James 1:2 says “Consider it a sheer gift, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.”(Msg) So on those days when your spouse, children, mother-in-law and cocker-spaniel are all screaming for attention at the same time a check is missing in the check register and the fridge is dying and melting all over the kitchen floor…you need to think,“sheer gift”. Uh-huh… this is obviously going to take some practice! —Kathy
(Kathy is speaking at Kingdom Congress March 6, 2020. All info: martygabler.com/kc2020/)
As we persevere through trials God
will not be manipulated or blackmailed
or bribed into shortening the time needed
to mature our character. Ps.66:8-9 says
that He holds our lives in his hands and
He holds our feet to the path. Evidently,
God not only intends for us to outlive the
heat of trials, He intends it to transform
us on our way through it. —Kathy
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.
The Holy Spirit can divide soul and spirit so that the issues of the heart-mind can become obvious (see Heb.4:12). Honest confrontation of one’s own heart is the starting place for emotional healing and deliverance. Trials and tribulations are common to all and are ideally supposed to come to good results that bring us to maturity in the image of Christ. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character. (Rom 5:3,4) However, we can refuse to persevere, refuse to submit to change and refuse to mature in character by simply being offended by trouble. I believe this type of offense is common to many: either we are angry at inequity or injustice or disappointments, or we fear those things. We can choose to let go of the anger and fear and walk away trusting God with the big picture, knowing that today’s circumstances are just one scene; or we can buy into the short-term blitz and use a mood as a force to try to change the conditions and the people around us. (The fourth excerpt from Kathy’s article “Investing in Relationships” published in SEEC Magazine.)
While writing this article, I was interrupted by the insurance lady. When I went back to the computer, this article file would not open again! Finally, after many attempts and maneuvers, it opened. Then, in broad daylight, a roach ran up the slick metal tube leg of my TV tray and on to my computer screen! You have to know me to fully appreciate the adrenaline implosion and the level of harassment that bodacious devil represented! (At that point I figured I must be on the verge of divulging one of hell’s favorite operations with this threshold interference ploy!) Of course, I had to stop writing to vacuum under everything that could be moved and then exterminate the house to build up enough nerve to go back to the computer. It was frustrating and the thought actually passed through my mind to put the whole subject down and walk away, but I suddenly realized the timing of this personal-harassment-roach was not a random coincidence! When I could breathe normally and was over my terror, I realized personal harassment and interference are like a double-barrel shot gun. Interference works on circumstances and harassment works on us. Both are fighting dirty in an attempt to condition our thinking and attitudes and opinions and conclusions with the ultimate goal of taking advantage of our superpower which is agreement.
(This is the sixth excerpt from Kathy Gabler’s article “Hands Off!“. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)