You will be able to stand up under it!

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1 :2-4

 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ

1 Peter 1:3-7

I’ve spent a great deal of time considering these scriptures in the face of the various trials I’ve gone through.  The full truth of the scriptures has often elluded me.  It’s easy enough to understand the thought and theory behind such statments but it’s harder to trully understand and see it.

Often the pain of a situation, or problem, can blind us.  It hurts and we cry out to our heavenly father for understanding and even help. And sometimes it seems that God doesn’t hear our prayers.  That we are left alone to go through the fire  that we feel we shouldn’t be in.

Like Gold that goes through a refiner’s fire, so do we.  The process of fires for us come in the forms of trials and struggles.  It is easy enough to forget that this world is not the end, nor is it our home.  It’s a way station, a refiner’s fire meant to perfect us to presented in the day of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Is it to mean we will be miserable?  No, I don’t think so.

Though I go through trials daily, especially with this disease, I have begun to learn the meaning of Paul’s words where he is content in all things.   I face pain in many forms daily, weakness that few have to deal with, and walking across the room brings many of it’s own problems and pain.  Yet I know a peace and appreciation for things that most take for granted.  The joy of a fresh breaze on a summer’s night.  The gift of a warm shower, or waking up feeling rested.  There is so much more I could go into.  Things I hold dear that I have to fight to experience that so many take for granted that they should always be there.  I have the gift of knowing just how special and wonderful these things, these days that God gives me are.  And even in the pain that my flesh carries with it, the joy of my salvation abounds.

Strange thing is that years ago before this disease hit me hard I was miserable even with all these things.  I look back and realize how great I had it.  If I knew then what I do now I would feel like I was living like a king.  To just be able to walk for even ten minutes without feeling the weakness that threatens to tumble me now after only a few steps.  It is a gift.

There is a fire we face daily, each of us have our own.  Each of us face the  heat of the refiner’s fire in our own ways.  The purpose is the same, that we may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.  Our path leads the hope of our salvation, Christ Jesus our Lord.

So Remember

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

You will be able to stand up under it!  Stand strong.

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Love, the Bond of Perfection

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Colossians 3:12-14

Day to day it can be easy to loose focus on things.  Life is busy with bills to pay, work and play.  Even going to church functions can be a distraction to our walks with God.  I would like to humbly encourage you to continue the path of walking unto the Lord in a manner that encourages the fruit of the spirit.  Colossians 3: 1-2 also talks about setting our minds on things above.   There is no better way to do this then love.  In Colossians 3:14 love can be translated to charity in some versions of the bible.  However looking up the word in a Strong’s shows that it is the word Agape, which is much better translated into love.  Why is this important? Well because as I’ve said so many things in our days conspire against us to set our minds on the problems around us. This saps our strength and puts us off the path of focusing on things above.  One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that when I focus on the fight, then I’m the one fighting.  If I leave the problems in God’s hands, not only do they get resolved quicker, they are resolved in better ways.  I also don’t end up going through the agonizing process of trying to deal with the problem with my own limited resources.

There is no better way to focus our minds on things above then the simple act of love.  Love toward everyone and everything.  After all Jesus came down, lived as a man, suffered for our sins for the reason that He loved us.  While we were still sinners Christ loved us.  How can we not do the same.  Love has very specific characteristics and 1 Corinthians 13 does a great job of listing them.  I’m not going to quote it here because I want you to go read it.  Think about it, and how you can perform love in day to day actions.

Over the last week or more God has been really teaching me about the need to keep our minds on the things above, to keep focused on the hope of our salvation.  And in going through a review of things in my life I can see the truth of it.  It’s easy to become distracted.  We all do, but when we are distracted we loose something in our walks with Christ.  Remember always, walk in Love, keep focused  on the things above like the hope of our salvation, and pray without ceasing. God is love.

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The Proverbs of You!

I have for some time been writing a project I like to call The Proverbs of Tim.  You see I’m a huge fan of Proverbs.  To say huge might be an understatement.  There are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  There are up to 31 days in a month.  Coincidence…I think not!  But I should get back on target.   You see every day God can teach us little things through life experiences.  Things we may not even know we are being taught.  I originally started this as an exercise in trying to meditate on what God has taught me that day.  It evolved into something that I hold dear.  A way for me to share little nuggets of wisdom  to my family that God has taught me, but more over a way for me to go back and revisit those lessons in a way that helps to build my walk with Christ.

Now sometimes these mini-proverbs are just writing a scripture, in my own words, that’s touched my heart.  I go over what the scripture has taught me.  Sometimes they are things God has laid on my heart through out the day.

I would definitely suggest this to anyone as a practice for trying to grab hold of those things God teaches us.  It also is a way to grow your faith, learn to apply scripture in a new way.  This could be something you hand your children some day and say “This some of what God’s taught me about being a man.” Quirky, maybe but very helpful to walking with God even for just personal use.

Here’s a few examples from me :

Wisdom locked away for another day is not wisdom.  Wisdom unshared is unheeded.  Wisdom forsaken is death.

Our flesh desires corruption and death; it is overcome by prayer and God’s word.

To forget the blessings of life is to seek despair and emotional death.  Never forget the things God gives you for those things can be taken away.

Complaining is focusing on the bad and forsaking the blessings.  To complain is to receive despair into your heart.  Remember instead every little gift, for with this path lays life and joy.

Trials can be a doorway to despair, but they can also be a gateway to wisdom and life.  Seek therefore that which you truly want.

Wisdom is freely given by God to those with faith, yet men seek stupidity and self elevating knowledge more freely.

