I guess the worst day I have had was when I had to stand up in rehab in front of my wife and daughter and say ‘Hi, my name is Sam and I am an addict.’
Samuel L. Jackson
God never intended for or made provision for us to stop in our spiritual growth. God’s purpose for us is that we grow and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily lives. To reflect more of Him and less of us. Sometimes we become complacent in our Christian growth. We feel that we have reached a place and no longer have a need to grow or go any deeper in our walk with God. When this happens, God will allow adversity to come into our lives to move us forward in our walk with Him and cause us to grow. How we respond to our trials will either makes us or break us.
Why is that when we encounter troubles, trials or adversity many in the church want to quit and give up. Over the years I have seen people quit church, quit serving God, quit reading their bible and quit praying because of troubles. I have even seen those that became bitter and angry with God because of their troubles as though God has done them an injustice. Many have expressed that God had been unfair to them. Than there are those that feel that God owes them something. Let me say that God doesn’t owe any of us anything. God, because of His mercy and grace chose to bestow on us His Blessing. Not because He owed us or not because He had to, but because He Chose to.
If we will submit ourselves to God during times of adversity we will discover something about God and about ourselves.
Lesson Learned about God:
God has a purpose for every trial that comes into your life. Nothing happens to you without God’s approval or purpose.
God has the power to work things out to your good. Regardless of the circumstances you are facing God can make all things work to your good and your benefit.
God’s perspective is not the same as yours. God sees the purpose and outcome of your trial. All you and I see is the pain and the problem. God sees the future while all you and I can see is the present.
God’s promise of His presence in the time of your trial. God will never leave you when you nor forsake you.
When faced with adversity we will also discover some things about ourselves.
We will discover what our view of God really is.
We will discover what our weaknesses and our strengths are.
We will discover how mature we are.
We will discover what our priorities really are. God’s command or my comfort.
God is going to have a people that have been tried and proven.
God is going to have a people that have learned to grow through adversity.
God is going to have a people that have been made stronger and have become more determined than ever to serve Him.
God is going to have a people that is willing to change in order to become more like Jesus in their lives.
God test us to bring out the best in us.
Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us.
This morning we are going to Learn To Grow Through Adversity..
This morning you can Profit From Your Problems. You can turn Trials into Triumph.
If we are going to Grow Through Adversity. If we are going to Profit From Our Problems. If we are going to Turn Trials into Triumph. Then there are some facts of Life that we MUST face and accept.
Fact # 1 The Reality of Trials.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
1. Problems Are Inevitable.
James did not say, “If you encounter problems consider it joy” but when you encounter problems. You can count on it, you’re going to have problems. If you don’t have problems, check your pulse. It is a fact of life. Jesus said “In the world you will have tribulation.” Peter said, “Don’t be surprised when you have problems.” Count on it. Problems are not an elective in life. They are a required course. You don’t get out of them by saying you don’t want to have any problems. Nobody’s immune.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: Don’t be surprised by your trials they are coming.
2. Problems Are Unpredictable.
He says, “…when you fall into troubles …” The word “fall” literally means “to fall into unexpectedly”. It is the same word used in the story of the Good Samaritan where the man fell among thieves — it was unexpected. Trials are not planned. We seldom can anticipate the problems we’re going to experience in life. That’s probably good because if we could anticipate them we’d run the other way and we wouldn’t get the benefit from them. We don’t plan to have a flat tire. Or a crisis. They are unplanned and unpredictable — when we least expect them. That’s what makes a problem a problem. Often it’s inconvenient when you fall into it suddenly.
3. Problems of Various Kinds
They come in all shapes and sizes. One thing about problems: you don’t get bored with them: there are a wide variety of them.
Have you ever tried to match paint? The word in the Greek for “many kinds” is literally “multi colored”. There are problems of many shades and varieties. They vary in intensity, they vary in variety, they vary in duration. Some are minor inconveniences. Some are major crises. We have all kinds and shapes of problems. They come in more than 31 flavors. Some problems are custom made and you know it.
Fact # 2 The Reasons For Our Trials
James 1:3-4 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Our Trials have a Purpose. Pain can be productive. Pressure can produces. Suffering can accomplish something. It has value in our lives. James says, ” Knowing This “. Isn’t good to know that the adversity that you are facing, the problems that you are encountering have a purpose. You are not going through what ever you are going through for no reason. When you go through troubles and trials, God is doing something in your life.
