Joy In The Trials

August 2, 2019 by NATHAN MCBRIDE, Discerning Dad

There are few guarantees we can count being there to greet us every day. Few things we can wake up every morning and know without a doubt we will encounter them. God and His love for us is one. The second guarantee is trials. One removes anxiety, fear, and stress. The other adds anxiety, fear, and stress. What if in Gods infinite wisdom He gave us the tools to eliminate the anxiety, fear, and stress from trials? When Jesus faced the last hours and His greatest trial, he did it with grace, humility, joy and an understanding of Gods will.

How we as Christians encounter and endure trials is one of the center pieces that set us apart from the world. When we face the things that would break the world, and we move through them with Christ we are strengthened. We are drawn closer to our Lord and drawn closer in the relationships that Glorify Him. Fortunately, through His infinite wisdom he gave us the perfect road map to endure and grow through every trial.

James 1: 2-4 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Romans 8: 28 (NASB) And 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.

Those two verses give us everything we need to encounter and endure trials the same way Jesus faced His. I have spent the past year focused heavily on those verses and facing trials with joy knowing that with an omniscient Father He is always building things to His glory and our benefit.

Trials have many forms. From the hard trials of losing a loved one, losing a job, depression or whatever you personally view as a hard trial, to trials of minor inconvenience, being late, cleanliness of a home, or an unexpected bill. Regardless of what the trial is we are taught to approach them the same. With Joy. Understanding that there is a purpose behind the trial for good is the key component to finding that joy amid the trial.

We have a few things to do to achieve this.

First, we need to make sure we are doing everything every day to a level that glorifies God. We need to submit to His sovereignty to work and move in our lives. By doing this we are allowing God to open and close doors as he sees fit. Basically, if you are giving a 100% to your job. You have given that to the Lord. You have submitted to His will and authority it. After that if you then lose your job you can know one thing in certainty. God has it and He is closing a door to move you where He needs you next. However, you can’t oversleep, not perform, blame it on the enemy and then say it’s God closing the door. Wrong you closed that door. That’s the first part, staying focused on doing all things to His Glory.

Secondly, we need to open our eyes. When we come into a trial, we need to see that there is a purpose for it. God is doing a work in us to bring out the good in it. How we see the trial changes the light we see it in. Trials can be for any purpose. They can be to show us something we need to give up and hand over to God such as an addiction. They can be to help us grow closer in those relationships that glorify Him. Psychologists have even proven that working through a hardship with someone is a key component to building a lasting bond in that relationship. So, trials with your spouse and children are a very good thing if you view it from that angle. They can be as simple as the enemy trying to deter, de-rail, or force you to question God. If that is it, you should see more joy in the trial as it’s a clear indicator to you moving down the right path.

Trials can protect us. Ever have those days where you just feel like you are perpetually running late. No matter what you do you can’t make up those 10 minutes you lost? You keep getting rerouted out of your plan for the day? Then at the end of the you drive by a fresh accident that if you would have been on schedule would be part of. Or you run into someone during the day that you get to help because you were 10 minutes behind. We don’t know Gods plan, but we do know He moves in our lives and while we play checkers, He’s playing chess.

Trials build testimony. As we go through trials and walk with Christ through them, we are building testimony to help others through similar trials. As we come along side one another in fellowship and life our testimony was perfectly built to help those we encounter. If you battled depression and gained control of it that testimony could be the very thing that saves another life. The difficulties and trials in your marriage will one day be something that could help save another marriage. Your financial trials and how you came out of that could be the very testimony of hope and grace that carries another through their trial.

So, the next time you encounter a trial remember, it’s for a perfect purpose, God is moving in it, and look forward to the beauty that will come as a result of the trial. There is either a reason for everything or a reason for nothing.

Father I pray that you help us see the joy and beauty in the trials we encounter each day. That we take them on with a new perspective and through that it removes the anxiety, fear, and stress we normally feel and replace them with joy and anticipation of good work you are doing through the trial. Amen.

Nathan McBride
Guest Discerning Dad

Guest- Nathan McBride- Joy in the Trials

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Eye Opening Prayer

Man praying in the grassy field

Thought you might enjoy this prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. It seems prayer still upsets some people…

 When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek your direction and Guidance.

