Tuesday, March 07, 2006

testing in progress

God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

There is a fact of life that God gives tests. Earthly teachers teach lessons and then give tests. God gives tests and then teaches lessons. As we go “through” times of testing we are placed in situations that require God’s life. If we patiently endure, we learn and grow because of the trial-even if we feel like we failed. The key is to stay with God. Too many fall away when times of testing come-when the squeeze is on. They don’t like what they are experiencing or what they see coming out of themselves. They become discouraged and they turn away from God.

Jesus spoke about this… “Those on the rocky soil are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” Luke 8:13

We must accept and expect for God to give His tests. They are there to deepen the roots of our lives. Living with this expectation is key to living the life of an overcomer. It reduces my frustration level and helps me focus my heart and mind for the test. If I get angry with God or put out with my circumstances, I often make poor decisions that lead to discouragement and defeat. Remember, God is looking to develop you and make you like His Son Jesus. This is going to involve some discomfort-that is the bottom line. God is more interested in our character than our comfort. So adopting a mind-set that accepts difficulty and challenge is so important to being passionately patient.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.” Rom. 8:28-29

Staying passionately in love with God and knowing that I am called for His purpose is my only hope. I must believe that He is for me and is doing what is best for me. I must keep close to Him and listen for His voice that reassures me and encourages me in the midst of the test. Don’t forget God gives tests for a purpose-yes He has a purpose-I must not forget it-to honor me by making me like His Son. This is the highest of all honors. So let us be careful not to become angry with God.

“My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants.” James 1:19-20

If I patiently endure, he will bless me with a quality of life that only He can produce. If I stay connected to Him and refuse to turn my back on Him, He gives me life. He gives it to me in all its fullness. That is what He is up to-blessing me with a “crown of life”. What an amazing gift-God’s life in me.

In ancient times crowns meant many things; significance, wealth, authority, favor, honor, etc…I believe that James, the brother of Jesus used the phrase “crown of life” for all those reasons. Hang in there my dear friend. Stay with God. Patiently endure and God will bless you with His incredible life.

I am coining a new phrase: “Your best days are always in front of you, unless you turn away from God, then they are behind you”.

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Rom. 8:35-39 The Message

Staying with God,

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