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  • We all have them.  Some more than others.  James tells us to count them all joy (1:2), but it’s easier said than done.

    The book of Job offers wisdom for trusting God in times of distress.  When Job emerged from his test of faith, he told God, I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes (Job 42:5 NLT).  Job’s trouble transformed his knowledge of God from “crumbs of rumors” (42:5 MSG) to feasts of faith. 

    Here are three reminders to help us grow spiritually during trial seasons:

    1. God’s plan is bigger than we think.

    God is orchestrating the affairs of this world in ways far beyond our comprehension. Job was unaware of his role in God’s plan to remind Satan that he is a defeated foe.  Satan thought Job only served God for the benefits. He claimed that if God removed the blessings and protection from Job, he would reject God.  Satan didn’t understand Job’s motive, but God did.  God knew Job would stand under pressure. How? Because Job was so convinced of God’s unfailing love (10:12) that he would trust Him even when he lost everything (13:15; Read also Habakkuk 3:17-18).

    To feast on faith, we must settle two issues: God orders the steps of our life (Psalm 37:23), and His love will never abandon us (Romans 8:31-39). If God allows it, He will handle it. Our present circumstances have not changed the nature of God (Hebrews 13:8). He is always worthy of our devotion!

    2. God’s focus is on developing our character.

    God is committed to the process of shaping us into “a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21 NKJV).  Job had a flaw in his character that God was working to correct.  Job 32:1-2 says, “he was righteous in his own eyes” and “he justified himself rather than God.” Job filled several chapters with emotional outbursts of self-pity. When he stopped long enough to hear God speak, he developed a deeper understanding of how great God is and how insignificant he was (42:6).

    God doesn’t want our conditional trust, He wants us to die to ourselves.  Paul said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8 ESV).

    God will also use disappointment with people to shape our souls and cause us to find our fulfillment only in Him. Job was hurt by his friends who misrepresented God while dispensing theological advice.  When Job prayed for his friends as God commanded, he was restored.  Repentance and forgiveness released blessings.

    To feast on faith, we must surrender to the process of becoming like Jesus. Instead of asking, “Why, Lord?” learn to ask, “What now, Lord?”  God “will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV).

    3. God’s viewpoint is eternal.

    When Job was at his lowest point; when nothing seemed secure, he held on to one truth. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25 ESV).

    God sees everything from the perspective of eternity. We may not know what is required to accomplish God’s eternal purpose, but we can know that God is with us in our affliction (Isaiah 43:2) and working for our good (Romans 8:28-29).

    To feast on faith, we must understand God is preparing us for eternity with Him (2 Corinthians 4:17, Revelation 21:4). The Apostle Peter encouraged us to look forward with joy. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:12-13 ESV).

    Reposted with permission from Reflections Magazine.

    “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

    2 Timothy 1:7

    Did you know that men can actually turn their brains off and think of absolutely nothing? When I first learned this fact, I was completely stunned. What a thought! I would love to be able to sit and think of nothing, or at least be able to turn the volume down from time to time.

    As I get older, I’m quickly realizing that there are always going to be a million things on my to do list. My mind feels like it’s going at warp speed 95% of the time, and then my thoughts become muddled and disoriented. 

    When I get to this place in my life, fear likes to creep in and I honestly can’t tell what is real and what is anxiety talking. Am I afraid for legit reasons, or have I been listening to the wrong voices all day? 

    Fear is such a nasty little monster, and ever so sneaky and cunning. Before we realize it, we are completely immersed in a different reality where fear is making the decisions. 

    In spite of all of this though, we are reminded that fear is not from God. It is not something that we need to grow accustomed to or comfortable with. We have been given power today ladies! We are immeasurably loved by the King of Kings and He has given us a sound mind. 

    We know that He is able to deliver and keep us. We know that He is strong and excellent. We know that He is faithful and just. Make the decision today to shut out the voice of fear, and listen for the voice of God. 

    Jesus, I am so thankful that I don’t have to live in fear. I know that You are always with me and I’m thankful for that. Help me to have courage today and to be able to discern what voices I need to be listening to. 

    “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3:18

    The second description that James give us of the wisdom of God is one we all strive for:

    PEACE

    In a world filled with turmoil and strife, many people are seeking for peace.  A new friend of mine was showing me pictures of what is happening back in the country she recently left.  People are suffering everything but peace.  We are praying that she will not have to return there, as being a Christian is very dangerous.

    We are so thankful for the peace that Jesus Christ gives us.  Sometimes we let ourselves get bothered and worried about things that we face, and forget that the Lord has told us to not worry about anything, but to pray about everything,  No matter what we face, the Lord wants us to ask Him for wisdom and we can be sure that the answers He give us will give us peace of mind and heart.im for

    The NLT uses “peace loving” in this verse.  Jesus wants us to be peacemakers.  Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

    We may not always see eye to eye with everyone we are associated with.  Some may irritate us or cause us problems.  But as a child of God, we are called to be peacemakers.  James tells us we can go to the Lord and ask Him for the wisdom to handle the situation.  Sometimes, He will just tell us to keep our mouths shut. We can be sure that what He instructs us to do will help to bring peace and not turmoil.

    Tomorrow we will look at Gentleness.

    Prayer: Jesus we all face situations where we need your wisdom to keep peaceful.  Thank you that you are there when we call, and that you will give us the right words and actions.

    Devotion by Anne Johnston