building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Glorify God”

To Stay Under

Last night, I wanted a good movie to watch. I didn’t want fluff. I wanted substance. I found Corrie Ten Boom’s story called The Hiding Place. I read the book many years ago and I had forgotten the details. I remembered it was about her life in the concentration camp.

Before the time of hardship, their family led a quiet life until the Nazis showed up in their world. The Ten Booms decided to take a stand. They decided to help anyone who came to their door. They had a safe place for Jews to come until they could make their way out of the country. It was because of that stand that eventually led to the family’s arrest.

Corrie, her elderly father, her sister Betsy and her two brothers were arrested. Her father died soon after the arrest. Her two brothers died while in prison. Corrie and Betsy were taken to the same prison and eventual concentration camp. Betsy seemed to have had the greater faith. She encouraged Corrie not to hate but to thank Jesus in everything even the hardship.

Their conditions were harsh. Betsy was beaten because she could not keep up with the work. They stayed in an infested dorm room in overcrowded conditions. But Betsy kept telling Corrie, even in the deepest pit, Jesus is deeper still. Betsy thanked Jesus for the conditions of the room – the lice kept the guards out of their space. It gave them opportunities to read the Bible and talk about Jesus to others.

This morning, I got up with the message of hope in this trying time. This is nothing in comparison to what the rest of the world suffers every day. Yes, we’ve lost some of our comfort and our normal way of life. Maybe it will come back some day, but we may be in this storm for another month or two or ten. Who knows? But hardship is the perfect way of seeing what’s beneath the surface.

Both Pastor Louie Giglio and Pastor Andy Stanley used James 1:2-5 in their messages this morning. Okay, seems important to remember that trials are for our good. Trials help us to persevere. To persevere means to remain or to stay under. James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us trials are a way for God to finish His work in us. It matures us and makes us complete. That’s why we’re supposed to find joy in our trials. God is working in us to complete what He started.

Our trials or hardships are a way of finding out what’s underneath the surface of our faith. Is it rock solid or is it made of sand? Without storms in our lives, we would never know the authenticity of our faith. Faith is a muscle that has to be tested in order to become stronger.

Jesus told Peter Satan had asked to shift Peter. Peter said he would follow Jesus to his death. But was it true? Peter needed to see what was underneath his declaration “I will die for you.” The story didn’t go as planned for Peter. He denied knowing Jesus on three different occasions. Peter had to see his fault in order to become the man he was saved to become. There was a greater work that would be soon coming where he needed a deeper, abiding faith.

We may not like this time we’re in, but God has allowed it for our good and for His glory. We may want this pressure to end. But it’s best to stay under and let God complete His work. I don’t want to get through this time and not see progress on my faith journey. I want this to change me (in a good way). Pastor Louie reminded his listeners that God does not send us storms to destroy us but to refine us. This could polish and perfect us and transform us into the image of Jesus. That’s our purpose as believers in Jesus – to be conformed into His image.

God uses shifting from the enemy. He also uses shears to cut off any branch that isn’t fruitful. For the fruitful branch, He prunes in order to produce more fruit. Living the life we’re meant to live means we have to go through hardships in order to be useful to God and to glory Him. Hardships get us to the place we are meant to be and to be the people we were born to be. We cannot allow ourselves to get out from under the pressure before the work is done or the next storm we face, we may not be able to withstand it.

Corrie Ten Boom’s faith was tested. But in the end, after she was released from the concentration camp by clerical error, she went on to live a life glorifying God and proclaiming His goodness even in the deepest pit. She reminds us even in this hard time we face, He is deeper still. This is our time for shifting to see what is beneath our faith; our time of cutting off the thing that is not producing fruit and it’s time for pruning what remains to become more fruitful. Stay under as long as it takes until what God wants is polished to shine in perfection. Keep the faith – He is deeper still.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4


Eye Problem

I have been struggling with an eye problem off and on for a year now. Not both eyes, just my right one. It’s very annoying and frustrating. I have often thought: “why has this been allowed?” I know this is very minor compared to all the ones really suffering from disease. It’s trivial, I know. But it’s still annoying me to the point of screaming sometimes. When it’s aggravated, it itches and nothing will lessen it. I can’t figure out the cause, and I’ve tried to find the root but nothing is coming close to understanding it. I have prayed for healing many times in the past. Right now, I am still suffering with it. I have to trust God will bring me understanding through it or use the lesson for His purpose.

As I have been considering this ailment, I recognize another avenue to explore and further consider. Is this an attack for a spiritual reason? I am at the end of writing my story, for the most part. I am done with the majority of the work. Is Satan using my eye problem to keep me distracted? I know when I am under the influence of this problem I have a real time trying to focus on what needs to be done. It has even gotten me discouraged at times. So this is a possibility that I am dealing with a spiritual warfare issue.

Another thought has come about through careful consideration. I have been focused on my “I” problem. I do too much focusing on my issues and not others. God has used this time over the last few weeks to show me how self-involved I truly am. This is not a good thing. I know people who are truly suffering with health concerns. I do bring their issues before God but usually it will be as an afterthought and not forethought. This is not who I want to be. Since the “I” problem has been revealed, it’s time to make some changes. I want to be who God wants me to be. I want to focus on others more than I do on me.

My pastor spoke about surrendering one Sunday morning. This has been a theme over the last couple of weeks. I have spoken to God about surrendering. Yet, I still have issues with this concept. I don’t consider the eternal purposes of God. Peter was rebuked when he didn’t have the right perspective about Jesus dying. I need to consider God’s viewpoint and not mine. I need to surrender to the plan of God. Does “it” glorify God or does “it” only concern me? How is what I’m experiencing reflect God to others?  When I finally “get it” maybe my eye problem will be finally resolved. Until then Jesus, keep after me until I have the purposes of God in mind before anything else!

 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25

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