The Purpose of ‘Tests’? [v213]

NOVEMBER 2016

The Purpose of ‘Tests’?

What is the reason why teachers give students tests? Well, right off, the answer seems fairly obvious—to determine what students have learned, and to identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses. However, it is also an assessment of the school’s effectiveness, feedback for the instructors, and uncovers areas for improvement. But, in the end, tests are primarily for the benefit of the student.

Dr. James Paul Gee, the Presidential Professor of Literary Studies at Arizona State University commented: “Historically, the testing industry, because it was pragmatic, only tested what it was easy to test. But as a parent, I don’t want you to just test what’s easy to test, I want you to test what’s important to test.”

 

Have you noticed that, after we all graduate from ‘structured’ education, the ‘tests’ don’t stop? They just have a different ‘focus’. So, wouldn’t preparing us ‘students’ for life’s ‘tests’ be an “important” thing to prepare us for…and how to respond to them?

We will all face challenges in life—some we will see coming, and others will come out of ‘left field’. But, the inevitability of life is that we will all face tests and hardships along our life journey. Most of our trials will be physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual. They could be the loss of a child, going through a divorce, the betrayal by someone, losing a home to foreclosure, being diagnosed with a disease, or battling something like loneliness or depression. Each of us has and will continue to face tests in our lives and, while most only test us for a particular period of time, they do present ‘insights’ into who we really are, deep down inside.

Motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, once said, “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.” He suggests that to get out of this ‘endless loop’, one should consider the possibility that your life experiences carry with them ‘wisdom’ that is waiting for you to discover—to probe deeper into your beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, that you can ‘unearth’ destructive patterns and develop alternative behavioral responses.

 

Does it seem odd to you that, all too often, we are all left to our own ‘devices’ to figure out how to deal with our tests and trials? Why aren’t we taught some basic life ‘wisdom’ skills early on in our education to better equip us for our life’s journey?

Well, author Charles Swindoll gives us a bit of an ‘expanded’ view of ‘tests’ in school, and how it relates to the life of a Christian:

“Life is God’s schoolroom. In it we encounter pop quizzes and periodic examinations. You can’t have a schoolroom without tests—at least I’ve never seen one. Throughout the educational process our knowledge is assessed on the basis of examinations. The curriculum of Christlikeness is much the same. Our Christian maturity is measured by our ability to withstand the tests that come our way without having them shake our foundation or throw us into an emotional or spiritual tailspin.

The wonderful thing about God’s schoolroom, however, is that we get to grade our own papers. You see, He doesn’t test us so He can learn how well we’re doing. He tests us so WE can discover how well we’re doing.”

As was mentioned, tests and trials can come to all of us through several means and with several purposes—but, for the Christian, they primarily come to test the strength of our faith.

 

As Charles Swindoll so aptly put it, God doesn’t have to test any of us to find out what’s in our ‘heart’. God tests us so that WE can find out. In other words, He assists us in self-examination.

If you are going through a severe trial right now, it is revealing to you the strength or weakness of your faith, isn’t it? It’s been said that if you are ‘shaking your fist’ at God, wondering why something is happening to you, and you are worrying about it from morning till night, there’s a good chance that you have a ‘weak’ faith. Ouch!

If, on the other hand, you are going through a trial and you find yourself resting at peace and waiting for God to show you the way out, then you probably possess a ‘strong’ faith. So, in one sense then, we ought to be thankful for trials, because they assist us in taking ‘inventory’ of our faith. In addition to that, the stronger your faith is, the more likely you will be ‘useful’ to God.

 

We have to realize that God is going to allow us to go through tests, and the thing that sustains us in the midst of that is our trust in God, that He is working all things out for His own holy purpose. We all dream of worldly ease, want to have absolute comfort, and make sure everything is perfectly ‘settled’. Every once in a while it seems that there is a moment like this. Then, in the next moment, I find out that it really isn’t!

The fact that we have temporary rest and temporary ease sort of fools us into thinking that we might find a permanent ‘exemption’ to tests—but that will never be the case. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” [ John 16:33 ].

Author Charles Swindoll said it this way: “If you are experiencing trials, you’re the rule, not the exception. If you have just gotten through one, take heart; there are more around the corner! Going through a trail is one thing that pulls us together. We’ve got that in common.”

People can go through the severest imaginable trial of life if they REALLY trust God, believe that He never makes mistakes, that He always keeps His promises, is sovereign, and will accomplish His purposes. It is that kind of faith that passes all the tests!

So, though trials will come, the confidence a Christian has is in the ‘presence’ of God: “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me” [ Psalm 23:4 ].

Let me suggest some of the things that test do for and ‘in’ us.

 

Tests come to humble us. They remind us not to think more confidently of our spiritual strength than we should. Even the Apostle Paul was brutally honest about himself in this regard: “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!” We must realize that God allows trials in our lives—especially when we are blessed in places of spiritual service—to keep us humble, lest we think more confidently of our spiritual strength than we should, and we start to feel that we’re invincible.

Tests in our life also come to wean us from the ‘dependency’ of worldly material—things like houses, cars, bank accounts, and ‘toys’. Though none of these things are necessarily ‘bad’, the thing is, have you noticed the more things you accumulate and the more success you have the less and less significance they have as you get older and mature? You learn that they can’t help you in solving the real ‘deep’ problems of life—anxieties, hurts, and trials. God also wants to remind you that you can’t take them with you after you die—that they will make no ‘eternal’ difference, and He wants you to view them as not as important as other ‘things’, like people.

Tests also make us consider more our eternal ‘hope’—with them tending to make us to want to go to Heaven. Trials tend to show us the bankruptcy of human resources, and encourage us in our Heavenly hope.

The Apostle Paul emphasizes this hope by saying that all ‘creation’ is waiting for redemption: “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” He also said that, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” [ 2 Corinthians 17-18 ]. Tests give us greater affection to what is eternal—setting our affections on things ‘above’.

Tests also reveal what we really love—by how we react to them. If you really love self more than God, you are going to say, “God, why do you doing this to me?” and you are going to be upset, bitter, and full of anxiety. But, if you supremely love God, you are going to say “Thank you God, for what you are accomplishing in me through this. Please help me give You glory though all you are allowing to happen to me.” (I’m still working on being the latter!).

There’s a sense that if anything is dearer to you than God, then He’s going to ‘remove’ it. The prophet said in Deuteronomy, “for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” [ Deuteronomy 13:3 ]. What this says is that you must do the will of God first and foremost, no matter what appeals others make to you—whether that be your father, mother, wife, child, brother, sister, or even your own ‘self’ (Luke 14:26). Going through an intense test, you will find out about who/what your love.

Tests also teach us to value the blessings of God. Reason teaches us to value the world and ‘grab’ what we can. Sense, or feeling, tells us to value pleasure and obtain it at any price. Whereas faith says obey the Word of God and be blessed. When you go through a test, if you learn to obey God, you will experience the exhilaration of His blessing. That’s His promise! (“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God…” – Deuteronomy 28:2).

Tests also allow us to better able assist others in their own suffering. Jesus said to the Apostle Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” [ Luke 22:31-32 ]. To make us more spiritually mature, God allows us to learn by experience so we can a help to others!

Tests also come to develop an enduring strength for greater ‘usefulness’ in God’s Kingdom. Thomas Menton said, “While all things are quite and comfortable we live by sense rather than faith. But the worth of a soldier is never known in times of peace.” God has His purpose in trials—to make us like ‘warriors’ for His purposes. (“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” – Ephesians 6:11).

Another thing tests do is to awaken us to the fact of whether or not we ‘really’ trust God. Trials affirm either the legitimacy or the illegitimacy of our faith. When trials come into our life, they reveal if our faith is real or it is not. Do we hang on to God and count on His faithfulness and resources, or do we go off and ‘solve’ it ourselves.

 

So, tests are going to come, and there’s no way to avoid them. But, you’re attitude can make it all more ‘profitable’ for you! The Apostle James said, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” [ James 1:12 ]. So, you have a joyous attitude, an understanding mind, and a submissive will, God will “reward” you—and supply everything that you will need for your trial!

Tests cannot destroy faith, they can only test it—by measuring its ‘strength’. The faith that stands the test is proven to be genuine, and the faith that fails the test is proven to be ‘questionable’.

So, how can true faith endure any trial? How can true faith suffer any loss and still hold to its faith in God? What gives one the ability to persevere and not fall away?

Well, knowing for sure that God is in control, that this will draw us ‘closer’ to Him, and that He will give us peace and joy in the midst of it. The Apostle James confirm this, saying: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” [ James 1:2-4 ]. So, the right attitude understands that God’s ultimate purpose for us is to make us like His Son, Jesus, and that tests are the path to spiritual maturity.

 

Let’s say you are going through a trial and you are really doing your best to keep a joyous attitude, an understanding mind, and a submissive will. But, you are having difficulty really grasping what’s happening to you, and lack the ‘power’ to remain joyous and to courageous. You are struggling to understand all of this and to be permissive. So what are you to do? Ask God for ‘WISDOM’! Again, the Apostle James says: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” [ James 1:5 ].

All of us need practical insight to face the issues of life. You will not be able to maintain a joyous attitude, an understanding mind, and a submissive will unless God gives you more than just your human faculties to work with. Wanting to be willing to endure the trial demands GOD’S WISDOM. You are not going to find all the answers with your or anyone else’s human reasoning.

 

When we go through a test, even the believer is going to feel weak. They’re going to feel the need for strength and are going to look for something to ‘hold on to’ in the midst of the trial. Well, that would be God, and asking for His wisdom!

The search for wisdom is man’s supreme desire. For Christians who know and love God, He will provide that wisdom.

I am reminded of my “life verse” at this point: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Don’t try to be wise in your own ‘eyes’. Don’t look to yourself—or even others—for the answers. Ask God for His divine wisdom!

 

So, as you can imagine, tests have a way of ‘enhancing’ your prayer life—driving you to your knees. It is the intention of God that you recognize the bankruptcy of human reason and the answers that you might get from other people.

Think about the person Job, in the Bible, who tried to get answers from everybody around him—and they all gave him the wrong answers. The ‘right’ answer is always available from God! (“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” – James 5:16).

True wisdom—the supernatural wisdom needed to understand the trials of life—is not available in the world around us. Job said, “God understands its way and He knows it’s place.” So, God is the ONLY SOURCE of ‘true’ wisdom.

As was mentioned before, one of the greatest promises in all of the Scripture is that if the believer asks God for wisdom, He GUARANTEES to give to them who ask—and the wisdom that is from above is “pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

So, when you go through a trial, the ‘person’ to go to is God. He’s much more ‘reliable’ than running to your friends for answers and getting into the same situation that Job got into. First then, consult the ‘mind’ of God.

 

God is generous and gracious, and desires to give us insight into those things which we desire to understand. Proverbs says, “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” God has it available and He wants to give it to the seeking ‘heart’. But, there may be a sense sometimes in which He ‘holds back’—just until you demonstrate your love, trust, and dependence on Him.

