Pressure and Heat – those tests!

Ifaith3 recently watched the film, “Deepwater Horizon” which tells the story of the blow-out of an oil well off shore from Louisiana in 2010.  The spill was the largest in US history and the explosion on the rig killed 11 men. According to the film, the well blowout resulted, at least in part, from a decision by BP executives at the site to skip testing of the cement that was used to seal the well after drilling was finished. As the well was being prepped for closure so that the drilling platform could be moved, the untested cement plug failed. A decision to cut corners and save about $150,000 turned into a tragic and costly incident.

Do you know that those difficult situations that you experience serve a purpose in your life? Do you avoid doing ‘hard’ things that test your courage and resolve?  God tells us this about our testing times. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV) That same verse in the NLT reads – “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

Choosing a life of service, letting the Holy Spirit lead us beyond the boundaries of what is convenient or familiar, almost always leads to discomfort, a sense of being dislocated, and disturbing of our well-being. By faith we understand that God will use those moments to lead us to lean harder on Him, to realize what is true and worthwhile, and to grow a deeper character. James was inspired by the Spirit to teach us this – “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4, The Message)

Growth and development of Christ’s nature is not the inevitable result of hardship or difficult situations!  There are many who become wreckage, who choose to run from God, and fall apart. Jonah, the ancient prophet that God called to go and preach to a pagan Nineveh, knew the call would be arduous, more than he thought he could endure. What did he do? He ran in the opposite direction, catching a ship to escape God’s call. Jonah’s choice cost many people a great deal. The storm that came caused the loss of cargo. Even then Jonah refused to submit, asking instead to be thrown overboard. The Lord was persistent, sending that ‘great fish’ that swallowed the man, carried him to shore, and vomited him onto the beach.  When Jonah obeyed, a spiritual renewal came to the city of Nineveh!

Are you like Jonah, knowing where God desires you to be, what He wants you to do, but running willfully from something you think is ‘too hard?’  Take another look at the promise. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  Rather than run, we choose to ‘persevere,’  to stand steadfast, with courage, in hope while the time of testing batters, bends, and bruises us.  Why? Are we just masochistic? No, we are willing to endure temporary pain to discover the reward of a heart that loves God and the reward He has in store.

Our word from the Word is an oft-quoted passage from Jeremiah. As the people of God experienced the consequence of their idolatry and self-will, the destruction of the nation, the Lord promises that He will have the last word and that He will not abandon them.  As you read these ancient words let them give you courage to follow Him, even into the hard things, through change, on the great adventure of godliness that leads us to our eternal Home. “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. ” (Jeremiah 29:11, The Message)   If you find yourself going through the pressures of life, let God use it to  “force your faith-life into the open and shows its true colors.”  And, then like the tested saint, Job, you will say – “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10, NIV)


Good, Good Father

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are, It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, It’s who I am
It’s who I am

I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett
© 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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