Are You Joyful When You Face Trials?

I know I don’t always feel joyful when I’m facing trials.  In fact, I very rarely do.  When I’m facing trials I usually feel confused and frustrated. However, I try to always remind myself that God is in control and it will work out for my good. That’s hard to always remember though. I usually spend a lot of time trying to figure out what God wants me to learn.  I guess I can relax and be confident that I will learn it one way or another and I should not really worry too much about it.  I’ve asked God to show me the areas where I need to grow, and when you ask Him to do that…..he always does.  So, I know he is working on me and I will eventually learn whatever it is he wants me to learn. If I trust him and cooperate it will probably go a lot faster.  Not easier.  Just faster.

James 1:2-5 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”

Based on this verse we should find joy in our trials because those are the times God is really working on us, and once we make it through the trial we will be better for it.  When we focus on where we will be on the other end of the trial that does make the trial seem better.  I am going to have to work on actually being joyful during trials, but when I read this verse it does help me see it much differently.  God is working on me and making me more like Him.  That is definitely something to be excited about.

Advertisements

“Forgiven” by Sanctus Real

I love this song.  It’s one of the most played songs on Christian radio right now, but it has a great sound and an even better message.  Here is the official video…

I love how they use books stacked to show that sometimes a lot is already written about our past, but once the girl in the video realizes she is forgiven, she finds a book with blank pages.  A fresh start. What a great feeling.  Then the man is watching old videos of his past life, and then he puts in the last video and it is erased.  A clean slate.

Here are the LYRICS ( I bolded my favorite lines):

Well the past is playing with my head
And failure knocks me down again
I’m reminded of the wrong
That I have said and done
And that devil just wont let me forget

In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am

[chorus]
I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been

Cause I’m forgiven

My mistakes are running through my mind
And I’ll relive my days, in the middle of the night
When I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride
Sometimes I feel alone, and I cry

In this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am

[back to chorus]

When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere
When I don’t measure up to much in this life
Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ ‘cause

[back to chorus]

Resting

We are commanded to rest.  Even God rested on the 7th day.  Now, granted He worked miracles for those first 6 days, but even He needed rest on the 7th day.  We all need it.  We need it daily (at night), weekly (on Sundays) and once a year for a few days.  I just took a few days “off” and rested.  I traveled along with my husband on a business trip.  He was pretty busy with a conference and with work, but I was able to really relax.  I had no agendas, no to-do’s, no schedules, no laundry, no meals to cook, no dogs to walk, and no kids to care for.   Of course I missed the kids and pets, but nonetheless it was really nice to just relax and not have anything really to be concerned with for a few days.  What a gift!

I am so thankful that I was able to spend this time resting.  It gave me a lot of time to clear my mind and think about things I never really have time to think about.  I’ve set some personal goals and I talked to God a lot about what He has in store for me.  I’m going to work on the “next things” that I think need to be accomplished and go from there.

I feel refreshed, renewed and ready to go.  I have a big week next week.  I am volunteering at VBS at our church and I will be in charge of some 2nd graders (which is the area where my daughter will be).  It will be fun, but I’ll be able to handle it so much better now that I have had rest!

Please take time to make sure you are getting enough rest in your life.  Relaxing and resting is so important! 

1.  Daily.  Be sure to rest enough each day and have time to yourself.
2.  Weekly.  Try to finish all your to-do’s during the week and on Saturday.  Save Sunday for some rest and relaxation with your family.  (and of course worship)
3.  Yearly (or more if possible).  Plan some down time for at least 4-5 days.  Try to plan a trip somewhere.  It does not have to be far away or expensive.  Just somewhere that takes you away from your regular busy life and forces you to rest!

You will feel so much better and be so much more productive.  Remember, if God rested then I think it’s safe to assume we need rest even more!

Love God, Serve Others, Live Simply

I work in the bookstore at our church once every few weeks and this past Sunday they had received in some new merchandise.  This one plaque in particular struck me when I saw it hanging on the wall.  “Love God, Serve Others, Live Simply”.  I love that.  If I focus on those three things, my life will become more in tune with God and what He has planned for me.  The two greatest commandments are to “love God with all your heart, soul and mind” and “to love others as yourself”.  The first one is covered and serving others is definitely loving them as yourself.  Living simply is what Jesus demonstrated for us.  He lived with very little belongings, if any, and was attached to nothing other than loving and communicating with God and serving others.  Shouldn’t I live my life the same way?

1.  Love God. This is obviously the most important thing we will ever do in our lives.  Without God as my focus my life would be nothing, literally.  I’ve tried living without God, and trust me it’s so much more fulfilling when you have a relationship with the One who created you.  No one on Earth knows you better or will always be there like He will.  He is what fills me up inside, nothing else in this world can do that.  Nothing.   When I love God with all my heart, soul and mind I have no room for sins that bring me down.  I don’t have time to focus on anything that could ultimately lead to self-destruction.  I focus above and all things below seem manageable.  Nothing can come second to God.

2.  Serve Others.  Serving others keeps me from focusing on myself.  Focusing on me gets me nowhere and that is not where God ever intended my focus to be.  He wants me out serving others, helping those that are in situations I have been in and can help with.  For me in particular, I know He wants me helping young women make the right choices in life.  He wants me to use my past experiences to help those who are just beginning their adult lives.  I’m just working all that out now and how it will come to be, but that is what God has put a fire in my heart for.  Helping young women with the choices in their lives.

3.  Live Simply. This is something I’ve really been working on this year.  Living with less.  Less attachments, less stress, less commitments, and less clutter.  We need so much less than we think we do.  We should be too busy with our relationships to worry about stuff or be bogged down by it.    Who has time to be tied down to “stuff” when you are busy loving God and serving others all the time?