To follow God is to follow Love.  To walk in God’s ways is to be a river of love, joy, and peace.  To walk in God’s way is to be a cold drink for others in a barren desert.

God is love, and love always exists on His paths.

Forsaking a gift of love is to forsake the gift of life.

As you can see there is no real structure to the way I do it.  I have a document on my pc that I just open and add too.  A new paragraph a new tid bit.  You can get what I mean by my example.  Yours doesn’t have to be eloquent or even that deep.  But make it from the heart.  It’s a great way to focus on what God has shown you through out the day.  And it has the possibility of being a blessing to someone else, maybe even helping them from learning a painful blessing.

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Posted in Bible Study, Bondservant, Faith, God | 5 Comments

Listen to God’s leading

“3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah”

Psalms 32:3-4

I came across this today while studying.  And it hit home to me as a reminder to walk according to the Holy Spirit’s leading.  Long ago while I was studying to be in ministry, I worked at a restaurant.  A man came in and was obviously drunk.  The stench of liquor was strong.  He tried to sell me a long distance phone card (a disposable one).  I looked at him and thought that he was only going to use it to by more liquor.  So I turned the man away and helped him out the door ever so gently, but still out the door.  It was the end of my shift and I was tired.   On my way home I began to think about the man.  I had carelessly shrugged off the feeling that I should tell him about God.   And as I drove home I had to pull over the conviction hit me so hard.  I felt God was telling me that He had brought that man too me to hear about God.  Maybe just to receive a loving gesture that feeds a seed that was planted long ago.  But I knew that God had appointed me to help that man in some way.  And I knew I failed Him.  I wept repenting to God, but that feeling will never leave me.  I will forever know it.

On our walks with God we will receive the leading of the Spirit.  It won’t always be obvious, and definitely won’t always be easy.  But we must cast off that which hinders, we must follow the leading.  We must set aside ourselves, our doubt, our lack of faith and press on toward the objective God has given us.  We must trust in Him.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.”

Psalms 34:19

We need not fear what God asks of us.  He will be with us.  Maybe God is asking you to trust him that you will be able to pay the next rent bill.  Maybe God’s asking you to speak to someone about Him.  Maybe He’s telling you to pray for something you have no faith for.  Trust Him.  Close your eyes, give up yourself, your doubt, and your fear to grab hold of faith and trust in God.  God leads us in our every day life.  Not just in whom we speak to about Him.  If we do not follow Him we will feel it in our bones, right down to our very core.  It will suck the life out of us.  To be God’s bondservant, is to step out and follow His leading.  To deny ourselves and take up His cause, and let Him take care of us.

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It’s all about one thing

Trust.  It’s all about trusting God in all things.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us not to trust in our understanding.  It’s a trap to take what we see and understand a situation to be and use that as our basis for things.  We don’t know what’s around the corner, or just out of sight.  God does.  I think truly walking with God is a lesson in trusting in Him in spite of what we see and “know” to be real.  It’s a journey in learning to trust through the suffering and pain life throws our way.  If you loose focus on Him then you despair and everything Goes down hill. It’s far easier, and better for your personal state of mind, to just trust God in spite of what you see.   Trusting in spite of yourself however is sometimes a lesson only learned through trial and error.  And for this reason I would offer you Psalms and Proverbs.  Two excellent books that harbor a world of wisdom within them.

Psalms is just an awe inspiring way of getting some faith in trusting God.  Over and over themes of trust and praising God in all situations, especially the most desperate.  Proverbs is a beautiful collection of wisdom, and thoughts to train your mind into thinking more dependent on God, and trusting him (and why that’s a good idea).  I would suggest reading a chapter a day of both.  With Proverbs I long ago developed the mindset of reading a chapter for that day that corresponds with the date (it’s the 4th of November today so read chapter 4).  It’s just a good way to keep you focused on watching what your mind is thinking on.

In praying about the various trials that have come my way, God gave me this great picture of why I need to stay focused on Him and trusting Him.  Consider yourself a battlefront.  A fortification of walls and battlefronts.  Surrounding you is the enemy who seeks to kill steal and destroy.  Now you receive your strength from maintaining your focus on God.  Keeping Him first and trusting and having faith in Him that He will supply all your needs (note not your richest desires, just needs).  He attacks, let’s say your car is broken, it will cost $750 to fix.  Surprise once that is fixed it costs $1000 more.  What do you do?  Well In the spiritual realm satan is throwing things at you.  You take your trust off God, take your focus off Him and focus on the battle, you’ve already lost.  All satan needs to do is distract us from our true focus and he wins.  He just needs to keep us from looking to our source, God the father, and Jesus His son.  You take your focus off that, and your working under your own power.  It’s just a matter of time then till the walls fall, till fortifications break.

Ephesians 6 talks about preparing ourselves with the Armor of God.  Go through it and study it.  Each peace is a representation of something that will help us in the fight. I’m not going to tell you what they represent because the study of it is part of it strengthening who you are.  Just remember that each day something’s waiting to tear us down.  No satan isn’t behind every tree and not every time you stub your toe is it him hiding behind a tree tripping you.  But even your flesh wages war against your soul.  It’s a constant battle and surviving comes down to making these things a part of your life.  Learning to make them second nature.  A few pro tips as they say here, God’s word, prayer, and the praise and worship of our God is king hear.  Not just Praise and worship music, but in our thoughts, in our lives and how we live.  Psalms again is a great stepping stone for learning to praise and worship God.

I hope this helps someone.

Posted in Faith, God, Life, Walk in the spirit | 6 Comments