W&BT #1: Name Above All Names Week 5

On the first page of this chapter in Begg’s and Ferguson’s book, Name Above All Names, I have scribbled, “this chapter resends hope to me on every page”.  What an encouraging page to head back to after having read it many weeks ago – especially on a day when my pregnancy hormones are crazy and it seems like every email or text I receive just hits me in the wrong way.  HOPE

Here are some thoughts from the chapter on Jesus: Son of Man:

1.  “We are struck by how deeply embedded some of their character traits seem to be” (pg 103). As a parent – do you wonder what traits you are passing to your children?  I think about that often now that I have two loveable boys of our own.  My husband often says that is one of the hardest jobs in parenting: seeing your sin looking back at you.  I think my parents did a good job of raising me – but as an adult I see where some of my traits come from and it is scary to think that I too could pass on some less than desirable or Godly traits to my boys.  This is where hope comes in.  God is a God of bringing hope and change into a family.  Just because your family is one way doesn’t mean that those traits and cycles have to continue to the next generation.  Sebastian’s life verse ends in hope for the children in the coming generation – the good of the Lord (Jer 32:39)  Do you parent or live like there is hope in breaking the sin cycle in your family?

2.  “The kingdom of God will overwhelm all other kingdoms.  The Kingdom of God will be established and will endure forevermore” (pg 105).  I already dislike seeing ads for the Presidential race in 2016.  Good that a new president will be coming either way, but not looking forward to the next 2+ years where the backbiting and slander will happen everywhere.  And when the bad news comes on the news or as I watch previews for certain coming shows or movies – previews that revel in betrayal, sin, murder, affairs – I know that God is still on His throne and He will make all things right in His time.  That brings me hope.

3.  “The Son of Man is coming to the source of ultimate authority.  It resides exclusively in the Ancient of Days, who is seated on the throne.” (pg 107).  I’ve learned recently from Rob Rienow that any question of sin or dysfunction in this life is really a question of authority.  Who is the ultimate authority in your life?  Who is the ultimate authority in this world?  If our answer is not God – we are wrong.  Some will think and say and live and believe that they are their ultimate source of authority – but God created and gave life to everyone of us, so He is our ultimate authority.  That is very hope-giving to me.

4.  “The remarkable thing about this picture of Jesus is that He is never isolated from His people” (pg 108).  I’ve actually thought much about this in light of some of the “suffering” and tears I’ve had over the last two months.  Not all of my tears are hormone related.  And one of the things that brings me the most comfort is that Jesus suffered.  He had people slander him.  Yet He believed and taught and lived truth and was planted firmly in the hand of God His Father.  This brings me hope when I am going through trials.

5.  “Kingdom grace brings more than forgiveness.  It brings freedom from the powers of darkness and restoration to new life” (pg 118).  My husband would probably like me to frame that quote.  It was probably one of the most powerful in this whole book to me.  Grace is the only thing that sets us free from the tyranny of listening to others, or repeating harmful lies to ourselves, by letting others’ thoughts control us, or by living in destructive habits that control our lives.  Walk in light.  Dwell in freedom.

How Should We Respond to Gay Marriage?

posted in: ethics, marriage, sin | 2

Every blog post I wrote has come from personal experience or a conversation I’ve had, etc.  This one is no different.

Yesterday on facebook, I was saddened to find out that a college acquaintance of mine, one who was in youth ministry with me and a professing Christian – now ordained in a denomination, was getting married yesterday to her girlfriend.  This saddened me so much for her.  On our long scenic drive home, the Mister and I were discussing what should be our response.  Here are some thoughts:

1.  A government-sanctioned marriage between two women is not a marriage in the eyes of God.  In our country many states may be allowing same-sex marriage.  This does not make it right in God’s eyes.  God would never rejoice in something that is an abomination or sin to Him.  See Romans 1:18-25, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

2.  Sin does not please God – so how could a homosexual marriage?

3.  We all sin (yes), so we should not counsel the person (if you have a relationship with them in the first place) in a harsh, judgmental tone.  Ephesians 5:14-16.  The reason I chose this verse is because the person in my life that got married yesterday is a professing Christian.  I’m not a judger of hearts.  I am also a sinner – a great sinner.  But, this passage is written by Paul to the church at Ephesus.  He is talking about people in the church who have been diluted and mislead by all sorts of unbiblical teaching.  For any to think that gay marriage is promoted by God, or right, has clearly been mislead by the Enemy.

