Monday, May 28, 2012

This is a Test...Part 1

Matthew 9:29 b “According to your faith let it be done to you” (NIV)

I heard a sermon earlier this year.  It gave me God’s perspective on circumstances in my life.  Tests and trials grow my faith.  Reaffirms what He’s telling me, “it didn’t turn out how you expected, but it did turn out as I expected.”

John 15:2 b while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (NIV)

God prunes every branch so it will be even more fruitful.  Since I am part of the branch, I must endure the pruning.  With the plants in my garden, I prune, I cut away dead leaves, cut off flowers that are past their prime, or parts that are going a way I don’t want it to go.  This hurts the plant.  Yet the plant bounces back.  Because the dead is removed, it sends nutrients to make another bloom or stem.  It grows beautifully because of my care.  The same happens when God prunes us. 

And what if a plant does not move on to grow new, but keeps sending nutrients to the dead parts?  It is fighting against what is best for it and it slows the growth.  Again, the same when I stubbornly refuse to die to self and go the way God wants.

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:  "See I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?"  Jeremiah 9:7 (NIV)

God will refine me, test me to rid me of my sin.

because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.  Hebrew 10:14

See, by Jesus' sacrifice, He made me perfect.  I need not do anything else but profess and live out my faith.  It's the ‘live out my faith’ in which God works on, so I’m being made holy.  God sees me as perfect - let that sink in.  Yet, I am being made holy.  Test and refinement, moving me towards that full perfection.  Each step removing the sin in my life.

Test: Pressure

How do I handle stress?  Usually not good.  Remember, anxiety?  Yes, I used resort to rude, angry, demanding behavior when I’m stressed. 

Psalm 50:15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (NLT)

God is teaching me to turn to Him.  To glance at my circumstances and focus on Him.  Also, if I’m feeling stressed, I step back.  I look to what all I think I need to do.  I seek God’s help to prioritize what I’m doing. 

In the sermon, it pointed out that we lose patience with God and often take the matter in our own hands, think Sarah and Hagar.  Sarah brought Ishmael to God.  She wanted God to bless ‘her’ son.  Yet that wasn’t God’s plan. 

Jeremiah 2:13“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (NLT)

I love cistern example as well.  I remember the first time I heard this passage and thought on its meaning.  It was during my weight loss journey.  I could easily see many places in my life where I dug my own cistern and then asked God to bless my plan.  Particularly, when I start doing what God calls me to do and then add to it my own action plan.  I’m showing I don’t trust God and His ways when I do that.  I must have patience to follow God’s plan for me.

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