Embracing To Glorify

Isaiah 43:7 says that we are created to glorify God. One of the ways we do that is when we embrace our trials. They are divine gifts that bestow benefits we lacked.


Paul is such an example for me of one who embraced his trials so that he could glorify the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:17 says, “But the one who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”


Paul quoted this from Jeremiah 9:24 which says, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me…” The Lord desires to draw us deeper in our relationship with Him through our trials.


2 Corinthians 11:30 J B Philips says, “Oh, if I’m going to boast, let me boast of the things which have shown up my weakness.” Ponder this. To boast means: brag, exult, or glory. Are you bragging about this great trial you are in or complaining?


Let me break it down this way. What happens when you can no longer do what you used to do because of your trial? Weakness shows how absolutely we are dependent on the Lord. It also shows how quickly our flesh rises. Our protesting flesh is an indicator that we need to humble ourselves so that His grace can come.


Our weakness makes us feel inadequate. It is because we are looking at ‘me’ instead of Him. Therefore it signals that we need to refocus and center on the Lord’s provision for our needs.


Paul got it right. Once the Lord told him that His grace was sufficient for Paul’s thorn in the flesh, he exulted in his infirmity. I picture it like this: I get it Lord, now I understand what You are doing! You want to use my weakness so that Your strength is more evident as a testimony to others!


2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “…Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


Trials reveal the hidden pockets of our flesh that only rise when challenged. Have you ever been frustrated because of your trial? Years ago the Lord gave me this definition for frustration: God intercepting my way to redirect me into His way. Instead of resisting, let us embrace what He has allowed that He may be glorified!

Giving Freely

The Holy Spirit pointed something out to me that I want to share with you. 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 were written about giving financially. Yet we can apply this principle of giving freely from our hearts.


In 2 Corinthians 8:2, Paul was writing about the churches in Macedonia. Listen to the words. It says, “That in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.”


They were in a great trial and deep poverty. Verses 3-4 said that they gave beyond their ability. Verse 1 says that it came from God’s grace bestowed on them. They implored Paul urgently to let them be part of the ministry to help others in their need.


God’s grace abounds to us so that we are able to give freely. Think about when you fall into a trial. It is unexpected. There is no warning. Your life as it was before has taken a new course.


In my own life, when I fell into the ravine, everything that I did stopped. I was in intense pain, I could not breathe and talk at the same time. If someone was talking to me, I was three sentences behind them.


What did I do? I drew into myself in order to cope. My identity revolved around my health issues. I didn’t understand the power of God’s grace at that time of my life. It took many more trials before I learned to give out of my crucible of need.


Paul spoke to the Corinthians about their hearts. 2 Corinthians 6:11-12 says, “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our hearts are wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.” !!


Does that speak to you? It is so easy to be caught up in our misery. That is satan’s tactic. Self-absorption. Pride causes us to look at our lack, rather than leaning hard on His abundant grace, which is always available to the humble. Like the Macedonians, our greatest joy and fulfillment is in reaching out to others in our need to meet their needs. It is being other minded.


I remember one time after the fall I was feeling so lonely. I was a shut-in because I had no strength to be out and about. I asked the Lord who else was lonely. He gave me a name. I called them. It was a mutually encouraging gift of grace.


When I finally could sew for five minutes at a time, I made beautiful pillow cases for other shut-ins. It was a labor of love. It took me a long time, but it was worth it because it was a gift from my heart. I encourage you today to freely give from your heart to someone in need: a card, a phone call, a text, or something that you make especially for them.

Trials+Grace=Perseverance

Our trials are His magnificent tools to conform us to His image. They bring us into weakness so that His strength is very evident to us and others. They are a testimony of His grace at work.


Paul’s trials were his credentials for ministry. He was highly educated, and a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Yet he counted those things as rubbish. Philippians 3:10 says, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”


2 Corinthians 6:4-9 listed his credentials that empowered him for ministry. I’m stringing them for you: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, fastings, dishonor, evil report, deceivers, unknown, dying, chastened, sorrowful, poor, and having nothing.

Consider your own credentials. What trial by fire have you walked through? What deep waters have immersed you? What trial has stopped you in your tracks? What dark night of the soul have you been in? A. W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.” 


Nothing has been in vain because God redeems it all. He has used every hard trial that you have been in to conform you to His image, and prepare you to walk in the fullness of what He has purposed for you.

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:4, “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…” While abiding in Him in the crucible-trials these character fruits were developed. Purity, knowledge, longsuffering, kindness, sincere love, truth, power, righteousness, honor, good report, true, well known, alive, rejoicing, rich, and possessing all things.


Trials are essential. They are strategically designed to equip us to minister to others. They build empathy that touches hurting hearts. They purify our faith so that it cannot be shaken in adversity. They empower us through His grace which enables us to endure. Endurance is a testimony that pleases Him.

Endurance is constancy, perseverance, bearing up, and it is the fruit of patience. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Trials bestow benefits that we lacked.

Nothing Is In Vain

Yesterday I was thinking about our trials. They are like the soil that receives the seeds of the character the Lord wants to develop in us. Only He knows what character is needed to fulfill His purpose through our lives.


Years ago I was really struggling in a trial. The Lord spoke these words, “Nothing is in vain. I will redeem it all.” The words seemed incredulous. Nothing?


All trials are designed to impart something that we lack. The trial you are in right now is for your benefit. It is God’s best for you. When I fell head first into the six foot ravine in 1977, I had no clue what the Lord was doing. Since I didn’t remember the fall for three and a half years, I just thought my health was in a rapid decline.

Yet, the fall was His best. Through those bedridden years, He wooed me into a depth of relationship with Him that I had never experienced before.


He had to stop me in my tracks so I could learn to be still. In that stillness, He spoke to my heart. He brought me into deep intimate communion with Him. I have never been the same since that fall. It was a radical course-correction that impacted every aspect of my being.

There is another aspect of our trials. He uses them to encourage and strengthen others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort., who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”


He redeems everything that we have gone through. Nothing is in vain or wasted. Everything I write or speak comes through my intimate communion with Him. My brain injuries are my greatest assets. That fall developed character that could not have been formed in any other way.

I encourage you to embrace His best. Why? 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” He gives us the grace-strength we need to endure so that He will be glorified.

The Nature Of Seeds

1 Corinthians 15:37-38 says, “And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain–perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.”


These two verses are in the context of explaining the resurrection. We can apply it to ourselves in spiritual sowing. Mark 4:26-29 is a parable about seeds.


It says, “…The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground…the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head…”

Jesus explained His coming death and resurrection in John 12:24. It says, “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”


He correlated it with us dying to SELF. Luke 9:23 says, “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”


How do we die to ourselves like a seed that goes into the ground and dies in order to produce a harvest? One way is written in Galatians 5:16. It says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

Another way is Romans 8:5. It says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”


Dying to self starts in our heart. The seeds we sow into our heart affects our thoughts which become a harvest of words, actions, and attitudes. Therefore when we ‘program’ our heart by hiding God’s word in it, our thoughts will act on that truth. When a temptation to entertain a fleshly thought arises, His truth within will slay it. Dead. No response.

As we hide His word in our heart, it is like the farmer who sows seed. We won’t see immediate results, so we might give up our discipline. Yet, God gives His hidden word a ‘body’ that pleases Him, for it is His word within our heart that sprouts up, and produces a harvest that glorifies Him.

Jesus Is Lord

Yesterday I started reading in 1 Corinthians 12. The Holy Spirit stopped me at verse 3. It says, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God called Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”


As I pondered this verse, it gave me another arrow in my gospel quiver. It is a great test. We can see fruit or no fruit in another person’s life, but only the Lord knows a heart. Many believe in God, but Jesus drew a distinction. John 14:1 says, “…you believe in God, believe also in Me.”


1 John 4:1-2 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”


The question becomes, ‘Is Jesus Lord in your life?’ To be Lord means that we submit to His will over ours, we acknowledge His Presence in every aspect of our lives, as well as His divine orchestration and control over all. Psalm 97:9 says, “For You, Lord, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods.” David said it this way in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”

David wrote Psalm Psalm 18 and Psalm 63. His words came from his heart of devotion to the Lord. Psalm 18:1-2 says, “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”


Psalm 42:1 was expressing the plight of a deer panting because it knew that if it couldn’t get to water it would die. It says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.” Verse 2 says, “My soul thirsts for God for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” When Jesus is our Lord, our heart will pant to be with Him.

In the end, all unbelievers will have to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. Philippians 2:10 says that every knee will bow. Verse 11 says, “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Revealing The Hidden

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us…” There are things that we may never know in this earthly journey.


Mark 4:22 says, “There is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” The Lord knows every thought in its conception. He knows it even before we process it.

There are events in our past that caused emotional pains, traumas, fears, or upheavals. Some we processed, but the ones we stuffed still affect us. They seep into our present. Knowing this, one way I pray for myself everyday is that the Lord will open my eyes to see beyond the visual, the obvious, and the obstacles.


My friend and I were walking around 11:00 the other morning. All at once there was this high pitched screeching. My friend said, “It’s a Kill Deer.” We stopped and the momma tried to lead us away from her nest in the little rocks. She went into an incredible dance to lure us away as we peered into the rocks. We saw one egg. I took pictures. The next day we went by and she was gone. There were three eggs. The eggs looked like rocks among rocks. Yet, when I compared the first day picture with the second day, there were two eggs on the first day. We didn’t see the hidden.

There is another aspect of God’s hidden. I love these two verses in the Amplified. Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret (of the sweet, satisfying companionship) of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its (deep, inner) meaning.”


1 Corinthians 2:9 says that we have not seen, heard, nor understood the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. Verse 10 says, “Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the (Holy) Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God (the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny).”

The truth of how and why God hides things is revealed through our intimate communion with Him. It is not laying on the surface in plain sight. It is truth nested in truth. As we spend time with Him, He opens the eyes of our understanding. He reveals Himself in ways that we have never known before. When our heart is ready to receive, He will reveal the hidden.

Do you see a bunch of rocks or can you see what is hidden in them? Look for the three Kill Deer eggs. They look like rocks in rocks. This is a lesson in seeing beyond the obvious that goes with my blog

Infallible, Irrefutable, Unconquerable!

Do the words infallible, irrefutable, and unconquerable remind you of the gospel? 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”


It has (Greek:dynamis) power to bring instant change from death to life, and from darkness to light. The devil hates the gospel! 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”


What happened to Saul of Tarsus when the Light of the Gospel penetrated his world? Acts 9:20 says that he immediately preached Christ. Verse 21 says, “Then all who heard were amazed…” They heard him, but questioned how it could be.


Think about what would happen in our country were the gospel preached nationwide. The gospel is the hope of this nation! 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season…”


There are folks with evil intent who are seeking ways to uproot our nation’s foundation. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost, and to burst apart the sin-shackles that imprison them.

Paul wrote in Galatian 2:4 that falsifiers were spying out the liberty they had in Christ. That sounds like present headline news. Verse 5 is to be our stance. It says, “To whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue…”

Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Let us be about our Father’s business.

Rising Above Past Rubble

Nehemiah 4:10 says, “…there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.” The past destruction seemed impossible because they lost sight of what God had done. He prepared the way for them through a pagan king who provided what they needed materially, as well as Nehemiah to lead them.


2 Peter 1:9 is very insightful for us. It says, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness…” What were ‘these things’ that lacked? Verse 5-7 listed the character qualities to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.


Verse 8 says, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Verse 9 continued to point out that the lack comes because we forget that we are cleansed from our old sins. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is a great reminder when we feel buried in the rubble from our past. It says that old things have passed away. Our sins were borne away by Jesus’ death on the cross.


When we lose sight of the cross our focus will be drawn down to our impossible piles of past rubble. We rise above our rubble by standing on the wall of our salvation.

Watch now how that worked in the lives of the Jews who rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah 11:31 says, “So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs…” Verse 40 says, “So the two thanksgiving choirs stood in the house of God…” One group of folks went to the left and the other group went to the right. They stood on the wall that they had built. They corporately lifted up their voices to the Lord in thanksgiving!


You can rise above the rubble of your past. Lift up your heart with songs of thanksgiving to your audience of One. He is the One we worship. He dug us out of the pit of despair, and the miry clay. He set us on the solid foundation of salvation. Psalm 40:3 says, “He has put a new song in my mouth–praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”

Despair Is Rooted In Lost Hope

Have you ever lost hope? The children of Israel did. Ezekiel 37:11 says, “…Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off.”


The disciples lost hope. There is a great narrative in Luke 24. It was after Jesus had died on the cross. Two men were talking as they walked back to Emmaus. Jesus joined them. Verse 16 says, “But their eyes were restrained, they that they did not know Him.”

He asked them why they were sad. In verse 21 we read where their hope was laid. It says, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel…” Their hope was shortsighted. He rebuked them, and then gave them a great discourse. Verse 27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

He captured their attention. When He started to leave them, they invited Him to stay with them. He broke the bread and gave it to them. Verse 31 says, “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…”

Despair is enemy-flak that obscures our vision. The enemy wants us to keep our eyes on our broken expectations so that we lose hope. The Lord uses our trials to develop character that will sustain us. He has called us to endure so that He is glorified.

Romans 5:3-4 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Verse 5 clearly stated that it was hope which wouldn’t disappoint.


Our hope is our eternal anchor. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 

Jesus’ disciples missed it. They did not understand, though He told them repeatedly. They bemoaned that He had died and their hope was dashed. Yet, it is through His death, burial, and resurrection that all who believe will gain eternal hope that is sure, steadfast, and immoveable.