Category Archives: God’s Help

Adversity’s Astonishing Advantages

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2011 Football banquet and Field Trip 254

“We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.”             2 Corinthians 1: 8 – 10 (MSG)

If you’re dealing with extreme adversity in your life right now, it’s difficult to imagine how such suffering could ultimately produce advantageous results. Yet in the midst of trials, you develop skills to do things you would never dream possible.  Also ~

  • You learn more and grow closer to God during your darkest moments than you ever would from your shining triumphs.

Paul didn’t give details about the hardships he faced in the scripture above. Yet it was so bad he and his companions didn’t think they were going to make it. (Perhaps you can relate?)  But he then describes this near-death experience as “the best thing that could have happened.” How can that be?!

  • When you’re forced to exercise your “Faith Muscle,” your faith becomes stronger than ever. The stronger it gets, the more God can do through you.

If you’re at your wits’ end and can’t help yourself, you’re forced to trust God completely, Too often, we rely on our own ingenuity or abilities to maneuver out of situations, but in dire situations, we learn to lean on God.

  • The best result of a seemingly hopeless situation is that you place your complete trust in the God who raises the dead! His strength is sufficient for any trial.

Do you face a seemingly hopeless situation today?  Place it in God’s capable hands and watch Him work wonders!

Related Verse:  Proverbs 3: 5 – 6 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

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The Problem with Bubble-Wrapped Lives

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“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.” James 1: 2-5 (Phillips)

I’ll admit it. I wish I could bubble-wrap my sons to keep them free from injury, loss, rejection, failure, heartbreak, insults, or any other painful misfortune life might hurl in their direction. Especially now that my youngest son is driving, I dream about this possibility whenever he leaves the house with keys in hand!

But I recently read about a fascinating experiment in the Arizona desert where scientists attempted to create a perfect living environment for plants, animals, and humans under a protective biodome. This closed ecological system grew fruits, vegetables and trees and was sustained with purified water and air, nutrient-rich soil, and filtered light – a seemingly ideal habitat.

However, the perfect environment did not produce perfect results.

After a period of time, scientists noted a baffling phenomenon. After reaching a certain height, trees in the biosphere toppled over. This puzzled the scientists until they discovered a missing element in their biosphere. They forgot to include wind! Trees need wind to develop strong roots. When winds blow against trees, their root systems grow deeper, which support them as they grow taller.

We wish our lives could be lived in a virtual biosphere, free from the tensions and strains of outside influences. Yet, when daily challenges push against us, they are strengthening our “roots” and producing true patience and endurance, which will equip us for the journey ahead.

So if we bubble-wrap our kids, protecting them from all of life’s struggles, we are setting them up to topple over as adults. They will never develop deep roots of character, perseverance, and resiliency. Without trial-and-error learning, they won’t develop the problem solving skills they need as adults. And, most importantly, we risk losing the opportunity of teaching them to turn to God for help, which deepens their spiritual roots.

Remove the protective layer and allow their roots to grow deep so they will one day stand independently and tall!

“Happy is the person who can hold up under the trials of life…” James 1:12a

 

Keep Your Eyes on God ~ not your difficulties

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Eyes on God

“Then Peter called to him: ‘Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.’ ‘All right,’ the Lord said, ‘come along!’ So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.”

Matthew 14:28 – 30 TLB

We may not walk on water, but we do walk through periods of tumultuous circumstances in life. If we focus on the swirling waves of difficulties surrounding us, we can easily feel like we are being swallowed up by the surge of life’s problems.

Peter experienced a rather unusual example of God’s power when he went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. His faith in Jesus gave him the courage to throw his leg over the side of the boat and step out into the stormy sea.  However, his faith wavered when he realized what he was doing. Once he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the crushing waves around him, he began to sink.

Like Peter, we often start out with great intentions. We may be “prayed up” and filled with holy confidence before we begin to face the day. But once we wade into the undulating sea of life, our faith begins to falter, and we sink in despair. We feel ill-equipped to navigate the storms that batter us. Yet this doesn’t mean that we have failed. When Peter’s faith faltered, he immediately reached out to Jesus. In his time of greatest fear, he called on his Savior to rescue him.

When you are afraid of the troubles that swirl around you, keep your eyes on Jesus’ power rather than your own inadequacies. Call out to Him for help, and He will rescue you from the stormy seas.

“We have to pray with our eyes on God ~ not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:31-33

God’s Help When You’re In Over Your Head

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Bottomless sea

A personal message from your Heavenly Father:

“But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place…
    the One who got you started…:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you…:
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.”

Isaiah 43:2 – 3 (MSG)

So today if you are experiencing deep waters of difficulty, and you feel like you’re in way over your head, don’t be afraid and don’t lose hope. God knows you by name, and He knows every messy detail of your life. He’s right beside you in the rough waters, and He will bring you safely through them ~ You will not go down. This feeling you have, like you’re between a rock and a hard place, is only temporary. God has big plans for your future, and He can use everything you’re experiencing for your good. Your Savior paid a huge price just for you ~ That’s how much you mean to Him! That’s how much He loves you! Trust that He is capable of bringing you through this tumultuous period. Nothing is impossible for Him, and there is no limit to the boundless strength He can provide for you. With Him by your side, you can endure anything.

“Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming”…with God!

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  • “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1 – 3 (NLT)
  • “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6 (NIV)
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)
  • “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28(NLT)
     

Nothing is Impossible

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Nothing is impossible

 

“So the impossible is possible with God.”

Luke 1:37 (VOICE)

With God, nothing is impossible! What an encouraging, universal truth. Though the demands you face today may seem insurmountable in light of your own limitations and weaknesses, remind yourself that The God of All Possibilities is right beside you, as an ever-present help. He simply asks that you trust Him and stay connected to His limitless resources through each moment of the day. When anxiety invades your thoughts and you feel overwhelmed, turn your attention away from obstacles and difficulties and focus on His capabilities, rather than your inabilities. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. Remember that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever imagine or request in your wildest dreams. 

If your life’s purposes and actions are directly aligned with God’s will, nothing can derail you. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, every moment of your day. Trust Him to illuminate each step of your journey and to equip you to handle any problems that come your way. It’s through your weaknesses that God displays His infinite strength, so His power working through you is an unstoppable combination!

  • “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
  • “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
  • “God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide?” Psalm 46:1 (VOICE)
  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
  • “But he said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIRV)
  • “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

Soul Strength

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Sails to a ship

 

 

“On the day I needed You,
I called, and You responded 
and infused my soul with strength.”
Psalm 138:3 (VOICE)
 

 Do you need an infusion of strength in your soul? Then plug into your Divine Power Source through prayer.

Prayer is your direct connection to God.  It is sharing what’s on your heart with your Heavenly Father ~ not that God doesn’t already know what’s on your heart, because He knows that better than you can even express it to Him. But by expressing your heart’s desires to Him, you acknowledge your dependence on Him and your gratitude for His blessings and help. In fact, one of the shortest verses in all the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) says simply, “Pray continually.” So in other words, in all circumstances, never stop talking to God and sharing your heart with Him.

  • When you are worried, pray.
  • When you are afraid, pray.
  • When you are thankful, pray.
  • When you are sick, pray.
  • When you’re in need, pray.
  • When you’re heartbroken, pray.
  • When you are confused, pray.
  • When you are happy, pray.
  • When you need courage, pray.
  • When you need comfort, pray.
  • When you need forgiveness, pray.

Even though God doesn’t always answer your prayers in the exact way you think He should, you can be confident that:

  • He bends down to listen ~ “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalm 116:2 (NLT)
  • He hears your prayers~ “We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan.” 1 John 5:14 (VOICE) 
  • And He answers your prayers ~  “I will answer their prayers before they finish praying.” Isaiah 65:24 (CEV)

So tap into your heavenly source of soul strength through prayer, and remember this good advice, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Phil 4:6 (MSG)

“Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

“You can get anything—anything you ask for in prayer—if you believe.” Matthew 21:22 (TLB)

On We Go!

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Go Forward

 

 

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water 
so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”
Exodus 14:15 – 16 (NIV)
 

Is God telling you to “move on” today? Is there something you have been praying about, and you sense that God has told you to move in a direction that seems humanly impossible? You can always be sure that if God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.  If you listen carefully to your Heavenly Father’s divine directives and follow His guidance, He can turn dead ends into miraculous detours.

With mountains on one side and the red sea at their backs, the Israelites felt trapped as Pharaoh’s pursuing army closed in on them.  There was no obvious route for their escape, and the people were terrified. But God told Moses to stop crying out to Him and start moving…into the direction of the Red Sea!  The people had no idea that God would part the sea for them to cross on dry land.  As God’s chosen leader, Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14: 13)  Moses had just witnessed God’s incredible deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt, and he had faith that God would again protect His children and provide a way of escape from the approaching army. Moses obeyed God’s command, raised his staff, stretched out his hand over the sea, and watched the miracle unfold before his eyes as the sea parted and made a way of escape for God’s children.

So there comes a time when we need to stop praying and start doing. If Moses had doubted God’s directives and continued praying for another answer, the Israelites might have been doomed. Often we refrain from doing whatever God is calling us to do because we are fearful and we doubt our abilities.  But even in your most desperate situations, you can be sure that God is whispering in your ear, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsakeyou.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)  So with God by your side, you can have confidence to move on. Absolutely nothing is impossible for the God of all possibilities.  Never doubt His power nor His abilities.  His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His solutions are beyond our imagination. God’s greatest work is accomplished through our weaknesses.  When we are weak, He is strong, and in our weaknesses God can shine!  On we go!

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 (NLT)