Faith: Put To The Test

Rough waters

Instead of continuing the study on faith using people from the bible this week, I have chosen to talk a little about my life right now and faith. As I stated when I first started this study, I was nervous about what I would have to face when talking about having faith. With having my devotional part of my blog just finishing looking at the book of Job and now I am starting this study on faith, my faith is being put to the test.

If things could go wrong, they appear to be doing so. I spent a wonderful weekend last weekend on a get-a-way with my wife. During that time we were able to spend a lot of time together, just being together and talking. We also got a lot of much needed rest.

Dog tired

Because of the various jobs I work, I already get only about five hours of sleep on the average day, not enough! But I have learned to work with that. I look forward to the few days each week I can either sleep in or take an extra nap. However, since that get-a-way, I have only been able to get about 3 hours of sleep a night, even less than not enough.

A few weeks ago a friend of ours blessed us with a new, more efficient dishwasher. All I had to do was pick it up and install it myself. I have installed many dishwashers over the years and usually it only take about 30 minutes to install one.

Dishwasher install

After having to wait a while to be able to pick it up, I was finally able to do so a few days ago. I figured it would only take about the normal 30 minutes to take out the old one and put in the new one. WRONG!

I ran into various problems removing the old one. It refused to want to come out of its location. That alone took about 40 minutes.

Then I had to install the new one. Again after having multiple challenges on getting it in and hooked up, it took about another 1 1/2 hours to finish. This was done in the evening. I finally got to bed at about 10:30pm. I had to be up to get ready for work at about 1:00 am. I was exhausted.

Along with that job from home, I had another job to do the next day with extra work outside in 100 degree heat! Between the two jobs I did not get any sleep. This is where faith kicked in. I had to trust God to give me strength to do what needed to be done.

Amazingly I was not exhausted while working either job, or driving back home after the jobs. However, as soon as I sat down that evening I started to fall asleep, totally exhausted. This was Tuesday when I worked all day with very little sleep.

Then on Wednesday, our van decided to have a problem. It came to us a few years ago with the rear bumper sides tore up from an accident. Para-cord was used to hold it together. It has worked very well since it was put on. Well, the para-cord chose to break loose, causing the bumper to ride on the tire slightly while driving slowly or in a turn.

Duct taped fender

This had to be fixed quickly or more serious damage could occur. While at church Wednesday night, my son-in-law and his father, chose to help us out. They were able to get it tied back up fairly solid. This was a great blessing, but it also meant another very late night in getting to bed. I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep.

The following morning, Thursday, I started working at teaching online. Almost immediately into the first class, I started having internet connection problems. Our internet was running too slow. For my teaching it is live video feed and cannot be slow at all.

Normally when our house satellite internet is poor, I will jump to hotspot from my phone, however, my phone only had 4g connection rate. Way too slow for what I needed. Usually it has LTE speeds that work just fine, but the last few days it has been very slow for some unknown reason.

Sleeping sloth

This meant constant problems with staying connected strong enough to do the classes. I had eight 25 minute classes, back-to-back, to do. As I was struggling through each one I got to the last class. Just as I entered the classroom, my computer decided to crash and shut down for a reboot.

It took nearly 20 minutes for the laptop to reboot, making me so late for class it is most likely to be listed as a teacher no show. With the company I work for, I am only allowed two no-shows in a six month period before being terminated. This will be a first for me in over two years and 2,000 classes taught.

To say the least I was very angry. I let my old self take over and I began to say and do things that were not right. I was not in control and was not allowing God to be in control. I had lost my faith that God knew what was going on and was still with me. I lost faith that God had this in His plans all along and had something in store for me.

Milky way at night

After a while of being able to take a step back and really look at everything, I was able to calm down. I began to realize that in the light of eternity, these hard days are just the light and momentary troubles that Paul talked about.

God is in control, regardless of how things look on this earth. He has a plan for me and it is for my good. Everything that I am going through is there for me to be built up in Jesus Christ, or to build someone else up in Jesus. I have to have faith in this, otherwise my faith in God is pointless and I really don’t have faith in God.

God is allowing my faith in Him to be tested, to find out if I really believe what I know and teach, or if it is just a bunch of words. I trust that I will come out of this shining for God as His witness, as Job had done.

