Category: Trials or Troubles


LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN

By: Gary L. Rodgers

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2 Corinthians 11:23Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

No doubt Paul learned to dance in the rains, rather the trials of his faith.

LIFE HAS MANY STORMS

I rather like the caption above and its saying. I remember as a young boy I loved playing in the rain. And of course as I got older that became a short-lived experience. Now when it rains I run and then it’s every man for himself.

Interestingly enough life is filled with many storms. We all go through them at different times and to different degrees for various reasons. Some storms are so threatening and seem so unbearable. But Christ our Savior always travels with us through those storms. Typically He can be found resting in the bottom of the ship while we stand on the decks being pounded and beaten by the fierceness of the storm, wondering and worrying if we are ever going to get through it.

I have a nephew that once took a job on a fishing vessel that fished out on the Bering Sea. On TV I have watched fishermen out on that Sea and thought to myself what a fearful and dangerous job to have, never knowing from day-to-day if you would live to see tomorrow. The storms that we face as a child of God will rage at times with such fury that we fear for our lives and well-being and we cry out Lord, save us: we perish. (Matthew 8:25) Some brothers and sisters are caught up in some storms that carry on throughout their lifetimes, yet they seem to possess a spirit about them of joy and calm that goes beyond the voice of reason and understanding with many of us. Why is that? It’s because they aren’t waiting for the storm to pass, rather they are learning to dance in the rains just like the caption says. While storms can at times bring about some great destructive forces they can for the most part bring some good as well. When our lawns turn brown and the ground is dried out, a three-day steady rain can be a welcoming friend. But when we face months of no rain then all of a sudden we get these horrific down pours that bring on flash floods and devastating ruin and destruction we head for higher ground. That is what the Lord wants from us. When we go through those days of trial and hardship He wants us to look to Him as our refuge on high ground. But what about seeking His wisdom and direction long before the storm comes; wouldn’t that be much better? How sad even as parents that it takes a storm in our children’s lives sometimes before they cry out to us. Yet we are always ready to listen and help. Lord please forgive us for ignoring you until we are in the midst of trouble. Help us to be more open to fellowshipping with you on calm seas and daily seeking the direction that we need for our lives.

WHY DO WE FACE SO MANY STORMS

So why do we have all of these storms. What is behind it all? Some storms come along to give us that necessary spurt of growth where we are lacking in faith. Some storms come about so that we learn to glorify God thanking Him for His wonder, power and holiness. Some storms come to rid us of all the clutter of worldliness so that we can come to Christ seeking His best for our lives. I am reminded of a poem that a friend of mine sent to me after I had gone through a storm in my life where I spent nearly a year in a wheelchair not knowing if I would ever walk again. The Poem was written by Martha Snell Nicholson entitled –

Treasures

One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.

And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift your empty hands to Me!”

So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.

And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!

When we labor to gain the things of this world and leave God out of the picture we can expect the chastening rains to come and wash away the unnecessary trash and debris in our lives. Then when we are finally empty-handed we can reach toward our God in prayer with a repentant heart, and He will fill our lives with the good treasures of heaven. Some storms we face do come because of our willful sins and open disobedience.

SOME STORMS ARE SENT SO THAT WE CAN KNOW THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS

When I read what Paul had to say in Philippians about the sufferings that he went through for Christ that he counted it all but loss, I stand in amazement when I come to the section where he spoke of the fellowship of his sufferings. Imagine that, we share in a fellowship with Christ that goes beyond words of reason and human understanding when we suffer for the cause of Christ.

Philippians 3:8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 5 –

Matthew 5:11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

No doubt Paul understood what this fellowship was when we read about all that he went through in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.  My goodness, when I think about some of the things that I went through in my Christian walk it seems small by comparison. But it is my hope that I have passed the test of faith and that someday I will hear my Lord say to me, well done thou good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:21) When the storms of life come my way it is my hope and prayer that I will be able to dance in the rains so that I too can understand the fellowship of his sufferings. Jesus is that friend who will help us to dance in the rain. I am reminded of a great old Hymn that tells me why we so often don’t weather the storms the way that we should.

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and grief’s to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

CLOSING

Are you facing some storms in your life? I wish to encourage you to take them to the Lord in prayer as one of His children. What father would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish from him?

