All posts tagged: Trials

The Pit and the Path

In Nehemiah 2:12-16, there is an interesting story. After arriving at the ruins of Jerusalem, Nehemiah desired to inspect the damage. At one point, he must have got off his sure-footed donkey, because of the rubble “Then, I went on to the Fountain gate, and to the King’s Pool, but was no room for the animal that was under me to pass.” (Nehemiah 2:14 NKJV) Nehemiah wanted to check out the damage to the walls himself. He needed eyes on the problem and did it secretly without others unduly influencing his survey. He soon learned how bad it was. Before you can enjoy the blessings and refreshments of the Fountain’s Pool, you must clear away the rubble. This was an ancient problem, played out many times and in many ways. The word in Hebrew for rubble means, ‘ashes, dust, earth, ground, mortar, rubbish.” The root word literally means ‘to be dust.’ Nehemiah understood that the issue was more than just a physical one, but it was also about people. Sometimes, the path to our call …

The hidden cost of faith

As believers, we like telling the world that salvation is a free gift available by faith through Christ’s death and resurrection. But though it is free to everyone who chooses to believe, it also comes with a cost. And that was evident in a recent article on CBN about a young Christian woman, Leah Church, who chose to leave the University of North Carolina’s basketball team rather than compromise her faith.

Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland Credit: SebaSimon/Flickr/Creative Commons

What if God won’t help us?

Español: ¿Y si Dios no nos ayudará? I have some friends who are struggling with problems in their lives. Where I live, the economy is weak and people are losing their jobs, and a good friend is losing a business. The process of closing the doors and trying to pay debts is painful to watch. I am a Christian, and I pray for my friends, but the problems are still with us. Is God ignoring us? Is there a reason why we can’t have a miracle? In the Jewish religion there is a debate called “Holocaust Theology.” After millions of innocent people were killed, in terrible places like Auschwitz, religious Jews started asking ‘Where was God?” They want to know why God did not stop the atrocities against his chosen people. RELATED: How could God have allowed the Holocaust?: Huffington Post I don’t want to be a comfortable Christian, telling those people now, what they should have done differently many years ago. No one wants an armchair quarterback, but we can all relate to the …

Fog in Tronheim, Norway Credit: Ksenia Novikova/Flickr/Creative Commons

Why does God test us?

One re-occurring theme in the Bible is that from time to time God tests believers.  Tests have some similarity with trials, but differ in one important respect. Tests are initiated by God, while trials are not. Trials are simply blatant attacks against Christians. But as we will see in the life of Peter, some tests can have a demonic origin. So why does God test us? Paul writes: 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV) There are three key words in this verse: approved, entrusted and tests and they are all connected.  God wants to entrust us with more responsibility, but He needs to know how we are going to respond. So God tests our hearts, often through difficult situations, to see how we respond. Are we going to give up? Are we going to back away when the going gets tough? A life of faith is a struggle. …

Bethany Hamilton surfing off the coast of Santiago, Galicia, Spain. Photo Commons

God will fulfill His purpose for your life

Despite our setbacks, mistakes, accidents, failures, sins and fears, God fully intends on accomplishing His purposes for our lives. That was the first thing I thought of when I read the powerful testimony of Bethany Hamilton. You may remember her story, Bethany was thirteen years old when a shark attacked her while she surfed in Hawaii in 2003. Though the shark cut off her arm, incredibly Bethany survived. Three weeks later, she conquered her fears and was back surfing. Her strong faith in God helped her through the ordeal and her story would spread around the world because of it. Since then a feature film, Soul Surfer, has been made on Bethany’s triumphal return to surfing. She is now married to Adam Dirks and they have a one year old son. Aside from winning several surfing competitions, she and Adam also placed third during the 2014 filming of The Amazing Race. The World Surf League announced that on May 30, 2016, Bethany, 26, finished third in the World Surf’s League Fiji Women’s Pro. She wasn’t …

Let your trials create stress-wood faith

[by Dean Smith] Biosphere 2, located in Oracle, Arizona, is a 3.14 acre (1.3 hectare) controlled environment that researchers have used for various projects. The giant enclosed glass dome, constructed between 1987 to 1991, contains a variety of environments including rain forest, savannah, desert and even oceans. For decades, it has been used for agricultural research and even for planning how domed environments could function on other planets. As these different environments were created, the researchers made an interesting discovery. When they planted various types of trees, they found in this perfect environment the trees grew much quicker than they did in the wild. However, before the trees reached their full size, many toppled over or began to lean.

Difficult times can be good for you

A study published in the Journal Social Science and Personality Science states people who successfully journey through difficult times can end up enjoying life more than those who don’t. Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada and Barcelona, Spain’s School of Management and its Universitat Pompeu Fabria surveyed 4,986 people to find out how difficult times affected them. First they asked them if they experienced difficult times such as a death in the family or divorce. Those who said yes were then asked if they had emotionally dealt with the difficulty or was it still affecting them?