Amplified Bible (AMP)
2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.
Have you ever felt as though someone is enjoying YOUR blessing as you look on “empty-handed”? Oh, we don’t dare admit that even for a second we wonder if God has been unfair to us!! We don’t admit it, because even though it does look like someone else is basking in what we have fasted, prayed, and believed for, that which seems so elusive to us came so easily to them instead. Deep down we know God is fair! So what has happened here?
I have seen beautiful young ladies, full of the Holy Spirit who lead godly lives and are true to God through and through pray for a mate and wait for years for that mate to come. Then I see Christian men who seem to be attracted to girls that will never bring anything but misery. They marry them (careful guys, everything that glistens is NOT gold!), and sure enough, the godly girls sit on the sidelines at the reception, happy for their friend but wondering why their time never seems to arrive.
I have wondered what is going on in my life with my home. I have never been one who really dreams of a particular type of house. I would see others telling me of what they wanted, how they would arrange it, all the new architectural designs, the best kitchens, huge walk in closets that are the size of my family room and I am and will always be happy for them, but that was never my priority.
One day as I looked at my starter home I had been in for over 25 years, I began to dream. Oh, it had hit me, too! I wanted a closet my husband and I could fit into at the same time. I wanted a kitchen he didn’t have to shut the refrigerator door for me to put something in the dishwasher and vice versa! I began to pray, thanking God for the home I have, but letting Him know my desires, too.
We put the house on the market and in a month it “sold” and in a 2 week period, the “sale” fell through. That wasn’t too bad…I cried the night I found out and the morning after for about 10 minutes, but I have been dry-eyed since. What got me was the fact ladies I taught when they were in the fourth grade are living in MY dream home!! Don’t get me wrong! I am so happy for them and they deserve it, but my question to God was, why don’t I have mine, yet? God is always so patient with me. He gently spoke to me and said, “Juliana, that is not the only beautiful home I have to give. My reserves are full and there is plenty for you!”
We can so easily listen to satan when he whispers, “God likes them better! You aren’t ever going to have certain things, you might as well forget it…you have never been anyone’s “favorite”, even now!” Oh, and he doesn’t fail to bring up things that have happened to you in life to “prove his point”! But the fact of the matter is this…we are ALL God’s favorite! Nobody is more special or loved more than another. Just because your blessing didn’t come and someone else’s did doesn’t mean yours isn’t coming!! Satan is seeing if you will continue to stand, or throw it all out the window. God isn’t “seeing” what you will do. He knows! He wants you to know what you will choose!
Tests are not about what God needs to know about you. God already knows what you are going to do because He knows you better than you know yourself. Tests are to show YOU what YOU are made of, or what you need to develop in. In my case, I needed to develop perseverance and let patience have its perfect work. Was I going to get upset with God and tell Him how I have stood in faith, I am not getting any younger, and just why can others have things in their 20s I have waited 30 years for? Or, was I going to rejoice, not covet, and continue to believe my blessing was on its way and will be better than what I could ask for because I HAD sought God, loved Him, know Him personally, and because of that I know His character and I know He isn’t cruel, nor will he short change me.
Most of the time where problems come in is when we seek the gifts instead of the giver. If you don’t know God as your Father, you will liken him to an earthly authority figure that was in your life. Maybe your father wasn’t a kind man. Maybe your father abandoned you and your mom was so busy trying to provide for the family you were inadvertently pushed to the side. There could be a thousand scenarios and I cannot possibly list them all. But, whatever the case God is not a man that He should lie, as the Word tells us. He has spoken it and He WILL do it! God doesn’t have human frailties like people do. His character is unmarred and you can fully and blindly trust Him!
No matter how much we have heard this before, sometimes we need to rehearse it over and over in our minds until it isn’t just head knowledge, but true revelation…something we know that we know that we know, as my Paw-Paw used to always say. Gloria Copeland always says, “In consistency lays power”. It has to eventually come if you are believing according to God’s word. If you are believing according to His word then you are believing according to His will and if you are believing according to His will you will have what you have asked for IF YOU DOUBT NOT IN YOUR HEART! (1 John 5:14-15)
Dare to believe, dear reader!! Be assured your answer will come even though you don’t you see it now. This is true faith and that is the catalyst to answered prayer!
Blessings to you!! I will see you soon!
Today is a very happy day for me. I know there is a difference in joy and happiness, but today I have had the privilege of having both. I am going into my second week of prayer with the Lord and I am anticipating it being incredible.
After church we went to my friend and fellow parishioner’s restaurant for the “Blue Plate Special” (just like on ‘The Andy Griffith Show‘). It was yummy…hamburger steak and gravy, homemade mashed potatoes, corn, homemade rolls, fried okra, and banana pudding cake or “Soapapilla” cheesecake…if you got one you could have the other, too for just fifty cents. It is a place where everyone is your neighbor, they know you by name, and they sit with you and chat while you eat as though you are family. It is just a small town, warm, homey atmosphere!
We came home for football, friends stopping in, and another great service followed tonight. I am so grateful for my pastor, my church family, and the move of the Holy Spirit we have there. The messages my pastor preached was right on target and I gleaned so much from them.
I am off to bed soon, and as I go I go with a big smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart! God is good and I am so grateful for His love for me and my family! God bless you, sweet reader!
