Posts Tagged ‘Trials

06
Apr
17

The Goal

When trials and tests of our faith come, they produce perseverance. They help us grow and learn to trust God to get us through difficult circumstances and situations. Instead of giving up on our faith, we press on through the trials with God’s help. That’s how our faith matures. This is one of the goals of being a follower of Jesus. Here’s what James says:

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:4 (NIV)

As we learn to trust God in the difficult times of our lives, the more mature our faith becomes. We are no longer spiritual babies who are prone to wander away from Jesus. Instead, we have a mature faith that not only stands firm through the tests and trials, but also helps others in their trials and tests. Don’t give up when the tests come. Don’t throw in the towel when the trials happen. Press on and persevere with God’s help knowing that you’re getting stronger and your faith is maturing.
05
Apr
17

Trials and Tests

We tend to see the trials in our lives as bad things. The Bible says that they are actually for our good. Jesus’ brother, James, wrote:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – James 1:2-3 (NIV)

When our faith is tested, it is not a matter of God punishing us. God allows our faith to be tried and tested so that it will grow. We learn how to persevere and press on when we go through various trials and tests. How else will we be able to keep going when the going gets tough? Let’s face it, the trials and tests get harder as we get older. The trials of our twenties may be nothing compared to the faith tests of our forties, fifties, sixties and beyond. God uses tests and trials to strengthen us, not to punish us. Lean into Him as you face trials because your faith is deepening and growing as you learn to persevere.
12
Sep
16

Tests, Trials and Temptations! Oh my!

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  This is the first message in our new series based on the book of James.  This message is based on James 1:1-18.

 

11
Jul
16

God Made This Day

This is the day the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.  — Psalm 118:24 (NIV)
As kids we learn a call and repeat song about how “This is the day (echo)!  That the Lord has made (echo)!  I will rejoice (echo)!  And be glad in it (echo)!”  Too often we forget that song.  We do not rejoice and we are not glad in the day that God has given to us.  We get bogged down in the junk of life to actually do what the song says.  How can we have joy and gladness today when life is so hard?
I have been talking to so many people lately about the toughness of life.  People have been coming to me with prayer requests, broken relationships, loved ones dying and disappointments and failures.  My friends and family members deal with struggles and various kinds of pain on a daily basis it seems.  There is no gladness, no joy.  There only seems to be pain, trials and drama galore.
I think that it takes work to have joy and gladness.  It takes effort to remind ourselves of the blessings versus the trials.  It takes a great deal of energy to rise above the circumstances and the situations we find ourselves in and have true joy.  We cannot ignore the pain of life, but we can choose to deal with it in a constructive manner.  Pain produces strength (no pain, no gain?).  Pain gives us endurance.  Pain stretches our faith.  There is joy, even in the trials, for the trials lead to Christian character (James 1:2-3).  It’s hard to remember this nugget of truth when we’re in the midst of the trials, but when we come through on the other side, we’ll know that God works everything out for good.
PRAYER: Father God, You know what this day holds. You know what trials and tests will come my way. You know what pain I am dealing with in my life. Help me to remember that You made this day so that I will rejoice and be glad in it. I want to rise above the situations and circumstances of life to honor you and give you praise. In Jesus’ name I praise you today, amen.
03
Feb
16

How Many Shoes Does God Have?

You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop”.  It typically means that things are going well, but one is waiting for the inevitable hiccup, bump in the road or piano to drop on one’s head from a very tall building while walking down a busy street in Chicago.  We human beings can be quite pessimistic about our lives.  We’re too pessimistic for our own good.  What happened to hope and anticipation?  What happened to optimism?  Is there any justifiable reason to have hope in our world today?  Why does there always have to be “another shoe”?  Why are we waiting for the other shoe to drop instead of waiting for the next blessing or revelation of God’s presence in our lives?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” — Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

The Greek word translated as hope literally means a confident expectation.  The author of Hebrews makes a great connection between faith and hope.  The faith that one has in Jesus Christ is directly related to the hope of His return.  Our expectation of Christ’s return is rooted in our faith in what we cannot see.  Faith is hard, but I wonder if hope is harder.  I can see the evidence of God all around me.  I know that He is there and He created all of the beauty around me.  But when it comes to hope for a bright future, I keep wondering how many shoes God has and when the next one will drop.

