On a day by day basis, it is probably the most difficult issue that the Christian will face.
What is it?
The ever present Trials and Tribulations of the Christian’s life!
Even as we begin to find growth and maturity it will seem like they become harder, deeper, touching areas of our life that we thought were settled.
Still, nothing catches our God off His guard!
We might say to ourselves, “I can deal with this problem, just as long as nothing happens in this other part of my life, or to this particular person!” Or we may say, “Lord, do with me as you will, but don’t allow anything evil or negative to happen to my wife, or my children!” It is often more difficult to watch a loved one suffer, especially if we are helpless to do anything about it.
Have you ever really considered how Job suffered through the death of his children and his financial collapse, for which, humanly speaking, there was no rhyme or reason? And, let’s not lose sight of his wife, who suffered these losses as well.
And then there is the point where something goes askew in our life and we know we have allowed sin to enter – or we have been sinning. The most likely first reaction is to fall into a pit, wallowing in the fact that we did wrong, believing that God is punishing us, and feeling that we have no right to ask or to expect Him to deliver us. Even when we have recognized sin and confessed it and found victory, we fear that there will be consequences. And . . . of course, there may be.
Still, nothing catches our God off His guard!
And, our ‘Abba’, our Heavenly Daddy, still loves us. He will never forsake us, never turn His back on us!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33 NIV]
“I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.” [2 Corinthians 7:4 NIV]
“Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.” [2Thessalonians 1:4 ESV]
“Sanctification is the Spirit of Christ in us – making us to be in reality what God sees us to be already through justification.” David Wilkerson
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1Thessalonians 5:23 ESV]
Sanctification is the moment by moment process through which we mature as believers, under the guiding Hand of God. Trials and Tribulations are part-and-parcel in that process
“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.” [James 1:2-4 NIV]
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” [1Peter 1:6-9 ESV]
In both of these passages, we see the instruction of what we should do. ‘Consider it pure joy…’ ‘In this you greatly rejoice…’ Why? Because trials make us stronger. The James passage clearly states that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. And the Peter passage states that our faith, which is priceless, will be proved genuine and result in praise to God.
But, our question is usually how? How can we find joy in the midst of all the junk, hardships, and painful circumstances?
Do we benefit from suffering?
The answer, of course, is a resounding YES!
But, how do we benefit from suffering?
A study of the life of Joseph provides an example of one who trusted God regardless of the external circumstances in his life. Consider how many years of extreme suffering Joseph endured– loss of family, deprivation, slavery, imprisonment – before God lifted him up to be the second most powerful man in Egypt. By this the family of Jacob, the Children of Israel, were cocooned inside one of the most powerful civilizations, even though in cruel slavery, for nearly 400 years while God prepared for their deliverance, as well as His plan for the salvation of the entire world.
But also, consider David. In Psalm 22 David cries out to God for relief from the pain, the struggles, etc. God’s answer, as we now know, came through God’s Messiah, Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God – and that happened about 1000 years later.
David could only trust in the word God gave him. We have the favored position of living on this side of the Cross.
Individually, my wife and I could spend days recounting the things God has taught us
I learned to trust Him, regardless the circumstances.
through our trials and tribulations – just in the past 20 years. Loss of job, business failure, finances, health, loss of loved ones, and on and on. I dare say every one reading this could do the same. In retrospect we see what He has taught us by taking us through deep valleys, the pathways we so feared before. I personally suffered through embarrassment, shame, fear, anguish, and discouragement, just to name a few. My sweet wife carried her own burdens and struggles. We found solace in each other, but more importantly, we discovered the deep abiding truth of God’s Word, and the joy of being slaves of our Master. We traveled rocky, narrow paths and fertile green pastures. But this we know of a certainty. Our Sovereign God had our days laid out before time began. We learned the blessed truth of “this is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Every day.
I learned to trust Him, regardless the circumstances. I developed a little saying, which is axiomatic in understanding our position with an Omnipotent, Omniscient God – “God does nothing for no reason.” Our Master loves us with an eternal love and desires for us to grow, while we glorify the Father.
