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Driving Notes

The Official Blog of WNZR's Afternoon Drive

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Trials

Praise Thursday – Faith and Trials

We continue our series today on the book, Can God be Trusted in our Trials? by Dr. Tony Evans. Today we’re talking about how our faith taps into God’s power.  A trust in God when we can’t see where he’s taking us, or when it looks like we’re heading toward a cliff is an act of faith.

Faith is the subject of Hebrews 11 – that’s what we’re told in the very first verse: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction or the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is simply belief in God; having an absolute assurance that he’s completely truthful in everything he says.

God calls us to have faith in an object that is big enough and worthy enough to merit our trust. That object is His own person and His promises.

The reason many of us have small faith, especially when we’re going through trials, is that we think we have a small God.

That’s why the most important doctrine for a Christian to understand is the doctrine of God; because your view of God will determine the size of your faith. Faith is being persuaded that God always tells the truth. So when he says, “I will never desert you or forsake you” in Hebrews 13:5, you can take that promise to the bank.

God never asks anyone to act on so-called blind faith…the message of Hebrews 11 is that many people took God and His word and triumphed even when things were at their toughest. The heroes of Hebrews 11, like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab and Joshua can say to us, “we’ve been where you are going, we fought and we won the battle; and we can tell you that God is faithful.”

It’s always great to have someone tell us that we can make it, but don’t miss the bottom line of Hebrews 11 and 12. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on the people who have gone before us. We can look at them, but we focus on Jesus.

The truth is that too many Christians are more than willing to put their faith in another human being. More so than in God. We trust doctors and pharmacists when they tell us that what they’re giving us is good for us. We’re making a faith decision to take a medicine that we really know nothing about.  Let’s make the same faith decision about something we KNOW.

Dr. Evans also shares that we must work to become “FAITH WALKERS” not just “FAITH TALKERS.”
Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

Tony Evans tells the story of the farming community that was in a terrible drought and the farmers were in danger of losing their crops. The situation was so bad that they called a special prayer meeting to pray for rain.

Everyone came to the meeting with their Bibles and prayed for 2 hours, but nothing happened, so everyone went home. Everyone except for a boy in the back. He walked outside, looked up and said. “Lord we need rain, we’re in a crisis and you promised to meet our needs, so we are expecting it to rain.”

Soon the clouds begin to form and before long, rain started falling. The boy’s face broke into a huge smile, he pulled out the umbrella had brought to the prayer meeting, opened it up and walked home. The others said they believed in God but this boy acted as if he believed in God.

If you feel like you’re in a drought with your trial, have you come to God with your umbrella and hand ready to hear from Heaven? If we’re living faithless lives, our lives are displeasing to God.  He is not happy with us when we fail to trust him, because nothing can take the place of faith.

You can win whatever battle or crisis you are in right now because you can trust God in your trial. And you have a great cloud of witnesses from the past to remind you that you serve the same changeless, eternally faithful God.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd

Praise Thursday: Maturing through Trials

One of the things that Dr. Evans has been writing about (and we’ve been discussing over the last couple of weeks) is the fact that God wants to mature us through our trials.

The basic principle is that trials help us grow up and help us understand that sometimes, our crisis will be a short, momentary interruption. Sometimes these trials will be long-term. Still, God helps us achieve a new level of growth regardless of the length of the trial.

The section we’re talking about today is speeding our spiritual growth and it comes in the book of James. James 1:4 reminds us that God’s purpose for our trials is that we grow until we are “perfect and complete,” or fully mature.

So today we’re going to talk about the difference between physical and spiritual growth.

We all see this.  Sometimes you meet people who have only been Christians for 5 or less years, but they’re more mature spiritually than others who have been saved for 30 years.

So the speed at which we grow is directly related to the speed at which we go in fully committing Our Lives to the Lord.

Dr. Evans gives a couple of practical examples. Two families will experience severe financial trials:

  • The first family, by their own testimony, recognizes that they have not been good stewards of the resources God gave them, and the Holy Spirit convicts them of the need to transfer their trust from money to their Lord. They learn the lesson start giving to God first and trust Him to turn their situation around.
  • The second family keeps saying, “I know I’m supposed to be giving to the Lord but I can’t afford to right now. I was going to start here and start there…” but…they never do it. Now we all understand that emergencies will happen to all of us, but Dr. Evans is talking about believers who have been doing this dance for years and still haven’t grown to the point that they can trust God completely.

Now this illustration can also work the other way. Many Christians say that even though they were doing quite well financially without honoring God, they pay a heavy price in terms of ill-health, ruined marriage, lost peace of mind or serious family problems. And in many cases when they persisted in their lack of faith in God, it resulted in their financial house crumbling down.

In Hebrews chapter 5 verses 13 and 14 there is a difference presented between milk and meat – the diet of babies and adults.

13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

We know that babies can’t take meat because their systems are not mature enough to digest it. The same principle is true in the spiritual realm.

In passages like this, the term milk is generally understood to represent the basic easier doctrines of the faith like sin and salvation. Meat, is the deeper or harder to understand parts of scripture.  So while John 3:16 would be milk, talking about the high priesthood of Jesus in Hebrews 5 and 6 would be meat.

The difference between milk and meat goes deeper than a difference in the amount of Bible knowledge you have in your head. Milk, biblically understood, is elementary teaching about Christ, or understanding what the Bible says.

Meat then, is understanding and applying what the Bible says. When you understand what God is telling you in his word, and when you comprehend what it means and what it requires, that’s great; but when you start applying it to your life practically that’s when you start to flourish.

The other trap we fall into is that we want the meat to happen very quickly and we don’t have the patience to go through day by day, month by month and year by year in the practice that leads to being trained or becoming spiritually mature.

The process takes time. God wants us to emerge from our trials more mature than when we started. God is not going to rush the process he wants us to practice, so we will be fully-trained and ready to go.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to apply Divine truth to your life so you can make Godly decisions between good and bad, right and wrong. Maturity is the ability to make decisions with the truth not just recite the truth.

When there is no ability to make decisions, there is no maturity.

Dr. Evans is trying to remind us that when God sends us on a trial, it’s a practice session. He’s calling us to put into practice on Monday the truth that we said “amen” to on Sunday.

Just like a football team who works hard to execute its plays in practice so that in the real game they can execute properly, God wants us to practice righteousness until our senses are well-trained and we are mature… because the world, our own sinful flesh and the enemy are waiting to resist us.

We become spiritually mature when the information we take in, or the milk, is translated into our daily practice, or the meat. Why can God be trusted in our trials?  Because trials help us develop spiritual maturity, which in turn glorifies God.

THANKS FOR LISTENING!
– Joe and Todd

Praise Thursday: A New Series!

Today Lilly and I jumped right into a new book that will be a series for the next few weeks!

This book is called ” Can God Be Trusted in Our Trials?” by Tony Evans – That title pretty much sums up what this book is about.

We started where most people start books, chapter one!  This chapter was titled “Our trials have a positive purpose.”

Today on the show we talked about the first two sections of chapter 1.

The first section that we coved was the introduction. This laid the groundwork for what trials are. The “Biblical definition of trials…are adverse or negative circumstances that God either brings about directly or allows in order to develop us spiritually.”

In this introduction, we also shared a verse, that I believe we will be talking about a lot, that is:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, 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 

We sum up this part with the quote “God is not telling us to be joyful about the pain but about the purpose and the outcome of the pain, which is our spiritual completeness and maturity.

We then started the second section, which is titled “Joy Vs. Happiness” – We talked about how happiness is more of a feeling and how our happiness levels can change within a second. “Our feelings respond to the information we are fed to them, whether it is true or not.”

We will be continuing this topic next week!

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Afternoon Drive! – Hannah Radke

 

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