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Challenges as a gift?
by Jenny Smith
09/21/04
Not For Sale
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Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and
challenges come at you from all sides.
James 1:1 The Message

Strange words to us, a gift, in the form of tests and challenges. The writer of the book of James was Jesusí half-brother, who under the inspiration of God, penned those words. What kind of test and challenges were they facing in those days? Challenges like financial hardships, loss of homes, loss of life, and even being bullied for their beliefs. Sounds like challenges we face in todayís world too.

So why should we consider those things as a gift? Because if we are believers in Jesus, then God uses the hard things in the world to teach us maturity and to stretch our faith in Him. Life is really hard at times. For example, we must all face the death of a loved one eventually. Most of us face financial hardships at some point in our lives. We never know if the next hurricane or tornado is going to hit our homes. But with God on our side, we know He is right there with us, willing to walk through whatever comes our way - with us.
Giving us strength and wisdom, if we will ask.

Bullying has been going on since the beginning of creation, in some form or fashion. If you are being bullied, it may help you to know that Jesus was also bullied. They yelled at Him, chased Him out of town, made fun of Him and physically abused Him. Jesus can understand how you feel and help you to gain new strength and perspective.

You see, that is the place many times we fail. We donít go to God asking Him for strength and wisdom on how to handle the challenges in our lives. Sometimes, we miss God and think that He wants us to handle it on our own, but He doesnít. No matter our age, He considers all who believe in Him as His children. He wants us to come to Him for help and wisdom on how to deal with life. Never will He get angry because we need help, because it is when we are at the end of ourselves that we start looking to Him.

Whatever your challenges are this week, I encourage you to go to Jesus and ask Him for strength and wisdom. Listen for His still, quiet voice, and make up your mind to follow His advice over all the other advice you may get. He is the only one who knows all the ins and outs of your situation and He always has your best interest at heart. Therefore you can trust Him above all others to guide you and help you.

Once we start depending on God, we will be able to begin to look at our challenges in a new light. We will see them as a gift that will help us depend on God and mature so that we can in turn help others.

Jenny

(This was based on a study of James 1:1-12)

Consider it all a joy when you fall into various trials. James 1:1 King James Version

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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