Originally posted July 2010. Edited April 2, 2014
For those who’ve read some recent posts, you’ve been reading how the Lord has been leading us through some trials. This is a continuation of sorts, but what God showed me the morning of July 3rd, 2010 has me in complete awe and wonder and His mercy & grace in our lives.
Years ago, I felt our lives as Christians were just too easy. I know that the Bible says:
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12
I kept feeling that I must be a failure as a Christian because we weren’t under persecution. We had gone through a hefty bout 13 years ago with attacks on our family and me personally, and an occasional upheaval through the years. They just seemed like nothing compared to what I saw other Christians going through. Don’t get me wrong! I really DO NOT relish going through persecution, but I felt that the Lord must think my faith is so weak, that I couldn’t handle much. These were feelings I was putting on myself. It was not the Lord’s doing.
What I was failing to see is that the Bible doesn’t say we will have persecution ALL the time, just that we will. I was also failing to see that, as the Potter, He was molding and shaping me/our family into what He wants for us in His timing, not ours.
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21
“But now, O Lord , thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8
As I go over our current trials, and yes, I will call them persecution as we are being attacked for Christ’s sake, I can see back through the years all the things I thought were so little, yet each and every one was meant to mold and shape us/me into Christians that could handle what we are going through now.
I’ll use an example from my husband’s (dh) work to try and get the point across. There have been many individuals at his work who have tried to cause him trouble over the years, but one by one, he has watched as they’ve come and gone, yet he is still there. One man in particular was so difficult to work with and untrustworthy that no one wanted to work with him. He took particular relish in attacking my husbad, yet my dh never went after him. Well, as I’ve heard many times, when a person’s testimony is good, fling all the mud you want, but it won’t stick! And it didnt’! God removed that man in His timing, not my dh’s. As dh and I discussed this and the mud-slinging on our family happening in another area of our lives, something dawned on me and I expressed it to him: “If you had not gone through all the attacks by “so and so” over the years, would you be able to handle what is happening now?” He said, “Probably not.”
That is when I truly began to see the bigger picture. God had been faithfully shaping and molding us through small but frequent, and bigger but less frequent trials throughout our entire lives. I just wasn’t seeing it! I could relay other instances, but I want God to get the glory here! He did it! Not us! God gave the grace! God gave the mercy & care to see us through so that He would get the deserved glory!
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18
What a wondrous God we serve! He counted us worthy to suffer for Him, and He has NEVER left us alone, and He has left us precious reminders for whe our hearts are lying to us and blinding us to His great purpose for our lives.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord , thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” Jeremiah 29:11
“Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.” Psalm 109:26
“A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23
What can I do but speak or sing of His mercy & grace!
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 89:1
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philippians 2:16
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:13
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
Let’s face it, one of the hardest things to do sometimes is to just “zip our lips.” How “satisfying it would be just to give so and so an “piece of our mind….”
In sermons, our Pastor says something to the effect of, “Don’t give away what you don’t have….” or “Keep what you have. There might not be much left.”
Holding my peace, as the Bible says, has been one of my greatest challenges, and I feel I have a long way to go, but the Lord has been so good to help me. The changes He has accomplished in me, and continues to work on, amaze me.
For some time now, I have been dealing with this area in a partular struggle in my life. The flesh wants to speak out, but the Spirit of God keeps saying no. This morning, I was reminded of the following verses:
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:13-14
I also searched out a few more verses to help me out:
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14
I have lost count how many times I have quoted this last verse to myself to keep my mouth, mind and heart on track.
But like all struggles, I know God’s promises hold true:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
When I keep my focus on Whom it needs to be, maintain my prayer and Bible time, and continue to remind myself of God’s ways, life just goes on a whole lot easier, and I am able to “hold my peace.”
What do you do when a problem crops up? Run to the telephone to call your Mom, your Pastor, talk to your husband, or maybe go online to tell your cyber friends?
In simpler times, when believers found themselves isolated on the frontier (or even now, missionaries may be in the bush on the foreign field,) they would have no other recourse but to go directly to the Lord.
The advent of the telephone, vehicles, the Internet with e-mail and godly message boards, has provided wonderful resources for the Christian, yet I greatly fear that they have become the “cursed thing” (ie. and idol) as mentioned in Deut. 7:22-26. That may seem harsh, but remember an idol is ANYTHING that takes the place of the Lord, whether a thing or other people.
Of course other Christians are a blessing and a source of encouragement! I am not saying we should never go to other Christians, but our first thought should be to go to the Lord, not another sister in the Lord. There are many examples of this in the Scriptures, but our main source must….MUST come from The Only One truly capable of doing so.
Like many, I tend to be very tight-lipped about my problems. Too often; however, rather than taking my concerns, hurts and problems to the Lord, I internalize them and end up frustrated and even mad or bitter at the person that âmightâ? have done something wrong.
In my own life, more often than not, God himself has sent the encouragement I have needed, without my having to utter a word to another human being. A note. A call. A cyber hug. All done by surprise by someone whom the Lord laid me on their heart. God is soooo good!
Let’s dig in the Lord’s precious Word and see some examples He has left for us.
The Bible tells us that he was a man after God’s own heart who “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6
Here is David, serving the Lord, refusing to harm God’s anointed king yet having to run for his life from the very king he refuses to harm. Now, another enemy has wiped out the town where the families of David and his soldiers had been staying. Not only that, but the enemy had taken the wives and children captive! Now David’s own men wanted to stone him!
Yet, â…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.â?
How could he do this? As I stated in a personal testimony and study on Depression – It is all in the focus.
A) David focused on the Word of God â David did not have the completed Scriptures, but he was writing them! By reading the psalms, it is abundantly clear that God’s Word was precious to him. I’ve heard over and over how it is better to meditate upon small portions of Scripture rather than read chapter upon chapter, yet never considering what God has said or trying to apply it in our lives. Here are SOME verses in Psalms dealing with the Word of God: 18:30, 33:4 , 33:6, 56:4, 56:10, 105:8, 119:9, 16, 17, 25, 28, 41, 42, 43, 49,50, 58, 65, 67, 74, 76, 81, 82, 89, 101, 105, 107, 114, 116, 123, 133, 140, 147, 148, 154, 158, 160, 161, 162, 169, 170, 172, 130:5, 147:18, 148:8
In Psalms 119 alone, there are 36 verses that of His âwordâ?. This does not take into account any verses dealing with judgments, commandment, or other variants.
These verses in particular caught my attention:
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalm 68:11
Are we publishing God’s Word????
Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: Do I believe His Word Psalm 106:24
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Am I hiding God’s Word in your heart??? 119:11
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
– Notice how important God considers His Word â He has exalted it above His own name! Psalms 138:2
B)David focused on the Rock of his salvation â In Psalm 18 alone, David mentions the Lord as his rock (foundation, stabilizing force). Psalms 18:2, 31, 46
C)David focused on his Deliverer from earthly troubles â Psalm 7:2, 18:2, 40:17, 70:5, 144:2
D)David focused on the Lord his shield – Psalm 3:3, 5:12, 18:35, 28:7, 33:20, 35:2, 59:11, 76:3, 84:9, 84:11, 89:18, 91:4, 115:9, 115:10, 115:11, 119:114, 144:2
E)David focused on his Redeemer
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Psalm 78:35
Do we really focus on Who our Lord really is?
There is so much more that could be written on how David could encourage himself in the Lord, but I’d like to move to a few others in the Scriptures who had the right focus.
2. Hannah: What grief she must have endured in her barrenness and then to have her adversary distress her, yet she went to the Lord. Not even when approached by the man of God did she express any of the details of what she was going through. 1 Samuel 1-2
And Hannah answered and said, … I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I … have poured out my soul before the LORD … out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 1 Samuel 1:15-16
3. âConsider Job.â? (Job chapters 1 and 2)
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:25-26
4. Personal Testimony: I am mere flesh and bone. I have my good days and bad days; however, I can truly say that the right focus plays the biggest part in whether I have the joy of the Lord despite the difficulties, or a miserable attitude unless everything goes right.
When needing encouragement, here are a few simple things that I try to remind myself of:
1.Who I am and what I deserve: a sinner deserving of Hell
2.Who I am and what I get: a sinner saved by grace on my way to Heaven
Let’s face it, as long as we live in this flesh, we will go through trials and tribulations, but the question remains: Where do you get your encouragement? What is distracting you from seeking encouragement and support from The Lord God, our Counsellor, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Comforter, The Prince of Peace….
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Our main source of encouragment must….MUST come from the only one truly capable of doing so.
For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Psalms 89:18
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
So the next time you need encouragement, I hope you will first and foremost take it The Counsellor, Comforter, Prince of Peace.
March 15th, 2007
It’s Only After
(Dedicated To Henri)
Roses are so beautiful that we forget that thorns cause pain,
We often forget that rainbows only come after the rain.
Sometimes the sun is hidden when storm clouds are in view,
It’s only after the rose is picked that it will bring great joy to you.
It’s only after the storm subsides that peace comes to calm the seas,
It’s only when the light turns on that the shadow suddenly flees.
Sometimes we only learn, to appreciate the light,
After walking through the darkness, in what seems like blackest night.
It’s often only when you miss someone that their worth is realized,
For iron sharpening iron, is a blessing in disguise.
You may lose your dearest friend, yet there will always be another,
Still, Jesus is the best of friends that sticks closer than a brother.
It’s only when you see you’re lost, that you truly can be found,
It’s when you admit your poverty that Christ’s riches can abound.
It’s only in losing yourself that you find life’s joy at last,
And sometime in the future, the Lord will heal the past.
It’s only after you pray in faith, that the peace of God transcends,
And only after your faith is proved, does the trial come to an end.
It’s only in surrender to the Lord that brings end to inward strife,
It’s only after dying that we rise to endless life.
It’s only after travailing that comes the joy of a child’s birth,
Only after the tribulation comes the new heaven and new earth.
Only after a seemingly endless night, comes the dawning of the day,
It’s only in eternity that the former things are passed away.
It’s only after the sorrow ceases that comes the soothing of the pain,
And just before the darkness passes that the Morning Star shines again.
After the tests and trials are done, the Father wipes all our tears away,
And we’ll live with Christ, our Saviour, in eternity’s endless day.
August 29th, 2000
Jerry Bouey and Angela Trenholm
And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose.