A word of encouragement for those who feel like quitting!
Autor: Dorina Madaras  |  Album: REPENTANCE  |  Tematica: Meditație
Resursa adaugata de Dorina1980 in 25/02/2017
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Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,  all signs around us - natural signs, spiritual signs, sociological signs, technological signs, and political signs are present in abundance, therefore, just as the Bible prophesies, we can be certain that we are, in fact, living in the end times.  

At times, it may seem that our life with Christ can get a bit too much to bear! It is full of struggles, difficulties, sufferings. Our battles are more and more intense & never ending. At times, we feel alone,  physically and spiritually weak, hopeless, fearful, helpless & faithless. We struggle with our faith! We struggle with prayers! We struggle with  Bible Study! We struggle to forgive! We struggle to love! We struggle with obedience! We struggle with sin! At times, I'm sure the thought of giving up crosses our mind, as I am sure, many believers can relate to this message!

 Well if you feel like quitting, this word of encouragement is for you,  a reminder for all members of Church of Christ! Beloved Church of Christ, we are SO close to something in God; SO close to the victory that our heart has longed for! This is NOT the time to quit! !

8.) "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.  

9.) Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,

10.) who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,  

11.) you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many."  (2 Corinthians 1:8–11)

Here, Apostle Paul was saying: "I don't want you to be ignorant of this. We were on a divine commission from the Lord to bring life and liberty to people who needed to know there is a Savior. When we were involved in this, trouble came against us so suddenly and powerfully that we could not stand against it."  Even the Apostles, whom walked with Jesus and were extremly faithful, struggled, were troubled & despaired!

 "... pressed out of measure... " (2 Corinthians 1:8 ) means the opposition they faced was stronger than any resistance or strength they could find within themselves. They didn't know how to handle it, which eventually brought them to a point where dying looked better than living,". . we despaired even of life." Have you ever reached that point?  

Many people today can probably testify: "When I first accepted Christ, I had such optimism. Things around me were changing  for the better and the future appeared to be full of great promises. I was given a new heart, a new mind, a new spirit. But suddenly, without warning,  things seemed to grow dark, circumstances changed, and threatening voices from without and within grew so loud that I  could hardly hear the promises of God. Now I am afraid to go  on. I can hardly see hope ahead of me anymore." Sounds familiar?  

➡ SUDDEN OPPOSITION 

It is not uncommon to suddenly and inexplicably face violent opposition while serving Christ. However, it is important to remember that in reality, none of it can conquer us, no matter how it looks! Aleluia! It is like walking through a dark alley and being surrounded by vicious junkyard dogs, yet their chains stop them just short of being able to hurt you.  

The devil's whole tactic is to convince us that the evil around us is going to overpower us. However, he really has NO power to stop the work of God in our life, for he was defeated on Calvary! The death of Jesus Christ on the cross destroyed him who once had the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrew 2:14). His reign, the law of sin and death, and all the power that he had was cancelled on Calvary! So for satan, Christ's victory at Calvary was a devastating, TOTAL, and ETERNAL defeat! Aleluia! All Glory be to God! Praise His Mighty name!

Let me remind us all of our phenomenal blessing, of our free gift of grace from the One and Only God, Father of Jesus Christ, who chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  

In Jesus Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.

In Christ we also have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we, who trust in Christ, obey Him and remain faithful until the end, we will receive salvation! In Him we must trust! His Word which is "the Way, the Truth, the Life" (John 14:6) we must fulfill for it is the gospel of our salvation; in whom also, because we believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory! (Ephesians 1:3-14) Aleluia! To God be all the Glory!  

We must stay alert and focused on the phenomenal promises of God made to us, His children: "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." Then, Jesus Christ, our Saviour confirms this promise: "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and NO-ONE is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.  I and My Father are one." (John 10:28-30) Again, we have His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Aleluia! To God be all the Glory!

So what does the Lord want from us?  

