Friday, November 12, 2010

Trial or Consequence?

~ Beside Still Waters ~

My husband and I have been watching a series by Pastor James MacDonald called Turning Your Trials To Gold. We set aside one evening a week to watch the DVDs and this week was our last one. Pastor James taught a six week bible study at Harvest Christian Fellowship and at that same time he was going through cancer treatments at a nearby medical university. The Lord ministered to him as he walked through his trial and week by week God gave him the strength to share those things.

The key verse for the entire series was, Job 23:10. "But He knows the way I take, and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

I gleaned so much from these teachings and as I sort through my notes and thoughts I will share some of those things here on my blog. The point I wanted to share today is some of Pastor James' thoughts and mine, on trials and consequences.

One definition of a trial is....A painful circumstance allowed by God to change our conduct and our character." Our trials are designed to change us. God wants change in us and through us and every trial we face is allowed by God for our ultimate good. In the midst of trials it's hard to remember that ultimately God has a plan. Jeremiah 29:11 says, He knows the plans He has for us. He knows.
God also knows that sometimes we aren't always ready for His plan and the refining process of trials shapes us so we are ready for His "ultimate plan".

When we go through hard times we can be so quick to call it a trial, when in all reality it is a consequence to sin. A person who cheats on their income tax and then is audited and has their wages garnished says..I don't know how I am going to pay my bills. I am in the worst trial of my life. Is it a consequence or a trial? It's a consequence. The sin doesn't have to be big....but there are consequences to all sin. What we say and what we do can lead to consequences that disguise themselves as a trial.

How do we make it through our trials? We want to be trained by the trial so we surrender, trust, obey and abide, praying that we will come forth as gold when it ends. Some trials go on a long time, some are short. Most trials are normally for a season. Some longer seasons than others. We need staying power in the midst of a trial. Don't quit...don't give up, trials produce transformation. Bear up under it.

How do we get out of a consequence? Repent. Repent for our actions and behavior. Some of what we have sown will not automatically be gone. The residue from sin lingers. Freedom comes from repentance. Take necessary steps to right a wrong.

These are just a few of my thoughts today. In a time when it seems Christians are in the heat of so many trials, maybe we should ask ourselves...

Trial or Consequence?
Lord, we want to come forth as gold.
Amen?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Concerns...

~ Beside Still Waters ~

"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Thy loving kindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Thy hands."
Psalm 138:8


My concerns seem to be multiplied lately, as I am sure many of you feel the same way. I find such comfort in knowing that the things that concern me, concern God. Since He can do the impossible, and nothing is too hard for Him...then as I submit to His will, His desires, lay my concerns at His feet, I can have confidence that He is working for good those things that concern me. I encourage you to be comforted knowing that even in the midst of your concern, God is working.

God is Sovereign ....it's something we all need to remember.... that whatever our circumstances, He is in control and not one thing comes as a surprise to Him. Things can hit us and knock the wind right out of us and drop us flat on our behinds....and all the time God must be thinking, "I've got you..I've never dropped you before and I won't drop you now."


"Thou hast enclosed me behind and before,
and laid thy hand on me."
Psalm 139:5


He is behind us, before us and His hand is upon us...
What an awesome God!