The One Day at a Time Method

The One Day at a Time Method
What do you do when you don’t want to do anything?  When life just seems so hard and overwhelming that even getting out of bed is hard? 
Have you ever been there? When the days are so long and all you want to do is forget. Forget about all the memories that just remind you of everything you don’t have anymore. When the thoughts of how to move on are so strong that you feel crushed by them and unable to move.
Dear reader, I don’t doubt that you have had your share of pain in this life. Whatever it is that you are going through, if you feel like this life is just too much sometimes, that’s okay. It’s okay to have these days. But today I want to share a little something that has helped me to get through each day when I am overwhelmed with these feelings of being stuck.

Learn to take it one day at a time

I have found that we get the most overwhelmed and scared when we let our minds think too far into the future or dwell too much on the past. When I think about all the ways my life has changed and how it’s no longer going where want it to go. And then if I look to the past I only find regret, shame, and sadness and those feelings don’t help much either. When we look to God and focus on just the day ahead of us we find that we are able to make it and keep going. Yes, we may still be scared of the unknown road ahead of us, but committing to making it through one day is doable.  Just one day.
And you know what happens?!  After committing to that one day, that one day will turn into two days, then three days, then four… before you know it you will be feeling less of the hurt. New doors will open and new opportunities will come. God will reveal his plan for you and fill you with his joy while you keep on following Him. And it all began with you simply taking it just one day at a time.

Whatever you’re facing, can you commit to just taking it one day at a time? Commit to following your sweet Saviour today, and don’t worry about tomorrow. You can worry about tomorrow when it comes.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is what I’ve been doing for a while now and this is what I’m going to keep doing. Take it one day at a time.  Whatever it is in your life that is too much.  Take a breath, relax, and just take it one day at a time.

God Knows our Every Tear

God Knows our Every Tear
“You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
(Psalm 56:8-11)
Did you know that God keeps a record of all of our tears? All of our hard days, all of the seasons of hardship and pain we walkthrough.  God keeps them all and He promises to never forget the pain we have felt, all the times we have cried out to Him.
Isn’t it such a comforting thought that every tear that falls God knows about? When we are going through rough times.  Seasons of waiting, seasons of grief, or maybe just seasons of uncertainty, God is with us and is aware of all the tears we cry.  This passage reminds me that there is always purpose in our pain.
God’s plan for us may include days of pain and many trials.  But God’s plan for us is also going to include joy and blessing.  One day we will be able to understand.  One day we will be able to see that the joy and rewards that await in heaven someday will far outweigh the tears we cry here on earth.  And maybe, just maybe, that is why God keeps count of them.  So we can see on that great day how small in comparison our tears will be to our joy.
Anyway, as I began thinking more about this passage I thought of three things that these verses tell us about God.  I want to share with you all the three truths in hopes that it can encourage you too!

God Knows our Pain

Whatever you are walking through, these verses tell us that God knows our every tear.  God is with you through each hardship.  He is always for us and never against us.  Even when the storms seem to be too much for us to bear, we can call out to God and praise Him for all that He still is to us!

God Remembers

God remembers each trial we walk through, even after we get to the other side.  When we look back on all the pain and tears we cried, we will see that God was there with us and He will never have us walk through a trial that isn’t a necessary part of His plan for us.

God is Enough

Trials and pain will come in this life, but nothing can take away God and His love from us.  When the storm is raging, God is all we need.  God is our rock, our refuge, our strength.  God is always for us and He is enough for us.  Even if we were to lose everything and endure the hardest of suffering, God would still be enough for us.

I pray that these truths and this passage can encourage you and your heart.  Whatever you are going through, take comfort in knowing that God is with you and He knows you.  Oh, praise the Lord for the fact that He remembers all of our tears but forgets all of our sins against Him! He truly is an almighty and great God! I don’t know about you, but even amidst my trials, all I can say is I am so thankful.

