Are You Gong Through A Trial? We all go through times of testing – called “trials” now and then. Some trials hit us in the pocketbook. Others hit us in the form of death of someone close or health problems…ours or theirs. Other trials may come in the form of a relationship that has gone badly for you. A family member - perhaps a child or parent, has run into troubles, and YOU are bearing the brunt of it. Perhaps your trial is that of having a person that was close to you at one time turn on you in some fashion or accuse you of something that you didn’t do. Whatever your trial is – I have GOOD NEWS FOR YOU! Peter, an apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ, wanted to address the kind of trials that come to us – through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN….like the bad things that come to murderers or other evil people. You, we assume, are one of God’s chosen ones. You trusted Christ as your Savior, and you are the one going through the trial right now. You want some answers, I believe. 1 Peter 4:12- “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” I like the NAS version a little better. Peter says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” I like that version of Peter’s writings because trials seem like “fiery ordeals” to anyone going through one. I speak from experience with all trials – including financial, health, death…you name it, and so I can give you some insight here that will help you. Back in the days when Jesus was with them, and persecution abounded, Peter tells his friends, “don’t think it strange when your time of testing comes…it is to be expected.” Why should Christians expect trials or times of testing from God, why do they come our way, and what can we do about them when we experience them? Peter continues, in verse 13 –“But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” Peter tells you and me that, whatever our trial…whatever degree of it (small or great), we shall REJOICE in it because we can identify…on a small scale, some of the same human sufferings that Jesus saw…or went through as a human being. Jesus had to bear pain, humiliation, sufferings, beatings, loss of friendships (temporarily), and anguish of His crucifixion…plus the loss of His own life (His physical body for two days and three nights) and He did all that for you and for me. His spirit was elsewhere during those days and nights. By the way...di you realize that just before Jesus' death on the cross...He personally raised his frined, Lazarus...from the tomb after Lazarus was dead for four days? It came to me today that the apostles knew this. They saw it...yet, when Jesus told them of His own death that would come shortly, and that He would be raised on the third day...and He told them to meet Him in the mountains of Galillee on the third day...Resurrection Sunday...they were not there! They just saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead within a few days of His own crucifixion...and they still failed to believe what Jesus said about His own resurrection! Go figure! Jesus had to go into the Upper Room in Jerusalem that resurrection Sunday (that we call Easter), and find His guys there...cowering in fear of persecution because they knew Jesus personally, and didn't want to be dragged off to their own crucifixion. But, let’s get back to YOUR suffering because YOU are going through it right now. Verse 14 Peter said, “If you are reviled (persecuted by others) for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” The GOOD NEWS is that God’s Holy Spirit rests upon - and within us. We, therefore, have the power from God Himself to endure this temporary trial or time of our testing. Christians KNOW that “All things work together for the GOOD of all who love the Lord…and who are called according to His purpose.” You and I are blessed. We are called for a particular mission…a purpose, and God Himself is the one doing the calling. Do you know WHY God has chosen YOU and for what purpose He wants you to go through your trial right now? We don’t know that answer at the time of testing. The answer comes AFTER the time of testing. The GOOD NEWS is that God Himself has invited us to participate in His plan for something – or someone who is close to us. We have a job to do, and people are watching us as we go through our trial. What will the end result of that trial be? God already knows....and it's always GOOD! What I have personally learned is that God loves us. He has a plan and purpose for us…if we are willing to let Him work out His plan. I have learned that God knows exactly what He is doing, so we don’t have to….not yet. I have learned that patience comes out of every trial. Do you need patience? Come on now…do you? I have learned that TRUST comes out of every trial. Do you trust God 100%? No…not 75%…..100%. Is it okay with you that YOUR DEADLINE for doom has come and gone….and God hasn’t seemed to answer your prayers yet? “Tribulation worketh patience” “Patience worketh TRUST” “Trusting God, and seeing what He does at the end of your trial is what brings CONFIDENCE in His ability to get you through (endurance) the trial so that you – and everyone else in your sphere of influence sees what how God worked it out. Then, God gets the glory - and your friends AND YOU, get the blessing from it. Let me continue because trials (although very painful at the time) bring about GOOD each and every time. Peter tells us that if we suffer as a common criminal, then so be it…if we are a common criminal…but if we are God’s child, then we suffer for a greater cause than our personal suffering for the moment. Verse 15 –“Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler…” (Notice that “meddlers” are as bad as murderers or thieves?)- 16 –“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he (or she) is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” Peter finishes out his statement by saying that those who are without Christ shall suffer in the great Day of Judgment. He asks us what do we think about the fact that others who don’t know Christ will suffer for all of eternity….but we might suffer for a short period of time now…but later….we will reap all the rewards of knowing Jesus personally. He wraps up 1 Peter 4 with, “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” When we suffer (meaning when we have to endure a tough, temporary trial), it is always within the WILL OF GOD that we are tested. God’s will is that “All should come to repentance and be saved.” God is not willing that ANY should perish. To that end, His will….His PLAN…is to have YOUR TRIAL become a witness to others about His love. God wants YOUR TRIAL and mine to come out GOOD, and he promises it will….but much pain is felt while we have to go through the trial. It hurts. It makes us feel uneasy…stressed….fearful. I have learned to TRUST GOD