4.  Show compassion; this needs to be our immediate response.  We need to be like Jesus in this encounter.  When he dealt with the woman caught in adultery, he did not shame or accuse her, but allowed her to be free of the sin and the entanglement of it.  Our God does show wrath and anger toward sin, but he also shows compassion on the sinner.  (John 8)  God the Father shows much compassion on me and I’m a sinner.  I would need to show compassion to my friend and hopefully lead her back to a right relationship with God.

5.  Call to repentance.  One of my favorite Scriptures in the NT says this “…God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”  Oh that has blessed me and lead me to have a repentant heart so often as I’ve read with tears over my sin this incredible display of God’s love toward great sinners.

6.  What about church membership.  Let me say a few things: first, any denomination that would ordain a homosexual to be a minister of the Word of God and sanction and condone homosexual marriage is no longer a church because they do not hold to the truth of the Word of God.  Second, if this couple were at the church I attend, I would (hopefully) seek to encounter them, provide them with godly counsel about their lives and why their lives demonstrate that they do not believe God or His Word.  If they couple were members and then became homosexual or started living a homosexual lifestyle – that would be cause for church discipline and counsel and a desire for them to turn from sin.

7.  As I’ve been reading in a book about the authority of the Word of God in our lives: this matter of homosexuality (whether it is right or not) is not primarily a question of preference or sexual orientation or anything else for believers.  It is a question about what we believe the Bible to be.  If we believe with the Bible that it is the very word of God and it is profitable and truthful in everything it says and is useful for our lives to instruct us in all truth – and we disagree with what the Bible says about the “rightness” of homosexuality – then obviously we have a disagreement with God.  I have a feeling that I know who is going to ultimately win that disagreement.

As we get deeper and deeper into a country that is living in prevalent sin and as we see sin creep in (or barge in) to our churches – let us pray that we will know what the Word of God says, guard our own hearts and minds, show compassion to sinners, and call them to repentance (just as the Lord has done for us).


31Days: New Prayer (28)

posted in: 31days, sin | 0

I love early mornings when little buddy is asleep and I get time just to linger in bed and think and pray.  This doesn’t happen often, probably not once since he’s been here (when I haven’t been so tired all I’ve done is slept).

My prayer and thought this morning is a quote I heard some time ago and again it came to mind:

“Unless sin is bitter, Christ will not be sweet.”

Pray that as we live out the Gospel in our marriage, parenting, church life, friendships – that we would not cherish sin because we cherish Christ more.

