We are always being tested by the circumstances, situations, and people in our lives. It is often very challenging to understand and make sense out of these tests, trials, troubles and uncertainties. We often wonder if it's something that we have done to create these circumstances and how we can endure or avoid these challenges in the future. When (and not "IF") we encounter trouble in the future, we think to ourselves, "what have I done wrong to cause this to happen?" Life's journey is not defined by how few problems we avoid or tests we escape, but by who we turn to that helps us to endure.
Our life's journey is one that uses all of what we experience to shape and strengthen who we are, especially as people of faith and believers in Jesus Christ. This book is entitled "Tested Mortar" to remind us that mortar gets its strength when pressure, stress, and strain are applied to it. Mortar that is untested is not strong. Mortar that is untested is useless. Untested mortar does not reflect the skill and expertise of the builder. We must realize that we are God's mortar. If we are not tested, we cannot be strengthened; we cannot be fruitful; we cannot be used as an example to others; we cannot reflect God's Glory. "Tested Mortar" is how we understand what resilience means in our lives and for others within the community of believers. To help us on this journey, this book examines the lessons we learn from several figures in scripture in the lives of Job, Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, Ruth, Nehemiah, and David.
The purpose of our journey through these stories is not to help us discover ways to avoid life's tests. Our goal is to better understand the necessary roles the faith plays as God uses the circumstances of our lives to build our spiritual resilience and our strength. Whether you are reading these stories as part of your own Bible study or as part of a study group, the hope is that these seven lessons will serve to encourage, equip and energize you to not only survive the tests and troubles of life, but to serve as your witness of what is captured by one of my favorite scriptures found in Romans chapter 8, verse 28: "and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."