Posts Tagged ‘Trials’

Gratitude = JOY!!!

05.02.12

Gratitude is thanking God for His abundant blessings in our everyday lives. It’s acknowledging the big and the little, the complex and the simple. It’s realizing that what I have, I don’t deserve; and what I think is difficult, could always be worse.

 

Yes it is all those things! But Gratitude is so much more…

Gratitude goes beyond the sweet, the lovely, the pleasant, the gift-wrapped, bow-tied packages… Gratitude is realizing that whatever I’m going through today, and whatever my family is facing, is part of a bigger picture that God is painting. While I see only a line on the paper, a streak of color, He sees the completed work – perfection. Gratitude trusts a holy God with a divinely appointed plan. It is knowing and believing that the joys and blessings and smiles, as well as trials and challenges and tears, are all part of life’s classroom – and the test we face is the choice to receive or resist the grace of God – today, tomorrow, next week.

We all face difficult moments in life. Some are harder than others. Today may seem darker than yesterday for one person; but perhaps the sun is beginning to break through the clouds for another. Day begins to dawn, with the rising sun; but with the end of the day comes a season of darkness…waiting, watching, praying, hoping. These are the moments that we are offered God’s incredible grace, and the chance to trust His bigger purposes when we cannot see beyond the pencil lines of today. But it is a choice each person must make – each family must make.

Recently we began to have a time of sharing around the table at each meal, as a family. When we gather together for a meal, we go around and share areas of gratitude, things that we are grateful for. What a joy it is, to exhort one another daily – to hear father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter – sharing what they are grateful for, and why! It brings peace and harmony to the table. It fills the home with joy and gratitude. Hearts overflowing with praise and thanksgiving – it is bringing glory to God’s name. When we would have been tempted to complain, or be anxious about the upcoming events of a busy day, or to fall beneath the burden of a trial hard to bear… we are reminded of so many wonderful blessings that God has bestowed upon us, that we are not worthy to receive.

This week we were reminded of Paul, who endured unimaginable trials, and was deprived of all his worldly possessions but the very clothes on his back – yet even then, he exhorted his fellow believers to be thankful for everything, always, and to be anxious for nothing, fully content.

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness…” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)

We are learning as a family, to put aside the worry, fear, grumbling, complaining, murmuring, despair that could accompany the trials we encounter in life. Rather, let us watch and wait for the dawning of the morning. Let us rejoice and be thankful, that we serve a God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. His compassion fails not. Praise the Lord!

What are you facing today as a family, or as an individual. If you are not facing a trial right now, you are sure to face one at some time in the future. Purpose to take the path of gratitude, even when you do not feel like it.

The choice to be grateful, is the choice to receive God’s blessed gift of overwhelming joy! Gratitude and joy go hand in hand; yes, they are inseparably linked!

Only He sees the bigger picture. Remember, He is the Master Artist. We see only the glimpse of today, the moment of time we are living in. Trust the One Who sees the perfect ending. He knows best! :-) :-) :-)

So let us die to self, that we may live for Christ. Let us endure the pruning, that we may bear more fruit! Let us press on through the times of refining and purging, that we may come forth as gold (Job 23:10). May the likeness of Christ be seen in our lives, as we choose to respond with gratefulness!!! It is a choice.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice…Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

The Trial of Your Faith

06.12.11

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 1:7

I had no idea what book of the Bible we would be studying this year for Bible Bee, but God knew how much I needed to read 1 Peter…and by that I mean READ FIRST PETER! On day one I read 1 Peter. On day two I read 1 Peter. On day three I thought about just skimming over 1 Peter…but I read it through twice out loud instead. Do you know what I found in this first week? Dozens of verses that hold precious promises – promises that were meant for me…promises that I can claim for myself throughout each day, and be encouraged by! I LOVE 1 Peter. It is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I am definitely going to have to fit it into my list of memorization goals for this year!

All that said, I want to encourage you with one particular verse that has really stuck out to me this week. I read 1 Peter 1:7 several times, but never really stopped to think about it in depth until one day… “…the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold…thought it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory…” Though it be tried with fire. Have you ever experienced one of those fiery trials – even maybe just a tiny version of one? Maybe there are a lot of things in life that just don’t seem right…relationship problems, financial problems, health problems, a dry spiritual walk and little desire to spend time with God…whatever is causing you to feel discouraged, overwhelmed, like just giving up. For me, it can be a list of too many things to do, a lie I’m believing (where did that come from? Because I “know” it’s not true, but I don’t KNOW that it’s not true…) that causes me to feel discouraged, or an overwhelming realization that there are girls I’m trying to encourage – and handing out “right answers” doesn’t fix the problem!

So…I was feeling discouraged at the beginning of this week – just a few things on my mind that I was trying to puzzle through and sort out. I knew that I needed to just lay those things at the feet of Jesus and rest in Him, but I still felt burdened down. “Why God?” But then this verse just clicked for me. I read it through three times trying to spiritually digest it. Wow! This trial (whatever it may be, no matter how big or small) may not seem like a good thing, but it is! It is the ultimate opportunity to build character, to be purified as gold and silver are purified through the refining process. It is the chance of today, to overcome in victory…to be found unto praise and honor and glory. What a joyous realization this was to me! God is not standing by allowing Satan to physically, emotionally, and spiritually weaken and destroy me. No. God is taking me through a season of testing, of trying my faith that I might learn to walk in victory, and to be purified as gold and silver are purified.

But, we must not forget…and this is where the realization is difficult…the purification process IS painful. The purest, brightest, most radiant gold is that which has been taken through fire to be refined, that there be no impurities left in it. Pain is not easy. Pain does not feel good. Pain does not feel like a cause for rejoicing. But the outcome is worth every moment of enduring, watching, waiting, hoping, praying. Because it is when people can look and see Jesus in us, and when they behold the character of Christ clearly and beautifully within us.

Be encouraged! This trial of your faith is much more precious than gold which is tried by fire…and if refined gold can be so beautiful and valuable, how much more will your faith be worth, when you appear unto praise and honor and glory  in Christ Jesus?!!!