We Don’t Waste Our Trials When We Receive Them With Gratitude

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Eph. 5:20

We don’t waste our trials when we receive them with gratitude.

Puritan Gurnall wrote, “Christian, has not God taught you, by his word and Spirit, how to read the short-hand of his providence? Do you not know that the saints’ afflictions stand for blessings?”

We don’t have to understand all things, we just can’t understand them all. But because we know God and know that He is good and does all things good, we can receive the afflictions He sends our way with a complete submission to His will saying, “Thanks be to God. He is good!”


There are only two ways of receiving our trials: with thanksgiving to God or with a murmuring spirit against Him. One is the response of faith, the latter the response of unbelief. How will we respond?

Responding with gratitude, with faith will not necessarily shorten the road, but it will make it joyful -even as we cry at times! Responding with murmuring, with unbelief will make the road bitter and of course, it will feel as if it were longer and heavier.

A grateful heart has learned from the Father how to set a table and feast even when the enemies of our Lord and our soul roam around. A grateful heart remembers how to sing Psalms and how to kneel in prayer. A grateful heart can be brought low, but know that it will never be utterly crushed because it rests in God’s character and promises.

May the Lord give us grace to learn how to feast in the presence of our enemies and persevere with gratitude on the road He has chosen for us.

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky Pliego

We don’t Waste Our Trials When we Receive Them from the Lord

“You are good and do good” Psalm 119:68

We don’t waste our afflictions when we receive them as from the Lord (because they are from the Lord!)



When we receive our trials knowing that they come from the Lord, we can be assured that they will be for His glory and the good of His people. God is good and all He does is good and in that we should rest assured.

Many times, when we receive hard news or when we walk through a trial, especially when it is a lengthy one, we lose sight of God our Father and His character. Thomas Watson said that we must not get distracted by who brings the trial (who is the carrier, the messenger God chose to bring it to us), but look up and see God, who sent it our way. All our trials, our Pastor always reminds us, are hand-stitched for us, and our Father has all the measurements right. Each trial He sends our ways fits us perfectly, though we can only see that with the eyes of faith.

When we don’t understand what is happening and why things are happening the way they are, we must remember the immutability of God’s character. Jesus is interceding for us in the storm and reminding us not to fret and not be anxious, the Father is pouring His love and grace on us, and the Holy Spirit is reminding us of the truths of the Gospel, opening our eyes to see the good Triune God at work in the midst of our trial. Quoting Thomas Watson again, he said, “True faith will trust God’s heart—where it cannot trace His hand!”


May the Lord help us not to waste our trials! All is grace, the trial and the gift of not wasting it.

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky Pliego


#DWYT
#ThomasWatson

How to Not Waste Your Trials p.1

Introduction

John Piper wrote a wonderful book, Don’t Waste Your Life, and then years later an article that has blessed thousands, Don’t Waste Your Cancer.

In our church we have a ladies prayer group that also coordinates ladies to bring flowers, cards, meals, books, etc. to encourage others in our church who are going through trials. The name of our group is Don’t Waste Your Trials.

I am planning to write some posts on how not to waste our trials. I will be sharing them with the ladies in our group and also on my IG account. So stay tuned. 🧡

I pray you find them encouraging.

May the Lord help us to make a profit on our trials!

We Don’t Waste Our Trials When We See Jesus in Them

“Take courage! It is I! Do not be afraid!” Mark 6:50

We don’t waste our trials when we see Jesus in them.

As Christian women, what we desire most is more of Jesus. But when trials come, we easily get distracted by our own fears, by the storm that is indeed frightening and real. We get distracted by the trial, and miss Jesus. We miss the Triune God, the compassion of the Father, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the life Jesus promises-

But there is a better way to walk through trials: See Jesus there, in the storm. In your storm. Don’t miss the powerful words that in the midst of the scariest storm, He says, “Take courage! Its is I! Do not be afraid!” It is Jesus who meets us where we are standing: a fiery storm, a lonely hospital room, an unknown path, a difficult hill to climb, when we receive the unexpected hard news, when friends desert us, in the lockdown, in the secret church service, while making a dinner for a hostile neighbor.