The book of James says to rejoice in trials because they produce perseverance and endurance.  They strengthen our faith.  They make us more mature.  God knows what He is doing and I have to take comfort in that and believe that there is a plan for my life and hope for my future.  And some days, that’s all I can do.

PRAYER: Lord, I struggle with understanding Your will and plan for my life.  I struggle with the trials and tests I sometimes have to endure.  Give me strength for my journey as I walk through this life with You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

26
Jan
16

The Stronghold

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.

Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:9-10 (NIV)

What oppresses you?  How has life beaten you up and dragged you down?  Has the weight of life crushed you in the last week?  In the last year?  In the last five years?  Ten?  Twenty?  How have you dealt with this sense of being oppressed by life?

I think that too often we try to deal with the struggle and weight of life on our own instead of turning to God.  Perhaps God is too busy.  Maybe He doesn’t want to be bothered.  He doesn’t want to bother with little insignificant me, right?  Wrong.  God is big enough to handle all of the problems of the world and He cares enough about you to handle yours as well.

In Psalm 9, the Hebrew word for “refuge” is the same word that is translated as “stronghold”.  It literally means “high”.  Like the high, protective walls of a city, God is a strong refuge where we can go in times of crushing trials and trouble.  In verse 10, we are encouraged to seek God and trust in Him because He will never abandon or forsake us.  God will never turn His back on you and me.  He will never leave us.  We must continually seek after God and ask of Him for He cares about us.  He really does love you and He really does love me.  He proved it by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins.  Every sin we could possibly commit, He can and will forgive because He loves us.

When the trials and tribulations of life come, do not try to deal them on your own.  Do not turn away from God in hopes of handling them by yourselves.  Seek after God and run into His loving arms of refuge.  He is a stronghold for your heart and your soul.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for being my stronghold and refuge.  Please guard and protect my heart, soul and mind today with Your powerful arms of love.  I ask for Your guidance and leadership in my life today.  I ask for Your forgiveness in Jesus’ name, amen.

18
Jan
16

Has God Forgotten About You?

Do you ever think that God forgets about you?  That He doesn’t see you in your trials and suffering?  That He pushed you to the back burner and is focusing on more pressing issues at the present time?  I’m sure that that is how the Israelites felt in their bondage and suffering in Egypt.  Look at verse 23 of Exodus 2:

During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. – Exodus 2:23 (NIV)

They had to be thinking, “Where is God?  He promised us that we would be His people!”  The next verse might be misunderstood:

God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. – Exodus 2:24 (NIV)

What does it mean that God “remembered His covenant?”  Did He forget about the Israelites?  The Hebrew word in this verse does not mean that God forgot about them and suddenly remembered that they were in slavery.  It means that He called His promises to mind.  He looked upon them and said that the time was right to do something about their plight.
It would be wonderful if God moved according to our timeline.  If when the first hint of trouble comes, God moves and removes it from our lives.  If when the least bit of a difficult trial or test rears its head, God would take it away from us.  But one of the things that I have learned is that faith doesn’t always grow when things are easy.  It is in the trials and the tests that we learn and grow and mature in our faith.  God may seem distant and silent, but He knows what we are going through.  He sees the trials and the suffering.  He is going to move and do something.  The time isn’t quite right yet.  Pray that your faith will grow in this test that you’re going through.  Pray and ask God for the strength to not only survive the test, but to have the power to grow through it.
 PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, I pray that You would move in my life today.  I ask that You would remove anything from me that is hindering my growth in You.  I ask  that You would make my paths straight today and keep me from wandering from Your side.  Give me strength to endure the trials and the troubles that today may bring.  In Jesus’ name I ask all of this, amen.

Exodus 2

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

The Birth of Moses

2 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

Moses Flees to Midian

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”

14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”

19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

20 “And where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”

21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become an alien in a foreign land.”

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.




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