Facing Trials

Scripture does not promise the faithful that their lives will be free from difficulty. Instead, it affirms that trials and struggles are inescapable. Jesus, for example, plainly told His apostles, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Echoing the point, the apostle Paul warned Timothy, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Elsewhere, Peter attempted to help his readers anticipate and keep their trials in perspective by writing, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:12-13). Although, we do not live in an environment exactly like that of the first century, persecution still occurs. A science teacher who refuses to present evolution as a fact could lose her job. A business owner who openly professes to be a Christian might find his faith attacked on social media and his company boycotted. An employee who chooses to attend Sunday worship rather than work extra hours might be passed over for a promotion. Even churches that insist on teaching what Scripture says about moral issues like homosexuality open themselves to criticism and expensive legal challenges. The question is not whether we will face trials and difficulties because of our faith, but how we will handle persecution when it comes. Besides the external challenges Christians endure, we also struggle with internal trials, particularly with temptation. Often, we blame others for our weaknesses of failures (Genesis 3:12) because it is easier to deny personal responsibility than to acknowledge that we are accountable. In this, we are hardly different from those who lived in the first century. Nevertheless, Scripture consistently holds man responsible for his actions and declares that God seeks to help man escape from sin rather than entrap him in                 (1 Corinthians 10:13). James wrote to equip his audience to face both their external trials of persecution and their internal struggles with temptation. He pointed out that facing could actually help them develop patience; therefore, he admonished them to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials”. Importantly, he recognized some would not know how to handle the trials they faced, so he exhorted, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him”. (V.5). James also observed that the temptations individuals face, which can seem especially strong in the midst of external persecutions, result from individual weaknesses, not from God (vv. 13-14). He showed that rather than attacking us and placing us in peril, God has made provisions so we might overcome the trial of temptation and “be a kind of first fruits of His creatures’ (v. 18).

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Faith VS. Trust

The best way to hear from God and know the way He wants you to live is to know what the Bible, His word says. God’s word gives wisdom. As we study the Bible, our mind is renewed (Romans 12:2). So, we no longer just think the way the world thinks, but we can think the way God thinks! We must habitually study the word to have confidence in God and know we can hear Him. The Bible is food for our spirit. As we spend reading and meditating, you can develop a strong spirit. Then, we can hear God speaking to our heart where He dwells in us to make decisions based upon what we think, feel, or want. When you go beyond what you want, what you think and what you feel and do what the word and the Spirit of God tell you to do, then you can develop good habits and break bad ones. You come to a place where the blessings of God-His righteousness, peace and joy overflow in your life. Life is simple and peaceful when we come to God like little children and say, “God, I don’t want to live on my own. I want to trust you when I don’t know what to do. I’ll trust you when I don’t understand why I’ll trust you. I’ll do my part with your help, and when I’m done, I’ll trust you to do the rest”. There are times in life when we are thrown a fast ball where circumstances in life will hit us quickly and unexpectedly, taking us off guard and sometimes knocking us off course. Some of us will lose faith for us to begin to believe again. But, it takes much more for us to develop trust. Have the courage to step out on faith and allow God to build your trust. Though, you may have been taken off guard in the past and you may have lost faith and trust, but incline your ear to the Lord and follow His lead. Let the Father heal you and give you what you need so you can get to the place were your heart is abundant in faith and trust. Faith has always been key in my life. It has been faith that allowed me to tread places where others would probably never go. It has been because of my faith, that I dare to do and believe for things that seem impossible to the human mind, but very possible to our loving God. It is no doubt in my heart and mind that God has blessed me with the gift of faith. It is far beyond just having faith the size of  a mustard seed…It is the kind of faith that will believe and hold on even after everyone has let go and gone. It’s the kind of faith that will trust wholeheartedly in the word of God and see the dead resurrected without a hint of hesitation or doubt. Have there been times when I wanted to give up, not believe, and have had some doubts? Most certainly! But it has always been faith that wins out. I just can’t let go no matter what things in my life look like. You must be able to have faith in what God says and leap into the unknown believing that He will not fail you!

