Joy In The Trials

August 2, 2019 by NATHAN MCBRIDE, Discerning Dad

There are few guarantees we can count being there to greet us every day. Few things we can wake up every morning and know without a doubt we will encounter them. God and His love for us is one. The second guarantee is trials. One removes anxiety, fear, and stress. The other adds anxiety, fear, and stress. What if in Gods infinite wisdom He gave us the tools to eliminate the anxiety, fear, and stress from trials? When Jesus faced the last hours and His greatest trial, he did it with grace, humility, joy and an understanding of Gods will.

How we as Christians encounter and endure trials is one of the center pieces that set us apart from the world. When we face the things that would break the world, and we move through them with Christ we are strengthened. We are drawn closer to our Lord and drawn closer in the relationships that Glorify Him. Fortunately, through His infinite wisdom he gave us the perfect road map to endure and grow through every trial.

James 1: 2-4 (NASB) 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.

Romans 8: 28 (NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Those two verses give us everything we need to encounter and endure trials the same way Jesus faced His. I have spent the past year focused heavily on those verses and facing trials with joy knowing that with an omniscient Father He is always building things to His glory and our benefit.

Trials have many forms. From the hard trials of losing a loved one, losing a job, depression or whatever you personally view as a hard trial, to trials of minor inconvenience, being late, cleanliness of a home, or an unexpected bill. Regardless of what the trial is we are taught to approach them the same. With Joy. Understanding that there is a purpose behind the trial for good is the key component to finding that joy amid the trial.

We have a few things to do to achieve this.

First, we need to make sure we are doing everything every day to a level that glorifies God. We need to submit to His sovereignty to work and move in our lives. By doing this we are allowing God to open and close doors as he sees fit. Basically, if you are giving a 100% to your job. You have given that to the Lord. You have submitted to His will and authority it. After that if you then lose your job you can know one thing in certainty. God has it and He is closing a door to move you where He needs you next. However, you can’t oversleep, not perform, blame it on the enemy and then say it’s God closing the door. Wrong you closed that door. That’s the first part, staying focused on doing all things to His Glory.

Secondly, we need to open our eyes. When we come into a trial, we need to see that there is a purpose for it. God is doing a work in us to bring out the good in it. How we see the trial changes the light we see it in. Trials can be for any purpose. They can be to show us something we need to give up and hand over to God such as an addiction. They can be to help us grow closer in those relationships that glorify Him. Psychologists have even proven that working through a hardship with someone is a key component to building a lasting bond in that relationship. So, trials with your spouse and children are a very good thing if you view it from that angle. They can be as simple as the enemy trying to deter, de-rail, or force you to question God. If that is it, you should see more joy in the trial as it’s a clear indicator to you moving down the right path.

Trials can protect us. Ever have those days where you just feel like you are perpetually running late. No matter what you do you can’t make up those 10 minutes you lost? You keep getting rerouted out of your plan for the day? Then at the end of the you drive by a fresh accident that if you would have been on schedule would be part of. Or you run into someone during the day that you get to help because you were 10 minutes behind. We don’t know Gods plan, but we do know He moves in our lives and while we play checkers, He’s playing chess.

Trials build testimony. As we go through trials and walk with Christ through them, we are building testimony to help others through similar trials. As we come along side one another in fellowship and life our testimony was perfectly built to help those we encounter. If you battled depression and gained control of it that testimony could be the very thing that saves another life. The difficulties and trials in your marriage will one day be something that could help save another marriage. Your financial trials and how you came out of that could be the very testimony of hope and grace that carries another through their trial.

So, the next time you encounter a trial remember, it’s for a perfect purpose, God is moving in it, and look forward to the beauty that will come as a result of the trial. There is either a reason for everything or a reason for nothing.

Father I pray that you help us see the joy and beauty in the trials we encounter each day. That we take them on with a new perspective and through that it removes the anxiety, fear, and stress we normally feel and replace them with joy and anticipation of good work you are doing through the trial. Amen.

Nathan McBride
Guest Discerning Dad

Guest- Nathan McBride- Joy in the Trials

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VIDEO Veterans ride their way to recovery

Horses teach humans new ways to deal with anxiety and stress

July 19, 2019

 

Veterans at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System are partnering with horses on their road to recovery.

While participating in Equine Assisted Learning workshops at the Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy in Sarasota, Florida, Veterans in the Warriors in Transition program do a lot more than simply ride.

