Why Does God Allow Trials?

1 Peter 1:6-9 With this hope you can be happy even if you need to have sorrow and all kinds of tests for awhile. These tests have come to prove your faith and to show that it is good. Gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire. Your faith is worth much more than gold and it must be tested also. Then your faith will bring praise, glory and honor to Jesus Christ when He comes again. You have never seen Him but you love Him. You cannot see Him now but you are putting your trust in Him. And you have joy so great that words cannot tell about it. You will get what your faith is looking for, which is to be saved from the punishment of sin.

Let’s delve deeper into trials today. What purpose could God have in allowing us to face hard times?

  1. God allows trials to test our faith. However, He doesn’t do so with the expectation that we will fail. Rather, He wants us to learn greater dependence on Him. Unproven, untried faith can’t grow without a challenge; if it has not been tested, how do we know what we can endure in life?
  2. He uses trials to display His sustaining power. As we learned yesterday, everyone faces painful periods in life. By drawing on God’s strength during these times, we can live out a powerful testimony in front of those who do not know Christ.
  3. Our trials equip us to help others. When we go through a hardship, we become specifically equipped to sympathize with and encourage others who may later face a similar ordeal. This principle was an important part of the apostle Paul’s ministry (He gives us comfort in all our troubles. Then we can comfort other people who have the same troubles. We give the same kind of comfort God gives us. As we have suffered much for Christ and have shared in His pain, we also share His great comfort. But if we are in trouble, it is for your good. And it is so you will be saved from the punishment of sin. If God comforts us, it is for your good also. You too will be given strength not to give up when you have the same kind of trouble we have. Our hope for you is the same all the time. We know you are sharing our troubles. And so you will share the comfort we receive. We want you to know, Christian brothers, of the trouble we had in the countries of Asia. The load was so heavy we did not have the strength to keep going. At times we did not think we could live. 2 Cor. 1:4-8).
  4. God allows trials in our life to purify us. Hardships put pressure on us, especially in areas where we try to hide sin. The Lord knows these things must be brought to the surface and faced openly and honestly if we’re to become mature believers.

God has a purpose for every trial He allows to come your way. Stand firm and let Him accomplish His will in your life—by whatever means He deems necessary.

Praying in Jesus’ Name

John 14:13-14 13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so the glory of the Father may be seen in the Son. 14 Yes, if you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Do you know what it means to pray “in Jesus’ name”? This isn’t simply a phrase to be thoughtlessly tacked on to the end of our prayers. On the contrary, it’s an amazing privilege given to those who know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. One way to think about it is that we’re praying something Jesus might pray. You must be His follower before you can do or say anything in His name.

Since God is holy and we are sinful, the only way to approach Him is through His Son, who paid the penalty for our sins and clothed us with His righteousness. That’s why we bring our requests in Jesus’ name—He’s the only way to the Father (Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can go to the Father except by Me. John 14:6).

When we belong to Jesus, we approach God’s throne of grace not as beggars but as beloved children and co-heirs with Christ (16 For the Holy Spirit speaks to us and tells our spirit that we are children of God. 17 If we are children of God, we will receive everything He has promised us. We will share with Christ all the things God has given to Him. But we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. Rom. 8:16-17). Because the Son acts as our intermediary and high priest, we can draw near to God with confidence, knowing that we will receive mercy and find grace to help us in our times of need (15 Our High Priest understands how weak we are. Christ was tempted in every way we are tempted, but He did not sin. 16 Let us go with complete trust to the throne of God. We will receive His grace and have His mercy to help us whenever we need it. Heb. 4:15-16).

The next time you’re about to end a prayer “in Jesus’ name,” remember what it means. Then ask yourself if your request is something Jesus would want for you.

Undeserved Love

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”1

As humans, we often struggle to accept the fact that God loves us unconditionally. It is hard to understand how someone could love us even when we mess up. I have had this conversation with many people, and, more often than not, this is because we are stuck in the human “give and take” mindset when it comes to love. In many marriages, and relationships in general, you must “earn” love, acceptance, and time before it is given. If there are disagreements or disappointments in the relationship, this may affect how love is demonstrated.

