Seeing God in All Things

Over twenty years ago I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks in China. While there I was taken by one of the Chinese church leaders to visit several underground house churches. When I began to teach these dear brothers and sisters I felt an overwhelming sense of unworthiness. Just the act of meeting together for a Bible study was risky. For me the risk was minimal. I would merely be taken to the airport and deported if caught by the officials. For them it meant years of jail time and multiple beatings and torture.

While I was visiting various house churches, another group had the privilege of visiting the famous Chinese Pastor Samuel Lamb. Pastor Lamb had been imprisoned for over 20 years and suffered physical and mental abuse. When someone in the group mentioned to him that they were praying for the persecution of the church to stop in China, Pastor Lamb quickly rebuked them and gave his famous quote, “ More persecution more growth of the church.” In other words, the seed of the church is the blood of the saints.

This event, coupled with many other visits to persecuted church countries, has deeply impacted my view of the normal Christian life. Could it be that the Western Church has had it wrong all along? Our view of safety, comfort, persecution free life has produced a powerless church that has little impact on our culture. Over the past 200 years the church has served as the moral conscience of our great country. Now because of lack of spiritual power and influence in the church, the moral decline in our country is moving at warp speed.

A closer look at Scripture

My experience with the persecuted church and observation of the the early church in Scripture has led me to have a very different view of the the Christian life. A trouble free life is not necessarily a sign of God’s blessings. We can all agree that God has blessed us in many ways and one of those elements is our generally trouble free life. However being trouble free could also be because we are not doing much to disturb the kingdom of darkness.

I am not suggesting that we become someone who intentionally stirs up trouble by in-your-face confrontation, but I am merely suggesting that we evaluate our view of trouble and suffering, and how we deal with difficult circumstances.

God has taught me some valuable lessons that I want to pass on to you. Maybe it will change how you view trouble in your life.

God is fully aware of every element of our life. If it’s true that the living Christ indwells every believer, then God is fully aware of every element of our life. He is even aware of those times when our dumb decisions bring us unwelcome consequences. This knowledge of the indwelling Christ reminds me of the truths of Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

There are two key elements to this passage of Scripture. One, “God causes all things to work together”. Rather than changing our present circumstances, more often than not, God uses the things that are presently happening in our life to accomplish His plan. Secondly, these things will work together for those “who love God”. Notice that is active tense. Those who are presently, actively loving/serving God and pursuing His purpose will experience things all working out.

See God in everything. Since God is ever present in our life then we should examine every event, disappointment and present challenge as a God moment. We must keep in mind that God is fully aware of our predicament. Instead of trying to escape our circumstances, stop and ask God “what He is up to and what is He saying to us?” Ask, “What do you want me to learn through this situation?” That’s because God is more concerned about your response to the situation than He is about how He’s going to deliver or rescue you from the situation.

Change the way you pray in difficult situations. “ And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Sprit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words. The Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers.” (Romans 8:26-27 NLT)

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to pray. That’s the reason the Holy Sprit was given to us to guide and teach us all things. Instead of first praying “Lord deliver me”, pray “Lord show me the greater purpose, help me not to seek deliverance if the greater lesson and glory is for me to endure the course.”

Bottom Line

We must keep in mind that God’s glory and His best for you is the end game, not necessarily deliverance. Remember that suffering and endurance is a spiritual virtue. It may be that God wants to demonstrate His power in deliverance. But it also may be that He wants to show you what He can do in the midst of the storm.

Courage For the New Year

Throughout the Scripture Jesus continually reminds his disciples to be courageous in approaching whatever they may face in life. Was he attempting to pump up the troops to help them accomplish their goals in life or was there something deeper he was conveying?

I think there was a deeper, life changing truth he was trying to instill in his disciples. Jesus was teaching the simple truth of trust. He desires that all of his children would live in the light of absolute dependence upon Him. Trusting in His finished work of the cross for our salvation is just the beginning of our trust journey.