Matthew 7:9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

The Lord loves His children in the same way that we love our own. If we take all that we are confronted with in our life to the Lord He will give us the strength, courage and power to face any and all situations that we run into. Often we don’t understand why we go through some of these storms. Sometimes the reason behind them may not be made known for years. Sometimes we won’t know the answer until we see Jesus. But one thing for certain He does work in our lives even when we think not. I’ve said this before and I believe that it is worthy to repeat. When you’re going through a trial and you can’t seem to get an answer from the Lord always bear in mind that the teacher is always quiet whenever there is a test.

THE INVITATION

Friend if you need the powerful hand of the Lord in your life to get you through the trials that you are faced with let me encourage you to come to the Lord in prayer putting your complete trust and faith in Him as your Lord and Savior. Then as one of His children He will help you get through every hardship that you will face in your obedient Christian walk. If you are ready to become one of His own then may I encourage you to follow along in this prayer and ask the Lord to save you.

Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

If you have sincerely prayed this prayer then you have the right and privilege to go to the Lord in prayer about the trials that you are faced with.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

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WHO THREW THAT ROCK

WHO THREW THAT ROCK

By; Gary L. Rodgers

Throwing rocks can sometimes be fun, like when you throw a flat rock across a pond to see how many times it will skip across the water. Sometimes throwing rocks are a means of protection when we are about to be bit by an animal. Sometimes throwing rocks can bring us trouble, especially when you break a window or dent a car. We all know what trouble is, it’s when Dad comes outside and wants to know who threw that rock! Troubles: don’t we all have them! Trouble seems to have its way of finding us just when things seem to be going great. We don’t look for trouble but it seems to stick up its ugly head every now and then just to let us know that it is still around.

TROUBLES OR TRIALS

Not to confuse our thinking here, I wish to clarify that I am not talking about trials. I believe that there is a difference between what troubles are and what trials are. I believe that trouble comes to us from a variety of sources and is generally a result of sin either from our disobedience or from the sinful acts of others. Troubles are designed to strike fear in our hearts. Troubles are meant to hurt and will hinder our spiritual growth and affect our testimony. Sometimes troubles are brought on ourselves through our disobedience and our forsaking God by turning our backs on Him.

Deuteronomy 31:16And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go [to be] among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God [is] not among us?

18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.

When we provoke God to anger and jealousy we can be sure that troubles are headed our way.

THE SOURCE OF OUR TROUBLES

Sometimes they are direct attacks of Satan. Sometimes they come from people who hate us because of our beliefs, or from people who like to stir up trouble and would enjoy seeing us struggle or fall. Sometimes they come because we took a gamble on sin and as always with sin we lose.

Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

One thing is for certain as written in Job 14:1 “Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble.”

Troubles come our way for all sorts of reasons but God will give us the rocks needed to deliver us from our troubles if we bring our problems to Him.

TRIALS ARE FROM GOD

On the other hand trials I believe are typically things that God will use to test our obedience, strengthen our faith and bring glory to Him. It is important how we look at troubles and trials and at how we approach them. No doubt that Job faced some tough trials, and his so-called friends tried to search out the reasoning behind it. They believed that Job had done something serious to offend God and that was why he was facing what they saw to be troubles. They believed that what Job was facing he brought upon himself. But Job approached it as a trial, and although he lost his children and his wealth Job maintained his integrity as we read;

Job 1:21And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

I believe that we should take a moment when we are faced with these situations to analyze them to try to see if we can ascertain what they truly are. We should be asking ourselves whether or not we have sinned against God which has resulted in our being faced with trouble? Or, is our faith being tried so that we can advance to our next stage of spiritual growth, or is God preparing us for a specific task? Sometimes children and young people have a way of looking at things in a different light, like in David’s case with Goliath; and maybe it would be a good idea if we paid some attention to that. I’ll never forget the lesson that my youngest son taught me about praying bigger than our need when he was around five years old. My wife and children and I were coming back from New York State in the middle of winter late at night during a snow storm. We were coming down through the mountains in Pennsylvania and the snow was a heavy wet snow that clung to our wiper blades. The wiper blades were so coated with snow that the wiper motor got hot and quit working. I had a small clear spot on my windshield about 5 inches in diameter that I could see out of. The headlights shining against the snowflakes bothered me at times so I happened to glance down at my young son who was sitting between my wife and me. His little hands were folded and tucked between his knees, eyes shut and head bowed. I asked him what he was doing and in an agitated voice he said I’m praying dad! I said are you praying that Jesus will fix the windshield wipers? Well that was about all that he could take of my puny little faith; he looked up at me and in a really agitated voice he said no dad! I’m praying that the sun will come out! None of us could hold it back, we all burst out laughing at the way that he said it. It was kind of like; boy dad, you got some real faith there haven’t you?

