Category Archives: Trials and Suffering

When The Battle Grows Tiring

2 Samuel 23 :10 – He was with David and went on fighting the Philistines till his hand became tired and stiff from gripping his sword: and that day the Lord gave a great salvation, and the people came back after him only to take the goods of the Philistines.

The battles of life can wear us down, and see how his hand became tired and stiff yet it adds. “and on that day the Lord gave a grear salvation” Yet obviously this battle lasted for sometime and if you are wielding a sword that long your hand may grow sore.

I see something in this verse I have not before seen. So often we may be closest to victory when we feel we cannot swing the sword for too much longer. We are often encouraged to patiently persevere through our trials and Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Is your hand tired from fighting those Philistines in life, waging war against strongholds and sins that trip, or maybe some are facing opposition from actual people who do not believe in the Lord. For some others it may be fears, it may be financial struggles that wont let up- problems with health maybe, or a family problems. Yet keep trusting God and dont get tired and give up. Continue to fight with his strength by persevering and doing what His Word commands and eventually God will come through in some wonderful way. It may not be exactly as we thought but we can trust it will be for our greatest good.

Advertisements

Humble Yourself

Often there is a temptation to grumble, yes whine and get angry at the Lord even when he does not remove a struggle or trial- yet thats why it says in James 4:7 “Submit yourself then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Because the tempter would try to incite anger and complaining by saying “God is indifferent to your pain, he just wants to squash you down and be all high and mighty and show who’s boss.” That is a half truth and half lie- sure God deserves the right to do whatever He pleases because God is God and we are not, yet the lie is that God is capricious in his intentions or just likes to rule over people in oppressive power just to squash is low like worms! Liar you are O devil. And as a non Christian that was how I saw the Lord.

Yet the Word of God says

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:9-14)

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, (Lamentations 3:31-34)

Let us take note, Lamentations was written by Jeremiah the prophet who saw Israel and Judah suffer the chastening hand of God for years of rebellion- though these people reaped the consequences of sin, God still was desiring for them to turn from their sin in that land of the oppressor and receive His grace and mercy and be restored to the promise land he gave them and then had them uprooted from

Isaiah 30 says:

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice, blessed are all who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18)

And before this he said, “In repentence and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength”

That is to say “Turn from your sins and submit to me and wait patiently and trustingly”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. (Lamentations 3:25-27)

Waiting In Faithfulness

When it comes to waiting on God for a solution to a problem or a breakthrough, we must do so in a prescribed way. Psalm 119:166 says “I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands”

Waiting is not just passively resigning to do nothing and expecting God to come through. There are several examples throughout Scripture of people who were given a promise from the Lord but had to wait. Joseph was one of these noble examples, he had a dream he would become a ruler and things did not go seemingly as planned for a span of many years. First his brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous and hated him. Yet he found favor with the master he was a slave of.

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome,

(Genesis 39:2-6)

Seemed to be looking up momentarily but when his masters wife took interest in him, Joseph resisted her advances and she became so enraged she falsely accused him of trying to rape her. Joseph is then put into prison where we see:

Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (Genesis 39:20-23)

Joseph ends up interpreting two men’s dreams that are confined there with him. One of them is hung by Pharoah but the other restored to his former position before Pharoah. Joseph kindly asks that the one who would return to Pharoah’s service put in a good word for him- but he forgets. Joseph’s kindness was forgotten until Pharoah had a dream himself, and was troubled to the point of trying to find an answer. The narrative says:

When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

(Genesis 41:1-8)

The man who forgot Joseph’s request suddenly remembers!

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled. ” So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (Genesis 41:9-16)

God gives Joseph insight and as a result Pharaoh elevates Joseph to the second highest ranking official in all of Egypt, only under the king himself. Yet Joseph did not get there through grumbling, becoming bitter or turning away from God and his commands. Joseph does what the New Testament writer of Hebrews says: “We do not want you to become lazy but imitate those who through faith and patience received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:12

Its likely the author of Hebrews thought of Joseph when writing this. Joseph was a fine role model of faith and long suffering without compromise. His faith in God’s faithfulness enabled him to persevere. We also should look to heros of old and their faith as our examples.

