to change our circumstances, ask Him to use your circumstances to change you. Life is a required course. Might as well do your best to pass it."

We may have had some difficult times of late and after awhile, it started to get harder and harder to get through it and "soldier on", and I found myself focusing on wanting deliverance of those circumstances. However it is not part of God's plan right now and this study has really helped in growing me spiritually, changing my perspective and teaching me to be content. 
The following are some verses that have been helping me. This list is not all inclusive, remember this trial has been going on for awhile and there are soooo many verses that have helped us at different times during this period.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Phillipians 4:12,13

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:7,8

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:4,5
Lord, you are my God;  I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Psalm 30:2,3

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12

All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 1 Timothy 6:1

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1,2

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6,7
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3

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