There is no coincidence...only providence. God is sovereign and He loves me! What happens to me is for my good and for His glory!And I do believe that. I don't always feel that, but I believe it.
The ladies' retreat I attended this past weekend was on trials. We all have them. God says we'll have them....James 1:2 when you have trials. This reminded me of what my mom has told me. She became a Christian early in marriage (so did my dad). She said that when she did, everything seemed to go wrong. EVERYTHING. Ever feel that way? She was so discouraged that she wanted to quit Christianity. Ever felt like that? She didn't and she's a great witness to me now. She looks back and she knows that the enemy was trying to discourage her. She has a stronger faith as a result. That's the purpose of trials - to test and strengthen our faith. What we do with the trial is our choice. Do we choose to ignore God's hand in our lives and wander in the wilderness or do we choose to meet the trial head-on?
Debbie Dittrich was our speaker and she was fantastic! This woman has had some trials. She was open and honest and kind and funny and she wasn't afraid to say the TRUTH!
One story she told is a familiar one to many of us about the silversmith and refining silver. But she started a little further back. When mining precious metals, first the metals are picked out of the earth. Ever feel like you're being picked to death? Then the metal is sent down the hill where it is pulverized. Ever feel like you're being crushed? Then it is washed to remove as much dirt and such as possible. Once debris is removed, the silver is put into a pot and heated to a certain temperature. The dross floats to the top. The smith never leaves. He keeps scooping off the impurities. He knows the impurities are gone when he can see his reflection. I think that's a great analogy for trials.
She also reminded us of Christ in the garden at Gethsemane. He was under so much pressure that he was sweating blood. Our God knows what pressure is. He knows what it feels like. My God can relate to me. He was honest. In Matthew 26:38, He knew the trial that was coming and told Peter "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death." Be honest with God about how you feel. Jesus also asked for the pain to be removed. Matt 26:39 "...My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me..." It's okay to ask for the pain to be removed. But you can't stop there. The rest of what Jesus said is this, "yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." He gave up His will for God. He was willing to endure the pain if it were God's will because He knew that the pain would result in a magnificent glorification of God.
There was just so much more that touched me. Trials make us mature. Trials make us wise. Faith will be rewarded! Romans 4:18-5:5; Galatians 6:9; 2nd Corinthians 4:16-17; 1st Corinthians 15:57-58; 2nd Chronicles 20: 12, 15, 17, 20.
- Realize you will have trials - 1st Peter 4:12; 2nd Timothy 4:3-5; Acts 14:22
- Recognize your enemy - Ephesians 6:12; 1st Peter 5:8; 2nd Corinthians 11:3; Revelations 12:10; John 8:44; John 10:10; Ephesians 6:11; Matthew 4:3
- Resist your enemy by standing firm - 1st Peter 5:9 push back in word and deed
- Resist your enemy by taking up the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit - Ephesians 6:13-17. Jesus resisted temptations in the desert by speaking God's Word out loud.
- Run the race! Lay aside encumbrances. Hebrews 12:1; 1st Peter 5:7. Lay aside sin. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
A few other notes I took:
- Be in the strength of God John 15:5
- How does the enemy work in my life? Recognize it and BE AWARE!
- The enemy attacks with words designed to get me to doubt God.
- You won't recognize the lies if you don't know the TRUTH.
God bless :)