Life Trials Make Diamonds

What has diamonds to do with Romans 5:3-4?

And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance;  and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation] (Romans 5:3-4, AMP)

A diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth, formed under high pressure and temperature over billions of years.  It is one of the most precious of all the gemstones.  During the development of the diamond, it is changed slowly from one substance to another.  The results are a brilliant, hard multi-faceted stone that is treasured throughout the world.

The Life’s Grinding Stone

The trials and tribulations that we go through as part of living  can either turn you into a person of integrity and a warrior for God or, if you let troubles weaken you, you will break under the pressure and never emerge as the precious stone that God has purposed you to be.   As I look back on my life and the difficulties that I have encountered, I truly thank God for preserving me and continuing to work with me during my trials.  He gave me the strength to go through and not buckle.  The trials have smooth many of the rough edges and strengthen me.  When I face problems I remember the Holy Spirit has moved me through other problems.  Although I pray for a miraculous deliverance from the trouble, sometimes you just need to go through it so the lesson can be taught and another chunk of worthless material can be removed.  The trouble usually comes because I did not do what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do or I stubbornly followed my own path instead of asking for guidance and awaiting His response.  I have also been known to place my trust in a person instead of trusting God.  I have learned about what a mistake misplaced trust is the hard way.

Personally, I still struggle with praying for deliverance when trouble comes, but I at least now know that God will work in his own time and according to His own plan.  So my prayers include a request for deliverance, but also if it is not according to His will that He will strengthen and guide me through it.  grinding stone

Just as gemstones are smoothed to make them more brilliant, we are smoothed on the grinding stone of life, smoothed so that the rough edges are worn away and the true warrior for God shines through.

Have you felt the smoothing process as the Holy Spirit guides you through life’s trials?

Can you hid from God?

The answer is “No”.

Job 34:21 “For God’s eyes are on the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.” (AMP)

Have you ever felt as though someone was watching you.  You looked around and see no one particularly paying you any attention.  So you turn around again and continue your activity.  But the feeling continues and although you look around again, you do not discover the watcher.  I have had that feeling, it can really make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  The feeling usually comes when I am doing something that is not right or I am engaged in an active that my conscience is telling me to back away from.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of conscience is — “An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” Because I am a firm believer that what the dictionary defines as conscience is really the Holy Spirit and not just a part of the human psyche,  I have learned to pay heed to the small, quiet voice that has become louder and clearer over time.  Not that I always follow it’s lead because I can be very stubborn at times, but I am more aware of it, and respond to it more often.  One reason for this change in my behavior is that when I do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompts, I always regret it sooner or later.

We think that God does not see or is not concerned with the little indiscretions as well as large ones.  As I stop and think about some of the events of my life that I have hidden deep down, away from my current thoughts, and would rather no one found out about, I ask God for forgiveness in the name of Jesus because I know now that I can do nothing that is not seen.  In my younger years, I did not have an understanding of the of the Holy Spirit.  Not that I am an expert now, but I know a prompting when I get it.

Where can I go to hide from the eyes , “… of the Lord which roam throughout the earth.” (Zechariah 4:10, AMP)  Where can I flee?  Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

We cannot hide the bad habits, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, lack of integrity from God and the Holy Spirit reminds us that nothing goes unseen.

I used all the above Scripture to reinforce my belief that God sees everything I do big and small.  There is no hiding, just as he can rescue or give us the ability to make it through  any trouble, he sees what we are doing.

All changes take time and effort on our part fortunately the Lord is patient. I am nowhere near where I should be, but I am closer than I have been.  It is my prayer that all Believers are working their way toward a better understanding and relationship with their heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

Treasure to the Believer’s Soul

Deciding to get baptized as an adult is a big decision, and as I stood waiting to be led up the steps to the baptismal pool, so many thoughts ran through my mind.  Did I really want to do this? I knew I wanted to get closer to God and build a better relationship with him. Since I was in my forties, just getting baptized, I wondered if it would make a big difference in my life, would I feel differently? I knew that there was more to God’s Word than I was aware of and although I had been reading the Bible and going to church off and on for many years, I did not have an understanding of exactly who I was and my inheritance as a child of God.  I wanted to feel more and understand what I was missing of God’s promise to his people.  In other words, I was still looking for my God-given purpose.

Stress and Worry

I knew that I suffered from too much stress. I was always nervous and tense. Worry was my constant companion. As a single mother of two kids trying to support and raise my kids properly, at least better than I felt that I was raised, hard work and a strong work ethic sums up what I felt I inherited from my parents. I had controlling issues.  As the oldest of four kids and the only girl, I was used to being in control and acted with authority in most situations.  Tired and stressed most of the time was a normal part of my life, but I knew that there was more to life than this.  I understood enough about the Bible to realize that I needed to remedy my situation before I worried myself into an illness.  I watched several members of my family, suffer through illnesses that could not only be linked to food, but also to stress and worry. I decided at an early age, that I was not going out like that. Deep within I knew that the answer to many of my problems was centered around lack of faith in God and a total ignorance of His Promise.  I think that is what started me going to church to try to find the treasure I knew God had made available to me since I was not having much luck finding it myself.  So I felt it was time to get serious about building my relationship with God and my first step would be to get baptized.

Sharing Abraham’s Promise

As I mentioned before I read the Bible, but did not have an in-depth understanding of how to relate God’s words to what I was encountering in my daily life.  I was having difficulty just understanding where I as a Gentile (anyone who is not a Jew) even fit into God’s plan.  I Corinthians 8:6 says, “There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.” (NLT)  cleared my understanding of my entitlement in God’s promise. I was overjoyed to be a joint inheritor of the kingdom Jesus Christ died to make available for us.  And then I read Romans 4:16 which confirms my inheriting the treasure chest filled with the bounty of God’s grace and mercy. Because I share the faith of Abraham, I can become a daughter of Abraham and, therefore, share in God’s promise to him.

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. (NLT)

When my turn arrived, I pictured the treasure chest waiting for me filled with the treasures that Jesus mentioned during His time on earth–Grace, Salvation, Love–precious gifts that are treasures that cannot be brought with gold or silver.  Although this was many years ago, I remember the event like it was yesterday.  I really expected things to change in a big way in my life.  But they did not.  And interestingly enough I did not feel much different than I did before I went into the pool.  No strange light, no revelation, no feeling of newness.  As a new creature in Christ, I did not feel any different.  I turned this over and over in my brain as I changed and got dressed.

My Change

As I look back my changes came gradually over a long period of time.  My changes have so gradual that I did not realize they were happening. Over the years that I have changed in many areas of my life, and I am more conscience of the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me what to do and what not to do.  The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is always working with me and shaping me.  I still have a long way to go, but progress has been made, and I will continue to work on it with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Don’t let your treasure chest lay unopened.

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