Wednesday, August 7, 2013

LIFE IS HARD by Tony Manley

Life is hard…life is harder when you are stupid! (quote by John Wayne)

Don’t you agree?! Stupid is as stupid does. I know this is the “S” word in early elementary grades, but I am confident this blog is not for early elementary readers! Stupid has nothing to do with intellect or lack of knowledge. Stupid is willfully wrong choices. This is the word that kept going through my heart during the intense teaching of the blessings and curses Monday night at Bible study. Deuteronomy is such a good daily guide of how to live life, which leads me back to the premise – stupid is the description of when instruction is ignored!

In Deuteronomy, basically, I can trace the degree I enjoy rest and surrender hinging on two truths: Love and worship God only and be good to others. Isn’t this what Jesus also taught in Matthew 22:37-40 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” As I think through the warring of my flesh, the culture, and the enemy, I can trace defeat back to either not loving God with my all of heart, mind, and strength or not loving others as myself. Think about it. Fear, worry, selfishness, bitterness, insecurity, and/or unforgiveness are not excuses for defeat when Jesus is Lord. (I invite you to go through your own list of defeating attitudes or behaviors.) Either He is greater and able, or He is not. Circumstances and people definitely evoke these attitudes, but circumstances and people are not lord unless I give them that position. 

Moses was intensely instructing the blessings of obedience to the people and to their descendants. Sometimes bringing the descendants into a decision will sober up the heart! Then, he described in great detail the consequences (curses) of disobedience to the people. This is the part I resonated greatly with. Obedience births blessing and freedom while disobedience births death, defeat, and bondage. Deuteronomy 28:15-68 lists the specific curses. This is a list that can be avoided by being obedient to God’s commands – His rules and statutes – which were given for the good of the people! 

Again, just to be repetitive – life is hard, life is harder when you are stupid.  2 Peter 1:3 says “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” Jesus said in John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

What good news!  I am equipped with everything I need to not be stupid and I am warned this life will have troubles, but Jesus is Lord, Overcomer, of the world. I repeat, I do not have to be stupid!

Father, today I will do battle with my flesh, I will be out of place in this world, and I will be attacked by an enemy who hates me and You. This is the "this side of heaven" life, but I rest and surrender to You, the One who is greater, the One who is Sovereign, the One whose heart is trustworthy, pure, just, holy, and perfect. Thank you that You have given me everything I need to live instructed and victoriously on this side of heaven.  

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