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Posts tagged ‘Apostle Paul’

Is a New Grace Reformation Taking Place Today?.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Is there a new reformation sweeping the Church today, a reformation as radical and important as the Protestant Reformation that rocked the world 500 years ago? According to a growing number of Christian leaders, the answer is emphatically yes.

Pastor Clark Whitten, author of Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated  Grace, claims that, “Little has changed in the Protestant church in more than 500 years” – until now, that is. He believes that Luther and Calvin “got it right concerning justification, or how one is saved. . . . But they missed it on sanctification, or how one is perfected into the likeness of Christ.”

Whitten states that Luther and Calvin, followed by the Protestant Church ever since, taught a doctrine of “saved by grace but perfected by human effort,” an approach that has produced “a Church that is judgmental, angry, hopeless, helpless, dependent, fearful, uninspired, ineffective, and perpetually spiritually immature.”

Because of this, Whitten claims, we have failed to impact our culture and have become a laughingstock to most “casual observers.” And Pastor Whitten contends that this doctrine has also brought, “personal devastation” to countless believers who have consequently checked out on Church (or on God Himself).

John Crowder, in his book Mystical Union, claims that, “Just as there is a new mysticism on the rise, I believe it is coupled with a new reformation. The good news will be preached with such clarity that, even the days of Luther will seem utterly primitive in its concepts of grace and faith.”

Indeed, Crowder writes that “a clarity is coming to the preaching of the gospel like has not been heard since the days of the Apostle Paul.”

Other modern grace teachers share similar sentiments. In his book GRACE, the Forbidden Gospel, Andre van der Merwe writes, “Once again in the church there is a struggle for a theological reformation that will liberate believers to break free from the yoke of bondage that has been put on the children of God by people who may have had good intentions, but that have only taught the religious doctrines and traditions that they themselves have been taught.”

His prayer is that his book will “destroy the religious arguments and doctrines of demons forever,” referring to whatever teaching contradicts this allegedly new revelation of grace. That’s why the full title of his book is GRACE, the Forbidden Gospel: Jesus Tore the Veil. Religion Sewed it Back Up, and that’s why Pastor Joseph Prince, perhaps the best known modern grace preacher, calls this a “Gospel Revolution.”

Could it be, then, that there really is a grace reformation sweeping the Body today? Could it be that the Church has been so stuck in legalistic religion for the last 500 years that nothing less than a radical reformation can get us out of the rut?

It seems clear that many believers have been caught up in externally imposed religion (which is the essence of legalism), seeking to please God by following an endless list of “do’s” and “don’t’s,” never being certain of the Father’s love and looking first to their own efforts rather than looking first to the cross. Consequently, they are always falling short and never walking in the abundant life that Jesus has for them.

Within a two-day span, I heard from two women, both friends of our family and former students in our ministry school, both married with children and active in God’s service. One wrote this: “I am one of many who have been changed drastically and fantastically by the ‘grace message.’  Judging by the amazing fruit of it in my life and my family’s life as we have gone through some very hard times, it is the fruit of the true grace message.”

Speaking of one well-known, modern grace teacher, she explained that while she only agreed with about 80% of what he taught, she said that “I feel like I have taken a bath and glimpsed the beauty of Jesus and what he did for me almost every time I hear him.” This is wonderful to hear, and I do not want to tamper with something so sacred and liberating.

The other ministry school grad wrote this: “I can say for me, I sure tried, and worked, and failed. Finally, almost three years ago, I finally had a ‘Grace encounter’ that changed my life. Can honestly say I’m more free, more confident, and more ‘sin-LESS’ than I’ve ever been. If that makes sense.”

This is from the Lord!

Sadly, I have met many believers who have struggled with legalism and performance-based religion, and when I hear today that, through a revelation of God’s grace, they are now living in intimacy with the Lord and overflowing with joy at His great love for them, I am thrilled.

That is truly wonderful news, and it indicates that, for many, there is a need for a fresh infusion of anointed teaching on the beauty and glory and wonder of God’s amazing grace.