If I could use one word to describe a “super believer” it would be the word TRUST. The ultimate attribute and quality of a follower of Jesus is our ability to fully trust him with every event, situation and aspect of our life. The Scripture says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart (our mind, will and emotions) and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.“ (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Whatever comes our way we are to give it to the Lord and trust Him to work it all out for our good and His glory. When we stress out over a situation we are choosing to withhold our heart from Him. We are choosing to not trust Jesus and our Heavenly Father. How is it that in stressful situations we often forget that God is already fully aware of our situation, and knows the severity of our circumstance? God is never surprised at what happens to us, matter of fact, he knows in advance. That means that every situation is a test of our willingness and ability to fully trust in Him.

That reminds me of a phrase I heard an evangelist give over thirty years ago regarding how God is never surprised at what happens to us. He said, “Has it every occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?” It would be good for us to ponder that statement.

He wants our natural reflex to be that we immediately trust Him. We already have a head knowledge that God is bigger than any situation, but he wants us to move that trust from our head to our heart.

Bottom Line

My challenge to you for 2016 is to set a goal to ‘up your level of trust’ . When you get stressed -out about a situation, give it to God, and practice trusting Him to see you through. Then begin to see every trial as a divine test by the heavenly Father to ‘up your level of trust’.

When something occurs that gets you stressed, worried, or out of control, remember this quote, “Don’t be guilty of mistaking the middle of the chapter for the end of your story.” (Jake Colsen)

Working Past A Cain Mentality

If you’ve ever entertained the thought that Satan’s old tactics are ineffective in today’s contemporary society, then consider the affect of the “Cain mentality.” Cain, who was a son of Adam and Eve, was a farmer that took a great deal of pride in his ability to produce beautiful garden vegetables.

When God demanded a blood sacrifice to atone for personal sins, Cain brought an offering of his best garden vegetables instead of the required animal sacrifice. I am sure that Cain’s vegetables would have been a prize winner at any Home and Garden show. He probably had hundreds of hours invested in grooming and harvesting his vegetables. Adam probably mentored him, teaching him how he had kept the garden of Eden.

But there was one problem with Cain’s offering. God required a blood sacrifice, a lamb without blemish. God’s requirement was not personal sacrifice and self effort, but it was one of obedience and faith. The blood sacrifice was a foretaste of the Lord Jesus’ substitutional death. This was a picture of the Lamb of God without blemish who would die in our place for us, and as us.

When Cain brought vegetables as his sacrifice he was refusing to acknowledge that salvation is of the Lord. He was showing that his self-righteousness, demonstrated by his presentation of his vegetables, were good enough to earn him salvation. When God rejected Cain’s offering it revealed his rebellious heart.

As a true follower of Jesus we trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for our salvation. We call it salvation by grace through faith. But many believers forget that their everyday life is also to be one of faith and trust. They develop a Cain mentality by attempting to please God in their own strength. There are least two ways that we display a Cain mentality.

1. We develop a Cain mentality by refusing to cast our worry, our troubles and our fears on Christ. Like Cain, we develop a sense of self-righteousness that causes us to think that we can do this on our own. But the Scripture teaches that we are to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

2. We develop a Cain mentality when trusting God becomes an after-thought rather than our first thought.The Scripture teaches us, “Trust God with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Bottom Line

Living the Christian life and working past a Cain Mentality is not based on human logic or reasoning, but it’s about giving every element of our life to Him. God wants our walk with Him to be intimate. He wants our relationship to be one of transparency and trust. Faith is not just about believing, but it’s also about giving…giving our life, our burdens, our present and future to Him. Why is it all about faith and giving? Because when we trust Him with all of our life, He has promised that “God will do it all for you.”

Over twenty years ago, I heard Dr. Bill Gilliam give an acrostic that really nailed the point that “God will do it all for you”. Notice the emphasized word in each line. It goes something like this;

I will do it all for you.
I will
do it all for you.
I will do it all for you.
I will do it
all for you.
I will do it all for you.
I will do it all for
I will do it all for you.

Will you be willing to let go of your life and let Him do it all for you? Besides, that
is the normal Christian life.

“Lord, if I don’t have the strength to give you everything, them draw me by the sweetness of Your love.” (Fenelon)

Your Attitude Creates Your Altitude

Years ago I picked up a saying from my Air Force military training; “Your attitude determines you altitude.” This is one of those truths that stick with you throughout your life because you know that your attitude impacts every aspect of your life.