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“SIGNS of Attack”

God wants us to be holy mouth pieces for Him, people who heal and help with their words. But Satan, would rather have you and me blowing it big time with our mouths. A few critical words here, a few complaints there, some profanity mixed in with a little gossip on the side and we have given him permission to make us people who tear others apart and sound no different (and sometimes worse) than unbelievers. Satan knows we can cause much damage with our mouths if we do not bring them under God’s control. Whether it is gossip, criticism, or unkind remarks, our mouths can be instruments of righteousness or unrighteousness. Close that door to Satan, altogether, by applying God’s instruction in Ephesians 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”. And 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Be a verbally thankful person who speaks only to lift others up. Not tear them down. That will diminish and destroy a critical and complaining spirit that gives Satan a stronghold in our lives. Why is it that when people get depressed, they overeat or drink excessively or turn to substances? Why is that young girls cut their bodies or starve themselves when they are dealing with emotional pain? I believe it’s because Satan will turn us against our bodies if he can, as a way of “getting back at God”. Our bodies are precious to God. Scripture commands us to give our bodies to God and let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? (Romans 12:1). Satan knows that God consider our bodies His temple and therefore, God wants us to keep our bodies holy, healthy, and honoring to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Scripture says keeping our bodies holy is our “spiritual act of worship”. So, because our bodies are holy to God, Satan would love to have us harm them, mutilate them, starve them, and destroy them with substances. Don’t let him in. Not in how you dress, not in how you see yourself, and not in how you treat yourself. Ask God for a healthy body image and a desire to protect your body so you can serve Him on this earth in it for as long as possible. So, what’s the strategy now that you know the areas where Satan wants to enter your life? God gives us a great defense through Paul’s instructions to the saints. I find it interesting that every piece of armor described refers to the character of Christ. In other words, put on Christ likeness. Abide in Christ, clothed in His character and righteousness, and you will fend off the attacks of the enemy. Being able to face the adversities of the spiritual attacks you are faced with daily, not only does it prepare you for the Victory, but also gives you strength to draw closer and closer to Christ. Stay on the battlefield when you are experiencing spiritual attacks because God is always by your side. Trust and believe that He will never leave your side. Continue to stand firm on the word of God and let God fight your battles for you! Struggles are made to define you, not break you!!!!

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God’s Power & Authority

You may have heard people say that God’s word is our authority in every area. The reason God’s word is our authority in every area is because God is the ultimate authority and He is the one who ultimately authored scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). This might make some wonder why God has the right to have authority over everything. God created man in His image, and He also gave man authority over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on this earth. Adam did not question God’s authority when God was giving him some authority over God’s creation, and we should not question God’s authority either. God is the ultimate authority simply because He is “the Lord and there is no other”. It is He who created everything including mankind. God is the Father of mankind, and as such, He has authority over us. Because God is our authority in every area, we need to make sure that we know what His word says, and strive to make it our authority in every area of our life. We need to recognize when the beliefs and philosophies of men are contrary to God’s word by bringing everything into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and respond by “speaking the truth in love” to a world that has tried to deny the authority of the Father. If God did not have authority over us, it would be pointless to pursue how or if that authority is extended by the way of the Bible. Why God has created us to be free moral agents, God’s authority over humanity remains expressly clear. We may not always feel His authority, nor feel abound to abide by it, just as we might not always feel the government’s authority over many of our personal and business activities. In both cases, the authority which exists over us does, whether we feel it or not. In Isaiah 33:22 states,  for the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us. God is the source of divine authority because of His position over us in terms of power and perfection. The Holy Spirit is the person of the God-head through whom God chiefly interacts with mankind. The Spirit dwells in believers so that they may become empowered for service and godly actions. The Spirit intercedes to help us in our prayers and is given to us as a tour rebirth and a guarantee of our inheritance of eternal life. In terms of authority, the most important aspects of God’s Spirit are the spirits ministry of revealing God to us and giving glory to and testifying about the Son. The Spirit compels, warns, and gives insight to the believer in accordance with  God’s will and to the extent to which the believer is living in submission to His will. It was the Spirit who moved men to speak God’s words and to permanently record them. Because God’s character is one perfect and permanent integrity, so His words perfectly and permanently convey His divine authority.

