In the Middle of Hardship

How are things in your life? Do you face any hardships at the moment? Addiction? Debt? Marriage grown cold? Rebellious children? Uncontrolled anger. It doesn’t matter what kind of trouble it is; a major problem doesn’t appear overnight. It’s build up incident by incident.

“Help!”

There we go again! It’s the same old problem. I’ve seen it coming, but I thought I’ll just ignore it. It’ll be over soon anyway. Right? Wrong!

Keeping an Eye on Things

When making a cake we don’t wait until it is burned to take it out of the oven, do we? We check on it regularly while it is in the oven and might turn it so it’s cooked evenly. After the suggested baking time we examine its color looks fine and if it is done.

Driving a nail into the wall needs attention. We wouldn’t turn our head aside while doing the job, would we? Holding the nail between pointer and thumb, positioning it at the wall, and then trying to hit it without looking at it — Ouch!

The same principle applies to Christian life, our marriage, the way we are raising our children, cleaning and organizing our homes, and budgeting our time and finances. We need to keep a close eye on what is going on. It’s always best to work on problems while they are still tiny to avoid things to escalate or be torn apart.

A Storm Approaches

Sometimes, however, we see nothing but blue skies when, suddenly, darkness surrounds us and thick clouds appear. We have to face the storm coming in. Now what?

In the Middle of the Storm

Mark 4:35-41 says:

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.

But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Remember that Jesus knows of the storm before it is coming in. Don’t be fearful. Instead, keep your faith and know that He is always with you. Stay close to Him wherever you are.

Easier read than lived. Let’s face it! It’s best to get problems out of the way while they are still small. If they get bigger, don’t keep ignoring them. Even if they have evolved into a major issue: Never lose hope! Jesus is the Master in and over every storm — even the wind and the sea must obey Him!

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Full Of Joy

Are you content with life? Does joy come easy and naturally to you? How about when things do not go according to plan? What if hardship strikes? When we are facing trials, it’s hard, nearly impossible, to remain full of joy, isn’t it?

1 Peter 1

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,

7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Verse eight in the KJV reads as follows:

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 

(emphasis mine)

It reminds me of the refrain of a hymn written by Barney Elliott Warren. You can find the lyrics at: I have found His grace is all complete (Joy Unspeakable)

When things are great, going according to our wishful thinking, we feel joy and sometimes like singing, too. It’s a lot harder while facing trials. Should we be happy for the hardship? No, of course, not. We certainly can have Joy, though, while going through hardships!

Joy unspeakable. It’s not that pleasant kind of feeling of happiness. If it depends on earthly things and circumstances it is not a true and unshakeable joy. The Joy that will not leave us in the midst of life’s storms is found in the Fountain Himself. Our faith in the risen Christ is the true joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Whenever I reach the end of my rope and desperate for answers; when I have absolutely no energy left to go on in life; if my patience fails and I feel I cannot endure this situation another day… Then I need more than a fast and easy solution to the problem. No time for a quick fix, because it won’t be long until the same, a similar, or even a situation that is worse is coming into my life. 

“How do I find that Joy?” you ask. Believe that the LORD, He is God. Seek Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. More on finding joy in a future post. 

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Guard Your Home

God’s Word calls older women to admonish the young women to be homemakers. What does the Bible mean by that? Let’s read Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV)

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—

that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Oikouros is the Greek word here that has been translated as homemakers (NKJV). The KJV translates it as keepers at home. If we look up the word in Strong’s Concordance (G3626) we will find out that it’s only used once (in Titus 2:5). Strong defines it as: a stayer at home. Let’s explore the meaning of Oikourus a little further. The word consists of: 

oykos (G3624 in Strong’s) is translated as home or house/-hold (and temple in some cases)

and

ouros which means a guard, be “ware.” (beware, be on your guard)

There is no place like home! Our family should feel safe and secure there. Ouros is so important! The devil likes to see us “off guard” and wandering around while we should guard our homes. Matthew Henry puts it this way in his commentary:

[The women’s] business is to guide the house, and they should give no occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully.

I understand that in today’s world the word homemaker has lost its true meaning. Why should a young wife choose to stay at home and make it her business to guide and guard her house while her friends go off to college to study other things? We will explore that further in future posts. Today I would like you to take away three words: Guard your home and think about why this is/could be so important for your family.

Read more about oikouros (at Studylight.org)

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