As the people of God assemble today let them rejoice in the warmth of God’s selfless, giving love. Rom.5:5, TLB — “Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
Kathy — I’ve asked the Lord many times, “How long are fiery trials supposed to last?” I’d like to say He answered, “Twenty minutes to twenty days, max!” However, we have all lived long enough to know better. He patiently explains to me, again, that time is not the issue in trials. Results are the issue. While we watch the clock or calendar during trials, God looks at the growth, maturity and changes in us. (Rom.5:3-4)
If we study the progression of Romans 5:4, (trials then perseverance then character then hope), we begin to understand the real issues. Threshold wars are waged when the heat of trials gets our character to a red-hot blaze, like the point when metal can be changed and re-shaped. That is the point when the heat makes it tempting to quit and run to the nearest place of relief rather than complete the process by submitting to the Blacksmith’s hammer. So these wars are screaming the question while we’re in the heat of battle: “Will you do the right thing, let God change your heart and mind where necessary? Will you choose to respond to trials with wisdom and develop godly character; or will you remain the same person, refusing to be conformed to His image?” And our answer at this point will either propel us on to hope and toward promise, or cause us to fall short of hope and promise.
Sometimes all the enemy has to do is remind us of old battles. It is easy to allow experience to decide our future, but it is not the will of our Father. Experiences should mature us… not rule over us. If we allow experience to be the final authority and dominate our thinking, we forfeit hope. According to the Word, we must persevere through experiences to get to hope: Rom 5:3-4 “…but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.” (KJV) It is interesting that several translations substitute the word “character” for “experience.” “Endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” (RSV). Experiences are meant to process and strengthen our character, not become a set of expectations that overshadow our future. —Kathy Gabler