No matter what season of life you are in, your attitude is a key player in your level of contentment. Attitude is more important than wealth, education, good looks, popularity, relationships and almost anything else the world may consider important.

As a follower of Christ, your attitude is an indicator of your level of trust and devotion to God. Having a vast knowledge of Scripture will not necessarily make you a successful believer. Some of the most miserable people I have met are Christians. They weren’t miserable because their faith didn’t work, they were miserable because their attitude was rotten.

If you are a businessperson, your attitude will be a key element in determining your success, but it will also see you through a tough business climate. If you think you can’t succeed or make it through the tough times, then your attitude will be your downfall.

As a committed follower of Jesus, maintaining an attitude that reflects our dependence and trust in a sovereign God to guide and direct us is an important element in maintaining inner peace. Many times we can’t control our circumstances, or what others say about us or do to us, but we can control our attitude. A negative attitude is usually a result of your reaction to a given situation. We can choose to trust God, and believe He is in control, or we can choose to be fearful and hopeless.

When you live with a Christ-centered worldview, the normal response to any crisis is to let go and trust God to give you wisdom and peace. By trusting God in every situation, we develop an attitude of dependence. We have this inner peace that everything is going to turn out right, even though we can’t see the end result. Why? Because we know God is ultimately in control.

The Holy Spirit allowed Paul to use the word “Abba” when referring to God in Galatians. Abba is a term of intimate affection that denotes “Daddy”, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” Our heavenly Father is not only our God but also our daddy/protector who loves and cares for every area of our life.

Bottom Line
Our attitude reflects our level of trust. God wants us to love and trust Him so completely that our life reflects contentment, regardless of our present circumstances. Because we are loved, cared for, and watched over by our loving God, we should rest in the fact that Christ is enough. Remember, your attitude determines your altitude.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NASB)

What’s In Your Hand?

“She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” … (Jesus said) “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to… She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.” (Mark 14)

What a great life lesson for the disciples as they were about to be cast out into the world without Jesus’ physically being with them. It is apparent from the life the Apostles led after the resurrection that they took this life lesson to heart.

This lesson is for us also. Our attitude is to be “doing what we can,” but it may not be as you think. This lesson is not about “doing something for God,” but it is about being faithful to trust God for every moment of your life.

We are to take whatever the Lord has placed in our hands and use it for His glory. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us, “Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”

In other words, the Lord never intended for us to look for things to do for Him, but just be faithful in those things that He places in our hands and brings across our path.

Instead of saying, “Lord I think I want to do this for you”, it should be “Lord, what would you have me to do?” If we will learn to live every day in obedience to Him, and let go of our life in full surrender, He will bring thoughts, circumstances and people across our path that will lead to spiritual fulfillment and abundant fruit.

That’s a difficult lesson for me to learn. I am a doer/performer by nature. My life motto is “You are holding up production, get out of the way and let me do it.” Waiting on God is not one of my virtues. So brokenness for me has been to learn to back off, wait till God speaks and then join Him in what He would have me do. I am sorry to say there have been too many instances when I took things in my own hands and have gotten ahead of God.

While we are waiting on God to lead us we can be like the servant woman in Mark 14, “we can do what we can.” We can love those who are hard to love. We can practice giving away our life to others. We can provide Bibles for those who have never seen or read a Bible. We can bake cookies for our neighbors. We can help someone who is struggling. We can identify a single mom and give them a helping hand. You get the idea, we can give what we already have in our hand and God will open more doors for us than we can ever imagine possible.

During the late 80’s I left the full-time pastorate, received some additional training and opened a pastoral counseling ministry. I was immediately covered up with counseling clients. As a matter of fact, there were times when it would take several weeks to get an appointment with my office. I was perfectly content with spending the rest of my life in this ministry.

I wasn’t impacting a whole community nor ministering to the masses in a pastoral role, but I was reaching a few, one counselee at a time. I was doing what I could and being faithful to what God had placed in my hands.