At the same time, I constantly hear stories from believers and leaders concerned about the modern grace message, like this one: “I have seen the effects of this message on my own loved ones. It has ruined our family and caused many of them who loved the Lord to stray.”

And this, “We have seen this up close and personal with some of our family members. Very destructive things are going on.”

And this, from a pastor, who spoke of “the three close male friends I have had in the past, all three from the grace side; two were unfaithful and then left their wives and the third just left. I have had no one close in the grace group (forgive my terms) displaying good lasting fruit.”

One young man, who had served together with a well-known hyper-grace leader wrote to me at length, wanting me to understand just how bad things were: “I heard more ‘F’ and ‘S’ words in that movement than anywhere else in my entire life.  After all, you’re ‘legalistic’ if you EVER tell someone to ‘not’ do something.”

Is this simply a matter of the modern grace message being abused?

Honestly, I wish that was the case, since I love the message of grace and it would be a shame if pastors and leaders drew back from preaching grace because it was abused.

But the truth is that the modern grace message is quite mixed, combining life-changing, Jesus-exalting revelation with serious misinterpretation of Scripture, bad theology, divisive and destructive rhetoric, and even fleshly reaction. And, in all too many cases, it is being embraced by believers who are not just looking for freedom from legalism but also freedom from God’s standards.

There is no doubt in my mind, then, that the notion of a “grace reformation” (or “grace revolution”) is highly exaggerated, that some of this new grace teaching is unbalanced, overstated, at times unbiblical, and sometimes downright dangerous – and I mean dangerous to the well-being of the Body of Christ.

In short, I do not believe that we are witnessing a new grace reformation. I believe we are witnessing the rise of a hyper-grace movement, filled with its own brand of legalistic judgmentalism, mixing some life-giving truth from the Word with some destructive error.

And that’s why I wrote Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message, a book for grace lovers, not grace haters, a book for those who embrace both grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). Does that describe you?

(Excerpted and adapted from Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Looking for a Fresh New Start?.


Are you looking for change, a fresh new start? Isn’t it wonderful to know as you begin this New Year that you have God‘s Spirit with you, His Spirit carrying you, leading you, and guiding you? Do you realize that this New Year can be a year in which you can serve God with a fresh new excitement? As you’re walking with Him and being obedient to Him, you will feel the sense of His pleasure in your life.

Pleasure doesn’t come in the pursuit of happiness, but in the pursuit of holiness. Far too many miss God’s divine plan for their lives as they’re bent on pursuing all the things in this world, hoping to find some sense of joy.

As you set new goals, new priorities for the days ahead, check out where God is in your plans, in your decision-making. What’s on your calendar for today, this week, this month, this year that will make any difference for the Kingdom?

Oh, Beloved, wouldn’t you like to know that at the end of your life…not to mention the end of this day, the end of this year…you could declare, as the apostle Paul did, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)?

Wouldn’t you like to be assured that you could experience all the difficult situations Paul faced and say in total sincerity and truth, without one drop of egotism, Follow me, be an imitator of me, even as I am of Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17)? Can you imagine having such confidence?

How can you stand with such confidence as Paul did when you’re wrestling today with all the uncertainties of life, all the struggles, all the challenges that seem to keep coming your way? My friend, no matter what changes are occurring with your job, in your family, in our nation, there is only one stabilizing factor upon which you can rest: your God. He is the immovable Rock. You can hide in Him.

One thing will always remain: God. And because He is immutable-unchanging-He will always be the same, and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He is always there with arms opened wide, your everlasting Father God. With this New Year, cling to the fact that He will never change.

Are you troubled, is fear lurking in the shadows of your consciousness? Do you feel insecure about anything at all? Run to your protector, the One who stands waiting for you to come bury yourself in the security of all He is.

Remember, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). In this New Year, where will you run? Will it be to food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, another man? When the hounds of trouble, worry, and fear pursue you; when the dogs of temptation, corruption, and evil seek to overtake you; when your energy is spent; when weakness saps you; when you feel you cannot run any longer, where do you turn? Who is your refuge?

If you desire a fresh new start, determine He will be the One you will run to. Run to Him and bury yourself in the security of all He is.