What value? Three purposes of problems in your life:
1. Problems Purify My Faith.
He uses the word “trying or testing”, James uses a word to describe the process of purifying and testing gold. You would heat the gold up very hot until the impurities — the dross — was burned off. Job said “He has tested me through the refining fire and I have come out as pure gold.” The first things trials do is test our faith. They purify us. Christians are a lot like tea bags. You don’t know what’s inside of them until you drop them in hot water. And then you know. Your faith develops when things don’t go as planned. Your faith develops when you don’t feel like doing what’s right. It purifies your faith. Christians are like steel; when they’re tested they come out stronger.
We’ve been in a test for this land for over a year. We’ve been in a course on character development. God is much more interested in building disciples than He is in building buildings. Problems purify our faith.
2. Problems Produce Perseverance In Our Lives.
“…the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Another way of saying this is, ” The testing of your faith produces perseverance. He’s talking about staying power, endurance. The ability to keep on, keeping on, the ability to hang in there. The Greek here is literally “the ability to stay under pressure.” The idea is to stay put until the purpose is accomplished.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We don’t like pressure and we do everything we can to avoid it. We run from it, hide from it, we do anything to get away from pressure. But God uses problems in our lives to teach us how to handle pressure, how to never give up.
3. Problems Make Me Mature.
They make me like Jesus. They help me mature. They help me to grow. “The testing of your faith produces perseverance that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” That’s God’s long range goal. His ultimate purpose is maturity. God wants you to grow up. He wants you to mature.
God’s number one purpose in your life is to make you like Jesus Christ. God is much more interested in building my character than in making me comfortable. If God is going to make me like Jesus, He’s going to take me through the things Jesus went through. There were times when Jesus was lonely, fatigued, tempted to be depressed and discouraged. The Bible says there are two ways that God makes us like Jesus:
Through the word of God.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth.” James 1:22-25 “The word makes us like Jesus” it builds our character, matures us. But even if you read the Bible two hours a day, how many hours of your life are you not reading God’s word. God demands even more on the second way.
Through the circumstances of life.
Here’s where James hits right it on the head. So many Christians I meet say, “Everything was going great when I first got saved. Then all of these problems came. Maybe God doesn’t love me. Maybe I’m not a Christian. Maybe I’m not really saved. Maybe I’ve missed the boat.” You are exactly where God wants you. You’re in the process of growing. He’s making you like Jesus.
Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good” [not all things are good but they work together for good] if we love God and are called according to His purpose.” The secret of Romans 8:28 is 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow He did predestine to become conformed to the image of the Son of God.” Why do all things work together for good? In order to make me like Christ.
Fact # 3 The Response To Trials
Our response to our trials determines the outcome of our trials. Our trials will either make us or break us. It is a matter of how we respond.
1. Respond With Joy.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
This is not the way we normally respond to adversity. Often times our first response is to get mad and question Why me Lord.
James said Count. The word count is an accounting word that means to evaluate. Accountants add up the numbers to make the balance sheets come out right. Sometimes our trials don’t add up from a our stand point or our perspective. They just don’t add up. They don’t make any sense. We can count it all joy when we know that God is doing something wonderful in our lives. Something positive. Something that will bring honor and glory to Him while at the same time make us more like The Lord Jesus.
2. Respond With Prayer
James 1:5-6 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 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.
A. Ask For Wisdom To Handle The Trial
How do we handle trials? Ask for God for help and understanding. You need to say God, I know that there is something good in this for me. Help me to see you plan and your hand this trial, in this adversity. Show me how to respond so the I can get the best from this. As you are praying for God to give you wisdom remember what Paul said in: 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. You are not by yourself. There are other people in the body of Christ that have experienced what you are experiencing. They have seen God bring them through.You may feel that God has allowed more to come on you than you can handle, but that is not true. God will always supply you with the grace that is needed to overcome all of your trials.You must understand what wisdom is. Wisdom is the ability to properly apply and use the knowledge you have to correctly handle your trials and adversity.
A good teacher only tests students on the information that has already been taught. The teacher also wants the students to pass the test. So if you are going through a trial. God has already supplied with the information needed to pass the test. God’s desire is that you pass the test of your trial so you can graduate to the next level of spiritual maturity.