The Apostle Paul suffered greatly, physically, mentally and emotionally, as recounted in his various letters. But his faith rested in his implacable trust of his Master.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” [Romans 8:18 ESV]
Probably the most asked question of the Christian faith in our modern times is this.
Satan exists and He is fully aware that God is the Eternal, Almighty, Merciful, Righteous, and SOVEREIGN Creator.
How can a loving, all powerful God allow the level of suffering that we see across the world?
Our perfect God has a perfect plan for each one of us, and it will be fulfilled in the joys as well as the trials and tribulations we suffer in a FALLEN WORLD.
Sin is real. Satan exists and He is fully aware that God is the Eternal, Almighty, Merciful, Righteous, and SOVEREIGN Creator. Therefore, Satan has but one goal for every human that has ever lived. That goal is to get us to a point where we deny that God is who He is and deny that Jesus ransomed us with His shed blood, so that we will try to live a wholly self-directed life and spend an eternity in hell separated from God.
28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. …” 32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” [Romans 8:28, 32 ESV]
If God did not spare even His own Son, why should we expect delicate, special treatment? And if we know God to be perfect, and His love for us complete and everlasting, should we not rejoice in our suffering, knowing it will lead us to a greater realization of Him and a closer relationship with our Master, Jesus?
At the end of his story, after all the suffering and the questioning of God, Job had this to say:
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” [Job 42:2 ESV]
Christianity has the only answer – the ONLY answer! Because the God we serve lived, suffered and died a cruel substitutionary death out of pure, undefiled love; and then, He Arose and He Lives, ever interceding for His beloved Bride, the Church.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” [Romans 12:12 ESV]
In his Bible Study ‘Detours, The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny’ Dr. Tony Evans offers the following prayers:
“Dear Lord, I choose to believe Your Word. I choose to believe You are working all things out behind the scenes for my good and Your glory. Help me to wait in such a way that honors You and give me signs of Your goodness along the way.
“God, I choose to surrender my situation to You. Help me to guard my mouth and keep it free from complaining. Let the meditation of my heart and the words from my lips please You, benefit others, and speak life into my everyday scenarios. Forgive me for when I have been impatient, for when I have complained, and for when I have lacked faith.”
In the Name above all names, our Eternal God and Savior, Jesus!
June 17, 1775
Why wait for ‘the whites of their eyes’?
Bill Federer remembers courage, faith of early Patriots
“Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!” commanded Colonel William Prescott, repeating the order of General Israel Putnam, June 17, 1775.
Colonel William Prescott’s men were in the center redoubt located on Breed’s Hill, adjacent Bunker Hill, guarding the north entrance to Boston Harbor. Samuel Swett wrote in his History of Bunker Hill, that as the 2,300 British soldiers advanced: “The American marksmen are with difficulty restrained from firing. Putnam rode through the line, and ordered that no one should fire till they arrived within eight rods. … Powder was scarce and must not be wasted. They should ‘not fire at the enemy till they saw the whites of their eyes. …’ The same orders were reiterated by Prescott at the redoubt.”
“Prescott is an old soldier, he will fight as long as a drop of blood is in his veins.”
When a stray musket ball from a British gun killed an American soldier, men began to run away. To stop the confusion, Colonel William Prescott climbed on top of the the wall of the fortification, stood upright and walked back and forth, rallying his men.
When British General Gage saw Prescott through his telescope, he asked a local loyalist if Prescott had enough courage to fight. The loyalist replied: “Prescott is an old soldier, he will fight as long as a drop of blood is in his veins.”
Historian George Bancroft wrote that at the redoubt in the center of battle: “No one appeared to have any command but Colonel Prescott. … His bravery could never be enough acknowledged and applauded.”
Providentially for Americans, the British brought the wrong size cannon balls – 12 lb cannon balls – which did not fit their six-pound and nine-pound cannons! As a result, British artillery was not able to soften the resistance.
General Howe disembarked 2,300 British soldiers, ordered them to fix bayonets and charge up the hill. Twice the Americans repelled them, but the third time they ran out of gunpowder. Over 1,000 British were killed in this first major action of the Revolutionary War. Nearly 500 American Continental soldiers were killed, including the notable Dr. Joseph Warren.
