How Do You Respond In Trials?

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭1:20-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was Job’s response to losing his 10 children and all that he owned.

“But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was Job’s response to being struck with horrible boils that covered his whole body.

I remember reading Job’s response to suffering right after going through a trial and suffering a bit of my own. Reading how Job worshipped the Lord and didn’t accuse Him of evil was far different than how I responded. I was ashamed when I compared my response to (lesser) suffering to Job’s (greater) suffering. As Asaph admitted in Psalm 73, I too was a beast toward God (Ps. 73:22). I accused God so frequently I have to imagine Satan was able to take a break. And when God didn’t hasten to answer my prayers and thus release me from the same trial, I ignored God. I figured,” well since He is ignoring my prayers, I will return the favor.”

By ignoring the communion of prayer and the Word which is the sword of the Spirit, I neglected all hope of fighting the good fight of faith.

I realized that I have need of spiritual fortitude. I also realized that though I would scoff at someone else’s belief in the “prosperity gospel”, my reaction seemed to reflect that I believed being a Christ follower would exempt me of hardships.

More recently I went through a trial where I did absolutely struggle to believe in the wisdom and goodness of God. Yet, I struggled with God rather than apart from Him.

I clung to God. I looked to His Word. I fought to believe what I know already to be true. That God is good and that He is most wise.

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:31-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I kept coming to the Scripture above, that spoke a better word to my heart. It showed me the goodness and tenderness of my God in black and white.

God isn’t far off in our trials. He only seems far off if we neglect to seek Him. God isn’t rejoicing in our lamenting. God cares for us. And wants the best for us (Hebrews 12:10).

 

To bless the God whom we know could halt or prevent our suffering is not an easy task. But it is a worthy one.

Dear suffering one, go to the throne of mercy! Pray that you may bless God in your trial and rejoice in your suffering. Pray that God may extend His sufficient grace so that you may persevere. Pray that He may give you a song in the night (Job 35:10). Go to the Word to see what Christ has won for you. Go to the Word and be reminded that this trial-permitting and ordaining God careth for you. Be strong in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10).

If we but look forward to heaven, an eternity without worry or woe in our suffering, that is God making good. If we but treasure Christ a bit more than we did before, that is God making good. If we are a bit more tender and merciful, like our God, He indeed is making good. God is always up to good, even in our trials.

 

Take heart suffering one, Christ has overcome the world.

 

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I’m A Holy Roller

First let me address what a holy roller is, I found this definition on the Urban Dictionary– Holy Roller: Generally, refer to one who attends a charismatic church service. In which places a great amount of importance on the Holy Spirit. This person tends to be a very devout Christian and during church service, maybe become influenced heavily by the Holy Spirit. Therefore consequently dropping on the floor and rolling “in the Spirit” Hence where the term was coined, Holy Roller. Also generally is a derogatory term.

“Sometimes the word Holy Roller is used more loosely today to refer to anyone who believes the Bible is true, who claims to be an evangelical, or who talks about God in public.” (source)

Most people who use the word today are not speaking about the worship services of certain Christian denominations, but are rather speaking about someone who is a devout Christian. And when they use the word, ‘holy roller’ it is indeed a derogatory word.

So when I say I am a holy roller, what I mean is that I am both a Christian privately and publicly. My religion isn’t a few visits to a local church, but it is a part of my very being.

I believe sin and demonic forces constantly attempt to sway us into believing that being holy isn’t good or acceptable. Or even that we will never reach a place where we can describe ourselves as holy. Often we are shamed by our past sins that prevent us from using the word ‘holy’ to describe anything about our lifestyles. When we are plagued by the fear of man, or when we evaluate ourselves through the eyes others; we are timid to be bold about our faith. We would rather offend our Savior than to offend our neighbor. We would rather be ashamed of the Gospel than to persecuted for it. The term ‘holy roller’ is designed to shame and shush our faith in the Son of God.

“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.”Leviticus 11:44 ESV

“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV

It is very clear all throughout Scriptures that God expects His saints to pursue holiness. We are called to be like God rather you are reading in the Old or the New Testament. Though we (whosoever is in Christ) are included in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ’s own blood. Even in the Old Covenant God put in place laws and boundaries so that the Israelites could also be holy.

The message that the world or culture pushes out is that you can be unholy and ungodly and yet spend an eternity with a holy God that you don’t even know.