B. Ask In Faith
We must believe that when we ask God for help and wisdom that He will give it to us. He will give generously and liberally.
Fact # 4 The Reward of The Trial
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. God says there will be a reward. I don’t think when we get to heaven the rewards will go to the pastors, and evangelists, and the Billy Grahams. I think the rewards will go to the people who quietly put up with difficult situations and develop the character of Jesus Christ in their life. He says, There will be a crown of life.
When the trial is finished and the purpose is accomplished then there is God’s reward. God not only wants you to receive the reward, He also wants you to love Him More.
God wants to Crown you with eternal, everlasting, never ending Life.
Will you learn to grow through your adversity? Will your adversity drive you closer to God? or Will your adversity drive you away from God? We can Grow through adversity if we will face the facts of life. Trials are a part of life. Trials have a purpose in life. Trials will provoke a response. Trials will bring forth their reward.
If we allow the consideration of heathen morality and heathen religion to absolve us from the duty of preaching the gospel we are really deposing Christ from His throne in our own souls.
In reality, a son of God is someone who is not born of blood, or by the will of the flesh but by the Spirit of God. According to the Torah, Quran, and The Holy Bible, Isaac and Ishmael are direct descendants of Abraham. Because of their blood relationship to Abraham, their religions, Judaism and Islam trust in their blood covenant or generational connection to God through Abraham for salvation. Nevertheless, in the New Testament, John declares that blood connections, natural generations, and earthly adoptions have nothing to do with being a child of God. He declares that the son of God is born of God through the powerful connection of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
In John 3:1-8, Jesus explains this new birth. The Scriptures read, ‘Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi. We know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying you must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’
As a son of God, we have faith in what God did by allowing Jesus to stand upon the cross in our place. Our repentance is from our unrighteous deeds and unworthy sacrifices that could not cover our sins. Our obedience comes from the acceptance of the offer of God’s salvation and His pathway to forgiveness. Our faith, repentance, and obedience prepare us for the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of God’s Spirit emerges us into the spiritual reality of God. It transforms us into new creatures in Christ Jesus. It rebirths us into the world as the enable or empowered the sons and daughters of God.
Nevertheless, this placement or choosing as the Chosen Generation is not a mere title. It is our spiritual eyes made conscious of the fundamental gifts, discernments, and weapons available to every child of God. The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God connects us to the source of our election as the royal priesthood and teaches us how to use these weapons. The immense overpowering force of the Holy Spirit removes us from the world and forms us into a Holy Nation outfitted in the Armor of God. The Holy Spirit of God gives us right standing before God, so we can accept the royal gifts from the Holy Spirit of God. He grants us divine placement inside the Household of God as the peculiar sons and daughters of God.
Nevertheless, the label of Christian originated not within the household of God, but with the heathen world in Antioch and Rome. The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch came from Jerusalem because of persecution by the Jews. They were labeled as Christian as an insult meaning they were trying to imitate Jesus, the Christ. However, what the world meant to hurt the church, the reborn children of God decide to make it work for church of the Living God’s good. The designation of worldly man, the label of Christian or an imitation anointing, was transformed into a demeaning praise of God. Mistakenly, God’s new creation called the body of Christ or the people of the way of Christ decided to tack on a heathen made label. By doing this, they unknowingly diminished the power of the divinely named Church of God. What God had divinely separated from the world and called his Holy Nation quickly developed into a confusing number of different divisions called Christianity.
This is why in Galatians 1 we find these words written from Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. It addressed all the brethren that are with him and to the churches of Galatia. Paul says, ‘Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For example, do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For example, if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren that the gospel that was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.’
What should the ministers of Christ preach? We should preach Christ, and Him crucified and glorified? Moreover, our preaching should be accompanied with the Divine power of the Holy Spirit of God. The power of the Lord should empower us to present His redeeming and life changing love to the hearts and consciences of the sinful children of God. The body of Christ should turn the world from a careless, carnal way of living by displaying to them how to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life as a son or daughter of God.
However, the label of Christianity does not allow its follwers the opportunity to do this. Christianity has turned us away from worshiping God in spirit and in truth to worshiping Him in prearranged and highly orchestrated shows and worthless ceremonies. Because the denominational Christian church does not present the Lord Jesus in unity, with simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, the label of Christianity announces the churchgoer to the world as a hollow imitation of the Anointed One of God that clings to the ideal of worldly success. When we accepted the label of heathen man, we must follow the guidelines set by that label. No matter how much we want to say diet Coke taste like Coca Cola, it is not the real thing. Likewise, because of Christianity, we cannot become like Jesus, the Christ and walk as men and women empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. As a Christian, we can only develop into an imitation of the real thing because that is what we call ourselves by our heathen label.
