Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘trials

2 Corinthians 11:16-23

apostle paulPaul had many trials, hardships, faced death, was beaten and persecuted but these things did not discourage him.  He delighted to do the Lord’s work.  Like David, he could claim, “The Lord is my Helper.  The Lord is the One who keeps me alive.”

God was with him throughout all these stormy times, helping and encouraging him–providing him with the strength he needed to overcome.  God can do the same for us.  He is our Shelter in times for storm.

We can gain courage from Paul’s experiences.  He travelled a lot, sometimes to inhospitable regions, in storms.  Life was hard for him.  Travelling then was hard–not at all like now with all of its conveniences.  Paul did not allow these hardships to hinder him from his work.  He was able to finish the race and one day he will receive his crown.

Let this be our goal–serve God in spite of opposition, keeping our eyes on the prize–eternal life with our Lord–finishing the race and one day receiving our crowns.  We want to hear our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant;  Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21).

Advertisements

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:  Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor – Luke 6:12-16

MH900409444When it comes to making big decisions what do you do?  Do you call a friend?  Do you struggle to make a decision?  Do you put off making a decision?  Or do you seek God in prayer?  Before choosing the twelve disciples whom He also named apostles, Jesus sought His Father in prayer and spent all night communing with Him. He had a big decision to make and needed wisdom and guidance.  He was setting an example for us.  When faced with big decisions or life changing situations, we need to go straight to the Source of all wisdom and knowledge.  He knows the beginning and the end and He knows what is best for us.

Prayer is extremely important.  It is our best option when faced with tough choices or trials or problems or challenges.  When Solomon was faced with the daunting task of ruling God’s people after his father died, he sought God in prayer.  It was a beautiful prayer and it even pleased God.  “Now, O LORD God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.  Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:9, 10).  Solomon was young and wanted to be an able leader for the people but he knew that he couldn’t do this without God’s help so he appealed to Him to give him the tools he needed to be an effective leader–wisdom and knowledge.

Prayer is our connection to God who cares about us and is ready to provide whatever we ask for.  Jesus encouraged persistent prayer.  He encouraged us to pray in faith, believing that what we ask for we will receive.  Instead of worrying, Paul advises us “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).  Many times I have been overwhelmed by something going on in my life and I turned to God in prayer. In the midst of my anguish, I feel God’s peace come over me, calming me, assuring me that He will get me through this.

Seek God in prayer daily.  Daniel prayed three times a day.  You can pray anywhere and anytime.  As you are sitting on the train on your way to work, you can pray.  As you fix breakfast, you can give God thanks and ask Him to help you get through your day.  You can pray as you walk to the bus-stop or the office.  That’s the beautiful thing about prayer, it is not limited by time or place.  And God is always there, just waiting to hear from you.

Prayer is a privilege we should never take for granted and should always take advantage of.  Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross has made it possible for us to have easy access to God through prayer.  Thanks to Him, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away – 1 Corinthians 13:8

god_is_with_you__by_1illustratinglady-d4wedzmGod’s love never fails.  You can always count on it to see you through any trials or tribulations.  When Joseph was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into jail. God was with him.  He granted Joseph favor with the chief jailer.  Not long after Joseph was put in charge of all the other prisoners and everything that concerned the prison.  The Lord was with him, making everything run smoothly and successfully.

Leah was married to Jacob but he loved her younger sister, Rachel and because Leah was unloved, God allowed her to have children while Rachel was barren.  Leah named her firstborn son, Reuben because “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me” (Genesis 29:31, 32).

God’s love is unfailing .  It is what sustains us when we are hurting, wronged or disappointed.  It is what brings us hope in the midst of despair and joy during sad times.  We will always have God’s love.  It is everlasting.

