Acts 14:22 Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (ESV)
Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and [telling them] that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (AMP)
putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn't be easy: "Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times." (MSG)
Definition of tribulation
:distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution also : a trying experience
Again and again the bible warns us we are gonna go through some stuff. Hard times. Tribulation.
Part of discipleship is telling someone the truth. Preparing people for what's to come. Urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm, not to quit, to stick it out; it's establishing them, putting muscle on it as it were so believers are ready for what's ahead.
Discipleship is the trainng camp, the Gym that prepares us, that trains us for the tribulations, hardship, hard times that are in front of us.
Don't let anyone deceive you with 'Couch Potato Christianity. Low cost, high maintenance, shallow entertainment-driven, it's all about me and my comfort' theology.
What you signed up for was not a walk in the park, but a war in a battle field. We are not called to be tourists, but soldiers.
That's why it's been so hard recently. The battle is real.
Welcome to the end times. There could be trouble ahead. Don't quit. We can do this. It can be as Dickens' describes: 'it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.'
We are going to see the Glory of God. Even if we go through some stuff. It's going to be worth it. The best of times can be in the worst of times. And the worst of times can be the best of times.
I remember working with those of the older generation with dementia. I would do reminiscence stuff with them. I would ask them when was the best time in your life. Many times they would reply by saying the war years.
The war, the war, friends, loved ones were killed, buildings bombed, crazy, harrowing, horrible times why the war?
They would reply it might have been hard, but there was a sense of community. A sense of purpose. Everybody was in it together, helping one another to fight a common evil. There was a camaraderie.
You know even in bad times, if we stick together, they can be good times.
We've got Jesus, we've got each other. We have purpose.
It may not be easy like Sunday morning, but it will be glorious: don't quit.
Whatever your going through today there is Hope in Jesus. Worst times can be best times.
Father forgive me for thinking everything will always be Rosy. Help me strengthen me that I might stand and be ready in these end times. In Jesus' name amen.