The Reason We Have Seasons of Trouble and Rest

man in black jacket sitting on block

“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” Acts 9:31

It is hard to discern what led to the season of rest. Some say it resulted from the conversion of Saul. However, Saul wasn’t the sole source of persecution, as his own persecution testifies. Others say that the cause of rest resulted from political movements that diverted imperial policies away from the Christians. 

Regardless, the churches enjoyed a season of relief. Scripture teaches that believers will enjoy seasons of ups and downs. The hard times prove and mature us, and the good times give us a break, allowing us to enjoy our blessings in calm meditation. The Israelites had to dig through rubbish in troublesome times when rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, but they later celebrated its completion while their enemies were stifled. 

The principle is found in Ecclesiastes 7:14.

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” 

The great lesson is that when we experience temporary gifts of rest from God, we should enjoy them, thank Him, and use that time wisely. However, we should remember that restful times do not last. As Adam Clarke said, “God has balanced prosperity and adversity against each other; and were it not so, how many would put the former in the place of God himself.”

The Daily Link: My Love Be With You All

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The Apostle Paul prayed that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ would be with the believers in Corinth. Who could ask for more? However, in the next verse, he adds, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). Why? The grace of Christ produces love in our hearts. Love delights in reciprocal love.  

God designed us to love each other. Paul was interested in each person in Corinth. They didn’t constitute numbers on his conversion list or followers of his ministry to whom he could send flattering donation appeal letters. They were individuals created in God’s image, and he loved them.  

Paul wasn’t the type to parachute in and out of people’s lives depending on his “preaching tour schedule.” He knew them intimately. “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Paul’s words express the strongest affection and connection. 

Paul prays this for us: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). 

The Daily Link: The Christian World View

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, helping us maneuver through life. The fear of the Lord includes knowing who God is, what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He’s going to do. Faith gives the believer assurance. God promised Abraham a land that the Canaanites occupied. However, Abraham’s faith looked beyond the current situation and saw that same ground occupied by him and his descendants (Genesis 12:6-7, King James Bible).

So, too, believers see through the current corruption and chaos to the orderly establishment to come. The trouble for the believer is the present evil. Today, the believer’s greatest virtue is patience. The story of Job beautifully illustrates the struggle. Job has a prose introduction in which Job loses everything and a prose conclusion in which Job has everything he lost restored double. In between describes, in poetry, a great struggle between Job, his friends, and God Himself, which resembles the larger conflict of the ages. The believer, too, struggles now and complains from time to time, but he knows what’s coming. Like Job, He knows His Redeemer lives and that resurrection is assured.

The Christian worldview gives the believer joy amid suffering, encourages him to love others despite their behavior, and inspires him to sacrifice for others irrespective of gratitude.

The Daily Link: The Better World To Come

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God is supreme, humanity is God’s crowning achievement, and Jesus is a masterpiece, but something went wrong with humanity, requiring God and the Lord Jesus Christ to act. In Genesis three, humanity plunged into sin because of Adam’s disobedience; strife, wars, disease, and death ensued. The human race made a mess out of God’s world. However, there is nothing wrong with this earth that God cannot fix. On the heels of man’s fall, God promised that the woman’s seed would undo the devastation. Beginning with Moses and through the prophets, God promised the restoration of the world and its people. These promises converge in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

God, through Christ, will do much more than restoring creation. His grace will overwhelm all sin and evil and establish a better world. Paul said, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Romans 5:15, King James Bible). Christ’s work will bring creation into a more remarkable state than what Adam had in the garden. The Bible promises such a world, and believers accept it by faith. They see beyond the present chaos and suffering and latch on to the sure hope laid before them in the Scriptures. That’s the blessed hope.

The Daily Link: Who Is Jesus Christ?

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Jesus Christ is the greatest masterpiece, the object of God’s affection and esteem. God calls upon humans to see Christ through His eyes. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17, King James Bible). For the first time, God had an object on earth that perfectly reflected Him. Peter records the believer’s response to God’s call, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious” (1 Peter 2:7, King James Bible). Humans in fellowship with God look at the same object – Christ. God also sees humanity in Christ, the perfect man, and He is pleased with it because Jesus Christ represents humanity in its ideal. 

Furthermore, Jesus is God’s logos, or word, which means He is God’s expression, become flesh (John 1:1, 14, King James Bible). God loves to communicate, and Jesus Christ is God’s most fabulous word to humanity. Through Christ, we hear God. The Lord Jesus announced the nearness of God’s Kingdom, proclaimed its principles, lived in perfection, and then died and rose again to ensure its reality on earth. Christ is the invisible God’s image, representing God’s ultimate dominion over creation (Colossians 1:15). Through Christ, we see God. 

Additionally, Christ is the firstborn of all creation and the firstborn from the dead, which means He is responsible for the universe and its beings (Colossians 1:15, 18, King James Bible). Christ will restore beings and their environment as the firstborn, eliminating every trace of sin and its consequences. God’s kingdom will embrace all families of the earth according to the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12. Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, and Thomas admitted from his knees that Jesus is his Lord and God (Matthew 16, John 20, King James Bible). Christ, through His cross, abolishes death, for “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22, King James Bible). 

The Christian worldview sees beyond the current wars, disease, and strife to the future world established by the Lord Jesus Christ, the humbled one Who is now exalted. Jesus is exclusively the true and living way to God, the sole provider of Redemption, Resurrection, and Restoration. 

The Daily Link: What is Man?

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The incomparable Creator-God’s crowning achievement is humanity. God created man last because he is the center and head of the world that He made. According to Genesis 1:26, God created man in His image and likeness, which Scripture defines in the same verse when describing man’s dominion. Man, like God, is to rule, but only God is the ultimate sovereign. Man is below God but above the animals, which is why in verse 27, God repeats three times that He created humanity in His image.

God created man to be productive and use His resources to His glory, putting him into the garden to dress it and keep it safe. In short, man was created to glorify God in his work and keep evil influences out of his realm. God also created man with the ability to think, reason, and communicate with Himself and other humans. He gave Adam the responsibility to classify the animals, which meant he had to study them and provide them with a name suitable to their natures. God also designed humans to be social creatures, which is why He made the woman. Under God, husband and wife were to manage God’s resources, raise a family, and pass God’s truth to the next generation. Humanity is God’s masterpiece, which leads us to the greatest masterpiece of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll talk about Him next.