VIDEO Keeping Faith in Trials, Temptation and Tough Times

 

 

Trials knock at our heart and surround us. Temptations set in, hoping we’ll feel the pressure. Tough times come right after a moment of joy or small victory.

We toss and turn at night, wondering how these things work their way into our thoughts, into our dreams.

It starts to feel like we’re in a batting cage struggling to hit the balls being fired at us. It gets exhausting.

This is life in the world. It requires a continuous and active choice to choose God. To keep faith. To say, “I’m sorry.” To move ahead in hope rather than despair.

It’s the battle of living by faith.

Last week I had to do this over and over again. Unfortunately I allowed temptation to work on my mind and made choices based on emotions, feelings of “Who needs this?” and more, but I don’t write that to wallow in defeat.

I write that because there is so much hope ahead.

Jesus Christ is the good shepherd. When we ask Him into our heart, He showers us with His unconditional love and devotion. He does not leave us. He sees us start over again and again. He sees us struggle with the desire to grow closer to God.

We have nothing to fear.

KEEPING FAITH IN HARD TIMES

Going by faith — or, really living by faith — is about the free-will choice to trust God and choose His way over our own.

And it’s about keeping that faith, not just in times of peace, but in times when life feels grindy. In times when we want to give up or choose another path.

I’d love to say I get this right all the time, but I don’t.

I want to.

In fact, just after writing two blog posts about living by faith and genuinely desiring it in my life, I felt riddled with jabbing trials and temptations.

In each situation it seemed like I could see the problem clear enough to choose otherwise. I could see there was a way out, but then temptation blew in over and over.

It whispered all the thoughts my “self” wanted to hear. Words like “just give up,” “feel bad” or “who needs that crap.” (Sorry — that’s how temptation sounds in my ear at times.)

And why are these defeating thoughts even tempting? Maybe because it feels like “someone understands” — Yes, right, just give up; I totally should!

But who is the “someone who understands”? Would God draw near in a trying time and whisper, “Just give up”?

STAY STRONG IN THE WORD

Even — and maybe even especially — when we most desire to live God’s way, battles attempt to set up camp in our heart.

In this same week, the Bible Verse of the Day dealt with keeping faith in tough times. GoingByFaith Facebook followers saw the updates:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

And then came this one…

“[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

We wonder what “out” could come our way half-heartedly. We want to believe it, but we don’t know if we can.

And right there… right in that moment… that’s where a spiritual battle begins. In that exact moment, keeping faith means everything. Can I believe God? Or should I believe what I see based on the day-to-day world.

There’s that moment to choose. And often we have to go against everything that feels natural within us to choose good.

7 BIBLE VERSES FOR KEEPING FAITH WHEN FEELING WEAK

Here’s the best part — Bible verses for keeping faith in weakness.

The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (Psalm 105:4)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. (Acts 27:25)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I CAN PRAY FOR YOU DURING CHALLENGING TIMES.

by Jenn

Keeping Faith in Trials, Temptation and Tough Times


Rick Renner — How To Stay In Faith


 

No Line to Love

Today's Devotional

I have made you and I will carry you. Isaiah 46:4

Sometimes when my Labrador retriever wants attention, he’ll take something of mine and parade it in front of me. One morning as I was writing at the desk with my back turned, Max snatched my wallet and ran off. But realizing I hadn’t seen him do it, he returned and nudged me with his nose—wallet in mouth, eyes dancing, tail wagging, taunting me to play.

Max’s antics made me laugh, but they also reminded me of my limitations when it comes to being attentive to others. So often I’ve intended to spend time with family or friends, but other things occupy my time and awareness; and before I know it the day slips away and love is left undone.

How comforting to know that our heavenly Father is so great that He’s able to attend to each of us in the most intimate ways—even sustaining every breath in our lungs for as long as we live. He promises His people, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you” (Isaiah 46:4).

God always has time for us. He understands every detail of our circumstances—no matter how complex or difficult—and is there whenever we call on Him in prayer. We never have to wait in line for our Savior’s unlimited love.

By: James Banks

Reflect & Pray

In what ways does God take care of your daily needs? How can you share His love with others?

You always have time for me, Jesus. Please help me to live every moment for You!

Know God

Philippians 3:8-14

It is possible for a husband to live with his wife for 50 years, eat at the same table, and share the same routine but never really understand her. In the same way, we can attend church and read books about the Lord without truly knowing our Creator. We get to know God by spending time in His presence and reading what He reveals about Himself in His Word.

For example, Matthew 1:23 calls the Lord Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus promised, “I will not leave you as orphans … I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:18-20). Scripture also describes Him as our “very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). God isn’t some distant, future rescuer; He is here and involved now (Psalm 32:7). God is the rock where we can find shelter, stability, and strength (Psalm 62:2; Isa. 40:31).

Getting to know God isn’t something that happens automatically. It comes through spending time with Him and a lifelong journey of sanctification. If you’re curious about the Father and want to experience more of Him, pause now and ask the Holy Spirit to increase your knowledge and guide you.

View Paul’s Growth

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

Many times today we look at Paul and wish to be greatly used of God as he was. But Scripture teaches us that use of Paul as a role model requires a proper view of Paul—his humility and his submission to Christ.

Paul didn’t start out as a humble servant. In fact, before his conversion, he was quite proud of his pedigree (Philippians 3:4-6). He was the overseer at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58). He was fanatical, the haughty persecutor of the early church (8:3). In grace, he was informed of his error by “Jesus whom thou persecutest” (9:5), and soon Paul recognized the worthlessness of his background and human achievement, and counted all these things “but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

Once his view of Christ was proper, Paul’s view of himself began to decrease. In AD 56 or so, Paul, who had been set apart for a ministry to the Gentiles “from my mother’s womb” (Galatians 1:15), called himself “the least of the apostles, that am not meet [fit] to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).

While in prison several years later, Paul wrote to the Gentile churches he had founded, marveling that this ministry was given “unto me, who am less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8). Shortly before he was beheaded in prison for his faith, he testified “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

As Paul grew older, his evaluation of his own worth decreased. As one draws closer and closer to the light, he is able to see more clearly his own unworthiness. JDM

God Is In It

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

—Acts 4:29-30

 

Some are concerned because there are not more miracles and wonders wrought in our midst through faith. In our day, everything is commercialized. And I must say that I do not believe in commercialized miracles.

“Miracles, Incorporated”—you can have it!

“Healing, Incorporated”—you can have that, too!… I have my doubts about signs and wonders that have to be organized, that demand a letterhead and a president and a big trailer with lights and cameras. God is not in that!

But the person of faith who can go alone into the wilderness and get on his or her knees and command heaven—God is in that. The preacher who will dare to stand and let his preaching cost him something—God is in that. The Christian who is willing to put himself in a place where he must get the answer from God and God alone—the Lord is in that!   FBR033-034

Lord, forgive me for so often trying to box up my plans and organize Your work so it can all be controlled and explained. Take over, Lord, and do Your thing, not mine, today. Amen.

 

Purity of Truth Determined by Morals

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…think on these things.

—Philippians 4:8

 

The light has shone upon men and nations, and (God be praised) it has shone with sufficient clarity to enable millions to travel home in its glow; but no believer, however pure his heart or however obedient his life, has ever been able to receive it as it shines from the Throne unmodified by his own mental stuff.

As a lump of clay when grasped by the human hand remains clay but cannot escape the imprint of the hand, so the truth of God when grasped by the human mind remains truth but bears upon it the image of the mind that grasps it.

Truth cannot enter a passive mind. It must be received into the mind by an active mental response, and the act of receiving it tends to alter it to a greater or less degree….

Of course I refer here to theological and religious truth. How pure this truth is in any place at any given time is revealed by the moral standards of those who hold the truth….Spiritual truth (by which I mean the disclosures of the Holy Spirit to the human spirit) is always the same. BAM076-077

Wherever the Holy Spirit still comes, He will always be found witnessing to Jesus and honoring the Son of God. HS488

 

The Father of Mankind

1 Corinthians 8:6

There is one head in a family, one chief in a village, one emperor in a country and one God who rules over heaven and earth. This true God has all wisdom and power. He is full of mercy and loves us as His children.

Alas, we often forget about His grace and blessings and think only of ourselves. This is a dangerous way of life. Even though we are taught about God we sometimes feel far from Him.

A friend of mine left his family in the country and came to Tokyo where he spent several years. He then called all his family to join him. The man’s son, now eight years of age, was seen looking at his face in the mirror every day, and the father wondered why the boy was so interested in staring at himself. The boy replied, “I’m not sure whether you are my true father or not. I feel that you are, but I’m not sure. If you are my true father then I will bear some resemblance to you. So I look at my face in the mirror, and then I look at yours.”

The illustration fits. If we have been far from God, our Father, it is difficult to identify our true Father and to see any likeness to Him. Yet if we take time to think about it we see that we have wisdom, as God has all wisdom; that we have discernment to judge what is right and what is wrong, as God Himself is all-righteous; and that we have a heart with which to love others, as God Himself is full of love.

Human beings were made in the image of God, and we are His children. Moreover, God has so richly blessed us that we cannot tell how great His grace to us has been.

The greatest scholar or scientist finds it impossible to create a cupful of water out of nothing. But God generously gives us the water with which to wash, to drink. No matter how hard the farmer worked, he alone could not produce enough rice. Or what if God did not cause the plants to grow, or withheld the rain? We might complain that the price of rice or wheat is too high or too low, but without the grace of God there would be no rice or wheat to complain about. As one grain of rice or wheat shows, we depend utterly on God’s grace. To someone who strikes a match so that a man can see it is easy to say, “thank you.” Then why should it be so difficult to say “thank You” to the God who by the sun provides light for the whole of the day? How understanding we need to be about such things.

Gunpei Yamamuro, The Common People’s Gospel