A Tract for Troubled Times
Houston, TX (ANS) – In 1976 in Fort Worth, TX the pastor of the church we attended at that time delivered a series of messages from the Epistle of First Peter. He called the letter of I Peter “A Tract for Troubled Times.” I am often amazed, and sometimes surprised, at what I remember over a period of many years. It’s actually a confirmation of God’s promise that the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance the things He has spoken to us, or what we have read. It is especially encouraging to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in troubling times. Many times it is during those times of difficulty, problems and disasters that we grow most in our relationship with the Lord.
Growth in the Valleys of Life
A friend who is a professional counselor has a large picture on his office wall of a mountain scene with a lake and fertile valley. He often asks his counselees, “Where do you see the most growth in the picture?” Of course, it is obvious that the valley is where the growth takes place. I’m frequently reminded of a quote that my Dad shared with me when I joined the United States Air Force in 1964. It was actually a quote that his Dad shared with him when he enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. He said, “I want you to always remember that God works all things together for our good.” I was not a serious student of Scripture at the age of 18. However, I later discovered my Dad’s quote was from Roman 8:28. There are actually numerous promises in the Bible about how the Lord uses negative experiences to bring about positive outcomes. God consistently turns curses into blessings as we look to and trust Him.
Calmness in the Storms of Life
The account of Jesus Calming the Storm, recorded in the gospels, shows how God has power over nature. An important lesson that comes out in our Orality Training is how Jesus can bring calmness during our storms of life. A couple of questions Jesus asked His disciples after He calmed the storm are, “Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?” Those are questions we can ask ourselves when we find ourselves in troubling situations or difficult times. Other helpful questions we might ask are, “What does God want me to learn from this situation?” Or, “How does the Lord want me to respond in these circumstances?”
No Accidents with God
In 1991 I was involved in an automobile accident on the Southwest Freeway in Houston. A lady ran into the back of my car. While we were waiting for the police to arrive, I asked Gloria a simple question that turned out to be a transformational experience. “Have you been thinking more about the Lord recently?” I asked. She told me that just two weeks earlier she started reading the Bible. Well that opened the door for me to share and have prayer with her and Gloria confessed her faith in Christ. Just then a security guard approached us in the hospital parking lot where we were waiting, and she shared her new found faith with the guard. Later that day, at a nearby police station, Gloria testified to two other officers. That one accident was a catalyst for several others being ministered to.
Seeing God in Everything
Years ago I came across a small booklet titled, “There are no accidents with God.” Another prominent author has written about, “Seeing God in everything.” Scripture tells us that “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Some have thought about that verse as referring to when we get to heaven. However, I believe it has a present application. When we have pure hearts, we’ll have the ability of seeing God at work in our ordinary circumstances. Actually, Jesus said unless we are born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God. We must experience that spiritual new birth and have spiritual eyesight in order to see God at work. Keeping our eyes on Jesus and seeking first His kingdom and righteousness enables us to see and recognize those redemptive opportunities.
Turning Negatives, to Positives
One of my mentors used to emphasize that every negative has a positive. Furthermore, the more negative the negative, the more positive the positive. There are numerous Scriptures that support that concept. That can make things really exciting when we face hardships, problems or crisis situations. Many in our region have experienced that recently because of a major weather disaster. During those times, people tend to put aside secondary differences and start helping and serving one another. Pressure, problems and trouble often brings out the best, and sometimes the worst, in us.
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