II Corinthians 4:11(NKJV) For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

What is the point of troubled times in our lives? What is God doing in our life? What is the Lord teaching us? Peter wrote, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation” (I Peter 4:12, 13).

In God’s ministry of testing, we learn a lot about ourselves. Whatever is left of simplistic advice such as “Bible reading” or “Just work harder” or “Pray more” gets stripped away. Most people going through testing times would love to resolve the crisis, but they seemingly can’t and don’t know why.

In God’s ministry of testing we learn compassion. We learn to wait patiently with people. We learn to respond to the emotional needs of people who have lost hope. We weep with those who weep. We don’t try to teach or instruct or advise. If God took away every external blessing and reduced our assets to nothing more than meaningful relationships, would that be enough to sustain us? Yes, I believe it would for many of us.

Point to ponder- Perhaps God brings us to the end of our resources so we can discover the vastness of Him being our source. We don’t hear many sermons about brokenness in our churches these days, yet in all four Gospels Jesus taught us to deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily. I don’t know any painless way to die to ourselves, but I do know that it’s necessary and that it’s the best possible thing that could ever happen to us.

Follow me on Twitter @Elder James Baker, as I endeavor to encourage and empower leaders of today and tomorrow!

Kingdom Blessings,
Pastor James Baker, Jr.

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