Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life. James 1:12
Last winter while visiting a natural history museum in Colorado, I learned some remarkable facts about the aspen tree. An entire grove of slender, white-trunked aspens can grow from a single seed and share the same root system. These root systems can exist for thousands of years whether or not they produce trees. They sleep underground, waiting for fire, flood, or avalanche to clear a space for them in the shady forest. After a natural disaster has cleared the land, aspen roots can sense the sun at last. The roots send up saplings, which become trees.
For aspens, new growth is made possible by the devastation of a natural disaster. James writes that our growth in faith is also made possible by difficulties. “Consider it pure joy,” he writes, “whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).
It’s difficult to be joyful during trials, but we can take hope from the fact that God will use difficult circumstances to help us reach maturity. Like aspen trees, faith can grow in times of trial when difficulty clears space in our hearts for the light of God to touch us.
Thank You, God, for being with us in our trials, and for helping us to grow through difficult circumstances.
Trials and tests can draw us closer to Christ.
God wants to be the greatest passion of every believer’s life. If we claim to love the Lord, our connection with Him should have priority over possessions, vocation, and even other relationships. Yet we often miss the true message of Psalm 37:4 by assuming the verse means we can get what we want. It’s not uncommon for someone to tell me about a prayer request and then add, “God promised to give me the desires of my heart.” In fact, believers at times are so fixed on an outcome that they take matters into their own hands to “help God out.”
But in context, that scripture reveals the Lord’s principle for purifying our desires and issues a call for devotion to Him. To delight in the Lord means to take pleasure in discovering more about Him and following His will. This leads to the Holy Spirit aligning our heart’s desires with His, which always puts us in position to experience His blessings.
When we commit our way to God, we allow our thoughts, goals, and lifestyle to be shaped by His will and the things He loves. In other words, we acknowledge His right to determine whether our longing fits His plan. If we rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, then we will rely on Him to work out circumstances, even when the desire He’s given us seems impossible. When He is our first love, our hearts become focused on making His glory known in our life.
When we are aligned with His will, our Father wants to give us our heart’s desires—in His time. As we learn to enjoy Him for who He is, our self-focused wants are replaced by His perfect will and purpose for us.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:6-7)
This startling piece of information does not fit with the common idea that Satan was cast out of heaven prior to Genesis 3 or as described in Luke 10:18. Many suggest that the same event is in view in Revelation 12:7-9 when Michael led the battle against Satan, casting him and his demons to Earth to become “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and confining him to Earth, where he worked feverishly to assemble the ultimate human army to defy the Creator.
If that is so, then the rather nonchalant appearance of Satan in Job 1:6 among the “sons of God” in the throne room seems very much out of place.
Perhaps the arrogance of Satan is based on the freedom he believes he has as one of the chief angels, “going to and fro” with apparent impunity, “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Whatever may be the actual state of Lucifer’s freedom under the sovereignty of almighty God, Satan responds to God’s question regarding Job with little fear of contradiction or any concern for personal rebuke.
Please remember: Satan was a created being with such majesty and beauty (Ezekiel 28:15-17) that he believed he could overthrow the Creator Himself (Isaiah 14:12-14). This short passage, which appears no other place in the Bible, gives us unique insight into the nature of the angelic world and the sovereign confidence of the One who knows “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10). HMM III
Adapted from The Book of Beginnings by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.
God’s people are never long untried.
Complaining of second causes is really complaining of the Lord, let us disguise it as we may. What, after all, had Moses to do with it? The root of this sin of murmuring was unbelief. Could they not trust Jehovah? Would he not be sure to supply their wants? Had he ever been unmindful of them? Alas, notwithstanding all our experience of his faithfulness we ourselves are not clear from unbelief. He that is without fault among us, let him throw the first stone at Israel.
Moses took the case into the right court. The people cried against him, but he cried unto the Lord. Here is our best resource. We may cry to God now.
See how the Lord answers their murmurings; not by fulfilling their bitter speeches and leaving them to die of thirst, but by fetching living streams from a rock. Surely the Lord, who thus recompenses good for evil, deserves our heart’s unwavering confidence from this day forward. It is wanton insult to doubt one who is so overflowing with kindness. Render not evil for good.
The Lord takes note of his peoples chidings and commemorates them. We must not think a grumbling spirit to be a small evil. The Lord has here set a mark and a brand upon it.
Isaiah 41:17, 18
The God who supplied Israel with natural water is ready to grant us the living water of his grace. Hear what his words are in
Isaiah 41:17, 18.
