Tag Archives: christian living

Tested By God

About twenty years ago, I went to purchase a truck. Throughout the process, the salesman would tell me little things about how the different parts of the truck had been tested. One of them I remember clearly was the cloth seats. He showed me a video of how the put blue jeans on a robot arm that rubbed across the seat cloth and pressed down. They said they tested it 250,000 times and the cloth held up. They did this with many parts of the truck. What they were trying to tell me was that this truck was going to last and they knew it because it had been tested and proven.

Believe it or not, God puts you and I through tests. Over and over we go through things that test our mettle, our faith, our endurance and our trust in Him. It’s never fun to go through these times, but they have a purpose. When you go through adversity, no matter how banged up and bruised you are, it gives you the confidence and faith to make it through the next. I heard someone say that they want to arrive at Heaven riding in on fumes, banged up, dented in and exhausted because it would mean they gave life their all and God would have trusted them to go through Hell to bring people out of it. The more you’re tested, the more you can be trusted with greater things.

Here are some Bible verses on being tested by God.

1. Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:6-7 GNT

2. Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.

2 TIMOTHY 2:15 AMP

3. God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval—only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-5 MSG

4. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

James 1:3 NLT

5. For You have tested us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.

PSALMS 66:10 AMP

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Worth The Wait

My son has entered the complicated LEGO phase. For his last birthday he received several architectural LEGO sets. He’s at the age where he’s in love with the architecture, but he’s not where he can read the instructions, find the right piece and put it the right place. He knows the finished product is going to be cool, but sometimes struggles to wait for it as we try to put it together. I’m often having to remove pieces he’s added, which isn’t easy. He’s learning to wait for the finished product though.

He reminds me of myself as I wait for God to continue to build my life piece by piece. I know the finished product is going to be worth the wait, but I don’t always have the patience. I want to jump in and help. So I add a piece here or there. Sometimes I just take everything and say, “Oh! I see what you’re doing. I got it from here, God.” Like my son, I feel like I’m more independent than I am. I think I’ve got it figured out at times, but I lack the ability to do what only God can do.

King David must have learned this valuable lesson. After being anointed king, he had to go back to the pasture to watch sheep. After slaying Goliath, he still wasn’t made king. I’m sure he wondered when the promise of his future would happen. In Psalm 25:21 he wrote, “Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product” (MSG). He learned to wait to see what God was doing and to not jump the gun, even though others around him encouraged him to. He realized waiting on God to complete His work was worth it.

I’m still learning to trust Him, and to wait for the finished product. Maybe you’re there too. What feels like watching sheep is really preparing you for what God has for you. There is a finished product in what God is doing in you. He will be faithful to complete what He began, but we have to learn to let Him work and to use His skill to put us together. Remember that He’s working for your good, and the finished product is worth the wait.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Trusting God’s Strength

Do you ever feel like you just don’t want to get out and face the day? Those days feel like you don’t have the strength or willpower to deal with whatever is coming. You know you have responsibilities, but that’s not enough to motivate you to get moving. When life isn’t going to plan, and your dreams of what life should be is so far out of reach, it’s easy to feel down and to not have the will to see the light of day. I think those are normal thoughts and feelings, but it’s not a place where we can dwell for very long. If we keep thinking about how bad life is treating us, bitterness can spring up and zap our strength.

Life gets messy and complicated for all of us, but we can’t dwell on what could have been. We can’t even just stay in the same place and just expect God to jump in and make everything better. While David was running from Saul and living in caves, he didn’t just stay in the cave and ask God to deliver him. He did something about it. He even moved away from his home land. By reading the Psalms, we can tell that David felt down and depressed at times because of what was going on in his life. There were times when he didn’t have the strength to keep going. In those moments, he changed what he thought about. He reminded himself about God’s goodness.

Psalm 62:11 is one of those times. He wrote, “God said to me once and for all, ‘All the strength and power you need flows from me!’ And again I heard it clearly said, ‘All the love you need is found in me!’” (TPT) Sometimes we need to remind ourselves where our strength comes from and that we are unconditionally loved even when we don’t feel it. We have to look beyond our temporary circumstances to the divine, never changing characteristics of who God is and put our focus there. He has never abandoned you. He has never forgotten you. He knows what you’re going through, and offers His strength to pull through. You are not defined by this period in your life. Your identity is found in Him alone. Trust His strength, His love and His grace to be sufficient in this time.

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The Law Of Favor

If you were to stand on a chair and jump. 100 times out of 100 jumps you would go down. No matter how many times you try it, you will always go down. Why? Because the Law of Gravity is at work. You don’t have to believe in gravity for it to make you go down. You don’t have to see gravity for it to work. Laws work no matter what. You and I would never challenge the Law of Gravity because we’ve seen it at work our entire lives. Isaac Newton simply observed it, tested it and put it into words giving it at name.

God’s laws are no different that the laws of nature that He created. They work 100% of the time whether you believe in Him or not. The Bible is full of these laws and they are constantly at work in our lives. For example, you will reap what you sow. If we think of it in the farming context, if you plant corn kernels, you will grow corn. You can’t plant a corn kernel and expect a potato. If you plant kindness in others, you can expect kindness. If you give, it will be given to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over because this is God’s law.

