Tag Archive | encourage

Fellowship Matters

friends“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)

If I’m going to abide in Christ this year…and always, knowing that I don’t usually keep my resolutions, it would be good to understand what causes me to let go of my plan.

The plan itself is not my issue. I am GREAT at planning. I make lists, flow charts, spreadsheets and know every detail of everything I want to do. What I often miss is the list of those things that could interrupt my plan and when they do, how I will move forward. We know this as “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” In other words, I don’t plan for the worst, the struggle of keeping my commitment.

This is a new step for me this year. I want to understand what keeps me from abiding, staying close to Jesus and have a plan ready when people, situations and conditions of my heart try to pull me from Him.

One thing I’ve learned is that we are all at different places with our faith. There are many things that I once thought were okay and now see completely different. I’m also sure there are things I do or consent to today that in five years I will no longer consider good for me in relation to my faith. Just as I am on a journey, so is everyone else. Even those who don’t claim to have faith in Jesus or God believe something.

I don’t think others ever intentionally try to pull me away from Jesus as much as I don’t think they understand the full benefit of staying close to Him. It’s hard to encourage me in what they don’t consider valuable or meaningful.

Too often, we can make excuses for our own behavior by excusing the behavior of others. If I have a hard time controlling how much I eat, I may encourage someone else to go ahead and have the second piece. If I talk bad about my husband, I may encourage someone else that it’s good to vent or “get it off their chest”. After all, they are just being honest. If I don’t see how what I do is harmful, I may not see it as harmful for someone else.

And others, who don’t know Jesus, won’t understand why it’s important to stay close to Him and most likely, will not be able to encourage me in my desire to abide.

While I don’t want to cut off relationships with those who don’t know Jesus, He came for us all, I need to be careful to whom I listen.

I will be resolved to seek counsel, wisdom and encouragement from others who are actively seeking God and following Christ.

Something to Consider…

We are to live in this world but not be of it. Our relationships matter regardless of where others stand with Jesus.

How can you ensure you are spending time with others who know Jesus? How can you continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus even when you are with others who are not?

Regardless of how committed you are to Jesus, how many questions you have about faith, and how many doubts and concerns you have for what it truly means to believe, it will be hard to move forward and find answers alone.

  1. Find a local church to attend and show up. Volunteer and get involved. Even if you’re not sure about this whole God thing, you will meet new people and expand your understanding of the Christian faith.
  2. Identify two or three people who know Jesus with whom you can ask questions and discuss your faith. Don’t ask your friend the atheist or agnostic. They don’t have the answers you’re looking for.
  3. Seek to know Jesus, not just know about Him or assume things about Him. No one likes it when people make assumptions about them. Really get to know who He is and why He came for you.

Resolutions

Garden Path and Gate“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 (NIV)

I’m looking forward to what this new year will bring and what new resolutions I will be making. I so often feel like I don’t accomplish my resolutions and I wondered how I had done on those I had made this past year.

As I looked back at two of my posts transitioning from 2011 to 2012, I realized I had really only made two resolutions. One was about getting rid of the old. This included old stuff as well as old attitudes. The other was to be resolved to know Christ more.

They are both hard to measure. Have I ever really reached the end of getting rid of bad attitudes? Somehow they creep back and settle on in. I continue to accumulate stuff so at some point it will all be old as well. When do I know I know Christ more? There will never be an end to what there is to know so how do I move forward in what I do know trusting even in what I don’t?

As I type this blog, my youngest daughter is cleaning out her room. For anyone who knows her, she is organized, responsible, and diligent. What they don’t see is her room: the one place she doesn’t care to care about. Her comment today about the amount of stuff in her room, on the floor and taking up space was, “If I have a bed to collapse on, I’m good!”

Unfortunately, I care about the state of her room so over the school break she is dusting, vacuuming and reorganizing which includes going through every piece of clothing and memorabilia she has. In the process of just doing it, she has found “the zone” and is ready to get rid of anything and everything taking up space without a purpose.

