Tag Archives: encouragement

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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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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Putting Out Fires

When I was a young boy, I learned how to build a fire. I was so excited that I wanted to show my friend. We went into the woods behind his house, gathered wood up and then I built a magnificent fire. What I didn’t know yet was how to put a fire out. We decided to smother it…with hay. That worked great…for a few seconds. Before too long, the fire was getting out of hand. We ran back into his house, past his mom, to get his brother who was two years older than us. We tried again to put it out, but couldn’t. A neighbor saw the smoke and called the fire department. They showed up and got it under control, but not before about an acre was burned.

I tell you that story because so many times we’ve set fire to things in our lives and things are being consumed by it. Every time we try to put it out, it only makes things worse. From the time we are little, we are taught to be independent, to suck it up and to handle our own business. What we forget is that we have a helper who can put out the fires in our lives, but we’re too busy trying to put them out ourselves. Like scared children, we don’t go to the One who can truly help. We go to others to help us, but they can’t resolve the problems we’re facing. All the while, God is there waiting on us to cry out to Him for help.

Psalm 50:15 says, “Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to me, and I will be there to rescue you” (TPT). God should not be our last resort when things aren’t going right. He deserves and wants to be our first call. He’s more than able to resolve whatever you’re going through, but you must call out to Him and trust Him. If you’re so caught up in what’s going wrong and you don’t have the strength to pray yourself, call on a friend to pray for you. You don’t have to fight the fires in your life by yourself. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and wants to rescue you.

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Seasons Of Life

Did you know that there are four seasons to farming? In the Spring, it’s the time of planting. The soil is tilled and seeds are placed at the right depth and spacing. In the Summer, it’s critical to make sure the crops are getting the right amount of water, fertilizer and sunlight. With the Fall comes the harvest. It’s about gathering in the produce at the peak of ripeness and then ripping out the old stalks so the ground can be infused with organic matter. Then, when the winter comes, the land has an opportunity to rest. You also spend this time repairing your tools and getting ready for the next Spring.

As I read that, I can’t help but think of the seasons of our life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time and a season for everything. That includes our lives. Some of us are in a season of planting and preparing for what’s coming. Some of us are in a season of working on growing what we’ve planted. Some of us are in a season of harvest where we are reaping the benefits of what we’ve done. Others are in a season of rest where things in your life have been ripped up and it’s time to make repairs so you can plant again. Have you ever considered what season you’re in and the responsibilities God has given you for that season?

Proverbs 10:4 says, “Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!” (TPT) God has you in this season for a purpose. In every season you find yourself in, there are things you should be doing for that season as well as things to prepare for the next season. Ask God to give you wisdom to know the things you should be doing in your season. Every season comes and goes. You will not be in this season forever, so make the most of it. Don’t let the opportunity of what God is trying to do in your life during this season pass by.

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Pushing Through To Victory

One of the things I love about sports is the struggle. In each game, the teams are trying to build up momentum to score and keep things moving in their favor. You can almost always see when something happens that either takes momentum away from a team or gives it to a team. The fight is not just about winning. It’s about getting momentum to keep winning. There are some teams, despite not having much momentum, that somehow will their way to victory against the odds. There’s something in them that won’t let them quit and they push through to win. Those are the games you walk away from wondering how they did it.

In life, all of us face battles. All of us go through struggles. Inside each one of us there is a constant battle between our flesh and our spirit. There’s the struggle between doing what’s right and what we want to do. There are also battles with addiction that many of us go through. In each case, we’re looking for momentum and victory. If we’re honest, there are days where we know we want to win, but we just don’t have the strength to push through. Momentum often feels like it’s against us and it’s easier to just give in. On those days, we have to learn to psych ourselves up, put our rally cap on and find a way to push through.

Psalm 44:5 says, “Through your glorious name and your awesome power we can push through to any victory and defeat every enemy” (TPT). We have victory in the name of Jesus, but you and I still have to show up and fight. David didn’t defeat Goliath because he picked up five stones and stood on the battlefield. He won it because he ran towards his enemy and slung the stone. You and I must face our giants head on and attack them through the name of Jesus. Victory is possible. You can defeat your adversary, but you have to fight. God is for you and has given you the weapons and armor you need to win. You’ve got to put them on, use them and push through in the name of Jesus and you will find victory.

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