Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 18 Devotion...

From the pen of Charles Spurgeon:

O tested soul, perhaps the Lord is dealing with you to develop your gifts.  some of your gifts would never be discovered, much less developed, if not for your trials.  don't you know your faith never looks as good in the warm weather of summer as it does during winter?  Our love is all too often like that of a firefly whose light appears much stronger when surrounded by darkness.  And hope itself is like a star whose light cannon be seen in the sunshine of prosperity but is only discovered during the dark night of adversity.
Afflictions are often the dark contrast in which God sets the jewels of His children's gifts in order to make them shine even brighter.  Wasn't it just a little while ago you were on your knees praying, "Lord,, I'm afraid I have no faith.  Please let me know that I do"?  Although perhaps not consciously done, wasn't this, in fact, a prayer for trials, for how will you ever know you have faith until your faith is exercised?  You can depend upon the fact that God often sends trials in order for us to discover our gifts and to make us certain of their existence.  Besides, the goal is not merely discovery of our gifts but is the real growth in God's grace that results from holy trials.
God often removes our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians.  He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by disciplining them through forced marches and difficult service.  He makes them ford streams, swim across rivers, climb mountains, and walk many long miles with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs.
Dear Christian, couldn't this account for the troubles you are now experiencing?  Isn't the Lord revealing your gifts and causing them to grow?  Isn't this His purpose in dealing with you?

Trials make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer,
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.
                   William Cowper, 1731-1800

From the pen of Jim Reimann:

Joesph is a great Old Testament example of suffering.  Sold into slavery by his own brothers, he later experienced prison just as the apostle Paul did.  Yet over time he saw God's hand at work and, when given the opportunity to take revenge on his brothers, he said, "You intended to harm  me, but God intended it for good...the saving of many lives" (Gen. 50:20).  He was his leadership abilities and his position of power in Egypt as the result of being refined by affliction.
Paul learned the same lesson through suffering, for he wrote,

(The Lord) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.                      2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"See, I have refined you...I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" (Isa. 48:10).

Along with the above...I know that adoption of God's orphan is also a huge spiritual battle.  Satan wants nothing more than to stop such a beautiful thing from happening.  I know that through all that we and others are going through when we get our babies will mean all the much more. Trials do make the promise sweet. Fighting for them makes them even more ours.
I still pray for all of the struggles to come to a quick end and all of our babies to be home...but, I will take from it, while I'm going through this fire, a lesson that God is showing me...take how He is shaping and developing me in the area of orphans and standing up for them...I will develop whatever gifts or lessons He is teaching. I will fight to the end to get our boys home and fight for others to bring their children home.  I will become a prayer warrior for the many who are going through the same streams, swimming across the same rivers (or oceans in our case), climbing the same mountains, and walking many long miles with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. With God we will prevail and rescue these orphans...but, along the way...I want to be developed into who God wants me to be...refined in the fire, the clay being shaped by the potter...and the weak one being held by my Father when I think I can not possibly be shaped and refined any more.
  This journey is so worth it...just never thought it would be so uphill...but, I will try to do it with grace and strength.

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