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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Trials and Tribulations

Dear beloved:  Many of you are undergoing trials and tribulations, and you may be wondering, is there any relief to the trials that I am facing?  The intensity of the trials will become greater as we move into the time of sorrows, or birth pangs that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:8.  And just as birth pangs grow more intense as they grow closer together, so too will the pangs we experience grow more intense; there is a birthing coming, a new heaven and a new earth, and all creation, including each of us as individuals, experience the groaning of the new birth.  The apostle Paul tells of this coming birth in Acts 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. v21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  v22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. v23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit (those born again), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

So what then is the solution to the trials, how can we find relief in the midst of the darkness that is swirling around us?` The divine wisdom of James, the half brother of Jesus, is given to us to help strengthen and encourage us in the face of various trials and tribulations.  He says in James 1:2, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various temptations`(trials), v3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. v4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. So what he is saying is the exact opposite of the way we usually react to trials, which is often times  to complain, grumble, and shake our fist at God for allowing all this temptation and difficulty to come into our life and upset the calm water.  But James says do this: "Count it all joy!"  Not an easy assignment, but a radical shift away from the the mindset we have that life should be placid and easily encountered, especially after we have become Christians.  In fact, the opposite is true: we are marked for destruction by Satan, and he delights in trying to destroy us and separate us from fellowship with our Creator.

James says that when you persevere you will be perfect, not in the sense of sinless, but complete and made whole in the name of Jesus.  So the testing of our faith eventually leads to wholeness, restoration, and the coming  full circle where we can be joyful and thankful for every difficulty, knowing that we are maturing and growing in our kingdom walk.  And because of this perseverance we will be lacking in nothing.  God is for us, He wants us to be lacking in nothing, and so in His infinite wisdom He allows the trials so we will not be lacking, that we will continue to grow and mature.  Isn't that what we want, to grow stronger in our faith walk with the Lord?  So give God the thanks today that He is allowing trials to come into your life, and that because of that you will have the perfect result and be lacking in nothing.  God forward believing you are being made whole!  May God bless you as you pray today.  in Christ, Jim

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