Monday, September 1, 2014

Trials: we all got through them. Who helps us out though??

...TRIALS... [1] [2] [3]

(James 1:2-4)
2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the proving of your faith works endurance. 4 But let endurance have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. [4]

                        Brethren, in case you haven’t noticed, there are trials in life.  We can’t escape them, they don’t go away, they can’t be avoided.  In fact, trials are possibly the only sure thing in this life and in the world except for His never leaving us or forsaking us that we would have:
(John 16:33)
33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. [5]

In this verse, we see three things:

  • That in Messiah we have peace
  • In the world we will have tribulation
  • We can be of good cheer, for Messiah has over come the world

What seems to happen in trials is that when they occur, we begin to look for a cause or a reason, instead of the solution. 

A)               We usually tend to blame ourselves, call it the “flesh” that has brought on the trial...
B)                OR... we lay it all on the devil, that he’s attacking us, THIS has to be the reason for our trial...

OR....  we hang our head, weeping and wailing, and holler at God, for we know that He is the reason we are going through this thing, and why is He always picking on us...

Now, in choice (A):
We get side-tracked, for it just can’t possibly be something we did to cause it, so we go to are next favorite choice, which is (B).
In (B):
we find all kinds of excuses for not having to look at ourselves [via choice (A)], but something just isn’t right about this choice either, so, we roll out our favorite whipping boy, God.  After all, He is in charge, so no matter what, it has to be His fault, right?

                        So here we are, in the midst of trouble, looking for something or someone to blame, and losing sight on what the real issue is:
(James 1:5)
5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. [6]

                Instead of blaming God for the trial, we should be doing what James admonished us to do, and that is ask God.  God, what should I do in this instant, God, what do You want me to do in this circumstance, God, what must I.... you get the picture? 

                In the context of our trials, God, if asked according to His will, will do one or both of the following:

  • Grant us the Wisdom to know the reason for our trials..
  • Give us the ways and means to endure them...

The reason I said He’ll do one or the other or both, is this:  sometimes it isn’t for us to know at the time of the trial why we are going through it.  Even if He grants us the wisdom to know the reason for the dark night, the solution might not be apparent.  The trial still has a purpose to fulfill, and it won’t end until God has accomplished His desired goal.  What that might be can only be ascertained from the measure of wisdom God grants to us in the situation.  What is wisdom?  For the trials and tribulations of life let’s just call wisdom the practical use and the exercise of knowledge.  One description of a practical use of wisdom can simply be described as common sense.  One of my favorite sayings is “ ain’t got the brains or sense God gave a gopher...”.  I have to apply this saying to myself on a daily basis, for little trials come up all the time, and without an application of common sense, they can accelerate to crisis mode at an alarming rate.  Take for example, common sense tells one to get out of the rain.  Now, in the mid-west where I’m from, when it rains, construction workers go home.  If you do that here in Washington state, common sense says that you’re going to starve to death (cause it rains all the time – well, okay, most of the time), but let’s face it: even a chicken knows when to get out of the rain, and look at the size of its’ brain.  What I’m trying to say here is there are trials, and there are TRIALS.  Using the brain God gave us would save a lot of us grief in those little “trials”.  For the big ones, God grants us the wisdom to know how to act under certain circumstances of testing, of trials, of problems or questions.  It is God’s wisdom we need in these instances, not our own.  God gives us this “liberally”, as in simply.  He just simply will help us.  Vincent in his “Word Studies in the New Testament”  defines “upbraideth not” to mean “...the pure simple giving of good without any mixture of evil or bitterness...”  God gives us simple, good wisdom to get us through the hard times. 

(James 1:6-8)
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. [7]

                Here, in verses 6-8, is the source of many of our problems and consternation in times of trouble.  We doubt.  Let’s face it:  we just don’t believe God.  Don’t get me wrong.  We say we trust Him.  I’ll use myself as an example.  I trust God, I’ve seen His goodness, His provisions, His grace.  I know that I’m saved, I know that when the time comes, I’ll be with Him.  I know all of this, I know Him and love as best as I can but when the you-know-what hits the fan, it doesn’t make a sound like “MARINE..”, it goes EEEK and splatters everywhere and it gets down right tough.  It is here that I begin to waver, and part of me just simply folds up and doubts that God can or will see me through the storm, this unrelenting, fierce gale of biblical proportions. 

“...nothing wavering...”  That is what James tells us.   So why don’t you or I believe God?  Why do we have this problem of when the waves of life come crashing over the bow of our little boat we immediately jump up and begin to bail out the water.  To put it bluntly, the problems that we’ve laid down at Messiah’s feet, we rush over and pick them up again, then proceed to bull our way through it in our own strength and understanding.   Let God delay in showing up to solve the problem within the context of OUR time-table and we panic and man the pumps ourselves.  This is where we make our mistake.

                Double-mindedness is, to put it bluntly, simply our unreliability.  We don’t have the ability to solve our own troubles, so why try?  We have proven track records of not following through with the hard work previously assigned to us, thereby confirming we can’t be relied upon.  Only God can get us past this road-block but what do we do instead?  Verses 9-11 reveal man’s most general answer to trouble:  throw money at it! 

