What Happens When…

What happens when
The hard times come and go?
Do we turn to the Lord?
Do we even want to know?
Do we remember and
Do we seek to grow?

Does the pain o’ercome us
In such a way
That we seek the Lord
And make Him our stay?
Or does our attitude
Become bleak and gray?

Do we spend some time
Each day in His Word?
Do we seek to pray
And His armour do we gird
On so that our hearts
Will use the Sword, God’s Word?

Do we remember that we
Should learn to trust
The Lord and wait on Him?
This is truly a must
Because in His time
He, Who is truly just,

Will help those who trust Him through
The times of deep pain.
His children who love Him
In the midst of the rain
Of adversity and our hearts
For His will He does train.

Violet Inez
6-17-2014

The Purpose of Trials

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4).

I am like everyone else. I have a hard time embracing the trials that come my way but I’ve known the Lord long enough to know that everything happens for a purpose. Most of the time, it seems like the trials in my life come to draw me closer to the Father. Even in ministry, it is easy to become so busy that one doesn’t have a lot of quality time to spend with the One they serve. Because of this, I am learning to embrace down times.

This does not mean I do not get discouraged. Boy, do I ever! But I continue to pray and to praise Him for the good things He has done. I know that He is doing a work in my life, and I find encouragement in that. I would much rather have some inconveniences now than to find myself so far from Him one day and not know what happened.

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We serve a faithful God. He is faithful in the good times and the bad times. He gives strength when I need it and, when He doesn’t, I have to trust that it is more important that I be still and rest in Him. Not always easy but vital.

Brothers and Sisters, I hope you are feeling encouraged today. No matter what you are going through, there is a purpose. God desires to draw you to Himself, to make you more like Him, to make you an even greater blessing to others. You simply have to trust and surrender to Him.

All trials are temporary. It will not rain always. Keep looking up, and I trust that you will see sunshine again. Your circumstances may not change but your outlook no doubt will.

Thoughts on Fear

I’ve been pondering lately what makes people afraid. To fear is to not trust God but the average person would not give that as a reason for their fears. I know, in my life, my biggest fears have been due to thinking God would not intervene in a bad situation. The bottom line was that I wanted what I wanted and I did not want to accept the fact that God may not give me what I wanted. (How selfish is that!)

In talking with a friend recently, I realized that fear in some people may have to do with knowing that one is not right with God. Maybe they fear God will do bad things to them because of how they are living, or maybe they’re afraid of dying because they know that they are not ready to meet Him.

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If this is the root of your fear, it is not too late to repent of your sins and ask God’s forgiveness. God did not give you that spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). He desires for you to walk in faith and victory, completely trusting Him in everything! This is not impossible.

When one knows that there is nothing hidden in their life that is displeasing to the Lord, he or she can lay down that fear and walk in complete trust, knowing that God will take care of them. Sure, disappointments will still come. We will still face financial stress, sickness, death, and a myriad of other things but we will also be able to say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15).

I am praying for strength to trust Him more than ever this year. This past few years, I’ve dealt with more fears than I remember dealing with previously, but I know in reality that nothing can happen to me that my God doesn’t allow. I am continuing to learn to rest in that. I pray that you are too.

True Friendship

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Throughout most of my life, I have wondered how many true friends I really have. It’s easy for people to say, “I’m praying for you” or “I think of you even when I don’t write,” but I always wondered if that were really the case (although I am guilty of thinking of people more than I write as well).

Lately, I have realized that I do have a few close friends, and I sometimes wonder why since many seem to have none.

John 15:13 tells us: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

I used to interpret this in terms of dying, but that is not the only way to lay down a life. I have been blessed lately by friends who are willing to serve me, going far and above the call of duty, and I’ve decided nothing says friendship like that does. I am very blessed to have a family that loves me and does so much for me but I’m not sure how to handle it when others do those same things for me. At the same time, I’m very grateful when they do.

I am also thankful for friends who text and email me just to see how I’m doing. This takes a bit of time and thought on my friends’ part so speaks “care” to me as well.

And last but not least are the friends I know who pray for me frequently. I know this is often what gets me through life. Without this, I’m convinced my struggles would be greater so I do not take this for granted.

True friendship can be measured in different ways. What means a lot to me may not mean a lot to you but the point is that the world is in need of people who really care. Christians should radiate love to everyone around them.

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Christians should be trustworthy, not given to gossip or slander. Too often, people suffer in silence because they don’t know who to trust, and the fact is they may not have anyone to trust. This is so sad.

You are called to be a Light in a dark world. Part of being that Light is being different. The only one you should be comparing yourself to is Christ. He epitomized love and care and compassion, and He wanted His children to extend that same love, care, and compassion to others. Instead, we tend to focus on ourselves and our needs that we forget about those who could use a kind, comforting word.

If you have a true friend in your life, someone you can lean on in your times of trial, who will pray with you when you need it and never make you feel like a burden, take time to tell that friend how thankful you are to have them in your life, and be sure to pray for them in return.

If there are people that God has put in your life to be a friend to, be faithful to be that true friend that points them to Jesus and shows them His love. After all, you may be the only true friend they ever have.

Reach Out

A friend and I were talking recently, and it seems like a lot of people have a hard time truly getting close to others. Maybe they would consider themselves having close friends but, when it comes to deep conversations about spiritual things or what is going on in their lives, they feel uncomfortable. Maybe they are afraid of losing that friendship or maybe they were raised in a home where “what goes on in the home stays in the home.” There is a place for that, but I feel like there are a lot of lonely people because of this mindset.

friendship

Several years ago, I found myself saying, “I don’t need more surface friends; I have plenty of those.” I was looking for friends I could be real with, who would bear with me if I wasn’t always “up.” Looking at my life now, I realize God answered the cry of my heart. I have many friends where the extent of our relationship is catching up periodically and praying for each other as God brings them to mind. But I also have some that I believe truly love and care for me and who would do anything for me if they were capable of doing so. These are friends who will take time to listen to me when I’m up and when I’m down. On the days that I can only cry, they are there to encourage me and make sure I’m OK. This is priceless to me.

I realize not everyone has this, and many are afraid to be real because they don’t want to risk rejection. I understand this but I also know we live in a world that is longing for love. You don’t know when you might reach out to that person who will walk with you in good times and bad.

We were not meant to be alone. Sure, there are times that God brings us through deserted valleys to draw us closer to Him, but many times we are there because of our own decisions and our unwillingness to trust. I know because I’ve been there.

God is obviously the best friend you could have and the most important friend to go to in time of trouble. However, if you do not have someone in your life that will encourage you and pray with and for you when these times come, ask God to show you who may be willing to be that person in your life. Is there anyone you have a burden for that you could reach out to and be that kind of friend for them? It could be a neighbor, a relative, someone at church … whoever it is, follow God’s leading and trust Him to bless.

Fruit of the Spirit 4: Patience

Oh boy. This is another hard one. I’m sure we’ve all heard people say, “Don’t pray for patience. God will test you on it.” I want to suggest that we should indeed pray for patience. The fact is we all need it, whether it’s standing in line at the checkout counter, waiting for a family member to get ready so we can leave, trying to teach something to a person who just is not getting it. There are many things that come up in a day’s time that requires our patience … unless we want to alienate ourselves from everyone around us.

First Corinthians 13:4 tells us that “Love suffers long.” If you truly love a person, you are going to bear with them. Instead of letting your frustration show, you will breathe deep and remind yourself that, sure, you may be a little late but you will be with your loved one and it’s not worth both of you being stressed as you go out the door.

patience

Sometimes we must make a conscious effort to do the right thing and I expect patience may be something that does not come easy for you but it is something you must work on. I am not a patient person by nature but, with God’s help, I have learned to trust Him when things do not go my way. As long as I am not making people wait on me, I’ve learned to get ready, let others know I’m ready when they are, and then find something to occupy my time until we are ready to go. It has done a lot to help my relationships.

In the words of Herbert the snail, “Have patience. Have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember. Remember that God is patient too and think of all the times when others have to wait for you.”

That puts it into perspective. Just as I want others to be patient with me, so I must be patient in return. I am still a work in progress but I’m thankful that God is working.