Archive | June, 2019

Lemonade and beyond!!!

6 Jun

A wise and timeless adage says: “If life serves lemons, make lemonade” (I write about that here.) Let’s unpack this process a little more.

Everyone experiences trials.  Those trials can be our bain… or our benefit.  But even more poignantly, every man and woman of faith MUST go through trials in order to be approved.  I think of James 1: 2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  

And

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.” – I Pet 4:12-13

And

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine.  When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.  You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him – with laughter and singing.  Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. – I Pet 1:7-9

And

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. – Job 23:10

And

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 

Disclaimer:  I am NOT saying that ALL tests come from God. 

1) God’s tests are intended to be redemptive, to empower us and to approve us. 

2) The devil’s tests are meant to wear us down and destroy us. 

3) This world’s trials are neuter… they’re just part of the package deal of living in this earth.

But no matter where the tests come from, we can be assured that there will be tests!  There is no getting around the issue of the testing of our faith.  Each of us experiences our unique kind of testing.  But just when we think we’ve ‘arrived’… and we get ‘graduated’ to the next ‘grade’… waiting for us there, are new testings.  (Remember school – each subject had tests to prove what we’d learned.)  Tests, in and of themselves are not our enemy.  Nor does it mean that if we’re in a test that we’ve somehow fallen out of favor with God.  Passing tests helps to affirm us… to approve us… to validate our faith… to give us ‘credentials’, etc.   Not sure I like it, but in God’s great master plan, tests are a significant part of the larger process that brings us into maturity. 

So it’s important that we don’t get angry at the tests.  That wouldn’t be beneficial to us.  Remember, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble…”  But God has a magnificent way of “… causing everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  A similar sentiment is stated here:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works FOR us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; – II Cor 4:17

The important thing that I’m trying to learn and practice is to be proactive in the trials.  In other words, when I face a trial I want to get on God’s side of the matter versus my narrow-minded side. 

On God’s side, the answer is already here/“it is finished”… and He sees us as “complete and lacking in nothing”.  He’s waiting to see if we’ll accept and adopt His point of view. 

On our humanity side, we’re preoccupied with lack and pain and loss and rejection, etc… and we want our baby ‘binky’ back, NOW!!!!

On God’s side, we are learning to see from His bigger perspective… and to begin to proactively declare into being, those things which He wants in us and around us.

On our humanity side, we beg, plead, worry, fret, complain and view ourselves as lowly needy peasant creatures.

On God’s side, He’s looking for kingly partners who release His Kingdom realities on earth just as it is in Heaven.

I think God’s dream has always been to see us come out from under the tyrannical preoccupation and domination of our immediate needs… and find our solace in His goodness and love for us… and find our courage in the knowledge that He already has the answer ‘on the way’.  As this knowledge becomes more of a reality in us, we find it easier to partner with God in creating our ‘world’ around us by prophesying and calling into being those things which are lacking (Romans 4:17).

You remember John & Cheryl’s infant son Asher, who was suddenly and inexplicably stricken with total paralysis in both arms and hands last year.  I immediately informed our whole family that we WILL NOT be sucked down into a dark hole of despair and discouragement.  We will remember the trophies that came from past trials and use those trophies as launching pads for our faith in this ordeal.  Well… it’s been a little over a year and that little boy has 95% of his movement back in his arms, hands, and fingers.  And he will get it all, without a doubt!

Latest personal trial for Debbie and me! 
Recently, we were out of town for 4 or 5 days.  While we were away, a plumbing pipe burst and water gushed into the first floor and basement for nearly 1 ½ days.  Major damage!!  Tens of thousands of dollars of damage!  Insurance agencies tore out all of Debbie’s brand new kitchen and much of our basement, back to the floor/ceiling joists and wall studs.  It will all have to be replaced which will probably take several more months.  Insurance will cover everything except for the $5K deductible.

Hmmmm.  So how should we react or respond in a situation as devastating as this!?  A person could immediately go into despair and emotional trauma… or he could ‘draw upon’ the rich history of trophies gained from past trials.  And we did!  We heard about the catastrophe before we arrived home and I immediately informed our family:           

We’ll not forget the past cycles of trials!
Have we ever had trials?  Yes!
Have any of those trials yielded trophies?  Yes!

Have most of those trials yielded trophies?  Yes!
Is there any reason to believe this time will be any different?  No!
SOoooo, our confession will be, “Trials yield great trophies!”
Lemons make great lemonade… (maybe even lemon cream pie!)

Our history in God… and our memory of coming through those cycles of trials, serves as a great anchor point to help us participate with God as an asset to Him, rather than become a liability to God. (Obviously, I say LIABILITY facetiously, because His heart is so able to work with us wherever we are in our growth.)  If we forget how we acquired the last trophy we disempower ourselves in this current trial.  If we call to mind the past trophies accruing on the mantles of our lives, we can equip ourselves with peace, stability, and courage to walk through this trial.

Well, Debbie and I have already discovered a few trophies that will come out of this ‘baptism’ of water ordeal… and I’m sure that there will be many more… you just watch and see!!  We keep reminding each other of the lemon cream pie!!  🙂  

So this is life in the raw…. this is real life!  Our years of walking with God give us greater ability to face trials without being capsized or shipwrecked.  Thank you, God!

I’m sure that each of us is digging deep into our reservoir of history in God to find solid ground to ‘stand on’.  The testimony and trophy to God’s Goodness that you gain at the end of each ordeal will only serve to more deeply anchor your faith in God, make you unshakable in future trials, and empower your life message to those around you!  

I leave you with this verse:  II Cor 2:14-15

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing

Again, the same verse from the Message Bible:

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.  Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ.  Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.  Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.

I proclaim, “I believe in you!!!”  And even more, I believe in God and His goodness toward you.  I believe there will be a breakthrough discovered for your situation – whether it’s a physical, spiritual or circumstantial.  I believe you will rise up and stand tall again… and tell a great story about your latest trophy… giving glory to the Grace of God!

Prayer:  I partner with God today, making prayerful declarations:  Today we call forth breakthroughs that will free up Your people.  We call forth insights and dreams that will have a ‘key’ to breakthroughs!  I speak to our spirit man to increase in strength and to be full of courage.  I call forth supernatural strength and empowerment.  Be empowered this day with fresh courage, greater perspectives, and power from on High!  And we declare the fulfillment of all of Father’s intentions to come forth in you.  We bless those dreams that Father has been holding for you… to be released in the proper timing.  Come forth in Jesus name and not one of those dreams go unfulfilled!!!  Amen!

— MLH