Are Trials Really Worth It? – Crickett Keeth

Yes, you bet they're worth it!

Yes, you bet they’re worth it!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 NASB95

I drove home in tears from the nursing home where my mom resides. I was asking God to get me out of this painful season of life and questioning if the end result would really be worth the pain.

As I watch my 97-year-old mom decline, it wears me out emotionally and physically. She can’t hear, see, or talk, but she is aware and knows who I am. Her moods grow more childlike, and her outbursts of agitation are sometimes uncontrollable. Mom was always a strong, independent woman, and I miss that mom. I can’t bear to watch it anymore. I find myself asking, “God, are these trials really worth it?” My heart says no, but God’s Word says yes.

Trials are never easy. They test our strength and our faith, but they produce endurance. Endurance is the quality that enables us to stay on our feet when we face a storm. James had the perfect view of trials and hardships as he focused on the end result, not the present circumstances. Consider it all joy… His encouragements were drawn from his own experiences,and he knew that the end result was worth the pain and discomfort.

God’s purpose in trials is to make us better, not to hurt us. Even though I am hurting, I know that God’s purpose in this is to make me stronger and better. He takes us through trials because He loves us.

Perhaps you are in the middle of a trial today, and you’re questioning if it’s really worth it. As I asked that very question today in the midst of my tears, the words of James reminded me, yes, it is worth it. The end result will be worth the present pain. But I know I can’t get through it without God’s grace. And one day, as a result, we will be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. I long for that day.

When you question if the hardships are worth it, trust that your loving Father has a plan…a plan to strengthen you, not to hurt you.

Photo courtesy of freegigitalphotos.net and Ambro.

imageCrickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of several published Bible studies which can be found at www.amazon.com/author/crickettkeeth. Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking regularly at her own church, she speaks and teaches seminars. In her free time she likes to read, play games with friends, travel, and love on her two cats. She offers free resources for discipleship and encourages others in their own walk with God through her website at www.crickettkeeth.com.

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It’s Okay, You Are With Me – Bobbie Bomar

Remembering old times

Remembering old times

O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. Psalm 84:12

I just turned sixty-three and with six more flips of the calendar, Billy will celebrate his sixty-sixth birthday. My brother can’t change the fact that twenty-five years ago someone kicked him in the chest. The life he knew is forever gone. He struggles daily to accept his imprisonment. Remnants of bull riding and serving his country decorate his room and overshadow his distorted body.

It doesn’t seem that long ago I questioned Mom’s decision, “Are you sure you want to take him out of the nursing home?” Eight years ago Mom died and I tried to convince myself a nursing home could provide his needs better than I could myself. My abilities were questioned — by myself and others. Friends would say, “Think about what you are doing. You have a life of your own.” However, something tugged within. It was as if I had an invisible string running through me. The pulling ran deeper than I could even imagine. Reason and logic held no power over this force.

Now when I enter Billy’s room, I escape the reality of my world for a brief moment. I leave my “to do” list on the kitchen table and attend to all of his needs. Gunsmoke and I Love Lucy reruns entertain us. We recall old childhood memories and laugh together. For a brief instant, Mom, Dad, and our oldest brother dance in our laughter, then quickly fade back to a memory. Billy suffers from hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). When he is anxious about the moment, I quickly say, “It’s okay, you are with me.” His calmness returns because he trusts me.

God blesses us when we trust. Even when it’s hard for us, He knows what His mighty plan holds. I love my brother and God blesses me daily through his care. Carrying his burden strengthens me and tightens our sibling bond. After all, God sent His son for me, and He never thought twice.

I can’t help but think this is what God wants from all of us. To leave our “to do” list, enter into His room, and attend to His needs.

Anytime you are anxious, be still and hear His voice, “It’s okay, you are with me.” Do you hear his voice whispering to you?

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Stoonn.

Bobbie Bomar is a native of Haslet, Texas. She is the mother of two, Jennifer and Robert, and the grandmother of three, Logan, Emma, and Seneca. She recently attended the YMCA Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park, Colorado where she currently lives with her husband Mike and her disabled brother Billy. Bobbie is working on her first novel, God’s Presence When Life Overwhelms Us.

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Just One Touch – Diana Leagh Matthews

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Just a touch...

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them Mark 10:13 KJV

It’s amazing what can happen with just one touch.

Once a month I go to a nearby nursing home to sing to the residents. I always notice the way these seniors open up when I go around and shake their hands. It’s like watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon and spread its wings. I love watching the residents come to life when they receive that special individual attention. Last week one woman even had tears in her eyes. It broke my heart and I instantly reached out to hug her.

Touch is something that many of us take for granted. There are some people who enjoy being touched more than others. Still, it’s a great way to communicate. How many times have you been lost for words? A hand on the shoulder to let your friend know you cared, might have been the only way you knew to communicate.

Jesus used touch in his day. He touched the blind man and made him see. He touched the lepers when no one else would even get close to them. He touched the dead and brought them to life. Then there was the woman who touched his garment, believing he would heal her. Jesus instantly knew what she’d done, the moment her fingers caught the hem of his cloak.

Today we can still reach out and touch Jesus. He’s waiting and ready to help us with all of the things we’re dealing with. Sometimes he even wants to bring healing.

Are you touching Jesus? Reach out to him…grasp His cloak. Allow him to touch your life today and then share that precious gift with someone else.

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Diana Leagh Matthews is a vocalist, speaker, writer, and genealogist. She is a 2011 graduate of Christian Communicators Conference and 2012 Christian Devotions Writers Advance! Boot Camp. She currently resides in upstate South Carolina. Visit her blogs: www.dianaleaghmatthews.com and www.alookthrutime.com

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