Choosing to Trust

Choosing to Trust
“I will trust you, God. Even when it’s hard. When with all my heart I wish to go the other way. I will trust you, God. Down every path, you lead me. Because I know deep in my heart, Yours is the way that’s best. I will trust you, God. Every day and for all my life. And if ever someone asks me why I’ll say it’s because I love you most” {written 3.7.21}
Do you trust God when life is hard? Can you confidently say in the midst of a trial that you trust Him? Yes, it’s one thing to say you trust God when life is going well and you have all your ducks in a row. But it’s a completely different story to say you trust God when your very life is falling apart before your eyes. I’ve been there. I’ve had my plans literally ripped out of my hands. It wasn’t that long ago when God sent me down a path I didn’t want to take. But through it all, I never stopped saying this one thing; I trust you, God. I trust you God and I want you more.
Because I put my trust in God I was able to stand my ground when the biggest and strongest of waves crashed against me. I knew, without a doubt, that God was with me, God was for me, and God wouldn’t let me fall. Somehow the path I was on, even though it was filled with much pain, was a part of God’s plan for me and I chose to trust Him through it.
My dear friend, I don’t know what God has asked you to walk through but I have one question for you; Do you trust Him? Do you trust that God has a purpose in all the pain and redirected plans? (okay, that was actually two questions). There is a special type of beauty that happens when we choose to let go of the way we want our lives to go and embrace the path that God lays out before us. It may feel like your world is going to come to end as soon as you let go, and you know what? Maybe it will. Maybe your world and your plans will have to die so that God’s ultimate plan can come to be. But that’s okay because His ways are better.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
If you are facing a hard situation and God is asking you to trust Him, I simply want to encourage you to trust Him more. Take that step and don’t look back. Put your trust in God hold and onto Him during the hard days. Trusting Him is the best thing you can do when the trials of life come. And did you know that when you choose to trust Him there will also be certain benefits that come along with it:

Trusting Him Leads to Peace

Trusting the Lord leads to the truest form of peace. Jesus said in John “my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) When we surrender our hearts to God and choose to trust in Him there is a special kind of peace that fills our souls. This peace is not superficial. Often times when we refuse to trust God in the areas of our lives we try to create our own sense of peace. We constantly tell ourselves everything is ‘ok’ in an attempt to convince ourselves that we have peace. But if you have to convince yourself that you have peace, that’s not really peace. The peace that comes from trusting in God is a peace that passes understanding. It’s something that God gives to all his children when they are walking in his ways.
If you want this peace, choose to trust Jesus. Trust in Him and ask Him to fill your heart with His peace. You will be surprised. Even on the hardest of days His peace can come and overfill your soul.
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Trusting Him Leads to Blessing

Trusting in the Lord also leads to blessing. Granted, the blessing doesn’t always come right away. Sometimes we have to wait a long while before the blessing comes. But you can rest assured that choosing to trust in God through hard times will never go to waste. If God is asking you to walk away from something that you thought was good, and you stay faithful to Him, there will be a blessing. Whether it’s a blessing you’ll receive here on earth, or in heaven, God will reward you for choosing to trust Him. As you trust Him, hold firm to the truth that God is using all things in your life for your good and His glory.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
So I will ask you one more time. Will you trust Him today? Will you choose to stand firm in God and His love for you as the waves come crashing down around you? When times are hard the most beautiful thing you can do is cry out to God and say; I trust you. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I trust you. God smiles down on each one of us as we take the step of obedience to trust and follow him. Trusting the Lord may be hard, but it is worth it. Trust him when it’s hard and watch as God becomes nearer and dearer to you than you could have ever imagined.

3 Tips For Spiritual Numbness

3 Tips For Spiritual Numbness
~ Blog post by Autumn Cockrell ~
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
Have you ever experienced spiritual numbness?
I know that all Christians, at some point in their walk with the Lord, have been there. The Word feels like just a book, prayers feel like you are talking to the air, and you no longer want to worship. Hymns and worship songs are empty words rolling off your tongue. You can’t believe that you used to be on fire for the Lord because now you feel empty. 

I understand how you feel dear reader; because I’m there again myself. 

I’m currently walking through a season of grief. I did not think it would hit me like this. At first, I was okay, sad, but okay. I was able to say, “But God is still good!” even after receiving the horrible news that brought on this season of grief. And then, I went to church. Spiritual numbness came upon me and it has yet to leave me. 
In this time, I have three things I’ve been doing. No, I don’t want to do them, but I know giving up these three practices would be dangerous to my faith and trust in God. So, dear reader, if you are in a place of numbness and feel as if your faith is on the brink of destruction, these tips are for you. 

1. Study your Bible

Don’t just read your Bible, study it. I know, dear friend, you don’t want to right now. You want to put your Bible on the highest shelf and forget about it, but you must study His word. Pick a book and start going through it line by line, chapter by chapter, writing down what you learn, reading commentaries alongside it, listening to sermons on the particular passage you are reading. Become a student of God’s word, even if it feels like none of this is getting through and melting your heart of stone. 
I would highly recommend Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Bible. It’s a thick one, but it’s been such a great resource to me and has helped me dive into chapters of the Bible I haven’t been able to understand. Or, you can always use the good old internet to look up commentaries by many great Bible scholars. If you are like me and prefer a physical book, check your church library or ask your pastor what he recommends. There is a whole world of resources out there, all written by those who want to help, encourage, and move your forward in the studying of His word. 

2. Pray

This one is personally the hardest for me to build up the courage to do. In times of spiritual numbness, I feel as if God is just not listening to me. I know others feel this way too. But the Bible always reminds us that God listens. 
“Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:20)
“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
The last sentence of 1 John 5:15 is key. It does not mean the God gives us whatever we ask for, because sometimes we are unaware of what we are asking for is wrong or not a part of His will for our lives. It means that God hears us, He hears our prayers, and He gives us what He has planned. That could mean yes, He will give you relief from this numbness, but it has to last a little while longer. He will give you a spouse, a child, a better relationship with your family, but in His timing. 
Pray dear reader. Pray during this season of numbness and know that not only does He hear, but He will give your relief when He sees it fit. I know that you will look back on this time of numbness and see the fruit that God grew. 

3. Ask for prayer

In this season of numbness, I have felt as if my faith was on the brink. I can say that now, I understand the temptation to turn away from the faith, to run from God and never turn back. This is, however, a temptation that needs to be fought against. We must remember: if you are truly a child of God, you cannot lose your salvation! But, when walking through a season of spiritual numbness, praying against these temptations can feel like a daunting task. 
This is when the prayers of the saints are to be greatly coveted. It can be embarrassing to ask for prayers, to admit you are struggling because you never know what people will say. Some people will embrace you in your time and lift you up to the Lord. Others will be awkward and sidestep away from the subject (yes, it happens, please don’t be that person). Either way, asking for prayer in a time of numbness is a way to practice humility and to have the prayers of the saints covering you.
Asking for prayers can also be beneficial if you simply cannot bring yourself to pray. Now, I’m not saying don’t pray. I am saying I understand there are times when you are too numb to pray and having others covering you in prayers can give peace to your troubled soul. 
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
Finally, I wanted to give a word of encouragement to you walking through spiritual numbness: It will end, there will be a fire in your soul for the Lord soon. I can’t tell you when, but it will come soon dear reader. Wait on the Lord, take courage, wait on the Lord. 
~ Blog post by Autumn Cockrell 

A Prayer for Afghanistan

A Prayer for Afghanistan

Oh Lord,

How our hearts hurt for Afghanistan and all that is going on there.  We know you are good, but sometimes it is hard to trust in you when so much evil seems to prevail.  Lord let us cling to the truth that you are sovereign, you are in control, and you are with all those right now who are in great need.  Show us Lord how we can help, impress upon our hearts an ache for your justice to be done, and bring us to our knees in prayer for this country.  May we have your heart as we seek your face and your will in these difficult times.

Amen.

After hearing about Afghanistan, maybe you are like me and asking; what can we do?  When I live here in the states, how can my life make any difference to those who are now experiencing great suffering?
When the world seems like it is so dark and one thing after another keeps happening that causes our hope to be diminished.  We need to be reminded that we still have a hope that can never be diminished.  Our God is sovereign and He is working all this evil for his good purposes.  Our hearts may be broken, but our hope in God is never lost.
We also must never discount how powerful prayer is and the one thing we can do right now is to pray. We must pray for all those facing this horrible new reality. We must pray day and night for God to give them strength to stand up for Him and for God to provide a way for some to escape.
Below I wanted to share a few verses with you to encourage you as you lift up all the women and Christians in Afghanistan that are facing persecution.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

 

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

 

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)

 

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

I have found so much comfort in these verses and I pray they can comfort you too.  They remind us that God cares for all of his children, especially those who are suffering.  Some of His children are called to live a life of sacrifice and martyrdom for God and this is one of the highest honors. So let us be encouraged in knowing that God will richly bless all those who are persecuted for His name and let us keep on praying for our dear brothers and sisters in Afghanistan that are on the verge of receiving God’s richest of blessings.

Why Do We Suffer?

Why Do We Suffer?
Have you ever wondered why we suffer?  Why does God, who is a good God, allow so much suffering in our lives and in this world?
In fact, did you know that God even says in His word that simply being a Christian means we are going to endure suffering in this life. Suffering in our lives as Christian is a sign that we are truly one of God’s children. If someone ever tells you that your life as a Christian should be full of good times and prosperity, you need to check their theology.  Suffering is a part of the Christian walk.  We suffer just like Christ did and to suffer with Christ is one of the highest honors.
I’ll be the first to say that this doesn’t make me get all excited to learn that this is the way God has chosen to mark those that are His.  But after living a little and walking through my own suffering, I’m beginning to understand it better.  Recently I heard a great sermon at my church about suffering that helped to encourage my heart and give me a better understanding of suffering.  So in this post, I want to share with you some of the ‘why’s’ behind the sufferings that God has us walkthrough and hopefully it can encourage your heart.

Suffering as Discipline

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Hebrews 12:7

If you are suffering as a Christian, guess what?!  It means that God loves you and is treating you as His child.  Children need discipline to grow and become mature adults.  It’s the same for us in our walk with God.  God takes us through seasons of discipline to grow us and teach us how to follow him.
Sometimes we must endure suffering because of a bad choice we made and God brings hard trials to force us to come back to Him.  Other times we don’t know the reason why we suffer, just that God is using it in our life to prepare us for something in the future. But we can trust 100% in God’s disciplining of us.  God doesn’t ever make any mistakes in the training he causes us to go through as Christians.

Sufferings Purpose

I don’t know about you, but I find it so encouraging to know that suffering has a purpose.  Suffering is meant to make us more like Christ.  It is part of the process of sanctification in our lives.  In Hebrews 12:10 it says that “…he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Suffering and discipline is meant to bring us closer to the holiness of God.  Let that sink in for a moment.  All the hard trials you walk through, are bringing you closer to God’s holiness!
Whether we are suffering because of a bad choice we’ve made, or from simply following God, be encouraged that suffering is never wasted in your life.  God is a good father who doesn’t let us get away with our sin and he uses every experience we go through for his good purposes in our life.  The suffering you face is going to bring you closer to God and to His Holiness.

How to View Suffering

 “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance.” Romans 5:3

Lastly, in this post, I want to touch briefly on what our response should be to suffering.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the verse above that says we are to rejoice in our suffering.  Well, when we view suffering in this new light; as a display of God’s love towards us as his children, then, of course, it should cause us to rejoice!  Suffering in our life means that God loves us!  That sure makes me want to rejoice and be thankful that God is going to be using all my suffering for good!
Also, one last thing from the sermon that has just stuck in my head has been the word trustworthy.  God is trustworthy!  He can be trusted to get us through each and every hardship we face!  I basically prayed this word over and over in my car as I was driving home the other day.  Isn’t it amazing! God can be trusted with your life. God can be trusted with your future and all your unknowns. God can be trusted with all your sufferings.

Do you trust Him with the suffering you are going through?

God is doing something beautiful in you through the times you spend in suffering, so let us rejoice and trust in our sovereign God!

Rejoicing in Suffering

Rejoicing in Suffering

~ Blog post by Autumn Cockrell ~

If you could have planned your life, what would it have looked like? I’ll go first.

I would have met a good man when I was 17, started college but then get engaged by the time I was 18. I would have published a book before getting married and be pregnant at 19, or at least by 20 years old. Now,  at 23, I would have at least two children and possibly be pregnant with another. My husband and I would have a nice house, good health, and I would be writing my second book.
Needless to say, my life looks nothing like that fantasy! I started college at 17, but I went through four years of crippling depression and anxiety and considered taking my own life. I also chased after two boys that didn’t love Jesus and that resulted in heartbreak. At 20, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that would not only affect every aspect of my life, but it would greatly impact my ability to have children. I attempted to get my book published only to have 17 rejections thrown back at me over the course of five months. At 21, I met and married my now husband but was unable to get pregnant right away. When I was 22, my husband had not one, but three surgeries back to back to fix a broken collarbone. He then had to be on IV antibiotics for three months to fight the bone infection that had developed during the three surgeries. He didn’t work for six months and we lived off of my salary. Now, at 23, I’ve been walking through fertility treatments for seven months to try and have a baby with no success. I don’t write this in hopes someone will take pity on me. I write this to point something out to you.
Look at how I would have had my life: easy, short, sweet, to the point, and simple. Now look at the life God gave me: complicated, joyful, emotionally draining, long, sweet, painful, depressing, straining, difficult. Yet, it is so beautiful and I will take this life over the simple one I would have written for myself! Why? Because while the life God has given me has been hard, it has taught me so much about God, His character, His love, and what He wants for me. Throughout the rollercoaster that has been the past 6 years, one thing has stayed the same: God! For He is the same today, tomorrow, and always! (Hebrews 13:8)

In your life, do you find yourself celebrating God and the life He’s given you?

When recounting our lives, we often focus on the negative and what God hasn’t given us. Maybe he hasn’t given us the job we wanted, the relationship we wanted, the number of children we wanted, the house we wanted, and the list goes on and on. We focus on how we suffer and ask God why He doesn’t ease up on us, give us some good news, a better relationship, relief from depression, and so on it goes.
Let me direct your attention to Romans 5:3-5:
“Not only that,  but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
God wants us to rejoice in our sufferings because, well, look at all the good suffering produces for the Christian life. We all want endurance, good character, and we all want hope! But, if we can only gain these through suffering, shouldn’t we welcome suffering with open arms?
Looking back on what has happened in the life God has given me, I did not welcome the suffering He gave me. However, I can see now how it was good for me. Through depression, He taught me of His love. Through mistakes and sins committed, He showed me His grace. Through financial uncertainty, He taught me how peace and stability are found only through Him. Through infertility, He brought me so close to Him and I feel like my faith is on fire for the first time in years.

Let’s be real here, do we always rejoice in suffering?

No, we don’t. But as Christians, we should strive to practice rejoicing in our pain and know that it will teach us more of God, His love, mercy, and grace. In suffering, we learn that the life God has for us is so much better than what we wanted for ourselves. In suffering, we will learn endurance, character, and hope. In suffering, we learn more about God than we thought possible.
~ Blog post by Autumn Cockrell 

Thriving in the Fire

Thriving in the Fire
Have you ever read a Bible passage and instantly knew it was what you needed to hear that day?
Well, the other day, I had that experience.  I opened up my Bible and found myself in Daniel chapter 3 (I’ve been reading through the prophets one chapter a day).  In Daniel 3 I read the story where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego get thrown into the fiery furnace.  I will never cease to be amazed at their great faith and boldness to stand up for God even when it was going to cost them their life.
But what stood out to me this time as I read the story was not their bold faith.  It was the part when after they were thrown into the fiery furnace and there was a fourth man with them.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:24-25)
The fourth man in the fire was a form of God himself, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the furnace, unharmed by the flames, just “chillin’ with Jesus” during one of the scariest moments of their lives.  I have to say, after reading this story again, I found so much encouragement and truth for my own life.   I want to share with you all the main truths I pulled from this chapter in Daniel.
Below you are three truths from Daniel 3 that can be yours when you find yourself walking through the fire.

1. God is with us in the fire

All of us will go through hardships and tribulations in our life that can be referred to as fires.  In 1 Peter trials are compared to the process of using fire to refine gold;
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
I probably don’t have to tell you that fires are not easy things to walk through.  Fires are often used as an instrument of death and destruction. But when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego were thrown into the fire they didn’t even get burned.  They were unharmed and unbound while they were in the fire and God’s very presence was with them.  With God, even something evil can be used for good!  That is the beauty of the gospel and our loving God.  God is with us during our dark days, just like he was with Shadrach Meshach and Abednego when they were in the fire.  Because God is with us, we can rest in him and find peace even during our darkest moments.  God is the one keeping us safe and protecting us from the flames.  God also promises to never leave us when we are in the fire.
Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord God is with you, He will not leave you or forsake you. (1 Chronicles 28:20)

2. We can thrive while in the fire

This truth is really hitting home with me today.  I can’t stop thinking about how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego were in the fire, unbound and unharmed.  Not a single trace of the fire was seen on them when they came out.  I can’t help but get this picture in my head of them laughing and having the best of times with Jesus while they are in the fire.  They just got thrown into a fiery furnace, the last thing they should be doing is rejoicing and having the best of times.
Did you know that we can have this same kind of joy during our fires too! That’s the amazing thing about the power God gives us through His Spirit.  When we go through our fires, we can rejoice.  Because God is with us, we won’t get burned.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, our time in the fire can lead to the sweetest fellowship with our Saviour Jesus Christ. Because of Christ in us, we can thrive even when in the middle of the darkest of circumstances.  I have seen this ring true in my life when I think back on the hard fires God has called me to walk through.  Even when my entire world was crashing down before my eyes, I had the strongest sense of peace and joy that was rooted in God.  God is not only with us, but He is the one who gives us all we need to thrive during the fire!
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:3-5)

3. God uses the fire to bring Himself glory

In the last part of this chapter, after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the furnace,  King Nebuchadnezzar is amazed and humbled.  He realizes that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the true God and begins praising God;
Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:28)
After Nebuchadnezzar witnessed God’s glory he gave God praise for what had happened.  I think that an important thing for us to always remember when we are going through our fires is that people are always watching.  People want to see how we respond when we are faced with rough circumstances.  When we respond with joy and strength that can only come from God in the hardest of circumstances, it causes people to wonder.  Our fires and the way we thrive during them can be the most effective way to reach someone with the gospel because they will see that we truly do have something in us that is better than what the world offers; we have God’s Spirit living in us!
 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
God’s ways are not our ways and His plans are not our plans.  The way God chooses to bring glory to His name often is through the hard trials we must walk through.  But this can encourage us to keep on keeping on through the hard days because, in our weakness, He is made strong.  God’s glory is being made known through us and that is an amazing thing!
Whatever fire it is that the Lord has called you to walk through, I hope and pray that these three truths can encourage you and give you strength.  Be encouraged that God is always with you during your darkest days and He will give you everything you need to endure.  Because of the good God we have, you can rise up and thrive while in the fire.  God will give you His peace and joy that makes no sense to this world.  And when those who don’t know Christ watch you, your life will be a testimony of the gospel to them.
Keep on following Him, dear friend, even when He calls you to go through the fire.  And never let your heart forget, there is another in the fire with you; His name is Jesus.

5 Good Things Suffering does for Christians

5 Good Things Suffering does for Christians

I’ve been thinking a bit about suffering and how God uses it in a Christians’ life.

Did you know that there are actually some pretty sweet things we can experience when we suffer or go through a trial as a Christian!? God is so good! Even when we are hurting there is so much good to be found in Him! And he has plans and a reason for us while we are in each hard season.

I have come up with five things that suffering does for us as Christians that is actually good and something we praise God for.

1. Suffering refines our faith like gold.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“In this, you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

2. Those who stay steadfast under suffering will receive a great reward.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

3. Suffering means that our “Father” God is treating us as sons.

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrews 12:7-8

4. Suffering allows us to share in God’s Holiness.

“For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11

5. Suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope in us.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4
If you find yourself in the middle of a hard season, take heart and be encouraged. All these good things are things that you can claim for yourself and hold onto. God is going to do great things in your life and suffering is a part of his good and perfect plan for you.