Tag Archive | trials

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Had a great church service a while back.  Came away from it knowing that I have to “tend my field.”  I can no longer let the tares – the weeds – grow among the good grain.  So, I’ve been spending a lot of time pulling up weeds.  When I first heard the service, I already barely watched any kind of television; I don’t watch any, now.  I’m tired of seeing all the drinking, drugging, swearing, sexual innuendos, fornication, etc. That’s not the kind of thing I should be filling my mind with.  Philippians 4:8 tells me to concentrate on things that are true, honest, just, lovely, and of good report; tv doesn’t fit the bill.  Nor do movies.  I enjoy mindless entertainment to help me wind down just as much as the next person.  But I’ve noticed: when the mindless entertainment showcases the kind of behavior the Bible tells me I need to have, instead of the stuff that is against the Bible, I feel much better.  I have a better attitude.  My walk with God stays strong, and I spend more time with Him.  So, tv and movies that don’t follow Biblical principles are out.  Which  means tv and movies are out, period, because I’ve never seen a movie that doesn’t have some of the Hollywood junk in it (including the ones that are supposed to be Christian).

Music is another weed; if I can’t worship to it, I’m not going to listen to it.

I’m going to spend a little more time tilling my field, too; more time in the Word and in prayer.  More time spent helping out the kingdom wherever I can.  I can hardly wait until God reveals the changes in me that will occur because of this decision.  It won’t be easy to stick with, but nothing worth it is ever really easy.

What about you?  Are there any tares you feel God telling you to get rid of?

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Happy Father’s Day – To All My Dads!

I have been so tremendously blessed – I have had two earthly fathers and I have one Heavenly Father. My first dad taught me how to walk and talk; he taught me how to eat with a fork (don’t stab the food – scoop it 🙂 ), how to have fun and how to love. My second dad taught me how to be an adult, with all the responsibilities and privileges involved. He gave me my first taste of venison, and talked to me about bow hunting. He gave me advice when I thought I needed it, and sometimes when I didn’t think it was necessary :). Both dads gave me long talks about what was right and wrong with situations, and how to better handle them in the future. Both dads were called to heaven early, and I miss them more than I can come close to describing. I want them – and everyone else – to know how much I love them, and how proud I am to say that I am their daughter.

I also want to tell my heavenly Father how much I love Him. When my first dad died, before I got to meet my second dad, God was my Father. He loved and cared for me when I was sad, and smiled with me when I was happy. He saw how much I and my brother and sister needed a dad, and how my mom was lonely, too, and brought my second dad into our lives. When my second dad got to go to Heaven, God was again there for me, holding me when I cried, drying my tears, and helping me through many of life’s situations. Even when my dads were alive, God was there for me. I’m so thankful for a Father that will never leave me, even through death – He already died, and rose again from the dead!

Happy Father’s Day, to my dads in heaven and to all the other dads out there.
Happy Father’s Day, Abba Father, to You, for being my Father as well.

May God bless all the dads, today and every day!

Having Faith? It’s Pretty Important

I wanted to come on here and just share with you the peace and joy I’ve been feeling the past several days.  God is awesome!  I’ve been stressed out about a few things, and have been worrying them over and over in my head.  The other night, that song “He’s Been Faithful” just kept taking that stuff’s place.  Made me think about how little I must trust God to be worrying.  It’s a sin to worry, really – as long as we do our best, God will take care of the rest, right?  And if we continually worry about things, it’s akin to saying that God’s not big enough to handle it.  Which, of course, is crazy, since He’s totally big enough to handle anything that comes our way.  God is always faithful to us; we need to be faithful to Him.  It’s not a one-way street, after all; it’s not God giving, giving, giving to us while we simply take.  We’re supposed to give our all to God.  That means trusting in Him, and having faith that He will see us through.

Of course, we can’t just sit back and say, “Okay, God, since You’re the Almighty and all, I’ll just let You provide the money for my bills to be paid while I sit at home and do whatever I want to do.  And spend every dime I can.”  Nope.  We have to actually get out there and do our best to provide for ourselves and our families and, whatever is not included in the fruits of our labor, God will supply.  He’s pretty awesome like that, too; I have a personal testimony to prove it!  I was coming home from work one day a few years ago, trying to pay all my bills, working two jobs and still not having enough.  My cupboards were pretty close to empty, my gas tank was just about on fumes, it was a week till my next paycheck, and I had bills coming due.  Told God on my way home that night that I knew He would see me through.  I got home, got the mail out of the box.  Went inside and looked through it.  Bill… junk mail… bill… bill… more junk mail… something from the mortgage company?  Hmm… Opened it and – it was a check from the mortgage company for the amount that I had gone over in my escrow account!  Not only could I pay for food, gas, and some bills, but there was a little left over to do something nice for me.  I know that God will provide my needs, cuz He’s done it before!  The great thing is, the need doesn’t have to be a financial one for God to provide it.  Remembrance of facts learned on tests, patience when dealing with children, understanding when talking to a coworker or boss – whatever the need might be, God is faithful to give you what you need if you just ask Him, then allow Him to take control.  He’ll come through for you – He always does!