Amos Farnsworth, a corporal in the Massachusetts Militia, made this entry in his diary immediately after the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775: “We within the entrenchment … having fired away all ammunition and having no reinforcements … were overpowered by numbers and obliged to leave. … I did not leave the entrenchment until the enemy got in. I then retreated ten or fifteen rods. Then I received a wound in my right arm, the ball going through a little below my elbow, breaking the little shellbone. Another ball struck my back, taking a piece of skin about as big as a penny. But I got to Cambridge that night. … Oh the goodness of God in preserving my life, although they fell on my right and on my left! O may this act of deliverance of thine, O God, lead me never to distrust thee; but may I ever trust in thee and put confidence in no arm of flesh!”
The British then burned the nearby town of Charlestown. This same day, 300 miles away in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress drafted George Washington’s commission as commander-in-chief, for which he refused a salary.
Washington wrote to his wife, Martha: “Dearest … It has been determined in Congress, that the whole army raised for the defense of the American Cause shall be put under my care, and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately to Boston to take … command. … I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preserved, and been bountiful to me.”
Washington ended: “I … got Colonel Pendleton to Draft a Will … the Provision made for you, in case of my death, will, I hope, be agreeable.”
Less than a month after the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer
Less than a month after the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer, as John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, July 12, 1775: “We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American Council and arms.”
Georgia’s Provincial Congress also passed a motion, July 5, 1775: “That this Congress apply to his Excellency the Governor … requesting him to appoint a Day of Fasting and Prayer throughout this Province, on account of the disputes subsisting between America and the Parent State.”
Georgia’s Royal Governor James Wright replied July 7, 1775: “Gentlemen: I have taken the … request made by … a Provincial Congress, and must premise, that I cannot consider that meeting as constitutional; but as the request is expressed in such loyal and dutiful terms, and the ends proposed being such as every good man must most ardently wish for, I will certainly appoint a Day of Fasting and Prayer to be observed throughout this Province.”
May the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings of his Divine Providence on you . . .” Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull
Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull wrote to General Washington, July 13, 1775: “The Honorable Congress have proclaimed a Fast to be observed by the inhabitants of all the English Colonies on this continent, to stand before the Lord in one day, with public humiliation, fasting, and prayer, to deplore our many sins, to offer up our joint supplications to God, for forgiveness, and for his merciful interposition for us in this day of unnatural darkness and distress. They have, with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you possess. The Supreme Director of all events hath caused a wonderful union of hearts and counsels to subsist among us. Now therefore, be strong and very courageous.May the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings of his Divine Providence on you, give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle and danger, add success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive these Colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious and vain.”
On July 19, 1775, the Journals of the Continental Congress recorded: “Agreed, That the Congress meet here tomorrow morning, at half after 9 o’clock, in order to attend divine service at Mr. Duche’s Church; and that in the afternoon they meet here to go from this place and attend divine service at Doctor Allison’s church.”
On July 20, 1775, General Washington issued the order: “The General orders this day to be religiously observed by the Forces under his Command, exactly in manner directed by the Continental Congress. It is therefore strictly enjoined on all Officers and Soldiers to attend Divine Service; And it is expected that all those who go to worship do take their Arms, Ammunition and Accoutrements, and are prepared for immediate action, if called upon.”
William J. Federer is the author of “Change to Chains: The 6,000 Year Quest for Global Control” and “What Every American Needs to Know About the Quran: A History of Islam and the United States.”
Copied from World Net Daily (www.WND.com)
We must never lose the wonder of life and the God who gives it. Just as we must never lose the wonder of the life-blood that sacrificially flowed from Jesus’ veins so that we might live eternally with Him!
Don’t allow closed minds to deprive you of an abundant life . . .
The following was posted five years ago under the title “Getting Traction in Your Life.” At that point in time I could not have envisioned a culture such as we are currently experiencing.
Thinking carries a moral imperative
My purpose then was to point to the only truth we can depend on. Since that time I posted “Navigating True North, in a ‘Post-Truth’ World,” a look at the unbelievable growth in relative truth, which is no truth at all.
