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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Exodus 6:9 Discouragement Overcomes

discouragement

Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. Exodus 6:9

Discouragement occurs when things go bad on a consistent basis and don’t ever seem to get better. People try and try to change the situation, but it does not change. If it keeps up long enough, people get discouraged and want to quit. They cannot believe in the possibility of things getting better. They begin to expect hardship and turmoil.

It is difficult to encourage someone who is discouraged. All the person can see is the mountain and trouble in front of their eyes. His eyes are blinded to the truth or any change than can occur.

The Israelites had been under slavery for 400 hundred years. All they, their parents, their grand-parents and great grand-parents have ever known is slavery. They had been crying out to God for a rescue. When God began to answer, the enemy doubled down on the fight to hold them.

Through Moses, God told them that He would release them. Yet, they would not listen to that word, because they were discouraged. Everything was going from bad to worse. How could anything get better? It appeared that God and Moses had made things worse. They were discouraged.

Many people in this world and some believers have this type of view on life. They cannot see beyond the troubles that are in front of them. They allow discouragement to overcome in their lives and keep them down, rather than allowing God to come in and strengthen them and release them from the hands of the enemy.

The enemy will not release a person quickly or easily. The world does not want to lose anyone to God. So the world will fight back. Satan will double up on holding a believer or non-believer down.

There may be times you attempt to encourage someone who is discouraged and being beaten down or you may be in that place yourself. Look up to God and trust His word to you. God has great plans for you.

No matter what the world can throw at you, God will win in the end. In the end you will be brought into the promised land–heaven for all eternity with God.

Do not allow yourself to get discouraged and stop hearing God’s word for your life. Do not let discouragement win, but let God’s word in your life win.

I pray today that you will know God’s word for your life; that God will remove discouragement from your life; that you will allow God to pull you through the troubles of this life; and that you will live in victory through Jesus and God’s Holy Spirit.

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.

 

2 Corinthians 4:16 Don’t Lose Heart, It Will Get Better

 

getting old

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 1 Corinthians 4:16

Looking around the world, things do not always look very good. There is trouble and pain everywhere one looks. People are getting sick, people are dying, people are hungry, people are without clothes, people are at war, and the list goes on.

Along with what most of the world does not like and thinks is bad, are the things that God is looking at. Sin abounds and appears to be growing more rapidly than ever before. Certain sins that were never talked about are now openly being promoted and expected, not only in the world, but also in the church.

There are many believers who are working hard at reaching those in the world. They strive to spread the gospel to everyone they meet. Yet, sometimes it looks like as though they are not making any progress.

Then there are the problems that a believer faces in his own life. He repents of a sin and works to stay from it, but falls back into that sin. It appears as if he will never stop sinning. And every person, believer or not, faces the body getting old and breaking down. It is frustrating and discouraging and many lose heart.

Paul faced all of this, yet said that they do not lose heart. Regardless of what is going on in this body or this world, a believer must never lose heart. God is still in control and at work.

The believer is constantly being renewed each day on the inside. God is working daily to make the believer into someone more like Jesus. It is a slow, but steady process that will take a life time to complete.

Inside the believer is always the hope of eternity with God. The troubles of this world are only temporary and will end some day.

You, along with every believer, is someone on this path in this life. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and the eternity that He has promised you. Do not get discouraged and lose heart because of the way this world looks, or what you are going through.

Even though your body may be breaking down or sin appears to be more prevalent, God is with you. He is building you up. Don’t give up, you are being renewed!

I pray today that you will see God’s work in you; that you will focus on Jesus; that you will trust God’s work; that you will know the hope you have in Jesus; and that you will share that hope you have in Jesus with others.