Posts Tagged ‘tests’

Patient Endurance

January 9, 2014

Christians sometimes must patiently endure.  Life is not always easy.

I.  Patient Endurance: Hebrews 6:9-15

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

God has not forgotten us.  He is aware of the faithful service that we have rendered to Him.  We need to diligently continue in hope, faith and patience.  If the fulfillment of God’s promises in our lives are delayed, we must not lose hope.  God is faithful.  We should be like Abraham and patiently endure, knowing that what God has promised, He is faithful to deliver.

II.  Do Not Cast Away:  Hebrews 10:35-39

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 “For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

The Christian journey is difficult at times.  God allows tests and trials to come our way to try our faith.  Mature Christians are not exempt.  If anything, their tests are more severe, as they should be, since their faith has had an opportunity to develop.  We must not give up.  We walk by faith, not by sight.  We patiently endure the times of testing and trial, knowing that they have an end.  God’s love and mercy, on the other hand, will never end.

III.  Run With Endurance: Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

The first thing that we should do to make our ‘race’ easier is to lay aside the sinful practices that will trip us up.  As we become aware of sin in our live, we should repent and ask God to help us change.

Secondly, we can lay aside the weights that slow us down.  There are things in our lives that do not need to be there.  We must ask for wisdom from above to know what things should remain in our lives, and what things should be set aside.

Most importantly, we should look to Jesus as our example.  He patiently endured the cross, knowing that it was God’s plan for Him and for the world.  We too, should endure hardship, as good soldiers of Christ.

If your life is going through a difficult time of testing and trial, do not lose hope.  Do not be discouraged.  God is still with you.  God has not abandoned you.  Patiently endure the times of testing, knowing that God is still with you.  He loves you and will give you the wisdom and strength that you need to face the challenges that come your way.

These are the sermon notes from 1/5/14.  You are welcome to ask questions or post comments.

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A Lesson From Job

September 20, 2012

I.  Job’s Test: Job chapters 1&2

The summary of this story is that Job was an upright, godly man whom God had richly blessed with material wealth and ten children.  God gave permission to Satan to take away everything that Job had been given, to see if he would still praise God.  Job responded with the words. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1: 21b)

Satan is then given permission to afflict Job’s health.  He again responds with wonderful words of faith. ” Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

Clearly Job passes the test in the first stages.

Job’s friends then come to comfort him and instead of offering comfort they accuse him of wrongdoing.  He argues with them, saying that he is not guilty of anything, and that he does not understand why these things have happened to him.

II.  Job’s Misery Job 7:1-10

Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth?
Are not his days also like the days of a hired man?
Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade,
And like a hired man who eagerly looks for his wages,
So I have been allotted months of futility,
And wearisome nights have been appointed to me.
When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise,
And the night be ended?’
For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn.
My flesh is caked with worms and dust,
My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
Oh, remember that my life is a breath!
My eye will never again see good.
The eye of him who sees me will see me no more;
While your eyes are upon me, I shall no longer be.
As the cloud disappears and vanishes away,
So he who goes down to the grave does not come up.
10 He shall never return to his house,
Nor shall his place know him anymore.

As time has gone on and Job continues in his misery, he longs for death to take him.  He is tired of life.

III Job’s Faith Job 19:23-27

“Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

This is a wonderful declaration of faith and hope in the midst of misery and despair.  Job believed that even after his flesh was destroyed he would one day stand before God his Redeemer.  I see in these verses both hope for today and confidence in tomorrow, a confidence placed in faith in our redeemer, a hope that goes beyond the grave.

IV.  Job’s Lesson

When bad things happen in our life, I believe it is appropriate to ask ourselves some important questions.

Has this evil come about because of the consequences of some bad choices on our part?  If we get hurt because we decided to try “car surfing” and we fall off the vehicle, do we really need to look for any other reason for our injury?

