It's January 23; Good Morning Union

“Count it all joy, my friends, when you meet various trials…”       James 1:2

OK, this is NOT an easy one for me. I was thinking about James 1 on my walk yesterday morning and asking God to give me texts that can continue guiding me in this GMU journey in the value of discipleship. And after that prayer the first text that came to mind was this one, and I’d already written GMU for yesterday so I prayed that it would stay with me until this morning so I can write about it! And it did!!

I’m not much into “trials.” I can’t say that I love conflict in my life, or hard times, or difficulties, or … anything else that inflicts pain, physically or emotionally! And I tell God that, as if He doesn’t already know! The good news, or bad news depending on how I look at it is, that God grows me, but usually NOT at the easy good times, but at the tough or challenging times. Because I continue to learn the truth of that axiom, I often pray that God will grow me, even through trials, but to PLEASE do it gently because I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to those things. (I REALLY do pray that prayer! J)

But in spite of this weakness in my character, I still believe that it IS in those tough times that I am almost forced to get out of my comfort zone (which I rather enjoy—my comfort zone that is, not the getting out of it!) to have to reassess priorities, search for a better way, look for new answers, and just plain exercise my faith in what I SAY I believe in. I didn’t say it was easy, I’m saying it’s good for me if I want to grow and develop.

School or life in general is the same way; I really only learn when I am challenged. I don’t improve my skating unless I’m willing to test the limits and fall down sometimes. I really don’t learn much about math by just reviewing 2+2=4. And my spiritual life stagnates, and unfortunately sometimes even dies at times, because I have not been willing to stretch and challenge myself.

And out of the goodness of our hearts we don’t do each other any favors by trying as hard as we do to “protect” or “rescue” each other from those trials. Sometimes it’s good for me to wrestle with God. I’m not denying Him if I question Him. I’m not rejecting Him when I struggle with life as it gets thrown at me. And I’m NOT going to reject Him just because He creates or allows those moments for me to grow!

I can’t say yet that I “count it all joy” when those moments to testing and trials come, but I can say that I am learning more and more about their value in growing me into the kind of person God wants me to be, and for that I am thankful, though not always joyful yet! I’m still working on that “trial!” J

So have a great day trying to be thankful or even joyful when tested and tried, because God has something better for you,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: “Waiting is not inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.”  Max Lucado

PSJammin’ for Jesus” is a new time of sharing and worshipping. Join Anna and friends @ 9pm in the Rees Hall Chapel for this 30 minutes of praise.

PPS Want some valuable training and experience in helping teach an adult Sabbath School class? Let me know and I think I could set you up with some great volunteer hours and an even greater experience.