Faith Is Not always Easy!

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NLT)

 

 

 

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urround Yourself With God’s Word, Prayer, and Praise
Many people are living with health issues or someone in their family has health issues. These are trying times, but I have learned that regardless of what you go through, as a Christian, you can count on God’s sustaining grace.  During the darkest hours of my cancer treatment, I remembered what God said through the Apostle Paul, For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.” (Romans 14:7-9 NLT)
 
In my trying times. I have discovered that surrounding myself with God’s Word, prayer, and praise, makes it easier to focus on God and to share with others what God is doing in my life. While in the MD Anderson Cancer Center for treatment. telling others about Jesus was the “fun” part of my painful experience with cancer. “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.” (1 Chronicles 16:8-11)
 
I determined years ago I would never question God’s love for me. God loves me so much He wants to spend eternity with me! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NIV). The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary. That love can never be earned.
 
I have a long list of names I pray for early every morning. My purpose is to encourage and pray for God’s direction and healing in their lives. I like to remind them that we can have abundant joy even during difficult days if we depend on God. That’s why Paul said, “in all these things we are more than conquerors.”  We are conquerors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things that look as if they are going to overwhelm us. I have discovered that the things I try to avoid and fight against—such as tribulation, sickness, and suffering,—are the very things that produce abundant joy in me, because it is during these times I depend on the Lord more than usual.  “We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things”. Real joy depends on the love of God that nothing can change. Joy is built on the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, and they are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8:28 NLT)
We can know the joy of the Lord when we depend on Him even in the midst of tribulation. I am always encouraged by what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:20 (NLT): “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” It is like Paul is saying; “My determined purpose is to be my best for His glory. “…whether by life or death”, Paul was determined to let nothing stand in his way from doing exactly what God wanted. That’s what I want for my life.
What will it take for us to choose to follow God’s perfect will? I believe that many times a crisis must develop in our lives before we make the decision to totally rely and depend on God and not ourselves or our own desires.  This is often how He gets our attention to help us focus on Him more completely. Once we arrive at that place where He asks us to be the best for His glory, the debate within us begins. And when the crisis hits we must decide…for or against?  There is no middle ground. That moment, the moment of deciding for or against, is the greatest crossroads we face in our daily battles.
 
When adversity comes into your life, surrender your will to God and you will find peace and freedom. Make a willful decision to follow His will. This glorifies Him, and is best for you as you actually renew your mind spiritually and determine to honor Him with your life
 
We all experience setbacks and disappointments in life. Sometimes they are small ones that we shrug off or learn from. Then we move on. But, sometimes disappointments have a much bigger impact like cancer or other serious illness… bankruptcy … a failing marriage … a missed promotion … termination from a job … the death of a spouse.
If cancer has taught me anything, it has taught me that mastered by Christ, I can handle anything. The Apostle Paul said, “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency” (Philippians 4:13b AMP)
 
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