We know Your Word says,’ Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it The lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it Welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it Choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it Justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem..

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Amen!

 

The response was immediate. A number of Legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea .

With the Lord’s help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called “One Nation Under God”

https://stopandpraytv.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/eye-opening-prayer/

In Post-Abortion America, Pro-Life Movement Must Change Attitudes toward Adoption

By Dan Hart Managing Editor

Dan Hart is the Managing Editor for Publications at Family Research Council. This article appeared in the National Reviewon June 7, 2019.

With the end of Roe now in sight, we must prepare more urgently for a future America where adoption is seen as both the lawful option and the loving one.

This is a thrilling and encouraging moment for the pro-life movement in the U.S., as American society shifts further away from abortion in both its attitudes and policies. Last month, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed into law the strongest pro-life measure in America, and Louisiana and Missouri recently enacted their strongest-ever pro-life laws, bringing to seven the total number of states that have this year banned abortion after six weeks’ gestation.

But with this shift come new challenges for the pro-life movement. If Roe is overturned soon and states continue to criminalize the killing of unborn children, more unplanned babies will be born in America than ever before. This raises the obvious question: Is America ready to fully embrace adoption as the “loving option” the pro-life movement knows it to be?

Already, pro-choice writers are anticipating an adoption-focused future. The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan has written a mildly slanted, yet factually honest, piece exploring available statistics and anecdotal evidence on how unexpectedly pregnant women feel about adoption and their ultimate decisions about their pregnancies:

But even among American women for whom carrying a child to term would be safe, adoption is a remarkably unpopular course of action. Though exact estimates for all women are hard to come by, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports [sic] that among never-married women, about 9 percent chose adoption before 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. (The figure was higher for white women: 19 percent.) By the mid-1980s, the figure had dropped to 2 percent, and it was just 1 percent by 2002, the last year the CDC data captured. In 2014, only 18,000 children under the age of 2 were placed with adoption agencies. By comparison, there are about 1 million abortions each year.

Tellingly, Khazan forgoes explaining why the percentage of women who chose adoption dropped so dramatically after Roe v. Wade. The reason is as plain as day: If something that was once scarce suddenly becomes widely available, more people will choose it. After Roe’s blanket legalization of abortion, more women began to choose abortion, which meant that there were fewer babies to adopt. This tendency has remained disturbingly lopsided to this day: There are about 55 abortions for every one adoption of a child under the age of two in America.

But there is hope. There can be little doubt that once legal abortions become increasingly hard to procure, more and more babies who would have otherwise been aborted will be born and placed up for adoption. How many more is hard to say for certain, but if the 9 percent pre-Roe figure referenced by Khazan begins to take shape after a possible future overturn of Roe, there would be (very roughly) 90,000 more babies in need of adoption per year.

Is America ready to adopt this many unplanned babies? Pro-choice activists insist the answer is a resounding “no,” constantly fretting over imagined horrors that inevitably await “unwanted” children if they are born. But numbers are stubborn things. There are an estimated 2 million infertile couples in the U.S. waiting to adopt a baby. In addition, about 10 percent of American women — 6.1 million — “have difficulty getting or staying pregnant.” A CDC study found that over half (57 percent) of these women, and 81.5 million Americans overall, have considered adoption.

Undoubtedly, Americans can find loving homes for tens of thousands more unplanned babies. That being said, there is a real question that must be faced: How do women with unplanned pregnancies actually feel about adoption, and how does it actually affect them?

Khazan’s article depicts the emotional distress that women experience with adoption. Studies have found that many women feel “guilt” at the thought of leaving their child with an adoption agency without knowing “whether it was being taken care of or who was taking care of it.” Studies also show that virtually all birth mothers feel grief after they place their children up for adoption.

Clearly, the pro-life movement must rethink how it promotes adoption to address the real-world concerns of women with unplanned pregnancies. The practice of “open” adoption has proven particularly healthy and beneficial for both the birth mother and the adopted child; it should be widely discussed and encouraged. Another effective strategy is to amplify the voices of those who have been adopted out of difficult circumstances and are now thriving. Ryan BombergerMelissa Ohden, and Gianna Jessen are just a few such people, but a simple YouTube search reveals thousands more “ordinary” adoption stories that are just as beautiful and inspiring.