Death by Love: Driscoll – Chapter 1

posted in: Books, sin | 0

I took advantage of a free PDF given to blog world by Mark Driscoll for his book Death By Love and read it over lunch at Jersey Mike’s. Good sub: so much better chapter. This book, unlike any recent book in my memory, rocked my world – exactly where I needed it rocked.
The first chaper of Mark’s book is describing a lady’s torment of sin in her past and how she kept living in the daily reminder of that sin even though she now is a believer in Christ. The rest of it – his response to her with truths of freedom and gospel. Here we go. No matter what habitual sin or remembrance of habitual sin you face: Jesus is Bigger. He is Conqueror.
We are to “live a life of repentant holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (38) I often think when I’m doing well in certain areas, that its just that – me. I need to remember that even my good works are filthy rags. I am nothing, Christ in me, is everything.
‘Because you belong to Jesus, you have all authority to rebuke and reject these evil influences in your life.” (40) Again, I think I am reminded in this chapter just how often I try to live the Christian life in my own power. But, throughout the NT we see that we can’t do anything without the power of Christ. Matthew, Acts, Colossians come to mind immediately where it says that Jesus has all authority. I need to walk daily in that authority – not my own. I need to preach this authoritative gospel in my life. (ok, side not, will write blog on authoritative gospel soon). This is a daily active priority. This isn’t just when I’m struggling or doing well. It is minute by minute!
Driscoll quotes Thomas Brooks (a puritan writer): “Our Enemy will bait our hook with anything that we find desirable. This means that He will gladly give us sex, money, power, pleasure, fame, fortune, and relationships. Satan’s goal is for us to take the bait without seeing the hook, and once the hook is in our mouth he then reels us in to take us captive. His gifts are often very good things offered for sinful uses.” (43) I think this is why some sin can have a stronger hold than others. If you have more questions about that, email me. I’d love to talk about it.
“On the cross, Jesus died in your place for your sins. Practically, this means that every single sin you have committed or will ever commit was forgiven, and every sin that was committed or ever will be committed against you was cleansed in full without exception.” (43) This is such a difficult concept and TRUTH to grasp when I sin every day. The gospel isn’t about me, its about Jesus. This promise wasn’t made by a powerless man, but by an all-powerful God.
Colossians 2:13-15 will be going on an index card and hanging in my car, on my mirror, on my fridge, wherever I will see it – on my laptop cover…
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the ruler and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.”
“Jesus stepped forward and declared that He already paid the penalty for your sins on the cross, canceled any right Satan had to hold you captive, and defeated your Enemy along with his servants and their works and effects in your life.” (45) Do you hear the glorious gospel and hope-giving Truth in that sentence?
Because of this I (we) can:
Colossians 1:10-14 “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. he has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
“Either way,you disbelieve in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for your sin, and you will be compelled toward either despair or religion but not toward Jesus. In these seasons, you will find an anchor for your soul by meditating on Romans 8:1.” (50)
Way to combat: “Jesus is your shield. The psalms often speak of God as our shield, remaining under Jesus Christ is your only place of safety. Therefore, the key is to walk continually and closely with Jesus, and if you should stray fro under his shield, return quickly to repentance.” (51).
Pray offensively. This is crucial. I have a weak prayer life, by all accounts.

Cant wait to finish the book.

O Holy Night

posted in: sin, Worship | 4

Have to admit: this is definitely in my top 3 favorite Christian Christmas songs. Each year I hear it there are different truths I hear and remember. Here is my favorite rendition of it. And here is my second fave. With that last one, the cool thing, so many of those on the video are worshiping Jesus around His throne this Christmas).
So, here we go…

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; (I love how God made even the stars to glorify Him)
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! (How dear is Christ to me really? Do I really know Him to be my only Savior?)
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, (What does pining mean? to lose vigor, health, or flesh (as through grief), to yearn intensely and persistently especially for something unattainable. And oh, how I do that. I persist in sin when I know Christ is better).
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, (Sin is very tiring and exhausting)
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! (This is the immediate necessary response to seeing Jesus.)
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. (Do we readily admit/recognize that Jesus came in human form. Dr. Moore just wrote a great post on this: So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, (Really, Jesus, the Name Above all Names, King of Kings…born in a dirty manger? Andrew Peterson’s Labor of Love tells this beautifully)In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger. (The Bible tells us He knows all of our struggles, He is our great High Priest, our Perfect Sacrifice.)Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another; (If we name Christ…this should be evident in our lives)
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother (I am in such bondage, without Christ. Why do I continue to live in the bondage with Christ?)And in His Name all oppression shall cease. (Help me, Jesus, to know the power of your name over all my temptations)Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name! (Worship should be 100% of us: dancing, singing, joyfully rejoicing)
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever! (one day, everyone will bow. This side of eternity effects the other side of eternity.)
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

So…how do you celebrate Christmas? Everyone has a thought on this. I’ve read some that are depressing and some that are grand. After working retail for many years at the holidays, it is very hard for me to celebrate Christmas at home. But…I love focusing on the gospel. The gospel that Christ came to earth in the man, Jesus. This holiday is His. This holiday isn’t mine. This holiday isn’t mine to get and give gifts. This holiday is His. How will I celebrate when (if ever) I get married and have kids? I don’t know. But, it is something to think about.
May you celebrate well, this O Holy Night.

