Troubles

My husband and I will be going to Disney World in a few days and we found out that the pool at the hotel is heated and has underwater speakers. Although I am very excited about spending some time in the pool, I am also very anxious because I don’t know how to swim.

My father tried to teach me how to swim when I was about 5 years old, but instead of floating on the surface of the water, I sank to the bottom. I can still remember the inability to breathe and the feeling of panic that I had.

Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I feel like I am drowning.  I know that some people might feel worried, anxious, or nervous when they go through certain situations. The Bible tells us, “…you know that we are destined for such troubles” (1 Thess 3:3), “…when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4).

Don’t let the troubles of life drown you! Realize that God is testing you—so do all you can to pass the test!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Belief

I have been looking at these Scripture verses for a couple days now:

“…For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

 Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8, NLT).

The last part of the passage reminds me of a dream that I had many years ago. It was a time in my life when I wondered if what I said that I believed about Jesus was really what I believed. People can say they believe in Jesus, but what do they believe about Him in their heart? I wondered this of myself.

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I was on a really high mountain—so high that I was surrounded by clouds. A person who was standing an arm’s length away from me asked, “Think about… isn’t it possible that Jesus will return in a space ship?” I paused before I answered. I can see that he thought I would agree with him and he started to smile. I responded, “No, I believe He will return on a cloud.” Immediately, I woke up from my sleep. I knew then that I truly believed in Jesus. Even when I was asleep, I was still “awake.”

To me, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 is referring to our mind and our heart— is what we know in our mind (protected by a helmet) aligned with what we believe in our heart (protected by armor)? Do you really believe what you say you believe?

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Run to God!

My husband and I are reading through Job and we are at the part where Job’s friends are there to console him. After his first friend speaks, Job replies by describing his pain—“My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus” (Job 7:5, NLT). Even though Job had lost everything and was now physically suffering, he never “curses” God.

People endure so many different things. My father-in-law suffered with a debilitating illness for 20 years yet it made him a stronger Christian. No matter how much pain he felt, he had a smile on his face. He could have easily turned away from God but instead he clung to Him even tighter.

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Then I thought about people who have other hardships and how they have stopped relying on God. Rather than asking God why they are suffering, they instead say in their hearts that there is no God.  These people are like seeds that have been planted on shallow soil or around thorn bushes—they spout but then die off quickly (Matthew 13:5-7, NLT).

I think God uses hardships to shape us. It is a test of our endurance—will we keep relying on Him even though it seems like He is doing nothing to help us? First Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). Are you suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally? Then run to God, cling to Him, and never let Him go!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti