If we didn’t feel pain, I don’t suppose we would pray. Not until we hit anguish do we remember our limitations and God’s limitlessness. So prayer, then, is a journey from pain to pleasure, from bruises to blessings, from hits to happiness.
If pain is the starting point, however, the journey doesn’t have to be painful. After all, we leave pain behind.
We need to see prayer less like instant answers and more of a pathway. Some hikes are short and easy, others long, still others strenuous. I don’t know about you, but I like hikes of all sizes and shapes. In fact, I haven’t met a hike I didn’t like yet.
Regardless, it is the destination that makes you forget about the process of getting there. Once you reach happiness, all previous pain is pretty much forgotten. Part of knowing how do I pray is staying on the path towards happiness.
Posted in God's work, How do I pray?, prayer
Tagged better life, Bible, Faith, hope, how to pray?, Jesus, lifestyle, love, pain, positive thinking, problems, random thoughts, self-improvement, trials
Sometimes I have to remind myself that God has everything under control. He’s permitting the difficulties. He’s shaping me. I don’t understand. I can’t see the big picture. Job didn’t know about the cosmic bet between Satan and God. All he could see was a completely unfair and incomprehensible situation.
If you are going through tough times at Christmas, remember: they might be a gift from God. Of course, you wouldn’t want this kind of gift. But you’ll like the results when God has finished His product. So hang in here, don’t lose heart. Thank Jesus for the difficulties.
Posted in Christmas, trials
Tagged Christianity, difficulties, Faith, God, God's plan, hope, inspiration, Jesus, Job, rejoice, Satan, thoughts, trials, troubles
What about Joseph’s faith? He had to have A LOT of faith to marry Mary, to believe that she hadn’t fooled around and been unfaithful. When Mary got pregnant, he knew that he was not the father. One tends to assume the worst, the obvious, faced with such circumstances.
Even with the angel telling him, Joseph would doubt. Was the vision a nightmare, a hallucination? What would his friends think?
Joseph needed tons of faith too.
People tend to look at the Christmas story as an aw!-moment. But there was real angst. It wasn’t easy to bring the Savior to the world. Not for Joseph.
If you’re going through a crisis during Christmas, Joseph did. Be encouraged and keep faith.
Note: Apologies to the actress whose picture I use. No slander against her. I searched for “Mary,” and this image came up.
Posted in Christianity, Christmas
Tagged abortion, Bible, crisis, crisis pregnancy, Faith, inspiration, Jesus, mary joseph, motivation, trials
Stress is the force exerted on the jet wing. Strain is bending to the elasticity limit; if it bends beyond that, it breaks.
My dad was the test engineer who discovered, with a torque rod, that the outside two wing cylinders would break on the F-104. But his superior thought faulty testing side load was to blame. So Lockheed skipped the redesign.
When the prototype flew, the same cylinders were compressed. The redesign, so late in the game, was much costlier.
We all have our breaking points, when too much stress is straining our hearts more than we can bear. Just like different materials and different designs have different load capacities, so too all of us have different limits. There’s no point in making fun of me if my capacity to enduring stress is lesser than yours.
I want to spring back into the original shape. I don’t want to be distorted by the strain of bitterness, disillusion, betrayal. God increase my elasticity!
Posted in Christianity
Tagged breaking point, elasticity limit, engineering, f-104, Faith, God, Jesus, Job, Lockheed, stress and strain, trials
without murmuring. The Israelites complained so much at almost every step of the way out of slavery. They didn’t like the food. They were thirsty. They were afraid. God was too strict.
Then they said it. We were better off in slavery!
Can you imagine someone wanting to go back to slavery?
Ultimately, their bad attitude kept them from entering the Promised Land. The first generation died wandering in the desert. Their children possessed the good land.
If you’re in great upheaval right now, praise God for the trial. Try not to complain. I know it’s hard.
Image source: Beautiful pictures on Google+. I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it.
Sam, as the devil, in a drama in the early days of the church in Guatemala. I am the guy with the sword and the shield. We used diesel to spit fire.
Sam was a pastor when his wife left him. The joy of serving Christ just died for him at the moment he found out. He very nearly threw himself off a bridge that night.
Four years later, he’s gathering the pieces of his life and trying to get back to serving God.
At some point in your life, you’re going to get slammed. Maybe more than once.
Not growing bitter against God (family, church, life, others) is the challenge. Living with joy, also. Not growing cynical.
At some point, you have to survey the damage of your life and decide you want light-heartedness. You have to want to do good again. You have to want to not pass into the washouts.
Those who recovered from slams in the Bible: Joseph, Job, Moses. And don’t forget Jesus. One of his best friends betrayed him to death. They all recovered from the slam.
Seek recovery in 2015!
When the ice cream comes slightly smaller at the same price, we might not even notice. But if we do, we’re up in arms. It’s a way to turn a profit — slow-churn a profit.
With trials, there’s no downsizing. They just harder and bigger every time. Earth is a classroom, and we can’t stay in 3rd grade forever.
I remember one time I found out about a trial my pastor was going through. Whoa, I said to myself, I hope I never have to go through something like that.