But the flock of God shouldn’t be surprised by the world’s messages or even about being made to be a laughingstock. Our Good Shepherd has been kind enough to warn us. In the book of James, it says not to be surprised by our trials, but we should neither be surprised when our faith is mocked. The only reason Cain murdered his brother Abel is that his own works were unrighteous. All throughout Scriptures we see God’s people being mocked and maligned. Why should things be any different for us today?

The Challenge

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”Matthew 5:10-12 ESV

I would like to challenge all of God’s sheep to not dodge persecution in order to keep anyone’s approval. Let’s keep our minds on that handsome reward that is laid up for us in heaven. Love your neighbors’ as we are commanded to but don’t idolize their acceptance of you. You already belong to God’s family and have been embraced by the Everlasting Arms. Don’t be afraid to pursue holiness privately and publicly. What a privilege we have to share in God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Holiness isn’t bad, it is a higher good. Remind yourself, and your neighbors that without holiness no one can see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

My sinful heart too has been gripped by the fear of man, ever since I can remember.

‘What will they think of me?’

‘What if they reject me?’

People who know me would describe my attitude or personality as being “sweet or kind”. But honestly I was kind to everyone not to love them well but so that they would love and accept me. I’m afraid that I won’t wake up anytime soon and no longer weigh myself through the eyes of others. So what I must do is remind myself (often) that I am acceptable to God through Christ, loved by the Son that laid down His life for me and that I belong to the Most High God. Since it is my default to seek praise and approval from mere mortals, I have to be intentional about rehearsing the truth to myself and also saturating myself in Scriptures that remind me of the truth and all of God’s blessed promises.

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”1 Peter 4:16 ESV

The incorrigible thing about sin is that it distorts all of God’s good designs. We are not to fear men, we were created to fear God. Shame is good if it turns us away from our sins, but not if it turns us away from suffering with Christ. We are encouraged to glorify God when we are mocked or called “holy rollers” and not be mortified. We are to be glad and rejoice when persecuted not sad and discouraged. I wish I could recommend something that will undo the doing of sin. But what I can offer is the hope of the Gospel and that one day we will not have to deal with sin. But until that day we have to fight the sin that wants to kill us. We have to share our faith with fear and trembling. We have to train ourselves (through reading Scriptures) how to perceive offense or persecution. Not that we seek it out but that when it happens we will know why it’s happening and how to deal with it.

The Word of God says that we are blessed when persecuted and not cursed. We have to tell our souls that this is a good thing.

Yet we are not called to be stoicism we can weep to our God. After all, God is the Father of all our mercies and of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Prayer

Lord, I pray that the person reading this may be cut to the heart (Acts 2:38-39) and yet Lord let them not despair in their conviction. I pray Almighty God that you will give them the grace to suffer well for Christ’s sake. Lord, if they are in anyway hiding their lamp underneath their beds, Lord fill them with such zeal for you and your renown. God, I thank you for not quenching a dimly lit wick. Help them to be zealous for you and uphold them with a willing spirit. I pray Lord make them willing to obey You, willing to strive for holiness, willing to suffer offense or persecution on behalf of Your Son. I say this prayer in His Name, Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

This week has been interesting, to say the least. It started off with comparison gripping my heart. I was just scrolling on Instagram and all of a sudden I see a sister in Christ, celebrating something I had prayed for and had not yet received. Instagram has been a blessing in my life but also a stumbling block. I love to encourage women, men, anyone who follows me with God’s truth. I feel really useful in God’s kingdom because of the content I create and share on Instagram.

I think social media and blogging as a whole gives me the ability to use the gifts that God has given me for the body of Christ.

Comparison for me is like when someone hits the lights in a bug-infested home, they all come out and scatter. I get thundered with comparisons, questions, and accusations toward God. I loathe the fact that rejoicing with others isn’t something that I do well. I consider my lot and I am intensely infuriated by the fact that I even dare to compare myself to anyone else. It is the absolute worst. I know these comparisons, questions, and accusations are all lies but I can’t stop myself from believing them. I get so angry that I want to delete the app or take a break from it altogether. I become convinced that if I didn’t have an Instagram account I wouldn’t be dealing with comparisons. My frustrations with dealing with comparison reminded me of the depression I had dealt with before Christ. I was so depressed and there wasn’t a “reason” for it in the world. Back then I didn’t know that you could be depressed and have no reason for those feelings. I didn’t know about chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression. But that’s how it feels to compare my life to others. There is nothing wrong with what God has given me, but I couldn’t find it in myself to be thankful for any of it.