To strengthen bur faith in this promise we are bidden to look back upon the Lord’s wonders of old and to expect yet greater things, for God has not changed, nor are the fountains of his power and grace exhausted.
Glory be unto the Lord, we can bear witness that we daily and hourly receive fresh supplies of grace from him. No good thing hath he withheld from us. His praise shall continually be in our mouths.
Poor needy souls athirst and faint,
Who gasp for my redeeming love;
I will attend to their complaint,
And pour them rivers from above.
Water’d by me, the desert-soul,
The garden of the Lord shall prove,
Replenished as a wide-spread pool,
By springs of everlasting love.
To whom do you go for help when you feel trapped, cornered, or pinned against the wall because of a situation you’ve fallen into? In moments like that, do you feel overwhelmed with a sense of desperation, or do you know where to turn for help?
I want to speak to you about the supernatural intercessory ministry of the Holy Spirit. But today I’m not talking about prayer when I use the phrase “intercessory ministry.” I am talking about a very special, unique work of the Holy Spirit that is available to help you every day—especially in times when you’re feeling backed into a corner by situations in life.
Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” I would like to draw your attention to the word “intercession” in the middle of this verse. It is the Greek word huperentugchano, an old word that does not appear to exist outside early Christian literature. It is the picture of one who comes upon someone who has fallen into some kind of quandary. Upon discovering the trapped person’s dilemma, he swiftly swings into action to rescue and deliver the one who is in trouble. Therefore, the word huperentugchano conveys the idea of a rescue operation.
Paul uses this word here to tell us about a special work of divine intercession—a special ministry performed by the Holy Spirit Himself when He sees that you are at a loss for words or that you are trapped in a situation and don’t know how to get out. Suddenly and supernaturally, the Holy Spirit falls into that place with you. Now you are no longer facing the challenge by yourself, for the Holy Spirit has stepped into your dilemma and is initiating a rescue plan to get you out of that mess!
The Holy Spirit feels everything you feel. He understands the complete inadequacy you are experiencing. He knows about every battle you are facing. He willingly joins you in your circumstances, sharing your emotions and frustrations. Then He begins to put a supernatural plan of rescue into operation to get you out of your mess!
The middle phrase of Romans 8:26 conveys this idea:
“… The Spirit Himself falls into our difficulty with us, initiating a supernatural rescue operation to get us out of the mess we’ve fallen into….”
So the next time you get into trouble, there’s no need for you to sweat it out by yourself. The Holy Spirit is standing by, just waiting for you to ask for His assistance. Helping you is a part of His ministry, so never hesitate to say, “Holy Spirit, help me!” This is what the intercessory ministry of the Holy Spirit is all about!
What challenges are you facing today? What problems seem bigger than your ability to handle by yourself?
Come to grips with your need for supernatural assistance, and open your heart to the Holy Spirit’s help today. As you do, you will liberate Him to release His mighty power in you. An answer to every problem is just around the corner as you allow the Holy Spirit to work His supernatural ministry of intercession in your life!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I thank You that the Holy Spirit joins me in the challenges I am facing in my life today. You sent Him to be my Helper, my Guide, my Teacher, and my Intercessor—the One who meets my problems head-on and helps me to overcome them! Rather than try to work out those problems by myself, I open my heart today for the Holy Spirit to join me as my divine Partner so I can be more than a conqueror in every situation!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that the Holy Spirit is my leading Partner in this life. When I need help, He is right by my side, ready to help me and to pull me through each challenge that I face. I know His voice; I partner with Him; and as a result, I enjoy continuous victory in my life.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a time when you have experienced the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit?
- What immediate change occurred when you sensed the Holy Spirit join you in that situation?
- Do you need the Holy Spirit’s supernatural assistance with any challenges that you’re facing right now? Why don’t you write down those areas and talk to the Lord about them today?
The Holy Spirit feels everything you feel. He understands the complete inadequacy you are experiencing in your life right now.
1. Start Where You Are
“Bloom where you are planted.”
Prayerfully ask God, “Who in my network of acquaintances could use a kind word, a helping hand, or a listening ear?
“Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding,, but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24)
Don’t think so much of “having a ministry” with people as simply loving them in the name of Christ.
2. Do What You Can
Look for a need in someone’s life and seek to meet it:
- Love unconditionally.
- Serve without reservation.
- Share the Word of God when they are ready to receive it.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due… ” (Proverbs 3:27)
3. Use What You’ve Got
The Lord used: Moses’ rod
A stranger’s donkey
So… utilize you gifts, talents, and resources in communicating Christ’s love.
“We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren… Let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:16, 18b)