When a trial comes your way, do you groan and think of it as an ordeal to muddle through? Is your first reaction fear and dread, or do you see each new struggle with more positive eyes? The love of Jesus can shed light on your difficulties and bring about a change in your perspective. Trials are actually opportunities chock full of hidden blessings.
“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” – Anonymous
Consider the story of Joseph. He was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. He was forced to live in a foreign land without family.
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.” Genesis 39:1-4 (NKJV)
One might think Joseph had suffered enough by this time and that God would continue to bless him in the home of Potiphar. Maybe Joseph was content with his position as his master’s overseer. But God had bigger plans for Joseph, a bigger house for him to oversee, so He continued to test and refine him.
Joseph caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife, who aggressively pursued him and asked for sexual favors. Unwilling to lie with her, he ran from temptation. Because of Joseph’s righteousness and unwillingness to sin, he found himself in the middle of a new trial. Although He had been kidnapped, made to live as a slave in a foreign land, was absent from all family support, he was sent to prison …. But the Lord’s favor followed him.
“So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, ‘Your servant did to me after this manner,’ that his anger was aroused. Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison.
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority,because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.” Genesis 39:19-23 (NKJV)
So once again Joseph found himself in a position of leadership and authority with responsibilities he never asked for or expected. God was using difficult circumstances to sharpen the spiritual gifts within Joseph. Leadership requires the ability to gain the trust of others. Adversity will try to rob us of our hope but Joseph persevered. He gained wisdom from living through his struggles, and because of his perseverance and faith, he later became a man many would follow and respect.
After some time in prison, Pharaoh called Joseph to his throne room to interpret a troublesome dream. The Lord provided Joseph with insight and was given the Pharaoh’s favor. After years of slavery and prison life, Joseph was given the unexpected honor of overseeing the Pharaoh’s entire house. He was only 30 years old.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:39-40 (NKJV)
The Pharaoh’s dream spoke of 7 years of feast and 7 years of famine. Joseph was placed in charge of collecting grain and storing it for the lean years ahead.
Joseph married and had children. He saw how God had blessed him but there were even more blessings to come. The drought was affecting his homeland and his brothers went to Egypt seeking resources. Joseph recognized them and was able to help. God restored his family relationships and also blessed him with position, wealth, and honor.
The Word calls a man blessed, if he can remain steadfast under a trial (Js.1:12). By withstanding the test in front of him he will receive the crown of life. This crown is promised to those who love God. It is rewarded to believers who endure suffering and remain faithful to God, even to the point of death. There are eternal rewards for remaining steadfast in faith.
We do not know all the twists and turns in our spiritual journey but God does, and He has a very good plan on how to use us. Joseph did not know the reasons for all his trouble but he remained faithful. As a child, the Lord gave Joseph a hint of his future position but never any details. Through tests and much suffering, God refined Joseph into a man of integrity and faith.
Why not take your present adversity and consider it as a stepping-stone to a hidden blessing from God? It took God some time to prepare Joseph for his position. Your refinement will take time too. Have faith in your Lord. There are blessings in each day and in your future. Above all, glorify God in good times and bad times, just like Joseph.
“I can do all things through Christ[ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you willhave tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 (NKJV)
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)
“The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” ~ Chuck Swindoll
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
I am praying for the Christians who are being persecuted. Please stand with me.
“This is the letter “N” in Arabic. It is being used to brand Christians in Iraq who are being persecuted and murdered by ISIS terrorists. The letter “N” stands for Nazarene. I am posting this, along with thousands of others around the World, in hopes of raising awareness of their plight and lifting them up in prayer. May the Lord move and the World take action. Please join the fight and share this!”
“All Your commandments are faithful;
They persecute me wrongfully;
Help me!” Psalm 119:86 (NKJV)
“Have mercy on me, O Lord! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death,” Psalm 9:13 (NKJV)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35 (NKJV)
Remember to watch Greta Van Susteren tonight for her special report, “Christians Under Attack,” She is spotlighting the persecution of Christians in Iraq and around the world.
Watch live or set your DVR for 7 p.m. EDT on the Fox News Channel. Tell your friends and family to watch, too.
“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:17-18 (NKJV)
“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 (NIV)
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, understands our pain. He IS our friend and blessed Redeemer. When He left His heavenly throne and took on human form (for our sakes), He endured all the frailty found in our fleshly bodies. Not one abuse, sorrow, trouble, struggle or upset we experience was absent from His life. He lived them all. He is a Lord full of great compassion and understanding when it comes to mankind.
Jesus had siblings and is well aware of the ins and outs of family life. There were bound to be jealousies and misunderstandings within His earthly family. Although He was without sin, He experienced the sting of insults from those closest to Him. He understands family dynamics.
He knew the pain of a friend’s betrayal. Disappointment was no stranger to our Savior. Emotional ties are often entangled with some sort of sin and can cause great pain, for love is a tender feeling. Surely Judas broke His heart.
If you have had to suffer through a desperate and painful time without the support of friends and family, Jesus understands your struggle. Did He not face His death with only His mother, His Aunt, Mary Magdalene, and the apostle John? Where were the rest of the apostles? Where were His earthly siblings?
When Christ carried His cross to Golgotha, He did so in a weakened state. His 40 lashes and beatings had weakened Him to the point of utter exhaustion. Here comes a wondrous concept. Jesus, of the holy Trinity and God in flesh, could not physically carry His cross. It was too much for Him to bear. He experienced human weakness and the Roman soldiers compelled a Simon a Cyrenian to bear His cross.
“Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.” Mark 15:21-22 (NKJV)
We are all expected to carry our own burdens in life but when a strain comes our way that is beyond our ability to withstand, God will send us help. He will provide ways to endure and carry on with the task He has assigned.
By showing kindness to those suffering, we share in their sufferings. Just as Simon helped to carry the same cross of Jesus, we are to carry the same cross of others when they are too worn to move forward. God permits us the blessing of sharing in His sufferings. This is a gift worth rejoicing over!
Praise the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! He knows our weaknesses and understands our limitations. He calls on and provides others to share in our anguish. In love, they willingly take on burdens we cannot shoulder or sustain. Through prayers, acts of love, and physical acts of assistance we can all share in each others trouble and connect as one church and one body, through the blood of our Savior.….. Jesus Christ.
Certainly it is by His wounds that we are all healed.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17 (NIV)
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:25-17 (NKJV)
“No healthy Christian ever chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.”
― Oswald Chambers
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” ~C.S. Lewis http://christianity.about.com/od/thanksgiving/fl/Thanksgiving-Quotes.htm
To have a heart of thanks is to have a heart of praise. It is easy to thank God for times of health and prosperity but it is not so easy to thank God for our times of struggles, storms, and adversity. However, we are called to give thanks in All circumstances.
I’ll never say that God won’t design, plan, orchestrate or even send a challenge our way. After all, we have to build up our spiritual muscles some how and what’s wrong with a little exercise? A challenge from God will often come in the form of a test of faith.
Needless to say, the Devil will stick his nose in the situation and try to discourage you. So, put your earplugs in and put on your spiritual armor. The Helmet of Salvation will keep your mind clear of all confusion. By cinching up your belt of truth you’ll cast down all his miserable lies.
The fruit that is produced from the testing of God are well worth the temporary discomfort you must endure. Perseverance is needed to finish the race set before you in this life. Nobody likes to eat unripe fruit and with every struggle you face, with God by your side, the fruit of the Spirit becomes more powerful and sweet to the taste.
How rewarding it will be when you discover that the goodness and kindness of Christ has grown within you as you bravely faced the trial directly in your path! You’ll recognize that gentleness and compassion has deepened within your heart and your love for Christ and others has matured through your sanctification process. The Holy Spirit working within you can be the only explanation for the maturity of your greater capacity to love. Oh what joy there is in realizing spiritual growth!
It takes patience and self-control to trudge through difficult times and sorrows, but the peace of Christ will always meet you in your times of need. All you have to do is petition God in prayer. A peace that transcends all understanding is available for every child of God. It is never withheld from any of us. This peace comes if we submit to our challenge and God’s will, trusting Him to equip us to overcome every obstacle.
I encourage you to train your eyes to see the goodness of God, trusting that everything you face has God’s stamp of approval. Just as Satan had to get permission in the throne room to test Job, the Devil must also get permission to buffet you. God did not look to destroy Job and He does not intend to test you beyond your ability to weather your storm.
Have faith in God’s intentions and purpose. Decide now to praise Him in the midst of your pain. This sacrifice of praise will give your heavenly Father much joy and cause the enemy much discomfort. It will also serve as a quiet witness to the miraculous power of God to those all around you. Be brave and courageous. Be of a stout heart. Praise the name of Jesus in ALL circumstances because He is worthy of ALL our praise.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1 (NIV)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)
Read other devotions by Cheryl Zelenka on her blog http://facingtrials.com
I came across this story and had to share it with you. Life has both good and bad times but there is always HOPE. Hold on to your faith! Trust that God will provide the strength, ideas, friends, and means to bring you through your trial or testing. He is all you need!
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.
2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.
3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV)
“For whomever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 (NKJV)
“By stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 (NKJV)
The name of Jesus holds great power. In Philippians 2 we are told that God has given His son a name that is above every other name. In fact, the name of Jesus will cause every knee to bow in heaven, earth, and under earth.
Romans 10:13 states that anyone who calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved. By calling on the name of Jesus, you are acknowledging that He died, rose again, and was resurrected to heaven. He is the Savior of the world and by calling out His name; you believe that He has the power to come to your defense. He is our refuge and protection.
God will save His children out of all kinds of tribulations and circumstances, if they are not of His will and due to the scheming of the enemy. Demons and Satan tremble at the mere mention of His holy name. In fact, the spirits of darkness think twice about harassing God’s children when the name of Jesus is mentioned in our prayers(Luke 10:17). Our Savior won the battle over darkness long ago when He pinned our sins to the cross. The victory is His, and therefore ours as well.
So, what does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? Quite simply, it means to ask by the authority of Christ Jesus. Our Savior makes petitions for us, both day and night, before the throne of God. Jesus is our advocate. When we ask in His name, it is with the intent of aligning our will with His and accepting His absolute authority over us, including our circumstances.
Imagine a knock on your door at 2am. Before opening and giving entrance, you ask who is there and by whose authority they come. If they say, “In the name of the police department or Homeland Security,” you will most likely permit entrance. Now consider how much MORE AUTHORITY we have by using the name of Jesus!
Dear one, if you are gong through a spiritual battle call out His name. Resist the Devil and he must flee from you, but be sure to use the name of Jesus to do so. Nothing will be accomplished by your own might. We fight against principalities and powers of darkness that require the power of His name. In addition, Saints do have the spiritual armor of God. Remember to oil it well with prayer. God is our protection and defense, a mighty tower for us to find shelter.
If you are facing trials of pain and suffering, He sees how weary you are. This is why…..
To read the rest of this post please go to http://facingtrials.com