Amazing Transformations

Some of the greatest treasures are formed in the seemingly most unthinkable ways. A pearl is formed from a grain of sand being lodged inside the mouth, if you could call it of a oyster, the mollusk secreets a substance to coat the grain and it results in a pearl, and these can be very valueble. Also, carbon, under ordinary circumstances coal is not much but has some limited use- such as producing electricity or fueling certain locamotives like coal trains. However, under enormous preasure, over a prologed period of time it is pressurized so much it becomes a diamond. Diamonds not only are very costly and valueble, but they are nearly in some sense, indestructible—a diamond cannot be scratched it has been said, except by another diamond, and furthermore, diamonds hold a resiliant resistence to even very strong acids that can disolve glass.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 –

To have character, now that requires heat and melting, furnaces, and fires and pressure while practicing patience, integrity and by God’s enabling Spirit he gives us through the adoption of the cross, that Christ paid for our salvation- by persevering in His power we become proven and tested, valueble and even more useful for his service. Coal has use, yet diamond a far exceeding worth over tons of just average coal. There is an adage that says “Worth their weight in gold” yet in the same manner testing brings the value out of us!

Some suffer much in a life and it makes a cynic, others suffer an equal load of grief, woes, burdens and sorrows yet become more compassionate, inspirers, humble, gentle, meek and tenderhearted. Why? What is it that does this? What a person’s heart is made of is going to determine whether we burn like chaff or glow like gold being refined. However, apart from God’s grace we all would be destroyed in the furnaces of affliction and like a piece of metal that will not conform to becoming useful for anything of value or use. Some metal will only warp with heat and become even less useful yet other metals are refined and made more costly and strong in the process.

The bird in the egg and the catipillar in the caccoon- both must fight to break forth and aiding either one can prove to be its own detriment, underdeveloped wings.

Another example of such lessons come from a type of pine cone that is termed a “Serotinous cone”- which implies that there is a residue that basically acts as an epoxy that holds the outer cone tightly together and traps the seeds inside. The only real natural way to have these seeds released after they have reached right development comes through high thermal temperatures. When a forest fire occurs, this sticky substance is melted away and the cones release their seeds.

And we see here that even the created order of our natural world seems to also help us see what spiritual realities can also be like.

Incense

There are things that when lit on fire produce a stench yet other things the exact opposite, in order to let the frangrance truly permeate the air fire must be used. We may look at our suffering in life as Christians even with a wrong view. Because we often think God is able to use us best when we feel able, strong, and things seem to be going well, when we think we are being most effective for Christ may be actually less then when fiery trials set our lives ablaze. Yet through the hope, joy and peace being produced by The Holy Spirit we may be actually letting off more of a fragrance then when we seem to have few problems.

Not to say God wont use us when things go well but a light or candle always is most visible in a pitch black room.

The Psalmist said “Let my prayer come up before you like fragrant incense.”

God is pleased when we are expressing praise and thanksgiving even when life is hard. God is pleased by our faithfulness and love shown to him when things are not peachy. It is often far easier to thank God when all is well then the exact opposite. And that takes His power working inside.

Other things when fire burns against them produce odor or noxious fumes. So if someone who is suffering grumbles and is cynical, that is odor.

The work of grace is supernatural. Our human tendency is to groan and gripe when life gets set ablaze with fires of hardship but as believers we have hope, and can have joy and peace inspite of the hardships we face!

God’s Unexpected Transportation Means

When God gives you a vision or dream for your future he seemingly leads us through the unexpected means to get there. We see that with Joseph in Genesis and Abraham’s journey of faith had a longer wait then him and Sarah wanted before they received a son but what can we learn. Lets also remember:

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

Acts 23:11 –

Paul’s vision was to testify about Christ in Rome and what was the way he got their, in chains. Seems to be that in order for God to give us his best he usually takes us through what may seem like the worst, yet faith says “Look beyond the present crisis to the hand of Christ that guides you. Remember who leads you and his heart for you and do not become distracted by present chains that seem to hinder or the imprisoning problems that seem to hem you in. God has the key to your future and it is your duty chiefly to trust and ovey him where you are at.”

And that is how we get God’s very best for our lives. We must stand by faith or fall on our face friends!

The Power of Praising in Your Pain.

The Power of Praising in Your Pain.