It’s fabulous! I’m grinning from ear to ear!

As we have drawn closer to the end of the year, I realize that there are many attitudes and behaviors I want to be rid of. It isn’t that there is no purpose in the attitude, the purpose just isn’t a good one.

Did I fall short of past my resolution? Did I not really care about this resolution? I have over this past year felt irritated, judgmental, critical, prideful, and unloving. I have said things I shouldn’t have and not said things I should. I have left things undone and done too many things I wish I wouldn’t have. I did not clean out the closets, clean up my house or put myself through an extreme makeover.

But, I did grow closer to God and have come to know Christ more. I backed off a bit on blogging but did write a new Bible study which taught me about the resolution of Jesus.

He had one mission: to reconcile the world to God. In order to accomplish this, He had to be resolved to follow every leading of His Father. Jesus was resolved.

I also realize that the only way I can truly be resolved to shed the old is to know Jesus more.

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GW)

He is the “zone” I need to be in so that I can let go of the old. If I want my old attitude to be made new, I need to be in Christ. I won’t be perfect, but He will continue to work in me. My willingness to be resolved begins with my willingness to abide and stay close to Jesus.

That is my first resolution for this year, to abide in Christ.

Something to Consider…

Resolutions are not just wishes we hope will come true. They are decisions we make based on a firm purpose and determination. We know it matters even if we don’t always know why it matters. We choose to do, not just wish.

Be resolved to abide in Christ. What does this mean in your life? What does it look like? What can you do to draw near to God knowing He will draw near to you?

Be resolved to follow His leading in your life. Every decision results in an action; even inaction is a choice. Because you are abiding, you will be able to better recognize when God shows you an area of your life that He wants to make new. Decide to do what He says and follow His lead.

Shining His Light

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

I’m sitting here feeling like I’m frittering away my time. I’m enjoy some mindless activities but I know I have things to do today and people who are expecting me to be where I need to be when I need to be there. It feels like it should be a “pajama day”. You know those days when you just wear your comfy clothes all day, don’t worry about your hair or make-up and watch movies or read all day long. Yeah, that’s today.

But, then reality hits. I need to exercise. I have been hit and miss with this activity for way too long. And if I exercise, I definitely need a shower. I can’t even be around myself without cleaning up after a run. I do need to go grocery shopping which also includes checking my calendar, making a menu and organizing my shopping list…which is done by aisle so I can be efficient.

Once I’m home and groceries are put away, it’s out to dinner with my mom, daughters and friends for some food, fun and fellowship. Eating is considered a fun activity which is why I do need the exercise. And to finish off the night, we are doing a little summer clothes shopping. I will probably not be able to keep my eyes open at the end of the night for a movie or a book.

As I look at the day ahead, I wonder what else I’ll be doing. Who will I run into? What unexpected things will come my way? How will I handle the challenges and potential problems I may face? Will I reach out to someone, be willing to adjust and trust that all that needs to get done will get done?

Before I go or do anything, I quiet myself and spend some time with God.

Lord, what are your plans for my day? Who do you want me to talk to? How will I be able to shine your light to someone who needs to see it? What words of encouragement will you have me speak to someone who is wanting to hear it? Lord, this day is not my own. I give it to you. I pray I will let your light shine for all to see. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Something to Consider…

Our fellowship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit takes place in His light. Our joy is made complete when we shine His light and share in His fellowship with others.

Who are the people you see and do life with day in and day out? Is there somewhere you spend time that is dark in attitude and heavy in atmosphere? Consider how you can shine the light of Jesus in this place and with these people so they may also have fellowship with us.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,  so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3 (NIV)

Remember

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (ESV)

I email with a friend regularly. We talk about things going on in our lives, problems and joys. They might include political or just news worthy tidbits of information we come across and think are interesting. We joke and laugh, cry and love.