Take a look at your own life and think about the struggles you have been through or maybe are going through right now. Know that God is right there beside you and will never leave you, nor forsake you. Know that God has your best interest in mind when He allows things to happen, both good and bad. God uses all these things for His glory or your best.

Worship God

Have faith knowing these things. Have faith know God is really in control of everything. Have faith knowing that God will take care of your despite all the problems in life. There will still be challenges, but God is with you.

Give God praise for His faithfulness as you have faith in Him.

 

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2 Chronicles 16:8 When You Rely On God

Dog laying down

Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 2 Chronicles 16:8 

Relying on someone or something is something that people do all the time. They rely upon their car to get them to work. They rely on their boss to give the paycheck on time.

It is trusting in someone or something to meet a need. People put their trust in many things for many different reasons. Most of the reliance is not really thought about, but is just common everyday trust. Other times it is very specific for a special situation.

Asa had chosen to  get help from the king of Aram to fight against Israel. He had not chosen to seek God’s help in the situation. Immediately upon winning the battle, a seer came and pointed out that he had done wrong. Asa had chosen to trust in another king and his army, rather than relying upon God. He reminded Asa that whenever he relied upon God, God had come through for him.

Every believer can think of times when he cried out to God for help and God came through for him, providing what was needed at the right time. However, many believers don’t always keep crying out to God for new needs. They quickly forget what God had done and no longer rely upon Him.

Suddenly believers will turn to their own ways or the ways of the world to solve their problem. They begin to rely upon self and others, rather than putting their trust in God, forgetting how God has been faithful.

Remembering how God has been faithful will help a believer to continue to rely upon God for his every need. There is nothing too big or too small for God to deal with.

Think back on your life and remember how many times God has answered a prayer of yours. Now stand on that and keep relying upon God to meet whatever situation you are in and need help with now.

God has delivered you from situations in the past, and He will continue to do so. Do not allow yourself to turn to the world for help or to take on the situation yourself. Only trust and rely upon God. God will never fail you or do it wrong. Stay committed to God.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will remember how God has helped you in the past; that you will rely on God to meet all of your needs; and that you will know God’s faithfulness to you.

Psalm 117:1-2 Praise The Lord

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love towards us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. Psalm 117:1-2

This psalm is very short, but the psalmist tells the people to do something and gives a great reason why to do it. He tells everyone to praise the Lord. The reason is because of His great love towards the people and His faithfulness.

There are times in a believer’s life that are very difficult. During those times it is difficult to even look at God, much less towards Him and praise Him. It is common for a person to look at the mountain of troubles in the way, rather than the God who is greater than all the troubles.

When a person begins to look at the list of problems, it is common to start complaining to God about them, rather than praise Him and trust Him to help overcome those problems.

One thing to help a person decide to praise God is to stop looking at the mountain and start praising God. In order to praise God, one needs a reason. There are many reasons for praising the Lord. The first and foremost is His love towards His people.

As God allows troubles in your life, you may wonder and question His love towards you. As that happens you must begin to think about all the good God has already done for you. Despite the problems you are still living on this earth, which is one of the greatest blessings you can have.

Think about any one sin that you have done in the past. That sin, alone, is enough to give you an eternal death sentence from God. Yet, God did not destroy you, in fact, He chose to allow you to be saved by the blood of Jesus. He provided salvation and forgiveness of sins, before you ever wanted them, instead of killing you as you deserved.

Jesus remains faithful in forgiving you of your sins. He remains faithful in taking care of you. Everything else is just icing on the cake, extra blessings not required.

With these two things in mind, how can you not help but praise the Lord?

Think about what He has done for you and then praise the Lord.

Praise the LORD!

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that you will know God’s faithfulness; and that you will continually praise the Lord.

Psalm 115:1 For God’s Glory, Not Ours

Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

All over the world buildings, parks, ships, and many other things are named in honor of someone.  Some of these people did things to be seen by others. They want their name to be known and honored. They want the glory that comes with honor being given them.

People love to be honored. They want to be recognized for what they have accomplished. They want their hard work recognized and talked about. They want to see their names in the lights and headlines.

Take a look at all the movie stars and musical pop stars. They strive to get the glory of being the best in their field. They want all the glory that comes with being the best.