It all comes down to faith; He’s faithful, and we need to exercise faith.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1

The Refiner

The Refiner

Some time ago, several ladies met to study the Scriptures, as was their habit.  While reading the third chapter of Malachi, they came upon a remarkable expression in the third verse:

“And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver…”

Malachi 3:3

This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.  That week, the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.  She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity regarding the process of refining it.  As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest, to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then, she thought again about the verse, “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.  The man answered that, yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire; for, if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment.  Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”  He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s the easy part – when I see my image reflected in it.”

If today, you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you, until He sees His image in you.

–  Author Unknown

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The Two Trees

A long time ago, a wise missionary woman told me this story…

A while back – 40, 50, 60+ years ago – there were two trees in a field.  One had been lovingly planted in an area with rich topsoil.  It was planted by hand, with great care, by a master gardener, who had been sure to add the proper amount of fertilizer before placing the seed in the ground.  The other tree had happened to take root where its seed fell, among some fairly rocky soil.

As the seedlings began to emerge from the ground, the gardener faithfully tended his little sprout.  He gave it plenty of the right kinds of food, watered it daily, and protected it from the elements.  This seedling grew quickly, and soon was several feet tall.  The gardener made certain to stake his young tree, so it would stand strong against the winds that always raked across the field in the coming season.

The other little seedling had no such care; no one showed it love or attention.  By itself, it struggled to find the nutrition necessary among the rocky soil, and worked hard to find water to drink.  It grew a couple of feet, but its growth was stunted by the lack of necessary nutrients and water.  The harsh winds of the prairie tended to cause it to bend, or else break, so its appearance was somewhat bowed.

Years, decades passed.  The gardener was faithful to his little tree, which had become a mighty oak.  It towered above its forgotten cousin, with its crown branching out farther and higher every year.  Its trunk was thick and healthy, with no scars from prairie fires or insect infestation.  The gardener had done well, always protecting his beloved tree from all harm.

The other tree had added growth over the years, as well, though not as much; it, too, had branches that fanned out over the prairie, though the leaves weren’t quite as thick or green.  The trunk showed scars from some prairie fires this tree had narrowly escaped being fuel for, as well as places where insects had eaten away supporting sections of trunk that the tree had covered over with scar tissue to strengthen.  It was slightly misshapen, as well, bowed by years of harsh winds.

Both trees were happy with where they were; content with their lot.

The day came, however, when the first tree’s gardener no longer came to tend it.  The first tree had to search for food in soil that had become more and more barren over the years, as drought overtook the land.  Water was hard for it to find.  The tree struggled to make it through a spring and summer, but somehow managed to survive.  Autumn came, and with it the roaring winds.  During the first windstorm, a gust of wind came over the prairie and – CRACK! – the tree came crashing down, its root system dangling from its sideways trunk.  The roots… were short, and had never dug down deep into the earth.  They had run right along under the surface, the better to absorb the nutrients from the fertilizer the gardener gave it, and the water with which the gardener watered it.  This tree had never had to fend for itself; it had never had to search for what it needed, to grow strong roots in order to survive.

The other tree, the one that had never had the benefit of someone to protect it from harm, perceived no difference in the season.  This tree noticed that there was a little less water than usual; it dugs its roots down deeper.  When the devastating windstorm swept over the prairie, the tree clung to the ground with its vast, deep root system, and held firm.

Spring came again.  Only one tree was visible standing on the prairie.  It wasn’t quite as tall as it might have been, nor as widely branching; it didn’t look as nice as it might have, with scars all over its twisted trunk, but it was still standing.

The moral:  Don’t think that, because you have to go through storms, trials, and tribulations, God doesn’t care about you.  These things actually show just how much God cares for you – He wants you to grow your “roots” deep into the well of living water!  It might be cliche but – you can’t have a testimony without a test!  If you were protected from the majority of life’s little hurts, do you think you would be better equipped to stand against a big hurt, like a family member dying?  Or losing everything you own in a natural disaster?  Or maybe having a relationship with someone go very sour?  Or, maybe, do you think that you would have only shallow roots to cling to, a relationship with God that has little substance?  If that were so, and a big storm came along – might you fall?

Tests teach us to grow our roots deep into God, so that we will have a firm foundation to cling to when the big storms come along.  The most important thing to remember is that God will never forsake us!  Nothing, nothing, NOTHING can happen to us that we are not able to bear, as long as we lean on God!

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught , abounding therein with thanksgiving.”  Colossians 2:6-9

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”             II Cor. 12:9