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When Trouble Comes: Cling to God's Word

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
Psalm 119:92


My fourth advice to a younger me would be: When trouble comes, cling to God’s Word. Now in order to cling to God’s Word, you must first know it. And in order to know God’s word, you must study it, meditate upon it and memorize it.

The first two have been your delight and will continue to be. Even when you are old and gray (though you will do a good job of concealing the later) you will love to study God’s word and meditate upon it. Your Bible will be marked and worn. Your first one will fall apart. Discussing the Word of God with others or teaching it will bring you great joy. This is of no credit to you. God, of course, is the One who has made His Word your delight.

However, let’s talk about memorizing scripture. You will begin well. You will take several courses that require memorization, and you will learn many important scriptures that will solidify the foundational truths of our Christian faith and benefit you in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. These scriptures that you learn when you are young will stay with you. So my advice to you is, please don’t stop! Don’t waste your brain while you are young! Sure, you can memorize scripture when you are older, but it is much more difficult. So make it a priority while you’re young.

Memorizing scripture will benefit you. It will equip you to resist temptation and defeat the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11, Ephesians 6:17). When trouble comes, memorized scriptures will be your comfort, hope, strength and encouragement.  Memorized promises of God will strengthen you to walk in godliness (2 Peter 1:4). Fill the storeroom of your mind with the powerful Word of God, so that when hard times come, you have the provision you need. A well-worn Bible in your hand is wonderful, but scripture stored in your mind and ready to be used is even better.

Oh God, teach me your word and help me store it in my mind so that I can walk in this world in Christlikeness.

Jan Burkhart

When Trouble Comes: Reflect on God’s Faithfulness

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23


My third advice to a younger me would be: When trouble comes, reflect on God’s faithfulness. There will be times when you will question God’s faithfulness in your present circumstance. You might even wonder if He has forgotten you or cast you aside. But I can tell you, I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25).

God is faithful, and He can be no other way. If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). He may not be working in the way you wanted; but He is faithful, and He is working all things for your good (Romans 8:28).

The Psalmist Asaph questioned God’s faithfulness. He said, Will the Lord reject forever? Will He never show His favor again? Has His unfailing love vanished forever? Has His promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld His compassion? (Psalm 77:7-9). Then Asaph determined to remember the mighty deeds of the Lord, and his trust in God’s power and redemption returned.

If you can’t see God’s faithfulness now, then reflect on His faithfulness in your past. How has God shown Himself to be your Deliverer, your Refuge and your help? I the Lord do not change (Malachi 3:6). Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He who has been your Deliverer and Provider in the past will be your help in your present difficulty.

I encourage you to begin journaling while young, at least occasionally. As you grow older, you will become frustrated because you can’t remember. So record those times of seeing God’s faithfulness in the midst of difficulty. Record how He delivered you or record how He strengthened you even though the difficulty remained.

So, reflect on God’s faithfulness, for when trouble comes, God’s faithfulness will be your shield and defense! (Psalm 91:4)

Lord, with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations. You are mighty O Lord and Your faithfulness surrounds You (Psalm 89:1, 8).


Jan Burkhart

When Trouble Comes: Praise God

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 59:16


My second advice to a younger me would be: When trouble comes, your strength will come through praising God. It is easy in the midst of difficulty to worry, become fearful or angry or even give up in despair. However, praising God will strengthen you. As you focus on God, His greatness transcends your circumstance.

Praising God during difficulties can be difficult and will not automatically happen. Praise must be a well-established pattern in your life. You must determine while young that whatever happens, you will praise God. This was the determination of Habakkuk. Though calamity came upon his nation, though the land lay in waste and though his source of income was gone, he resolutely determined, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:18). Establish the habit of praise early in life so that when trouble comes you are not at a loss for words.

The power of praise is taught in 2 Chronicles 20. A vast army was approaching King Jehoshaphat of Judah. He turned to God, who responded Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15).  Believing God’s word, Jehoshaphat appointed men to go before the army of Judah singing praise of God. As praise was lifted, the Lord set ambushes against the enemy and destroyed them.

Praise of God defeats the enemy! Fear, doubt and discouragement will grow as you focus on the difficulty. These enemies can be crippling in your Christian walk. Focus instead on the character of Almighty God. As you consider His power and trustworthiness, the enemy will be defeated, and you will be strengthened.

Father, You are the Sovereign God. Through Your power, Your plans will be accomplished. Your plans are for Your glory and the good of Your people. I will trust Your goodness, Your faithfulness, Your love, and Your power. You are my Guide, my Strength, my Refuge and my Deliverer. Use this voice that You created to praise You in good times and in bad.


Jan Burkhart

When Trouble Comes: Look for God

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
Isaiah 43:2


I recently heard someone ask this question: “If you could go back and talk to a younger you, how would you finish this question, ‘When trouble comes…?’” That is a thought-provoking question that I have pondered for days. There are many things I would like to tell a younger me regarding difficulties, but I have settled on five things I think are most important. Perhaps this is a question you need to reflect on also. What would you tell yourself? Now obviously, it’s impossible to go back and talk to a younger you, but you and I can talk to our children and our grandchildren and to other young people we know. What would you say?  

My first advice would be: When trouble comes, look for God. You won’t have to look far, for He is right there with you. He has promised that when you go through the water or the fire, He will be with you. (Isaiah 43:1-3) God says to His people, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

It is easy to focus on the storm or difficulty, as the disciples displayed in John 6. But Jesus made His Presence known to them, and He will do the same for you. You have to purposely look. When trials come, spend more time reading your Bible. God wants you to behold His trustworthy character. He has specific words that will bring you peace, comfort, strength and counsel. Also, look around. That song on the radio that ministers to your troubled spirit or that friend who calls to see how you are—that’s God working around you to make His Presence known.

And so, in times of trouble, look for God, and you will behold Him. His all-sufficient Presence is exactly what you need!

I praise You, Father, as my ever-present help in time of trouble.


Jan Burkhart

Who’s in Control?

. . . As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:15

  
Pause for a moment and ask yourself this question: Who is in control of my mind, my actions, my words, my attitude? Would your answer be the world, or Jesus Christ, or some of both?

Joshua made a commitment to God and was willing to be an example of this commitment. Joshua was called by God to lead the Israelites into the land which God had promised their forefathers. Joshua was a strong military leader. The key to his success was his submission to God. There were many idol gods in Canaan (Israel today), and Joshua made it clear that he would follow the Lord God who was trustworthy.

Just like Joshua, we, too, must decide who or what will control us. There are many idols around us, and if we aren’t careful, we can get swept up in them. It is easy to get totally absorbed in our families, our job, our hobbies, after-school activities.

In Philippians 2 Paul tells us that we should have the same mind and the same attitude as Jesus Christ. This means we will be obedient to God. We will be willing to forgive, to show compassion, and to wipe out selfish desires. We cannot do this on our own. God has to be in control of our lives.

I’m sure by now that you are in your new fall schedule. Did you make a place for God? He should be at the top. Have you allowed time for family devotions, Bible stories for your children, church and church activities? Most of all, have you made time for a quiet time with God? God is often pushed into the margins of our schedules.

Choose to serve God unashamedly with all your heart, and then watch to see how God blesses you.

Georgia Andrus