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God Speaks to Us Through His Word

The Bible is one of God’s provisions to equip us to do His will. (See II Timothy 3:16–17.) God’s Word is alive; it is active in our lives. The Bible is an absolutely essential part of your walk with God. You must not neglect His Word. It is one way that He speaks to you personally, powerfully—today. (See I Thessalonians 1:5, 2:13.)
Read the Word, memorize the Word, and meditate on the Word of God. By His Holy Spirit, Who dwells in each believer, God will focus your attention on particular verses or passages. (See John 14:26.) They will have special application to your life because of decisions you are facing, character goals you are working on, questions you have, or pressures you are experiencing. As you meditate on those verses to which the Spirit of God leads you, and obey them, God will guide you in “paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
Not only are we to have a growing relationship with the Lord through His Word, but we also should be ready to give an answer to others whenever necessary. (See I Peter 3:15–16.) When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus responded to the devil’s temptations by quoting truth from God’s Word. (See Matthew 4:1–11.)We must learn the truth, which is found in the Word of God and also is identified as the “sword of the Spirit.” With the sword of the Spirit, we can defeat the enemy of our souls, and as we “put on the whole armor of God,” we can “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
Honoring and obeying God’s Word is a key to hearing God’s voice. Through obedience, we demonstrate our love for God, and failure to obey is a reflection of a rebellious heart. If we resist His Word, our fellowship with God will be limited. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21, 23–24).
We Must Believe What the Bible Says
The Bible says that God guides us. (See Isaiah 30:21; Psalm 32:8, 48:14, 73:24; John 16:13, and Deuteronomy 4:9–11.) Are you willing to believe God’s Word? If so, then your heart is prepared to hear God speak. If you reject what the Bible says, then it is likely that you will be unable to hear God speak, because of your unbelief. (See Matthew 13:57–58; Mark 6:5–7, 16:9–20; Hebrews 3:7–19; and I Timothy 1:12–16.)
If you are not hearing God’s voice, examine your heart. The Bible says, “Examine [scrutinize, discipline] yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove [test, approve] your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates [unapproved, rejected, worthless]?” (II Corinthians 13:5). Ask the Lord to reveal to you anything that is hindering your relationship with Him, and then obey Him. Ask God to give you ears to hear, and a pure heart. (See Matthew 13:43, Mark 4:9, Matthew 5:8, II Timothy 2:22, and Psalm 24:3–5.)
God’s Children Can Hear His Voice
Are you born again? Have you asked God to forgive you for your rebellion against Him and His Word? Have you in repentance made a change of mind, heart, and direction in your life? If so, then you can hear God’s voice, because you are His child. If you are not a child of God, then cry out to Him for salvation, and He will hear your cry. He will forgive you of your rebellion, and He will accept you into His kingdom, as His child. (See John 3:1–21 and Romans 10:9–17.)

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Seek God’s Guidance

When entering into a relationship, seek God’s guidance to see if the person you are praying for line up to the will of God. Sometimes the answer is “NO” or “NOT RIGHT NOW. Take the NO’s and NOT RIGHT NOW’s into a positive perspective and know that God is trying to save you for someone better and just for you. Don’t get upset; accept it and move on. I know it may be hard, because it may be a person you really liked or have become acquainted with, but in God’s eyes, they’re not what you need. God will provide what’s best for your life in due time if you just trust Him. In order for God to get your attention, He has to strip you of everything you love. So stop crying over those who have walked out on you. Obviously, God allowed them to leave for a reason because He knew they would only hinder you from going to the place He has prepared for you. So, keep the faith and know that God is not trying to hurt you or harm you, He only wants what’s best and will give you what you need instead of what you want. If God didn’t send them, don’t expect Him to bless it! God will not encourage a relationship that He is excluded from. Stop entertaining every emotion or every person that shows interest. If God isn’t the foundation, then the building will not stand! A guy who loves Jesus will respect you, pursue you, pray for you and with you, and not only that; treasure you! He won’t try to pressure you or control you; he will gently walk beside you and lead you. He will worship you, and most importantly, remind you that only God can truly satisfy you. #ConsultGodFirst  Read more here***** http://www.lucretiacargill.com

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It’s not easy, but I trust you Lord!!!

There may be times in your life where you feel the storm you are facing is overwhelming. The things you see in the natural is so painful that may have you thinking nothing is going to change. Even though the pain you experience in your life may have you thinking that God has forgotten all about you. You may have more bills than you have money, you may be experiencing health issues where you feel you may not get better, you just may be in a storm where it seems there is no way out. But out of all of those situations you may face, God is always there and will supply all of your need according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). God is never slack in His promises, He will provide. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him”. (Job 13:15). Those are the words Job stated as he was going through his trials and sufferings. NO matter what he faced,  even though God was silent in the first 37 Chapters and in Chapter 38 he delivered and restored and blessed Job with everything he lost double. Just like we us, we have to keep the faith and trust in God’s timing to work out our situations. We try to rush God to do things for us but we forget that He is an on time God. He is never early and never late!!! Turn your situations over to God and trust Him to take care of you, but in His timing!!!

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