The goal of Paul’s life was “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10). What goals do you have this year? Do you make New Year’s resolutions but never keep them? I pray the goal of your life will be as Paul’s that “you know Him.”

What’s going to keep you from knowing Christ? What’s keeping you from going deeper in His Word? There’s so much to learn in the Word of God, and yet we want all these frivolous other things around us, instead of paying the price to spend time studying the Bible.

What is it that keeps you from paying the price? Is it the love of things? Is it the demand of things? Start keeping a running log for the next few days and look at how much time you’re spending in the Word of God. I’m not talking about reading and having your three minutes a day. But I’m talking about getting to know the Word of God, studying it precept upon precept; Truth upon Truth.

Start today, keep a log and record your study time. Keep a pad beside your bed or keep it by a chair or wherever you’re going to study. Write down how much time you’ve spent each day for a week and then check yourself and add up that time. Then add up the number of hours in the day and subtract how many hours you need to sleep. And then look at the hours that you have left. What portion of your day do you give to the Lord?

What portion of your time does He have? How much television are you watching? How much time to sports are you devoting? What are you doing with your time? Stop and evaluate it, because someday, Beloved, you’re going to give an account to the One that said we are to redeem the time.

We’re not to let things control our life; rather we are to control the things in our life. We must redeem the time.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

O Beloved, get on your knees this week, start this New Year right. Ask God to show you what you need to change to spend more time with Him. He has given you a fresh new start!

Kay Arthur
Host, Precepts For Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International

A new year to be driven by love…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
-Ephesians 4:2

A while back, I was in Greece following the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, and we finished the trip in Athens on a hill near the Areopagus where you can see the Parthenon and the Acropolis in the background, and all the white buildings. There, I preached a sermon called “Paul: The Apostle of Love.”

And that’s exactly who Paul was. Paul was an apostle of love. Many people read Paul’s writings and they think he was strict or stern because of some of the language he uses. But truly, when you read Paul’s letters and read Paul’s story, the message that comes across over and over again is the grace and love of God towards us and the grace and love of God we ought to show towards one another. It is the same message that Jesus had – the love of God and the love of your neighbor.

This was what Paul was driven by: He was driven by the love of God that was shown to him in the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul believed that if God gave Jesus for Paul, then God loves Paul as much as He loves Jesus. And if that’s true, it also means that God loves you as much as God loves Jesus.

In 2014, let’s put sharing God’s love with others at the top of our lists of “things to do.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for your unending love and for showing your love to me through your Son, Jesus Christ. Without your love, I would be lost. Help me to share that same love with everyone I meet. Amen.

Devotion: How do you show God’s love to others?

Being transformed by trust…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“For in Him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
-Acts 17:28

When the Apostle Paul traveled throughout Athens preaching the message of the love of God, he would say, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Paul would say to them, “I worship a God who is not any of these things: He can’t be found in marble. He can’t be found in gold and He can’t be found in vain philosophy. But He stands here right now and He calls us His offspring.” In Acts 17, he says, “My friends, you’ve made this way too complicated. You’re God’s kids. He’s alive. He wants you. He loves you and he calls you to serve him.”

If you read enough of Paul and the words of Jesus, you get the idea that almost all of our problems in this world come from one problem: We just do not know how to receive the love and grace of God. Paul seems to hit on this theme repeatedly in all of his letters – that all of the sin, mistakes, problems, hurt, and evil in the world comes back to this one problem: People do not know – in our heads, hearts, and bones – the truth and the depth of the love of God.

I see this image of Paul anguishing in the knowledge of what could be if people could just trust in Christ. Today, w e, too, may trust in the cross of Christ, in the resurrection, in a God who loves us, who believes in us, who wants to lift us up, transform us, and carry us into his kingdom of faith, hope, and love.

Prayer: Dear Lord, your kingdom is where I want to live. Love me, lift me up, and transform me into the person you want me to be today. Amen.

Devotion: How has God in your life transformed the way you live today?

7 Habits of Joyful Pastors.


Joyful pastors also love to worship

Joyful pastors also love to worship. (Lightstock)

I have in front of me the names of 20 pastors I know well. It did not take me long to assemble the names by the specific trait I was seeking. Simply said, I wanted to find out what names I would write if I were looking for pastors who are joyful. The list was simple, easy and fun. Just noting each of their names brought a smile to my face.

Yes, I understand that such an exercise is highly subjective. I would not put my evidence before the rigors of scientific research. But I still think the results are worthy of note.

Having gathered the names, I then asked these questions: Why do I think each of these pastors is joyful? More specifically, what traits do I see in them that illustrate the joy that they have? I noted seven such traits.

1. They read their Bible daily. Their time in the Word is above and beyond sermon preparation time or teaching preparation time. They make certain they read and study the Bible for their own edification and spiritual growth.

2. They have a daily prayer time. All of them have quiet times alone with God. Many of them include their spouses in additional prayer times. They feel they cannot be the servants that God has called them to be unless they are in regular conversations with the God they serve.

3. They put their family time on their calendars. I mean that literally. They make certain that their children and spouses have time with them. Most of them have regular dates with their spouses and specific plans for their children each week.

4. They have a long-term perspective. These pastors understand that the criticism of today will be a non-issue tomorrow. They don’t feel the need to make disruptive changes because they have the luxury of an incremental pace. And they tend to develop rich relationships with members in the church because they plan to be around a while.

5. They love to work with and help other churches. They have no sense of competition with other churches in the community. Indeed, they willingly and gladly work alongside them. They have great relationships with fellow pastors who serve in the same ministry area.

6. They have a great sense of humor. I have spoken to each of the twenty pastors on my list on numerous occasions. It is rare for our conversations to end without some healthy laughter. These pastors take their ministries seriously, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are willing and eager to laugh at themselves.

7. They rarely blame others or their circumstances. These pastors never have a victim mentality. They take responsibility for their ministries and others. It is rare to hear them complain or engage in conversations about the inadequacies of others or the rotten situation they encountered.

The Apostle Paul wrote from a prison to the Philippian church: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4, HCSB). His joy was not dependent on his circumstances. His joy was not measured by successes of human metrics. His joy was simply but profoundly in the Lord. So it is with these pastors.

They represent churches in 15 states. They serve in churches as small as 75 in attendance and as large as multiple thousands. Some have been in very difficult situations, while others have not. Regardless of their lot, they have all found joy in the Lord. The seven traits above are both the result of their joy and the cause of it.

These pastors are my heroes. I need to learn so much more from them.

Written by Thom S. Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

 

No greater cure….


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
-Psalm 29:11

There is something in my life that I treasure more than any other thing. I treasure this one thing – that God loved me before I was born. Before I was born, God was looking forward to me being born. He was excited about the fact that I was born and that I live in this world.

That’s how God feels about you, too. When your mother was pregnant with you, God was thinking, “I can’t wait until this baby is born. And I can’t wait to have a personal relationship with this new life.” A proud, loving, and good Father, the Lord sees in you what nobody else can see, believes in you when nobody else believes, and loves you to an extent that cannot end.

The apostle Paul tells us that our suffering turns into perseverance, and our perseverance turns to character, and our character turns to hope. That happens because the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, is injected into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no greater cure to all of the ills, all the turmoil in the world around us, than the human heart being brought to a peaceful shalom place because of the love of God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me from the very moment I was conceived. Through your love, I feel a peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

Devotion: How does God’s love for you bring you peace?

What If?.


Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5

Recommended Reading
1 Timothy 3:16 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Timothy%203:16&version=NKJV )

The late Dr. D. James Kennedy and his co-author Jerry Newcombe wrote an important book in 1994 titled  What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?  In sixteen chapters, they thoroughly document the impact of Christianity on our world: the value of human life, the poor, education, civil liberties, science, economics, the family, medicine, morality, and the arts. It is staggering to consider what the world might be like without genuine Christian faith.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

As we approach the celebration of Christ‘s birth this month, it is also important to consider what our personal lives would have been like without the first Christmas. That is, What if God had not entered into the human realm in the person of Christ? The apostle Paul says plainly that we “were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Every human being ever born has been in that condition (Romans 3:23). What if the world today contained only unregenerate people, dead in their sins?

Yes, many are still in that condition, but I pray you are not. If you have accepted Christ, your sins have been washed away, and you have been born again into a new life through faith in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, who came to rescue this world.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
2 Thessalonians 1-3

By David Jeremiah.

What Should We Be Most Grateful For This Thanksgiving?.


Carey Kinsolving

In reading Thanksgiving poems, I came across this clever writing by Edgar A. Guest“When turkey’s on the table lain, / And good things I may scan, / I’m thankful that I wasn’t made / A vegetarian.”

Vegetarians and carnivores alike should be grateful for this Thanksgiving prayer written by Steve, 10: “Dear Lord, thank you for my dear family and that none of them have been hurt physically. Thank you for my food, clothes and house. Lord, I especially pray for our police officers, our country and president. Give him wisdom to make the right choices.

“Thank you for sending your son to die for us. Thank you for all my blessings. Amen!”

The Apostle Paul called for all Christians to pray for “kings and all who are in authority” (I Timothy 2:1). All Christians, regardless of your political persuasion, should pray for the president, his cabinet, the Congress, governors, military leaders, fire fighters, police officers and other government authorities.

I confess that I often take for granted the peaceful conditions in which I live in South Texas. All I have to do is travel about 30 miles to the Mexican border to realize why I should be giving thanks. If you ever have an opportunity to befriend a police officer, you’ll learn about the challenges the police face every day so that we can live in peace.

Even if you don’t patrol the streets with a gun in your holster, you can pull the trigger in the spiritual realm by praying for those in authority. The Bible tells us there’s a realm where demonic rulers war against God‘s angels and God’s people for the control of nations (Daniel 10:4-14). The battle is hot, the casualties are real and the consequences eternal.

Let’s be thankful for victory in the greatest battle, says Karla, 11: “This Thanksgiving, we should be grateful for what the Lord has done for us, and what he let his wonderful, loving son do for us. Jesus Christ gave his life for our sins without complaining or even worrying what would happen to him. Even though Jesus Christ died at 33, he still lives inside of all of us, if you let him in.”

I’m glad you made it clear, Karla, that Jesus lives today.

Be grateful that Jesus looked evil in the eye and didn’t blink. When falsely accused at his trials, he didn’t answer. When mocked and spit upon, he refused to retaliate. When nailed to a cross, he asked his Father to forgive his tormentors. But when placed in a tomb after his murderers thought they had won, he burst the bonds of death to give eternal life to all who believe in him.

“This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for being safe,” says Shelby, 11. “I am part of a great American body and under God’s control. I am thankful that God is a part of me, and I can trust he will take care of me. I will keep trusting God.”

We’re glad to be Americans, but we must remember that America is not unshakeable or eternal. Everyone who belongs to Jesus, however, is part of an everlasting kingdom. As the Bible says, “So let us be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken,” (Hebrews 12:28 NCV).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Listen to a talking book, download the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free, watch Kid TV Interviews and the Mission Explorers Documentary at http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CAREY KINSOLVING

Publication date: November 15, 2013

Why is Reading the Bible so Important?.


Is it not remarkable how often Jesus settled great issues with a reference to reading? For example, in the issue of the Sabbath he said, “Have you not readwhat David did?” (Matthew 12:3). In the issue of divorce and remarriage he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4). In the issue of true worship and praise he said, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have prepared praise for yourself’?” (Matthew 21:16). In the issue of the resurrection he said, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?” (Matthew 21:42). And to the lawyer who queried him about eternal life he said, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” (Luke 10:26).

The apostle Paul also gave reading a great place in the life of the church. For example, he said to the Corinthians, “We write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end” (1 Corinthians 1:13). To the Ephesians he said, “When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3). To the Colossians he said, “When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:16). Reading the letters of Paul was so important that he commands it with an oath: “I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren” (1 Thessalonians 5:27).

The ability to read does not come intuitively. It must be taught. And learning to read with understanding is a life-long labor. The implications for Christians are immense. Education of the mind in the rigorous discipline of thoughtful reading is a primary goal of school. The church of Jesus is debilitated when his people are lulled into thinking that it is humble or democratic or relevant to give a merely practical education that does not involve the rigorous training of the mind to think hard and to construe meaning from difficult texts.

The issue of earning a living is not nearly so important as whether the next generation has direct access to the meaning of the Word of God. We need an education that puts the highest premium under God on knowing the meaning of God’s Book, and growing in the abilities that will unlock its riches for a lifetime. It would be better to starve for lack of food than to fail to grasp the meaning of the book of Romans. Lord, let us not fail the next generation!

Taken from “A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind” by Desiring God Ministries (used by permission).

John Piper

Give Thanks in Suffering.


How to Find the Hidden Gift in Your Pain

Giving thanks when you’re suffering seems like an idea so far-fetched nobody could take it seriously, yet that is exactly what God asks us to do.

The apostle Paul, who knew more than his share of sorrow, counseled his young apprentice Timothy to do just that:

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

Paul understood the spiritual benefit of giving thanks when you’re hurting.  It takes your focus off yourself and puts it on God.  But how, in the middle of our pain, can we possibly give thanks?

Let the Holy Spirit Speak for You

Paul was well aware of what he could and couldn’t do.  He knew his missionary work was far beyond his natural strength, so he relied heavily on the power of the Holy Spirit within him.

It’s the same with us.  Only when we stop struggling and surrender to God can we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.  When we become a conduit for the Spirit’s power, God helps us do impossible things, like give thanks even when we’re hurting.

Humanly speaking, you may not see anything you can be grateful for right now.  Your circumstances are miserable, and you’re desperately praying they will change.  God hears you.  In a very real sense, though, you are focusing on the bigness of your circumstances and not on the bigness of God.  God is all-powerful.  He may allow your situation to continue, but know this: God is in control, not your circumstances.

I tell you this not by theory but by my own painful past.  When I was unemployed for 18 months, it didn’t seem God was in control.  When important relationships fell apart, I couldn’t understand. When my father died in 1995, I felt lost.

I had cancer in 1976.  I was 25 years old and could not give thanks.  In 2011 when I had cancer again, I was able to give thanks to God, not for the cancer, of course, but for his steady, loving hand through it all.  The difference was that I was able to look back and see that no matter what happened to me in the past, God was with me and he brought me through it.

As you give yourself to God, he will help you through this hard time you are in now.  One of God’s goals for you is to make you totally dependent on him.  The more you depend on him and sense his support, the more you will want to give thanks.

One Thing Satan Hates

If there’s one thing Satan hates, it’s when believers trust God.  Satan encourages us to trust our emotions instead.  He wants us to put our faith infearworrydepression, and doubt.

Jesus Christ encountered this many times in his owndisciples.  He told them not to be afraid but to believe.  Negative emotions are so strong that they skew our judgment.  We forget it is God who is reliable, not our feelings.

That’s why, when you’re hurting, it’s wise to read the Bible.  You may not feel like it.  It may be the last thing you want to do, and it’s the last thing Satan wants you to do, but again, there’s an important reason to.  It brings your focus away from your emotions and back onto God.

There is power in God’s Word to fend off Satan’s attacks and power to remind you of God’s love for you.  When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus drove him off by quoting Scripture.  Our emotions can lie to us.  The Bible never does.

When you’re going through trouble, Satan wants you to blame God.  In the middle of Job’sworst trials, even his wife said to him, “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9, NIV)  Later, Job showed extraordinary faith when he promised, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;” (Job 13:15a, NIV)

Your hope is in God in this life and the next.  Never forget that.

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Giving thanks when you’re hurting is another one of those tasks we don’t want to do, like dieting or going to the dentist, but it’s immensely more important because it brings you intoGod’s will for you.  Obeying God is not always easy, but it is always worthwhile.

We seldom grow more intimate with God during good times.  Pain has a way of drawing us close to him, making God so real we feel we can reach out and touch him.

You don’t have to give thanks for the thing afflicting you, but you can be grateful for God’s faithful presence.  When you approach it that way, you’ll find that thanking God when you’re hurting does make perfect sense.

More on How to Give Thanks When You’re Hurting

By 

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack’s Bio Page.

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