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Developing Endurance and Maturity

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4 NLT

In Arizona, under a three acre glass dome, scientists tried to re-construct Earth’s ecosystem. Windless, scientists were quite surprised when trees suddenly started falling over, collapsing under their own weight. These scientists discovered wind actually plays a vital role in a plant’s life. The stress of the wind causes trees to grow what is known as “stress wood,” which helps the tree to complete maturity to live a long, healthy life. (Anupum Pant, “A Role of Wind in a Tree’s Life,” Awesci Science Everyday, accessed February 21, 2017, http://www.awesci.com/the-role-of-wind-in-a-trees-life/)

James commands us to rejoice in trails because they make our faith mature and complete. The disciples witnessed one of Jesus’ coolest miracles when they were in the midst of gale force winds on the Sea of Galilee. Mark 4:35-41 tells us that Jesus rebuked the wind and waves commanding them to “Be still!”. The disciples were witnesses to the wind and waves obeying Jesus! Just as Jesus has power over the wind and waves, so too He has power over any storm in your life.

Living life in a protective bubble might sound ideal, but I submit to you we would miss some of God’s mightiest works in our lives if we did live in a bubble. With this in mind, I encourage you to trust and praise Him in your storms of life. He is faithful.

Noree Wegmeyer

 

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of http://www.freeimages.com/photo/tree-1547504

Playing Hide and Seek

 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

Psalm 119:176 NIV

Do you remembers playing hide and seek as kids? The feeling of retreating to your hiding spot in hopes that you won’t get caught before you made it back to “base” or “safety”. The object of the entire game is for others to HIDE while one person is to SEEK those people out.

GOD IS OUR SEEKER

We may attempt to hide from Him, either as a lost person or a believer plagued with shame and guilt, but either way He seeks us out and He will find us.

While we may try to hide from God, to hide those ugly and messy parts, God sees and He knows. He sees us in the good, bad and the ugly (even when you lose your temper with your spouse/kids or when you backslide in a unhealthy habit)

He sees. He knows. He loves us still.

Psalm 119:176 – I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

When we hide and we don’t feel worthy of going before him, we give the enemy an advantage. He will do anything and everything he can to steal, kill and destroy what God is doing. That tug that you feel to apologize or ask for forgiveness is Godly sorrow.

When “the seeker” finds us, we are far from put together, but when we use that tug to pull us towards God and not away from Him, we are made new in His grace.

To experience the fullness of God you must embrace the fullness of forgiveness.

Just like the actual game of hide and seek, we can be relieved when we are found, because that means that we don’t have to take matters into our own hands and try to find our way back to “base” or “safety”. When we follow the one that “seeks” us we will be found, and never have to “hide” again. Praise God!

Many blessings sweet friends,

Stephanie

 

Photo credit: image created via wordswag

Lingering–Just One Look Back!

“One of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” “But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:17, 26 NLT


Years ago some friends and I were at a house out in town when a typhoon warning was issued. We should have headed back as soon as we heard the warning but we stayed a little longer and ran out of time to safely get back onto the military base before the storm hit. So, we had to remain where we were until it passed by. Thankfully, God spared us from harm that day. He could have permitted a very different outcome.

There are times when even though we know what action is required of us, we need a little shove to get us moving in the right direction! Lot knew about the impending destruction of Sodom, yet he and his family lingered there. They had to be forced to leave by a couple of angels! In today’s dose verse, we see that Lot’s wife didn’t abide by the plan that the angels had put together for her family—to run away from Sodom and never look back. She gave into the temptation to take one last look back and it cost her life.

Is there a place in your life that you continue to return, physically or mentally, that you know the Holy Spirit has called you away from? Maybe it’s a previous relationship, or an unhealthy habit that you just can’t seem to shake. Perhaps you constantly entertain or verbalize negative thoughts about yourself.

We’re not immune to the daily struggles of sin and temptation just because we enter into a relationship with the Lord. We continue to be tempted to go back to the familiar, even if it’s destructive, because we’re not really comfortable with change.  ‘The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know’, right?

As we change from the person we used to be into the person God calls us to be, we’ll be tempted to lingeringly reminisce on the old and familiar.

But we must look forward—no holding onto the old ways, because that will result in our destruction. Run and don’t look back! God will provide the angels you need to help you each step of the way!

What price are you willing to pay for lingering?

[Read Genesis chapter 19 for the account of Lot and his wife]

By grace through faith,

Rita