I believe these truths are more pertinent today than ever, as we witness apostasy in the Church like never before. This is true worldwide, but perhaps at a greater shift in the USA.
“To think well and usefully a man must be endowed with certain indispensable qualifications. He must, for one thing, be completely honest and transparently sincere. Another qualification is courage. The timid man dare not think lest he discover himself, an experience to him as shocking as the discovery that he has cancer. The sincere thinker comes to his task with the abandonment of a Saul of Tarsus, crying, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Thinking carries a moral imperative. The searcher for truth must be ready to obey truth without reservation or it will elude him.” [A.W.Tozer Devotional; Chasing Truth]
The very definition of truth negates any idea that it can be relative.
Foundational truth, guided by wisdom, is the only means by which an individual – and hence a society – will weather the inevitable storms of change. Unfortunately there is a strong movement in these times to sell the idea that truth is relative. We hear this stated oftentimes, in various ways, but few people ever stop to evaluate what that actually means. It might sound good, perhaps even intellectual. Acceding to such a philosophy makes us feel we are connected with the mainstream. Rarely do we hear opposing views to dissuade us. But, truth is NOT relative. Truth apart from wisdom is a dangerous thing. “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
The very definition of truth (‘a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality’; Merriam-Webster) negates any idea that it can be relative. There are some areas where there is little disagreement on that. For example, does anyone believe that 2 + 2 does not equal 4? No, there will be no argument with that because it can be seen in concrete form, and there is no moral dilemma associated with it. Each person’s fingerprints are unique. DNA is unique. The laws of thermodynamics are repeatable. In fact, the very essence of research into the physical worlds of health, science, physics, etc, is based on repeatable norms and baseline truths. Rather than dispute these basics the scientist/mathematician accepts them as foundational truth and builds from them.
Why, then, do we so quickly jump to the conclusion that truth applied to life can be relative in certain areas, e.g. morality and the realm of faith? Most, if not all historians agree that moral decline precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire. However, social commentators in the twentieth century have viewed the contemporary decline in morals within Western civilizations as proof we are evolving to a more enlightened state. If God is the Creator of everything (a foundational truth that man has denigrated over the past three hundred years) then every aspect of His axiomatic Self is foundational and fixed. “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens.” (Proverbs 3:19) There must, by definition, be foundational truths that are not variable over time and cultures and generations.
In Western civilization the student has become so full of himself/herself, that he/she questions the very foundations of the knowledge gained from the teacher. Our ego and associated pride create hindrances to accepting the truth of the ages and to realizing just how simple foundational truth can be. “The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.” (Simone Weil) Perhaps we have so dissected the Word of God that it no longer bears resemblance to His authorship, and we then, arrogantly, say we have proven there to be error. The classic conundrum!
The drive to justify self-centered, amoral and immoral lifestyles is gaining so much momentum that any truth standing in the way must be disavowed and discredited. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
A genuine seeker of truth, regardless the venue, remains objective and open to evaluate whatever she finds. “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29, emphasis mine). This could be considered a challenge by Almighty God. It is one that a large number of people have accepted and have proven true. James, the brother of Jesus, said this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Don’t be afraid of truth. Don’t allow closed minds to deprive you of an abundant life available through a relationship with the only living God. Seek Him through His Word, the Bible. His Spirit will be your guide
The following post is from a young lady whose blog I follow. She writes from the heart of a believer who has traveled a very difficult road with her Master.
This is a subject we should all be more cognizant of – especially men. God made man and woman – made them equal – made them different – for His express purposes. Pro-Creation, the making of a another human being created in the image of our Triune God, is, as she states so well, uniquely feminine. Yes, both husband and wife are required. But, the carrying of that innocent, vulnerable person until they are ready to live outside the womb – that responsibility falls to the woman. And women, since Creation, have masterfully and lovingly carried out that responsibility.
That innate desire of a woman to “mother” is to be celebrated – not berated.
BBB’s confession herein is heart-wrenching – but it is where life is – and our Master walks through this with her!
*sigh* This post is going to be difficult to write. The saying goes, never judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes…or something like that. And I’ve learned over the years that as much as I hate those cliched little nuggets, they actually hold a lot of truth. Stand the test of […]