While this concept of unconditional love may be difficult for us to grasp because of our human brokenness, this is the only kind of love God has towards us, His children. His love is not dependent on how “good” we are and will not change when we fail. Now, this doesn’t mean that we can go live ungodly lives and do whatever we want because God’s love is unconditional. We must remember that God cannot see sin, so if we choose to practice sin, we intentionally create a separation between ourselves and God and will reap the consequences of our actions. Does he still love us? Absolutely. However, it is our choice to receive that love and love Him in return. There a huge difference between choosing to live in sin and missing the mark on occasion. Our goal should always be to be like Jesus, but we are human and will make mistakes.

The important thing to remember in any situation is that God loves us no matter what. If we have strayed from His will, he awaits your return with arms wide open. No condemnation, just a loving Father ready to give you renewed life. If we fail, cling tight to God’s hand, get up and keep going. The more we accept and experience God’s love in our lives, the more we can put it into practice towards others.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, I have done nothing to deserve your love, yet you give it to me freely. Sometimes I condemn myself for the mistakes I make and drift from you believing I am unworthy. In these moments, help me remember that, in Jesus, I am loved, worthy, forgiven, and accepted. My mind can’t begin to comprehend the depths of your love, but I ask that you help me be a channel of your love to those around me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  1. Romans 5:8 (NLT).
  2. Comment at: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=2191

Does Colossians 1:15 Argue that Jesus was Finite and Created?

By: Justin Angelos

Certain religious traditions, such as the Jehovah Witness movement will claim that Jesus was created. It is argued that when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:16) that he does not make a claim to divinity. They believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but they do not believe Jesus is God, and nor do they worship Jesus as God.[1] A few Jehovah Witness missionaries told me that Colossians 1:15 is proof that Jesus did not eternally exist, but that Jesus is finite and created. If we carefully examine Colossians 1:15, is the apostle Paul really saying that Jesus was created? The short answer is an emphatic no. Colossians 1:15 says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” I think the mistake the Jehovah’s Witnesses are making is looking up the phrase “firstborn” in an English dictionary. They draw their conclusion based on what the phrase means in an English dictionary, first as an adjective: in the order of birth; eldest, or as a noun: a firstborn child, a primary result or product.[2] The phrase “firstborn” in Greek, especially in Paul’s day, did not mean the same thing. The Greek word for “firstborn” (πρωτοτοκος prōtotokos) according to Greek scholars like Bill Mounce is the definition of first-born, Luke 2:7; Hebrews 11:28; in NT prior in generation, Col. 1:15; a firstborn head of a spiritual family, Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:6; firstborn, as possessed of the peculiar privilege of spiritual generation, Heb. 12:23.[3]

Finish the article: https://bellatorchristi.com/2021/10/25/does-colossians-115-argue-that-jesus-was-finite-and-created/

Living Triumphantly

Matthew 4:18-20 18 Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. He saw two brothers. They were Simon (his other name was Peter) and Andrew, his brother. They were putting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. 19 Jesus said to them, “Follow Me. I will make you fish for men!” 20 At once they left their nets and followed Him.

When studying Peter’s life, believers often focus on his mistakes—the doubt that nearly drowned him when he walked on water, and his rebuke and denial of Jesus. But Peter is also an example of triumphant living. 

An uneducated fisherman who likely had few other skills, Peter put down his nets and followed Jesus the instant he was asked. He was the first to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God (Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matt. 16:16). And after the Lord’s resurrection, Peter leapt into the water and swam to shore when he noticed his Savior waiting there (Then the follower whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard it was the Lord, he put on his fisherman’s coat. (He had taken it off.) Then he jumped into the water. John 21:7). The disciple’s devotion cannot be questioned. 

Peter is both an inspiration and a comfort for believers today. God does not choose servants who are solid rocks with no cracks or crevices. He looks for believers who are teachable, willing to repent, and prepared to surrender to God’s greater will—in spite of their weaknesses and failures. He looks for folks who are a lot like Peter. 

Too many Christians have already decided how much the Lord can do with them, based on their education, personality, or talent. But God isn’t interested in qualifications. He seeks willing followers who echo Isaiah’s call: “Here am I. Send me!” (Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom should I send? Who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isa. 6:8). That’s triumphant living. 