“What we do here is a lot of team building and grounding exercises,” explains Bay Pines Recreation Therapist Elizabeth Blankenship. “We learn about the horses, their behaviors, how they communicate with each other, and then we move into speaking about how we communicate and interact with others on a personal level and then draw a connection to what we’ve learned here, to our everyday lives.”

The goal is that by partnering with horses, Veterans will acquire new ways of coping with anxiety and stress. As prey animals, horses are highly sensitive to emotions and the messages behind them. Through observing how horses relate to one another and then interacting with the horses themselves, workshop participants learn to ask for space, set healthy boundaries, lead without force, relax without losing awareness and rebuild trust.

The program was developed by Terry Murray, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and Warriors in Transition facilitator, to help active-duty military and Veterans as they navigate the challenges of repeated deployment cycles.

According to Murray, equine-assisted learning can result in the growth of new brain cells. “There are biomedical changes in the brain that are occurring when people are in nature and are working with the horses in this environment.”

For U.S. Army Veteran Jesse Raoul, equine therapy has “helped me re-establish relationships with people that I’ve been dealing with. It also has helped me to learn to live a healthier and better quality of life.”


A horse, with the trainer and riderLong Description

Veteran Amy King (left) is introduced to a horse named Buddy.


The program “has helped me to connect the information I’ve learned in the classroom with real everyday life experiences,” says U.S. Army Veteran Amy King. “This experience has motivated me to really put in the work that it takes to get better.”

“You can’t reach everyone with conventional therapy,” says Bay Pines Recreation Therapist Jared Ezzard. “Some people respond better in this type of environment. We’ve seen Veterans who have had little to no interaction with people blossom here.”

Learn more about the Bay Pines Recreation Therapy program.


Melanie L. Thomas, MBA, is a Public Affairs Specialist at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

All photos by Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 

Original here

Where is my peace?

6th Jul 2019

pexels-photo-1161268This week started off pretty horrendously. I was managing a little stress after a disagreement with someone, the kind of stress which usually I can manage quite well, but, combined with what I believed to be a friend disrespecting me with careless words, throw in a couple of bickering kids, a house that is upside down, and a washing pile that looks like it belongs to old mother Hubbard, an unexpected bill and an overwhelming urge to run away from home at thirty-eight.  And that’s only the first week of the summer. I was feeling completely overwhelmed by not really an awful lot.  A flick through social media seemed enough to tip me over the edge. Seeing that perfect family holiday, another perfect relationship, a mum who has just crafted something beautiful with her well-behaved children while sitting peacefully around the table, a family much bigger than mine that has a super tidy house. Why, oh why is my life such a shambles? Why am I so crap at parenting? Why can’t I manage my home like that? The questions mount up.

So I have hurt, anger, comparison, inadequacy, stress all piling up in a big heap on my shoulders. And this presented itself as verbal diarrhea when I took (yip that gross) swipe at a friend in the most ungodly fashion, practically biting their face off over a very unimportant matter (sorry DB & thank you for your grace), followed by a whole lot of tears, a stop at the garage for an extra large bar of chocolate and home to sulk in my room. Well because I’m six and that’s what you do when you’re six. Please, if nothing else, please let me know I’m not alone here! We all have these little mishaps, yeah???

I did the only thing that was left to do in my sorry state, which probably should have been my first move but a killer headache and sleep in had left me rushing out the door like a maniac. I came home, went to my room, grabbed my notebook and Bible and lay on my bed and spent some quiet time with God. I lay there and talked to God about all the trouble on my heart. Immediately, and with the added help of two paracetamol, my throbbing headache and aching heart started to ease.

In Philippines, it tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

My Bible’s footnotes say prayer and peace are closely connected. The one who entrusts cares to Christ instead of fretting over them will experience the peace of God to guard him from nagging anxiety.

So often we try to create our own peace with the quick fixes, the chocolate or the Netflix marathon, or the other activities that help us switch off from our stressful circumstances, when the Bible tells us that we can find peace through simply spending time in prayer. So when we feel the need to unplug from the world, that probably means what we really need is to disconnect with the world and connect with God. From there we will find our peace.

It’s not that my situation changed. I still had that unsettling disagreement to sort out. My kids were still squabbling, my house was still a bit of a mess. The magic fairy hadn’t turned up to pay the bills and do the laundry. All these things still felt bigger than me. But I know my God is bigger than even my biggest problem.

But rather than running away from my stress I need to chose to run to God with my stress.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Psalms 46:1 NLT

I looked up the meaning of refuge and the definition says the state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or difficulty. That doesn’t mean I get to escape from everything, that just means I get to rest from it while strength to continue I get from the Lord. So often I try to depend on myself for that strength; I try to do it all on my own and leave God out, but this verse reminds me to go to God and he is my refuge and MY STRENGTH.

While I’m finding my rest and strength with God then I’m reminded that all these things that are causing my strife are all manageable. Because God has given me everything I need to deal with these situations and, from him, I can get wisdom guidance and help.

Spurgeon, the absolute legend, said this:

“If indeed the Lord is our refuge and strength, we are entitled to seek after a spirit that will bear us above the dreads of common men. Not everyone can sing the psalm of peace amid commotion and clarity. We must belong to the believing company, we must have the Lord as our God, and we must learn the art of prevailing in prayer.”

But I guess in these situations in life we can all be wise to reduce the build-up of these stressful situations. We have to be willing to help ourselves and, as appealing as it may be, I can’t just take to my bed with a giant whole nut bar and hope that everything is better by the time I get up again. I need to find time to spend with God, like proper intentional time carved out every day, and for me this needs to be a discipline that I will not waver on, even if it means saying no to other things or maybe it means going to bed an hour earlier and not sitting scrolling through social media. But actually setting my phone down and pulling out my Bible, like the real paper version, not the electronic version, reading scripture and talking to God.

I also need to wise up and be a better steward of my money. Get wise and budget for unexpected bills. Plan a holiday allowance, stop impulse buying, save for a rainy day and then I wouldn’t have the unexpected bill stress

Battles for me, I guess I need to chose when to fight battles and with whom. I realised a while ago that I actually have a choice to be offended or not. I will tell my boys when they so often come telling tales of what this one said or whatever and I will ask them if it’s true. Usually, they will answer no. So I will say, then it doesn’t matter (mama needs to practice what she preaches). Choosing not to allow other people’s poor choice of words or bad manners to offend you is a great decision and, in turn, that can cut down on any unpleasant, heated discussion because, well, it probably won’t even affect you what they say because you know the truth.

AND FINALLY

The biggest for me! Don’t fall into the comparison trap. I can just picture the devil, pitchfork in hand, giving even the most secure Christians the poke over the edge into the hellfire of comparison, and social media is his fuel to the fire. See all that stuff on social media, that’s the highlight. However, even knowing that doesn’t seem to stop us. And I do it too. I put the best version of me on display for all to see. It’s not that I pretend that my life is all peachy perfect but I’m not going to post a makeup free selfie of my freshly squeezed face sitting in amongst all the clutter of my home. Noooooo I’m not. But stupidly, I will look at others’ lives through their hi-light reel and feel so inadequate. So this is where I need to be careful about how much of what I see on social media I allow to influence my life. Sometimes that’s gonna look like a media fast or social media free days to guard against that.

So today I want to encourage you to ask yourself if my peace is lost. what do I need to give up?

is it that busy schedule that needs to change?

is it the novel needs set down and the Bible picked up?

does the FB/Insta app need deleting off your phone?

Do you need to put some boundaries in place with that friend overstepping the mark?

Do you need to let go of pride and ask for help?

where is my peace?

Stressed to Temptation

May 9, 2019

 

Good morning everyone and happy Friday! I’d like to talk to you about one of the things that truly brings out the worst in many of us. Stress makes us always want to take the easy way instead of the right way. Stress makes us irritable to even our loved ones. Stress can destroy our lives if not dealt with properly and more importantly our Christ like behavior. We are always going to face it in one form or another so we should be wise to respond appropriately to it!

Here’s some of the ways you shouldn’t respond to it. Everyone wants relief but most of the time they seek the wrong reliever. A reliever that is temporary and imperfect has a habit of being self destructive. The stress of a job can lead a man or woman to substance abuse. The stress of problems in a relationship can lead to adultery or divorce. In short, stress can lead us to sin!

The King of Kings experienced stress unlike any other. When he went into the desert for 40 days, did he falter under the physical stress he endured? No, because the Word was on his heart and lips always: temptation had no power over him. When Jesus knew that he was going to be killed, the religious leaders hated him, or that he was constantly on the move with people always trying to swarm to see him, what was his solution? Prayerful quiet time kept the most stressed human being to ever live at perfect peace.

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Hebrews 5:7

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23

Granted our Lord is perfect and it may make it seem like it’s easier for Him to resist the temptations of the flesh. However, he has simply shown us what to do and we just have to slowly train ourselves to respond in ways that he does. Whether it is stopping what we are doing or separating ourselves from others to cool off. Placing our focus back on God through prayer is a great way along with giving thanks for our undeserved heaven sent amazing GRACE!

Stressed to Temptation