One of the believer’s greatest weapons is joy and peace and great faith in the trying times. What better kind of message does it send a world that does not know such joy and stability then when we who have in Christ defy the natural response to pain and difficulty?

Acts 16:25-34 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

The culminating events led this jailor who had seen them in the dungeon be saved and receive Christ as His personal Lord and Savior.

He must have been baffled and thought, “They are praising a God who allowed this to happen to them? And they are not depressed and discouraged?”

He most likely mulled over the thought for a while till the earth quake became the straw that broke his hardened heart. He saw his need for a savior through these men’s bold endurance in the face of suffering.

None of us enjoy hurting, I do not enjoy where I am at since I feel like I have lost friends and made many enemies, I am also facing a few other things I cannot mention and I am going through an ordeal of “fire” but I have faith in a God who is bigger then my pain or problems. I miss my friend who died last year of cancer, I do not have a huge list of people like Brian was. I feel under attack from a lot of people I love, yet I am as David says, “Confident I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”
Why am I sharing these things? I do not want to be the central focus but I am being held together by God’s presence and goodness. If these things had happened to me in years prior I would be another statistic of suicide. However, praise God I am not. He is the only person I have been able to not feel attacked by lately.

God can help us through our struggles and use it for good.

Does Your Life Need More Engine Joyl.

Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

Joy and hope allows us as Christians to bear the sourest trials. But give me a man, woman, or even Christian who has lost sight of hope and even lesser challengers become much heavier.

Joy is like lifting a 250 lb. man with a greater ease in water, do to water’s properties even a 250 lb. man becomes easier to lift then if you tried to lift him on dry ground. Has the man’s weight changed? No. But has the dynamic changed to make lifting the weighty man possible and less strenuous? Yes!

Or take engine oil as another analogy, the friction and stress of life can wear us down and without the joy of the Lord lubricating the gears of our hearts we burn ourselves up fast! Believe me I know. Stress – rest =distress.

Don’t Pine away in life’s struggles.

God’s lessons from nature:

There is a type of tree of the pine family that produces seed cones that are very tough and these cones only release their life giving seeds when intense heat, such as forest fires which causes them to open up. A believer also will face the fiery trials of life and as Jesus said, ” Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25

Life is full of storms and difficulties, but we need not despise them but rather embrace the life they can bring forth if we trust God through them.

Child birth is another example of how pain brings new life. The agony lasts only a time but brings forth that which is living and is a great joy, a child, and new life.

Pain can be the ideal catalyst for change and renewal if we respond in a godly way.
James chapter one says “Consider it pure joy when we face trials of various kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and endurance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”

When we go through stressful and difficult times, the Lord can use that to make us less reliant on external circumstances for our stability. Now, most people would just want the bad times to disappear all together, but since we live in a fallen broken world it is an even better blessing to have strength and wholeness to overcome life’s hurdles as opposed to total elimination of life’s difficulties, which will not take place until Christ returns and all things are set right.

But in the meantime, we should grow to handle such times with godly strength and the Lord’s power!

https://www.google.com/search?q=forest%20fire%20causes%20the%20cones&safe=active&gws_rd=ssl

Pain might bey the key to unlock our purpose! 

(There was a little boy, grasping tightly to a tattered teddy bear. His father said, oh my boy, can I have your teddy? The boy fearfully grabs it even closer to his chest with tears in his eyes. The father graciously looks at him and smiles lovingly, and says, my dear son how can I repair it if you do not let me have it?)

God, our loving God knows the deepest longings of our human hearts. Maybe its a broken marriage or a shattered dream, maybe its a goal or desire. But we must trust our loving heavenly father with what is precious to us. Ultimately he is all we need but he loves to give his children great and good gifts. Sometimes God closes certain roads in our life to accomplishing or having certain desires because he may not be keeping us from it but putting up a “road work sign”-

Joseph had dreams for his life, in Genesis he was sold as a slave to Egypt by his jealous brothers, accused falsely by Potiphers wife, thrown in prison, and later he rose to be the second highest ruler in all of Egypt so he could save his family and people back home from famine. Remarkably he forgave his onry brothers when they grieved over what they put him through.

Genesis 45:4-5 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

What a remarkable story! From pit, to prison, to power in the palace! God has a glorious plan. Never give up hope! Never surrender to discouragement or set backs! God wants to use your sorrow to save the lives and souls of many people!