Then I started to slowly but surely drift away from God. I wasn’t peeling open my Bible nor was I praying at all. And if I did it was quick and my requests were for others and not myself. At a certain point, I started to believe that God was angry with me for not reading my Bible and for not praying. It’s moments like this where my performance streak sneaks up on me. If I thought that God was angry with me because I stopped doing spiritual disciplines, then I must really believe that those things are what makes me acceptable to Him; and not the sacrifice of His Son. I fell in this slump of self-pity and overindulging in things to pacify or reward myself.

What I did was lie down in the biggest battle that I continue to have, for my mind. It felt like I had left the house in the biggest rainstorm. The lies thundered in my head, and I had drifted away from the only anecdote, God’s truth. I cannot ignore the spiritual realities of what I was dealing with. The accuser’s lies were so swift and so fast that they pushed me off a ledge. I felt I couldn’t win the battle. I felt I couldn’t hold every thought captive. It felt overwhelming and I did all I knew how to do, which is cower and raise my white flag.

I titled this entry, “Where the rubber meets the road” because we all will go through these storms and we need to hide the word of God in our hearts before the surging waters. By God’s grace, I’ve always been pretty consistent spending time in His Word. But in that storm (due to me drifting away from time in the Word) I was bone dry. I had some remnants of scriptures in my heart, but not enough to survive that level of a storm. While you are in a storm or a trial, is not the time to slacken on spending time in God’s Word. You will feel so weary but you still need to hide the Word in your heart.

We read God’s word so we can know Him, and worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We are also commanded to love Him with our mind (Luke 10:27). But also when we have to walk out in the worst rainstorms. These storms or trials are different from person to person. But God permits these for a very grand purpose, so that we may know Him better. Think about what Job said in response to his own sufferings:

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6

Job says he had some amount of knowledge of God but through his sufferings, he came to know God more deeply.

Friends, when you go through storms don’t assume that God is unable to snatch you out of them. But lest we forget that suffering, storms, and trials produce a needful fruit within us that sunny days cannot.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

The next time we face a storm we will endure longer and we won’t give up so soon. We have been given the privilege to not just believe in Christ but also to suffer with Him (Phil 1:29). So, our quiet time isn’t just to stir our hearts or more importantly to renew our minds. But also help us to face the storm, hand in hand with other believers and following behind our great Shepherd.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

Dear, Troubled Disciple


After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “it is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22 (HCSB)

So like Peter says don’t think it strange*. This is the way and the only way. You didn’t make a wrong turn, your Shepherd knows the way you are going. It is the same exact way He went. Having your supposed, “heart’s desires” fulfilled will not change the trouble that you must go through. The trouble is not because you don’t have your heart’s desires, you will still experience trouble when or if God gives them to you. Your troubles don’t exist because God is cruel or doesn’t know HOW you feel, but because they are necessary. There is no eternal weight of glory without suffering. There is no crown without a cross. Your faith, sanctification or your pilgrimage is not something that you can nuke in the microwave to make the process faster.

There is no elevator to heaven, there is only the long and narrow way. 

I know you want to avoid suffering and pain. It is something that no one wants to partake in, even the Son of God requested that the cup of suffering would pass from Him*. He cried aloud to God, “Father is there another way?” Unlike your earthly parents who may show favoritism or be partial to one child over the other, your heavenly Father’s answer remains the same, “this is the way”.

You need to learn how to lift up your eyes and squint to see past what you are feeling and dealing with today. It is quite a difficult discipline to learn, but it is also necessary. There is more to this story than what you were feeling yesterday or today. You are not hopeless, your light of hope is only getting brighter and brighter. You’re only getting closer to your real home. God’s word says that what you are feeling today is momentary and light* compared to an eternity in His presence. The troubles you are going through today are not worthy to be compared to an eternity with God. For your dimness, today will be gone and exchanged for sight. Your loneliness today will be gone and exchanged for a prepared room with your Savior and the rest of the beloved. Your sorrow today will be gone and exchanged for undisturbed joy. Your confusion today will be gone and exchanged for amazement when you see God’s wisdom in writing His story. It is safe to believe the best things about God, He will never disappoint you.

