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Glory in suffering

Romans 5:3-4: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

My thoughts:
-If we never undergo hardships, do we ever truly grow? Yes and no. If we never undergo suffering, we may undergo physical growth, but our entire existence would have never been tried.
-When I workout, I realize that if I don’t get a good workout in, I feel a little empty. I feel this way because I didn’t make myself suffer enough! For a body to reach a certain conditioning point, it must be put under stress and forced to function in duress. If it is never put through such exercises, then when it is, it won’t be able to survive.
-Our Christian walk is like that. If we never get to test our mettle in the “shadow of the valley of death” then we’ll never know if our faith is true. True faith shines through even during the hard times.

RESPONSE: God is at work in my life—even when I do not recognize it or understand it. It is much easier and more profitable when I cooperate with Him. This is the way to victory!

PRAYER: Thanks be to God who gives us the victory!

http://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/

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You intended to harm me, but God…

Genesis 50:20: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

My thoughts:
-This reminds me of the fact that God is always in control. No matter how bad something may be, God is there and it’s happening according to His will.
-When I got wounded, it was a very shocking and traumatic event. I was not really sure of why it happened at the time, but now looking back on the event I now have a different understanding. After playing through my head all the “what if’s,” I realize that God needed me to understand something. That something had to be realized only through this very manner. It was a weird sudden realization at first, but as I continue my walk it all begins to make sense. God was and is always in control!

RESPONSE: God is at work in my life—even when I do not recognize it or understand it. It is much easier and more profitable when I cooperate with Him. This is the way to victory!

PRAYER: God help me to trust You to bring good from the challenges, difficulties and persecutions I might be subjected to today.

http://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/

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Faithful in every test

James 1:2-3
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

My thoughts:
-Wow… This one is just amazing!
-This reminds me so much of my time in the armed forces. Never have I been so challenged before in my life. When the enemy threatens you with death, your friends challenge your faith and you are tempted by your own doubts. Yet it’s thanks to these situations that made me the person I am today. At the time I didn’t, but now I take joy in the knowledge that God found me capable of such a burden.
-We always talk about how firm our faith is and how we would be capable of dying for our faith. However, the truth is we only talk about it because we understand that the likelihood of us meeting such a challenge is close to nil. We are all here, reading FB and hanging out at home. We have not yet fully committed all of our lives to God’s will. We are still saving our own piece of pie. Yet we talk about a burden that we are not qualified to confront as if it’s mere child’s play. It is not!
-Truth of the matter is, the people that God puts through hot water are the only ones with the abilities to meet them! He will not tempt us beyond our abilities as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Being tested is a blessing and a recognition.
-Am I ready to be tested again? I’m not sure myself. My time with the Army had it’s own fair share of tests. However, I carried a rifle. I was armed. I do not know if I am ready yet for the next portion of pie that God has for me.

RESPONSE: God is at work in my life—even when I do not recognize it or understand it. It is much easier and more profitable when I cooperate with Him. This is the way to victory!

PRAYER: God may I be found faithful to You through every test.

http://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/standing-strong-through-the-storm/

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Tower Wars

Tower Wars. We attack. We defend. We build. We are good at these kinds of games. But how are we at life? How are we at attacking, defending and building?

What is it we are attacking? We attack our opponent, the enemy. Who is the enemy? Satan. The forces of evil. Sin. But instead of attacking such things we attack our brothers, sisters, parents, children, co-workers, friends and enemies… when Jesus said that we should love our enemies. We attack each other and do Satan’s work for him. We become the hands and feet of Satan and the instruments of sin instead of the hands and feet of God and instruments of love. Let us turn focus our attack to the real enemy.

What is it we are defending? We defend that which is important to us. What SHOULD BE important to us? The glory of God. The name of Jesus Christ. Our faith. Our family, friends, and loved ones. But what IS important to us? Equality. Fairness. Our pride. Our glory. We take the time to defend ourselves, making sure we are treated equally and fairly. We take the time to defend our pride and glory, not wanting to be put down, to be made lower, to be made less than what we deserve. We defend our pride and help it grow, even though God absolutely hates pride. Let us not shield ourselves but those around us, to build them up until they are higher than us, and then continue to defend them even more. Let us defend the glory of God and His great name, not because He is defenseless and unable to defend Himself, but because He is the one we love above all others.

What is it we are building? I am on a mission to build up my life, to make myself wealthy, to make myself popular and well-known, to make myself powerful and important, to make myself happy, to build up my possessions, my house and my kingdom. And while I build up my kingdom, the enemy attacks and destroys the kingdom of God –not the actual Kingdom of God (Satan has no power to destroy God’s kingdom), but the kingdom of God in me. Let us not build up our own kingdom, but God’s kingdom. For me, that begins with making sure the kingdom of God is secure and strong within, doing the things necessary to make it grow, not out in my city or in my neighborhood, but within me. The battle is not out there, but within…in the heart, in the mind. Only when the kingdom is secure in me can I begin to look outside and expand the kingdom of God out there, in others. Slowly, one by one, person by person, the kingdom of God is built. But may we each say, “Let His kingdom first reign in and be built in me.”

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God is clearly visible!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

You know it. Deep down. Why? Because you see it all around you: proof of God’s existence. We might question God and ask if He is even real! I know that at a point in my life, I doubted the existence of God because of all that the harsh world was throwing at me. But when I read this verse, I knew that it was true. God’s creation speaks His existence. How can we say that God does not exist when the trees, the skies, the beautiful sounds of birds chirping, all of that is from God?! We may be troubled by our own problems and doubt that He exists, but take time to look at the beauty of creation. Look at yourself. There is One Great God who created all of that and you; and He is living.

Coon Rapids, MN