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Posts Tagged ‘trials’

Ruins

 

Have you ever felt like the image above? Have you ever felt like a part of your life mirrored that image?

old?

trashed?

abandoned?

falling apart?

ruined?

I think we all have at different points in our lives, when the demons who haunt us, and the realities of life in this very human world, affect our daily lives, relationships and bodies.

The Psalmist also had such experiences and feelings:

I say to God my Rock,
“why have you forgotten me?
why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by my enemy?”
Psalm 42:9

… A Psalm of David,
my God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?

Psalm 22:1

Even Jesus, the Son of God, cried out from the cross,

Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:46

When our life, in part or whole, seems to be in ruins, we do not sit in the mire alone. Matthew 28:20 reminds us that “I (Christ) am with you always, to the end of the world.”

What comfort to know that we are not alone in our desperate times, in our darkest moments.

“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

He is always there to lean on, to count on, but he wants to be more than just a shoulder to cry on. He wants us to tell him where it hurts.

“cast all your cares/anxieties on him
because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

A few years ago, Amy Grant had a song released called “Better than a Hallelujah” and one of the lines in it describe our need to cast those cares honestly, sincerely, maybe even with tears in our eyes and fist shaking to the skies:

the honest cries of breaking hearts, are better than a hallelujah.”

Even Job, sitting on a dung heap, scraping the sores all over his body with broken pottery, did not sin with his lips, but did question why God had allowed him to be born. He was (literally) in the dumps, but when faced with God, he confessed his sins, and God put a new dream in Job’s heart.

We need not stay in ruins.

God is always with us, and he does not leave us in our mire forever.

Maybe, today, you cannot see even a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe your heart is broken into so many pieces that you could never imagine it being put back together. Maybe the energy to have hope is just too much for you. Maybe your hope is only in the foreverland of life after death.

If you have breath, you have purpose, you can dream, you can pursue the purpose that God has placed in your heart. “Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1)

God has a plan for your life, and if you still have breath, you can still pursue whatever he holds for you in your future.

If you have breath, praise the Lord (Psalm 150:6). If praising God is all that you can do, do it!

God is with you always, praise him with your every breath.

 

 

 

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What a summer it has been in our world.

in this world

Planes have fallen from the skies.

you will have

Belongings and bodies of fallen aircraft pillaged.

tribulation

Governments have fallen.

but

Countries taken over.

take heart

Bombs dropped upon cities.

I

People buried under their homes, rocked by an earthquake.

have

The right to exist of one group threatened by another.

overcome

A deadly viral disease epidemic.

the

Christians in a town taken over by terrorists are told to “leave, convert or die”.

world.

God, we trust that you have overcome the world, but we are … human. We cannot see the big picture of life and of the events in our world … we see only today, and today looks ominous, scary, hopeless. God, please be with the sick, the homeless, those who mourn, those who are hungry and thirsty, those who are threatened, those who are being forced to choose their love for you over their very life. Lord, help our faith that you have overcome the world to increase.

 

 

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Yesterday, in my post, Joy, I digested through James 1:2-4, and today I will share with you a story of someone who is no stranger to trials of many kinds.

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James 1:2-4 is not easy to digest, it is not nice to contemplate, it is not a teaching that creates any warm and fuzzy feelings.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”

The various trials faced by Major League baseball legend, RA Dickey certainly could destroy any person … but there was a plan, and a hand on this man that indicated that this individual was heading towards something more than just the trials he had faced.

RA Dickey won the Cy Young Award in 2012, the first knuckleballer pitcher to win this award. 2012 also marked the release of his autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.

In the link below you will get to hear of some of the significant trials of this man’s life. His faith has been tested (and, no doubt, that refining will continue). It is clear that he sees and knows now, that he is not lacking anything.

http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/ra-dickey/

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). Let me re-phrase that in the Carole Wheaton version … “hey folks, ain’t life just the best when it gets really hard?” … now doesn’t that just build up hope and anticipation in your life?

What the heck was James thinking when he wrote this in the book of James?

Was he some sadomasochistic fool?

Had he just come from the winery?

Perhaps he had been standing too close to the smoke of the grape leaves as they were being burnt at harvest?

Whatever it was, it took over his senses!

But lets look a little closer!

The message starts out, as above :

v.2

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters …”

Not just joy, but pure joy … I am guessing that means the kind of joy that comes from knowing that your life is in the hands of One greater than ourselves. It is the joy that comes from being confident in those hands. The joy that says, ‘I will be in joy because I am in safe hands.’ Aka. I do not know what the future holds but I know who holds the future!

v.2

whenever

Not ‘if ever’ but whenever … sigh … trials are a coming, and they keep coming … get your head out of La La Land and brace yourselves!

v.2

“you face trials of many kinds …”

Many … sigh … many … that is more that a couple!

v.3

“because you know

This would be the reminder that we are being reminded of this joy and trial pairing, because, honey, we have been facing trials since we were knit together in our mother’s wombs, and they will continue until we are planted into the Earth.

v.3

“that the testing of your faith”

I think it is a universal fact that we all hate tests … and if our faith is to be genuine it needs to be refined through testing.

v.3

“produces perseverance

And perseverance is the stuff that helps us to keep getting back on our feet and giving it all a go again, after we fall down. That is the stuff that makes us grow muscles that endure, keep going, not give up.

v.4

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete

Mature and complete … you know, having it all together! Woohoo! There might be hope that some day I might have it all together! What a hope is that!

v.4

not lacking anything”

To not lack anything means to have everything … everything! That is JOY!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,
not    lacking    anything.”
James 1:2-4

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