Glory in Tribulation? Really?


glory

 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5

Throughout the school year our students are required to memorize different portions of Scripture. The past few weeks our children have been working to memorize Romans 5:1-8. As we have been studying this passage, verses three through five have really spoken to my heart.

Can we really “glory in tribulation”? It tells us in this verse that we can. How do we do this? First, let us look at the meaning of the word “glory”. It is used as a verb, which means it requires some sort of action.  I believe that the word “glory” here means to exult with triumph; rejoice. We are being called to rejoice, even in tribulation. 

One of my favorite examples of this is found in the Bible. It is the story of Paul and Silas in prison. Do you remember the story?  You can read about it here: Acts 16. Basically, Paul and Silas find themselves in prison for casting a demon out of a young woman. It made the masters of this woman angry and they had the men thrown into jail.

Now, here is where the “glory in tribulation” comes into play. Around midnight, Paul and Silas are sitting in jail. Do you know what they were doing? Let us look at verse 25:And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Imagine that. These two men are sitting in the jail at midnight. They are not crying and complaining. Thy are not fussing with each other. They are singing and praising God! These two men have learned to “glory in tribulation.”

How do we glory in tribulation? Just as Paul and Silas did. When we find ourselves in a rough spot, we need to keep praising God. Remember the word “glory” here is a verb. It means it is something we are to do. This means we have a choice to make. Do we rejoice and praise God even in our struggles or do we sit down and complain and cry about how unfair life is? The Bible tells us to glory in tribulation. It is our choice.

So, we have talked about how to glory in tribulation. Let us look at the rest of the verse and see why we are to do this. The second part of this verse reads: “knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”  Here is the answer. We can glory in tribulation because we know that through it we are going to learn something.

Each time we go through a trial God is teaching us patience. Along with learning patience we are also gaining some experience and knowledge. True knowledge does not come from a text-book, it comes from experience and through the trials of life. As we go through these trials and gain this knowledge we develop hope.

Why could Paul and Silas sing and praise God while sitting in jail? Because they had been through tribulation before and they had learned patience. They had gained some knowledge and they had hope that God was going to take care of them no matter what they were going through.

You see, when we learn to glory in tribulation, we defeat satan’s plan. He wants nothing more that to see you go through rough times, beat down and defeated. When he sees us praising God and dancing in the rain it takes away the only power he has. Remember, satan has no power over you. He will try to magnify your problems and get you to doubt God’s love for you. He is the father of all lies. It is up to us keep the faith, to glory in tribulation.

My prayer for us this morning is simple. I pray today that we will learn to glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope. Praise God while you are in your storm. Remember that He loves you and He has great plans for you.

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Motivational Monday: “Oceans” by Hillsong United


JesusWalkingOnTheWater

“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” Psalm 62:2

I have had this song on my heart for the past few days. When I awoke this morning with it still playing in my head I decided that I needed to share it with all of you.

Have you ever found  yourself in the midst of  a storm? Sometimes it is by your own doings and sometimes it is at no fault of your own. Either way, God wants to use this storm to strengthen your faith. This will be the time when you will put into practice all the things that you have learned as a Christian. If you will remember to call out to God, to put your faith in Him, He will lift you up. He will be the rock that you can stand on. God can use the storms in your life to teach you great things and to bring you to a better place. When God calls you out upon the waters, step out in faith. I promise you, He will meet you there.

What Do Your Words Say?


Embrace_Words

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

I have a confession to make: I do not always speak kind words. Shocking, I know. Please tell me that I am not the only one who struggles in this area. I am sure that I am not. The reason I can be sure of this is for two reasons: first, because I know we are all human; second, because the Bible has warning after warning about watching our tongues. This lets me know that God understood that we would need guidance in this area of life, possible more than any other.

Words. Such powerful little things. Too many times I think we forget the power our words hold. How many times do we open our mouths and say something, never taking the time to think how it will affect someone else? If we are honest there are even times that we KNOW how our words will affect someone else and we choose to say them anyway.

I think in order for us to know how to control our words and our tongues we need to look into what the Bible says about them.

In James 3:8-10 we read: “But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Now, you may be saying, “Valarie, that does not bring me very much hope.” I thought the same thing at first, but then I realized something. Look at the first sentence again: “No HUMAN BEING can tame the tongue.” Do you see that? This verse tells me right from the start that without God guarding my tongue I am hopeless. I can not do it on my own.

In Psalm 141:3 we read: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

Here is our answer. We must allow God to guard our tongues. Without God we have no hope of controlling our mouths.

You may be asking: “Why is it important for me to control my mouth?” or “What does it matter what I say?”