Then I went through worse things. I was victim of extortion. I got held up at gunpoint. Then I got rejected by the ones I loved.
Of course you have to beat the temptation to call it quits. But never is a trial easy. The promise of the Word is NOT a life free of trials but trials that we can handle. (I keep thinking I can’t handle it anymore.)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted (tried) more than you can bear. With the trial, He will provide a way of escape so that you can endure. — 1 Cor. 10:13.
We get breaks from trials but never graduate from them (until we graduate to Heaven).
This post is just sobering. I hope it can fill you with courage to face the day.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged 1 Cor. 10:13, courage, difficulties, downsizing, Faith, God, hardships, inspiration, Jesus, life, life is learning, trials, upsizing
Problems are God’s way of leading you to something better.
If you are in God’s kingdom, He leads you. Sometimes His leading is through painful circumstances. We don’t like it, but we’ll like the place where He brought us. Adversity is a path to bliss.
Job first suffered, then he was blessed. Joseph was a slave and then in jail, then he was blessed. Daniel was exiled from his homeland and forced into the king’s service, then he was blessed. Before he became king, David was a fugitive in the desert.
Don’t be caught off guard (as I have). Feel God’s peace in midst of the turmoil.
No one wishes for dirt, but out of the mire of life comes gold.
Your soul is gold. Joy is gold. Treasure comes from troubles. Don’t bewail the travails your currently passing. You can’t get gold unless you get into the dirt.
It’s not just a matter of surviving but surviving well.
They didn’t even smell of smoke. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been thrown into the fire by the despot. While inside, they walked around with Jesus and suffered no harm. King Nebuchadnezzar beckoned them out. Astonished, he forgot all about their disobedience in not bowing to his idol. He recognized that Jehovah was the only true God.
They not only survived, but they survived well. No smell of smoke on them.
Joseph survived prison well. He didn’t execute bitter revenge on his brothers who sold him into slavery.
As the years pile up, we pass through evil, wrongs perpetrated by family or friends. The challenge is not go cynical. The challenge is have the light-hearted delight for life of a child still.
We are taught to never look back, but sometimes we NEED to look back.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life — Psalm 23:6 NIV. There are times when all we see ahead are difficulties and trials. We forget how God has blessed us in the past.
Take a look in your rear view mirror. You’ll be surprised how God has changed the landscape.
They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. — Acts 5:41 KJV
Peter and disciples had just been arrested for preaching Jesus. The Sanhedrin whipped them and warned them to stop. Threats and beatings are what made them rejoice.
Are you suffering for Christ? Take heart. That is what the disciples did. They didn’t get discouraged. They didn’t ask, “Why, God?” They praised God for the difficulties and dug in. They prayed for strength to continue.
Don’t give up, if you are fighting the good fight. Rejoice for the opposition, for the reverses, for the trials. Things appear to be spiraling out of control. In reality, God has everything under control and will work it all out in ways you can’t imagine.
It smacked me across the face. I was bumming because of trials, but the Bible says I should rejoice.
How do your actually feel happiness for trials?
- Realize God is using them to bring you much-needed growth.
- Realize God is bringing you through them to a blessed end.
- Realize God wants you to rejoice in trials.
When you pass the test, you pass the class!
Trials come in all sizes. Generally, beginner Christians get beginner trials. And older Christians are in advanced classes, so to speak. Don’t despair by the size of your trials.
My definition of “pure joy” was something else. Like if Argentina would have won the World Cup. But I have to change my definition of “pure joy.”
God turns the desert into lush forests.
If you are passing through a desert — a time of trials, of lack of finances, of marital strife, of sickness, of despondency, of dryness of soul — God will turn it completely around.
from I am Yoga
Don’t worry about the famine. It’s your chance to shine.
Joseph was rotting in the jail. If it weren’t for the famine, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to show his strengths before Pharaoh.
If you are passing through a time of famine in your life,
- don’t quit your strengths
- don’t despair and give up
- don’t give in to hopelessness
- don’t lose patience
- don’t stop believing in God and in yourself
Joseph was wrongly sold into slavery (by his brothers!?!!). Then he was falsely accused and thrown in jail. But he kept a good attitude and worked hard. As a slave, he was put in charge of all Potiphar’s household. As a jailbird, he made administrator of the prison.
So when God sprung him, he was named vice president of all of Egypt. He kept his relationship vibrant with God and was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. In his new post, Joseph prepared the nation for a coming 7-year famine that catapulted Egypt into world dominance and paved the way for the launching of the nation of Israel (with Egypt as its incubator).
What Joseph’s brothers intended for evil, God turned into good. Joseph instructed his brothers to not be overly angry at themselves for having sold him into slavery: God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance — Gen. 45:7 NIV.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged believe, Christianity, difficulties, failures, Faith, how do I pray?, how to pray? Bible prayers, inspiration, leadership, pray, prayer, prayers in the Bible, self confidence, success, trials
from Steamboat Friday
Nebuchadnezzar wanted them really dead. So he heated up the executioner’s furnace seven times the normal heat. Even the guards who threw in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego died. Talk about… mmm, overkill.