 

Jesus Is My Rock“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

When we build our houses, we want to make sure they are on solid ground.  This is how it should be when it comes to our personal lives.  We should build on the Rock who is Jesus.  He is our foundation.  When we build our lives on Him and His teachings, we will not have the ground pulled under our feet.  Although troubles and trials will come our way, they will not overwhelm us because we have placed our lives in the hands of Jesus.  He is the Rock we cling to when the tribulations and problems assail us.  He is the One who keeps us from being swept away by the waves.  Like floods, troubles will come but we won’t fall because we have built our lives on the Rock.  Whenever you face troubles, cling to the promises of Jesus.  Remember His words and they will help you to hold on and not fall.  Though the winds of adversity may blow and beat on you, you will not crumble because solid is the Rock upon whom you stand.

Matthew 7:24-29

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

To keep us from tooting our own horns, God allows or causes adversity in our lives.  As Paul points out, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)  This was to keep Paul in line and make him realise that God is in control.  God wanted him to continue to grow spiritually and to emerge from these trials a stronger person. 

Without trials and adversities a person will have no need for God or will more likely boast about his accomplishments instead of giving credit where credit is due—God.  When Paul asked God to remove the trial (thorn) from him, God’s reply was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God’s reply opened Paul’s eyes to the value hidden in his adversities.  He realised that God was teaching him that it was during hardships, persecutions and difficulties that God is able to show His power.  When the Israelites were oppressed in Egypt, God delivered them through Moses.  Moses had his weaknesses.  He did not have confidence in himself and did not believe that he could do what God asked him to do.  He had many excuses—he was not eloquent, Pharaoh would not listen to him.  He didn’t think he was worthy of such a mission.  He didn’t trust that God knew what He was doing.  Moses wanted God to send someone else.  God insisted on him delivering the Israelites with Aaron’s help.

Moses faced many difficulties.  After he spoke to Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler ordered that the Israelites gather their own straws for making bricks and still produce the full quota.  They said to Moses and Aaron, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you.  You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:21) 

Moses then asked God why He brought trouble on the people and if that was why He sent him—to make things worse.  God promised deliverance and told Moses what to say to the Israelites but they were discouraged because of their situation.  They did not listen to Moses. (Exodus 5:22, 23, 6:1-11)  Moses lost heart and doubted that Pharaoh would listen to him. (Exodus 6:12)  God convinced him to do as He asked.

Pharaoh let the Israelites go but Moses problems were far from over.  When they were in the desert, the people grumbled against Moses, were disobedient, and were attacked by other nations and the people made a golden calf to worship.  But God saw to it that His people were taken care of and He used Moses to do this.

Moses’ faith in God became steadfast because He delivered His people fromEgyptand sustained them in their journey and took them to the Promised Land.  Moses was able to speak to Pharaoh, show him God’s power and he taught the laws to the people.  The people mourned Moses’ death.  It is said that since then, there was no prophet like Moses whom the Lord knew face to face who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt-—to Pharaoh and all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of allIsrael. (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

Had Moses been an eloquent speaker, he probably would have tried to appeal to Pharaoh on his own or taken the credit when the Israelites were delivered.  He probably would not have relied on God.  Just like Paul.  If everything continued to go well without any obstacles, he wouldn’t have had any need for God.  He would have felt that he could preach and reach the people on his own.  Paul realised that in his weakness he was stronger because he depended on God who gave him His strength and His grace.  God gave him everything he needed to continue in the face of adversity.

God gave Moses the encouragement, the strength, the words and the necessary tools to carry out His plan.  But, Moses allowed anger to get in the way and he did something on his own.  He struck the rock with the staff instead of speaking to it as God had instructed.  As a result he angered God and was not allowed to go to the Promised Land.  Instead of trusting God, relying on Him, obeying Him, Moses did his own thing.  He did not allow the people to see what God could do in impossible situations.  He did not glorify God.  He allowed his ego to get in the way.  He wanted to show the people what he could do because they were grumbling against him and God.

When we allow our egos or emotions to get the better of us and we move away from the will of God, the consequences are great.  David is another example.  He wanted Bathsheba and probably felt he had the right because he was the king.  He tried to manipulate Uriah so that he could pass off his unborn child on him.  When that didn’t work, he had him killed.  If David had gone to war instead of remaining in Jerusalem, he would not have indulged in a sin that would bring death and destruction to his family or incurred God’s wrath.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

First, what does abide mean?  According to Strong’s Concordance, it means not to depart; to be held, kept, continually.  Jesus tells us that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, then whatever we ask it shall be done.  We cannot depart from Jesus or His words.  He mentioned earlier that He was the Vine and that we are the branches.  Without Him we cannot bear fruit.  We have to remain connected to Him and His word in order to bear fruit. This is the same as building our foundation.  We cannot build on anything else but Jesus.  He is the Rock.  When we abide in His word it is the same as the man who built his house on the rock instead of the sand so that when the rains came, his house stood.

If we want to continue to be fruitful we must continue to have a connection (relationship) with Jesus.  He sustains us.  We draw our sustenance from Him.

So, Jesus is the Vine.  God is the Vinedresser.  And we are the branches.  God casts away the branches that are bearing no fruit because they were not properly abiding in the Vine.  This reminds me of the seed that fell by the wayside; on the stony places; among the thorns.  The seed is the word of God and those who hear it but have the word taken out of their hearts lest they should believe and be saved or those who believe for a while but fall away when faced with trials and temptations because they have no root or those who allow the cares of the world to get the better of them will not bear no fruit.  These are the branches that God will take away.  The branches which bear fruit are like the good soil on which the seed fell and yielded a good crop.  These are people who hear the word of God and  with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).

Jesus wants us to be doers of the word not just hearers.  None of us want to hear Him say to us, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”  It is the same as those who claim to do all sorts of things in His name but He told them that He never knew them because they did not do the will of the Father.  Not everyone who calls Him Lord will inherit the kingdom.  These are they who are not abiding in Jesus.  In order to abide in Jesus you have to do the will of the Father.  We have to bear good fruit.  Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor [can] a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  “Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:18-20).  The branches that don’t bear good fruit will be cast into the fire (John 15:6).

Those who abide in Jesus and in His word will bear nothing but good fruit.  What fruit?  The fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23).  When we abide in Jesus, whatever we ask we will receive because we ask is in accordance with His will.  And when we bear good fruit, we bring glory and honor to God.  Jesus made it clear that our good works are for the purpose of glorifying God, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

And when we bear good fruits we show that we are Jesus’ disciples.  Our fruits show that we  enjoy a close and loving relationship with Jesus.  Our fruits are evidence that we follow the teachings of Jesus–we are hearers and doers of His sayings.  When people look at us they should see Christ reflected in us.  It is like when Jesus was here on earth.  When people saw Him, they saw the Father.  When people look at us they ought to see Christ in us.  If Jesus abides in us and we in Him and His word, our actions (lives) will reflect this.  We will have no trouble bearing good fruit or shining our light so that our Father in heaven will be glorified.

It is true.  Whoever abides in Jesus and Jesus in that person, he or she will bear much fruit. Look at the great things the disciples did after Jesus returned to His Father.  They preached the Gospel boldly in the face of persecution, imprisonment and death.  On the day Peter preached after receiving the Holy Spirit, those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.  God added to the church as they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,  praising God and having favor with all the people (Acts 2:47).  Churches were planted in different parts of the world.  Gentiles received Christ and were baptized into the faith.  Paul who once persecuted the followers of Christ, became a champion of the faith.  Once he abided in Christ and Christ abided in him, he became the bearer of good fruit.  And that is why he was able to say with faith and conviction, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).

Today, make it your purpose to abide in Jesus.  Continue in His word.  Act upon His teachings.  Follow His example.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you.  Allow God to trim away the areas in your life that are preventing you from bearing more fruit to His glory.  Cling to the Vine because without Him you can do nothing.



  • jesusfootprints: Hi there, I finally got around to checking out your website. I read about how the ministry was started. And I checked out your section on the Sabb
  • Melissa: This is cryatsl clear. Thanks for taking the time!
  • blowjob: Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I've truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I'll be subs

Categories

%d bloggers like this: