Are there Bible verses that help you? Are there people in the Bible to look to for encouragement? Are there books I can read?
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Casualness in Christian life is the primary cause of backsliding. Christian life is a race, a fight, a warfare. We can't make it without diligence and watchfulness. The Bible has to say so much on diligence because that is the antidote for backsliding. The sixth Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews gives atleast three important lessons on diligence. a) Diligence means holding the "full assurance of hope" (v11). We must be persuaded "that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,... nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God" (Rom 8:38,39). This is not self-confidence but confidence on the Lord. Has He chosen us to lose us? Certainly not. When Jesus told His disciples, "Let's go over to the other side," His plan for Him and the team was to reach the other side safe and sound and not to sink in the middle. Apparent imperfections in our life should not discourage us or disturb our confidence. Be "confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6). b) Diligence means imitating the forefathers of faith and patience (v12). For example, Abraham, "after he had patiently endured, obtained the promise" (v15). And the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 11. The cloud of witnesses around us provides us an encouraging and motivating atmosphere to finish the race victoriously. Also we are to learn from the faithful leaders God has placed over us (Heb 13:7). Missionary biographies and those of God's dear saints of the past must be frequently read. They strengthen our faith and kindle fire in us. c) Diligence also means taking refuge in the presence of God (vv18-20). We have "strong consolation" in Him. He is the "anchor of our soul." In His presence we have the "surety and steadfastness." When the enemy chases you, run to the Name of the Lord which is a strong tower (Prov 18-10). How can the enemy touch you when you hide in Christ? The Lord is our Refuge and our Fortress.
I have endless suggestions: Matthew7:7,8: Ask,..seek.., knock, find... Isaiah 30:19: He will be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it He will answer you... Psalm 46:1. God is our refuge and strength... Matthew 11:28 Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. NKJV Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer... Romans 8:25: But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.. Romans 5:4 And endurance produces character and character produces hope... Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength... Psalm 37:7-9, 1Timothy 1:12-17; Galations 5:22; Luke 21:19; Revelation 2:3 Our Bible offers numerous verses of help and encouragement. I would like to share a poem I found somewhere. I do not know the author- "GOD'S PHONE NUMBER Hello God, I called tonight to talk a little while, I need a friend who'll listen, To my anxiety and trial... You see, I can't quite make it - through a day just on my own...I need Your Love to guide me, so I'll never feel alone. I want to ask you please to keep My family safe and sound..come and fill Their lives with confidence, for whatever fate they're bound. Give me faith Dear God, to face each hour throughout the day, and not to Worry over things I can't change any way! I thank you GOD for being home, and listening to my call, for giving me Such good advice when I stumble and fall. Your number God is the only one that answers every time! I never get a busy signal, and never have to pay a dime! So thank you GOD for listening to my troubles and my sorrow. Good Night, God, I love you too! And I'll call again tomorrow! P.S. please bless all my family and friends too."
Be thankful no matter what your situation is. Give God praise for everything, good or bad.
1. How to stay optimistic: It may help you to meditate on Philippians 4:8. I took the eight key words from it--true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy--and painted them onto art paper and have them hanging at the foot of my bed. I think, as Christians, we've heard so much about suffering being good for us, that we've almost felt that we should love it, embrace it, want it, and we feel guilty for secretly preferring health, life, joy, and peace--guilty as if God must not really want us to have those things or else we would have them, that God must not want us to have them or Jesus would have had them while He was here. Hanging the eight beautiful ideas by my bed is my way of saying, NO! Suffering really DOES stink and *no one* wants it and no one healthy ever will! And it's passing away, and I'm going to do my best to put these eight lovely things into the world. These eight ideas describe God (and that He is love) and that's why we're told to focus on them. It is said of Jesus in Psalm 45 (and again in Hebrews 1:9) that He "loved righteousness and hated wickedness." It is okay to hate wickedness and the evils that result from it, like sickness (though healthier to focus on loving righteousness and that's where Philippians 4:8 helps). 2. How to stay faithful: I also love this prayer from Elizabeth Goudge's The Scent of Water (the prayer is by Thomas Traherne): “My dear," he said, "love, your God, is a trinity. There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each. They are these, 'Lord have mercy. Thee I adore. Into Thy Hands.' Not difficult to remember. If in times of distress you hold to these you will do well." Lord, have mercy. (Please help me.) Thee I adore. (I praise you regardless of what You do in this situation.) Into Thy hands. (I commit myself to Your will and loving care.) Submit wholly to His will, then get back into the fight: I choose sunshine! I choose light! I choose honesty! Goodness! Joy! Laughter! "Keep on the sunny side of life." God is there. He is light and we are children of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Sorry if this came across too strongly :-). We've been through some stuff lately. May God bless and help you.
When life is difficult, then quick answers to hard questions will not do much to help. However I do have a question for you to ask yourself, which may help. What if God decides to send no help in this difficult season? Would you still be faithful to him? This was of course the question that Job had to ask himself over and over again as he went through difficult times. And his reply was unequivocal. He would trust God, no matter what, through rain or sun, through hard times or easy, with help or with no help; he would trust God come what may. Because in the end that is the only thing he could do being the kind of person he was. He was a person of faith who loved God for who he is, not for the things he gives. And if you can say the same, you are a person of faith too. And in the end that's all that matters isn't it? Kind Regards Philip
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