Handling Tough Circumstances…

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Philippians 3:8-11 (KJV)

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

The apostle Paul understood how to handle tough circumstances.

Even while he was confined in a prison cell, he kept his eyes on Christ and trusted firmly in the Savior. Therefore, despite being in chains, he was able to celebrate the Lord’s work in his life.

In fact, the epistle he wrote from jail to the Philippians was filled with rejoicing (1:18; 2:18; 3:1).

Focusing on Christ is neither a natural reaction nor an easy one.

Our instinct is to dwell on the situation at hand, searching for solutions or stewing over the pain and difficulty. As a result, troubles look scary and overwhelm us with a sense of defeat.

However, fear and defeat cannot live long in a heart that trusts the Lord.

I’m not saying you’ll forget what you’re going through, but you can choose to dwell on His provision and care instead. He is the Deliverer (2 Cor. 1:10). He is the Healer (Deut. 32:39). He is the Guide (Prov. 3:6).  The believer who lays claim to divine promises discovers that God pushes back negative emotions. In their place, hope, confidence, and contentment take up residence (Phil. 4:11).

You aren’t going to be happy about a difficult situation, but you can be satisfied that God is in control and up to something good in the midst of trouble.

The Lord’s principles and promises don’t change, no matter how severe or painful the situation is.

Focus on Christ instead of the circumstances—God will comfort your heart and bring you safely through the trial.

Then you can answer Paul’s call to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4).

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Making All Things New…

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Revelation 21:5 (KJV)

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

When God puts a dream in your heart, when He puts a promise on the inside of you, He deposits within you everything you need to accomplish that dream.

He wouldn’t give you the desire to do something without giving you the ability to fulfill it.

In fact, the scripture tells us that God gives us the desires of our heart. In other words, He puts the desire inside of us and then works with us to bring it to pass.

Oftentimes, people set out to accomplish their dreams, but they face a setback or disappointment, and then they feel like their time has passed. But let me tell you today, no matter where you’ve come from, no matter what’s happened in your past, God wants to make you new.

He wants to give you a fresh start.

If you feel like you’ve missed opportunities in your life, if you feel like your time has passed, remember, today is a new day.

You are a new person, and God has new opportunities in store for you. Lift up your eyes of faith and look forward to the new thing God has for you in this season!

TODAY’S PRAYER

Father in heaven, thank You for making all things new.
I give You this day and invite You to have Your way in every area of my life.
I choose to receive all the promises You have in store for me and look for Your goodness in all things.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Contentment – Accepting The Fact That God Is In Control

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Philippians 4:10-13 NASB

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at least you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The apostle Paul knew something that most of us have missed. He knew how to be content in ANY circumstance. That was a bold claim. But when you think about the life of Paul, such a claim moves from the realm of bold to amazing!

He was personally commissioned by Christ to take the gospel to the Gentiles. And after just a few weeks of work he was sidelined in a Roman prison.  There he sat, under house arrest, waiting for his trial, well aware that the various churches he planted needed his immediate attention and leadership, driven by a desire to get the gospel to unreached cities, and yet he was content.

Notice he said, “I have learned the secrets…” The word LEARNED implies that this is a process. As Paul grew in his spiritual life, he discovered the truth about contentment. He refers to it as a secret because the truth he discovered is a truth that eludes many believers, even to this day.

He learned the secret of being content in and through circumstances. It wasn’t the secret of changing — or getting God to change his circumstances. Real contentment does not hinge on circumstances. It goes beyond that.

Paul’s discussion regarding contentment closes with a verse that many of us learned as children.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13)

Unfortunately for a lot of us, no one explained the context of the popular verse. Paul was referring to his ability to be content in every circumstance. To paraphrase, “I can endure any circumstance without losing my peace and my joy because of the strength I gain through my relationship with Christ.”

Overcoming discontentment requires mental discipline. The following five suggestions will help you when discontentment begins to creep in:

1-Memorize and meditate on Philippians 4:10-13.

2-When feelings of discontentment creep in, refuse to blame your circumstances; take responsibility for your feelings.