Khazan’s Atlantic article reveals that there remains a huge and difficult mountain that must be climbed to transform the cultural view of adoption. With the end of Roe now in sight, the pro-life movement must prepare more urgently for a future America where adoption is seen clearly as both the lawful option and the loving one.

Dan Hart is the Managing Editor for Publications at Family Research Council. His writing has appeared in such outlets as National Review, The Federalist, First Things, The Stream

https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=PV19F01


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


Free Adoption Self-Help Manual

https://www.adoptionservices.org/adoption_manual/index.htm


State Adoption Laws

https://www.adoptionservices.org/child_adoption_laws/adoption_laws.htm


Be Thankful

Christian Mom

We read in Exodus 15 that right after the Lord delivered the Israelites from the hands of Pharoah by miraculously dividing the red sea, they sang and worshipped the Lord through a song. However, It is ironic that just after the victory, the miracles, and the powerful hand that God has shown them – they grumbled to the Lord.

They grumbled about their water being bitter and they grumbled that they didn’t have meat to eat. But even in their grumblings, God acted upon His character – gracious, merciful, and faithful. And He answered them. In Exodus 16:11 to 12 “And the Lord said to Moses, I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel, say to them at twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.

It is humbling to know that even in our grumblings, our complains, God is Merciful enough to hear and even answer it. He doesn’t have too but He does only for the purpose for us to know that He is the Lord our God.

Allow me to share a little testimony or right fully said, rebuke from the Lord. For two weeks, I have been like the Israelites who have been grumbling to the Lord. The Lord called me out with this passage.

While I was grumbling about having to wake up early for work The Lord reminded that I should be thankful that I am alive and I have a job.

While grumbling about not having this blessing that we have been praying for. The Lord reminded me that He has never left me. My family and I are still able to eat three times a day. We are still able to sleep in the comfort of our homes and we have clothes to wear.

We grumble of what we don’t have and forget of what we have and who our God is. Like the Israelites, after God has shown them His power through the plagues, dividing the red sea, yet in an instant, they grumbled. They grumbled for the very little things, the daily necessities of life that God has promised to provide. They forgot how powerfully God delivered them from slavery but on the very little things they couldn’t trust God. We too sometimes forget how God powerfully delivered us from our greatest problem which is sin hence there is nothing that our Almighty and Powerful God cannot do.

Half of year 2019 has passed and I would like to encourage you to look back and write down the things that the Lord has done for us for the past 7 months. From there, let’s give thanks for God’s faithfulness. This would be a really good practice because we quickly forget what God has done for us especially if the present doesn’t seem good for us. I am very sure that when we write down all the things God has done, it would prove the very character of God. It will prove that He has never left us and that He is and always true to His promises. Thus, it would result to a thankful heart.

Love,

Christian Mom

Be Thankful

Powerful New Photos Show Women Who Desperately Regret Their Abortions But Found Christ’s Forgiveness

MICAIAH BILGER AUG 6, 2019

Angela Forker is giving a voice to women in a society that increasingly is trying to silence their stories.

Her new photography project, After The Abortion, uses powerful images and quotes to share post-abortive women’s testimonies. Through the photos, Forker shows the women’s struggles, their pain and grief, and their journey to healing.

“Something is happening in America, and those who are in the middle, they need to make a choice,” Forker told LifeNews.com.

At a time when women are encouraged to brag about how good their abortions were and silenced if they regret them, Forker said she hopes the After The Abortion project will “touch hearts and show them the truth behind abortion. Who can argue with their experience?”

Forker said her background is in baby photography and missions. She and her husband used to serve as missionaries in Germany and Italy before they returned to the United States a number of years ago.

Earlier this year, she said she felt God calling her to begin the After The Abortion project.

But she hesitated.

Forker said she had been praying that God would use her photography to help people come to Him. But the answer was not what she had expected.

“He stretched me in a way I never thought possible,” she said. “He told me to photograph post-abortive women and tell their stories, I basically said no to God. I argued with Him because I was doing baby photography.”

