Thursday, May 01, 2008

May, 2008 Devotionals: Handling Trials

Introductory Note: This month as I journal my devotionals I will again be using John MacArthur’s devotional book, Strength for Today as my devotional guide for my morning quiet times with God. And for this month’s focus MacArthur will be highlighting how we Christians deal with tests, trials, tribulations, and/or temptations - what I call the four "BIG Ts" of life. My guess is that anyone reading here will benefit from following along and mediating on God's word with me as we explore how to deal with the challenges of life. … If you do want to join me in this month's devotional entries, they will be posted as individual comment entries to this blog. ... <’BB><


A Year of Daily Devotionals: A Journal by Bill Berry … May, 2008

May 1, 2008 …

Passage of the Day: Job 5: 7 … 7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.

My Journal for Today: Trials, tribulations, temptations, testing, troubles … all the big “T”s that we’d like to avoid in life. Yet somehow, intuitively, we know that we’re going to face all of these “Ts.” This month I’ll be looking at these, again with John MacArthur’s help from his devotional book, Strength for Today. And to begin this, we go to the #1 book in the Bible on troubles and trials; and that, of course, is in the study of the life of Job, the oldest book in the Bible and the account of God’s exemplary “trouble child,” who was the subject of Satan’s ire and became God’s example for all mankind of handling trials and tests.

It’s very easy for any of us to get down when suffering or trials visit our lives. The truth of today’s verse, along with all that Job faced, reminds us that tribulations are just a part of life. We’re all going to face them at some time and in some fashion in our walk on this earth. And so, knowing this, we must guard against letting the challenges of life get us down.

Jonah (see Jonah, Chapter 4) and Elijah (in 1st Kings 19: 1 – 14), prophets of God, let their anguish over trials in their respective lives cause them to even pray to die. And I would expect that some of you reading this may have been at that point sometime in your life. But fortunately for these two, and perhaps you, God doesn’t always answer “YES” when we pray for things that we don’t need or shouldn’t have.

But we have to remember the wonderful words of our Savior … (from John 16: 33) …

John 16: 33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

And even though our trials may not be as intense as those of Job or others, we can also take heart from the magnificent promises of two passages of scripture that I rely upon almost daily to deal the challenges of my life or of those whom I love. Let me post them here, because I think I’ll be making reference to them more than once during this month as we talk about dealing with the troubles of life. Please note and meditate on 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9 … and I would exhort you to have these two deeply planted in your minds/hearts …

1st Cor. 10: 13 No temptation [also translated “test, trial, or tribulation”] has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

2nd Cor. 12: 9 But He [Jesus] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore [Paul writes], I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

God’s always there for me, no matter what the trial may be, … no matter how tough it is for me to handle, … God is there, faithfully, to give me the strength so that I may stand up under the challenges I face. And I need not fear because God will always be there to lift me up when I am down [find and meditate on Deut. 31: 8 and Isaiah 41: 10 on your own].

My Prayer Today: Thank you, Lord, for always being there to lift me – in ANY trial. Amen