3-Admit to the Lord that you have allowed your contentment to become attached to your circumstances.

4-Distinguish between what you need and what you want.

5-Thank Him for meeting your needs.

Like many I struggle with contentment. How much is enough? Should I be satisfied with what I have or seek more? Is ambition in life a bad thing? What kind of goals should I set in various areas of my life? The answers are not simple answers, but I believe Scripture provides  the balance we need to cultivate godly contentment.

Contentment is a daily struggle. It is something we learn by adhering to the basics– cultivating a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, living daily, and knowing that Christ strengthens us for every challenge.

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Hold Your Peace…

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(Exodus 14:13–14, NIV)

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still”

In the Bible, when the people of Israel came out of slavery and were headed toward the Promise Land, they were so happy to be finally free!

But then Pharaoh changed his mind about letting them go and came chasing after them. They came to a dead end at the Red Sea and things looked impossible.

Instead of staying in faith and focusing on the fact that God had delivered them before, the Israelites got upset, fearful and started complaining…

“Moses, why did you bring us out here to die?”

Moses replied, “Stand still and you will see the deliverance of the Lord.” He went on to say…

“The Lord will fight for you if you hold your peace and remain at rest.”

And the Lord was faithful to His Word and delivered them again.

Moses knew he had to get the people out of that negative mentality or they would be defeated, and the same is true for you.

You may be in a storm of life, but don’t let that storm get in you.

Instead, set your focus on God because He is faithful, and He will fight your battles.

Stay calm and remain in peace today because God is going to deliver you and lead you into your promise land!

TODAY’S PRAYER

Thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness in my life.
Help me keep my heart and mind focused on You.
No matter what storm I may be facing, I trust that You are working behind the scenes and ordering my steps to the promise land you have for me. In Jesus’ Name.
Amen.

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Powerful Enough To Overcome All Evil…

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Ephesians 1:11

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will

Some people question whether the Lord is truly in control. They learn about tragedies in the world and wonder if perhaps God isn’t powerful enough to overcome all evil. Or they encounter what seems like an insurmountable obstacle in their own life and  come to the conclusion, Maybe His power is limited.

My friend, we do not understand everything that happens in this life. But we know from Scripture that God has ultimate authority:

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Ps. 103:19).

Consider the far-reaching implications of these words. The Lord has complete control in all the universe—He reigns over everything and everyone, and His power is greater than all other strength.

The termsomnipotent, omnipresent, andomniscientare frequently used to describe Him. In other words, our God is all-powerful, He exists everywhere, and He is all-knowing, which means there is nothing beyond His knowledge or His ability to direct and manage.

And this limitless, unfathomable God, who is unhindered and fully in control, adopts us as His children.

What an amazing thought!

As we begin to grasp this truth, peace and rest will flood our souls.

When you realize that nothing happens apart from His awareness, direction, and loving purpose, it becomes possible to lay down worry and fear and truly experience His peace.

If you believe God is all-powerful, is that idea simply “head knowledge,” or does it affect the way you think and feel?

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Who Is “Really” In Control?

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Romans 8:28

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”

It is only the loyal soul who believes that God engineers circumstances.

We take such liberty with our circumstances, we do not believe God engineers them, although we say we do; we treat the things that happen as if they were engineered by men.

To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty, and that is to our Lord. Suddenly God breaks up a particular set of circumstances, and the realization comes that we have been disloyal to Him by not recognizing that He had ordered them; we never saw what He was after, and that particular thing will never be repeated all the days of our life.

The test of loyalty always comes just there. If we learn to worship God in the trying circumstances, He will alter them in two seconds when He chooses.

Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the thing that we “poke a stick at” in today’s world.

We will be loyal to work, to service, to anything, but do not ask us to be loyal to Jesus Christ. Many Christians are intensely impatient of talking about loyalty to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more emphatically by Christian workers than by the world. God is made a machine for blessing men, and Jesus Christ is made a Worker among workers.

The idea is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal to Him that He can do His work through us – “I reckon on you for extreme service, with no complaining on your part and no explanation on Mine.” God wants to use us as He used His own Son.

Romans 8:31

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

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