Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

charles stanley Archive

Friday

21

October 2016

Hope Reflected: What to do in the face of Adversity

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what to do in the face of adversity

 

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Wise words regarding adversity from one of my favourite authours, C.S. Lewis. Inevitably, we all will face adversity in our lives at some point or another. While it may not be comforting, that’s a fact. Another fact? The key to facing adversity is how we react to it.

Proverbs 24:10 says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” It’s easy to say, but quite often when we face times of adversity, we wonder how we’ll make it through. One of the keys to facing adversity is remembering how to keep things in perspective. Whether you’re facing adversity spiritually, relationally, physically, or emotionally, there is hope.

The most important fact to remember in the face of adversity is that God can and will help you through the toughest times in your life, if you will put your trust in Him. In the face of adversity, here are three things to do:

  1. Ask the Lord what He’s trying to teach you. Is it patience? (This is a BIG one for me!) Is it humility? Is it trust? Whatever you’re going through, God’s got you. Whatever your current circumstances and situation, God will be there for you if you’ll put your trust in Him. Largely attributed to David – who, if you’re looking or a man who faced plenty of adversity throughout his life, check out the life of David in the Bible – Psalm 119 sheds light on seeking the Lord in times of adversity, especially in verse 71, “It is good or me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Perhaps there’s an area in your life where God is trying teach you or mature you. It seems like my life long I’ve been learning (and learning, and learning) the virtue of patience. Ask the Lord what He’s trying to teach you!
  2. Remind yourself that God is in control. Ecclesiastes 7:14 tells us, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider; God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Whatever you’re facing, God is in complete control. You know what makes that fact easier to accept? When you trust God completely. Trusting God with your whole heart brings a peace that I can’t even begin to describe. As the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  3. Submit, surrender, and fight the good fight. OK that’s three points in one, but you get the idea. In the face of adversity:
    1. Submit yourself to the Lord. For help with submission, see James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
    2. Surrender yourself to His will. In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus tells His disciples, “’If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’”
    3. Fight the good fight. 1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” See also 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” And finally, Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, those whom He has called according to His purpose.”

Whatever you’re dealing with today, and wherever this finds you, there is hope. God will provide for you, if you will trust in Him! I’ll close with this quote from Charles Stanley: “Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them.”

Originally published as “What to do in the face of adversity.” Minto Express. September 14, 2016. 5: Print.

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Wednesday

21

September 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Discouragement is a Choice

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discouragement is a choice

“Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.” Charles Stanley

It would be completely unrealistic to think that throughout our lives we’ll never experience disappointment. Yet, how often do we experience disappointment and then get discouraged, without realizing that taking the unnecessary detour of discouragement is actually a choice?

Disappointment is defined as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”

Discouragement is defined as “a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.”

It’s easy to see then how experiencing disappointment can lead to discouragement, right? Especially if we experience repeated disappointments; it can cause us to doubt our abilities, to question our circumstances, to choose discouragement.

Charles Stanley’s words, “Disappointments are inevitable. Discouragement is a choice.” are easy words to say, and hard to live. I know in my own life I often struggle with disappointment and discouragement. The key is not to stay there!

When you’re tempted to choose discouragement, remember these verses:

  • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
  • “The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7
  • “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
  • “Fear thou not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God; I will strengthen you, yes I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  • “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11
  • “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
  • “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
  • “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
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Friday

24

June 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Reasons to Start Doing Devotions – Devotions in the Christian Faith

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Charles Stanley once said that “a lack of joy in a Christian’s life often can be traced to a lack of concentrated devotional time in God’s Word.”

You’ve heard the adage, “six pack abs start in the kitchen,” and that’s true. So much of our overall physical health depends just as much (or more!) on what we eat than it does on how much physical exercise we get. The same can be said of our spiritual health. The condition of our spiritual life depends just as much or more on the time we spend in God’s Word, – the Bible, – and how much time we spend meditating on Him, than it does on how much time we spend trying to encourage others and think positive.

Devotional time. What are devotions in the Christian faith? By definition, devotion is “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.” Having a time of devotion or doing devotions is, in its simplest form, when you set aside time each day to get into the Bible to learn about God, and focus on Him. Devotions usually involve a reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, as well as the Psalms and Proverbs. Devotions typically focus on improving and growing our knowledge of the Lord and our relationship with Him, and most include a time of prayer.

Devotions are important to the Christian faith for several reasons, and here are three areas that devotions have especially impacted my life:

  1. Devotions help get my heart in the right place. As the Psalmist David said in Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV), “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” A successful relationship is not a one-way street. A relationship with God isn’t just me trusting in Him so nothing bad will ever happen or because I think it will benefit me. As a Christian, I have to pursue Him; I have to approach Him in reflection and with an open heart so that I can hear what God’s trying to teach me through His Word.
  2. Devotions help me slow down. Psalm 46:10 (KJV) says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” I can’t be still unless I take the time to slow down. Being still is a big part of a successful devotional time. Too often I find that if I’m in a rush or thinking ahead about everything that I have to accomplish today, my devotional time won’t be as meaningful and I won’t get as much out of it. Take time to really slow down; take time to “lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).
  3. Devotions help me grow by highlighting areas in my life that need correction. Psalm 26:2 (KJV) says, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Only God truly knows the intention of each heart, and asking Him to examine my heart helps me to keep things real and reveals that I am in desperate need of His help in every area of life. Proverbs 21:2 (KJV) says that “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.

If you’re looking to start a devotional time each day, a great place to begin is in the Psalms or Proverbs. There’s so much wisdom even just in these two books. There are 31 Proverbs, which is fitting to each day of the month, so you could choose to start today and read one Proverb each day throughout the month. A similar practice can be done with the Psalms. However you decide to do your devotions, the important part is getting started – God will speak to your heart if you’re open to hearing Him and what He has to say through His Word!

 

Originally published as “3 Reasons to Start Doing Devotions – Devotions in the Christian Life.” Minto Express. June 15, 2016: 5. Print.

 

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