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Ephesians 1:9-10 KJV
When the government was shut down in my country, I made sure I educated myself to the best of my ability as to what was happening, why, and what the future could quite possibly be if our government stayed on this current track. I found myself immersed in news articles, facts and opinions, charts, graphs, etc.. I also began to find myself immersed in a growing sadness.
This was no longer the America I grew up in or even knew 5 years ago. Gone are many of our freedoms including our freedom of choice (healthcare), free speech, and soon, quite possiby, the right to bear arms. With each day we can sink deeper and deeper into lack and despair if we allow what we see all around us determine our levels of peace and hope.
I remember a man by the name of Elijah that went through a very similar experience. His country had turned from God to lust, greed, and a corrupt religion. The people served “Baal” a false god. There are many types of false gods. Today, money is a god to many. To others power is a god. No matter what it is, idolatry is rampant in the world today.
Elijah was anointed of God to expose the corruption of the religious sect his country had gone into. He obeyed God and because of his obedience five thousand false prophets were executed that day. What a victory you would think. It was a victory, but when Jezebel, the king’s wife, heard of it she was greatly displeased. She was actually infuriated!! She demanded the life of Elijah for executing her false prophets because it was the beginning of a weakening of her power. She put a “hit” out on Elijah and he ran for his life and went into hiding.
Elijah was so discouraged he asked God to take his life. God told Elijah he needed to rest and sent food through an angel. Elijah did rest. He rested his mind and body from all that was taking place back home and he allowed God to fill him back up and strengthen him.
The first thing God did was feed Elijah. Keep yourself nurtured physically! If you are not eating as you should, your body will be weakened and the least amount of pressure can feel like a ton! God nourished him physically. As Charles Spurgeon pointed out “The spirit needs to be fed, and the body needs feeding also. Do not forget these matters; it may seem to some people
that I ought not to mention such small things as food and rest, but these may be
the very first elements in really helping a poor depressed servant of God.”
The second thing God did was to bring Elijah’s mind to a rest through sleep! This was more than a “power nap”! Elijah’s stay in the desert was for forty days. It wasn’t a quick weekend trip and then back to the issues at hand. You may say to me, “I don’t have a 40 day vacation coming! I can’t do that!” But you can! Allow yourself to rest yourself from oppressive news. I noticed when I was reading it everyday, watching it regularly, anticipating what would happen next and the consequences of those actions, my mind grew worried and depressed! God literally has stopped allowing me to look, talk, or watch the current news and I am still in this mode for this time. I am sure I will again watch and listen, but for now, I need a rest from it all!
God gives you a mental rest to re-energize your spirit. I will never forget Robin Roberts as she talked about the recurrence of cancer in her body. She said her mother gave her the greatest advice and it was this, “When the day becomes too much, end it!” Now, her mother didn’t mean suicide!! She meant for her to go to bed! Close the curtain early on that day. Do you know why things always look better the next day after you sleep and then awaken? Because sleep refreshes your body and your mind!! Things are always better the next day.
God then had a talk with Elijah. God asked him a question He well knew the answer to but He needed Elijah to ponder it for a moment! 1 Kings 19:9-10 gives a very key point. And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold,
the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Because Elijah got by himself with God, Elijah was able to intimately communicate with the Lord. God gave Elijah the opportunity to vent his frustration to Him! Go ahead, God knows your heart anyway. When we hear what is in our hearts, many times we realize just how wrong we have allowed our minds to go and think! When it doesn’t make sense to your own ears, you know you have to rethink things and NEVER rethink things aside from the guidance of the Holy Spirit…He sees all, knows all, and will lead you in the right direction!
After Elijah “unburdened” himself, it was now God’s turn. God had strengthened him physically, He had strengthened Him emotionally and spiritually and now it was time for new direction. You have to get very quiet to hear God. The T.V. has to be shut off, you have to find a time when there are no distractions like the kids pulling on you, the phone ringing, a “to do” list staring you in the face. My “desert and alone times” were always after everyone was down for the night. My children were asleep and hubby, too. The phone was not going to ring at one in the morning. Oh, how precious was the stillness and peacefulness of my home and how it ministered to my frenzied mind! I could finally concentrate and be quiet to listen to what God had to tell and teach me!
It tells us in Kings where God WAS NOT and tells us where He WAS!! Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
So many times we look for a person to tell us a “word” or give us a “prophecy” and God DOES use these things! At other times people may look for “signs”, but God wants you to hear from Him for yourself and instead of looking for “signs” be quick to feel the leading of the Holy Spirit! That is why the Holy Spirit lives in you, not just in those called to specific ministries. Do we listen to our ministers? Of, course!! But God can speak to you, personally just as He does to them!
Many times we depend on other people’s alone time with God to hear from Him, when there are things God is only going to share with you for a time! That is why reading your Bible, praying and seeking God is of utmost importance!! Learn to depend on God, not people! Come away for a time, but notice God also gave Elijah a work to do during this time! That work required him to go back from where he first ran from and confront with God’s power the evil and to anoint and minister to Elisha! What a mighty direction, and God has direction for you, too and He is waiting to give it. Until you hear it, be patient in the stillness…God always shows up and He always leads you when you really want Him to!
Get alone with God, precious reader! Learn to depend on His voice to lead your way! Stay nourished physically and spiritually. Give yourself a break from the “world”. You and I will come forth stronger and more encouraged than before! God bless you! I will see you soon!!