Much and Link Love (December 13 edition)

posted in: sin | 0

1. Craziness. Always good to start out a post like this.
2. By Wednesday night, I’ll have attended 6 Christmas concerts, cantatas, worship services, whatever you want to call them. Be on the look out for a synopsis of all of them when finished.
3. My eyes are tired. That tells me something. Just don’t know quite how to remedy it right now.
4. Much baking this week: cranberry bliss bars, toffee sugar cookies, red pepper hummus, toffee dip, pork tenderloins, mac and cheese, gingerbread chai bars, roasted green beans. Think that may be it.
5. Every day, every bite struggle. Thnk on the gospel, not on this body.
6. First day of Gold’s Gym tomorrow.
7. Its cold. Yes, I’m just stating a fact, not necessarily complaining.
8. Thankful for men in my life who set a high bar. I’m graced with their presence, encouraged by them, and wait patiently for God.
9. I must write children’s curriculum because I have an empty gatorade bottle sitting on my desk, filled with rice and small plastic objects. Thankful for object lessons.
10. This week: a party, NCIS with room, mani/pedi, concert, lunch with a friend, dinner for friends, Narnia movie night, brunch with a friend, 2 more lunchs with friends, trip to the museum for my room’s bday, and church. Sounds like a full week!

1. Aslan or Jesus?
2. Side note: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – GREAT!
3. Think I will make these Christmas morning! With some real maple syrup!
4. Love Linus!
5. Great to keep in mind as you head out to all those parties – or as you stand over your sink.
6. This is my favorite children’s Bible and a timely video on Christmas.
7. Have red lentils: may make this soup.
8. Some of the reasons on this list is why I stopped watching the Biggest Loser.
9. If you haven’t already seen this by Driscoll, you will want to read!

Grateful FX – Thanksgiving 2010

posted in: sin | 0

My friend, Jennifer, over at Cornerstone Church of Knoxville (fabulous Sovereign Grace church, if I had to live in Volunteer country – this is where I would go) asked me to guest post for their singles’ blog for Thanksgiving. Here it is: enjoy!

Thanksgiving. Publix commercials of big turkeys perfectly roasted and stuffed with bounty from gardens (or the grocery store). Football games and parades on television. Long-lost relatives offering much advice on the state of our dating lives (or the lack there of). Most of us cook or eat way too much food only to nap on the couch and eat more for dinner. Unfortunately, the “thankful” part is a two-minute grace that we say before the meal. Really? Is that was Thanksgiving boils down to? Don’t we have so much more to be thankful for in our lives than turkey, cranberry sauce, and pecan pie (and the correct pronunciation can be debated by all southerners).

Colossians 3 is a reminder of what our lives should look like in response to the gospel of God in Christ. We can’t live out the end of Colossians 3 unless we start at the beginning of the chapter. Paul exhorts the Colossian believers with this: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-4) If we claim Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we should be dead to the things of self and flesh. This includes but is not limited to: quarreling (which occurs in most American homes at ALL holidays), ungratefulness (are you really going to argue about who gets the last crescent roll or the turkey leg), and bitterness (are we bitter that we aren’t married YET and may even still be eating at the kiddie table?) Oh, that our hearts may be changed because of the Gospel.

Colossians 3:16 tells us how we should live our lives in light of being raised with Christ. Hint: the gospel should compel us to live like this: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” This doesn’t mean that we have to break out in songs as we pass each other on the street, in the church, or in our homes. But, the gospel should set the tone for our hearts and our lips. The Gospel has provided us so much. We were dead; but, God. God showed his immeasurable goodness and grace to us by sending His Son to save ungrateful people who cared nothing for the things of God. We now have the opportunity to sit and dine with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with the Bread of Life, with the Living Water.

As we sit down to the Thanksgiving table with family and friends this November, let us remember that we deserve death. We don’t even deserve a turkey, or ham, or stuffing, or a home, or anything. But, in God’s kindness we can sit and dine with friends and family and have way more than we ever should have. Let our hearts and minds and lips reflect the goodness of our precious and abundantly-giving gracious Father who saved us in Christ.

