The Why of Trouble for the Christian

trouble sign
David: ” Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
… It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:67,71).
Even the CHRISTIAN, by natural tendency, is ready to wander at times out of God’s will. AFFLICTIONS become the guide to REFLECTION and the parent of REPENTANCE (Paul’s prayer-Philippians 3: 10).
Many when hemmed in by troubles begin to ask WHY.
God’s Word alone can give us the ANSWERS.
1. PROOF of our spiritual state. We have been putting up a good religious front; but actually, how deep has the heart entered into His fellowship? How much can our faith stand? (See 1 Peter 1:6-7.)
To Israel: “Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to PROVE thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his’ commandments” (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Job, says “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.” (Job 42:5).
Sharp trials are to the soul like a soaking rain to a house. We discover where the leaks are in the roof and where to make repairs, Our RESOLUTION: Job 23: 10.
2. POLISHER of character. James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing..” (Also Hebrews 12: 7 -11)
Many Christian graces-patience, humility, resignation, meekness, etc.-can’t thrive without trials. Blows to the outward man produce eternal effects in the inner man.
Count each affliction God’s messenger sent to YOU and be not impatient for a quick deliverance. Wait God’s time.
Count on 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 and Romans 8: 18,28.

The Believer’s Welfare with Temptation

1 Corinthians 10: 12-13: “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
We only need Genesis 3 to learn that the best surroundings conceivable CAN’T make one proof against temptation (modern fallacies: convent walls, ideal environment,etc.) .
WHY? It is because (1) man has WITHIN him a corrupt NATURE susceptible to evil suggestion I (James 1:
14) and (2) there is a devil to put pressure on him from without (1 Peter 5 : 8 ) .
PROF. DRUMMOND thought he could escape by going into the heart of Africa; but alone in the jungle, he met up with satanic suggestions.
ST. ANTHONY, in his cave, saw the loathsome face of the devil.
THE VERY FACT that ALL ARE TEMPTED shows God has a PURPOSE. What can it be?
1. James 1 :2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into [lit., when ye are hedged in by] divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect [mature] and entire, wanting nothing.”
2. James 1: 12: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
NOTE: You CAN’T make an athlete by shutting a man in an empty gymnasium with nothing to put his muscles to the test. TEMPTATION IS THE FRICTION NECESSARY TO DEVELOPMENT.
HOW DO WE OVERCOME? James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will
flee from you.” Ephesians 6: 13 : “Take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” a VICTOR in the name of the conquering Lord!

According to His Will



1 John 5: 14-15: “This is the confidence we have in HIM, that if we ask anything according to his will, he
heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we HA VE the petitions we desired of him.”
This PRAYER PROMISE clearly suggests the possibility that a Christian may have GUIDANCE in prayer-so
that he will RECEIVE the very thing asked.
NOTE THE WORD “confidence.” How does one get real assurance in prayer? There must be a feeling that his prayer is the very ECHO of God’s will. Then he KNOWS that the answer is coming even before it is in sight.
What is the KEY to gaining this ASSURANCE? Ephesians 6: 18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication IN THE SPIRIT [in full yieldedness to the Spirit] and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication.”
DO WE TAKE TIME to seek the Spirit’s guidance in our ASKING? Turn to Romans 8:26: “The Spirit helpeth our infirmities [in prayer}: for WE know not WHAT we should pray for as we ought.”
Again in Jude 19: “Building up yourself in the most holy faith, PRAYING IN [or in surrender to} the HOLY
Oswald Chambers: “There is a quiet ANTEROOM of PRAYER in which we may hear IN ADVANCE the
prayer GOD would have us pray, and this prayer will be according to His will.”
WHERE is this ANTEROOM? It is in the place where we let the HOLY SPIRIT dictate to our hearts what we
should say in prayer. Psalm 27: 14 : “WAIT, I SAY, ON THE LORD.”
An old Naval rule: When ships are to readjust their compasses, they must drop anchor in some QUIET SPOT.
WE MUST quiet ourselves to God’s presence before we can learn to PRAY BETTER PRAYERS-prayers that
MUST be ANSWERED, because they are the echo of HIS will.