Jesus meets us in the storm and in the storm His Word gives us courage, because it is in His Word that His presence is found.

So let us, by the help of God, not waste our trials today, by missing Jesus and His Word in them.

Run to Christ. Run to the Word.

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky Pliego

God Gave Us His Name So that We May Know Him

“The Divine image is stamped upon every page [of the Bible]” wrote A.W. Pink. But in some places we see it more clear than others.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of stories from our Bibles to see how God gave us His name and His commandments so that we may know Him.

In the land of captivity those whom God had called to be His, those whom He had led to Egypt about 400 years before, were now crying out for help. And we read (Exodus 2) that God heard their cries, remembered the covenant He had with them and turned His eyes to see them. God knew them and their circumstances. And what happened next? Yes, God came to make a way. In the midst of blind and mute gods, God saw and God spoke. He came to make Himself known because He loved them even when they did not even know His name.

In the next scene (Exodus 3) we see Moses, a burning bush and God. God speaks and Moses tries to figure out what is happening. But God, the Holy One, doesn’t let Moses try to find the meaning of the words he hears. Remember, God wants to be known, so He gives Moses instructions on how to approach Him. And so God speaks, “Take your sandals off your feet first, don’t come near yet!” And why did God speak these words specifically? Because God wanted to make it hard on Moses to draw near? No, God spoke because He wanted to teach Moses something about Himself: God is Holy and He establishes how we are to approach Him.

Moses listened the Word of the Lord and believed that God wanted Him to come and not be consumed by His holiness. And believing moved him to respond in obedience. By grace through faith the words God spoke to Moses that day become the threshold of their relationship. Moses now knew God because God knew him and loved him first.

God had a plan to set His people free and we see that He didn’t hide it from Moses, but communicated it to him. And in doing so, He revealed more of His character, including His name to his servant. God speaks so that we may know who He is.

“I AM WHO I AM.” God said, because He wants to be known by name. And now we will start seeing it more clearly; at every turn of the page in our Bibles, in every story from Genesis to Revelation how God wants His name, and all that His name represents and reveals about Himself to be known throughout all the ages and in every corner of the world. We read on and we see it here and there, God does all things for His name’s sake.

In Exodus six we have it recorded for us, God wants to be known as the God who frees and redeems His own people. He speaks again and again His words are clear, “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” He frees us, so that we may know Him as our God.

And so the story continues. Plagues come over the people who worshiped the gods whose names were powerless. And why did these plagues come? We don’t have to make up an answer, it is written. Yahweh wanted the Egyptians to know that He is the only true God. He wanted the Egyptians and His own people to know that the True God comes and saves His own.God made His purposes clear (Exodus 7-12), He was not hiding what He was doing here. God even commanded Moses to make sure that Pharaoh understands that in all this He is the One sending the plagues, the judgement, and that there is none other like Him in all the earth.

The Triune God reveals His purposes because He wants His name to be known and proclaimed in all the earth-

And the wilderness awaits and in the wilderness, where we are exposed to our fiercest hunger and thirst, we face temptation like the Israelites did, and we quickly forget our Creator, our Redeemer, the One who has a name and has called each of us by name. In the parched land we dare to break the silence and murmur asking, “Where is God?, Why is He hiding from us?” We quickly forget, like the Israelites did, that God never ever forgets His own. We think that God is like us, that He flees, that He hides from us. But even there God sees us, God hears us, God knows us and so He comes. And for the sake of His name, He comes to us like He came to meet His people in the wilderness. For the sake of His name, He will not break covenant. He has spoken, and we can be assured that His Word will never return void[6]. So in the wilderness we remember the Words of the Lord. We take our Bibles and open them and read on. We meditate on what it is written when the heat is scorching in the day and the nights are freezing cold. We know it, is that or we will soon pass out.

