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Tribulations – Pull Up A Chair

~Psalms 55:6-8 And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7 Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8 I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

There are days we just need to get away from it all. The trials and stresses of the day seem to be so overwhelming! The Christian is not exempt from the difficulties this world has to offer. There are times where we need a “mountaintop experience” to renew our strength, spiritually, physically and emotionally. I’ve put together a few verses that lift me up and I pray they are a blessing to you as well!

Psalm 28:7-8 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. 8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.

Psalm 81:1 Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

At times like these, it is good to get away to your favorite place in God’s beautiful creation! Reading His word as you hear birds singing and nature’s beautiful sounds will lift the spirit more than anything can! Somewhere out there, dear Christian, there is someone else going through the same thing – it may be different troubles, but as our Home going draws near, we must encourage one another all the more!

~James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Today’s picture doesn’t seem like much – a small blue piece just stands out amongst the rest. Much like the trial that I am experiencing right now, this puzzle piece is only part of the picture. The Christian’s life is filled with various difficult times, drama, temptations, trials, and tribulations. Each represents one puzzle piece in the picture of our lives.

James encourages us to count it all joy when we go through various situations in life – why? Because the Lord is molding us and teaching us using all of these. Our spiritual lives are being formed with each one and in the end a beautiful work will be wrought by the Master!

So if each jigsaw piece represents an event in our lives where the Lord is teaching us and molding us, once they are all put together and the believer has yielded himself to the work of the Holy Spirit during each trial, a glorious result is produced to be the “image” of Christ. As James says, each trial of faith produces patience. We come to the realization that the Lord has not failed us and He is busy at work helping us through each one.

Now take today’s picture and see where it fits in when it is made complete! Absolutely beautiful! It is difficult to see the end result when one is in the midst of a trial. When one is suffering from pain or is experiencing family problems, the last thing on their mind is how beautiful it will all be in the end. But this is where James is encouraging us to concentrate our efforts. When we change our view of that trial and accept that the Lord is always there and is allowing the trial for His good purpose, we become patient knowing that it is all for His glory.

Be encouraged, dear Christian! You will be able to see the big picture one day and your patience will be rewarded!

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.

Trials and tribulations are not considered a positive experience in life. In fact, we dread ever having to go through them. Leave it to the Lord to teach us that we should not look at our trials through negative eyes but to count it all joy! You’re kidding, right? There is no joy in sinning for the believer. Therefore, the word temptation in this verse does not mean temptation to sin but a “trying” – a trial – adversity.

peirasmos
pi-ras-mos’
From Strong’s G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try.

Why should we count it joy, though? James answers this question a few verses later saying that these same trials will give us patience. If we are patient and we do not give up, our trials will turn into blessings. God will teach us something with every trial. Whether the trial was for our own personal benefit or for the benefit of another, there is a blessing to be had!

James teaches us to look at our trials at the git go as an opportunity to witness an upcoming blessing. Rather than be fearful of the trial its outcome, be thankful – be at peace – be joyful in your heart knowing that the King of Kings has your back. Your Shepherd is on the job, keeping you. Once your thoughts are off the circumstances about you, you can now share that peace and that joy with those who are watching you as you go through your trial. People are watching, you know. Your children are watching – your relatives are watching – your friends are watching – your co-workers are watching! You may not realize it but the way you conduct yourself, spiritually, will clearly define your faith in your God.

This is important for two reasons. The unsaved do not want to believe in a God that cannot prove Himself in someone’s life. In other words, how can your God help me if you are falling apart at the seams during your financial crisis? The second reason is that our trials help other believers to grow – we are a living testament of God’s abilities. If a young believer is watching you as you go through a severe trial and he sees you falling apart, he is not learning to run to God in all things. Instead, the babe in Christ is learning to run to his friends and family before running to God. He does not have the opportunity to witness God’s mighty hand in your life.

What a testimony it can be to all who are around us when we radiate peace and joy in our hearts! This same peace and joy brings with it gracious words, praises to the Almighty and the believer glorifies God in his actions!

What kind of living testament are you of the Living God to those around you?

~John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

~Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

~Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

~2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

The Christian life was not promised to be a bed of roses or a cake walk. Quite the contrary, actually! We are warned that as believers we will most certainly go through trials and tribulations in life. But Christ does not leave us abandoned with no hope and no help, amen?!   He gives us Scriptures to encourage ourselves so we do not fall into despair.

I love how He uses nature itself to speak to us. I heard a message by Pastor Mike Ray of Hopewell Baptist Church using salmon as an example. In summary, he stated that it takes no effort for a dead salmon to float downstream. However, it takes great effort for a salmon to swim upstream. It’s a constant battle. Pastor Ray compared going downstream as going the way of the world. This takes no effort at all. But for the believer who wants to walk with Christ, it takes great effort. Our walk will be difficult.  Just do research on what a salmon goes through to swim upstream.  It will bless your soul as you compare it to your walk with the Lord.

I love the picture used today. The world’s bears are waiting for us as we separate ourselves from the things of the world. But we are not alone. The Lord promises us that He is with us every step of the way!

~Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul tells us that he’s persuaded that nothing separates the believer from Christ’s love. Nothing! Glory to God in the highest! We are conquerors, my friend. Not by anything we do in our flesh – but by everything that Jesus Christ does through us! So whatever your cross is which you are called to bear, do it joyfully and with great peace in your heart knowing that the Lord is there! No one else can carry your cross for you. It is yours to carry. Use your life experiences and lessons learned from the Word to help another! Keep your mind fixed on what is coming soon – life with the Lord in Heaven for all eternity.  Our trials and tribulations will soon be behind us!  It makes our journey seem shorter, doesn’t it?

Let’s encourage each other in these last days! Let’s be busy doing the Lord’s work and leading the lost to Him using our life experiences that He has blessed us with. These things alone will keep our thoughts away from our trials.

sunset5

~James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Being patient in our “ministry for the Lord” is not always an easy thing. What is our ministry?  It’s not always a job, like a Pastor.  It is our path in life. For example, someone who has been through cancer can help others who are going through cancer.  Someone who has lost a child can help someone else who has lost a child.  Our life’s trials are a gift – a gift that we can share with others by helping them!  Yes, we tend to get weary at times. James encourages us to continue being patient – patient in our work – patient with our brothers and sisters in Christ – patient with being persecuted for righteousness sake.

~Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Through our trials, we build patience, understanding, compassion – our hearts become established in the Lord.  As we learn to immediately turn to the Lord in our time of need, we are able to teach another to do so. We are able to find our comfort, hope and peace in Him! How many Christians have you known who are going through major trials yet you see them surrounded by peace? This is that peace which cannot be explained!

~Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

As we await the Lord’s return for us, let’s strive to keep our hearts established and firm on Him! Let’s share this gift we have received as a result of our trials!!  Don’t give up, Christian!! Christ is near!