EASIER ISNíT ALWAYS BETTER
(The Joe Robison Story: Part 2 of 2)
Jesus Did It!
(By: Joe Robison)
I know what it is like to struggle as a new Christian. I turned my life back to God in jail, and when I got out, I had two years of probation to complete. Prior to being in jail I had lived the past couple of years in abandoned buildings or barns, etc.; and ate mostly out of the dump behind Food Lion. I was a loner, and had become very good at surviving; it had become easy. But after I was released from jail it was so hard, as I tried to establish a life where I actually had bills to pay, etc.,. I had never been able to complete a probation term before. The first six months was a real struggle. Two or three times I flirted with the thought of telling them what to do with their fine and probation; jail was easier. And besides that, surviving on the street was easier than paying rent, power, water, my car insurance etc.,. But I knew deep down inside that God didn't want me to go back to living on the street, or back to jail, so I couldn't quit; though it was tempting.
So I lived from paycheck to paycheck, by the skin of my teeth. Many times I did not know how I would make the bills, but I always did; usually just in time. Then one day, after about 6 months, it seemed as if God must have said; "He's passed this test, and now I'm going to promote him." Praise God! All of a sudden, things started getting better! But before long, more trials came up. But I persevered, and when I passed the next test, I felt I got another promotion! And the trials are still coming, but by now I have learned that every time I pass a test, I am rewarded. So I don't mind so much as at first. Except for struggling to pay the fine and probation fees, I did do two years probation without any trouble. It was the first time in my life I have ever made probation without any violations. It's all behind me, now. And even though I am still in the lower income bracket, I have much more than I have ever been able to have before. In the past, I could never keep anything because of my addictions. Material things only passed through my hands, to the drug dealers. But now I can buy things and they can be a blessing to others and me, and not to the drug dealers.
In the progress of obtaining material things, however, we must never lose sight of the fact that these things alone will never give us lasting satisfaction, but that our joy comes from our relationship with God and our assurance that our sins are forgiven, and that heaven is our destination. God has changed my life so much! He is so worthy to be praised, and I worship Him continually. I have never known such contentment, and peace about who I am in Christ.
And still the trials come, and sometimes I forget, momentarily, that this means another promotion is on the way. For instance, a couple of years after God began to changed me, I wanted to open a checking account, but could not have one, because my credit was ruined. So I decided to really get down and pay off all my debts; and I did. Then after paying off over $2000 worth of debts, and not owing anyone anything, I waited a couple of months for my credit to clear up. And then I went to open a checking account again. Much to my surprise, I still could not get a checking account! Even though I had paid my old debts, my credit was ruined for letting these debts previously go without paying on them. So I still had bad credit, and no bank in town would let me have a checking account! People advised me to get a co-signer and borrow money, and pay it off for a couple of years; but I simply couldn't afford to borrow money right then. So this really burned me up. It was like I did what I thought was right by paying off all my old debts, but the world was still refusing to let me have a life! So I sulked for a couple of days about this. Then I finally considered that it was just another test that I could pass, with God's help. So I decided to get over it and get on with it, and went to the Bible for some words of wisdom and comfort, and the Holy Spirit took me right to the source!
Remember how it was with you in the past. In those days, after God's light had shone on you, you suffered many things, yet were not defeated by the struggle.
You were at times publicly insulted and mistreated, and at other times you were ready to join those who were being treated in this way.
You shared the sufferings of prisoners, and when all your belongings were seized, you endured your loss gladly, because you knew that you still possessed something much better, which would last forever.
Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward.
You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises.
For, as the scripture says, "Just a little while longer, and he who is coming will come; he will not delay.
My righteous people, however, will believe and live; but if any of them turns back, I will not be pleased with them.
We are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved.
Now I know just how true this is. Just after I saw Godís light, I went through the fire. A part of me wanted to give up; my old way of life seemed easier. But really, easier is not necessarily better, is it? Though surviving had been easy back then, I was miserable and wanted to die! Now I am content, as long as I keep my focus on God, and what He has brought me out of. Many of my new friends have never been where I have, and they donít really understand, but I thank God they don't have to. I have never suffered beyond what I was able to bear! And though I still don't have great credit, a new car, or own my own home, I have much more than ever before! I ended up with a job (not very long after I had first tried to open a checking account), where my employers were members of the federal credit union; and through this job, I did get a checking account, and began to build my credit again. I even have a couple of major credit cards, now, HA!!HAA!!! And life is still getting better every day!!! Though my car is not new, it is paid for; it's mine. Though my motorcycle is vintage, I paid cash for it; it's mine. I have a computer, and all kinds of electronics and tools; everything I've wanted, I've been able to get it, eventually, (still working on a wife). But it didn't come easy for me. It has been a battle, but one worth fighting for. These two verses in Hebrews really spoke to me: "Do not lose courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward" and "you need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what He promises." See, these two things work together as the key to all locked doors ... faith and patience.
James 1:12, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."
This is the answer...faith and patience, and all in God's good timing. We're going to be tested, but when we pass these tests, we get rewarded with a promotion. Over all this, Godís grace and mercy overflows into my life like a river. The main thing is not to focus more on where you want to be than on what you've come out of. I would have never have believed, before, that my life could ever be this good; that I could laugh and enjoy myself, and praise and worship God like I do now. He is so awesome! May I never forget where I've been, so that I will never stop being thankful for God's deliverance from all the terrible oppressions of my past. Christ has won the victory for us, and we should walk in the authority He has given us.
Luke 10:19, "Behold! I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you."
So be patient, give thanks for Godís grace and mercy and for Jesus dying on the cross. Remember that easier is not always better! The promises of God are worth fighting forÖ
John 16:33,"I've told you this so that my peace will be with you. In the world you'll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world."
Psalm 116:1-9,"I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!" Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living."
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Joseph A. Robison,
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Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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