Nothing is wasted!

 Difficulties, Trials  Comments Off on Nothing is wasted!
Feb 182018
 

When the Mexican boll weevil devastated the southeast Alabama cotton crop-
– farmers reverted to planting peanuts and ended up producing more than any county in the nation.

Consequently the town of Rucker erected a monument bearing this inscription:
“In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity.”

Did you know that what starts as a problem can end as a blessing?

When Jesus discovered Lazarus was sick he didn’t respond till after he’d been dead four days.

But because Jesus was waiting didn’t mean He wasn’t working.
He chose to demonstrate His resurrecting power, to prove that nothing’s too hard for God.

Joseph was falsely imprisoned for 13 years.

But God was with him and he went on to save multitudes, including his family who’d mistreated him.
Joseph’s struggles made him better, not bitter.
But it could have ended differently if he hadn’t maintained the right attitude.

God used Esther to save her people.

But first he put her in the position of living where she didn’t want to live and doing what she didn’t want to do.

Even though a widow, Ruth ended up gleaning in a field where she met and married a wealthy man named Boaz.
In addition to bearing him children, she became part of Jesus’ ancestral bloodline.

So if you’re struggling to see God’s purpose in your suffering today-
– rest assured He has one!

After feeding a multitude Jesus told His disciples:
“Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted!”

In God’s kingdom nothing is ever lost!
When you trust Him He makes “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

(PA)

Suddenly they seem smaller

 Difficulties, Trials  Comments Off on Suddenly they seem smaller
Feb 042018
 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9).

Rather than saying-
`God, here is my problem’-
– we should put the problem into perspective by saying-
-`Problem, here is my God!’

There is no problem God cannot handle in our lives.

When we make our problems the object of our lives-
– it is easy to become discouraged and forget that we have a God who will sustain us during our trials.

However, when we change our perspective and the order of the words-
– we see that God becomes the object and the focus of our lives.

It seems like such a small detail wouldn’t matter much-
– but when you visualize introducing your problems to Almighty God,
– suddenly they seem smaller,
– and you realize just how triumphant you can be with His help.

Often, it is only a matter of changing our perspective in order to overcome adversity.

No matter what troubles you are facing-
– always remember our God is big enough, strong enough, and powerful enough to take care of them.

He is the answer to all of life’s problems, and He is enough.

Your problem is His project!

He comes to us-
– in the brokenness of our health,
– in the shipwreck of our family lives,
– in the loss of all possible peace of mind,
– even in the very thick of our sins.

He saves us in our disasters!

(PA)

Two immediate rewards

 Persecution, Trials  Comments Off on Two immediate rewards
Jan 212018
 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

God’s commands sometimes defy human logic!

For example-

Rejoicing in persecution doesn’t make sense until we realize the effect of praise.

It keeps us focused on the Lord and the good things He brings out of hardship.

The apostle Paul faced greater abuse and suffering than most of us ever will.

He was beaten, put on trial, and imprisoned (Acts 16:20-24).

But he looked beyond these difficulties to what the Lord was accomplishing through his life (Acts 16:20-25).

For instance, he didn’t rejoice that he was a captive.

But he did celebrate the great ministry he had among his prison guards.

If we believe the Lord is in control and He keeps His promises-

– then we must trust in the principle of Romans 5:3-5.

“…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope…”

This passage assures us that our hardships have purpose.

They develop our endurance, strengthen our character, and solidify our hope.

Two immediate rewards of suffering are-

– the building up of our faith and

– the preparation for greater service to His kingdom.

We’re able to rejoice because we’re maturing believers whom God uses for His purposes.

The Lord will bring good from our persecution, just as He did for Paul.

But if we allow doubt to cloud our faith-

– we won’t be able to rejoice in what He’s doing through our life.

And if we can’t rejoice-

– we’re in danger of giving up before God’s good work is completed.

Rejoicing keeps us focused upon the Lord and His purpose.

(PA)

Every obstacle is an opportunity!

 Difficulties, Trials  Comments Off on Every obstacle is an opportunity!
Jan 072018
 

How do you know if something bad that happens to you-
– is from God,
– or from the devil?

To be honest-
– we don’t always know where some of the hard times come from that invade our lives.

I doubt if Job realized in the midst of his suffering that God and Satan were engaged in a massive spiritual battle for his soul (Job 1:6-12).

Sometimes it’s clear!
However; in my own ministry, for example, I’ve sometimes faced difficulties that could only have come from Satan, because they were clearly intended to stop the preaching of the Gospel.

I’ve faced other situations, however, that were clearly from God-
– because they led us into new and unexpected paths for the preaching of the Gospel.

Sometimes, however, the origin of a particular problem was unclear.

The real issue is this:
When hard times come into our lives, how should we react?

Should we panic,
– or get depressed,
– or spend time blaming ourselves or others?

No!

Instead-
– we should respond in faith,
– praying for God’s will to be done,
– and for Him to help us overcome all evil for Christ’s glory.

Every obstacle is an opportunity-
– for God to demonstrate His love and power.

But hard times also can strengthen us as we rely on God-
– no matter where they came from.

Ask God to make this true in your life.
“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

(PA)

But He knows the best!

 God's Work in Us, Trials  Comments Off on But He knows the best!
Jan 032018
 

The little boy was so excited as he and his mother waited for signs of life from the chicken egg they hoped would soon hatch.
The mother hen had left the nest, busy caring for other newborn, and they decided they had better put this egg in a box with a light in it, to keep it warm.

They waited and waited.
Finally they heard the first tiny tap and the chick began to peck on the eggshell to be set free.

The little chick pecked and pushed and pushed and pecked.

The little boy felt so sorry for him and wanted to help.
It would be so easy to just quickly crack open the shell and let him out.

But the mother cautioned him-
– explaining that it was important for the chick to have to work hard to get out of the shell so that his body would later be strong enough to survive outside the shell.

Leaving him alone and letting him work his way out was actually an act of love.

That is the way our heavenly Father feels toward us.
He sees the many challenges which we face.

And all He would have to do is-
– just speak a word and all our problems and challenges would be solved.

But He knows the best!

He knows that allowing us to work through them,
– and “peck our way through our challenges,”
– so to speak, will enrich our lives in the long run.

God is in the character-developing work.
And our trials help develop us into what he wants us to be.

James refers to this process when he says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James1:2-4).

Peter speaks of the same thing:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:4-7).

Because of God’s loving and benevolent plan and purposes for us-
Paul could write, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

(PA)