Tag Archives: trials

The Rustling of the Leaves

11 Aug

I like to compare things from the spiritual world to things in the natural world. Spurgeon was known for his timeless comparisons. I don’t think you can read a paragraph of Spurgeon without at least one simile. I’m going to now build something up and try to make this kind of comparison, so brace yourself. I may fail, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I took a math class recently and unfortunately I had a very bad teacher. Her name was Ms. Veres.  Her voice was so monotone and uninspiring and her rough Portuguese accent didn’t help one bit in understanding the already complicated material.

I knew most of the basic material because of my previous math teacher, Mr. Mackenzie, who insisted on teaching more than what was required. He was an old man with white pearl-white hair and a short beard. It’s a pity that his beard was short because if it were just a few inches longer, he would have looked like a real life Santa Claus. He loved to make jokes in class. Sometimes his poor memory was the butt of our jokes but we never felt guilty because he would always laugh along with us. I loved that guy. He made math fun but in a good way– a way that motivated us to solve problems and prove difficult theorems.

I had already learned almost all the material that was being taught by Ms. Veres in our first week of class. So instead of studying and getting ahead of the class in the curriculum, I would whip out a good book or just drift off in my thoughts. College students are very sleep-deprived, so yes, I did sometimes get a few minutes of shut-eye. I know, shame on me.

One day, as I was drifting off, I looked out the window and soaked in the view of downtown Montreal. I don’t live near many tall buildings so it’s fascinating to me how architects and city planners build those sky scrapers. What holds those buildings together? How are they so sturdy?

It was windy that day. Wind I think is one of the most fascinating things in all of God’s creation. Here’s something made up of tiny moving particles that we cannot see (because they’re so small and spread out) but we know exists because it affects other things that we do see.

Think about it.

When you look outside, how do you know if it’s windy or not? Is it a windy day because you see the wind like you see the sun on a sunny day? Of course not. The only way we know that it’s windy outside, or that wind even exists for that matter, is by looking at the trees, among other things. If the branches and the leaves are rustling and moving, then yes, it’s windy outside. Is there any other natural way? If there is, please fill me in. I’m always interested in new ways to defy the laws of nature.

In some weird way, our faith can be like the wind. Faith is not something tangible, but we know it exists. How do we know this? We know this because when we encounter times of struggle and trials in our Christian walk, our faith keeps us focused on the prize. Just as the trees do not stop the wind but reveal its existence, so do trials not hinder our faith but expose it and strengthen it.

Hebrews 11:8-9 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.”

Abraham left his home, his land, his family and all his possessions and followed God and obeyed Him by faith. You try to leave you home and all that you love and follow some voice you heard without faith. Faith keeps us on track, focused on God despite the struggles that come our way.

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Four Points of 2009

3 Jan

January 1 is always a very amazing day. We look back at the previous year and hope for better things in the year to come. I feel we always take for granted the years that pass by. Let’s look at some of the things that happened every day for the last year.

  • In 2009, we woke up 365 times still breathing, God spared our lives 365 times. God could easily choose to end our lives whenever He wants, and it could be in our sleep. But God chose to leave us on earth so that we can continue to glorify Him in all that we do and spread the word of His love and grace.
  • In 2009, we had the opportunity to go to church and worship God in midst of Christ-loving Christians 52 times! There are so many Christians in the world who are in persecution. They can’t even declare their faith in public in fear of getting arrested, or worse, murdered, but we have the privilege of going to church and encouraging each other in Christ. I hope you took advantage of those 52 Sundays. If you didn’t, make sure you do in 2010.
  • In 2009, God constantly and lovingly reminded daily us that we His treasure if we die with Him every day. We were supposed to die to self 365 times in 2009. It is a constant battle with the devil and it will not stop until God wills it to stop. We might as well practice now so that it gets easier with time. Did you successfully achieve this Christian goal in 2009? I know I could improve on this aspect this year.
  • In 2009, God fulfilled His promise by granting us His mercies every morning. Have you been through trials this past year? Has not the hand of God worked in you through those trials? Wasn’t His light ever apparent in your darkest times of trouble? In fact, we Christians are persecuted and tempted every day to give in to our worldly nature, but by the graces of God, we fight to resist the temptation 365 times. Praise the Lord!

Never take these four points likely in 2010. Make sure you make the most every day and every week. Don’t overlook God everyday blessings. If you do, you just might look back on 2010 as an unsuccessful spiritual year.