Relation of Prayer to Service

ready to serve
One with Christ, we appear in the presence of God-.. And whatsoever ye shall ASK in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14: 13).
NOTE: We have no approach to God except on the basis of what CHRIST is to us.
Also one with Christ, we are to appear before the WORLD-“And whatsoever ye DO in word or deed, DO
all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through him” (Colossians 3: 17) .
NOTE: If one is borrowing from the bank, the name of a creditable person is required as an endorser of the note.
Out of gratitude to this person, we would certainly not be ashamed to be IDENTIFIED with him before our friends
We would wish to do him every kindness possible.
Through PRAYER, we draw upon heaven’s bank only through the standing we have in Christ-“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 19) .
It is only through HIM that the believer is ENABLED for ALL things-“I can DO all things through Christ
which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4: 13).
Should we not give all honor unto that name which has entitled us to draw upon the riches of glory-serving Him openly and gladly?
Our two passages suggest that PRAYER in His name is intended to be a promoter of ACTIVITY in His name.
PRAYER puts one at HIS DISPOSAL and enables one in all he DOES to bring glory to His name.
You say you PRAY in His name. DO YOU WORK in His name and for His glory?
Let not prayer be a substitute for SERVICE. Let there be no service that is not the outcome of PRAYER.

The Prayer Period

There are 1440 minutes in a day: How many of them are given to prayer-five–ten?
Jesus: “But thou, WHEN thou prayest [suggesting a PERIOD), enter into thy CLOSET [suggesting RETIRE-
MENT) … pray to thy FATHER which is in secret [the ANSWERER of prayer, a personal God); and thy Father which seeth in secret shall REWARD thee openly” [the YIELD of prayer) (Matthew 6:6).
R –etirement
Four points about prayer. (Go over them again)
The Bible clearly teaches the need of a SET TIME and PLACE for collection of thought, emptying of self, and a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit.
Evangelist John A. Davis: “God’s acquaintance is not made by popping in on Him occasionally. He cannot bestow His best gifts upon hasty and irregular comers.”
Daniel: “He went into the house and, his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God” (Daniel 6: 10 ) .
David: “Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
Peter: “Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour” (Acts 10:9).
We are to be CONSTANTLY in a spirit of prayer:
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17); “Men ought ALWAYS to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1)
BUT a special PERIOD of solitude with God is NECESSARY.
The Reverend Cornelius Wolfekin, noted preacher of past days, found his labors barren. His wife suggested it might be due to lack of a prayer PERIOD. They entered into a pact. Each should have an hour alone in the morning. It was the beginning of great blessing upon his ministry. So it may be for you.

Key of the Morning


Psalm 5:3 tells us when to begin: “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, 0 Lord: In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
Matthew Henry: “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
Have YOU a “good morning” to greet our Lord? If we run from Him in the morning, we will have trouble finding Him the rest of the day.
David: “Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk” (Psalm 143: 8) .
We need to get our DIRECTIONS at the day’s BEGINNING-before our minds are flooded with other things.
Andrew Bonar (great man of prayer) had three rules:
( 1) not to speak to any man before speaking to JESUS
(2) not to do anything with his hands until he had been on his
(3) not to read the papers until he had read his
Jesus: “In the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1: 35) .
Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, was so pressed for time from the minute he got up in the morning, that he would set his alarm for 3: 00 A.M. and, after spending an hour in devotions, would go back to bed.
SPIDERS, before seeking their prey in the morning, mend their broken webs. Shall we pursue the business of earth before we have concerned ourselves about the broken webs of life?
The morning is the gate of day,
But, ere you enter there,
See that you set to guard it well
The sentinel of prayer.


One may go for seasons when from a human perspective, nothing seems to happen. Then, suddenly things begin to unfold rapidly. In dizzying, head-spinning time, things change. In the 1964 Anchorage earthquake, in seconds, one section of 4th Avenue split open. Suddenly, the north side of the street dropped 11 feet. In another part of the city, a 30-block section of land liquefied and slid into the ocean. The entire Kenai Peninsula fell, bringing certain areas permanently under seawater. In five minutes, the 9.2 earthquake on that Good Friday had changed forever the landscape of Anchorage and much of Alaska.
There are times when spiritual seismic shifts occur and things change suddenly. Sadly, we give up too quickly. We walk away and miss the moment. We miss the opportunity to steward the change and we miss the blessing! Virgins that slumber will miss their suddenly! Sleepy Christians who let the oil run out in their lamps will miss their moment. You have to contend for the blessing!
The Bible is sprinkled with suddenlies, “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest…” (Luke 2:13). In Acts 2, we find, “Suddenly, there came a sound from heaven like a mighty rushing wind…” In Acts 9, “Suddenly, there was light from heaven and Paul fell to the ground…” And in Acts 16, “Suddenly, there was an earthquake and the prison doors flew open and the stocks and bonds fell off…” The ultimate suddenly is found in 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Malachi 3:1 had warned, “Behold…My messenger…will suddenly come to His temple…” but Israel had failed to watch. The prophet Zephaniah declares (1:14), “The great day of the LORD…It is near and hastens quickly.” In Revelation 22:20, we find, “He who testifies…says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly’. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Often, when God begins to move, what He does He does quickly.
Where do you need a suddenly today?
By Rev. Dr. P. Douglas Small