The reason our world continues to remain in turmoil is we, like the sons of Sceva, are trying to act as if we have what it takes by our worldly means to get the job done. Nevertheless, each time, Lucifer sends the Christian church running back into the world unclothed and naked. We have failed to understand that the reason the followers of Christ were called disciples is they learn to follow the ways of Jesus and not imitate the ways of the world. The proper meaning of a follower of Christ denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief ambition to shape his life by Christ’s precepts and examples.
By accepting the promise of new life in Christ, we receive the yoke of Christ upon us. By this yoke, the Holy Spirit of God drives us to shun the carnal and worldly ways of life. Because of the Holy Spirit of God, we can knock at Mercy’s door when we need aid in our fight against Lucifer. The authority of the sons and daughters of God enables us to stand bold in our fight as the mighty men and women of God. When the Holy Spirit wean idols and the carnal ways from our lives and replace them with the love of and for God, no weapons formed against us prosper. This is the blessing and privilege of the spiritual true believer. We partake or share in Christ’s righteousness or right standing before God. We walk so God is honored by us because we are His people. However, if a man’s family walks disorderly, it is a dishonor to the man. Since God calls us His sons and daughters, and we answer with Abba Father, it is time that we lay aside every weight that so easily besets us, so we can stand and walk like the men and women empowered by God because as a Christian, we are just an insult thrown at God by heathen man. This is my revelation for today, because I asked for understanding of why are we as a church on earth being whipped and conforming to sin and this was what I was led to study. No offence to any particular denomination, just clarity on what seems to be factually true revealed by scripture.
I am grieving for this family and my family in the ecclesia of this world. I will bless The Lord in spite of the defeat that seems to be prevailing against His people. I recently began to experience deep depression myself due to my lack of understanding why my wife and I are suffering while doing what we thought was God’s will. The Donner debacle set a spark of anxiety and anger off in me that I could not handle myself. Trying to stay planted in humility with the Veteran Affairs and society related to my struggles with them and not to mention with my God have rendered me baffled at the emotional scars from these issues. Depression is a real silent killer. I do believe in His word and constantly speak life to my soul and spirit. I pray that we will all fight for peace for each other because this is affecting our youth as well as countless others. Please don’t give up your fight for your family nor your church body. Pray without ceasing for all who maybe suffering, “speak life” over everyone you can. Discouraged, yes, but not defeated. “Stand”.
I posted a topic divulging my pain on Google plus and sent it to my church family. I spoke about how many more preachers and pastor’s there are oppose to mental health experts in the world as a whole, but we are not getting the help required from the church always related to this serious issue. I am not sure what type of spirit this is that has our power being muffled within the hospital of faith. There are professionals seated within every congregation that work in this profession that could link up with ministers in the church to partner and listen to someone in pain and give solace to the ill.
The Warrens said in an email to church staff Saturday that Matthew Warren had taken his own life in a “momentary wave of despair.” It said he had long struggled to control his emotional pain despite years of prayers and the best available treatment.
“Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” the email said. “Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.”
We grieve. Our stomachs turn as the shock settles in. Many of us were raised in pews where answers were given freely. But this past weekend proved otherwise. If we are honest, we are shaken by the frailty of our faith.
As the news spread on Saturday, Christians around the world were gripped by the suicide of 27-year-old Matthew Warren, son of Rick Warren, a beloved mega church pastor and best-selling author of “The Purpose Driven Life.” A son’s life was fraught with mental illness from his earliest years. A father bravely addressed this struggle head-on in a letter to church staff stating, “only those closest to him knew that he struggled with mental illness, dark holes of depression and even suicidal thoughts.”
Mental illness is a group so vast, with varying degrees so complex, we collectively avoid the topic until it creeps into our homes and afflicts those we love most. But today, we’re forced to face something that’s become so rampant, it can no longer be ignored.
For years, we’ve reserved the term “mental illness” for only the most extreme cases, but 26% of us in any given year suffer from depression, anxiety and a serious number of other mental illnesses, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a dirty little secret few people want to talk about, a devastating statistic implying that, in each of our families, we all care for someone who faces this pain.
