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Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

God's Word tells us that He blesses those who obey His word, but He also apportions varying measures of grace to unbelievers. It is by His mighty hand that we all find provision, whether we recognize it or not, but who can really see even the richest blessings in this world as anything worth having over the riches of heaven? To that end, one of the most challenging facets of a life of faith is facing adversity, even hardship, especially when we see unbelievers seeming to prosper. We feel as though we are giving our all to the Lord, but why are we not seeing blessings and prosperity? Hebrews 12:6 tells us "For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” Why is this? How can we make sense of this? We make sense of it in the same way a parent disciplines their child -- not to cause harm or injury, but to instruct, build character, and develop a child according to the parent's purpose. It's often been said that in our pain, we find our purpose -- this is a colloquial and secular way of saying Hebrews 12:6! Though Jesus was welcomed on Palm Sunday with fanfare and celebration in Jerusalem, he soon after faced punishment and discipline from his Heavenly Father as he faced the cross. Who are we to expect only Palm Sundays from our Heavenly Father, but not the cross? Joyously, our sins are covered by the finished work of Christ, but we will still face trials in life that God uses to steer us towards His purpose for us. And what will we receive by living and acting by faith, even in the midst of trials? We receive treasure laid up in heaven -- permanent reward for all that we did in service to God, not ourselves. Today, see the trials in your life as evidence of God's love for you, just as the Bible says they are. Turn to God, and away from the world, for the guidance and provision to get through them. As James tells us, God promises to answer those who come to Him in faith in their time of trial. Keep eyes for eternity, looking to store up treasure in heaven rather than what will be taken away from us on earth.

"God blesses those who obey him; happy the man who puts his trust in the Lord." -- Proverbs 16:20

"For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” -- Hebrews 12:6

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." -- James 1:2-8

"“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -- Matthew 6:19-21

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