Relevant Magazine on Gluttony

posted in: sin | 2

Oh, everyone’s favorite topic – including mine unfortunately (as I ate way too much on vacation this past week). Relevant Magazine tackles it here
1. “Most people don’t believe eating too much is a crime against anyone or anything.” This is so true. Most pastors don’t preach on it. Most people don’t like to talk about it in their accountability groups. Why is this? Debt is talked about (spending too much money). Alcoholism is talked about (drinking too much beer). But, why not gluttony. I don’t know why that is…it just is and needs to be addressed. Why don’t we think it is a sin? It is. There are plenty of Scriptures that talk about taking care of our body, moderation, idols, etc.
2. “Nearly all religions have sanctions against gluttony, still, data indicate that those who claim to observe organized religion are more likely to be overweight than other Americans.” I am a Southern Baptist, and unfortunately I think we are the worst. We live in the south (most) and we have 5th Sunday dinners, BBQs, Pig Pickins, donuts in SS classes, (we can’t meet without having food). We take our youth to camps that serve camp food (which equals unhealthy for the most part).
3. “If we are truly living a godly life, wouldn’t we be treating our body as a temple and avoiding the burden of body fat?” I am working on a book that will discuss this in further detail (give you something to look forward to). But, isn’t this true? We work on other aspects of our Christian life, but don’t necessarily want to work on this? So much enjoyment – so much hard work.
4. “Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas equated gluttons to children, since they are governed by pleasure from appetite and their behavior is ruled by it. Gluttony transcends eating and relates to material goods and other physical pleasures. “-Aholic” is the suffix attached to the glutton’s “meal” of choice.” Love this. This wknd, mine would have been dessertaholic. Blamed it on vacation – but when can I take a vacation from obedience?
5. “As our culture evolved, gluttony went from a sin to a badge of honor. Over-consuming meant we were better off (at least monetarily). We’ve become a society that rejoices in over-consumption, yet denounces those who put on weight, get a DUI or gamble away their life savings.” Wow. This was harsh – and true. And this effects how we look at the world and missions too.

Have you even thought about how your over-consumption of food is telling of how you think about the world? Hunger? Needs in impoverished societies? Wow. More to think about than just what is on your plate and in your stomach.


Day and Night

posted in: sin | 0

Something new…being obedient to all the Psalms that command us to meditate both day and night on the Word.
Psalm 1 is a good place to start.
Well, I am finally obeying it. In his strength, for His glory in my life, mind, heart, and then eventually hopefully in the lives of others, in my writing, and in the world…the Word takes root.
Here is the plan: simple. I read a Psalm before going to bed – helping me rejoice in the day and worship the One who made it. A proverb before going about my day – wanting wisdom, practical ways I can live in obedience today.
Random ways this has been good: day 1 I was able to text a verse to a friend who is praying through many different options for her life right now. It was a good verse for her – Prov 1.33. Psalm 1 helped me remember why I needed to do this in the first place. Ps 3 – last night I fell asleep on the couch and I dreamed about people being able to break into my screen door from my porch. I woke up, went to bed, reading Ps 3 about dwelling in safety and Him providing sound sleep. God is wonderful.
This morning: feeling horrible from my Italian dinner last night both in mind and in body – I read Prov 3. I thanked God for his mercies, grace, forgiveness, and a new day. Here are some wys that is evident to me in that proverb:
1. Do not forget teaching (mind, I know what I need to eat, not eat to live my body in a way glorifying to God), but heart keep commands (but I crave in my heart things that aren’t good for me). But I need to remember that the heart is deceitful and above all desparately wicked.
2. Steadfast love and faithfulness need to be how I relate to everyone I come in contact with: to find favor and good success with men.
3. If I turn away from my own wisdom (and worthless rationale) and seek the wisdom that comes from God (which is found in this Book), then it will bring healing to my flesh and refreshment to my bones. Do you take the Word literally. Most people claim that the Word has nothing really to say about health and our bodies and what we do we them or how we treat them by what we intake. We live this out in most of our churches actually. In most of our homes. But, this passage: Prov 3.7-8 speaks to just that. If we turn away from seeking our own wisdom and evil things (over eating, indulgent and seeking our worth in food) then it will bring healing to our bones, refreshment to our bodies. I love that promise!
4. Honor the Lord with your wealth…here is a recapture of Mal 3. God is blessing me in many ways and I’ve seen the truth of this played out in my life. Neat how God says He will reward obedience – and He really does. When He tells us to “test him in this” (Mal 3) He actually will come through. That is the amazing God we serve.
5. Do not grow tired of His reproof: I even was so glad He gave me an upset stomach this morning and wiggly vision last night (after eating so much white pasta and white bread). This is part of his reproof in my life for overeating and not heading my body and how He has made it. I want to be obedient in this way. I desire the Lord’s correction in that.
6. He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. This last proverb in chapter 3 brought to mind two others. Often times we’ll see signs that “Bless This House” – sorta the welcome sign on most southern doors. But, do we think about this verse. He blesses the home of the righgteous. I think in light of Proverbs and preceeding verses he is talking about those who make righteous choices and seek wisdom and understanding. But, also and most importantly…our righteousness is found in Christ – we must abide there. If we abide there, part A will come.

