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 Thessalonians 1:4 Perseverance In Trials

 

Hanging On

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Persecutions and trials are not something most people look forward to. No one wants to be persecuted or put on trial for anything. This becomes especially true when someone is innocent of doing anything wrong.

When a person is summoned for a court hearing to be tried, he usually gets very nervous, especially if innocent. He runs out quickly to find a good lawyer to defend him. He wonders if he will be able to prove his innocence. Many will start to fight back saying that they are innocent. In the process of fighting back, some will end up committing a crime.

It is common to hear of people slandering or cursing their accusers. They run to the media to try and clear their name. Or they try to flee and never face their accuser.

Paul tells the people of the Thessalonian church that he boasts about what they are doing in the face of persecution and trials. They are staying strong and true to God’s word and holding on to their faith.

Over the years, not every believer has acted liked the Thessalonian church. The trials can be real court trials against them, but often they are just trials in life to test their faith. The little day-to-day struggles are trials that test what a person is really like. Slander and lies are the persecutions that many face.

As believers are faced with these types of persecutions or worse and the many types of trials in life, they are given a choice as to how to react to them. Many begin to curse the person or situation, or they get angry with God for allowing it to happen.

Believers are to hold on to their faith and trust God through every situation. They are to not give up on God and take the way of the world.

Persecutions and trials will come your way. Jesus promised them. You have a choice as to how you will react to those situations. They may be big and grand persecutions, but usually they will be the little things in life each day.

Will you give into the trial and act like the world?

Or will you hold on to your faith that God is in control?

Hang on to God and the trial will come to an end in His time.

I pray today that you will have faith in God’s abilities; that you will hold on to God during trials; that you will focus on God and His promises in persecutions; and that you will shine as a witness of Jesus in this world.

 

Matthew 26:56 It Must Happen

Jesus arrested.jpg

“But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Matthew 26:56

After celebrating the Passover feast with the disciples, Jesus went to the garden to pray. While there some leaders of the law came with some soldiers and arrested Him. Jesus states that all that was happening had to occur, because it was prophesied by the prophets of God. Those prophecies had to be fulfilled.

When a person assembles something together for the first time, there are a set of instructions to be followed. There is always a set order in how to assemble the object. If the instructions are not followed in correct order or some of the steps are entirely skipped, the object will not be assembled correctly and will not work.

People try to skip steps in order to complete it faster or because they think that they know what they are doing. Often when this happens another part does not work correctly or does not fit in correctly.

In this passage, there were a set order of things that had to occur in the life of the Jesus and the disciples. God had already set in motion what had to happen and how it was to happen. This was regardless of how it looked or felt by anyone.

In the life of a believer, God has set things in motion. He has a plan for your life in how things should occur and when they should occur.

Some of the prophecies that were made about you are that you would be persecuted, that God would give you strength, that you would be hated, that God would give you victory in the end, and that you will have eternal life.

The challenge with this is that some of those prophecies are not very comforting or easy to accept. All of the things that God allows in your life are being used to build you up and make you more like Jesus.

It was not easy for Jesus to go to the cross. It was not easy for the disciples to see Jesus go to the cross. But it was necessary. They had to keep moving forward in the path God laid out for them. The events had to occur.

The events in your life must occur to build you. Trust God as they occur today.

I pray today that you will know the prophecies of God for your life; that you will know God is in control; that you will trust God’s plan for your life; and that you will grow closer to God through the events of your life. 

Jesus arrested.jpg

Ezekiel 6:9-10 Calamity For A Purpose

Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me–how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices. And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them. Ezekiel 6:9-10

It was because of the sins of the people that God chose to destroy Jerusalem and place all the people in captivity in Babylon. In the process of doing that, God kept a remnant alive. Those who survived would realize what their sins had caused and would repent of those sins. The few left would turn their hearts back to God and the purpose of the calamity would be fulfilled. The captivity was not to just destroy the people, but to get them to turn their hearts back to God.

From the beginning of time, God has always wanted to have a relationship with mankind. He always wanted to be able to spend time with people and bless them with a full life. Never once was the final purpose of what happens to just be destruction.