The Apostle Matthew also wrote about this: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” [ Matthew 7:7-11 ]. God PROMISES He will give you wisdom! He gives freely and generously the wisdom you need to understand and respond properly to your trial. He holds nothing back! He gives liberally and without reservation. No wisdom needed for the perseverance through a trial is ever withheld from a believer who asks!

God wants to provide every needed resource for the believer in the midst of a trial. Now, what this means is that you will persevere through confident, dependent, and believing prayer, when you submit yourself to God (“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:17).

 

Now, there are some people who just doubt that God can give them an answer, and other people who just want to argue with God about why He did what He did. The Bible says that to get an answer, you are not to doubt the available supply, power, purpose, and will of God!

Again, if you are going through tests and you can’t understand why, then the simple reason initially might be that you haven’t asked God to give you wisdom—and if you have asked and still don’t know, then you have not asked with true, ‘believing’ faith. Unwavering faith simply believes that God is sovereign, believes that God is loving, and that God will supply everything that is needed for understanding the trial. After that, one then goes to God in ‘fervent’ prayer.

The Apostle Matthew emphasized this by telling us what Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” [ Matthew 21:21-22 ]. Strong faith moves the ‘muscles’ of God.

Now, this is not a blank ‘check’. You are not going to receive what you ask unless it’s in the will of God, and it brings glory to Him. (This verse is also is not saying that you can cast a ‘literal’ mountain into the sea—Jesus was using a metaphor for something ‘really difficult’). So, persistent prayer, every increasing trust in God, lined up with God’s will is very ‘potent’, and brings the wisdom needed for every trial.

 

So, whatever the trial is, you are to have a ‘believing’ heart. Believing that God allowed the test for His purpose, and it’s the best thing for you at that moment. In addition to that, know that you will be better off after going through the test than if you had not endured it at all!

 

Now, returning to what James was telling us about receiving God’s wisdom, he continues: “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” [ James 1:6-8 ]. The wavering person who goes to God and doesn’t really believe that God can provide the wisdom and vacillates WILL NOT receive from God! Whoa!

One who doubts God, who ‘debates’ with God, or wavers in his trust of God and isn’t solidly committed to Him, isn’t going to receive anything. That person is characterized as an “unbeliever.” It could also characterize a weak and doubtful Christian who is acting like an unbeliever.

A “double minded” person is one who vacillates back and forth not knowing whether to trust God or abandon God—and considered a ‘hypocrite’. The Apostle James said of these kind of people: “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” [ James 4:4 ]. Loving the ‘world’ and trying to love God at the same time is impossible to do. John Bunyan, in his classic “Pilgrim’s Progress,” called this person “Mr. Facing-Both-Ways.”

 

It’s sad to say, but sometimes, even Christians are unable to grasp the sovereignty of God, to trust Him fully, to set their doubts aside, and to accept the wisdom that God eagerly and liberally wants to provide, they just need to ask, ‘believingly’.

So, when you are tested, the way to endure it is to receive from God divine wisdom. To go to Him having the confidence that He gives freely and never debates, argues, or holds back anything, but gives exactly what you need to endure the test. But, the ‘condition’ is that your faith must be real. That it be unwavering faith, not like the storm-tossed sea. Because if you have vacillating faith, you will not receive anything! In fact, such double-mindedness will make you ‘unstable’ in every area of your life.

I pray that you will have an ‘unshakeable’ faith that will trust God’s sovereignty implicitly, believe that God has the best solution for your trial, and that He will give you the WISDOM you need to PASS YOUR TEST!

 

[ Excerpts from: John MacArthur; Charles Swindoll; Tony Robbins; Judith Johnson ]

 

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RECONCILIATION PRAYER TO GOD:
If you would like to ‘give’ your life to Jesus, you can do it right now—right where you are. There’s no magical words to say, you just need to believe in your ‘heart’ that God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is God in the flesh, rose from the dead, and is alive today—and when He died on the cross, He took your place as your substitute sacrifice for your sins. If you sincerely believe this, then admit you are a sinner, confess your sins, and that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation, committing your life to His service.

You could say something like the following (in your own words if you would like):

Dear Lord Jesus,
I understand that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I sincerely repent of my sins, and ask You for forgiveness and mercy. I believe that You died on the cross as my substitute, paying my sin debt in full so that I could receive Your forgiveness and have eternal life. I ask You to come into my life right now and become my personal Savior. From this day forward, I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to take control, and guide me be the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a ‘new beginning’, and help me to live for You.
Amen.

 

RESOURCES:

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God’s Wisdom For Your Every Need
By: Jack Countryman

God’s Wisdom for Your Every Need has been created for today’s culture. With the uncertainty of the economy and job insecurity, families are concerned about the future and need God’s wisdom more than ever. This insightful book is filled with 61 relevant topics for today, including wisdom for when you are faced with a crisis, when you need confidence, when life is unfair in the work place…and much more. These verses from God’s Word will bring encouragement, guidance, and hope no matter what the situation you’re facing in life

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Wisdom-Your-Every-Need/dp/1404187545/

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Making Life Work: Putting God’s Wisdom into Action
By: Bill Hybels

The world overflows with information, data and knowledge. But you find precious little wisdom. Wisdom is what you desperately need when faced with a challenge at work, a problem at home, a conflict with friends or a crisis within yourself.

– What factors are critical to achieving your life goals?
– How can you get a friendship back on track?
– Why is it so hard to trust God in problem situations?
– How can you make a difference in the marketplace?
– How should you respond to someone who is angry with you?
– What is the surprising result of helping others?
– How can you establish a sound financial foundation?

To answer questions like these, you want wisdom–sound advice from someone you respect, someone who knows how to succeed and how to deal with failure, someone who sees clearly the consequences of different courses of action. That’s what pastor Bill Hybels has found in the book of Proverbs, and that’s what he offers to his congregation and now to you. Here is advice that has been tested for centuries and found true about how to put God’s wisdom into action in your life. If you feel that there’s nothing so rare as common sense, this book is for you!

https://www.amazon.com/Making-Life-Work-Putting-Wisdom/dp/0830817883/

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God’s Wisdom for a Woman’s Life: Timeless Principles for Your Every Need
By: Elizabeth George

Life can be overwhelming! Every day we find ourselves answering many questions and dealing with many choices and decisions. And often we have to do it quickly! How can we make sure to follow God’s wisdom—and not our own—in every part of our lives?

Now, bestselling author Elizabeth George shares the Bible’s incredibly relevant and timeless principles for your every need—God’s wisdom wisdomforfor…

– Priorities
– Purpose
– Home
– Children
– Spiritual Growth
– Time
– Marriage
– Personal Life

Discover how you can live all your life according to God’s wisdom—and enjoy the tremendous peace and confidence that comes from knowing your decisions and action will be the right ones!

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Wisdom-Womans-Life-Principles/dp/0736910611/

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7 Pillars Of God’s Wisdom
By: Herbert Lockyer

The Foundation for Our Growth Is in the Wisdom and Knowledge of God!

In 1 Timothy 3, the apostle Paul described the church as a pillar that upholds God’s truth and wisdom for the world to see. Now, legendary Bible teacher Herbert Lockyer unlocks the seven “pillars” of divine wisdom demonstrated in Christ’s incarnation and redeeming work on earth. Understanding these pillars can help us to become more like Him and to fulfill God’s purposes, both here and in eternity.

The early church was so dynamic in its witness because it continued steadfastly in these aspects of the Christian faith. Likewise, when we meditate reverently on the events and truths of Jesus’ coming to earth, we appreciate more deeply the great salvation that we have received, and we become more eager to share these liberating truths with others.

https://www.amazon.com/Pillars-Gods-Wisdom-Herbert-Lockyer/dp/1603748377/

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God’s Wisdom Is Better Than Gold
By: Adrian Rogers

God wants you to enjoy the abundant life. And the first step to that life is to search for wisdom as a man seeks for gold. Far from the fool’s gold of “name it and claim it” theology, this study of Proverbs leads the way into King Solomon’s mines, wherein lies the true treasures of heaven.

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Wisdom-Better-Than-Gold/dp/0970209908/

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FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDESWEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further why God allows bad things to happen to people, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d1_1of10.html

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v213) for NOVEMBER 2016
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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TEST” (Assessment)

A test or examination (informally, exam) is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s knowledge, skill, aptitude, physical fitness, or classification in many other topics (e.g., beliefs)…

An exam is meant to test a child’s knowledge or willingness to give time to manipulate that subject…

A standardized test is any test that is administered and scored in a consistent manner to ensure legal defensibility…

A non-standardized test may be used to determine the proficiency level of students, to motivate students to study, and to provide feedback to students…

In contrasts to non-standardized tests, standardized tests are widely used, fixed in terms of scope, difficulty and format, and are usually significant in consequences…

In general, tests developed and administered by individual instructors are non-standardized whereas tests developed by testing organizations are standardized.

[ Wikipedia ]

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WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF TESTING?

No Child Left Behind and the Obama’s Administration “Race to the Top” brought us many things including high stakes testing or what I call gates examinations — pass the test and you go through the gate, fail it and you do not. But the question of testing needs to answer the question, what is the purpose of tests?

Tests currently are being used to evaluate students, teachers, and the entire educational system. Because of this emphasis, more standardized tests are being examined and homework and classwork time is being devoted to preparing students to take them while less time is being spent on instruction. In addition, because things like history, art, music and sports are not being tested, they are either being eliminated or seriously being restricted from students’ programs. For many students, these subjects are the reasons they come to school. Because of budget restraints, students are now being charged for playing in sports or in the band. This seriously hampers poor students’ participation. In places like Atlanta and Philadelphia, PA teachers and school administrators have been accused and are being brought to trial for helping students cheat on the examinations.

Two sociologists, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, conducted a study which showed that 45 percent of college students, after two years of college, “have made no significant gains on a test of critical thinking.” This raises the serious question, do tests actually test for things that we want the students to know? Do we simply want students to do well on a test for its own sake? Do we want them to demonstrate some knowledge or skill like knowing how to multiply or do we want them to be able to think critically as well?

Computers are filled with information but lack the ability to process the information into knowledge. Aren’t high stakes tests testing information and not knowledge? Schools are teaching students what to think and not how to think. Doesn’t the business public want students who know how to think as well as what to think?

We also know that children learn differently. Yet our current tests simply test student’s ability to recall, rote memorize and regurgitate. Is this what we want for our children?

My mentor, Dr. Myron Tribes, has stated that the purpose of testing is simply to determine what to do next. Have we seriously considered what to do next?

[ Franklin Straggle ]

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TEN BENEFITS OF TESTING AND THEIR APPLICATIONS TO EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE

Direct and indirect effects of testing

Benefit 1: The Testing Effect: Retrieval Aids Later Retention
Benefit 2: Testing Identifies Gaps in Knowledge
Benefit 3: Testing Causes Students to Learn More from the Next Study Episode
Benefit 4: Testing Produces Better Organization of Knowledge
Benefit 5: Testing Improves Transfer of Knowledge to New Contexts
Benefit 6: Testing can Facilitate Retrieval of Material That was not Tested
Benefit 7: Testing Improves Metacognitive Monitoring
Benefit 8: Testing Prevents Interference from Prior Material when Learning New Material
Benefit 9: Testing Provides Feedback to Instructors
Benefit 10: Frequent Testing Encourages Students to Study

Possible Negative Consequences of Testing

[ Henry L. Reedier III, Adam L. Putnam, and Megan A. Smith ]

http://psych.wustl.edu/memory/Roddy%20article%20PDF’s/BC_Roediger%20et%20al%20(2011)_PLM.pdf

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WHY DOES GOD ALLOW US TO GO THROUGH TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS?

Answer: One of the most difficult parts of the Christian life is the fact that becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life’s trials and tribulations. Why would a good and loving God allow us to go through such things as the death of a child, disease and injury to ourselves and our loved ones, financial hardships, worry and fear? Surely, if He loved us, He would take all these things away from us. After all, doesn’t loving us mean He wants our lives to be easy and comfortable? Well, no, it doesn’t. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves those who are His children, and He “works all things together for good” for us (Romans 8:28). So that must mean that the trials and tribulations He allows in our lives are part of the working together of all things for good. Therefore, for the believer, all trials and tribulations must have a divine purpose.

As in all things, God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). This is the goal of the Christian, and everything in life, including the trials and tribulations, is designed to enable us to reach that goal. It is part of the process of sanctification, being set apart for God’s purposes and fitted to live for His glory. The way trials accomplish this is explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The true believer’s faith will be made sure by the trials we experience so that we can rest in the knowledge that it is real and will last forever.

Trials develop godly character, and that enables us to “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5). Jesus Christ set the perfect example. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). These verses reveal aspects of His divine purpose for both Jesus Christ’s trials and tribulations and ours. Persevering proves our faith. “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

However, we must be careful never to make excuses for our “trials and tribulations” if they are a result of our own wrongdoing. “By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler” (1 Peter 4:15). God will forgive our sins because the eternal punishment for them has been paid by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. However, we still have to suffer the natural consequences in this life for our sins and bad choices. But God uses even those sufferings to mold and shape us for His purposes and our ultimate good.

Trials and tribulations come with both a purpose and a reward. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:2-4,12).

Through all of life’s trials and tribulations, we have the victory. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Although we are in a spiritual battle, Satan has no authority over the believer in Christ. God has given us His Word to guide us, His Holy Spirit to enable us, and the privilege of coming to Him anywhere, at any time, to pray about anything. He has also assured us that no trial will test us beyond our ability to bear it, and “he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

[ Got Questions? ]

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STRONGER

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain’t right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you’re asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don’t hang your head
It’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even if it’s hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you…

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even when you just can’t feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

‘Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
In time it’s gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

[ From the “What If We Were Real” album by Mandissa ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrcIN54E7Kk

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20 REASONS WHY GOD ALLOWS TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

We always hear Christians say things like “I have been doing everything right. I have been fasting and praying, giving, loving my neighbor, obeying the Lord, reading Scripture daily, and walking faithfully with the Lord. What did I do wrong? Why has God allowed me to go through such hard times? Does He not care about me? Am I saved?” To be honest we have all felt a little something like this.

Here is what I have learned on my walk of faith. Be on guard because when you’re asking all these questions and questioning God, Satan will try to attack. He will say, “no he doesn’t love you. Look at those unbelievers who are not going through adversity, but you say Jesus Christ died for you, and yet you are going through the worst troubles of your life.” Don’t let the devil give you fear.

Trials can lead into atheism. When your faith is small the devil can rip it out. Don’t let him put you in despair and bitterness towards God. Don’t ever forget the other times God has delivered you because He will do it again. The devil will try to say it was a coincidence, but with God there is no coincidence. Cry out to God. Block Satan off and always remember that we have victory in Christ.

Think of trials as training.

God has to train His troops. Have you ever heard of any staff sergeant who got to where he was without going through tough situations? God has to prepare His children for the future.

My life.
I remember when I said, “why God, why this, and why that?” God told me to wait for His timing. God has delivered me in the past, but when you are going through bad times all you’re thinking about is right now. I’ve seen God use trials to build me up, answer different prayers, open doors, help others, and I’ve seen many miracles where I knew it was only God who could have done this. While I was worrying, the Lord gave me comfort, encouragement, motivation, and He was working behind the scenes. If as believers we’re burdened by when our brothers and sisters suffer, imagine how God feels. Always remember that He loves you and He reminds us time after time in His Word that He will never forsake us.

1. Trials help our perseverance.

James 1:12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Hebrews 10:35-36 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

2. I don’t know.

Sometimes we have to admit we just don’t know and instead of going crazy and trying to find out why, we must trust in the Lord that He knows best.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Proverbs 3:5 -6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

3. Sometimes we suffer because of our own mistakes. Another thing is we should never test God.

In my life I’ve suffered because I followed the wrong voice. I did my will instead of God’s will. I can’t blame God for my mistakes, but what I can say is God brought me through it and made me stronger and smarter in the process.

Hosea 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

Proverbs 19:2-3 Desire without knowledge is not good– how much more will hasty feet miss the way! A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.

Galatians 6:5 Assume your own responsibility.

4. God is making you more humble.

2 Corinthians 12:7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

1 Peter 5:6-8 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

5. God’s discipline.

Hebrews 12:5-11 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Proverbs 3:11-13 My child, do not reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t get angry when he corrects you. The Lord corrects those he loves, just as parents correct the child they delight in. Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gets understanding.

6. So you can become more dependent on the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

John 15:5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

7. God wants to spend time with you, but you lost your first love. You’re doing all these things for Jesus, but you’re not spending quality quiet time with the Lord.

Revelation 2:2-5 I know what you do, how you work hard and never give up. I know you do not put up with the false teachings of evil people. You have tested those who say they are apostles but really are not, and you found they are liars. You have patience and have suffered troubles for my name and have not given up. But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first. If you do not change, I will come to you and will take away your lampstand from its place.

8. God could be protecting you from a bigger problem that you don’t see coming.

Psalm 121:5-8 The Lord guards you. The Lord is the shade that protects you from the sun. The sun cannot hurt you during the day, and the moon cannot hurt you at night. The Lord will protect you from all dangers; he will guard your life. The Lord will guard you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Psalm 9:7-10 But the Lord rules forever. He sits on his throne to judge, and he will judge the world in fairness; he will decide what is fair for the nations. The Lord defends those who suffer; he defends them in times of trouble. Those who know the Lord trust him, because he will not leave those who come to him.

Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.

9. So we can share in the sufferings of Christ.

1 Peter 4:12-16 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

2 Corinthians 1:5-7 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

10. It helps us grow as believers and become more like Christ.

Romans 8:28-29 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters.

Philippians 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

11. It helps with developing character.

Romans 5:3-6 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

12. It helps build our faith in the Lord.

James 1:2-6 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. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Psalm 73:25-28 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

13. God’s glory: The storm will not last forever and trials are an opportunity for a testimony. It gives God so much glory when everyone knows you’re going through a tough trial and you stand strong, trusting in the Lord until He delivers you, without complaining.

Psalm 40:4-5 Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 71:14-17 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.

14. You can help someone because you have been in that situation. Throwing around Scriptures will be hard to understand for someone who is grieving, but you can comfort them because you have been through the same thing and through the pain you trusted in God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

15. Trials give us a greater reward in Heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal

Mark 10:28-30 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

16. To show us sin in our lives. We should never deceive ourselves and try to hide our sins from God, which is impossible.

Psalm 38:1-11 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.

Psalm 38:17-22 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. Many have become my enemies without cause; those who hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my good with evil lodge accusations against me, though I seek only to do what is good. Lord, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.

Psalm 40:12-13 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me.

17. To remind us that it is God who is always in control.

Luke 8:22-25 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

18. Trials increase our knowledge and they help us learn God’s Word.

Psalm 119:71-77 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

Psalm 94:11-15 The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile. Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Psalm 119:64-68 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy steadfast love; teach me thy statutes! Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now I keep thy word. Thou art good and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

19. Trials teach us to be more thankful.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

20. Trials take our minds off of things of the world and put them back on the Lord.

Colossians 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Stop saying, “I’m going to pray” and actually do it. Let this be a start to a new prayer life you never had. Stop thinking you can do things on your own and trust in God. Tell God “I can’t do it without you. I need you my Lord.” Come to Him with all your heart. “God help me; I will not let you go. I will not listen to these lies.” You must stand strong and have faith God can bring you through it even if it seems impossible.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

[ Fritz Chery ]

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WHY DOES GOD TEST US?

Answer: When we ask why God tests us or allows us to be tested, we are admitting that testing does indeed come from Him. When God tests His children, He does a valuable thing. David sought God’s testing, asking Him to examine his heart and mind and see that they were true to Him (Psalm 26:2; 139:23). When Abram was tested by God in the matter of sacrificing Isaac, Abram obeyed (Hebrews 11:17–19) and showed to all the world that he is the father of faith (Romans 4:16).

In both the Old and New Testaments, the words translated “test” mean “to prove by trial.” Therefore, when God tests His children, His purpose is to prove that our faith is real. Not that God needs to prove it to Himself since He knows all things, but He is proving to us that our faith is real, that we are truly His children, and that no trial will overcome our faith.

In His Parable of the Sower, Jesus identifies the ones who fall away as those who receive the seed of God’s Word with joy, but, as soon as a time of testing comes along, they fall away. James says that the testing of our faith develops perseverance, which leads to maturity in our walk with God (James 1:3–4). James goes on to say that testing is a blessing, because, when the testing is over and we have “stood the test,” we will “receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). Testing comes from our heavenly Father who works all things together for good for those who love Him and who are called to be the children of God (Romans 8:28).

The testing or trials we undergo come in various ways. Becoming a Christian will often require us to move out of our comfort zones and into the unknown. Perseverance in testing results in spiritual maturity and completeness. This is why James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). The testing of faith can come in small ways and daily irritations; they may also be severe afflictions (Isaiah 48:10) and attacks from Satan (Job 2:7). Whatever the source of the testing, it is to our benefit to undergo the trials that God allows.

The account of Job is a perfect example of God’s allowing one of His saints to be tested by the devil. Job bore all his trials patiently and “did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:22). However, the account of Job’s testing is proof that Satan’s ability to try us is limited by God’s sovereign control. No demon can test or afflict us with beyond what God has ordained. All our trials work toward God’s perfect purpose and our benefit.

There are many examples of the positive results of being tested. The psalmist likens our testing to being refined like silver (Psalm 66:10). Peter speaks of our faith as “of greater worth than gold,” and that’s why we “suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6–7). In testing our faith, God causes us to grow into strong disciples who truly live by faith and not by what we see (2 Corinthians 5:7).

When we experience the storms of life, we should be like the tree that digs its roots ever more deeply for a greater grip in the earth. We must “dig our roots” more deeply into God’s Word and cling to His promises so we can weather whatever storms come against us.

Most comforting of all, we know that God will never allow us to be tested beyond what we are able to handle by His power. His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). “That is why,” Paul said, “for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

[ Got Questions? ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl_wkBTZkt4

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DAILY TESTS

Mrs. Moses’s cookbook surely had a special section on “A Thousand-and-One Ways to Fix Manna.” Unless I miss my guess, she had tried them all . . . many times. What potatoes are to Idaho, pineapples are to Hawaii, wheat is to Kansas, and crab gumbo is to New Orleans, manna was to the wandering Hebrews for 40 long years (Exodus 16:35). They boiled it, baked it, broiled it, ground it, and ate it cold, hot, raw, cooked, sliced for sandwiches, sprinkled on their cereal—you name it, they tried it! When everybody came in to eat, they didn’t ask, “What’s for supper?” but, “How’d you prepare it?” Mealtime was about as exciting as watching paint dry . . . or listening to the minutes of last month’s meeting. The most familiar sound around the table wasn’t slurping or smacking; it was gagging. Oh, how they hated that manna! The book of Numbers tells us they actually lost their appetite because they were sick of looking at all that manna (Numbers 11:6). Everybody remembered the fish, cucumbers, leeks, onions, garlic, and melons back in Egypt—and you gotta be pretty miserable to want a combination plate like that!

Hold on here! What was wrong back then? When you look closely at their circumstance, you get an altogether different picture. Let me explain. They didn’t have to work for their food or clothing . . . not one day for forty years. Every morning, instead of going out to get the newspaper like you and I do, they gathered up from the ground the day’s groceries—delivered to their front door—for forty years! In fact, God called it “food from heaven . . . the bread of angels” (Psalm 78:24–25). Accompanying the morning miracle was the faithful cloud by day and the comforting fire by night (Exodus 13:21–22) which gave them visible assurance of the Lord’s presence and protection. When thirst came, He quenched it with water that flowed from rocks like rivers (Psalm 105:41). Those people enjoyed a perpetual catering service without cost, limit, labor, or hassle. All they had to do was show up, eat up, clean up, and look up, and yet they got to the point where they resented heaven-cooked angel’s bread. Already having much, they wanted more. Having plenty, they wanted variety. Having tired of manna, they wanted meat.

Exodus 16:4 provides additional insight often overlooked:

The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven . . . and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them.”
Look closely at those last five words. The manna was more than it appeared to be—basically, it was a test. It was God’s examination, carefully planned, wisely implemented, administered on a daily basis. (Note in the verse the words every day.) God designed the diet to be a day-after-day, week-after-week test of their obedience, their patience, their determination to hang in there in spite of the monotony of the manna.

They failed the exam.

When I was only a boy, the Swindolls occasionally enjoyed a family reunion at my grandfather’s bay cottage near the Gulf in deep south Texas. Because the crowds were so large, we’d hire the same man each time to help with the cooking. His name was Coats. His skin was as black as a cast iron skillet, and his quick smile and quaint comments are a lasting memory for me. I remember standing near Coats one evening at sunset, watching him smear the sauce on the chunks of beef cooking slowly over a pit of coals. He was telling me about his life, which had been etched with trouble and tragedy. He rubbed his big, leathery hand through my white hair as he knelt down to my height and said:

Little Charles—the hardest thing about life is that it’s so daily.

It’s so daily . . . what a simple way to say it but how terribly true! The tests that come like a flash and last no longer than a dash seldom do more than bring a brief crash. But the marathons—the relentless, incessant, steady, persistent, continual tests that won’t go away—ah, these are the ones that bruise but build character. Because virtue is not hereditary, God dispenses His “test of manna” to each saint in each generation, watching to see if there will be a heavenly appetite to accept a heavenly food. But most often, to borrow the terms from Thomas Paine’s The American Crisis, “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot” shrink under such demands. God knows that what we obtain too cheaply, we will esteem too lightly.

Whatever your circumstance—and however long it may have lasted—wherever you are today, I bring this reminder: the stronger the winds, the deeper the roots . . . and the longer the winds, the more beautiful the tree.

[ Charles R. Swindoll ]

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STEP BY STEP

Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so worth much left to do
But so much you’d already done

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise you
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise you
And I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit just for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the clime can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

And I will follow You all of my days
And I will follow You all of my days
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

[ Rich Mullins – “Fresh Start” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-b7TQMoZsM

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PATIENCE IN TRIALS

“Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’” (vv. 20–21).

– Job 1:20–22
The Heidelberg Catechism, in expounding and applying Scripture, repeatedly asks questions with this format: How does the knowledge of doctrine x help us? This is certainly a biblical way to consider God’s Word. After all, the Lord did not reveal Himself simply to give us abstract doctrines, but gave us objective truths that have many subjective benefits. We see this principle in texts such as John 20:30–31. The Apostle John gives his purposes for not recording every miracle of Jesus, explaining that he tells of specific signs that we might “believe Jesus is the Christ” and thereby “have life in his name.” The objective truths of Jesus’ person and work are revealed so that we might subjectively receive and enjoy salvation.

In a similar manner, the Heidelberg Catechism points us to the benefits we enjoy by knowing certain theological truths when question 28 asks: “How does the knowledge of creation and providence help us?” The answer makes several points, including that this knowledge grants us patience in our trials. It uses today’s passage as one of the proof texts for this contention, which makes sense given Job’s response to his trials and his confession of the sovereign providence of the Lord.

Long ago, Satan wagered that Job, an upright and blameless man, would curse God if the Lord were to allow Job to lose everything. This bet and Job’s initial affliction are described in Job 1:1–19. Clearly, what happened to Job would test the patience of any person. But even when he learned that his possessions were lost and his children dead, Job did not give up hope but acknowledged that both good and ill fall under the rule of God’s decree (vv. 20–21).

Job did not claim the Lord was entirely absent from his suffering; rather, he accepted that the evil he endured was possible only according to God’s sovereign will. Moreover, Job did not say that what happened to him and his family was itself a good thing. A patient response to suffering does not deny pain’s severity or the difficulty of seeing how the Lord is working for our good in some cases. Instead, patient sufferers acknowledge their troubles honestly before God. They realize that tragedy is not good in and of itself but that God uses it for good. And they continue to believe He is praiseworthy, even when they find it hard to worship Him.

Coram Deo

When we are suffering, we are often strongly tempted not to praise God. Matthew Henry notes that Job adored the Lord when he was blessed and when he suffered. “When all was gone he fell down and worshipped… . Weeping must not hinder sowing, nor hinder worshipping.” It is precisely in our pain that we most need to worship alongside God’s people, even if all we can do is sit in the pew and weep.

[ R. C. Sproul ]

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FOLLOWING JESUS THROUGH THE STORMS OF LIFE

From the teaching series by Pastor Greg Laurie, “Follow Me! Following Jesus in the Modern World.” Focus verse: Matthew 8:23-27

[ Greg Laurie ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yiOehq40UU

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30 DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE
Fighting Fear and Anxiety with the Promises of God

Fear is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons. Worry, anxiety, fear… it can all overwhelm us like a thick shadow of darkness, controlling our every move and decision. Yet reality tells us that so much of what we spend our time worrying about never even happens. Living under the weight of the “what if’s” is a hard place to dwell.

God has words of life—of truth—that he wants to speak into your fears. Soaking them in, praying them out loud until they became so familiar they replace the other things in your mind—that is the first line of defense against fear and worry. There’s nothing magical about words and verses, but there is power through them, because they’re God’s words.

If you’ve found yourself battling worry recently, this 30-day prayer guide will help you pray and focus on God’s Word. Every day for the next 30 days, there will be a specific prayer to combat fear and anxiety. Some days there will be an opportunity to read a related article, or watch a short video. Other days you’ll be encouraged to journal or write down your thoughts on a related prompt. Every day will have at least one verse for you to study and pray through.

DOWNLOAD PDF: http://media.salemwebnetwork.com/cms/pdf/IB-37-30-Day-Prayer-Challenge-FearandAnxiety.pdf

[ Debbie McDaniel ]

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EVERY CROWN HAS ITS THORNS
(Parody of “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” by Poison)

We’re both like Simon we still live in a state of denial
Although we’d both like to go to Heaven
We feel surprised about the trial
But the suffering Christ did accomplished somethin’
And the worst all turned out right
Go and find out in Hebrews chapter 5
Verses 7 through 9
You see
Every crown has its thorns
Just like every life has its cross
Just like every choirboy sings some sad, sad songs
Every crown has its thorns … it does
A Christian needs to take his cross
Take it up and hit the road
Yeah, ’cause Jesus said lots of times that we should do it and
He should know
But I wonder – as He walked
If He ever felt like quittin’
Yet I know we wouldn’t be here right now if Christ
Took a different road than Calvary
CHORUS
Though I’m in a trial now
Christ can still feel all my pain
Like the nails that cut through and bruised Him
Cause the scars – Christ’s scars remain
LEAD
I know He could have saved His life that night if Christ
Chose to run away
Instead of takin’ off – He chose
To take the narrow way
And now I’m Heaven bound and born anew
And man I never had that much to lose
I’m here to bear my cross in life
And to see Him on the other side – because
CHORUS

[ ApologetiX – “Spoofernatural” album ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcAdG8lU9pA

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):

There’s an acronym I came up with to help people remember what the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ entails. It is “S.F.I.R.E.L.” It means: “Sins Forgiven; Imputed Righteousness; Eternal Life”
[ Mark Besh ]

“When God says “no” it is not necessarily discipline or rejection. It may simply be redirection.”
[ Charles Swindoll ]

“You can’t carry yourself through the storms; it’s too much for you. When will we come to the realization that the blizzards in our lives are allowed by God? Those threatening storms are designed to slow us down, to make us climb up into His [God’s] arms, to force us to depend on Him.”
[ Charles Swindoll ]

“The common response to trials is resistance, if not outright resentment. How much better that we open the doors of our hearts and welcome the God-ordained trials as honored guests for the good they do in our lives.”
[ Charles Swindoll ]

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
[ Dolly Parton ]

“Sometimes, God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro; just as the juniper plant smells sweetest when flung into the flames; so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God liveth to smell.”
[ Mrs. Charles E. Cowman ]

“God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them.”
[ James H. Aughey ]

“This is one of the sad conditions of life, that experience is not transmissible. No man will learn from the suffering of another; he must suffer himself.”
[ James H. Aughey ]

“The staying power of our faith is neither demonstrated nor developed until it is tested by suffering.”
[ D. A. Carson ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
[ Proverbs 3:5-6 ].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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