Do you meditate on Scripture day and night – do you see it impacting your day?

True Woman Chattanooga: James MacDonald

posted in: sin | 0

I’ve long been a fan of James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word on radio. Even though I’ve lived relatively near his church in the Chicago area for almost 3 years now, I’ve yet to be to his church. He preached tonight on trials – to go with his life of the past 5 years and his new book, When Life is Hard.
James 1
1. Consider your trials joy.
Trials are going to come. We are called to be joyful – not happy. If you have been riding the roller coaster of happinesss – you don’t get what James is saying here. Joy: supernatural delight. Joy is from God. You can’t do this for yourself. Joy is:
1. In the person of God. Who He is – in His attributes – we are called to delight in the person of God. Your heart will be restless until you rest.
2. In the purpose of God. God has a purpose. There is a God who rules the universe.
3. In the people of God. You can’t just get “a thing” going on with just anyone – it is found in the body of Christ. There is a joy in relationships.
Trials obliterate happiness, but they enhance joy. Consider it joy when you “fall into” “various” (same word for Joseph’s coat of many colors) – all shapes and sizes, different for each person. Our God is marking our steps. Consider it – count it – you can’t come to the conclusion that trials are a joy if you don’t think about them. Consider is translated “to press your mind into”. Get a pen and paper the reasons why I can think about trial as a joyful thing. A helpful thing to consider is why we are put here on this earth. The reason I get to draw another breath is so we can display the life of God. That is why Christians go through trials – people can see something different.
God’s love isn’t a pampering love – it’s a perfecting love. Your Mom may be like that, but God’s not like that. God is not interested in putting a smile on my face by Friday. God stands outside of time – He sees the end from the beginning.
You can’t come to the joyful conclusion about trials filling your face with food to dull the pain; by filling your mind with entertainment to dull your pain; by filling your heart with anger about the wrong that has been done to you to dull the pain; by filling your body with substance abuse to dull the pain. You can only come to the joyful conclusion of trials by counting it, by considering it. You have to right size your trials. Big God, small trials. Not Big Trials, Small God.
2. Trials produces staying power. 1.3. Ps 27.13. You have to get the part that God is trying to get to you. Most people don’t like tests. But, we must know that the TESTing of your faith produces “hupo mene” – under remain. Testing produces “to remain under”. Here are three questions that we must answer.
a. Do I believe that God is in control?
b. Do I believe that God is good?
c. Am I willing to wait by faith until the darkness becomes light?

The first thing we want to do is get out of our trials. There is no exit ramp. God is trying to grow in you the ability to remain under. Name 4 things we want to do instead of remaining under:
1. We complain.
2. We lash out.
3. We bail.
4. We fold or despair.
Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that he might exalt you at the proper time. You can’t make it through trials without a deep, abiding sense of your partnership with the God of the Universe.
3. Trials produce life transformation. 1.4. “Under remain” leads to transformation. Some of us have been going through the same trial for years because we don’t “under remain” the trials we receive. Let these trials be the avenue of impact to others. “Under remain’ so that you will be perfect, complete, lacking in nothing. Suffering refines and grows us – if we “remain under” the pressure.
4. If you lack wisdom about your trial – verse 5 – ask God for it. He’s not going to answer the existential why, the ultimate why, the ultimatum why, the observation why. He will answer the why this in my now. What are you trying to teach me, God? You have to ask in faith without doubting. God wants to work on my heart. God starts with the blind spots. Make sure you really want to know. You will be complete – lacking nothing.
I can’t honestly say I’ve experienced “heavy” trials in my life; God has been overwhelmingly good to me. But, in the few “little” ones I’ve dealt with in life – my peace remains by holding firm to the Word of God. That is my voice of hope – because it is the voice of my God who loves me. That is my prayer for you: whether your marriage is hard, your children aren’t believers, finances are small and inadequate, your health is under fire – TRUST. Believe. Walk bold in the truths of God’s Word. Obey. Love Him.