Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Personal Bible Study ~ Joy In Times of Trouble ~ Part Two

Welcome back!

Yesterday we discussed James 1:2-3 and how we are to have joy in times of trouble. (If you happened to have missed it, you can read it here). Today we will be looking into some Practical Applications for every day life.

Part Two

As a homeschooling mom, some days can be a blessed breeze. The kids do all their work, don't put up much fuss in the process and are actually eager to learn! To top it off even the younger ones (who are yet doing "schoolwork") actually play quietly and things go remarkably smooth! Ahhh, what a great blessing for a homeschooling mother.  BUT...

Sadly, most days do not go as smoothly. Fights and arguments ensue, bickering starts because "He/She won't be quiet so I can concentrate!" "He keeps staring at me!" "Get Colby off the table!" *loud crying* "He took my crayon!!!" All the while the younger ones often interrupt or try to snatch pencils away...I could go on and on...and on. But I won't.  

My point here is that, troubles (trials) happen. Not everything in every day will go smoothly or as we planned or hoped. Sickness, unexpected emergencies, appointments, etc. can all put a dent in your day. You see, God's plans and ways are higher than ours. Isaiah 55:8-9 says "The LORD says, 'My thoughts are not your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" What a comforting thought!!! To know that God is in control of the circumstances, no matter the size of them, and to know that He already has a plan in store for us! (Jeremiah 29:11)  Even in the seemingly mundane every day tasks that we as wives and mothers must do in order for our homes to run effectively...God knows, and already has a plan set in place for you that day and will see you through. 

"The ways of God are without fault. The LORD's words are pure. He is a shield to those who trust him." Psalm 18:30

What can we do when we face troubles of any kind? Call out to God! He wants and craves for us to rely on Him and He will answer us and never forsake us. Prayer is a very powerful thing!

"In my trouble I called to the LORD. I cried out to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my call for help reached his ears." Psalm 18:6

"The LORD won't leave his people nor give up his children." Psalm 94:14

In the midst of the troubles we are faced with, James reminds us to be "full of joy" through it all. Yes, it seems some days as though I simply won't make it until bedtime! (Who's with me here??) There are days when a woman can get to a point of "throwing her hands up" in defeat. Ohh, but dear sisters, we can't, for we are to be full of joy, which means we know, ultimately, who is in control of it all. Isaiah 55:11-12 says "The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do. 'So you will go out with joy and be led out in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees in the fields will clap their hands.'"

We most definitely aren't happy about our troubles, but we can rest assured the outcome will be to the glory of God. Remember this...It will further our growth in Him and our walk with Him. This can not be accomplished by our own strengths, however. It can only be attained if we submit ourselves to the will of God and ask Him for strength (that only He can give) daily...sometimes even hourly!

"Now we hope for the blessings God has for his children. These blessings, which cannot be destroyed or be spoiled or lose their beauty, are kept in heaven for you. God’s power protects you through your faith until salvation is shown to you at the end of time.  This makes you very happy, even though now for a short time different kinds of troubles may make you sad." 1 Peter 1:4-6

Sometimes we sit and wonder, "Why, God? Why all the problems; why all at once?!?" Ever been there? Sure, it would seem safe to say that almost all of us have at one time or another. Deep down we know there is a good and valid reason, and yes, God has the answer. We know God knows all about it. The key, though, is to acknowledge God, pray to Him, reverence Him and lean on Him. "Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times." Romans 12:12

The ultimate answer for the trials in life are to purify our faith; to weaken us for a short time, so that in the end, we become stronger, by relying on Him more fully. 1 Peter 1:7-8 says "These troubles come to prove that your faith is pure. This purity of faith is worth more than gold, which can be proved to be pure by fire but will ruin. But the purity of your faith will bring you praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is shown to you.  You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory."

Let's look at silver for example. One method of purifying it (to remove impurities) is by fire. We can liken this process to the troubles we face. The intense "heat" of problems brings us (or at least, *should* bring us) to our knees. We should cry out to God in the midst of the intensity for His healing and grace. This is where the refining takes place. Our sinful, ugly impurities are "melted" away and once the refining process is finished, the result is a renewed and beautiful spirit. One which gleams with the glory of Christ.

Our faith is tested during this time, which is part of the process, but it isn't for nothing. Our faith being tested will produce patience.  "because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience." James 1:3

We will finish up tomorrow discussing further how patience is produced from trials and what we can do with what we learn from enduring hard times. Hope to see you back tomorrow!

May God richly bless you!


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