Friday, August 28, 2009

When We Face Hardships

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
when you face trials of many kinds,
because the testing of your faith develops
perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work
so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4

This passage always puzzled me. I couldn't understand how we could think of trials and hardships as anything good. One day in church, I realized I needed to focus on the latter part of the thought rather than the first.

James tells us we will have trials and troubles. There are many reasons for trials. We live in a fallen world. Our bodies wear out. Disobedience, not necessarily ours, can play a role in the picture.

But, there is good news in middle of the passage, “the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” Perseverance is one of the qualities involved in our spiritual growth. Peter tells us in his second letter to, “add to. . . faith goodness;to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge self-control; and to self control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Having these qualities in our hearts keeps us from being ineffective and unproductive. As we work for the Lord, we should strive to develop them

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Armor of God V

“Take the helmet of salvation
and the sword of the Spirit which
is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

In today's world, a bicycle rider wears helmet as a safety precaution. The head gear protects the skull in event of a nasty fall.

Our salvation keeps us from sin and from the falling into the ways of the world. Even if we slip into something that doesn't honor God, it is our relationship with Him that allows us to ask His forgiveness.

A sword is both a defensive and an offensive weapon. God's word can be a tool used to comfort (defensive) or to confront (offensive) its reader, based on his or her heart. We learn to use the word of God to guide us through times of uncertainty and to grant us comfort in times of grief. Inside its cover we find the way to salvation and sanctification.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Armor of God IV

In all things take faith as a shield
for with it you will be able to quench the
flaming darts of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

In Biblical times the soldiers carried shields that were oblong and protected most of their bodies. They were formed by two pieces of wood adhered together.

Faith–confidence in the testimony of God–leads, comforts and protects us as we walk through life. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Our faith gets tested as we face certain issues in life. As we go through the trial we learn to give things over to God daily. We grow in our spirituality.

Eventually, our tough time becomes part of our past and we are ‘different’ people. If we choose to exercise our faith and trust God, we become better people.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...