Between her photography business, ministry work and her Precious Baby project (another one of her pro-life ministries), Forker felt too busy to start something new. She also confessed that she was worried that people would think that she had had an abortion.

“In an instant, God showed me His great heart of love and compassion for these women, and I just started crying,” she remembered. “I asked Him to forgive me, and promised to do it for Him.”

Since February, Forker has completed about a dozen photography sessions with women who have had abortions. In each case, the women contact her about participating.

To begin, she asks the women to share their stories with her, and then she creates unique photo sessions around their experiences. Some women tell her of struggles with depression or denial, others with substance abuse, broken relationships or suicidal thoughts. Some of her sessions involve the fathers of the unborn babies, too – because abortions affect every member of the family.

Their stories tell of bitterness and grief and the realization that they aborted their own children. But Forker believes they also are a testament to the healing power of Jesus.

My  abortion almost killed me,” one woman, Meg, told Forker. “I had an acute awareness of my daughter’s soul leaving the room. And, as if in a cartoon, a black cloud moved over me. Guilt. Shame.”

Another woman, Jenna, told Forker that she carries a walnut with her to remind her of her unborn baby. When she had the abortion, Jenna said she felt her baby, about the size of a walnut, pass out of her body.

“Something in my head said, ‘Don’t forget about me,’” Jenna remembered. “I won’t ever forget. There was nothing worse than killing your own child.”

During each session, Forker also prays with the women. She said she asks that their stories will help other mothers choose life and other post-abortive mothers and fathers find healing and forgiveness.

After she is finished, she posts them on her public Facebook page, After The Abortion. Each is a unique piece of art, a series of photos and quotes that poignantly capture each woman’s experience.

In just a few months, their stories have reached thousands of people across the world. Forker said she has received many messages from women asking how they also can find forgiveness and healing after their abortions. She directs them to post-abortion healing ministries like Rachel’s Vineyard and Surrendering the Secret.

Her project speaks to a time where women are encouraged to “shout” their abortions, where the abortion industry tells women that aborting an unborn baby is “normal.” Post-abortive women who experience profound grief and regret often feel silenced and alone — as if they are the only ones who feel that way. But they are not.

The stories told through Forker’s project remind our culture that abortions are not normal or brag-worthy. They are damaging, destructive. They kill unborn babies and leave countless mothers and fathers struggling with an immense weight of grief and pain.

But there is hope.

Women facing unplanned pregnancies can find help and support. Women and men who have lost their unborn babies to abortion can find healing in Christ. These are the messages that Forker hopes to reach the world with.

“It’s just been incredible,” Forker told LifeNews. “It has touched so many lives around the world. And I’m just blown away.”

To be considered for the project, email Angela Forker at preciousbabyphotography@outlook.com.

 

Original here


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


Hammering Cold Steel

by Allen Elston

A few days ago, when I was working on our fence, I needed a piece of “S” shaped metal. I found an old horseshoe and began to hammer it on an anvil. It wasn’t handy for me to heat it, so I started beating on it while holding it bare handed. I did pretty good for a few licks, but when I really hit it hard, it vibrated my hand so hard that I dropped everything, grabbed my hand and danced all around the yard moaning. I remembered what Dad told me as a boy, “If you hammer on cold steel the devil will get you!” I smiled through my pain as that old blacksmith adage came alive to me. I recalled childhood experiences watching Dad shape red hot iron into usable material. It doesn’t take much hammering cold steel to realize it is usually a venture in futility. And, what about the devil’s part? I suppose the penalty for trying to force the issue, where you hurt yourself or ruin the job, is in the devil’s jurisdiction.

You may be able to identify with me in this area of life where you get so involved and feel so strongly about getting the job done, that you get caught up in self effort and drive yourself to countless hours of hammering away but accomplishing little.

Many years of my ministry could be described this way. God’s assignment was beyond me, and the only response to failure that I knew was to work harder, try any different approach, be diligent, and do not give up. There is nothing wrong with this in itself. I can say I was faithful, committed, focused, but very ineffective. The Home Mission Board never pressured me to do ministry a certain way. They only said if I found a way that worked, to be sure and let them know. They too, were resigned to an ineffective ministry in my area.