Are we living in unrepentant sin?  If we are willingly, and knowingly, continuing in a sinful behavior it is entirely possible that God has removed his hedge of protection, or his hand of blessing.  If this is the case, we simply need to repent of our sin.

Are we living in rebellion or disobedience.  Are we like Jonah?  Has God given us direction that we have refused to take in our lives?  If this is the case, then we need to listen to the voice of the Spirit and follow the guidance that God has given to us.

If none of the above questions apply to us, then we can recognize that the circumstances are a test.  We can pray and ask God for deliverance.  We can remember that God is with us, that He is in control, and that we are ultimately victorious as we trust in God.

Crunch Time

December 15, 2009

It is the end of the semester.  Finals are being taken by students everywhere.  Some will have prepared diligently for this final opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned through the last few months.  Others will frantically cram in the last few hours before a test that they knew was coming since the beginning of the semester.  Some will just show up and hope that somehow they will pass.   A few will not even bother to show up.

One way or another, it will all be over soon.  All that will remain is a grade on a transcript, varying amounts of accumulated knowledge, and the memories of the experience, that will have been good for some, but not for all.

The Value of Testing

February 24, 2009

Today I am writing a new test for the logic class that I teach.  I believe that testing serves at least two valid purposes.  The first is that knowing that there will be a test will cause most, (not all) students to put forth effort in preparing for the test.  By putting more time into study, the student will learn more than if they did not study.  So the first purpose is that it will increase the students knowledge. (At least, for those students who do study. )

Secondly, it provides a measurable means of determining how much has been learned, and what needs to be reinforced.  This is particularly valuable, when the knowledge or skills being learned are necessary for being able to perform certain tasks.  For example, I appreciate that both  written and driving tests are given to people seeking a drivers license.  I want them to know what “yield” means, (I have seen some drivers who I question their understanding of that word!} and I want them to be able to parallel park without rearranging the bumper of my car!!

So please know, students, that tests are not meant to simply make you miserable.  They do serve a valid purpose.

God also uses tests in our lives in a similar fashion.  As we learn more about God and his word there will arise “tests” that will challenge us to expand the limits of our learning.  There are also tests that will demonstrate how far we have come; or what we may need to repeat.

Flourishing

November 24, 2008

Aristotle believed that the goal of human existence was eudaimonia, a Greek word that means basically happiness, but is also translated as flourishing. 

I like the word flourishing to describe the ideal human condition.  I believe that it is indicative not of a single area of our lives, but of the sum of our lives.  If we  were to put it in religious terms we could say ‘blessed”. 

I believe that we are both blessed, and tried in our lives.  God is good to his people and is always with us, but there are times when the spiritual conflict in which we are involved can take its toll upon our minds, bodies and spirits. 

We have houseplants that my wife takes care of in our home.  I enjoy them but leave their care to my wife.  Every once in a while If they are not watered they will start to look droopy.  Give them a drink, and they perk right back up.

Our lives can be like that. Sometimes, we are getting too much sun and too little water, so to speak.  The work that we do, and the trials that we face, drain us and leave us feeling a little (or a lot) wilted.  When that happens we need to drink deeply of the living waters of the Holy Spirit so that we can be revived.  So that we can indeed even flourish once again.

Testing Day

September 23, 2008

Today my philosophy students will take the first test of the semester.  I hope, for their sake, that they have studied and prepared well, and that they will do well on the test. 

Actually, aren’t we all tested, everyday, by the challenges of life? 

I managed to get out of bed this morning.  I think that I would just mark that as a “pass” . I have gone through the normal morning routine fairly smoothly and have checked a number of things off my “to do” list, only being sidetracked for a short while.  I think that I will give those efforts a “B”. 

I have some papers that I really want to have graded in time to return to the students today.  Will I get that accomplished?  Or will I spend too much time on the computer, and on other things?

There are ongoing tests in our life.  Some are important,  some not so much.  How concerned are we about our grade?  Who will do the grading?  Should we care?

Just a little something to think about.