The Greatness of God

Isaiah 40:12-31 12 Who knows how much water is in His hand? Who has used his hand to know how far the heavens reach? Who knows what the dust of the earth would fill? Who has weighed the mountains and the hills? 13 Who has led the Spirit of the Lord? Who has taught Him words of wisdom? 14 From whom did He ask for wisdom, and who gave Him understanding? Who taught Him the right way, and taught Him much learning? Who showed Him the way of understanding? 15 See, the nations are like a drop in a pail. Their weight is like a little piece of dust. See, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. 16 Even Lebanon is not enough to burn. Its animals are not enough for a burnt gift in worship. 17 All the nations are as nothing before Him. He thinks of them as less than nothing and of no worth.

18 To Whom then is God like? What will you compare Him with? 19 An able workman makes a false god. A man who works with gold covers it with gold. And a man who works with silver makes silver chains for it. 20 He who is too poor to give such a gift, picks out a tree that will not waste away. He finds an able workman to set up a false god that will not be moved.

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the beginning of the earth? 22 It is God Who sits on the throne above the earth. The people living on the earth are like grasshoppers. He spreads out the heavens like a curtain. He spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 It is He Who brings rulers down to nothing. He makes the judges of the earth as nothing. 24 They have just been planted, and have begun to take root in the earth. But He only blows on them and they dry up, and the storm carries them away like dry grass. 25 “To whom will you compare Me, that I should be like him?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes and see. Who has made these stars? It is the One Who leads them out by number. He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His strength, and because He is strong in power, not one of them is missing.

27 O Jacob and Israel, why do you say, “My way is hidden from the Lord. My God does not think about my cause”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The God Who lives forever is the Lord, the One Who made the ends of the earth. He will not become weak or tired. His understanding is too great for us to begin to know. 29 He gives strength to the weak. And He gives power to him who has little strength. 30 Even very young men get tired and become weak and strong young men trip and fall. 31 But they who wait upon the Lord will get new strength. They will rise up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weak.

 

Some people think God is a force somewhere in the cosmos, while others picture a benevolent grandfather type who overlooks “little” sins. But these characteristics do not fully capture who Jehovah is. The real God might surprise you.

As the Father reveals Himself in His Word, it’s clear He is a person. Throughout Scripture, He is named (Yahweh, Elohim, Lord) or spoken of using masculine pronouns (He, Him); “it” is never used to describe Him. He fits all of the attributes of personhood—intelligence to reason, emotions to feel, and the will to make decisions.

At the same time, Scripture also shows God’s immutability, which means His nature and character never shift—He is always Spirit, and His love remains constant. Believers can expect that God’s principles and laws will hold true and He’ll act exactly as He has promised. While He responds differently to various situations, those responses (like delight, anger, and mercy) are nuances of His being, not new traits.

God has no beginning or end, and He is always the same ( But You are always the same. Your years will never end. Psalm 102:27). No one created Him; God simply is. That’s hard for humans to understand, but if the Lord were completely explainable, He would be unworthy of worship.

Patience in the Wait

James 5:10-11 10 See how the early preachers spoke for the Lord by their suffering and by being willing to wait. 11 We think of those who stayed true to Him as happy even though they suffered. You have heard how long Job waited. You have seen what the Lord did for him in the end. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

We may think our theology and attitude about the Lord are revealed by what we claim to believe. But when our prayers go unanswered and circumstances remain unchanged, the way we wait speaks volumes about our true beliefs. 

Job was a God-fearing man who endured the loss of his children, health, and possessions. Yet he remained faithful to the Lord throughout his ordeal, despite a desperate need to know why he was so afflicted. In the midst of his suffering, Job cried out, “Oh, that my request might come to pass, and that God would grant my hope!”(Job 6:8). Every day was filled with unrelenting pain, but his consolation and joy were that he had “not denied the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:10).

The world around us judges God as unfair, indifferent, or malicious, but this should never be the case with us. When the Lord remains silent during our times of adversity or confusion, we should go to His Word to discover what it says about His character and ways. Even when our feelings seem overwhelming and our faith starts to falter, we can stand firm on the facts of Scripture.