When we steep ourselves in these stories, we can see how God has always come and spoken. He has chosen words to communicate to His people who He is and what His will is. In the Creation we can know God as our Creator, but nothing created tells us how to be saved. We can know God first as Creator and then, as we hear the message of the gospel proclaimed in the Scriptures, we can know Him, by name, as our Redeemer.

So let us take the Book of God and read. May we strive to know Him and make His name known!

Under His sun and by His grace.

Becky Pliego

The Glory of God, Prayer, and Abiding in the Word


How is it that glory of God,our prayers and our abiding in the Word are bound together?

In John ch. 14:13-14 Jesus says “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

The “whatever” only makes sense when we know we are asking things that we know (from the Scripture) will glorify the Father. Praying for God’s glory to be manifested in the way He answers our prayers, protects us from praying for selfish gain (James warns us about this kind of prayers in James 4:3) or praying as if God were a vending machine.

In our prayers, as in all the rest of our life, our aim is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Let’s look at other verses in the same gospel of John to see how the glory of God, our prayers and abiding in the Word are connected: In John 15 -all of it is gold- verse 17 we read,

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

When the Words of God abide in us, we can ask “whatever we wish” and receive it. How is that possible? If the Word of God abides in us the Holy Spirit will help us pray with an earnest desire to bring glory to the Father with our petitions, and to bear much fruit in the answers He gives to our prayers. Being in the Word of the Lord will not let us be idle neither in our payer life or our daily work.

The same “whatever “ appears again in Ch. 16:23-24

“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

When we pray seeking to glorify God’s name, to make His name known, to exalt His glory, our joy will be complete -because our greatest joy is to see the name of the Lord exalted among our Christian brothers and sisters, and made known among those who do not yet believe in Him. There is no greater joy for the Christian than to see God’s name being glorified in all circumstances and places.

Friends, we can only learn how to pray according to the will of God when we start praying according to His Word, which means that we first must take the Book of God and read it! When we read it and read it, and read it, we will soon find ourselves meditating on it and maybe even memorizing some passages. And soon we will notice that His Word will be taking residence in us and we will be praying more and more with the desire to make the glorious name of the Lord known among our family, our neighbors, and in all the nations. And as the Word of God abides in us, we will be speaking His Words to our children, our friends, our neighbors, our vocabulary will be saturated with gospel truths. Our joy will increase and our strength to face trials will be renewed, because we will have the certainty that God will glorify His name and His Word in whatever way He pleases to answer our prayers. Our hope will be unshakable and our prayers will abound with thanksgiving and praise.

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky Pliego

But I Give Myself to Prayer

IMG_8600The phrase “but God” in the Scriptures is always the preamble to a life changing situation. The most important is found in Ephesians 2. We all, by nature, have no hope. We are born children of wrath, deserving hell, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” (2:4-5). Because of that “But God” we can be reconciled with God. We can be made children of God and can come boldly to the throne of Grace to find mercy and help in time of need. Amazing grace!

In the Psalms there is another phrase that is also life changing for those who are in Christ, for those who by grace through faith can now come boldly to the throne of grace.

In Psalm 55 we see David crying out to God for mercy. The situation in which he is is so desperate, that David cries to God pleading that He would not to hide from him. David needs the Lord to come to his rescue soon, even this very moment, and so he prays with urgency. David is restless (v.2), in anguish (v.4), in such fear that he is trembling and horror surrounds him (v.5). David wants to escape, to go somewhere away from this terrible situation.

But then we come to verse 16 and find a phrase that turns his heart from a place of anguish to a place of hope:

But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and noon,
I utter my complaint and moan,
and He hears my voice….”

In the midst of a crushing situation, David knows what is the only thing that he can do that will break the waves of terror…and so he prays.

He will not let the crushing of fear extinguish his voice: But I call to the Lord…”

And by the end of the Psalm, David is able to say… “Because  there is a “But God” moment ahead, I will cry again, “But I trust in You.

