Tag Archives: hope

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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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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In Desperate Need

Recently two Florida teens were swimming in the ocean when they were pulled away from shore. They found themselves two miles from shore. The waves were choppy and the current was strong. After treading water for two hours, their strength was giving out. Hope was gone as reality was setting in. In desperation they cried out to God, “If you really have a plan for our lives, just bring something!” It was about that time that a boat named “The Amen” was going by, thought they heard something in the water and found them. They were rescued from their situation and returned safely to shore.

I haven’t been in a situation like that before, but I have been desperate for God to answer in a hopeless situation. Desperate prayers cut through our religious jargon we like to say to God. They are the most authentic prayers and that’s why I believe God answers so many of them. Our need for God to move will increase our faith in Him and His ability to intervene. God desires that we would have that same desperation for Him even when our circumstances aren’t dictating that need. We are all eternally hopeless without Him. It’s time our lives, our prayers and our relationship with Him reflected that kind of desperation.

Here are some Bible verses on desperation.

1. I was desperate for you to help me in my struggles, and you did!

Psalms 120:1 TPT

2. When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”

Luke 8:47 TPT

3. For when I was desperate, overwhelmed, and about to give up, you were the only one there to help. You gave me a way of escape from the hidden traps of my enemies.

Psalms 142:3 TPT

4. GOD is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, No matter how desperate the trouble.

Nahum 1:7 MSG

5. When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and he heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.

Psalms 34:6 TPT

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Finding Wisdom

When Carlos Beltrán retired from baseball, he wrote a letter to other players giving them wisdom. He started off his letter saying the best advice he ever got was from a golfer named Chi Chi Rodríguez. Here’s a snippet of what he wrote:

I remember in 1999 — when I was named Rookie of the Year — he approached me.

“Carlos,” he said, “what do you want to accomplish in life?”

I said, “I want to be successful, Chi Chi … successful at the game of baseball.”

And he said to me, “Oh, that’s super simple.”

I was confused. Simple? Was this a joke?

So I said to him, “If it’s so simple, why don’t you see more successful baseball players? Why can you only count the very best in the league on only two hands?”

He put his hand on my shoulder.

“To be successful in life, Carlos, you have to surround yourself with successful people. You can’t be afraid to ask questions to those people that you look up to.”

He goes on to say how as he played for 7 teams throughout his 19 year career in the Majors and 9 All Star Games, he made it a point to approach the best players in the locker room and ask them questions about how to they got better and what advice they would give. To his surprise, every one of them took time to answer his questions and help him improve.

It reminds me of when Queen Sheba traveled to Israel to meet Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9. She approached him and asked him all the hard questions she could think of. The Bible says Solomon answered them all. Verses 22 – 23 say, “King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king in the world. They all consulted him, to hear the wisdom that God had given him” (GNT). Solomon took time to answer the questions of other kings too.

Proverbs 3:13 says, “Those who find true wisdom obtain the tools for understanding, the proper way to live, for they will have a fountain of blessing pouring into their lives. To gain the riches of wisdom is far greater than gaining the wealth of the world” (TPT). Each of us need more wisdom than we have today. Who has God placed in your life that you can draw wisdom from? Set up a time to meet with them and have questions already prepared. You’ll find that they will make time for you and pass on their wisdom, but only if you’re willing to ask.

If you want to read the whole letter from Carlos Beltrán, click here.

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Empowered For Victory

Fear. Worry. Addiction. Self destructive thoughts and patterns. Depression. Insurmountable odds. Our past. These are things that many of us battle on a daily basis. They are mentally and physically taxing. It’s hard to sleep when these battles loom over us because they’re all we think about. The idea of getting free of them rarely enters our mind anymore because we’ve given up hope of overcoming them. They are powerful and make us feel powerless against them. We yield to them because we know it’s useless. So we live under their cloud in a defeated life without hope of winning victory over them.

If you struggle with these things, you’re not alone. Millions of people live just like that believing they’re the only ones going through it because the enemy of your soul has lied to you. He knows if he wins these battles, he can sideline you for a lifetime. But God has not given you a spirit of fear, nor has He abandoned you. He has given you the strength and the tools to break every chain and every stronghold that tries to hold you down and keep you from the life He created you to live. Remember that our weapons are not carnal, but are mighty through God (2 Cor 10:4)!

Psalm 18:35 puts it this way, “You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” (TPT) Yes, you were made to be great and victorious through God. When we spend time in His presence through prayer, reading His Word and in praise and worship, He envelops us with the power we need to overcome. You don’t have to be a prisoner to these other things because you’ve been empowered for victory.

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Counting On God

Years ago, Tracy Lawrence sang a song called, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”. The chorus said, “You find out who your friends are, Someone’s going to drop everything, Run out and crank up their car, Hit the gas, get there fast, Never stop to think, “What’s in it for me”, Or “‘It’s way too far”, They just show up, With their big ol’ heart, You find out who your friends are.” It’s a good reminder of the people in your life that you can count on for just about anything. God is One in whom we can count on in times of need.

King David had some incredible insight into who God is. He was a man after God’s heart, but he was also a man who lived a life of faith and trust. His psalms hit home with us because he was constantly in situations that required great faith and he wrote out his prayers. His desperation often matches our own and he gives words to prayers we need to pray in those moments. He found God to be a true friend who would never turn us away in our time of need. In Psalm 9:10, he wrote, “May everyone who knows your mercy keep putting their trust in you, for they can count on you for help no matter what. O Lord, you will never, no never, neglect those who come to you” (TPT)

You and I can go to God in our time of need and He will not neglect our need. I can tell you that He doesn’t answer each prayer the way I want Him to, but then again I don’t give my child everything he asks for either. Just like I look at the whole picture and make a decision for him, God does that with us. He meets our needs and never turns us away when we go to Him. His plan for our lives is greater than you or I can even imagine. For us to fulfill that plan, we’ve got to learn to trust Him the way David did. It’s not an easy path and things won’t always go your way, but if you keep trusting in Him, you’ll find that you can always count on Him no matter what.

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Goodbye, Worry

Have you ever been so stressed about a situation that you couldn’t sleep? When I’m worried about something, my mind races all night long about all the possible outcomes. I try to think of ways to solve the problem, but the more I think about it, the further down the rabbit hole I go. It’s exhausting and I wake up the next day tired and mentally drained. Worry has a tendency to do that. That’s why Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

David’s son Absalom was mad at him and staged a coup. It forced David to flee Jerusalem and hide throughout Israel. He wasn’t sure who he could trust or where his next meal was going to come from. His army was only about 600 men, and Absalom was chasing him with an army of more than 20,000. David had a lot to keep him up at night. During this time, he wrote Psalm 63. Verses 6-7 say, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings” (NLT).

Instead of focusing on his problems or his situation, David chose to think and meditate on God. By doing that, he kept His problems in check and put them into their proper perspective. God is much greater than whatever problems you’re facing today. While worrying won’t solve them, prayer can. It is the key to letting go of worry and letting our mind rest. God knows your need and will walk with you through whatever situation you face. He is greater than your problems and thinking of His goodness brings peace.

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