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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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WHAT IS GOD TRYING TO TELL ME

What is God telling me with the problems He permits in my life? The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us, depending on how we respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.

Here are five ways God wants to use the problems in our lives:

1. God uses problems to DIRECT us. Sometimes God must light a fire under
us to get us moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change our ways (Proverbs 20:30).

2. God uses problems to INSPECT us. People are like tea bags. If you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God ever tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:2-3).

3. God uses problems to CORRECT us. Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child our parents told us not to touch a hot stove, but we probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something like health, money, or a relationship by losing it. "My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:71-72).

4. God uses problems to PROTECT us. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem—but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management's actions were eventually discovered. Joseph said "... ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good . . ." (Genesis 50:20).

5. God uses problems to PERFECT us. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you're going to take with you into eternity. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).

Here's the point: God is at work in our lives—even when you do not recognize it or understand it. However, it is much easier and profitable when you cooperate with Him.