This problem doesn’t go away just because you have faith. For many, the church has become a place where they quietly suffer.
Almost one in four middle-age women is on some form of antidepressant medication, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Women intent on managing the expectations of their spouses, children and friends quietly medicate while trying to keep it all together.
Opinion: How churches can respond to mental illness
As one representing the 26%, for me it came in waves. From the low hum during the longest of winters to volatile moments rocking on the floor of my closet, questioning whether my life would always bear this weight. Watching it firsthand in my family during my formative years, I wondered whether history was repeating itself in me.
For those afflicted, depression enters when we’ve lost hope for the future. When we no longer imagine a life that is free. Whether it’s triggered by a chemical imbalance or a change in circumstances, facing it in isolation is the most treacherous. At precisely the time we need others, our inclination is to turn inward.
I’ve been comforted to know I’m not alone.
Anxiety and panic are my nemesis. In my struggle to break through the mental distress, I’ve found comfort and promise in the writings of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. His summation that the root cause of anxiety is a sense of unfulfilled responsibility resonates.
For me, the low surfaces when I am not contributing to someone or something. When I lose a vision for my life, purpose hides beyond my grasp. But when I recover my sense of purpose and calling — to help women navigate these hidden troubles — meaning rushes in. When I write these blogs and get into my love to help others by what affects me I find peace.
Over the past three years, the promises of Jesus have been paramount in helping me walk forward. Uttering hushed prayers in church as the doors close in, softly crying out for rescue on long desolate shut in moments at the home I now live . God’s presence has always been a guiding force, my source for purpose beyond myself.
For each of us, this tragedy raises important questions: How do we better care for the 26%? What is your role in bringing healing to those who hurt?
Perhaps these three postures could go a long way.
Remove the stigma
As people of faith, let’s talk about mental illness, giving others permission to do the same. Let’s release the stigma that keeps this a secret, holding untold millions captive. All secrets lose power when they exit the dark. The church is a place where we should be able to come as we are, with our longings for what we hope to be. Jesus always pursued the weak with open arms. When we are broken and fragile, He draws us closer to Him in ways we’ve never known. In my journey, I’ve never felt more loved and cared for by God than in my darkest hours. When we grieve, we are comforted.
Let’s be present. Let’s love unconditionally. Eye to eye, we must be honest about our own struggles. Especially in the church, no one should have to hide or sneak around or double his or her dose. Let’s be on-call in the late night hours, when the phone rings and we are summoned to show up. What if our communities of faith were the one place you could count on to find a listening ear, a hand to hold, another loving human being with a compassionate and sensitive response?
Don’t pretend to have all the answers
Let’s not shame mental illness with the judgment of spiritual weakness. As Christians, we believe this side of heaven all disease, sickness and pain is rooted in a world broken by sin. But there are real consequences to living amidst the mess. To oversimplify these complexities would be naïve at best, negligent at worst. Faith should never undermine the necessity of doctors, of medications and therapy, because we must deploy every effort afforded to us when we tackle our brokenness.
I’m comforted to know that even in this tragic moment, America’s beloved pastor still teaches us. Warren’s sensitivity and understanding in the closing words of his letter give hope for a new posture within the church. He acknowledged that “Kay and I often marveled at (Matthew’s) courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how many years ago … Matthew said, ‘Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?’ But he kept going for another decade.”
With that kind of honest, raw vulnerability and perspective, who wouldn’t want Rick Warren to be their pastor? Or their dad, for that matter.I am asking those in my uhmah to stand up and show up to the aid of our congregation. I am asking us to stop using by rout cliché’s and began to really love those God gifted our church with to be some part of the body. I asking us all to get aquinted with others in your close proximity and make a difference in their life. I found out that some of us have never really been loved and when we neglect to love as God instructed that’s where the indictment begins. Stop the bruising and look at the word, there must be something in God admonishing us to love. That is the bill no doctor on earth can prescribe. Wake up family and do your part. God did it all and left us a road map to peace by the model His son left in scripture. Really desire to have that power, ask for forgiveness when wronged or doing wrong. Stop the attacks of the accuser of our faith by acknowledging your feebleness, expose darkness and get healed. Stop prideful advances due to caste status, kill the gang banging in the church look to Him to mend our ranks with earnestness.