In Psalm 69 we see the same thing. David starts the psalm from a terrible place,

“Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold….”

He is again in a desperate situation. He is weary of crying out to the Lord His Redeemer. His throat is parched  and his eyes are swollen, growing dim, the waiting has been too long. Those who hate him are more than what he can count. They attack him with lies and plans to destroy him. They have dishonored his name, and those who loved him became his traitors.

In the midst of his great agony, we hear him say, “But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord…” (v.13)

He knows that prayer will bring the “But God… “ moment he is desperately waiting for. He might be sinking in fear, in anguish, but he knows that even there, he can say, “My enemies want me to be crushed under this, but I will pray to my God who abounds in love and is forever faithful” (v.13).

The Sons of Korah knew this too. In Psalm 88 Heman the Ezrahite cries day and night before the Lord in agony because his soul is full of troubles, even to the point of death. He was no strength and feels like God has forgotten him. He knows the wrath of God is upon him, he does not deny that the hand of God has brought him this great affliction, and instead of turning away from his Redeemer with all his questions, he looks up to God and says,

But I, O Lord, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before You” (v.13).

This is huge! Do you see it? He is an agony because he is walking through the consequence of some sin. The Psalmist acknowledges that the Lord, in anger, brought this terrible situation on him, But he is a child of God, so even in the turmoil of his soul, in the midst of the consequences of his sin he knows that the way out is always looking up. He doesn’t turn inwardly, he looks up… “But I, O Lord, cry to you, even as I open my eyes in the morning… I will call on you.”

In Psalm 109 we see it again. David is again in a very hard situation. He is asking God to not be silent. He is not telling his friends how God seems to be silent. No! He turns to God and boldly comes to the throne of grace and asks God to intervene.

David doesn’t turn away from God when God seems silent. He presses on. He knows that though God might be silent now, He is the God who hears the prayers of His children. David knows that this apparent silence doesn’t mean that God has abandoned him. He doesn’t let his feeling determine his response in a huge crisis. He doesn’t turn away from God, he knows in whom he has believed all these many years. He knows a “But God” moment is around the corner, so he cries,

But I give myself to prayer…” (v.4b)

And then, in v.21 his faith resonates through his words,

“But You, O God my Lord
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!”

One more story. In Psalm 141 David is again praying from a place of anguish. Again he cries to God with urgency because what else could he do? Where else could he go to find help in time of need? He hasn’t forgotten that he has to lift his eyes to the hills because that is from where his help will come from. He is afraid this time that in hos anguish he will sin. So he asks the Lord to set a guard on his lips. In his anguish he asks God to keep his heart from all evil. David knew what you and I know too, when the trials are heavy the temptations to sin are heavy to. And Bitterness and Impatience and Unbelief are like roaring lions waiting for an opportunity to devour us.  And what does David say in all this?

But my eyes are toward You, O God, my Lord;
in You I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!” (v.8)

Wherever you are now, look up and follow the Psalmist steps. Do not run away from God, do not hide your fears from him. Do not let the Enemy or your flesh deceive you into believing that God doesn’t hear you, that your prayers are in vain.

Are you praying in the name of Jesus? then let your “Amen” be firm. God will never turn His face away from those who have been redeemed by the blood of His Son.

In the depth of your pain, in your brokenness cry out to God.

Lord, I don’t understand all that you are doing now, but I will give myself to prayer. My strength fails, every morning I think I won’t make it through another day, but I will give myself to prayer. My fears are trying to consume me, but even there I will give myself to prayer. My faith fails, but  I will give myself to prayer, because I know you are compassionate and loves to glory in my weakness. My tears are my food day and night, but I will give myself to prayer. This, that, Lord, you see, you hear, nothing is hidden from you, but in the midst of all of it, I will give myself to prayer because a “But God” moment is not far from me. I will keep looking up to the hills, my help will surely come from the Lord.

Under His sun and by His grace,

Becky Pliego