Even in the church, the desire for glory and honor shows up. When a person does some hard work for the church, he often wants to be recognized for that hard work. If no one says anything, people are often depressed and angry about not getting the desired recognition.

The psalmist is stating that he should not receive any of the glory at all, but that God is to receive all the glory.

It was once said that a believer must hold a mirror up in front of himself. When someone gives praise and glory to him for something done, he should let the mirror shine that praise and glory up to God, to whom it belongs. If persecution or bad words are said to the person, he should also shine that up to God, and let Him deal with it.

The reason God is to receive the glory is because of His love and faithfulness. God loved us first and has always been faithful.

You would not be where you are today, if God did not love you. Jesus loved you as you placed Him on the cross. He took the nails through His hands for you, while you hated Him.

Do not take the glory for yourself. Jesus deserves all the glory. Give God all the glory for everything good in your life. Give God the glory for all the good things you have received.

I pray today that you will give all the glory to God; that you will know God’s love and faithfulness in your life; that you will not seek your own glory; and that you will do everything you do for the glory of God.

Psalm 89:1 Sing And Tell

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1

There are many movies that show a man or woman who has just fallen deeply in love with someone. As they have fallen in love, they break out in song singing about that love. Then they start to tell everyone about that new-found love.

One classic movie that shows this is found in “My Fair Lady,” when Eliza sings the song “I Could Have Danced All Night.” She has fallen in love with Professor Higgins and sings late into the night, loudly, letting all the servants know what she is feeling. There is no shame or fear in her words.

Not everyone actually sings in public when they fall in love with someone, but in their hearts they are singing. Many will sing in private, but all will tell others about their new-found love.

The author of this psalm is singing about God’s love. He has discovered a love that passes all other loves. He has also learned of God’s great faithfulness and wants to tell everyone about it.

Every  believer has learned of God’s love and faithfulness. It is those very things that draws a person to God.

In your own life you had to have experienced some of God’s love for you to have become a believers. Think about how great God’s love is for you. You deserved nothing but painful punishment and death, yet God forgave you and gave you abundant life.

Along with that love, you have learned of His faithfulness. God has met needs of yours. He has answered many of your prayers. He has never failed to be by your side and meet every need you have, not necessarily every wish, but the needs.

With these things in mind, you should be more than willing to break out in a love song to God. You should also be willing to tell others about His faithfulness and love. Do not be ashamed.

Think of a time when you were in love with someone. How did you act? What did you do?

In that same way act and do even more so for God. Sing and tell others about God today.

I pray today that you will know God’s great love for you; that you will see God’s faithfulness; that you will not be ashamed of God; and that you will tell the world about God.

Psalm 86:11 An Undivided Heart

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

It is common and often accepted practice for a person to change loyalties to someone or something. People commonly do not stick with a person through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad times.

Along with changes of the good and bad times, many change who they choose to follow. For a short time they follow one person, then they suddenly change to follow someone else. They have a divided heart.

This same type of action can occur among people who are in the church. For a while they follow God with all their heart, then suddenly they choose to walk away and follow someone else. It is often seen as a matter of convenience. What is the best comfort at the moment is often asked, and then pursued.

People with divided hearts will go to church on Sunday and worship with all of their heart. Then on Monday, while at work, completely follow the ways of this world, lying, cheating, cursing, condemning, hating, getting revenge, and whatever other sin comes their way.

Jesus wants His people to be either hot or cold, but not lukewarm. Being lukewarm is having a divided heart. It is choosing God when it is comfortable and convenient, and choosing the world when it is not comfortable and convenient.

The only way you can have an undivided heart is to know God’s ways. You must know how God acts and speaks at all times. This will then help you to rely on His faithfulness. You will know in your heart that you can trust in God.

As you know that you can trust in God, you will give up the divided heart. You will fear God and God alone. You will no longer be concerned with what the world is saying because you will know that you are doing what God wants.

Where does your loyalty lie? Is it with God or with this world?

If your heart is divided between God and this world, it is set with this world. God is not in your heart if it is divided.

Allow God to change your heart by teaching you His ways. Have an undivided heart that is loyal to God and Him alone.

I pray today that you will know God’s ways; that you will know God’s faithfulness; that you will be loyal to God; that your heart will not be divided; and that you will serve God with all of your life.