》"This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and BELIEVES in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."(John 6:40)

》"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and FOLLOW Me." (Matthew 16:24) 

》"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps. ." (1 Peter 2:21)

》 "As OBEDIENT children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be HOLY in all your conduct, because it is written: "Be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:14-16)

》We must serve God with "reverence and godly FEAR." (Hebrews 12:28) "... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13)

》 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and BEAR FRUIT, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you LOVE one another." (John 15:16-17)

》"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and FORGIVING one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." (Colossians 12-13)

》"Yes, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will SUFFER PERSECUTION."(2 Timothy 3:12) " And you will be HATED by all for My name's sake. But he who ENDURES to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)

》"We MUST OBEY God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

》"... DENYING ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!" (Titus 2:12-13)

》". . be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22)

》 "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. ." (Colossians 3:5,8-10)

》God wants us to produce much of fruit of the Spirit - " love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. To crucified the flesh with its passions and desires! If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)

》"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who DOES THE WILL of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)

》" Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

》" Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

》" Build yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 1:20-21)

》"Abstain from ALL form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

》"... SIN NO MORE. ." (John 8:11) 

But MOST importantly we MUST remain faithful in Christ until our last breath, for we will receive at the end of our faith the salvation of our souls! (1 Peter 1:9) May the Lord help us!

For many, the "TO-DO" list may seem like too much work or simply unachievable! Firstly, we must NEVER forget the price God paid for our life! His only Son, Jesus Christ willingly gave His own life, tortured and killed so we do not taste death, but receive forgiveness & salvation! Therefore obeying God should never be a burden but a priviledge! Secondly, everything the Lord commands us to do is achievable because Jesus promises that God, His Father will give us another Helper, that He may abide with us forever; the Spirit of truth, He dwells with us and will be in us (John 14:16-17). Aleluia!"The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you ALL things. ."(John 14:26) therefore no-one will have an excuse for not "knowing" how to live righteously!  

So, as long as we remain faithful and obedient to God, there is absolutely NOTHING satan can do to us but stand on the shores and watch the people of God go through the seas of impossibility into every promise given in Christ Jesus! Aleluia! All glory be to God!

The only potential power the devil has is when we fall into agreement with his reasoning and embrace his threats - "God doesn't love me. God will never forgive my past. I don't think I will ever change. I don't think I can make it. I don't believe God is in control." 

 In contrast, consider the words of Apostle Paul: "If God is for us, who can  be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-39) Only someone who HAS come through everything that we must face today could write such words. Apostle Paul had to get to the point of understanding that all his trials and tribulations were more powerful than he could ever hope to be. His only recourse was quitting and he finally realized that his ONLY help was in God! We must do the same!  

"As it is written, For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, not angels,  nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:36–39). I AM PERSUADED, says Apostle Paul! It is easy to be persuaded when we're on the mountain-top, but being persuaded down in the valley is where we  find Christ, our Rock! Aleluia! All glory be to God!

➡  A SEASON OF MIRACLES 

"When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul. ."(Acts 19:5–6,0–11). For at least two years in Ephesus, Apostle Paul had experienced unimpeded preaching and miracles. People were receiving the Word of God in unprecedented measure and Scripture says that even handkerchiefs were taken from Paul and placed on people who were deathly ill, and they were healed. Aleluia! God be glorified!

"And many that believed came confessing and showing their deeds. Many of them also which used curious (magical) arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver."(Acts 19:18–19). There was no religious deception here! People were honest with God and put away their evil practices.  They came to an understanding of the depth of Christ on Calvary; the depth of the forgiveness that was bought there. It was an incredible revival!  

I think most of us would have been happy to live during that time, to witness the miracles that Apostle Paul and those who ministered with him saw. However, it soon became evident that it was time to move on."After these things were accomplished, Apostle Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying: 'After I have been there, I must also see Rome. ' So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time." (Acts 19:21–22).  

After sending Timothy and Erastus on,  I believe Apostle Paul took just a moment  to relax and reflect on all the wonders God had done. Have we ever done that? Have we ever just put our feet up and thought about all the blessings & miracles that have happened in our life since we became a Christian? I can picture Apostle Paul doing that here, just sitting back for a bit to savor the moment.  

Then the next day, all hell broke out! This season was what Apostle Paul was referring to when he spoke the words of the opening text "…pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life…" (2 Corinthians 1:8).  A local silversmith began to stir up the other idol makers whose trade was in danger due to Apostle Paul's preaching, and they all became infuriated (their profit margin was being affected). It grew into an uproar in the arena, and the people shouted for two hours straight: "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" Can you imagine being a Christian in the midst of that cacophony; a roar of voices trying to shout down the Word of God, claiming that something else is greater than the God that we serve?  

