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Thursday, April 16, 2015

consider it all joy

Count it all joy, my brothers,2 when you meet trials fof various kinds, for you know that gthe testing of your faith hproduces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may beiperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
jIf any of you lacks wisdom, klet him ask God, lwho gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But mlet him ask in faith, nwith no doubting, for the one who doubts is like oa wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; phe is a double-minded man, qunstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and rthe rich in his humiliation, because slike a flower of the grass3 he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and twithers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 uBlessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive vthe crown of life, wwhich God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire xwhen it has conceived gives birth to sin, and ysin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

I doesn't seem possible as humans to consider trials which mean pain as joy. But there is a principle here that is above our human thoughts. God's thoughts are higher than ours.

Phillipians 3:20…18For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,19whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;…

As humans we are helpless agains our sin nature except for the power of the cross. 
But God uses all things together for our good, even our sins.

Romans 8:28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;…
I have seen God use even my own sins to my good.

16"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him

Have you ever wished you could start all over. With God this is possible every day.
2 Corinthians 5:16-18

16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,…

We become entirely new creations in Christ Jesus. He gives us a new heart.  You can start all over.

There is no sin that can't be forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ except refusing to accept His gift of dying on the cross for our sins.He is the propitiation for our sins.

18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.…

I am helpless against the sin nature in me except for the power of the cross. 
Jesus changes my desires as I draw closer to Him.
16However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."…

What is Faith?

The dictionary’s definition of faith is to have belief in and to trust in something or someone with no physical evidence that you can see it.  Faith is to hold a conviction too, to have reliance in, to have assurance of, to feel confidence about, and to have trust in something or someone.  Faith is based upon something that might not be visible to the naked eye but still having a realization that it is substantial and real.  I drive over a large bridge that is elevated on my way to work. I do not see the underlying steel girders and concrete supports, yet I have confidence that the bridge will hold me up.  I have assurance in something that I can not see but trust that it will support me because it has held up my car hundreds of times.  I do not have to see the underneath of the bridge to know that there is evidence that it will support me.  This is what faith is all about.
When a father brought his demon possessed boy to Jesus he believed that Jesus could heal him by saying “I do believe” (Mark 9:24).  So why did the father say in this same verse, “Help my unbelief?“  He asked Jesus for help in his unbelief.  He believed Jesus could heal him yet he still had some doubt and asked Jesus to help in his lack of belief.  This has been my own experience as well.  I believe and have faith in Jesus, but I also experience times of doubt that seem to overwhelm me.
Jesus tells us to “Have faith in God” because “Truly if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it w
ill be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours“(Mark 11:22-24). Jesus associates believing in God and trusting in His ability as having faith.  The man who brought his demon possessed boy to Jesus had faith in Christ but he lacked complete assurance and trust.  This lack was due to his own disbelief, not to a lack of believing in Jesus.  So even though it seems paradoxical to say “Lord I do believe” and then “Help my unbelief” it appears that he was praying for Jesus to strengthen his faith.
I am not going to be too hard on this man because he had his doubts- in fact I would say, “Welcome to the human race!”  When we pray for something that is God’s will, He will surely answer that prayer, but as James 1:6 says, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  It is so hard to pray for something and believe with 100% certainty that God will answer that prayer because we rely on our five senses.  We only believe what we see and so it is hard to believe in something that has not yet been seen.  Nevertheless, God will hear and answer our prayer but the answer might not be what we had hoped for.  God rarely gives us what we want as much as He gives us what we need.  Praying to God for Him to increase your faith is one that I truly believe that He will answer.  If we pray with doubt in our prayers, it is like doubting God’s ability. Here is the Biblical definition of faith from Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  Faith is defined in the Bible much like the dictionary describes it.  It is a confident, assurance in believing God.  It is not a hope-so but a know-so.

Can You Pray For Faith?

Yes you can pray for faith.  Matthew 7:7-11 points the way to receiving from God what we desperately need: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”  Faith is most certainly a good thing to ask the Father for so why not pray to Him to receive it?
How To Increase Your Faith

How Can

7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.…

Faith is a gift of God. You can ask God for faith. Seek Him with all your heart and  you will find Him.
12'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'…
 In my life I have had more trials than easy living. Sometimes I long for a lack of pain, but I find that paind turns my heart to God for His comfort and joy. His comfort and joy fill my heart with more fullness than easy living ever could. I have had some easy times, but God eventually disciplines me to bring Him back to the forefront of my thoughts.

…Jeremiah 29:10"For thus says the LORD, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.11'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.…

Psalms 23 says that surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
This means that goodness and mercy are tracking me down wherever I am. It is a promise of God.

God can bring beauty from the ashes of your life.
Isaiah 61:2To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. 4Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.…
If you are lost and lonely, you need the power of God in your life.
He brings beauty from ashes, joy from pain,  a new life and a new start
You will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.

Jeremiah29:…12'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.13You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'

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