(James 1:9-11)
9 The brother in lowly circumstances should take pride in his high standing, 10 and the rich one in his lowliness, for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.”  11 For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass, its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes. So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits. [8]

                The source of money leads to all sorts of woes, be we rich or poor.  What should our response be?  “Faith”.  That is the answer we are supposed to give.  Faith in God and trust in Messiah, that is the only sure solution to any problem.  Again, all I have to give you is my example;  right now there are those I love in tough straits, financial and in other ways.  Every fiber of my soul is screaming “Help them!”.  This “trial”, this “test”, effects not just myself, but the ones that I love.  Do I have the wisdom to truly know the solution?  Nope, nada, not a chance.  Do I have the faith to trust God in this furnace?  Honestly?  I’m struggling.  God knows this, and I know that I can’t just run away from or into this situation.  If I go into it relying on just me, myself and I, and throw caution to the wind by doing what all my natural instincts tell me to do – well I know this isn’t the right answer or approach.  Having the faith which is trust, belief and commitment to following God’s word and ways, and bowing my knees to Him and letting Him craft the solution is.  To go quiet, to shut up and LISTEN for God’s direction, that is true faith. 
Matthew 8:23-27 (NET)
8:23 As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.42 8:24 And a great storm developed on the sea so that the waves began to swamp the boat. But he was asleep. 8:25 So they came43 and woke him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die!” 8:26 But44 he said to them, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked45 the winds and the sea,46 and it was dead calm. 8:27 And the men47 were amazed and said,48 “What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”49 ([9])

I have to ask myself - is my faith weak?  Yep, I want to man the pumps.  But you know and I know that Messiah is asleep in the front of the boat, and if He can rest, then so must I.  Notice I said MUST.  It is a conscience decision I must make to still myself.  Panic is a lousy partner in the midst of a storm; to my soul I must say, “Peace, be still, and know that He is God.”  When I do this, what happens?  Let’s go back to James and verse twelve...

James 1:12 (NASB95)
     12     aBlessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has 1been approved, he will receive bthe crown of life which the Lord chas promised to those who dlove Him. [10]

                Through the dark night, I begin to see that it is only in the trials and troubles of life that God’s blessings come.  What does Messiah counsel us to do?

Revelation 3:18 (NASB95)
18     I advise you to abuy from Me bgold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and cwhite garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that dthe shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. [11]

Gold purified by fire.  If Messiah counsels us to seek and buy gold purified by fire, then how else can we hope to be purified, except that He puts us through the same fire?  If all we do is move away from a situation, a circumstance, or a problem instead of moving into it, how can we ever mature?  How can faith grow if it isn’t stretched?

Romans 5:3-5 (HCSB)
3 And not only that, g but we also rejoice in our afflictions, h because we know that affliction produces endurance, i 4 endurance produces proven character, j and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint, k because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts l through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. [12]

                Tribulation works patience, patience builds faith, and with faith there is hope.  Though 1st Corinthians 10:13 promises us a way out if the trial becomes too much to bear.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has taken you but such as is according to man’s nature; and God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation make the issue also, so that ye should be able to bear it. [13]

 We ought not to be asking God for a way out, but to walk with us deep into it, so His glory and  His grace and for Him to show us what His will is so that we can endure whatever it is that we are going through.

                        Blessed is the man that endureth temptation...”  Endurance, triumph, victory:  these three await us at the end of the trial.  As we go through the fire, that raging forest of flames, as we struggle for the other side, God produces within us the heart to stand and overcome anything that is set against us.  When we break through, and turn around to see what it was that we just endured, truthfully, the fire that loomed so large before now resembles a match head, and we ought to marvel at how we could have been troubled by it at all.

                The bottom line?  Never waver, never doubt.  Messiah Yeshua is able and willing to get us through the trial if we let Him.  We need to remember the reason for trials, for troubles.  God tells us so plainly in Deuteronomy 8:16....

(Deuteronomy 8:16)
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end… [14]

                On the other side of the dark night is the morning light.  That is where Messiah Yeshua awaits with the blessing.  So go ahead brethren, look at the trouble and tell it to “Bring it on.”  At the latter end is our reward. 

May God Himself richly bless you and keep you this day, my beloved, Amein.

[1] Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed.
[2] Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and  the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©)  used in translating the New Testament. Please go to and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of God. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief ) I insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of God’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones..” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
[4] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[5] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[6] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[7] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[8] The New American Bible, (Nashville, Tennesee: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) 1997.
·         [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
42 sn A boat that held all the disciples would be of significant size.
43 tn The participle προσελθόντες (proselthontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
44 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
45 tn Or “commanded” (often with the implication of a threat, L&N 33.331).
46 sn Who has authority over the seas and winds is discussed in the OT: Ps 104:3; 135:7; 107:23–30. When Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea he was making a statement about who he was.
47 tn It is difficult to know whether ἄνθρωποι (anthrōpoi) should be translated as “men” or “people” (in a generic sense) here. At issue is whether (1) only the Twelve were with Jesus in the boat, as opposed to other disciples (cf. v. 23), and (2) whether any of those other disciples would have been women. The issue is complicated further by the parallel in Mark (4:35–41), where the author writes (4:36) that other boats accompanied them on this journey.
48 tn Grk “the men were amazed, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) has been translated as a finite verb to make the sequence of events clear in English.
49 sn Jesus’ authority over creation raised a question for the disciples about his identity (What sort of person is this?). This verse shows that the disciples followed Jesus even though they did not know all about him yet.
·         End “NET®” notes
[9]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

a  Luke 6:22; James 5:11; 1 Pet 3:14; 4:14
1  Or passed the test
b  1 Cor 9:25
c  Ex 20:6; James 2:5
d  1 Cor 2:9; 8:3
[10]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a  Is 55:1; Matt 13:44
b  1 Pet 1:7
c  Rev 3:4
d  Rev 16:15
[11]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
g  5:3 Rm 5:11; 8:23; 9:10; 2Co 8:19
h  5:3 Mt 5:12; Jms 1:2-3
i  5:3 Lk 21:19
j  5:4 Php 2:22; Jms 1:12
k  5:5 Ps 119:116; Rm 9:33; Heb 6:18-20
l  5:5 Ac 2:33; 10:45; Gl 4:6; Ti 3:6
[12]  The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[13] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[14] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

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