Friday, September 7, 2012

Trials = Joy??

Encountering trials aren't exactly fun.  In fact, I don't think they're any fun at all.  I don't know about you but I can't remember any time in my life that I have prayed for a trial to go through.  No thank you very much..  

Yet in James 1:2 God says for us to 'consider it a joy' when we encounter trials.  A joy!  Now, I don't know about you but it is really hard for to me to consider a trial a joy.  But if we want to be more like Christ, that's exactly what we must do.  Friend, we have to be shaken from our comfortable positions on the couch if we want to be fit and healthy in the Lord.  Sometimes we have to work out by reading the Word or praying, other times, we need an all out body makeover in the form of a trial.  

Let me be sure I make myself clear - trials are NOT a punishment from God.  No way, no how.  They can be, however, a consequence of a action that was made that was not clearly thought out - but they are not from God sitting up there punishing you for <insert sin here>.  However, God will allow some things to come our way.   Most times when a trial finds its way to us, it's simply the enemy trying to gain a foothold into your life - he tries to diminish your faith and cause doubt to rise in your heart.  Instead of giving the enemy any sort of pleasure from our pain, we need to remember what God's Word says about these trials & tribulations that will occur.

If necessary, write these scriptures down on sticky notes and place them in areas where they will be seen daily.  Memorize them and hide them in your heart.  Trials will be much easier to go through when you use the weapons God has given you. (2Cor. 10:4 & Eph. 6:17)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. - James 1:12  

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13 

 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. - Romans 12:12

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. - James 1:2-4

 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. - 1 Peter 4:12-13

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. - Romans 8:28

Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” - John 16:33

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.  We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.  None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. - Romans 8:35-39

Be blessed,

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