But that is the tactic of the devil! He was trying to convince Apostle Paul and his associates that there was a power greater than the God they were walking with, the One who had begun to manifest His glory. This uproar lasted for quite a while, and Apostle Paul was in the midst of it; it was violent and society had suddenly turned. The turning point seemed to have been when their god of gold, their god of income and prosperity was touched. At that time this great revival turned inward and turned against the believers.  

Similarly, you and I are going to experience opposition from a kingdom that is being overthrown by the presence of God in us. We may know victory for a season, but keep in mind that we are standing for God in a world that is against the will of God; a world filled with people who, in their own ignorance, are opposing their own salvation. Some of us go to a workplace where those around us tolerate the fact that we are Christian, and some may even be interested in what we say. That is, until it begins to affect their livelihood; because we are walking honestly while they are not! Then suddenly all hell begins to break out around us!

This world will profess tolerance toward us until their sense of wellbeing comes into question; until they realize the Church of Christ is a force in the nation. Aleluia! Then we will find ourselves in the midst of this incredible war: "Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Great is Obama of the United States of America! Great is the pope of the Vatican! Great are our corporations and our image of ourselves!"

➡ ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD 

I don't know what you are facing today or what kind of voice is coming against you, but I do know that whatever it is that tries to overtake our sense of peace, hope, direction and faith, we DO NOT have to be overcome by it! We are not walking in a kingdom made by the hands of men but rather fashioned by  the hand of God Himself! Aleluia! Praise God!

 After the Apostles witnessed Jesus feed  the multitudes with the loaves and fishes, they got into their boat to cross to the other side. Suddenly a violent storm arose and it seemed the elements themselves were trying  to throw off the testimony of what Christ had just done. Why did that storm come?  To test their faith! But the devil tries to bring fear upon us and question our faith! The enemy knows that the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ is something he must oppose with everything he has... " the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1Peter 5:8)

This was not a "once-off" storm in the Apostles' day for this same storm will come against every believer today. Without a doubt, as God's elect, we are all experiencing some sort of trial, difficulty and suffering. But let's comfort ourselves knowing that when God tests His children, He does a valuable thing. David sought God's testing, asking Him to examine his heart and mind and see that they were true to Him (Psalm 26:2; 139:23). When Abram was tested by God in the matter of sacrificing Isaac, Abram obeyed (Hebrews 11:17–19) and showed to all the world that he is the father of faith (Romans 4:16). Therefore, when God tests His children, His purpose is to prove that our faith is in fact real. Not that God needs to prove it to Himself since He knows all things, but He is proving to us whether our faith is real, whether we are truly His children, whether we truly love and trust him, and ofcourse He strengthens us so that no trial will overcome our faith!

In His Parable of the Sower, Jesus identifies the ones who fall away as those who receive the seed of God's Word with joy, but, as soon as a time of testing comes along, they fall away. James says that the testing of our faith develops patience, perseverance, endurance, strength, increase of faith, tolerance, steadiness and purity which leads to maturity in our walk with God (James 1:3–4). James goes on to say that trials are a blessing in disguise, because when the suffering is over and we have been "approved" and we will "receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12). Our trials & tribulations come from our heavenly Father who works all things together for good for those who love Him and who are called to be the children of God (Romans 8:28).

 Becoming a Christian will often require us to move out of our comfort zones and into the unknown. Patience in testing results in spiritual maturity and completeness. This is why James wrote: "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4). The testing of faith can come in small ways and daily irritations; they may also be severe afflictions (Isaiah 48:10) and attacks from satan (Job 2:7). Whatever the source of the testing, we must NOT panic or fear for no demon can test or afflict us with beyond what God has ordained. All our trials work toward God's perfect purpose and our benefit. So let's embrace the truth that it is to our benefit to undergo all trials that God allows! ThankYou Lord for You know best!

If we find ourselves losing strength in a storm, we must remember that we are partakers of what others before us have gone through. If we search the Scripture, we will learn that those who walked with God ended up facing all types of opposition. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions and Elijah had to flee from a wicked king. King David, mighty king of Israel, had a great anointing on his life and had won many victories in battle. Yet suddenly he found himself completely alone; the only ones who came near were those who were against him. But he did what you and I need to do daily: ENCOURAGE OURSELVES IN THE LORD!

We must go back in our mind and remember how good God has been to us. David remembered how God's Anointing had come upon him. He remembered victories in his life; fighting the lion and the bear and running into the valley to face Goliath. He also remembered picking up his harp and singing to King Saul, binding the devil so that he was no longer able to torment him. David thought about these things and encouraged himself in the Lord. Let's remind ourselves daily just how good God has been to us and give Him thanks in everything, good times and hard times for "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

David went into the closet of prayer, and God showed him a way through. That is why he could write: "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" (Psalms 23:4). God was saying: "I'm not going to take you out immediately; I am going to take you THROUGH! I am going to show you where all strength is, in Me." ALELUIA!"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Matthew 6:6)

With his few men, David pursued what was lost, and although the odds were overwhelmingly against him, everything was restored "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit…" (Zechariah 4:6). David concluded: "I will not get through this by reasoning or by figuring a way over or around. I will get through it just the way I started; by the supernatural power of Almighty God." ALELUIA! All Glory be to God!

Beloved Church of Christ, when we experience the storms of life, we should be like the tree that digs its roots ever more deeply for a greater grip in the earth. We must "dig our roots" more deeply into God's Word and cling to His promises so we can weather whatever storms come against us.

Most comforting of all, we know that God will never allow us to be tested beyond what we are able to handle by His power. His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). That is why Apostle Paul said: "I take pleasure in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10) Amin!

Beloveds, when we get to the end, we too will have a song, but that song will not be about how we figured it all out! That song will be: "Jesus took me through! Jesus saved me! Jesus carried me! Jesus walked with me! Jesus defeated my enemies! Jesus took me over the finish line!"  We are more than conquerors Church of Christ! There is no prison door that can hold us. There is no roaring voice that can drown out the voice of Almighty God, and no plan of hell formed against us can prosper. We are children of God, and Jesus says: "I am taking you through to the other side." ALELUIA!

➡ BECAUSE  OF PRAYER 

Look again at Apostle Paul's words: ". . in whom we trust that He will continue to deliver us; you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many." (2 Corinthians 1:10–11) Apostle Paul acknowledged that God would deliver them because people prayed, and as a result many would give thanks to God.

 I believe one of the greatest victories we will know in our time is simply the awareness that we are not walking this journey alone. It is not just about me, and it is not just about you, it is about the whole body of Christ! We must also remind ourselves that are not the only one's suffering, for the same sufferings are experienced by our brotherhood around the world (1Peter 5:9). We spend so much of our time praying for ourselves, don't we?"Lord, help me; Lord, bless me; Lord, keep me; Lord, why me?"  But the Lord says: "Would you let Me expand your thinking a little bit?"  As we pray for those presently going through a tough season, when God brings them through, they will pray for us when our time comes. Then there will be great rejoicing, and many will give thanks to God! Aleluia!

How are we going to get through the days ahead? How are we even going to get through the present time? We will get through because we are going to pray and believe the promises of God! We will get through because we are moving together as a BODY of Christ and nobody (of God's elect) will be left behind! That was the cry of Moses: "We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord. Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind." (Exodus 10:9,6). As the Church of Christ; the Body of Christ; the Bride of Christ; we are going to make it to the other side! We are heading out of here! We are going home to spend eternity in the presence of our Heavenly Father! ALELUIA! ALELUIA! GLORY BE TO GOD! THANKYOU FATHER, IN JESUS NAME!

Today we may feel "pressed out of measure, above strength," as Apostle Paul wrote. We are all facing serious battles. Some have lost children; some don't know where their next meal is coming from; some are fighting for their sanity; marriages are falling apart. I want us all to know that we are not alone. We have our Almighty God and each other! I'm praying for God's grace and strength to be ours in Jesus name! We are not going to be overwhelmed; we are not going to go down for we are fighting this together, and we will walk in the victory Jesus has already secured for us! ! ALELUIA! ALL GLORY BE TO GOD WHO ALONE IS WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE, HONOR & RESPECT!

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love! I love you all my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ! God bless us all with eternal life!

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