Often, we email about things in need of prayer. Whether it’s for our self or someone else, there is almost always prayer involved. We also rejoice together over what God is doing in response to those prayers. Or maybe He’s given us a revelation about His word, His nature, His character; He’s given us a glimpse into what He’s doing in us or those around us. It is such a joy to share with another person what God is doing in our life!

My friend is a saver. She picks out those things I say that touch her and saves them. Sometimes it’s Scripture; sometimes it’s an insight or thought. Then, out of nowhere, we will be emailing back and forth and she will just drop one of my encouragements to her from, say one year ago, back on me.  Or maybe it’s something I’ve said I’m waiting on and praying for. It’s like she’s saying, “Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. You are not who or where you use to be. God is still at work!”

See, she knows I know it. I just don’t always remember it. She reminds me of what I already know. We all need that encouragement from time to time. Perhaps, all the time!

God does that same thing throughout the entire Bible. He continuously reminds us of who He is, who we are, what He’s done for us and what that means going forward. We may think, “He just said that!”, so we skim over those parts that sound familiar. While everything God says matters, when He repeats Himself we should sit up and take notice. It’s really important!

We are His and He loves us. He has done wonderful things already and it doesn’t stop there. Because He has been faithful, He will continue to be faithful. We do not need to wonder who God is or what He wants. We many not know all the details of how it will happen, but it will happen if He says so.

Our Heavenly Father continuously encourages us to keep following, keep trusting, keep believing – have faith!

 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Do you already know Jesus? Do you know what He has done for you? As you read His Word, know that His promises are not just for those in the Bible, they are for the whole world and that includes you!

Are you plugged in with other Christians who encourage you in your walk with Him? Do you need to be reminded of the hope you have in Christ? It’s important to do life with others who are walking with Jesus.

Join a small group or Bible study. Don’t worry about what you know or don’t know. God is always teaching us something new and we are here to encourage each other to always remember the hope we have in Him!

Glory Days

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

My husband and I were doing some spring cleaning this past weekend. I turned on the radio thinking I’d get some upbeat rock-pop type music going to keep us moving. The first song to come on the radio was “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen. At one time, I didn’t pay much attention to the words of songs. I liked the music, the beat, the electric guitar; but now, I listen to every word…or try to make out as many as I can.

The song talks about a bunch of older people who are miserable and just sit around talking about the old days when they were happy. In the “glory days”, they were winning games, working, and married. They had everything going for them; at least they thought they did. At the end of the song he says he hopes when he’s old he won’t sit around talking about old boring stories of the glory days. But, he probably will. The glory days leave you with nothing but boring stories.

Amen!

We used to do the same thing and we aren’t old yet! We would sit around and talk about high school and college. We would laugh and remember all the stupid things we did like it was the best thing we could ever have done. If I could, I wouldn’t change the laughing but I would change what we were laughing about.

Funny enough, just the night before I heard this song, we were talking about how different our life is now. We really don’t look back anymore. Instead, we look ahead. Those days without Jesus were old, boring, and had no future value in our lives. We love our friends and we did have many great times, but those days don’t change our tomorrows.

Some may think, “Jesus has been dead for 2,000 years. Isn’t reading the Bible and talking about Jesus looking back as well?” Yes, Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago. But the story doesn’t end there. In three days He was raised to life and lives still! There are no boring stories of Jesus!

Jesus gave sight to the blind, healed the lame and changed lives of real people just like you and me. And He is still at work today doing what He’s always done. He calls us to be with Him, to be part of His family and part of His Glory days.

Something to Consider…

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Each day is a new beginning with Jesus. He loves you and wants you to be with Him for eternity.

Do you feel stuck in your past? Do you wonder what value your life holds today; tomorrow?

Our glory days are old and boring. They leave us empty. His glory days bring us life and satisfaction. He fills and transforms us into His glory!

Come to Jesus just as you are. In His great love, unfailing compassion, and great faithfulness, He will share with you His glory days. Ask Him to show you how you can look forward with great expectation to all He has for you.