You Have Everything You Need for Life and Godliness

Practice Perseverance

Knowing that God has promised to complete the work he began in us, we are well equipped to practice perseverance, as Peter explains in his second epistle:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him, who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (2 Pet. 1:3–7)

Because God has given us his “precious and very great promises,” Peter encourages believers to supplement faith with godliness, knowledge, steadfastness, and self-control—all of which have a direct impact on our relationships with other believers. He underscores his exhortation with a warning:

God Is in Control of Our Salvation

Ephesians 1:3-14 Let us honor and thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has already given us a taste of what heaven is like. Even before the world was made, God chose us for Himself because of His love. He planned that we should be holy and without blame as He sees us. God already planned to have us as His own children. This was done by Jesus Christ. In His plan God wanted this done.

We thank God for His grace to us. He gave this grace to us through His beloved Son. Because of the blood of Christ, we are bought and made free from the punishment of sin. And because of His blood, our sins are forgiven. His grace to us is so rich. He was so willing to give all of this to us. He did this with wisdom and understanding. God told us the secret of what He wanted to do. It is this: In loving thought He planned long ago to send Christ into the world. 10 The plan was for Christ to gather us all together at the right time. If we are in heaven or still on earth, He will bring us together and will be head over all.

11 We were already chosen to be God’s own children by Christ. This was done just like the plan He had. 12 We who were the first to put our trust in Christ should thank Him for His greatness. 13 The truth is the Good News. When you heard the truth, you put your trust in Christ. Then God marked you by giving you His Holy Spirit as a promise. 14 The Holy Spirit was given to us as a promise that we will receive everything God has for us. God’s Spirit will be with us until God finishes His work of making us complete. God does this to show His glory.

Because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and omnipresent, everything in both the natural and spiritual realms is under His complete control. That includes our salvation. No matter how many times we’ve tried to turn away from the Lord, He continues to seek us in His complete sovereignty and grace.

The Lord has issued a universal call inviting everyone to come to Him. Scripture says it isn’t His will that anyone perish, nor does He take pleasure in the death of the wicked (The Lord is not slow about keeping His promise as some people think. He is waiting for you. The Lord does not want any person to be punished forever. He wants all people to be sorry for their sins and turn from them. 2 Pet. 3:9; Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I am not pleased when sinful people die. But I am pleased when the sinful turn from their way and live. Turn! Turn from your sinful ways! Why will you die, O people of Israel?’ Ezek. 33:11). He desires that all come to a knowledge of the truth—namely, that there is one God, sin separates us from Him, and only faith in Jesus reconciles us to Him (He wants all people to be saved from the punishment of sin. He wants them to come to know the truth. There is one God. There is one Man standing between God and men. That Man is Christ Jesus. He gave His life for all men so they could go free and not be held by the power of sin. God made this known to the world at the right time. 1 Tim. 2:4-6).

We can take no credit for our salvation; Scripture says that none of us seek God (There is not one who understands. There is not one who tries to find God. Rom. 3:11). Instead, the desire to know Him comes through the Spirit’s work of convicting hearts and providing the faith to believe in Jesus as Savior. Every step of salvation—from first to last—is of God.

No plan of our heavenly Father’s can be stopped, so ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp the immensity of divine grace, love, and mercy.

“Loving Your Neighbor”

(J. R. Miller, )

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“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

What is it to love our neighbor? It is the loving that is hard. We could do almost anything else, short of loving unpleasant neighbors.

But love is the word–and no revised version changes it. No matter how disagreeable, unlovely, unworthy, our neighbors may be–still the commandment persistently and relentlessly says to us, “You shall love him!

Our neighbors are around us all the time, needing our love. Indeed, they touch our lives so continually, that we must guard our every look, word, and act–lest we hurt some sensitive spirit.

Some people seem to forget that other people have feelings. They are constantly saying words and doing things which give pain. True love is thoughtful. We ought to train our hearts to the most delicate sense of kindness, that we may never, even jokingly, give pain to any other human being.

Our neighbors have hearts, and we owe to every one of them–the beggar we meet on the street, thedegraded wretch we find crawling in the mire of sin’s debasement, the enemy who flings his insults in our face–to every one, we owe the love that is thoughtful, gentle, and gives no hurt.

Our love ought also to be patient. Our neighbor will have his faults. But we are taught to bear with one another’s infirmities.

If we knew the story of men’s lives, the hidden burdens they are often carrying, the unhealed woundsin their heart–we would have most gentle patience with them. Life is hard for most people, certainly hard enough without our adding to its burdens–by our criticisms, our jeering and contempt, and our lack of love.