Testing your faith...

This week has been both trying and testing for me, that is, emotionally stressful.  I have found myself in a long trial.  With accountability in my life, I was told that it would be prudent for me to stand the test and hold my integrity (more about this in another post).  I have also been contacted by brothers (and sisters) that have prayer concerns:  One is in home hospice with terminal cancer; another brother is asking for prayers as his wife is diagnosed with a type of cancer that can be treated, but can also be very serious.  Another brother is asking for prayers for his marriage.  There are clearly a lot of trials and tribulations that are in each of our lives daily.  I know that I have talked about this before, but through these trials I am reminded of 3 and 4 years ago with my wife and I as we were faced with very serious health issues on her life (back to back years around this time of the year).  There was a point that I could have lost her and that humbled me greatly to lean not on my own understanding, but on God!  The book of Job was very near and dear to my heart and helped me through this time along with many prayers from people who love me!

This week, I prayed everyday for my spiritual brother and his wife.  I prayed with him and another brother this week and we prayed as a group of men after our men's bible study.  There is power in prayer.  There is power in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.  This brother has come a long way in his faith.  He has grown tremendously.  He is serving in many ways and he is growing with his wife even more through serving.  He gets it!  It is not about us and what we can get, but it is about God and what he gives us (Spiritual gifts) to serve and to love one another.  His world is wrecked right now, as mine was with my wife in the hospital 3 and 4 years ago, but he holds not to his own understanding, but he holds to biblical truth!  He is a man who loves God and will finish well!

This week, I also visited my spiritual brother who is in home hospice and read Scripture to him (Psalms 91) and prayed with him.  If you met this man, you would see spiritual maturity and a humility of a righteous man.  He said to me that he was not afraid to die.  He was looking forward to his heavenly home.  The one thing that did sadden him, greatly, was that he would be leaving and terribly missing his loved ones (both biological and spiritual family).  He is a man of God and a man who loves like Jesus loves.  Believe it or not, it made me proud to know this man, who could look at death's face and show no fear knowing that our Savior Jesus Christ conquered death.  Now that is a life insurance policy that we should all strive to keep with fear and trembling in our daily walks.

trialsIn James 1, we read, "Testing of Your FaithCount it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.  16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

have a great weekThis Thursday and Friday my kids participated in a winter choir and orchestra concert for 3 performances.  After seeing this for four years, I was humbled by this performance.  The kids (from all ages) sang songs through our journey, our spiritual walk.  Three of my favorites were the Books of the Bible, Hallelujah Chorus and the song at the beginning of this entry.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

When I die, there are two songs that my wife and kids know that I want played at my funeral:  1) It is well (click on this for the song) and 2) Blessed be your name (lyrics below by Matt Redman):

Blessed Be Your Name In the land that is plentiful Where Your streams of abundance flow Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name When I'm found in the desert place Though I walk through the wilderness Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name When the sun's shining down on me When the world's 'all as it should be' Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name On the road marked with suffering Though there's pain in the offering Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away You give and take away My heart will choose to say Lord, blessed be Your name

 

Finish well, trust and obey.

 

Thoughts? Dante