Another law at work is found in Proverbs 11:25. It says, “Those who live to bless others will have blessings heaped upon them, and the one who pours out his life to pour out blessings will be saturated with favor” (TPT). This law works just like the others. If you will live to bless others and pour your life out, you will find God’s hand of blessing and favor. My wife and I like to say, “Favor ain’t fair,” because it’s in direct proportion to your blessing others. You don’t have to have money to bless someone. Spend time with them, walk through their struggles with them, send an encouraging message, show them unconditional love or anything that reflects Christ. If you do these things, the Law of Favor will go into effect for you.

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Greater Things Ahead

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Man, they have it all. I wish I had their…”? So many times we look at what people have and identify with the end result without stopping to think about what they went through to get there. We want the reward without the work or the struggle. There’s a saying, “The greatest overnight successes were twenty years in the making.” Most of us face our battles and struggles in obscurity. Others don’t see that part of our story. They see us years later after we’ve endured and are enjoying the fruits of our labor. What we forget is that without the struggle, there is no success.

God wanted to promote David from shepherd boy to king, but he wasn’t ready. David faced years of struggles between being anointed king and taking the throne. He was chased by the current king. There were people he knew that betrayed him. He lived in a cave in an inhospitable desert. He fought several battles with very little rest. He had a lot of struggles because God uses them to prepare us for our future. We can choose to complain about the things we face or we can lay them at the feet of Jesus and push through them knowing there is something more ahead.

In Psalm 55:22 David wrote, “So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you” (TPT). Our struggles are meant to strengthen our faith in God so we are prepared for what’s next. We can either get lost in the pain, bitter in the disappointment or we can find strength to keep going by giving it to God knowing He’s with us through each battle. The greater things God has for you, the greater the struggle you will go through, The great news is you’re not alone and you don’t have to do it in your strength. Lay down your worries and trust that God is at work and in control.

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A Life Of Integrity

It used to be that Christians and non Christians held the Bible in high esteem. Just about everyone could agree that its principles for living were good. It became the standard of what was right and wrong even by people who didn’t trust or believe in Jesus. Today, it is no longer regarded that way in society. Each person or people group is now believed to have their own standard of what right and wrong is. Our world has moved from a place of absolute truth to one where truth is relative to the person looking at it.

Integrity is not just about being honest. It’s also about holding yourself to a higher standard. As Christians, it’s important that we don’t lower the bar of what truth is just because the world has. The truth of God’s Word and the principles in it are not relative to how you’re feeling or want to interpret them. Our lives must be lived by the integrity of the Bible. Its truth has endured thousands of years and will continue to. If we want to live lives of integrity, we do it by building them on the Word of God.

Here are some Bible verses on living a life of integrity.

1. Above all, set yourself apart as a model of a life nobly lived. With dignity, demonstrate integrity in all that you teach.

Titus 2:7 TPT

2. The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Proverbs 20:7 NLT

3. O LORD, who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent? Who may dwell [continually] on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity and strength of character, and works righteousness, And speaks and holds truth in his heart.

PSALMS 15:1-2 AMP

4. The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold; the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

Proverbs 14:32 MSG

5. Integrity will lead you to success and happiness, but treachery will destroy your dreams.

Proverbs 11:3 TPT

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What’s In Your Heart?

I don’t know why, but when I’m flipping channels and see “The Green Mile” being replayed on TV, I stop and watch for a while. It’s a sad movie, but there are a lot of parts that I like to watch. There’s one scene toward the end of the movie that caught my attention the last time I saw it. John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is talking to Paul (Tom Hanks) about said, “You can’t hide what’s in the heart.” There’s truth in that statement. Several scriptures came to mind as soon as I heard him say it.

The first one I thought of was what Jesus said Luke 6:45. He said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” You can hide who you are for a little while, but sooner or later, your mouth let’s others know what’s on the inside. Most of us have filters we use when we speak, but even with them on, we let out some of what we really think. You can’t hide what’s in your heart when you do a lot of talking. Proverbs 12:23 says that a wise man keeps his mouth shut, but a fool utters everything in his mind. What comes out of our mouths says a lot about who we are.

The next scripture I thought of was Proverbs 23:7. It says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” We are what we think about. We become like the thoughts that dominate our minds. Our thoughts create our feelings. Our feelings create our behaviors. Our behaviors create our actions. Our actions show what’s on the inside. You can’t hide what’s in the heart. Not only will your words give you away, but your life will too. What you do on the outside is a reflection of who you are on the inside.

What’s in your heart? Only you and God really know. Your words and actions are good indicators. You might be able to fool some people, but you’ll never fool God because He doesn’t look at the outward expressions of it. He looks directly into your heart. He knows what you think and who you are when no one else is around. He loves you no matter what and if your heart isn’t pure before Him, He offers to do a heart transplant free of charge. He’ll take out your heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh. All you have to do is ask. That heart transplant will change how you talk and act because it changes how you think. When you have Jesus in your heart, He’s going to come out through your words and actions.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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