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We live in a town that is known to have about 310 sunny days a year. However, this month of April has been exceptionally stormy and wet. When the rain let up, I noticed that our spring flowers had an extra brilliance. As I was taking this all in, this old song came to mind.
About-Him.Com Devotional 04-30-2016
Our Light Afflictions
It takes the storm clouds to form a rainbow
It takes the night time to show the stars
It takes the crushing to bring forth fragrance,
and make eternal life's withering flowers
It take the furnace the gold to brighten
The sculptors chisel with blow on blow,
the marble shaft in its polished beauty
So trials make God?s love to flow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said that, "Into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary." More to the point, Jesus said that in this world, we would have tribulation. However we can be of good cheer because He has overcome the world (Jn. 16:33).
He has overcome the adversary who would kill, steal and destroy (Jn. 10:10). He conquered death on the cross of Calvary. Though our mortal body is destined to die, we have the assurance of living eternally with our Redeemer (Jn. 11:25). Although the spirit of anti-Christ is working overtime to discourage us, we have the assurance that He who lives in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:1-4).
As we advance in age, our bodies just don?t move like they used to. Likewise our minds aren't quite as sharp as they used to be. However, why should we despair when we have a Savior who purchased our healing and peace of mind on the cross (Is. 53:5)?
We are all faced with trials of our faith, some much more severe than others. The apostle Peter likened the trial of out faith to gold that is purified by fire.
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
He also said that we shouldn't feel like God is singling out or punishing us for some misstep. Our trials are for our our purification.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
If our trials come because we have been faithful to our Lord, we should rejoice, rather that despair.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Our trials and temptations are not unique, everybody is faced with the same thing, but the godly are promised a way of escape and relief. God will not allow us to suffer more than we can bear.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
The writer of Hebrews encouraged us to consider the suffering of Jesus when we are in the midst of trials. We'll realize that most of us haven't shed any blood for the sake of the kingdom of God (He. 12:1-17). Unlike these Old Testament saints, we've had it rather easy.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
To paraphrase in part the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:8-18. "He was troubled but not perplexed. Persecuted but not forsaken or destroyed. He was happy to bear in his body the dying of Jesus that his body might also manifest the life of Jesus. He recognized that his outward man was perishing, yet his inward man was being refreshed daily. He considered all of his trials and hardships to be nothing more that a light affliction which would give him a greater heavenly reward."
Oh, that we might be of the same mind.
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
The higher the hill, the stronger the wind: so the loftier the life, the stronger the enemy's temptations.- John Wycliffe
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