One day I was approached by a mission leader and asked if I would allow him to translate my conference material into Russian and then go Moscow to teach several hundred pastors. This was just after the curtain had fallen in the communist Eastern Bloc countries. I must admit, I was a tad uneasy about this new opportunity. First, it was Russia. They had been our enemy for most of my life. Secondly, other than a Caribbean cruise, I had never been out of the country. Besides, what could I possibly teach pastors who had been persecuted and thrown in jail for their faith?

But God had once again placed something in my hand and I must use what He had placed in my hand and trust him for the results. On that trip, God took what was in my hand and used it for His glory, far exceeding my expectations.

God used this event to open up a whole new world to me, literally. During the next couple of decades I had the privilege to train thousands of pastors and church planters on five continents, all because I used what was in my hand and trusted God for the rest.

Bottom Line

The Christian life is about surrender. It’s about surrendering all that we are, and all that we hope to be. The Lord wants us to be faithful using what He has already placed in our hand. He wants us be like the woman who washed Jesus’ feet, so it can be said about us “we have done all we could.”

Be Still and I Will Part the Waters for You

“He your teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you. “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right of the left.” (Isaiah 30)

God still speaks to his children by the voice of the Holy Spirit. God speaks to us through a “still small voice” and most often through the Scriptures. Sometimes a biblical passage will be the key to our deliverance. Whether it’s through the Scriptures or that still small voice, before we can hear His voice of direction, God requires something of us: We are to stand still and wait for Him to act.

Stand still and wait for Him to act. This is one of those principles that make easy preaching but difficult to implement. Somehow we think that our experience qualifies us to go ahead of God. Besides, God needs our help doesn’t He? I don’t think so. If we take the sum total of all our good days, it would not equal one of God’s moments of genius. God’s timing and method is always the best for our life.

Joshua was one of the few Israelites who were able to enter the promise land. As Joshua was leading the Israelites across the Jordan River God was saying to them, ‘When you get to the water, plant your feet in the water and just stand there. Be still, rest. Just wait for me to act and I will part the waters for you.’

The Hebrew word for “stand still” means to,“stop all activity, cease all striving”. I am sure some of the men must have said, “Let’s build a quick bridge. With the amount of workers we have we can have a functional bridge in a few days”. Some of the women must have said, “I can’t let my children stand in the water, they might catch cold. “

But in spite of all of the suggestions, and the grumbling, Joshua led the people to obedience and they waited on God, did just as God told them, and the waters departed and they crossed over on dry land.

The problem isn’t that God is not speaking, but the problem is that we are not being still long enough to hear His voice. In other words, we lack the patience to wait, and lack the faith that God will answer.

What is God saying to us through this passage? Stop all activity, cease all striving. Be still, rest…just wait for me to act and I will part the waters for you!

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

Trusting the Lord in all Situations

I think that “trusting the Lord in all situations” is the most difficult aspect of the Christian life. Actually, it is the one big thing that keeps us from living a victorious and fulfilled life.

When I was a kid our church had regular testimony meetings. I have to admit that I enjoyed the testimony meetings more than the preaching. It was a sampling of what it’s like to live as a follower of Jesus. I heard how Jesus intervened in all sorts of life experiences, such as providing money just in the nick of time, how He healed a sick body, or a broken relationship, and miraculously intervened in potential tragic accidents.

I miss those testimony meetings. I believe these meetings did more to confirm God’s Word in my heart than any other church activity. I learned more about God’s intervening power in those meetings than any other activity in the church. I heard credible evidence of God’s faithfulness and power from people I loved and respected. These were real life examples of God’s power lived out in daily experience.

If we will learn to trust Him, God will provide us with plenty of relevant and recent examples of His power and His care in our own lives. Of course the real question is, “Will we trust Him”? Most of the time we hinder God’s provision because He is waiting for us to take that step of faith and put all our trust in Him. The Scripture is clear on this point, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and (then) He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB)

Another passage of Scripture that is relevant to the subject of trust is Isaiah 40, “They that wait upon the Lord will gain their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not get tired, and they will walk and not get weary.” (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)

When I think of this passage of Scripture two thoughts come to my mind. One is the phrase, “Are you living with the turkeys or are you soaring with the eagles?” The other is “God’s perspective is always the best perspective.”

Eagles fly higher than any other creature. Have you ever observed how effortless they reach the high altitudes? They don’t frantically flap their massive wings; they flap only when necessary. They simply extend their wings and ride the God-provided currents to unbelievable heights. When they get to the highest points they have a perspective that us earth bound folks don’t have. The higher they go, the greater the perspective. The more you trust your current circumstances to the Lord, the higher He will carry you so that He can increase your perspective.

Or you can choose to live like a turkey and fly only as high as a tree limb. A turkey reaches its maximum elevation only by constantly flapping his wings – all self-effort. And his perspective is a mere medium size tree top.

With most believers, the trust issue will always be a challenge. That’s because when the Lord calls you to go higher and deeper with Him, you will encounter a new level of trust. Each step of growth requires greater faith and trust.

If you are in the most difficult situation of your life, you can be assured that God is about to increase and deepen your perspective. He is calling you to a new God-encounter and all you have to do is trust Him. Really, if you think about it, that’s all God asks of us, that’s to trust Him.

Never get so busy doing the work of the kingdom that you forget who the King is.

Because We Believe, We Speak

I have often heard other believers say, “I am a private Christian”. Let me say up front that I think all followers of Christ should be a good witness without saying a word. Our demeanor and our countenance should reflect the goodness and the glory of the risen Savior. Christ’s life manifested through our life should bring a glow of inner peace without us having to say a single word.

Have you ever been approached by a total stranger and have them say, “There is something different about you?” One time in the middle of a writing seminar that I was attending, the instructor stopped and looked at me and said, “There is a quality about you that is different.” I must admit I was a little embarrassed but it was the highest compliment someone could ever pay me. He may have not known that it was Christ in me that gave off that “something different”, but I knew the true source. I am not telling you this so you will think I am super spiritual, but to merely reinforce the point of the importance of resting in Christ in order than others can see Christ in our life without us being preachy.

That leads me to the other point I want to discuss and that is having the attitude of being a “private or secret disciple”. Over the years I have had many believers tell me without provocation, that they were a “private Christian” and they kept their Christianity to themselves. In other words, they didn’t see the importance of engaging in conversation with the culture about their faith. I have a problem with that. If our life is to glorify God in all that we do then we will be forced to engage with the culture regarding the truth of the gospel. We are not saved to keep quiet. According to the Scripture, there is no such thing as “private Christianity.”

In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul is describing to the church at Corinth the importance of suffering and trouble in order that the life of Christ can be manifested in and through our life to the culture. After he explains the benefit and role of suffering he makes quite a profound statement. He is quoting David in Psalms 116:10, “It is written: I believed, therefore I have spoken. Since we have that same spirit of faith, (faith that David had), we also believe and therefore speak.“

Paul is saying that when we believe in a resurrected Savior we can’t help proclaim a resurrected Savior. You may say, “Who are we to tell our neighbor, our friends and our co-workers about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for our sin? Who are we to tell them that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man can come to the Father apart from Him?” Wouldn’t that be arrogance? It is only arrogance if it is not true.”

But the gospel is true. Paul even says in the previous letter to the Corinthians in chapter 15, “If Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins. Then those who have died in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

But Christ did die for our sins and did rise from the dead and does live to make daily intercession to the Father for us. Therefore, because we have believed we are compelled to share the good news with others. It is the mark of a true follower of Christ. There is no such thing as “private faith”.

Of course I am not advocating that we all stand on the street corner, waving a Bible and screaming like a maniac. I am merely encouraging us to do what comes natural because we are a believer, and that is speaking of the resurrected Savior and how He has impacted our life. By resting in Christ as enough, the Holy Spirit will bring opportunities for us to display the love and compassion of the Savior in our daily walk. We don’t have to be aggressive, obnoxious, loud or irritating, just available to love the unlovely, to encourage the depressed, and then to share the hope of Christ.

We you join me in asking the Holy Spirit to give you a new awareness of those around you who need Christ’s love, compassion and grace? And then ask Him to give you the courage and strength to boldly proclaim your faith in a risen Savior? Like David, do it because “you believe, therefore you speak.”

Believing God


“He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarded of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

The above verse pretty much sums up the Christian life.  All God asks of us is that we believe Him, trust Him in every situation, even when the outlook is grim.

