Learning from Trials

By Greg Laurie

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1: 2-4)

But the fact is, we don't have that option. Trials will come into the lives of every believer. Notice that James says, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials." The phrase various trials could also be translated "many-colored trials" or "trials of many kinds." In other words, no two trials or experiences are necessarily alike.

You will be tested. The question is, will you pass or fail?

We must remember that God never tests us without a reason. God's ultimate purpose is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. God wants to produce a family likeness in us. This means that some difficulties and testings will show us immediate results, while others will produce long-term ones.

There are times when I can emerge from a trial, look back, and say, "I learned this when I went through that experience." But there will be other times when I come through a difficulty, and all I will be able to do is shake my head and say, "What was that all about?" I may not be able to tell you (at that moment) what I have learned.

But what has happened, maybe unnoticed by me, is that I have become a little bit more like Jesus. He has worked in my life to mold me and shape me into His own image. It may be hard or impossible to point to definitive results in our lives after a time of pressure, setbacks, or testing. Even so, we can know that God is in control. And we can know that His ultimate purpose is to conform us into the image of His own dear Son.

Carman - All In Life

Turn It Up - Planetshakers


By Paul Dhinakaran

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.    (Proverbs 4:23)

Dearly beloved,

God will give you a new heart!

The Lord Jesus said, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). So we must have a heart like that of the Lord Jesus!

"…Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19): this is the definition of a defiled heart as spelt out in the Bible.

The Bible relates, "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there" (Matthew 12:43-45).

What these verses imply is that certain hearts are rid of the stains of the sin, cleansed by the blood of Christ; then the hearts are empty and clean, completely cleared of the deeds of the evil one. Immediately they should be filled up by God’s Spirit and thoughts fulfilling His will. If not, the evil one, with its seven fold evil forces, will enter into the vacant heart and wreck the man’s life.

Only for this reason, God tests our hearts to see whether they are gentle and lowly or vacant and subject to any evil design. This is the situation in which everyone should analyze his own heart. As an example, consider what David the Psalmist did: He praised God saying, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me” (Psalm 16:7). Moreover, he lamented: “…my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered” (Psalm 73:21). Apart from that, he said, “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2).

When we want to know why God tests our hearts, we will find the answer in what He says in Jeremiah 17:10: "I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." Understanding God’s ways, Jeremiah himself cries out: “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the One I praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).

Let us open up our hearts and surrender ourselves at His feet, pleading with Him all the while: “O Lord, help me to keep my mind worthy of Your standard.”

The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Set your heart on the right path so God’s goodness will fill your heart and flow out to others, bringing glory to His name.

Planetshakers - Nothing Is Impossible


By Paul Dinakaran

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.    (Luke 6:36)

Dearly beloved,

The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

What is ‘Mercy?’

Mercy is the kindness exhibited by God to one who doesn’t deserve it according to the norms of nature and the laws of the world. It is only ‘God who shows mercy’ (Romans 9:16). Several names have been ascribed to our Lord God of mercy in the Bible!

In America, from the Niagara waterfalls extending to several miles at a high altitude, water is flowing down throughout the year. We may see a wrecked ship destroyed by the huge and forceful flow of its waters; that shattered ship is a symbol of the might of the waterfalls!

What is the source of the water-flow throughout the year?

It boasts of not one water-source but five; the five sources for the water-flow are five huge lakes located in America and Canada which do not get dried up.

In a similar manner, the mercy of God originates and flows from the five wounds sustained by the Lord Jesus on the Cross; wounds caused on His hands and His feet which were nailed on to the Cross, wound caused by the piercing of His side with a spear, bruise on His head heavily pressed by a crown of thorns! These five wounds never dry up!

Why did the Lord Jesus undergo this torture, which inflicted wounds on His body, on the Cross?

The Bible answers, “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). It also states, "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases" (Matthew 8:17).

We have so far escaped destruction as His endless mercies flowing from His five wounds through our entire lives. Those who carry this abundant mercy in their souls and in their lives are blessed; they shall obtain mercy and be comforted. This is what God has declared.

God has chosen us as His vessels to carry forth His mercy to the people; by His power, He transforms us into merciful people!

The Bible says, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). God gave His only Son Jesus Christ as a sacrifice on our behalf in order to save us and grant us eternal life. That is mercy! Just as God forgave us and showed us mercy, let us also be forgiving and merciful to others.