O Tested Soul

14 Nov

O tested soul, perhaps the Lord is sending you through this trial to develop your gifts. You have some gifts that would ever have been discovered if not for trials. Do you not know that your faith never appears as great in the warm summer weather as it does during cold winter? Your love is all too often like a firefly, showing very little light except when surrounded by darkness. And hope is like the stars, unseen in the sunshine of prosperity and only discovered during a night of adversity. Afflictions are often the dark settings God uses to mount the jewels of His children’s gifts, causing them to shine even brighter.

Wasn’t it just a short time ago that on your knees you prayed, “Lord, I seem to have no faith. Please show me that I do”? Wasn’t your prayer, even though you may not have realized it at the time, actually asking for trials? For how can you know if you have faith, until your faith is exercised? You can depend on the fact that God often sends trials so our gifts may be discovered and so we may be certain of their existence. And there is more than just discovering our gifts, we experience real growth in grace as another result of our trials being sanctified by Him.

God trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury but by causing them to endure lengthy marches and difficult service. He makes them wade across streams, swim through rivers, climb mountains, and walk many tiring miles with heavy backpacks.

Dear Christian, could this not account for the troubles you are now experiencing? Could this not be the reason He is dealing with you?

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Being left alone by Satan is not evidence of being blessed.

Sweet Mayflowers

11 Oct

The greenest grass is found wherever the most rain falls. So I suppose it is the fog and mist of Ireland that makes it “the Emerald Isle.” And wherever you find the widespread fog of trouble and the mist of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts that are full of the beautiful foliage of the comfort and love of God.

Dear Christian, do not say, “Where are all the swallows? They are all gone, they are dead.” No, they are not dead. They have simply skimmed across the deep, blue sea, flying to a faraway land; but they will be back again soon.

Child of God, do not say, “All the flowers are dead, the winter has killed them, so they are gone.” No! Although the winter has covered them with a white coat of snow, they will push up their heads again and will be alive very soon.

O believer, do not say that the sun has burned out, just because a cloud has hidden it. No, it is still there, planning a summer for you; for when it shines again, it will have caused those clouds to have dropped their April showers, each of them a mother to a sweet mayflower.

Above all, remember, when God hides His face from you, do not say that He has forgotten you. He is simply waiting for a little while to make you love Him more. And once He comes, you will rejoice with the inexpressible “joy of the Lord” (Neh. 8:10). Waiting on Him exercises your gift of grace and tests your faith. Therefore continue to wait in hope, for although the promise may linger, it will never come too late.

Charles H. Spurgeon

Backpacks Of Sorrow

6 Oct

There once was a little plant that was small and whose growth was stunted, for it lived under the shade of a giant oak tree. The little plant valued the shade that covered it and highly regarded the quiet rest that its noble friend provided. Yet there was a greater blessing prepared for this little plant.

One day a woodsman entered the forest with a sharp ax and felled the giant oak. The little plant began to weep,crying out, “My shelter has been taken away. Now every fierce wind will blow on me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!”

The guardian angel of the little plant responded, “No! Now the sun will shine and showers will fall on you more abundantly than every before. Now your stunted form will spring up into loveliness, and your flowers, which could never have grown to full perfection in the shade, will laugh in the sunshine. And people in amazement will say, “Look how that plant has grown! How gloriously beautiful it has become by removing that which was its shade and its delight!”

Dear believer, do you understand that God may take away your comforts and privileges in order to make you a stronger Christian? Do you see why the Lord always trains His soldiers not by allowing them to lie on beds of ease but by calling them to difficult marches and service? He makes them wade through streams, swim across rivers, climb steep mountains, and walk many long marches carrying heavy backpacks of sorrow. This is how He develops soldiers – not by dressing them up in fine uniforms to strut at the gates of the barracks or to appear as handsome gentlemen to those who are strolling through the park. No, God knows that soldiers can only be made in battle and are not developed in times of peace. We may be able to grow the raw materials of which soldiers are made, but turning them into true warriors requires the education brought about by the smell of gunpowder and by fighting in the midst of flying bullets and exploring bombs, not by living through pleasant and peaceful times.

So, dear Christian, could this account for your situation? Is the Lord uncovering your gifts and causing them to grow? Is He developing in you the qualities of a soldier by shoving you into the heat of the battle? Should you not then use every gift and weapon He has given you to become a conqueror?

Charles H. Spurgeon

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