We see this principle played out throughout the Scripture.  When Jesus was teaching the 5000 in the countryside the disciples wanted to send them home to eat. Jesus wanted them to look to him and trust him in the situation. Jesus then miraculously multiplied the fish and feed the whole crowd with leftovers.

When Lazarus died the disciples and Lazarus’s sisters wondered why He didn’t come sooner.  But Jesus wanted them to trust Him even though it meant the death of Lazarus.  Jesus then proceeded to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus wanted them to trust in Him, even in the face of death.

Enoch is probably one of the greatest examples of trusting God.   The Scripture says, “By faith Enoch was translated.”  Because of his faith and trust in God he didn’t even have to die, God just took him up to heaven.  Enoch trusted God and he had no Bible, no songbook, and no teacher, no indwelling Holy Spirit but yet he trusted and believed God.  We have all those things but find it difficult to trust Him when we are in difficult times.

There are benefits when we choose by an act of our will to trust God.  Listed below are three benefits for you to consider.

  1. God will control our lives.  For the believer who chooses to go it on his own will soon realize his life is spinning out of control. That’s when Satan steps in and attempts to manipulate and gain a foothold in our life.   Faith says I can’t do it on my own, apart from Him I can do nothing.  To allow God to control our lives we must surrender our rights and expectations and trust every area of our life to His control.
  2. We can live in the light.  The world is searching for meaning and significance. They are groping in the dark looking for something to make sense of their life.  When decide to trust God, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will provide light and understanding.
  3. The walk of faith and trust protects us from our enemies.  The Scripture says in Isaiah 54:17 the “No weapon formed against us shall prosper.”  The Hebrew in this verse indicates that “No plan, no instrument of destruction, no satanic artillery shall push you or run over you, but it will be done away with.”

Certainly there are many more benefits of trusting and walking with God.  I would like to encourage you to take a personal inventory to determine if you are trusting God in every area of your life.   If not, acknowledge your lack of trust and then determine with God’s help to trust Him in everything.

Faith ends where worry begins, and worry ends where faith begins.–George Mueller

The Trial by Faith

Last week I played tennis for the first time this year. It wasn’t long before the hot sun took its toll on this old body. After the match two things dawned on me. First, I am not young anymore. Secondly, and more importantly, I was reminded of how important it was for me to resume the pain of my regular gym workouts, especially if I want to finish the match.

I hate working out. I just can’t comprehend those who say, “I just love working out.” I didn’t like working out when I was 20 years old and I don’t like it now. It hurts and “no” I don’t feel better after working out. How can pain, suffering and fatigue make you feel better?

However, I have learned that if I want to last for 2 hours on the tennis court and finish the match, working out must be a part of my daily routine. Even though working out is not my favorite thing to do, I will admit that I do like the benefits of working out. When I am in shape, I have more stamina, feel better and even my sleep is more restful. I know the long term benefits of working out far out weigh the pain and suffering of the moment.

In a spiritual sense, pain, suffering, trials and tribulations are God’s way of getting us in spiritual shape. If it weren’t for troubles and trials then we would become passive and spiritually lukewarm. We would grow complacent and self-absorbed to the point that we would think we didn’t need God every moment.

Ever wonder why so many people turn to God in times of suffering and trials. Over the years, many people have come to my office because of some sort of failure or trouble that had gotten them out of control. They couldn’t fix the problem, but the surprising thing is their problems had a way of pushing them back to the Lord. It came to their attention that they had been living their life in their own strength and fully self-absorbed.Trials not only push us toward the Lord but it helps us retain the spiritual territory we’ve gained, and it allows us to keep the enemy at bay. It reminds us that we need God every moment of the day.The devil’s plan is to take the fight out of us so we give up. But if we are trial-hardened we will trust God completely and look for His divine leadership in every situation.

What kind of trial are you going through right now? I encourage you to take hold of your trial by faith and believe God has allowed it for your benefit. He is using it to make you stronger and to help you have endurance in order to be victorious and finish the match. Whatever you are struggling with today, stop and ask God to show you His perspective on your problem. Look for what He may be trying to show you through this struggle.

“So we are not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making a new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – The Message)