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Do Troubles and Trials Push You Toward God – or Away? - Dr. John Barnett


Video from DTBM


"Do troubles and trials push you toward God – or away? Today, look back over your week. How is your spiritual health? Has it been a week with trials, troubles, or struggles? Did pressures increase at work, at home, in your health, or finances? And then what happens inside of you? Did you cry out to the Lord, fall upon His grace, and turn from any wicked way? Or did you seethe in anger, wallow in self-pity, or worst of all harden your heart to spiritual things? The test of pruning (which is affirmative) and chastening (which is disciplinary) is in our response. That is one of the simplest ways to test what is going on in your life. Pruning always draws us closer, chastening initially can push us away. TEST #1: When troubles came this week, did you remain joyful, did you read God's Word with hunger, and talk to Him often in prayer? A fruitful believer that is experiencing the nearness of their Heavenly Father pruning rises to God’s challenge. We move toward the Lord. TEST #2: Or when troubles came this week, did joylessness fill your heart, mind and life? Did your relationship with the Lord, seems blighted by sadness or lethargy? Did the Word of God seem unimportant, boring, and dull? We often initially move away or grow cold toward the Lord. OUR FATHER WANTS THE BEST FOR US With His heart full of love and mercy, OUR Father the Vinedresser is trying to bring into our lives this morning, the greatest possible blessing. Listen to these words from a paragraph entitled “Obedience” from Chastening, a booklet by James H. McConkey. God comes to us in the positive discipline of pruning, or in the negative discipline of chastening. How does He do that? It may be through the suffering of your seeing carefully made plans replaced by keen disappointment. It may be through the suffering of bereavements that tear from your presence – precious loved ones. It may be through the suffering of temporal losses and broken fortunes. It may be through the suffering that stalks into your life through the willfulness and sin of others. It may be through the suffering that sometimes seems to bring you to the brink of a broken faith and a broken heart. It may be that out of your very agony of heart and soul the eternal God of love and mercy is seeking to bring into your life the greatest blessing that can enrich and glorify that life – the blessing of your human will yielded to the will of God. And to be yielded to the will of God means more than silver and gold, more than gratified desires and ambitions, more than the pleasures of friendship, more than all the praises of men, more than all the prizes of fame, and more than the attainment of all your highest earthly aims and strivings. This is the richest and deepest of all blessings – to be swallowed up in the will of God." from video introduction


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