Trials and Blessings

How ya doing today? How is your week going so far?

I hope good, but if you are like most of us, there are times of trial and worry and work and fret. Things that are tough to deal with. Things that are tough to understand. Things we don’t want to deal with.

What are we to do? How are we to deal? If we are looking down the barrel of a tough week, a trying time, a moment of fear and worry and stress, what are we to do?

Give up? Quit? Stop?

Listen to what James 1:2-4 tells us to do this morning:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We are told to count our trials as a joy. That’s nearly impossible to do, to me. I don’t like my trials. I don’t like dealing with them. I wish they would go away. I wish they weren’t a reality in my life.

So, why should these trials be counted as joy? Why should I value them? Why should they be seen as good things?

Because they make us turn to Jesus. They make us turn closer to God. They make us reply on His strength, not ours. On His power, not ours. On Him. Not us.

Today, no matter what you are facing, allow it to turn you to God, not away from God. Allow it to draw you closer to Him, to His mercy, to His grace, to His power.

Allow it to be something that will bind you closer to God.

And then, it’s a blessing. Today, count these trials as a joy. They can, if we allow, draw us closer to God.

May everything in our lives today be a chance for us to get closer to God!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

The Blessings of Struggles

No one like struggles. No one likes trials. We just don’t. They aren’t run. They aren’t a joy. They aren’t things that we like.

Whether it be tragedy, whether it be a an issue in family or relationships, whether it be something in your job, something in your church, none of like what CS Lewis called “the problem of pain.”

But, there are blessings in struggles. There are blessings in trials. There are. We may not see them at the time of these struggles. But there are things that can bless us, no matter what the trial may be.

What? What could that be?

Listen to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 today:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

The blessings of struggles are this. First, when we struggle, when we are low, when we are beaten down, God comforts us.

At our lowest moment, God’s grace is the greatest in our lives. At our weakest time and place, God is most there. When we are most downcast, heartbroken, distraught, depresses, ashamed, angry, embarrassed, whatever.

It is that moment that God most wants to give you comfort.

Today, God longs to comfort you. No matter what you are going through, God longs to give you comfort. He longs to console you. He longs to wrap you in His arms.

Let Him. He is there. Even if you can’t feel it. He is there. He will not leave you. No matter what is going on in your life today. He will not leave you.

Paul tell us though, that are are other blessing in our struggles. Because of our struggles, we can console others. We can tell those that are hurting that we have been there. They are not alone. We understand. We know.

God will you use the pain in your life right now, to be a blessing to someone else.

He will. That’s what He does.

If we can give that pain to Him, allow Him to have it, allow Him to give us grace, He will use that pain to help others.

That’s what He does. He redeems everything.

Today, no matter what you are going through, in time, God will use it for a blessing. Today, hold on. Hold fast. Cling to Him.

And know that in His time, He use it. Allow Him to comfort you today. And in time, you will be able to comfort others.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Thanksgiving

This morning, I was reading through an old devotional favorite of mine, a book called A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God.  It has within a scripture for the day, some suggested reading, and a guide for prayer.

And, as I was reading, it talked a lot about thanksgiving in prayer, and when it came time for the prayer, it said start off with thanking God for the blessing of your life.

So, I thanked God for my family. . . .

My church. . . . .

My friends. . . . .

My health. . . . .

And it hit me.  I can’t remember the last time I actually did that.  That I actually stopped in my prayer time and thanked God for these things.

Now, I pray for my family all the time. I pray for church all the time. I pray for my friends all the time.

But, I don’t thank God for them enough. I am not thankful enough for what God has given me.

We can get so busy with good things, we can forget to be thankful.  We can get so busy focusing on what should be or needs to be, we can forget to thank God for is.

May the words of Paul in Philippians 1:3 ring true to us today:

I thank my God every time I remember you

Today, what are you thankful for?  What are your blessings? Where has God blessed you this day?

Today, as you go throughout your day, may you take time to stop, every so often and thank God.

Thank Him for the blessings of your life, thank Him for the goodness He has given you.

May we take time today to thank our God.