Our Trials—Allowed by God

9Dqco

“The Journey Begins – Marvelous Journey” by Dehong He, 2006


Charles Stanley –Our Trials: Allowed by God

1 Peter 1:3-9

Some people have the wrong idea about the Christian life. Once they become believers, they expect smooth sailing. Yet Jesus made it clear that troubles are inevitable for God’s children. His own life was no exception: He endured false accusations, rejection by His own people, and betrayal by a close friend—to name just a few.

As His followers, we can expect difficulty. The cause of tribulation differs with each circumstance. Some problems arise from the fallen nature of the world, while others result from satanic warfare. And we can cause our own heartache from ignorance, sin, and poor decisions. There’s also another possibility—sometimes God Himself brings trials. While this last option is difficult to accept during a painful time, the Lord never brings hardship unless He has a beautiful purpose. And He gives strength to endure.

Remember, God allows struggles—whatever their source—for our benefit. Perhaps they are to purify and grow us for greater service. Maybe He has in mind to test our endurance and devotion to Christ, thereby strengthening our trust. Or He might be revealing His sustaining power. This side of heaven, we may never know the cause of each challenge. But we can trust God’s ability to deliver and mature us.

What trials are you facing? Jesus understands your pain, and He longs to be the One you cling to through good times and bad. You can choose to look elsewhere for comfort, or you can use your hardship as a source of growth. No matter how painful the trial seems, don’t waste the opportunity.

Advertisements

The LORD is God!

Aerial silhoutte.the LORD is God-September 29-2015

Photo taken in Morro Bay, California while on aerial photography assignment.

Our Sun and Shield

 

IMG_6408

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory  Ps 84:11

Paul had given his heart to Jesus as a young man and quickly fell in love with the Lord. He was in a small church with what appeared to be friendly, loving people. He and his wife were on top of the world. The pastor made time for a Bible study just for them in his office once a week. “You’ve got to learn God’s word,” he said. And so they did for several weeks; Until it all collapsed.

It seems that the men who actually built the church were a little tired of this pastor preaching the Word. I mean believing it is good and all, they reasoned, but a pastor’s main job is to visit the sick and elderly, greet everyone in the foyer after church, make sure church is over by noon and give credit from the pulpit for “Christian good deeds.”

The “elders” of the church called a church meeting to vote on whether or not to cast this pastor and his wife out. Paul attended the meeting and witnessed the hard-hearted actions of “godly men.” As he sat in the meeting, listening to the petty, vindictive accusations leveled at the pastor, his heart was broken.

Finally he stood and said, “I thought Christians were supposed to forgive and to love each other.” One of the elders stood and condescendingly said, “Well, you’re young and a new Christian. You don’t quite understand how these things work. We’ve decided that this man is not the one we want as a pastor. But don’t you worry, he’ll find another church pretty soon and we’ll get a better pastor here.” And that was it. They paid him thirty days severance and sent him and his wife packing.

Because he was truly a man of God, this pastor got over the shock and looked to God for another church to share the Gospel. God provided. But the young man was damaged and confused. He and his wife went from church to church for several years until they found one to call home. And that is when his life changed. God’s word became his beacon of light in this dark world.

What about you, do you believe the Bible is literally God’s word and that it means what it says? When you feel down and out, filled with doubt and uncertainty do you think the answers can be found in the Bible and through prayer? What about when you are angry with God? Do you even admit that you get angry with God sometimes? As pastor J. Vernon McGee used to say in his Texas twang, “Well, the first thing you gotta do is tell God exactly what’s on your heart. You might as well tell Him because He knows anyway!”

And that is just one of the wonders of our relationship with God. We can tell Him everything because He made us and fully understands our feelings. God is not upset when we call out to Him in our anger, expressing our doubts and frustration. After we vent, He will replace those feelings with His love and compassion that soothes like a balm…the balm of Gilead.

“There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; There is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sin sick soul. Some times I feel discouraged, And think my work’s in vain, But then the Holy Spirit Revives my soul again.” (Hymn. Author unknown.)

Luke 10:41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Hebrews 13:5-6 Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.” That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, “The Lord is my Helper and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.”

Matthew 6:26-27 So my counsel is: Don’t worry about things—food, drink, and clothes. For you already have life and a body—and they are far more important than what to eat and wear. Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?

1 Peter 5:6-7 So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern. 

Proverbs 12:25 Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. 

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.

Psalm 84:11-12 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. 

2 Corinthians 1:1-5 What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement.