Tag Archives: test

Shopping for Apples

Shopping for apples is always a fun time. I am very specific about what apples I purchase, and I rarely will buy a bag of apples. I am the strange person you see in the produce area picking up each piece of fruit, turning it around in my hands, closely examining the entire item before making a decision to either place it back with the others of its kind or place it in the fruit bag I will take home. I guess you could call me an apple snob.

When I examine the apples, I’m looking for bruising, for signs of rotting, for firmness, for signs of bug infiltration. I look at the color. I am particular about the type of apples. I know which ones are more crisp, which is something I desire in an apple. I know which ones are more for baking so I avoid them most days as I seek out apples to eat as they are—simple apples.

You may think I’m a bit crazy with my apple selecting process; however, we each are to examine in life. The Bible tells us to examine ourselves. Yes, you are to examine yourself. We are constantly to be examining ourselves, to see if we are in the faith. We are to examine ourselves to see the state of our heart. We are to examine ourselves to test our motives, to see if we are too comfortable, to know if we are allowing something to get in the way of our relationship with God. We are constantly to be examining ourselves. As well, we are called to test ourselves. This means we are not standing still. We are doing. To be tested, something must be in action. That something is us. We must be in action. We must take steps forward. We must move from our comfort zones. To finish the examining process, there is always a testing. Each apple I examine eventually is tested at a future time when my daughter or I grab hold and take a bite. So after you examine yourself, don’t stop there. Test yourself. Walk forward. Faith that is not tested—is that really faith at all?

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 [ESV]

Test and Examine

It is important to look inward daily. The world tells us to look outward. There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s something wrong with someone else. You are free to do as you want—you are free to be who you want to be and think how you want to think. The world tells us it’s okay to be focused on self.

When we focus on ourselves and live in a “me world,” we do not see the importance of looking inward and life so often becomes a life of you against the world. We fail then to see that God should be first in our lives—He is our life. It is only when we can recognize that we were meant to live with Him, and then look inward to see what is keeping you from fully living a life for God.

Jeremiah wrote to “test and examine our ways.” This is something we need to do daily because our walk with Christ is a daily walk. There will be good days and not-so-good days. There are days we will struggle more and days when we will see great strides in our walk. We are reminded that we are a sinful people who often focus on self. One day we take two steps forward, another five steps back. We are ever-changing and often emotionally driven. For this reason, it is crucial we test and examine every day. Today, look inward. Question your motives. Examine your moves. Test your life against the Truth of God. Allow the Spirit to reveal anything that separates you from God, anything that may be a stumbling block in the way of God’s great plan.

“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD! Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” – Lamentations 3:40-41 [ESV]

Three R Challenge

This was a message I shared with a challenge for Lent. It can be a challenge for anyone at anytime of the year. At the end of the day, it is my prayer that we all will be relentless in our pursuit of Jesus as He is relentlessly pursuing us each day.

The Three R Challenge

1) REMAIN in God (John 15:8-12)

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; ABIDE IN MY LOVE. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” [NASB]

 Challenge 1: Show Love through Acts of Generosity

With Will and Purpose – Sometimes this requires us to change /adapt. About putting God / people first.

With Actions – Act, not just observe. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16 NIV).

With Possessions“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry’” (Luke 3:11 NLT).

With Words“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6 MSG). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24 HCSB). “Say only what helps, each word a gift” (Ephesians 4:29b MSG).

With Love“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:15-18 NLT).

With Faith – Philip taking the time to run to and speak with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). The Woman at the Well going into town to tell people about this man Jesus (John 4). Do you share your hope?

With Forgiveness“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

(see 40acts – Do Lent Generously)

2) RENEW yourself in Him (Romans 12:1-2) – Change the way you think

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” [MSG]

Challenge 2: Dig deep into His Word – Daily Bible reading, Daily Devotion Reading, attend Sunday School &  Small Groups.

3) REST in Him (Philippians 4:6-7)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” [NLT]

Challenge 3: Daily Prayer – Go to God first with everything. Familiarize yourself with the Psalms.

Colossians 1:15-17 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [NIV]    —— YOU WERE MADE BY HIM AND FOR HIM

Half-Baked Cake

Most people who bake cakes have used the toothpick test. You use a toothpick to make sure the cake is completely finished. If you take out a cake before it finishes baking, it will be worthless. Hosea noted that the people of Israel who were spending time with godless foreigners were “as worthless as a half-baked cake.”

We know why a cake is worthless when it is half-baked. It cannot be eaten. But why were these people of Israel worthless? As they mingled with these foreigners, they started to embrace the godless ways. They started to accept what was unacceptable for God’s chosen people.

God has placed a special calling on your life. Yes YOUR LIFE. You are valuable. You have a purpose. It is important that you do not allow things to keep you from embracing what God has for your life. He has so much for you.

“The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!” – Hosea 7:8 [NLT]

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Praise the Test

When you give someone a compliment or when a person gets a promotion, there is always a reaction—a response that gives us a glimpse of the heart. Proverbs 27 says that “a person is tested by being praised.” Tested for what? For humility.

I have noticed that people fall into different groups. There are some people who enjoy praise a little too much and they become proud. There are some people who do not accept compliments or praise well at all because they have low self confidence. Then there are those who say “thank you” and point to Christ—they say that it is because of God that this success has come their way.

How do you act when you receive praise? Do you collect it all and beam with pride? Do you deny the praise all together, not thinking that it was a great thing? Or do you recognize the great things God is doing in your life and let people know it is because God has been doing a great work in you?

“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.” – Proverbs 27:21 [NLT]

 

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Refined and Reformed

486800_10151916399013776_1385828364_nDuring the hot summer months, chocolate, gum, and lip balm do no fair too well. The heat does a good job to melt the items. Being a Hershey girl, I love chocolate. When you purchase chocolate at a store, by the time you carry it from the store to your car, the chocolate is already melting from the high temperatures. I always advise my kids to not open it, but instead to put it in the refrigerator so it can harden again. When the chocolate is eventually opened, it is interesting to see the new form of the chocolate.

Heat is often affiliated with changing the shapes of items so it’s no surprise to read about heat in the Bible. We read and the refiner’s fire and the furnace of affliction. We also read about taking a new form. When we accept Christ, we start to become a new creation.

There are times when we can feel the heat of the furnace of affliction. We are being pruned and built up. We are being challenged. We are being tested like gold. We find ourselves in these situations because we are called to be a holy people and little by little God gets us to where He created us to be as His child with a purpose. 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” (James 1:2-4 NIV)

“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” – Zechariah 13:9 [NLT]