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Tried and True

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How do I deal with trials in my life as a Christian? Let's look at Three keys to help us answer this question.

I. The Perspective of Trials (6)

A. Trials don't have to steal your joy

3787 She’d Rather Sing

A brave little girl was taken to a doctor for a minor, but painful operation. When all was ready, the kindly doctor said, “This will hurt, but you may cry or scream as much as you please.” The little girl looked up at him, smiling, and said, “I would rather sing,” which she did with her sweet, childish voice and went through her brief ordeal without sigh, groan or tear.

—The Presbyterian

Note: The joy is in the greatness of our salvation not from the pain of the trial. We are not masochists who enjoy pain. We are optomists who see the good outcome in the future.

B. Trials are real

They are varied. Each with our own unique trials.

C. Trials are temporary

a minute (fear of sharing your faith)

an hour (being put out of your way to help someone in need)

a day (

a week (Unexpected expenses arise and eat up your paycheck)

a month (loosing your home to a fire)

a year (Natural disaster like hurrcaine Katrina, being put in jail for your faith)

a lifetime (a horrible disease, Joni Erikson Tada)

compared to eternity.

D. Trials are necessary

Necessary for whom? For you (like Paul and his thorn in the flesh), for others around you (like Jeremiah), for the spiritual powers (like Job), for history (like Noah, Naomi and Ruth). All for the glory of God

South African pastor Andrew Murray once faced a terrible crisis. Gathering himself into his study, he sat a long while quietly, prayerfully, thoughtfully. His mind flew at last to his Lord Jesus, and picking up his pen, he wrote these words in his journal:

First, He brought me here, it is by His will that I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.

Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave as His child.

Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow.

Last, in His good time He can bring me out again—how and when He knows.

Let me say I am here,

(1) By God’s appointment

(2) In His keeping,

(3) Under His training,

(4) For His time.*

* V. Raymond Edman, They Found the Secret (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1960), 97. Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes

6888 To Cross A Stream

Dr. Lambie, medical missionary, formerly of Abyssinia, has forded many swift and bridgeless streams in Africa. The danger in crossing such a stream lies in being swept off one’s feet and carried down the stream to greater depths or hurled to death against the hidden rocks. Dr. Lambie learned from the natives the best way to make such a hazardous crossing. The man about to cross finds a large stone, the heavier the better, lifts it to his shoulder, and carries it across the stream as “ballast.” The extra weight of the stone keeps his feet solid on the bed of the stream and he can cross safely without being swept away.

Dr. Lambie drew this application: While crossing the dangerous stream of life, enemies constantly seek to overthrow us and rush us down to ruin. We need the ballast of burden-bearing, a load of affliction, to keep us from being swept off our feet.

II. The Purpose of Trials (7)

A. To prove your faith

Proverbs 17:3, Isaiah 48:10,

B. To honor Jesus

4310 What Have You Suffered?

We do not know who it was who had this dream, quoted in the Presbyterian Survey. But the unknown dreamer could be any one of us, could it not?

I saw in a dream that I was in the Celestial City—though when and how I got there I could not tell. I was one of a great multitude which no man could number, from all countries and peoples and times and ages. Somehow I found that the saint who stood next to me had been in Heaven more than 1,860 years.

“Who are you?” I said to him. (We both spoke the same language of heavenly Canaan, so that I understood him and he me. )

“I,” said he, “was a Roman Christian; I lived in the days of the Apostle Paul, I was one of those who died in Nero’s persecutions. I was covered with pitch and fastened to a stake and set on fire to light up Nero’s gardens.”

“How awful!” I exclaimed.

“No,” he said, “I was glad to do something for Jesus. He died on the cross for me.”

The man on the other side then spoke: “I have been in Heaven only a few hundred years. I came from an island in the South Seas—Erromanga. John Williams, a missionary, came and told me about Jesus, and I too learned to love Him. My fellow-countrymen killed the missionary, and they caught and bound me. I was beaten until I fainted and they thought I was dead, but I revived. Then next day they knocked me on the head, cooked and ate me.”

“How terrible!” I said.

“No,” he answered, “I was glad to die as a Christian. You see the missionaries had told me that Jesus was scourged and crowned with thorns for me.”

Then they both turned to me and said, “What did you suffer for Him? Or did you sell what you had for the money which sent men like John Williams to tell the heathen about Jesus?”

And I was speechless. And while they both were looking at me with sorrowful eyes, I awoke, and it was a dream! But I lay on my soft bed awake for hours, thinking of the money I had wasted on my own pleasures; or my extra clothing, and costly car, and many luxuries; and I realized that I did not know what the words of Jesus meant: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

III. The Focus During Trials (8-9)

A. Love Jesus

B. Believe in Jesus

C. Rejoice in Jesus

Why do we rejoice?

D. Be saved by Jesus

6847 Praying For Trouble In Ethiopia

The following prayer was prayed by an Ethiopian at Soddu, Walamo, Ethiopia: “Almighty God, from the depth of my heart I plead with thee to send us trouble. When our king was exiled we were in much trouble with the foreign [Italian] rulers. We had to meet in secret and were in constant danger of our lives. That was the time when we worked in harmony with our fellow Christians.

“Many a night after I had locked my door and gone to bed, tired from a day’s long journey of preaching and teaching, there came a persistent knocking. Lord, how I wanted to sleep, and surely but they wouldn’t want to be baptized at night and be hunted and chased and put in prison and beaten, but they said they had seen the Christian’s joy and they too wanted that religion. Every night there were more and more.

“We read Thy Word and talked about it and prayed through the nights. We shared our joy in the Lord. We worked side by side with only one desire, to preach and teach the Gospel. Then, Lord, our king came back. The foreign rulers were forced to leave our country …

“We have peace in our land. We baptize in the daytime. We are not beaten. We meet and pray, yes, but we are beginning to grow careless in our zeal for Thee. Jealousies creep in and spoil the harmony. Petty troubles take on in large meetings. We are selfish in our ambitions. Dear Lord, send us more trouble, I pray Thee, that we may forget ourselves and be so dependent on Thee that we have no time to become selfish and jealous of our fellow Christians. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

—Grace Robinson

Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

5853 Broken Heart At Founder’s Week

I was scheduled to speak at the Chicago Moody Founder’s Week Conference in early February of 1960. During the latter part of the preceding December, I received a letter from Dr. William Culbertson, President of Moody Bible Institute, in which he made a statement to this effect, “Brethren, we must come to Founder’s Week with broken hearts if the world is to receive blessing through us.” That was an unusual letter from the conference director. It gripped me. I paused then and there at my desk and prayed, “O God, I cannot answer for the other speakers who come to Founder’s Week. But I am responsible for the state of my own heart. Lord, I ask you now, whatever the cost may be, to send me to Moody’s Founder’s Week with a broken heart.”

Little did I realize what these brief prayers would cost me and how God was going to answer them.

During January, I was scheduled to minister in conferences in the West Indies. About five one afternoon I was contacted by overseas telephone and given the message, “Your wife died of a heart attack at 1:00 P. M.” She was to have met me the following Monday in Chicago where we had planned to be at Founder’s Week together.

It was a difficult struggle for me, but falling to my knees beside my bed I said, “Lord, I will go. You give me the grace and I will speak at Founder’s Week as planned. You have answered my own prayers in a way I never anticipated or thought, but I will accept” your answer.

To stand before that huge audience at Founder’s Week two days after we had buried my sweet Christian wife was the first step in the victory over what otherwise might have been a crushing defeat.

—G. Christian Weiss

Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

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