to the point where I do not fear what man or Satan can do to me anymore. I thank God for all of my trials so far…and there will be more to come as I live out my life. Persecution of Christians is coming, folks. God is setting out to make each child of His much stronger. You shall be witnesses of him to all those close to you…as time unfolds. You are seeing things happen in your country and in your world that have never happened before....You feel "Something is wrong in the air". Satan is attacking Christians more now than at almost any time in history….short of the time of Christ itself when Stephen was dragged out and stoned in the street. You will probably see major persecutions coming. I don’t believe you will see the actual demise of those who refuse to take the mark (an imbedded microchip that allows people to buy or sell food in the near future) because Christians will be gone….caught up in the air to meet and forever be with the Lord…BEFORE all of the worst of the worst unfolds. That said, let me go back to NOW….to YOUR TRIAL. James, the brother of Jesus…who knew his physical brother best, said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” God needs to mature us - especially in these days. Therefore, consider our time of testing PURE JOY because God has chosen YOU and me to do a job that lies ahead of us…and we need to become mature. This means that we are to become more like Jesus as a result of our trials. Some turn bitter when a trial even begins. It’s too much for them to endure…so they think. That would make God a liar then, because He told us is 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “I will not give you a trial that you cannot endure.” So, if you start a trial…consider, please consider, that God Himself is working with you. Do you know how special that should make you feel? Do you know that, if you are a born-again believer (notice I did not say a Christian – because today, so many people that are non-Jewish call themselves a Christian), you are a person selected from many others who God feels He can work with to accomplish his plan? You are handpicked, my friend, by God almighty….to do something for Him. Why would you not want to do it? I’ve said this in other articles, but it bears repeating: God brings us into a trial…then he stops the trial at some point, and begins to restore things that He has allowed to be taken away from us (to gain our undivided attention), and then He blesses us (third phase of a trial) when we get all the way through it. The end result of OUR TRIAL is seen in something that King David…whom the Lord Jehovah loved….and this is part of my own personal testimony that what David said happened to him…will also happen to you. David said this in Psalm 40 –“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.” The first thing David says to YOU and to me is that He waited patiently. Are YOU patiently waiting for God to show you the end of His plan? Do you trust Him? Then, said David, and I say it, also - “ God lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” God always makes good on His promises to lift YOU and me out of our slimy pit – our problem - and sets us back on solid ground where we can be stable….our feet firmly planted on the Rock. Do you know the Rock? So far, David (and I) acknowledge that God will put us into and let us go through…all the way through…a time of testing…for our benefit, and for the benefit of those who witness our trials. He will then RESTORE US (see the 23rd Psalm…”He restoreth my soul”) and He will hear us. God hears YOUR prayers and mine. He will then lift us out of that problem situation and set our feet back on solid ground so we can once again walk with Him on the straight and narrow path that He has set before us. Finally, God gives us – YOU and me…another great promise of victory over our trial. David said, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God….and MANY will see this blessing that comes our way, and they will fear (reverence) God and put their trust in Him.” Isn’t that really what you want to happen in your life? Do you NOT want to see others close to you come into the family of God If God chooses to use you in a time of testing…for the specific benefit of winning even one more should that you know into the kingdom of heaven…isn’t it worth it? I say it is worth it. My time of testing lasted 16 months before phase two (RESTORATION) began. I’m still in the BLESSING phase because you are reading this and these articles…and my new web site at www.ChristianDailyBread.com is bringing encouragement to my brothers and sisters in Christ. They bring messages of hope to many. In some cases….like putting headlines together with Scripture, my articles bring a bit of fear to others. These times ought to bring some fear to us because we are concentrating on many things besides Jesus and eternal things. Some of us go to church...we bring our BIG Bibles with us, we listen to the music and complain about some of it, then we want to be entertained by the preacher, rather than go with the idea of thinking about who the object of our worship is. It's God's house...not our house, and that is the place where we need to concentrate on Christ...and on others. Nuff said. Last week, my niece and her friend said, “Uncle John…we snuck up to your website and read all about what’s going on in the world today, and we want you to know that we are getting closer to God now….we don’t want to continue doing some of the things we were doing…in case!” I consider it a privilege and pleasure to report that sometimes, articles about the near future…given the political situation these days in the world, may make people change their way of dealing with life…and dealing with God. We will all SOON come to the realization that the time is VERY SHORT for Christians to get their act together and start uniting toward the single goal of defeating Satan and bringing our loved ones closer to God – before it is too late. Be sure to visit with us at our primary website at www.OurDailyBread.com for daily devotionals, articles, audio messages, some Christian music videos…and great books by this author…books that people need if they want to know how to get into heaven and what it looks like…or if they want details about what’s going on in the world today relative to Bible prophecy. You might want to see a YOUTUBE video about some of that …and see if there are too many “coincidences” today.
ALL TRIALS (TIMES OF TESTING) ARE GREAT BECAUSE THEY ARE FROM GOD, AND GOD LOVES US ENOUGH TO WANT TO TRAIN US THROUGH HIS TIMES OF TESTING - TO MAKE US STRONGER AND HAPPIER - AND USEFUL TO HIM. HE IS WHO WE SERVE ONCE WE ASKED HIM TO SAVE US FROM THAT TERRIBLE LAKE OF FIRE.
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John Tyler, Author of nine books.
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