The Divine Romance

heart hands
Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God. Romans 8:39 NLT
“Get into the habit of saying, ‘Speak, Lord.’ And life will become a romance.” Oswald Chambers
“To fall in Love with God is the greatest of all romances – to seek Him the greatest adventures, to find Him the greatest human achievement.” Augustine
“God’s love is like a river springing up in the Divine Substance and flowing endlessly through His creation, filling all things with life and goodness and strength.” Thomas Merton.
Pastor Don’s Comments:
In Sunday’s sermon I quoted Chuck Swindoll “(as Christians) We ought to be having a ball!”
And Chuck again, “In many people’s minds, God is the grumpy ogre in the sky who sits near the edge of heaven with a big ugly club and whomps you every time you start having any fun.”
I prefer to have a “Love Affair” with a Loving God, then “walk in fear” because God may not like me or what I do. The day I accepted God’s Love instead of His discipline, I entered into a true place of joy and peace. It is so much easier to trust in a Loving, Caring God than a “grumpy ogre.”
Fall in Love with Jesus today.

Collection of Accounts Receivable

Paid invoice
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand, but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. Proverbs 10:4
It is no fun to sell a product or perform a service and not get paid. There are generally two reasons we do not get paid: (1) we were slack in granting credit in the first place, and/or (2) we were slack in collecting the receivable. Either way, we become poor. But if we will be diligent in extending credit and collecting the receivable, we become rich. The slack hand is the cause of our going broke, but the state of the economy is generally used as the excuse.
To be slack in granting credit and collecting of accounts receivable will surely lead us into becoming entangled in the affairs or our debtor, and before we know it, or debtor will be “calling the shots.” While we are required to bear one another’s burdens, we are never to become entangled in those burdens (Galatians 6:2). However, when the receivable becomes large enough, we inevitably become entangled in the debtor’s problems.
(Author’s comment)
In business, you must take great care in extending credit to others, but to do so is putting trust in that individual. In relationships, the same care must be taken in sharing and showing care to others. But just because it is risky does not mean we should not open up to others. Often, we receive “surprise” blessings when we reach out to others to bless them. Proverbs 10:4 reminds us that we can “become rich” when we reach out to others. Who can I bless today? Maybe it will take a risk, but isn’t it worth it?

Lessons to Live By

lessons learned
“Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you leaned at your mother’s knee. Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair, like rings on your fingers.” Proverbs 18-9 The Message Bible.
“You learn something every day if you pay attention.” Ray LeBland
“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” Mortimer Adler.
“The mind of a person with understanding gets knowledge; the wise person listens to learn more.” Proverbs 18:15 New Century Version
Today, I celebrate my 70th Birthday.
I pause to remember the things that my father and mother taught me about life, work and blessing. I long to learn something new each day and feel so sorry for those who think they already have learned everything and need nothing new.
I think I just passed First Grade.
Almost a year ago (July 29, 2015) I had a serious fall and suffered a concussion that blocked all remembrance of what happened. The conclusion, “severe dehydration” must have been the culprit, but weeks stretched into months of doctor visits, tests, and frustration. Neurologists, Cardiologists, ENT’s could not find a medical reason for my almost constant dizziness. Then when all the MRI’s, Heart Stress Tests, and every other kinds of tests, I was sent to “physical therapy” for “balance reorientation”. Six weeks of standing on a foam mat, on one leg, with eyes closed and several other exercises I finally began to lose my dizzy companion.
So in January, Judy and I felt led to do the 21 day “Daniel Fast” and along with that, I thought I’d start morning walking again. Together we began to focus on losing some excess weight and getting back into better shape. Challenging, since I’ve never been an “exercise nut”.
I have learned a lot the past year, about health, time management, exercise and eating. It doesn’t come automatically or easy, and it is not just a momentary change. It takes baby steps to start and growing pains to maintain, but the rewards are amazing.
The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher. To God be the Glory, Great things He is doing.
Thank You for your prayers and support during this class.
Pastor Don


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