Archive for god’s not done

How To Benefit From Trials

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 3, 2021 by andelino

God’s Not Done: 3 Ways to Benefit from Trials
by Shane Idleman

I’m very hopeful in God during this crisis, but I’m also very aware of what lies ahead. As I said in a recent article, “We are facing uncertain times.”

Within days, our entire way of life in America changed drastically. The pandemic has given most of us a new perspective about what is really important to us. God is giving us a chance to stop, take a breath, and focus on prayer.

“Discouragement is Satan’s tool to keep people in bondage, but it’s also God’s magnet to draw them to Himself.” For example, a sermon preached on this theme had over 125,000 views on our media outlet.

I don’t say this to elevate anyone, but to show the power of God even in the midst of trials, and to demonstrate how hungry people are for the truth.

First, I was sensing a powerful move of God all week, like I was carrying a heavy burden. Second, the internet and phones were down all day so we began filming anyway. Then, a few minutes into the service, the Live-stream miraculously came on. Third, after the service, my 10 year old prayed that God would get the message out to America (that was her only prayer). Fourth, some outlets have been trying to limit exposure by readjusting algorithms and denying promotion. In short . . . God wasn’t done. Who can stop God almighty? covid

The key to being used by God is to follow the advice of James, Jesus’s half-brother and one of the leaders of the early church. Here are three takeaways from the opening few verses in James.

  1. ALLOW THE TRIAL TO BREAK YOU. James, in his letter to believers, said he was “a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:1). In other words, he was bound to do God’s will. The first step in benefiting during these difficult times is to crucify the flesh; selfishness must die. If I saw families broken, parents fasting, and kids weeping over their sin, I would be encouraged, but right now I see a lot of selfishness, hoarding, and contention. Allow this trial to break you—push out pride and replace it with humility. In the Bible, the refiner’s fire and the furnace of affliction were good things because they removed the impurities. As the old-time preachers used to say, “God often hurts a man deeply before He uses him greatly.” Are you ready to be used? Then humble yourself today.
  1. MAKE AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. James added, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (1:2-3) This is much easier said than done. As I’m writing this, we’re going into the second week of the “Safer-At-Home” policy, and I wish I could say that I have handled this perfectly. Though I have stumbled, I continue to make attitude adjustments in my heart to be thankful and full of joy for the blessings I do have. To “count it all joy” means that we must take our thoughts captive. Trials produce either bitterness or love, anger or joy, fear or contentment—the choice really is ours. My prayer has been, “Lord, I don’t like this or understand it, but I’m fully trusting in You.” This simple prayer gets me back on track, as joy once again fills my heart. Saturate your mind in God’s Word rather than the media, for what you put in your mind greatly affects your attitude.
  1. STAY UNDER THE LOAD. James then adds, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (1:4). Perfect here means full, satisfied, and complete. Patience is “active endurance”; it means staying under a heavy load until it accomplishes its purpose. We must “let” the burden remain until it accomplishes its goal. We are not to run in fear but to carry the load. In short, God often says, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17). In the same way that squats in the gym strengthen leg muscles, the pressure of trials strengthens our faith. Weak Christians complain, blame-shift, and run from the weight. As a result, they never grow spiritually, whereas mature believers have learned to carry the weight of trials as God builds and strengthens.

In closing, we don’t know what’s going to happen with COVID-19, but let God build you up rather than allowing the “negative Nellie’s” to pull you down. Don’t let them cloud your judgment with doomsday prophecies and worst-case scenarios. How do we know that God is not breaking us down to build us up? Nowhere in the Bible are we encouraged to let conspiracy theories and doom and gloom flood us with fear. It appears that more people are afraid of the Illuminati and the New World Order than they are of God almighty! The Bible tells us to do business and to fight with prayer, fasting, worship, and the Word until He returns. We are to cast down fear, not embrace it.

Trials also bring the prodigal sons and daughters home. If this is you, stop running from God—embrace this wake-up call and turn back to Him. Repent of your apathy and come back to the Cross, to repentance. If you don’t know God, take time now and repent of your sin and ask Jesus to save you. A terrible trial can be turned into a triumphant victory if you are open and teachable. 

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