Posts Tagged ‘Trials’

Today we got mail… Yes I am a big fan of going through the mail even if most of the time it’s only advertisements for mattress sales or coupons for the grocery store… Today’s mail included a letter from Desiring God Ministries along with the water bill. Okay, the water bill wasn’t too exciting, though it was 79 cents less than what I budgeted for. The letter from DGM however contained a very interesting article written by Jon Bloom.

It was all about God’s sovereign love in carrying out His will in His people’s lives. He shared about Joseph (Jesus’ earthly dad) and all stress, anxiety, and worry that he must have faced through the first few years of Jesus’ life. Traveling a 100 miles to Bethlehem on foot with pregnant Mary all because of a stupid census; Escaping to Egypt under the threat of the baby Messiah’s execution; Coming back to Nazareth instead of Bethlehem; always on the run, not being able to settle anywhere. He probably struggled to find work, and probably struggled to support his new family. Life was chaotic. All these things however fit perfectly into God’s sovereign plan of redemption. Prophesies were fulfilled, and nothing took God by surprise.

Bloom brings encouragement to his readers by saying,

The unplanned, inefficient detours of our lives are planned by God. They are common for disciples, and they commonly don’t make sense for the moment. But God’s ways are not our ways because our lives are about Him, not about us. He is orchestrating far more than we know in every unexpected event and delay… So when you find yourselves suddenly in a direction you had not planned, take heart, hold tight, and trust God’s navigation.”

I like that, “But God’s way’s are not our ways because our lives are about Him, not about us.” What comfort there is to be grasped knowing that God is in control of our lives and He will use us to glorify His name through any twist and turn in this life.

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps”

J. C. Hahne

I was reading this morning from the Psalms and this verse caught my eye and brought comfort and hope to me.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord;

You cover him with favor  as with a shield.” – Psalm 5:12

What a great peomise to hold on to. As you may know we have been going through some tough times as of late. Uncertainty clouds our thoughts and vision. It’s always easy to get discouraged when we fail to see the big picture; that Christ redeemed us, made us righteous, and showers us with His favor for His glory and our good.  May I count it all joy as we face various trials and setbacks. He is working in us for the glory of His great name. Blessed be His Holy Righteous name. Amen!

calvin1

In the darkness of our miseries,the grace of God shines more brightly.” -John Calvin

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for tose who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

I was reading this morning on the Desiring God Blog, an article entitled, “Bad Times are Good for Missions” and I absolutely love how Piper sees God’s sovereignty in the midst of hard times. Obviously right now America as well as the rest of the world is going through economic uncertainty, but our God is sovereignly ruling and causing all the things to work for our good; for our sanctification. Despite having less money, Piper says that God’s peoples hearts will be enlarged to give more as they savour Him above all things. I particulary liked this portion of his post.

“During an economic downturn people… may be wakened to the brevity of life and the fragility of material things, and so may become more generous not less. And when they give under these circumstances, it will make Christ look all the more like the all-satisfying Treasure that he is.”

May God be merciful to us and open our eyes to see His beauty; to see that He remains the same, unchanging in His Faithfullness and love. May he be our all-satisfying treasure, and give us giving hearts in the midst of uncertainty. Amen.

J. C. Hahne

Memorize Scripture!!! That was the encouragement I received over the last week… As I listened to John Piper’s radio program the other day, I was encouraged by an interview in which he stressed the importance of memorizing scripture. The word of God is a sword which we need to carry with us in our head, not our pocket. In the time of need, in trial or in temptaion, we don’t have the time to fumble about trying to find our Bibles and then look for a verse to combat the problem at hand. No, we must have God’s promises alive in in our head and heart!

Let me give you some examples. If we struggle with covetousness, we cut off temptation by quoting scripture to ourselves… “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?– Hebrews 13:5-6. Or maybe you have fallen to sin and feel condemned. You need to have Gospel truths gushing out of you like Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” or Romans 8:33-34, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Indeed there is a huge difference in picking up God’s word for a few minutes and having it lodged in our head.

The psalmist says in Psalm 1:2-3 “…in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” This blessed man is marked by the word of God being woven into his soul. Memorization and meditation makes one strong, fruitful, joyous, and prosperous at any given time in any given situation.

Oh God, may we be like this blessed man, who has your Words in his every thought. Help us to memorize and meditate on your truth, that we would be filled with hope and joy, that we would be strong in the fight of faith! All for your names sake. AMEN!

“Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart…”
Jeremiah 15:16

J. C. Hahne

Psalm 3

1LORD, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many
are they who rise up against me.
2 Many
are they who say of me,
There is no help for him in God.”  Selah

3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the LORD with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.  Selah

5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set
themselves against me all around.

7 Arise, O LORD;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation
belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing
is upon Your people.  Selah

What a great example we have here for us on how to respond in the midst of trial. Here we see David surrounded by trouble; by persecutions… “Many are they who rise against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.'” (v.1-2) Are you surrounded by trials, temptation or persecution? Do you feel at times desperate? Look at David’s example. He could have cried and given up… But he didn’t! Full of faith he proclaims that God is his defender, his protector, the faithful One who hears his cry. “But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill.” (v. 3-4)

After proclaiming and preaching the truth to himself, we see David’s assurance. In the midst of trouble, among the many who rose against him, he lays down to sleep. His rest, his peace is in God almighty, his sustainer. He says in verse 6, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” And being so confident of God’s protection, David claims victory. “Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Your blessing is upon Your people.” (v. 7-8 ) Salvation is indeed in His hands, He stands ready to fight and defend. His blessing is upon His people. What a great God we have!

I encourage you to have David’s attitude in the midst of trouble. Preach the Word of God to yourself! Take hold of His promises and rest! Claim Victory!

J. C. Hahne