Thank you for reading today. Our greatest desire is that you would be encouraged in the Lord! In my daily time with God in His Word today, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about the opportunities of trials. Right now it is a difficult time for many around the world because of COVID-19. Lives lost, jobs lost, fear, distrust, despair, discouragement, difficulty in finances and not knowing what the future holds. People are under a lot of pressure.
   
Our desire is to be an encouragement and help to those who need help. The number one thing that I do as a Biblical Counselor and marriage speaker is to try to help people to move out of a feelings dominated controlled life and into a controlled by the Holy Spirit, Biblical principled driven life

What are our opportunities in this time of trial?

James 1:2-8, My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  (4)  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect (mature) and entire, wanting nothing.  (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.  (7)  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  (8)  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

As a Spirit controlled person we can look at trials differently than a non-Spirit controlled person or a lost person. What is important here is not necessarily the trial you are going through, but how you handle that trial. I am in no way stating there have not been some serious things to go through during this pandemic, or minimize the losses that have taken place.

The question is how can we move forward and embrace the possibilities that are around us?

Are there those you can be a help and encouragement to during this time?

One of the marks of a Spirit controlled person is how they look for ways to be an encouragement to others in trials. Maybe that person you have witnessed to before is now open to hearing the gospel from you. I understand social distancing, but it still does not mean we cannot share the gospel with those who need it.

I like Burger King chicken sandwiches. I go thru the drive thru of the same Burger King a couple of times a week. During the time I would go through, the same high school girl was working. I gave her a tract a few times and had a conversation. You can still have a conversation with a mask on! I have made this a practice of my life when I go thru a drive thru or a convenience store. I give people a tract and ask them to read it. In this case the young lady read it and got saved! Now is a perfect time to share the gospel with others. They may be thinking more about eternity during this time. Revisit some people you have witnessed to in the past. A phone call, email, or a text.

Secondly, ask God the question, whom do you want me to encourage today?

Encouragement is greatly needed right now. Folks, all is not lost, God is still on the throne. As James tells us, James 1:2-3, My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

God has purposes in each of our lives. He wants us to grow, learn, and trust Him. Patience is a great virtue to have in our lives. We learn patience through trials. How do we encourage others if we ourselves are focusing on our disappointments and discouragements? That we focus on ourselves rather than be a Spirit controlled person to encourage others. 

What we do and how we handle trials are important.

We can witness and we can encourage, but what about our mental outlook.  No doubt devastating things can happen in people’s lives. As a young pastor, my mother, who was already blind from diabetes, had a heart attack and was without air for several minutes. She went into a coma for months. As an only child, I was left with making decisions for a person who could not make decisions for herself. During that same time my grandmother fell into serious illness. I was dealing with both issues at the same time. Again, I had to make decisions for both of them. My mother was an only child and my grandmother was an only child. Honestly, I had feelings of “this is not fair”.  What did I do to deserve this? I asked God if I had done anything to cause this.  He said, “No, but you will learn some things through it.”  I sure did and it drew me into a closer relationship with God. Don’t let the trial take you away from God, but closer to him. This drove me to the Scriptures and times of prayer. I honestly have never seen a person suffer any more in all my years of ministry than my mother did. I have never to this day seen a person with more tubes in them. It was a hard, difficult time in our lives and we had young children. I had asked God if my mother could wake up and I could talk to her again. On a day when I was not thinking about it, which was rare, I got the call that she had woken up after many months in a coma.  We had a conversation that still touches my heart to this day. We shared our love for each other.  She wanted to encourage me to go forward in the ministry. She told me she knew she was not going to make it and she so much wanted to see our small children grow up. She asked me to promise that I would continue to share with them how much she loved them. So, each year on her birthday, I let my daughters know how much she loved them and I am keeping a promise to her. A few days after coming out of the coma she went to be with the Lord after all those months. This was a real test of my faith. God has allowed me to share this testimony around the world. Sometimes God just wants us to learn to trust Him and learn something we can use to encourage in the lives of others.  As a part of this just let me share that 3 years later my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the journey into darkness. So this trial went on for years. I asked God for a passage of Scripture to help me.  He gave me this.

1 Peter 2:19-21, For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  (20)  For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  (21)  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Sometimes things are going to happen that in our eyes are not fair. If we are corrected for our faults we take it patently; that is what we should do. However, what about when we do right and suffer for it? When we respond correctly God is pleased. In fact, the meaning here is, God applauds. Look at my servant here! So, trials will help us in our spiritual maturity.

It does not mean it is easy, in fact it never is. I know there were nights and days when I cried before God for His help. However, I am so thankful for His encouragement and what I learned through it.

Learn to turn your trials over to God at the point of impact. Think about those you can encourage. Make Jesus Christ real in your life at the point of impact!

Remember, be the vessel God can use today by asking the Holy Spirit to show you if you are living your life not dealing with your sin (lusts)? Are you living in the sin of allowing selfish carnal thinking or listening to rule your life and making you react or rationalize your sin? Maybe you are afraid because you do not know how to change. God wants us to change, to be conformed to the image of His Son.  He will help us if we submit to Him. Don’t quit in the middle of a trial, but refocus to see exactly what God wants you to learn.

Be all you can be for Him today and have a powerful testimony of living a Spirit controlled yielded godly life that is serving and living with humility, joy and peace! We encourage you today to make Jesus Christ real in your life by humbly yielding to Him at the point of impact and living for Him, not the life of selfish carnal thinking and speaking. It is an important choice! Tell God you want to yield yourself to Him today and be a trusting, useful, and rewarded servant! Be the person who wants to change! Be the person who can help others change! Do not be the person who always needs to be helped, but the person who can help!

We pray for many of you daily! May we all humble ourselves before God and focus on having compassion on others! Let’s seek real Biblical change. May we all have the desire to make real Biblical long term change to the honor and glory of God!