Here is what I have found as I have been studying on controlling my tongue:

  • Matthew 12:34b: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
  • Proverbs 13:3: “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
  • Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
  • Proverbs 15:1: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
  • James 1:26: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
  • Matthew 12:37: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

I want to end with this last Scripture: Matthew 12:36: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”

When I read this Scripture I was quickly reminded of just how important my words are. Yes, our words effect other people. Yes, our words show what is in our hearts. But, most importantly I realized in studying about my words that one day I am going to give account for every careless word I said. I do not know about you, but for me that is a very sobering thought. How many times do careless words come out of our mouths and we just let them go? If we find that more careless words are coming out of our mouths than encouraging, uplifting words maybe we need to examine our hearts and see what is in there that we need to turn over to God.

Let us remember today that we are responsible for every single word that comes out of our mouths. Alone we can not control our tongues. We must allow God to speak through us. Our words can heal or hurt, they can build up or knock down, and they can bring others to God or cause them to turn away.

I want to offer some encouragement today. Let us allow God to guard our tongues. Let us focus on speaking words that encourage and lift up rather than discourage and tear down. Let us use the mouths that God gave to us to minister for Him. Most of all I want us to remember that in the end we will stand before God and answer for the words that we allowed to come out of our mouths.

In closing I would like to leave us with this questions to ponder: What are my words saying?

The Greatest Love of All


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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today was a day to celebrate love. Today was filled with flowers for some, candy for others, and for us it was filled with those little Valentine’s Day cards that the kids hand out at school.

I personally love Valentine’s Day. What can I say? I am a hopeless romantic at heart. As a child my parents made sure that each Valentine’s Day was special. One year I received flowers and balloons at school and was the envy of the whole class for the rest of the day. When I met my husband, while still in high-school, I again received flowers on Valentine’s Day. All of the girls “oohed and aahed” over them with me. Still, as a grown woman I think Valentine’s Day is one of the most fun holidays we celebrate.

The past few days, as Valentine’s Day was approaching, I began to think about God and His love for us. How much we take that love for granted. All around us, every day, God shows His love for us. He does not have one particular day each year that He waits to send us flowers or candy. God blesses us each day with a magnificent sunrise and each evening with a beautiful sunset. Each spring He brings us flowers to bloom and new growth of all kinds. In the winter God dusts the ground with snow and gives us a winter wonderland to enjoy. In the fall God paints the leaves orange, and red for us and gives us cool breezes to relieve us from the heat of summer. How long could we sit and talk about the love of God?

There is one gift that our Heavenly Father gave to us that surpasses any gift we will ever receive. This gift is better than chocolate, better than flowers, and better than any stuffed teddy bear you could ever be given. This gift is eternal. Flowers fade, candy is gone in a day(sooner than that if you live in my house) and stuffed animals lose their shape. The gift that God gave to each of us is eternal life. He gave this to us through the death of His son Jesus Christ. The gift of eternal life is there for all of us to receive. It is free. All we have to do is reach out and claim it.

John 3:16 tells us: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Today, no matter if you received one hundred gifts or no gifts, please remember that God has a gift for you. It is the greatest gift that was or will ever be given. This gift is yours for the taking. You can not earn it, you can not buy it, and you can never find it anywhere else except through Jesus Christ.

I want to encourage you today. Accept the gift that God has given to you. Reach out and claim it. We would never reject flowers or candy when given to us by someone who loves us on Valentine’s Day. Please do not reject this priceless gift of love and eternal life that God is handing to you. I promise that it will be the best gift you have ever received. It is perfect, and eternal.

God bless you.

Happy Valentine’s Day from my heart to yours.

Learning to Bend


Rainbows in Belfort

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

I have heard that the reason some trees break in a storm and some trees survive it is because some know how to bend and some do not. Have you ever watched the trees sway in the fierce winds of a storm? A few years ago, a hurricane passed through our area. We sat on the front porch of my mother and father-in-law’s house and watched as the storm passed through. They have a very large oak tree in the front yard. We watched as the wind pushed the limbs of that tree in all directions, almost to its breaking point, but never once did it break.

As I told you last time that I wrote to you, our family has been going through some major changes in our lives since the new year. You can read about it in my post: A Season of Change. We are finally all settled into our new home. What a blessing this journey has been! I can not say that it has not come with its share of storms, however. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from this whole process has been how to bend.

I never realized when we started the process of moving, exactly what we were facing. All I knew was that God said to move and so we did. Throughout our journey we faced blessings along with trials. The one thing I am sure of is that God was with us through it all and He carried us every step of the way. Even in the midst of uncertainty, God placed a peace in my heart that I knew could only come from Him.

God was in control of what felt like a storm to us; all we had to do was to learn to bend. Every time a storm came we would hand it over to God and every single time He would bless us.

Every trial we faced seemed like a mountain to us. More than once I watched as God not only carried us through that trial, but it was as if He simply pushed that mountain out of the way and set our feet back on a solid path.

I want to encourage you today. There are going to be times in your life when you are going to have to face storms. You, just like those trees, are going to have to learn to bend. If you can not learn to bend, then you are most certainly going to break. I have said from the very first day of 2014 that God has a plan for each of us. I firmly believe that still holds true today. Even if God’s plan for your life feels as if you are in the middle of a storm, learn to bend. God will take care of you.