Joy in All of My Trials, Seriously?
My Conversation with God
I am not sure about this, God. Let me get this right. You want me to count it as joy when I meet trials of various kinds. This remains a mystery to me. I don’t think it means to be happy about the trials but to be joyful in that the trials serve a purpose, right? Forgive me when I forget to count it as joy and I whine about it instead. Reading a bit further, I see that the trials that I face aim to perfect my faith to be complete and lacking nothing. Lord, help me to see things in a different light and come to understand Your mercy and grace. After all, Your word tells me that You discipline those You love. You also tell me that pruning is necessary. I must admit that I am not so welcoming of the pruning, however, knowing You more I know that You can be trusted. It is well with my soul when I surrender to Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. Lord God, hear my plea that I will do my best to consider it joy as trials come my way. Alleluia, Amen.
James 1:2-3 is the scripture reference. Trials serve a purpose to smooth out the rough edges in us and grow us to be more like Jesus. God does have my best interest in mind and will not give me more than I can handle. He will enable me to withstand the toughest of trials. The testing of my faith produces steadfastness. Therefore, with God’s help I will strive to count it joy in the face of my trails. His grace is sufficient.
Grumbling? Take It to God.
Philippians 2:14-15; Jeremiah 31:25
I was reading my Jesus Calling for today and yesterday (10/10 and 10/9) about grumbling. There was an interesting fact that if I think that I have reason to grumble. I should take to Him. If I grumble and complain to anyone else it opens the door for deadly sins like self-pity and rage. Yet, by going to Him He will lift it and replace it with His thoughts. He will also put His song in my heart. Wow, what a shift in paradigm this is. God, after all, can handle it better than anyone else could.
For today, I am reminded that I am to live in the present and not to divide my life into things that I can do myself and things that require His help. I am to train my mind to seek His help continually. All I need to do is relax and refresh myself in the light of His presence. This is easy to do when I am in need of Him yet it is a challenge to do so when I am feeling on top of the world.
Another Way to Look At It.
I saw the movie Inside Out and in it, I learned that all our emotions have a purpose and one cannot remain in one emotion all the time. Sometimes joy comes out of sadness. It is like learning to appreciate the rain in a drought. I have had plenty of days where I was filled with joy and then the next day I felt the opposite. There were uncertainty and sadness. I didn’t like feeling this way. I reminded myself that God remained faithful and that I could not abide in the elevated mood all the time. Maybe my focus on Him had shifted and I needed to be brought back to a place where I would turn to Him.
From my own experience, when I have trusted Him in every situation (for a time) I have been able to enjoy life more and face each day confidently. Therefore, I need to recognize it better when I have shifted my focus and bring it back to trusting Him more and myself less. I will do my best to take my grumbling before Him and ask for Him to help me to see things differently.
My Prayer: Gracious Lord, I am thankful that not only will You listen to my grumbling but also will give me a change of heart and put Your song in my heart. Forgive me for the times that I lose my focus and rely on myself. When will I learn that You are trustworthy in all things and at all times? Amen.
Characteristics of Friendships
Here is what to look for and cultivate in your friendships.
Forgiving Colossians 3:13
Reliable Colossians 3:13
Interdependent Ecclesiastes 4:9
Empathetic Romans 12:10
Nurturing Ephesians 4:29
Devoted 1 Corinthians 13:4
Supportive Ephesians 4:32
Humble Ephesians 4:2
In Harmony Ephesians 4:3
Patient 1 Thessalonians 5:14
It was a joy today to attend a one day retreat at my church where I made a new friend. The focus was on love and ways to show love because God first loved us. We put together a quilt of hearts for World Relief and there were skits that taught us what being a true friend really looks like and what wasn’t. In our meditation on God’s word, we asked God to help us to be more patient, kind and to show true humility to others. This included those who are hard to love.
It was a pleasure to make a new friend with whom I have a lot in common. Friendships, I believe, are another way in which God shows us that He loves us. We may have friends that we don’t always see eye to eye with but when we find that friend with whom we can truly connect, with is inspiring and makes our hearts grow. To have someone who gets us is such an encouragement when days are not going so well.
May we encourage and inspire one another onto good deeds.
Blessings to all my friends!
My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I am thankful that You call me friend. Help me to be the friend that I would want. May I, too, encourage others onto good deeds. Amen.
What I Found in God’s Word to Support True Friendship
I looked to the Bible to find wisdom for building a great friendship. I found each of the following verses to encourage and inspire friends on to good deeds. With the Lord’s help, I want to improve upon each of these with each of my friends. One of the biggest things for me is for both of us to be real with each other and to pray for one another. This is the way to acceptance and love for one another. This makes a great basis for friendship. I am blessed to have a number of friends that are special and unique as well as a gift of God to me. To those I call friend, blessings to you and may God give you peace.
Devoted—–1 Corinthians 13:4
In Harmony—-Ephesians 4:3
Patient——-1 Thessalonians 5:14
A really good example of friendship can be found between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18-20. I, especially, like 1 Samuel 18:14 where Jonathan loves David as his own soul. The two of them make a covenant with one another. Reading further you will find that Jonathan tries to protect David from his father, Saul, who wants to kill David.
