Heaven is Better

By Emily Moore

The three-word phrase at the top of this article has become my personal catch phrase this year, and here is why. Our lives are made up of both good, prosperous, times and hard, not-so-prosperous times. If we made it through life without a single trial, our faith would never grow. But if our lives were filled only with trials, we would probably lose our minds. So, God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, provides for His children’s needs (Matthew 6:25-34), and He also allows us to experience growth-inspiring challenges (Hebrews 12:3-11). 

Now, with these thoughts on your mind, think back to the phrase “Heaven is better.” The truth is whether you find yourself in a peaceful life season or in the midst of the most difficult situation you’ve ever faced, you will find a needed dose of perspective in remembering that Heaven is better. Like Paul in Philippians 4:12, when he says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound,” we can all better remember to glorify God in any season of life when we remember that, ultimately, our actions in this life should be motivated by the eternal life hereafter.

As humans, it seems that staying focused on our end goal can be equally difficult in both good and hard times. Are you currently in one those wonderful phases of life in which your family and finances are all in order? Remember that Heaven is better than any level of temporal happiness or security we experience on earth. Praise God for those blessings, but remember that He has an even greater blessing waiting after this life.

It could be that you are on the opposite end of that spectrum, facing the hardest physical, financial, or spiritual circumstances you ever have. If that’s the case, take heart in knowing that Heaven is better, and faithfulness to God will lead you to an eternal life filled with nothing but peace and glory in God’s presence. 

It’s true. Shouting “Heaven is better!” when you find yourself struggling with materialism or going through hardships won’t immediately eradicate the problems in your life or change your level of earthly prosperity. But keeping your mind on the glory of Heaven will completely change, for the better, your perspective of life on earth. In the best or worst seasons of life, may we all remember that Heaven is better!

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Praise God for Problems

By Emily Moore

Problems, situations, and trials that seem irresolvable happen to each of us. Running into a situation that you don’t know how to fix, likely even a situation you can’t fix, is inevitable in this life. The beauty, however, of encountering these challenges as a Christian is that we don’t have to face them alone, and we are actually expected to place our anxieties and issues into someone else’s hands: God’s hands. Before you keep reading, take a moment to think about the last trial or problem you experienced. What was your first thought? How did you react? What did you do to take care of it? As humans, often, our first thought is “Oh great,” which is then followed by something like “What am I gonna do?,” which is then followed by “Okay, here’s what I’ll do to fix this.” Do you notice what’s missing from this process?… GOD! Those thoughts may come naturally as humans, but as Christians, our first reaction to any challenge should be to bring it to the all-knowing Creator.

In scripture, we see three steps in the process of coping with trial’s as a Christian. 

First, start by praising God. James 1:2 instructs us to “count it all joy” when we have trials because they are opportunities. Our lowest points inspire us to grow in the Word, depend on our God, and see His glory in the midst of it all. So, when a problem arises, thank God for it! Thank Him for the opportunity to grow and the help you know He will provide, and thank Him for all of the other blessings you still have. 

Second, pray to God. In Hebrews 10:32-39, the writer talks of Christians who “joyfully accepted” when their own property was plundered. In verse 39, the audience and Christians today are encouraged to keep trusting in God regardless of circumstance: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” When you face hardship, allow it to bring you closer to God by pleading to Him for help.

Third, praise God. Yes, praising God was also the first step, but every trial should begin and end with praise. We begin with praise to thank God for blessing us with a growth opportunity and with help to endure. We end in praise to thank Him for His continued faithfulness in past, present, and future hardships.

Praise God for your problems, pray to God for your solutions, and praise Him again for your deliverance. 

“I will call upon the Lord,  Who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

Psalm 18:3

Revive Me, Week 12– Count Your BLESSONS

Revive Me, Week 12–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Count Your BLESSONS

Karen Salmansohn came up with the word “blesson.”  She said it means “when you’re able to see the blessing in the lesson that your trial taught you.”  I love this reminder of a very biblical concept!

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(James 1:2-4)

We serve such an amazing God!  It’s all too easy to count our problems, to wring our hands over trials and disappointments.  First of all, they do exist.  Christians aren’t exempt from experiencing hardships (John 16:33; Psa. 34:17,18).  As long as we’re in this world, we may barely get through one difficulty only to encounter another.  Second, it’s also all too easy to count our burdens because nearly everyone does it.  What’s covered in the nightly news?  What’s trending on social media?  Typically it includes what’s wrong with the world.  And yet, again I say, we serve an amazing God!  While we are surrounded by “trials dark on every hand,” God wants us to KNOW that they are temporary (2 Cor. 4:18), that He will not forsake us (Heb. 13:5), and that good can come from suffering (see several passages listed below).

Jesus lived a perfect life and was the Son of God yet “He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:8,9).

The world points to suffering as proof of an indifferent God or a nonexistent one but Christians know better.  We trust God because we know He loves us, refines us, and works for our ultimate good (Rom. 8:28).  Please remember that, dear reader.  No matter what life throws at you, you can smile anyway because your Creator holds you in His care.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Go ahead and list your problems but then list how you can grow from them.  Do you need refining in attitude or character?  Do you need to increase your faith or trust?  Have you been relying more on yourself instead of God?
  2. Read through 1 Peter, paying close attention to what you can learn about suffering as a Christian.
  3. For personal Bible study or family devotional time, list the spiritual good that can come from suffering or the hope God offers:
    1. 1 Pet. 5:10
    2. James 1:2-8, 12
    3. Rom. 5:2-5
    4. Rom. 8:18
    5. 1 Pet. 1:7
    6. 2 Cor. 5:1
    7. Heb. 12:7-11
    8. 2 Tim. 2:12
    9. Psa. 119:67
    10. 2 Cor. 1:3-5
  4. Bible-mark “Why Good People Suffer”