Victory in Jesus

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Have you ever purchased an item that you just had to have only to get rid of it a year or so later? You didn’t use it as much as you thought you would or it didn’t work the way it said it would. I’ve done this way too many times. Usually, I’ve been looking for something that would make life easy and convenient. Sometimes, we just want the hot new product so we can be part of the “in” crowd. Sometimes, we just want to prove we can have it.

I recently saw a restaurant menu that said, “You can have it all!” The truth of that statement is you can have it all…eventually. It comes at a price. And then, you will be empty again because it does not last.

This is the way of the world. We can have it all. All the world has to offer, that is. And the lie the enemy wants us to believe is that it’s worth the price. You can satisfy your every desire. You deserve it, you’ve earned it and without it, you won’t really be happy.

The truth of Jesus says you don’t deserve it, you can’t earn it but with Him, you will have unending joy. In Jesus, there is joy and satisfaction like you’ve never experienced. No food or drink can feed your hunger or quench your thirst like the love of Christ.

When we live like we believe this, we are not distracted from our work, our purpose in the LORD. God has something for each of us to do for His world, His kingdom. The enemy loves it when we don’t complete our missions, don’t live out our purpose and are completely ineffective for Christ. He throws material possessions, status, and conveniences at us hoping to distract us. He uses struggles, troubles and temptations through our circumstances and people in our lives to try to get us to give up. We may begin to think we will never really be able to do what the LORD has called us to do. We can’t really have victory in Jesus here and now in this time and place. It’s just too hard, too much work.

We allow the perishable things of this world to keep us from a life of victory in Christ. Once we accept the gift of Jesus and His salvation, we know we will be with Him in heaven some day; but, we do not need to wait until then to live in that victory.

Something to Consider…

Where do you go to find satisfaction? Do you look to the people and things around you to fill you and bring you happiness?

Do situations, emotions and others move you? Do they cause you to doubt your faith or why you do what you do?

If we stand firm in our faith we cannot be moved from the purpose God has set before us. And what is that purpose? To share Jesus with others. What does the way you live your life say about what you believe about Jesus?

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life where you do not believe victory in Jesus is really for you right here, right now. He has overcome the world. In Him, so have you.

God’s Will for You

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

“…for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18b

Really, is that it? Is that all I have to do to be in God’s will? Sound too easy – be joyful, pray and give thanks?

Here’s the hard part: be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. That sounds impossible!

What does it mean to have joy?

Joy is our excitement in expectation of good. It is also our enjoyment of the good we already have. It is not the same as simply being happy. Joy is an emotion but it is an emotion provoked by knowing, not feeling. We know that as followers of Jesus, we have received the Holy Spirit. Christ is in us. We have received the Eternal Life. It is with us always. We also know that we have been sealed with Holy Spirit guaranteeing our inheritance, salvation through Christ. Regardless of the battles and turmoil we face every day, we can have joy always.

How can we pray continually?

So often we think of prayer as carving out time to sit and be still. We lay out all of our prayers at one time. We get all worked up when we miss one and can be really hard on ourselves. But God knows our hearts and our thoughts at all times. It is necessary to spend intentional time with Him, talking to and listening to God; but, as we go through our day we can continue to lift up each situation, conversation, relationship, and burden to Him and lay it at His feet.  Sometimes, the simple prayers are the best because it means He is at the forefront of our minds at all times. We don’t just give Him the big things, the things we think we can’t handle or control; we give Him the small, simple things that we tend to think we can handle and control without His help.  When we are in constant communication with God, we will be better able to recognize His will.

Why should we give thanks or even be thankful in all circumstances?

Life is hard. We don’t want to deal with or face some of the situations and problems we do each day. Why should we be thankful when it doesn’t appear God has helped us, when He hasn’t taken our problem away? Isn’t that how we know God is with us? He answers our prayers the way we want Him to? We are to be thankful because He has made it possible to be joyful always and has given us the ability to be in prayer, communication with Him continually. We know that no matter what our situation, no one and nothing can take away what He has guaranteed. While all circumstances are not good, we know that He works all circumstances out for His good so that He can be gloried bringing others to know Him and have the same guarantee we do. We are an active participant in the kingdom of God. And that makes our joy complete!

Something to Consider…

Do you lack joy? Jesus is joy. Remind yourself daily of what Jesus has done for you and what that means going forward. His kingdom is here for you now. Enjoy what you have already received.

Do you feel like you have no time to pray or don’t know how?  He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. Talk to your friend, Jesus, about anything and everything on your mind.

Do you wonder how you can possibly be thankful in the middle of your mess? We are not our circumstances but we do have the opportunity to show others the love of Christ in the midst of our circumstances. How will you show Christ’s love to others facing difficult circumstances?

Sing a New Song

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3a

If He, Christ, has put a new song in my mouth, what was the old song?

We sing the song loud and proud! Words of complaining (Can anything be good?), blaming (It’s not really my fault!), venting (I can’t believe what I have to put up with!), gossip (Don’t tell anyone but…) and derogatory remarks (Oh, it’s just a joke.) come so easily. Sometimes they are meant for one set of ears, other times ringing out for anyone who will listen.

There was a time when the worst we had to worry about was our words being repeated by someone else. We could always say they didn’t really understand us: no evidence, simply hearsay.

Then there was the possibility that it would be recorded either by audio or video tape. Ever been in a position of watching a fun family video and suddenly you realize what’s coming next? Ouch!

With email came the accidental “Reply All” and the intentional “Blind Copy”.  “NOOOOOO!” can be heard echoing over the tops of the cubicles.

With the internet and social networks, the world suddenly got a lot smaller and our words go much further than we ever imagined. If I comment on a friend of a friends post, and he has different privacy settings than me, whose settings rule? Yikes!

And texting – who’s really on the other side of that phone?

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3a

But now we can have a new song; one we want shouted out at the top of our lungs for all people, all nations to hear! I don’t know about you, but I want the words I speak to lift others up, not tear them down. I need my words to be an encouragement to myself as well. Most of all, I want the words of my mouth, those that come from the depth of my heart, to be pleasing and bring glory to my God and Savior, Rock and Redeemer!

Because we live in the love of Christ, He has removed the old words of multiple complaints and has placed them with new words of joy and adoration that glorify and bring honor to Him – the one true living God who is holy and over all creation. If we, who have been without Him and now know Him, are changed by Him, we should be joyfully sharing Him with others. Why share?

“Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3b

Because of our words and actions, a great number of people will see the change God has made in our lives. Our words will tell of Christ’s great love for us and our complete joy in what He’s done. They will choose for themselves to seek out and understand our God, and when they do, they will find Him and put their confidence in Him.

And in that, our joy is made complete!

Something to Consider…

Are you wanting, needing something to change? Do you want to replace a dismal and dreary outlook with one of hope and joy? You cannot know Christ and not be changed.

At Northgate Church, there is a new song being sung; a song of love and life and joy! Prayer covers everything and encouragement abounds! If you do not know Jesus, I invite you to join us this and every Sunday! He’s always there!

The Golden Rule

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

My daughters and I were talking once about another child at school who was giving one of them a hard time. She wanted to be able to come back at this person and say something really mean just to show them what it was like. I completely understand this thinking. We think if we can make them understand or show them what it’s like to be in our shoes, they will stop. But really, what it shows is that we can be just as mean.

I mentioned the “Golden Rule” in our conversation and this was the reply: “Well, if this is how they are treating me, it must mean they want to be treated this way.” I think I laughed out loud! That is one way to view it; it’s wrong, but we probably think this more than we care to admit.

This verse does not put the responsibility on the other person to treat us right; it puts the onus on us to treat others right.

  • If we want to be loved, we need to love.
  • If we want compassion, we need to be compassionate.
  • If we want people to be kind, we need to show kindness.
  • If we want to be able to trust someone, we need to be trustworthy.
  • If we want people to help, we need to be willing to serve.
  • If we want _____________, we need to_____________. (You fill in the blanks.)

Which of these pieces comes first? Our willingness to love and listen, follow through and serve should always be first in our minds.

I have seen so many postings on Facebook to re-post the condemnation to bullies that they really don’t understand how they hurt others when they bully and if they only understood the other person’s situation, they would stop. I believe for the most part that they do understand the pain and hurt because they feel it from others as well. It’s what they’ve been taught and have learned.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:44-45a (NKJV)

So my prayer is this:

I pray for every bully who has ever been emotionally, physically, or mentally abused by a parent, relative or friend. I pray for every bully who has ever been told they would never amount to anything; that they are stupid or worthless. I pray for every bully who thought they finally had a breakthrough only to be told it wasn’t good enough; they are second-best, second-class. I pray for every bully who thinks the only way they can feel better is to know there is someone who feels worse. I pray that the love, kindness and compassion of Jesus would be made real in their life through a person who is willing to serve and show that their real value is found in Jesus. In His precious name, Amen.

“If we say we are His, we must follow the example of Christ.” 1 John 2:6 (CEV)

Jesus did not shake His finger at those who didn’t know and understand His ways. He reached out His hand in love and compassion to show them the love of His Father in heaven.

Something to Consider…

Is there someone in your life: a spouse, co-worker, boss, in-law, or friend, who wears you down rather than builds you up?

While there is no guarantee they will change, I challenge you to pray for them and love them like Jesus. That, I can guarantee, will change you!

The Gift of His Life

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

God has not only provided the gift of a baby this Christmas, He has also provided the gift of a perfect example of living life His way.

God knows us so well. We can be so predictable. Since the beginning, God has known that what we see, we desire; what we focus on, we are drawn to; and what we think about, we become. While after generations of other Christ followers, we have current day examples from whom to learn; through the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, we still have the perfect example to follow.

Ultimately, Jesus taught us to love one another. That love is shown through sharing the truth of His Word, serving those in need and suffering for the good and glory of God. Sharing the truth and serving others are easy when there is no resistance; no temptations, trials or troubles in our life. But add suffering to the mix and things can suddenly change.

Our character is who we are at all times. Does suffering cause you to change your words, actions and behavior? Can your outlook on life go from rosy to bleak in the blink of an eye?

Through the gift of Jesus, the living example of God’s grace, truth, love and righteousness, we can see a man just like us. He had family, friends, celebrations and troubles. He worked, was tired, hungry, in need of alone time and rest. But nowhere does Jesus complain about the troubles He faced. He talked about the reality of the troubles, but He did not complain. Why not?

He knew these troubles had to take place. He had absolute certainty that God would see Him through His suffering and God’s purpose through Him would be accomplished. That is joyful hope!

There is a difference between wishful thinking and certain hope. Wishful thinking leaves room for worry and doubt. What we hope for might not really be true. But, if we profess to believe in the hope God’s love for us has accomplished through Jesus, we will have peace because what we believe is true. We are resolved to continue in the path God has laid out before us regardless of our problems.

How do we know if we simply wish or truly hope in the truth of Jesus? By how we stand up under suffering. Do we worry or rejoice? It is easy to rejoice and be glad in good times but can we still do this when times are difficult, conditions unfavorable and our circumstances down-right painful?

As we allow Christ’s example to be our reality, our character grows and becomes more like His. He trusted the Father completely, seeking His will and following His lead. He trusted in the hope that through His suffering, we would come to know the Father and His love for us.

Something to Consider…

Jesus willingly endured for our benefit and He patiently showed us grace and mercy in our weakness. God has poured is love out for us through the blood of Jesus and in that we can have true joy and gladness regardless of our circumstances.

Consider your temptations, trials and troubles. How can you rejoice because you have hope that through your suffering, you can lead others to Jesus?