Words of Inspiration
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33
Sometimes, the pressures of life seem to weigh us down. Even the most simple tasks or minor challenges overwhelm us, causing us to feel helpless and trapped against seemingly insurmountable adversities. When this happens, our defenses drop, doubt sets in, and, if we are not careful, we will become vulnerable to the schemes of Satan, who is always lurking in the shadows waiting for just such an opportunity (I Peter 5:8 NIV).
Adversity comes in many forms. It may present as a serious illness, the loss of a loved one, termination of employment, financial hardship, and so on, but we must never allow it to devastate or dominate our lives.
As believers, we have been given a way to triumph in times of adversity. It is through faith in Jesus Christ. Psalm 9:9 tells us that “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” And again, in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Believing on the Lord, and placing our total trust in Him gives us the strength to endure, and the power to overcome any hardship (I Corinthians 15:57, NIV).
There are those who believe that Christians do not experience adversity. This is not true! Many times, most of our challenges occur after we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. It is then that Satan pounces on us the hardest, seeking to “shake our faith” in hopes of disproving our true allegiance to God.
Overcoming adversity may seem impossible at times if we are not mentally and spiritually prepared to contend with the challenges that befall us. It is most beneficial to focus on the positive areas of our lives instead of the problems that loom before us. We must remain strong, and learn to be thankful in every situation (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV), regardless of how bleak the future may seem at the time, keeping in mind the promises of a Holy God who will never fail us; One who has promised to never leave us, or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). This means that we should never allow ourselves to become so weary and discouraged that we begin to doubt the goodness of God. Doing so renders us defenseless against the schemes of Satan. We must keep a positive attitude and remain prayerful so that we will be able to triumph in our times of adversity. (Ephesians 6:10-18, NIV).
In life, there will be challenges, but we, as believers, should remain faithful, shunning the desire to give in to the struggles and press forward, with courage, in the strength of the One who can deliver us from any obstacle, confident that He will see us through if we do not grow weary and lose heart. If we will remain steadfast, and learn to see beyond life's troubles, adversity can be transformed into prosperity (II Corinthians 6:10, NIV), because there is nothing too difficult for God! (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV).
Maintaining a positive and prayerful attitude demands courage and persistence. When adversity enters our lives, we must rise above discouragement and lean upon the promises of Jesus Christ, the One on Whom we can always depend. Only then will we be able to endure, and claim the unseen victory that awaits us.
~ Alberta L. Smith
Making Wise Choices
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on Your own understanding; 6In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
Every path we take in life is defined by the choices we make along the way. Choices are courses of action chosen from a set of alternatives in order to achieve a specific goal. There are right (good) and wrong (evil) choices and, consequences for every action taken. Right choices are characteristic of God, and bring us closer to accomplishing our goals in life. Wrong choices exemplify the devil, lessening the likelihood for success.
As created beings, the ability to choose wisely is difficult in our own strength, so, we must seek wisdom and guidance from a source more powerful and knowledgeable than ourselves (Proverbs 18:15; Isaiah 30:21).
The only One with more wisdom, knowledge and power than created beings is the Creator Himself, God Almighty (Psalm 147:5; Romans 11:33; 16:27). It is only through Him that we are able to accomplish anything worthwhile in life (Deuteronomy 8:18); therefore, the first and most important decision we should make for ourselves is to entrust our lives to Him, and surrender full control of our minds to the authority of His Sovereign will (Proverbs 3:5-6; II Corinthians 10:5).
Equally important to consider when making decisions is that our actions are influenced by our thoughts…mental processes by which we use our minds to form opinions, conceive ideas, take actions, reach conclusions and so on.
As believers, God wants, and expects us to think wholesome thoughts and make wise decisions in accordance with the principles set forth by Him in the Bible, His Holy Word, therefore, He empowered us with a “free will,” the capacity to distinguish between good and evil, so, unlike animals who behave by instinct, we have the ability to make decisions based upon intellect (Proverbs 13:16; 14:8, 15).
This does not mean however, that every choice we make is acceptable to God, for He knows that by nature, we are sinful and, for that reason, will not allow us to make decisions relating to matters outside the parameters of our human capabilities (Romans 8-8).
Making wise decisions requires not only wisdom, knowledge and discipline (Proverbs 23:23), but also courage and determination (Joshua 1:9), because, at some point in life, we (believers) will encounter negative influences…those people who will attempt to pollute our minds with their own anxious thoughts and insecurities (Psalm 73:7). Such people are messengers of Satan (Ephesians 6:12; I John 3:8), and, unless we are mentally and spiritually prepared to withstand their devious ploys (Deuteronomy 20:4; Ephes. 6:10-18), they will turn our world upside down!
As believers, we know that life is a challenge and, that nothing worthwhile comes by chance, but is attainable only through constant prayer (Philippians 4:6; I Thessalonians 5:17),) and faithful obedience to God (Luke 11:28; Acts 5:29).
With this in mind, we should make every effort to please God by seeking to know His will (Romans 12:2), praying for wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5), and putting it into practice (Proverbs 3:5-6), activating the mind of Christ in our lives (I Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5), and, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through us, (Romans 8:26-27; John 14:26; 16:13a), in all circumstances, to accomplish God’s purpose(s) for our lives (Philippians 2:13). Applying these principles enables us to recognize and understand the goodness of God, and to utilize the practice of wise decision-making in the course of our daily living (Proverbs 4:13).
© 2013 Alberta L. Smith (08/06/13)