Even so, those three Jews, guilty of not bowing to the king’s idol, didn’t flinch. With great impending disaster bearing down upon them, they stayed faithful. They would only pray and believe in God. They wouldn’t do lip service to appease the wrathful king.
In the end, constancy won. King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” — Dan. 3:24-25 NIV.
from British Columbia ROCKS
After that, the three Jews walked free. Good ole Neb learned not to mess with the One True God. And a decree was issued giving testimony throughout his empire. It pays to remain steadfast, to remain unbowed before the world’s idols despite intense pressure.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Bible, Daniel, Faith, faithfulness, fiery furnace, God, grace under pressure, inspiration, Jesus, life, lifestyle, Nabuchadnezzar, pain, resilience, Shadrach, threats, trials
Muscle loss results from poor nutrition and disuse. Deprived of regular physical exertion, your bulk dwindles. Christians wish for a life without trials, but the result would be smaller spiritual muscles. So God ensures muscle growth, often through trials.
Feed on the Word of God and insist on growing in the Lord; get out of your church comfort zone and take on new spiritual challenges, projects and goals. Those who dwell in your house go from strength to strength. — Psalm 84:4a, 7a NIV.
Posted in inspiration
Tagged Bible, Christianity, Christmas, church, God, Jesus, muscle, prayer, relationships, trials, work out
Circling, circling around their prey, the hungry lions will overpower the man in an instant. The lions’ dungeon is capital punishment in the Persian Empire.
They stride steadily, eyeing the poor Jewish eunuch. At any moment, they will leap crush the helpless man with claw and tooth. Each minute seems like an eternity. And yet each minute passes and give way to another eternity. Strangely not a lion goes for the kill. They menace, gaping hungrily at him. But the entire night passes, and they don’t eat Daniel.
Early in the morning comes the king, who was tricked into throwing his favorite administrator into this hellhole, to see if God delivered him. He calls, and Daniel responds: My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king. — Daniel 6:22 NIV.
Similarly, trials are circling you. At every step, they threaten to sink you. Dont panic. Don’t run away. Don’t quit ministry. You only must remember how God delivered Daniel. Though the lions COULD overpower you, they WON’T. Pray and wait for the morning.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Daniel, deliverance, God, Holy Spirit, hope, Jesus, lions, ministry, pastors, religion, trials
Photo thanks to ART Freelance.
Photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog
The purpose of trials is to build your faith.
To lead you to depend more on God.
Sadly, many instead lose their faith at this point. And they decide life is arbitrary, that there is no justice, no overarching design nor control, no
When life gets hard, look up.
providence. Life is meaningless, they say. (Yet they still try to imbue it with meaning.)
Go back to God again and again until your trial turns to triumph.
from the movie
After defeating every apparent enemy in the video game, Ender faces a mirror and sees his brother’s face. He shrieks with horror. The message is clear: Ender, you’re as cruel, ruthless, cold, calculating and power-hungry as Peter.
The video game is not the only thing to screw with his mind in Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. At every turn, Col. Graff stacks the odds against the child genius in his attempts to prepare a general to fight the alien buggers. He is deprived of friends, allowed to be bullied, given the disadvantage in the battle room. Inevitably, he wins in the sci-fi story set to be a 2013 movie, but he chafes under the mind games.
It seems to me that God screws with our minds at times. Such is
the story of Job, who is deprived of knowing chapters 1 -3 of the book written about him that explains the bigger picture. It could have provided some solace. Such was the story of Joseph — and a host of other biblical heroes. All things work
together for the good… but when you’re going through the trial, it’s a mind game just to not explode.
So how does a child not turn to drugs when caught between parents in an acrimonious divorce? How do you keep outreaching zealously for God when your wife leaves you for no reason? How do you forgive when power-hungry church members accuse you falsely?
There is no easy answer. I personally like prayer. But what must be said is that an answer must be found. You must not burst
the book’s author
under pressure. Grace must remain intact through the furnace trial.
I was a literature major. I have never read a book that addresses this theme. It made me think profoundly. It brought comfort. (Spoiler alert) In the end, the mind games prepared Ender to defeat the enemy.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged Ender Wiggin, Enders-Game, faithful, fiery, Job, Joseph, List of Ender's Game series organizations, Orson Scott Card, Peter Wiggin, trials, Video game
We want victories. We want to avoid trials. But victories are inextricably intertwined with trials. Do you wish to serve Jesus? You will have horrible trials that make you wish to return to the quiet life of before. But at the same time, you yearn for Holy Spirit revival. Gold comes out of the furnace.
After Job suffered unimagineable sorrow, he was blessed beyond measure. Jesus first had to be crucified in order to be resurrected. To triumph over death, He first had to die. They don’t teach this at seminary. But this is the path of ministry.
So don’t pray to avoid or even get out of trials. Pray for the victory.
Are finances short? Praise Him. Chances are that victories are just ahead. Pray for victories. When it comes to couples, they say opposites attract. I say that Vicky married Mr. Trials.