Take the comfort God has graciously given you in His Word and cling to it, better yet cling on to Him! Ask God for wisdom* on how you can go through these varied troubles with hope and joy but without sin. Rest in God’s wisdom. And remember that God’s peace surpasses any understanding your heart may desire. Think the best things about God don’t allow these light afflictions to wound the heart of the One who bled for you. Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, and be persistent in prayer*.

Prayer: God, I thank you for this reader, I’m also thankful for this message of encouragement I was able to share. My prayer is that you would grant this reader wisdom so that they can see with the eyes of faith that the trouble they may be experiencing today is indeed incomparable to the glory that You’ve prepared for them. Lord, make them mindful of all the good that they have in their life, namely the salvation of their soul through your Son Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray they wouldn’t be too pressed by their troubles that they can’t count your fresh mercies. God, help them to set their minds on heavenly things, where your Son is seated. Lord, I pray that they would not feel lonely in their troubles but that they would feel greatly loved. No human is without trouble, but not everyone has the privilege of having God work in it for their good. I ask that You would give them a steadfast, trusting heart that perseveres in troubles. Thank you, Lord, in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

Meditations on Suffering

God is “a very present help in trouble.” But He permits trouble to pursue us, as though He were indifferent to its overwhelming pressure, that we may be brought to the end of ourselves, and led to discover the treasure of darkness, the unmeasurable gains of tribulation. We may be sure that He who permits the suffering is with us in it. It may be that we shall see Him only when the trial is passing, but we must dare to believe that He never leaves the crucible. Our eyes are holden, and we cannot behold Him whom our soul loveth. It is dark–the bandages blind us so that we cannot see the form of our High Priest; but He is there, deeply touched. Let us not rely on feeling, but on faith in His unswerving fidelity; and though we see Him not, let us talk to Him. Directly we begin to speak to Jesus, as being literally present, though His presence is veiled, there comes an answering voice which shows that He is in the shadow, keeping watch upon His own. Your Father is as near when you journey through the dark tunnel as when under the open heaven! –Daily Devotional Commentary

I love devotional writings from the old Saints. This is from Streams in The Deserts a devotional that complies its contents from other devotionals, sermons, poems, and hymns. I have bolded what I want to journal about.

God allows things in my life that will bring me to end of myself so I can stop being reliant on myself. I’m been thinking so much about suffering lately. So much! God has been gracious leading me to wonderful writings and teachings about it all. I’ve been listening to a lot of Elisabeth Elliot’s teaching lately. I like her frankness and how her teachings bend me to be surrendered and submitted to God’s will for my life.

I’ve also been meditating on Psalm 131 and reading a lot of commentaries on this particular psalm. The psalm is about David comparing himself to an infant who is either weaned from his mother’s milk or who has just been fed. It’s about quietly trusting God. I have been an infant before God but usually a wailing infant. Full of questions and with my fists balled up. This infant, however, is calm and quiet. This is how David describes his soul, as a baby quiet and satisfied with its mother’s care. He also talks about how he isn’t arrogant nor does he try to understand the things of God. I can’t help but think about the account Jesus put a child in the midst of Himself and His bickering disciples(Matt 18:1; Mark 9:34). They were arguing about who was to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. Jesus said that anyone who would make himself as the child in Jesus’s hands would be the greatest in heaven.

God allows the suffering, and He never leaves us in it by ourselves. I think about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. God permitted this predicament and sent someone or Himself from heaven to be in the furnace with them.

“Let us not rely on feelings but on faith”- The devotional writer (Dr. Lawrence Richards) writes that although we can’t see God in our trials doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

No one wants to suffer, but no child of God suffers alone. God has graced me for this journey into suffering. He’s discerned my thoughts from afar and answered my lingering questions. I’ve been through the ‘why’s’ and I’m now at a place of, ‘okay’ and growing a peace about it.

I had been fearful about the future knowing suffering was involved in it. But, I lay down those fears and eat the slice of bread given to me by God and let tomorrow’s troubles not worry or discourage me today.

Lastly, Saints let us not believe in a Gospel that doesn’t include our crosses and suffering. There is only one true Gospel of Jesus Christ of course. But there are many man-made ideologies about a God who either wants you to have every earthly reward (prosperity gospel). And, when we lack Bible reading and comprehension we tend to make our own god. The only way we can ever hope to know the one, true living God is to read His word. We can believe in a god of our own making or believe in the God of the Bible.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.