“For All” – Day Eight

“For All” – Day Eight

Scripture: James 1:2-4 NLT – “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” 

 

Observation: Sometimes as believers we think that because God is for us that we won’t have any troubles, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. James comes out right away and says that WHEN not IF trouble comes your way, consider it as an opportunity for great joy.  Here on earth you WILL have many trials and sorrows. “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

 

Application: As believers we WILL have trials to overcome, almost like a test in school.  We have to pass that test to get to the next grade and God’s tests are very similar. The test is refining you, as tough and difficult as that may be, it is for a greater good in your life and the lives of others! Just like in school, we grow and learn from that test to use that knowledge to progress. How amazing will it be when one day we are perfect and complete, needing nothing?! You know you’re growing in your faith… when you can consider it joy when troubles come!  Jesus even states, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.” (John 16:33)

 

For those that don’t know, God willing, this September I will celebrate eleven years of recovery from alcohol addiction through God’s grace and the support of family and friends. This verse speaks volumes about my struggle with addiction. Yeah, I was a believer but I had other gods, alcohol primarily. In my life, this was the “trouble” that James speaks of in the scripture. Through four DUIs, rehab, jail, I never put this scripture that I had learned into action! I never considered going through the pain or being away from those I loved as joy or an opportunity to allow God to grow me. It took going through that to open my eyes to the true power of this verse! Now, no matter what I struggle with or storm I am in, I think back to that lowest time of my life for a reminder. I need to consider this situation I am in as joy, and to praise God I am alive and breathing.  

 

I would be lying if I said it was always easy, but that is where I can be grateful to have a community of faith and family to lift me up and remind me of God’s promises!  Now, I am open about who I am and use my past to show God’s power and mercy. I am a Christian in recovery, but more importantly I am a child of God. If my testimony can help someone else realize they aren’t alone, then glory to God. I am thankful for that trouble because I know I have grown closer to God and that God saved me for a purpose for his Kingdom.  I know my faith was tested during that time, but I am thankful that I knew God then and even more thankful that I know him more now! Don’t lose hope. Nobody likes pain or trouble, but when we get to Heaven it will all be washed away.

 

Prayer: Dear God, I am thankful for my troubles. Though it may not seem like it now, I know through it all you are growing and molding me to become more like you.  I know that there is purpose in the pain!  Lord, please let my hurting be my testimony to help others and bring them closer to you. Help me to learn during this time and to strengthen me for future battles.  Use me as a vessel, in your name… Amen.



Stephen Vogel

Plugged In Team Leader

 

Stephen Vogel has been coming to The Journey for almost six years now and it is crazy to think how God has changed his life here! He was able to start a Recovery J-Group that has grown far beyond what he could have ever imagined.  The men that lead and run the group now have done amazing things through the recovery community, showing God’s grace.  Steve was able to baptize his beautiful wife and watch his adorable daughter grow in their walks through the years at The Journey.  It has been an incredible journey here for Steve… God is good!



Going deeper: 

 

        • Check out this awesome message from our Lead Pastor, Mark Johnston,  Obstacle or Opportunity? 
        • Read Romans 8:18-21, 28:30 and think about the “troubles” that God has brought you through and worked for your good.  
        • Make a list of the troubles God has brought you through and pray over it. Thank God for his blessings and what he has done in your life!  When we do life with Jesus, relying on him, there is joy in the midst of suffering.

17 Comments
  • Alfred R Ceaser
    Posted at 08:02h, 06 September Reply

    Steven, we’re blessed by your testimony and even more blessed by your presence in our lives. Keep going and growing in God’s grace!

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:22h, 06 September Reply

      Hey Alfred! Thank you the kind words! Blessed to call you friend and see how you follow God!

  • Barbara Harrington
    Posted at 08:47h, 06 September Reply

    Steven we are so proud of you and your testimony! We have enjoyed watching you grow thru the years at the Journey.Keep on keeping on for Jesus!!! Happy 11 year Anniversary! Love you❤️

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:24h, 06 September Reply

      Hey Barb!! Thank you 🙂 It is a pleasure serving along side of you and I know you have testimonies of your own! Thankful for you heart to help others!

  • Katie Valetutti
    Posted at 08:53h, 06 September Reply

    I can’t stop smiling from reading your story, Stephen! God is good, and all that you’ve shared points directly to his goodness and how to go through trials with him. Thank you for encouraging us to keep going-to trust God and do good! Amazing!

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:25h, 06 September Reply

      Hey Katie! Thank you! Thank you to you and your team in helping those inside our walls that may struggle with their own trouble!

  • Pauline Mwangi
    Posted at 09:10h, 06 September Reply

    Steven thank you for your testimony. My brother is a recovering alcoholic/drug addiction. It’s a disease that affects the whole family. But the fruits of recovery are so sweet, Thank you for sharing your fruits of recovery with others, you are a blessing to many.

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:28h, 06 September Reply

      Pauline, I pray God’s grace and healing over your brother…addiction is horrible! It absolutely affects the whole family, I never want to put my parents through that again but I am thankful for their forgiveness and love then and now!

  • Omar McNeill
    Posted at 09:47h, 06 September Reply

    Stephen,
    Thanks for yielding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to be vulnerable enough to share your story … your testimony!!
    Your message isn’t just inspiring and comforting to those who are battling addictions, but to everyone facing any kind of “trouble.” I personally needed this reminder to be thankful for the opportunity for joy and growth that troubles bring, if I view them the way God wants.
    Much love, brother!!

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:31h, 06 September Reply

      Brother Omar!! Love you man, thankful God brought you into my life! Yes!!! Everybody has a trouble that affects them, what might be big to you or me may not be to somebody else! We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the power of our testimonies! Everybody has a testimony!

  • Court Neil
    Posted at 09:55h, 06 September Reply

    This is one of my favorite verses! So awesome to hear your testimony, Steven!

    Our troubles are a very strong marker in our lives; surpassing them with God gives us more of a reward than ever!

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:32h, 06 September Reply

      Hey Court! It is one of my favorite verses as well so I am so glad I got to speak on it! I always try to remember that in my valley with God is always better than a mountain without Him!

  • Cathy Salerni
    Posted at 10:47h, 06 September Reply

    I don’t know you (yet) Stephen I’m a month back into attending Journey. Your testimony once again shows me that Our Father speaks to us through others. I too am in recovery from alcohol and try to remember to view my life as a book of lessons learned. You’ve given me hope that my life in the Journey community will flourish and grow!!! God bless and be with you.

    • Stephen Vogel
      Posted at 11:37h, 06 September Reply

      Hey Cathy!! Welcome back! Recovery is a lifelong process and made easier with God! I’m glad you are in recovery, God has a purpose for you! There a recovery group Wednesday night form 630-730 at the church! It is a great group of men and women to get connected with that understand your recovery and God! They have a Facebook page too! It is Strength in Recovery-A Journey J-Group, check it out! It will help your journey(pun intended) grow! Praying continued recovery for you!

  • Cathy Salerni
    Posted at 19:27h, 06 September Reply

    Thank you Stephen, I knew there was a recovery J-Group but didn’t know the day or time and then bam I saw your response!!! I’ll definitely check it out! I so appreciate your encouragement, again thank you!!!!!

  • Karen George
    Posted at 06:47h, 07 September Reply

    You are an inspiration to many. God has a purpose for you and you are living it! Thanks for your caring ways and love for God. It shows in all your actions.

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