FACING A PROBLEM OR A TRIAL

In 1 Samuel 17 we find the story of David and Goliath. Goliath stood in the way in what the men of Israel viewed as being a giant of a problem for forty days. I believe that David who was the eighth[1] son of Jesse the Bethlehemite viewed Goliath as something more than a massive problem. I believe that he was trying to get his brothers and the men of Israel to get their eyes off of the size of the challenge and view it for what it truly was, a trial of their faith.[2] They were looking at going out against this challenge under their own might with sword and shield. David looked at this as a trial that needed to be met head on under God’s direction. So David took his staff and chose five[3] smooth stones from a brook to go up against Goliath. Everyone, including Goliath looked at being taken down by a young lad with a slingshot to be a joke.

1 Samuel 17:42And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was [but] a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

43 And the Philistine said unto David, [Am] I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

  44And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

When God sends us out in the face of a trial it is never a joke! He is with us and we can be sure that He has given us the rocks that we need for the situation at hand. David went out against what he saw as a nothing of a man, (“this uncircumcised Philistine” – verse 36) When David went out he faced this giant through God’s strength and not his own. David saw GOD in this trial; others saw Goliath, a giant, a problem.

There is something about the smirk attitude of an arrogant person that makes you want to chop them down to size.

1 Samuel 17:45Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

It doesn’t take a whole army to face a challenge. One man and God can defeat a whole mountain side of troubles. One man trusting God can stand victorious in any trial.

1 Samuel 17:50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but [there was] no sword in the hand of David.

51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

So who threw that rock? It was David a servant of the lord, and it was God that handed it to him.

CHRISTIANS GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

Are you struggling with troubles and trials in your life? Then may this simple prayer be your key to victory. Lord Jesus I ask that you deliver this brother or sister from the challenges that they are faced with. If they come before you bound as a prisoner because of sin then I ask for their sakes that you would give them the victory to break those shackles of sin so that they can be freed from the fear and hurt that they are currently dealing with. If they are faced with a trial then I ask that you would help them to see what steps they need to take in order to grow and advance in their faith to please you and to prepare them for your service. Amen!

Suggested reading: James chapter 1

THE INVITATION

Are you faced with troubles and find yourself empty-handed with nothing to fight back with? Then I invite you to come to the one who owns the armory. He has everything that you need to have victory in your life. You will not face any trouble or trial that He can’t equip you for to make you a champion. He used a young Shepherd Boy to honor His name and take down a giant. And he will give you and me the rocks we need to face every situation in our lives. Simply bow your head and pray this prayer with a sincere heart.

Dear Lord, I come before you as a lost sinner needing a Savior. I lay all my sins before you and ask that you would please forgive me for each and every one of them. There is nothing so vile in our lives that your shed blood cannot wash away from us. I believe in you and trust you with my life. Please send the Holy Spirit into my heart to teach and train me in the ways of righteousness.

Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision.  Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!


[1] In a study that I have been doing on Bible Numerics I find it interesting that this number eight in scripture suggests the meaning of “New Beginnings or New Order of Things.” David was to become the new order for Israel when he would take the throne to become Israel’s new King. In looking back to 1 Samuel 17: 17 & 18 you will also notice the number ten is presented in scripture. The number ten suggests the meaning of “Testimony, Law and Responsibility.” David’s brothers and the men of Israel had a responsibility to take a stand against this Philistine giant; and to maintain their testimony as being the armies of the living God!

[2] The reason why I see Goliath as a trial is because of what it says in verse 16. “ And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.” The number forty in scripture suggest the meaning of Trials, Probation & Testing. I believe that Israel was being tested by God and it took a young Shepherd boy to show them that.

[3]Why five when it only took one stone to kill Goliath? Five is the number for God’s grace and God’s goodness. Grace has for itself a broad definition of the everlasting protective goodness of God’s favor toward us to help us steadily persevere in the Christian life. When God sends you out to do something, He always sends you out with the assurance that you can rely upon Him to get you through it. Hand in hand we go with Christ through the battlefield of life. Pressing forward in our plight; pressing forward day and night.

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