Much later in 2 Samuel, I read about Jonathan’s death and in chapter 9 David remembers his covenant with Jonathan and sent for Mephiboseth and restored to him all that was Saul’s. Therefore friendship goes a long way and it runs deep. You can’t find a better example than this.
My prayer: Dear God, thank you ever so much for the people in my life that I am blessed to call friend. Grant each of them an extra measure of grace and peace today. Have mercy on them. Amen.
Looking for Things to be
Thankful for in Everyday Life!
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
This verse tells us that in whatever we do, in word or deed. This means when I go shopping, going to the doctor’s, cleaning house or just about anything do it in the name of the Lord. It also refers to what I say to my family or the clerk at the store. Therefore, I am to speak as if Jesus were listening which He does. I am to give thanks to God the Father through Him. There are time when I do not always get this right but if I stop and think about it, it is a game changer.
An attitude of gratitude is what separates the believer from the unbeliever. It should also be what attracts others to Jesus. Gratitude is the state of being thankful. So on my trip to see my father last month it was easy to see many things to be thankful for. But upon returning home that I seemed to be challenged to find things to give thanks to God. Now I try to focus on the little things that I can be grateful for and give thanks to God. For His love endures forever.
Developing An Attitude of Gratitude
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV)
Gratitude for the simple things in my life brings a smile to my face. I am thankful today for the Christian women in my life. I am thankful for the cancellation at a doctor’s office so I could be seen.
I appreciate it when the traffic lights are green. When someone tells me that they were thinking of me when I call makes me smile. God somehow made my time multiply and I was able to get much accomplished before my flight tomorrow. Getting to hold a child even for a little while brightens my day. My husbands calm and collective reasoning to help me work through my emotions to make a right decision. My loving young men who ask how I am doing and give me hugs. Most of all I am forever thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made so that I may reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him in the next
What little things in you life that you can be thankful for and give thanks to God? Smile for Jesus died for you!
Put Away the Old Habits.
In my post titled A Paradigm Shift
, I discussed what we were called to put to death. Apostle Paul continues to tells us to put away old habits of the sinful nature. Therefore, we continue on a theme.
Colossians 3:8-10, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.“
In verse 8, look at the contraction here. It is a turning point. You were once living in sin BUT now you must put them all away. Your action is required. There is no and, if, or but about it. The rest of the verse lists those things that one is to put away. These are the old habits of our sinful nature.
In verse 9, we are told that we are not to lie to one another because we have put off the old self with its practices. Lying is to be a thing of the past, in with the new and out with the old. After all, Christ has made you a new creation.
In verse 10, we are to put on the new self which is being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator. How is this done? We are to be transformed by the renewal of our minds through God’s Word. Renewal in the Greek means to replace thought process in error. God’s word replaces that error in us. This is what makes us different from the world and what should draw others to Christ as they see that difference in us.
Look for the Next Post on this Theme.
What efforts are you making to replace the thought process in error in order to put off the old self and embrace the new self?
What is a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving?
Let us look at Psalm 50:14-15, 23 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God (ESV)!”
What does it mean to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?
I believe this is when I offer God thanksgiving when my world seems to be caving in. My sacrifice of thanksgiving brings Him glory and He hears my prayers and delivers me from my trouble. To the one who orders his/her way rightly God will show His salvation. I understand this to be that He will provide a way out and carry me through it all. In all situations I am to give thanks, not for all situations. Something that I have often given thanks for are accidents that could have happened but didn’t while driving here and there. I give Him thanks for life itself. Hence, an attitude of gratitude changes one’s outlook on life. I am thankful for new friends and the changes God is making in my life.
However, I know this is easier said than done but it is most rewarding and what I am called to do.
When have you had the opportunity to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving?
In my next post, I will focus on Colossians 3:5-17; Putting off the Old Self and Putting on the New Self.
My disclaimer: I know that every believer’s relationship to God is different and unique. You may not have the same experiences and that is okay. I am sharing because I want to bring Him the glory for what He is doing in me.
You can find the word understanding in several places in God’s Word. Have you ever taken the time to contemplate its meaning? I want to explore it in the above passage.
Let us first define it. It is the ability to understand something; comprehension. We find the word in verse 3, ‘…and raise your voice for understanding.’ Thus, we are to raise our voices to God for comprehension of His word. Verse 4 tells us ‘to seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures.’ Seek is defined as an attempt to find.
Therefore, we are to make every effort to seek insight and understanding as if we were searching for silver and hidden treasures. This is not a passive action but active and sought after with purpose and intent on finding it. God gives wisdom to those who ask without finding fault. He wants us to cry out to Him for understanding.
Furthermore, there is a reason we call out for it. This is given in verses 10-11. “For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant for your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you,” ESV.
This being said seeking insight, understanding, and wisdom from God is good. It benefits the heart and soul but one has to mine it as one would for silver and hidden treasure. But this will take time and determination. And I know it is well worth it.
Mine His Word for Yourself.
I pray that your mining God’s Word, as if for silver, will be rewarding.
Each person’s walk with Gods is different and unique. Hence, I am just sharing with you what I have learned because I want to give God the glory for what He is doing in my life.