God allows calamity and trials in the lives of those who follow Him for a purpose. Sometimes it is just to test the person and see if he is really following Him or not. Other times it is to draw the person back to God.

When a person begins to go through a hard time because of sin, he will realize how good he really had it when he was following God. At that point, he may turn back to God, hating the sin he had fallen in to. Some will fall away from God and give up on Him, while a remnant will turn back to Him during such times.

Throughout your life, God is working out all things to keep your focus on Him and to make you more like Jesus each day. Some of those things may be calamity. They may be painful and hard to go through, but the purpose is still the same.

Keep your eyes and life focused on God. Strive to be more like Jesus everyday. In that way, all the things you are going through will be for a good purpose. And God will not have to strike you to get your attention.

I pray today that you will be more like Jesus; that you will not fall away from God in hard times; and that you will turn from all sin in your life towards God.

Jeremiah 15:16 Joy In God’s Words

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16

As Jeremiah spoke the words God had given him, most of those words were not exactly the most comforting, kind words. They were often words of judgment and coming destruction. Yet, Jeremiah found great joy in those words and was glad to eat them. Despite the challenges and trials that Jeremiah had faced, he was glad to bear God’s name before the people. The words of God brought life and meaning to his life. Jeremiah was glad to bear God’s name on his life, despite the persecution he had to go through.

The world tries to say that the Bible is just a good story, but that it is not really from a god. It is often believed to be just a great book of stories made up by men. It is seen as one of the greatest literature books of all time.

The reason the Bible can be listed as the greatest literature of all time, is that it is in reality, God’s words. It was written by men who were under God’s inspiration, filled with His Holy Spirit. Thus the words of the Bible can bring about life. Any one who has life, also has joy.

It is easy to see the Bible as just a bunch of do and don’t regulations, however, it is much more than that. It gives you the instructions on how to really live life to the fullest. It tells you who God is, what He is like, and what He desires. It provides everything that you need in this life.

As you go through your life, day by day, you also need guidance. You need to know who God is, what He is like, and what He desires. All of this can be found in the Bible.

God will reveal Himself, first through the Bible, then through His Holy Spirit in your life. You cannot know too much about God. There is always more to learn. As you get to know God more, you will have more and more joy in your life. That joy will be there despite the trials of this life.

Are you finding joy in His Word today?

Spend your time with His Words today.

I pray today that you will know God more and more; that you will find joy in His word; that God will make the Bible come alive to you; that you will gladly bear His name in public; and that you will gladly speak His words to this world. 

Isaiah 7:4 Keep Calm

Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do  not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood–because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Isaiah 7:4

While Ahaz was the king of Judah, the nations of Aram and Israel had worked together to try to destroy the city of Jerusalem. Having two nations together against one, made their armies very large and powerful. King Ahaz and all the people were scared and did not know what to do.

Speaking through Isaiah, God told them to not only be careful, but to be calm and not afraid. They were to no longer shake with fear because of the armies coming against them. God describes those two armies as just pieces of smoldering firewood.

Smoldering firewood is not a very large threat. It can break out into flame and cause a lot of damage, but at the same time it can easily and quickly be put out before it bursts into flame. If a fire is smoldering it only takes a little water to put it out. Once a flame is going, it will take a lot more water to put it out.

As you are going through life, there will be times that there will be smoldering firewood in your life. There will be situations that are brewing underneath the surface threatening to burst into flame and destroy your life.

At times these smoldering pieces of firewood may only be one thing, but other times it will be multiple things all at the same time. Bills, health, vehicles, jobs, family, natural disasters, and the list goes on. Usually it is more than one thing happening that puts pressure on you.

God wants you to trust Him in every situation. When you put all of your trust in God, you will be calm and not afraid. There is nothing to fear when God is on your side.

Jesus paid the price for your life and said He would never leave you. Since He did that, you have a reason to be calm in spite of all the threats going on around you in your life. All those threats are just smoldering firewood that God can control and put out, in His time and way.

Trust God today and be calm.

I pray today that you will know God is in control; that you will know the peace of God in your life; that you will not fear any threats in your life; and that God will calm your heart and mind.