How Faith becomes rock

Giving Thanks in the Midst of Trials

READ | Romans 8:26-27As the apostle Paul sought to spread the gospel, he experienced suffering, unjust treatment, and deprivation (2 Cor. 11:24-27). But that didn’t stop him from giving thanks to God in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18).In Romans 8, Paul gave us some powerful reasons for being encouraged in hard times. We have the promise of divine . . . Intercession. In times of weakness, when we are overcome with weariness or unsure of what to do, the Holy Spirit speaks to the Father on our behalf. Our indwelling Guide is committed to supporting us, and His prayers always fit God’s will. What’s more, our Savior intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25). We’re never left on our own or forgotten.Intervention. The Spirit acts as a supernatural shepherd who watches over us and directs us in the way we should go. He always works in accordance with God’s plan to transform us into the image of Christ. His efforts focus first on our inner life so we will develop the same attitudes that Jesus had. Once we have these new patterns of thinking, He teaches us how to respond to people and crises in ways that both glorify the Lord and benefit us. Learning to meet life’s trials with a peaceful heart and a worry-free mind are of great value.Do your circumstances seem like too much to handle? Remember: As believers, we live under the umbrella of our Father’s constant watchful care, regardless of what life may throw our way. Jesus is continuously praying for us, and the Holy Spirit is working all things together for our good. These are excellent reasons to give thanks.Copyright 2013 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.www.intouch.org

Find your passion

God gave you a heart, and he has placed in you passions, desires, and dreams. But unless they are under his control, they will be misused, they will be abused, they will be misapplied, they will be misdirected, and they will be wasted in your life.All around the world, there are millions of passionate people with interests and dreams and ambitions that are being misused and abused. And it breaks God’s heart. That’s why, in spite of their talent and their passion, those people are unhappy. Because when your passions are misused, it makes you miserable.Some of you might be thinking, “I’m not really passionate about anything right now.” You know what that means, don’t you? It means you are disconnected from God. You cannot be connected to God and dispassionate. When you are plugged into God, it’s like plugging in to 220 volts. You get passionate!God is a passionate God. The only reason you have emotions is because you’re made in his image. God is emotional. God gets jealous when he sees you ignoring him for something else. God has loved you with an everlasting love. No matter what you’ve done, he will always love you. That’s passion!When you spend time with God on a daily basis and you get plugged in, you can’t help but be passionate. You start to develop God’s heart for the world. You start to feel the way he does. Who you hang out with really does make a difference.I can prove that with any teenager. Put a teenage kid with a group of dispassionate kids who are apathetic about everything, and that kid will become apathetic within a matter of weeks. Why? Who you hang out with makes a difference.Would you like to have more energy in life? More enthusiasm? More get up and go? Let me tell you where to get it. The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek words “en theos,” “en” meaning “in” and “theos” meaning “God.” When you get “en theos,” you’re going to be enthusiastic. The closer you get to God, the more energy, vitality, and passion you will have in life. The further away you get, the more bored and apathetic you become with life. You’ve got to open your heart to Jesus.In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me” (GW). Jesus Christ has been standing at the door of your life knocking for a long time. But he’s a gentleman. He’s not going to bust the door down. You’ve got to open it up. 

How do you praise the Lord

Seems like a dumb question. But when I stopped and thought about it, the answer was rather difficult. I mean, God doesn’t need to hear how great he is. Does he? Telling the creator of all things that he is awesome seems a bit absurd. So why as Christians are we required to do so?
Praise is our acknowledgment of how much God Loves us, despite our inadequacies. We don’t deserve his love, we certainly haven’t earned it. Yet it is given to us all the time, without exception. Taking time to acknowledge his Love, his Grace, that is why he deserves our praise.

The Devil’s most effective weapon

Written by; DAVID WARNER

I once had the honor and privilege of hearing and meeting Roger Donlon, a retired Army colonel who regaled us with exciting and horrifying accounts of his military service. He was the Vietnam War’s first recipient of our nation’s highest award for valor—the Congressional Medal of Honor. 
 

My fellow attendees and I sat in awe of this hero, the very epitome of courageous leadership under fire, drinking in every word he uttered. In closing, he took a yellowed newspaper clipping out of his pocket. He captured our attention with a story about an enemy, one that continues to stalk and at times defeat him:

The devil decided to go out of business and offered all his tools for sale. He attractively displayed the entire evil lot—malice, hatred, envy, jealousy—marked with price tags. One higher priced tool—wedge-shaped, yet worn-out—lay apart from the rest.

Someone asked the devil what tool that was.

“Discouragement,” he replied.

“Why priced so high?”

The devil replied, “Because discouragement is my most useful tool. When I cannot get near a person with any other tool, I use discouragement to pry open and get inside the conscience. And once inside there, I can use that person in ways that best suit me. The tool of discouragement is so worn because I can use it with practically anyone. Few people realize it belongs to me.”

COL Donlon’s courage in admitting this struggle was very comforting to me. Does that story resonate with you as well? How many times in your life have you been told you wouldn’t succeed? Are you tired of seeing others pass you by? Do life’s perplexities make you feel like a modern-day Job?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 28:11).
Sifting through the ashes and rubble of what remained of their home after last summer’s wildfires in Colorado Springs, friends of mine found pottery still intact despite the flames. It had been fired in a kiln, that necessary finishing stage which creates an enduring piece of beautiful art.

When the Master Potter refines us into the image of His Son, His most amazing work in reshaping the clay of our lives into lasting pottery often comes through the painful fires of testing. 

Combating Satan’s tool of discouragement requires confident faith in Jesus Christ, that unutterable trust of knowing He is always standing with us through all life’s bewildering fires. 

The apostle Paul speaks of a powerful tool that we, the Body of OCF in the Body of Christ, can use together in resisting Satan’s attacks of discouragement when our faith is tested, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

If you have you tasted the bitter pill of defeat and want to give up, I encourage you:

Don’t go it alone 
The Lord will never leave you. When you are tested, tempted, or tormented—go to your knees, go to Scripture, and surround yourself with loving, Christ-centered friends.

Don’t rely on your own strength 
Apart from the Lord we can do nothing. All self-efforts are in vain and will leave us frustrated. The Potter’s kiln of testing is to develop His strength in us for the heat and struggles yet to come. 

Don’t forget God’s love and His best for you
No matter what you’re up against right now, lean heavily on the Lord as you continue to run your race. He has great plans for you and will use the difficulty to form unshakeable faith in you.

Scared to hope

My Wife and I find ourselves once again facing some unexpected obstacles. I have used the word Hope an awful lot as we march on. We often hope for something good but usually prepare for the worst. It’s easy to become disheartened. It’s even easier to stay that way. Fear starts to dissolve dreams we see ourselves accomplishing. After a while those start to evaporate as well. Doubt consumes everything it is allowed to touch. If left unattended it eventually will extinguish hope and dissolve all dreams. We come complacent, we settle, because of the pain and anguish of disappointment.

I know God wants us to be happy. He wrote it down in the Bible, he gave us his Son to tell us. Yet we still doubt scared to be hopeful.

The shocker. This is me, all of it. Scared to do death, frustrated, inpatient and ready to deal. I feel I have a true purpose and passion for ministry. But circumstances being what they are I feel myself wanting to give up and return to an occupation I hated, but paid the bills. I know what I should do and I know returning to my previous occupation will leave me unsatisfied and wondering. I believe this is a matter of faith, can I trust in the Lord when it matters. Sure do HOPE so.