Faithful, but ineffective! What a convicting thought…hammering cold steel, getting little accomplished, but busy. What about the devil’s jurisdiction in the story? Yes, the penalty of powerlessness does cause hurt and ruin. There is nothing that cuts deeper, and bleeds less, than the feeling in your soul that you are useless, unappreciated and wasted. The Lord does not say it. We do. Others do. “How much longer are you going to stay?” Or, “You could go to a bigger church.” Or, “You are wasting your life here.”

I could identify with the disciples that could not heal the paralytic, and even feel the sting of the Lord’s rebuke, “O unbelieving generation…how long shall I put up with you?” I have cried in desperation, “Lord, that’s not fair. I can defend my record by my faithfulness.” The Lord’s silence to my searching heart pained me as much as the awareness of my impotence convicted me. The Lord knew He could do little to help me until I admitted I was helpless. Sometimes it is easier to keep hammering cold steel than to admit that in our own strength we are powerless. The Peter principle—“Let me be first, Lord. You can count on me. I’ll never do that, Lord”—must run its course. When the Lord catches our searching eye, and in the early hours all alone we cry tears of confession and surrender, then comes the ageless, eternal truth from God, “I love you. I called you and my Spirit within you is adequate to do what I have sent you to do. Trust me with your life. You are accepted and acceptable in Christ Jesus.”

This testimony is a common experience and is shared to encourage those who may be hurting. The whole exchanged life of Christ’s life for our life depends on the statement, “Trust me with your life.” He will not change the message we are to share with the world. He will not remove the challenge of diligence, faithfulness, and commitment. However, He will change our ministry to hammering when the iron is hot.

 

[Retired pastor, Allen Elston, has graciously given me permission to reprint a collection of inspiring newsletter articles he authored from 1994-1996 (like this one). I thank him for his generosity.]

jccast

https://jccast.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/hammering-cold-steel-by-allen-elston/

Remember Their Chains

 

JULY 19, 2019 CASEYBHOUGH@GMAIL.COM

In Colossians 4:18, Paul closed his letter to the church in Colossae by asking them to “remember his chains.” Traditionally, scholars have understood Paul as writing the letter of Colossians from his imprisonment in Rome. He refers to his imprisonment elsewhere in 2 Timothy 1:8, 16, asking Timothy to “not be ashamed of him as the Lord’s prisoner.” Paul felt that there was a need to exhort Christians to remember those who are in prison for their faith in Christ and to not be ashamed them. Here are three ways that Christians can remember their brothers and sisters in Christ who are in chains for their faith:

1)   Prioritize the Kingdom of God – Christ calls us to put His kingdom first. Regardless of the national allegiances that we pledge, our first allegiance is to Christ and His kingdom. When a woman like Twen Theodros imprisoned in Eritrea for “meeting with other Christians,” our thought should not be “not my country, not my problem.” Instead, we should recognize that Twen Theodros is more a part of our family than any unbelieving American. Because of Christ, we have more in common with believers who do not speak our language than neighbors who share common interests but do not have faith in Christ. We will never genuinely care for those who are in chains until we prioritize the Kingdom of God.

2)   Pray for the Persecuted – Following the apostle Paul’s example, we see that prayer is a means of remembrance. In Philippians 1:3, Paul writes, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,” which, given the thanksgiving section of his letter, means that Paul prayed every time God brought the Philippian church to his mind. One of the best ways to keep the persecuted church in your prayer life is to utilize resources like the International Mission Boardthe Joshua ProjectBarnabas Fund, or Operation World.

3)   Encourage Those Imprisoned – Through ministries like Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors, Christians can write letters of encouragement to Christians who are imprisoned around the world. These ministries provide guidelines for writers and translations for the prisoners. Can you imagine how encouraging it must be to receive a letter from another Christian that is praying for you in a different part of the world? This is a very practical way for Christians can encourage other Christians around the world.

As Paul’s letters reveal, when one member of the body of Christ suffers, we should all share in that suffering. We should resolve to remember the chains of our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned and persecuted. We can do this by prioritizing the Kingdom of God, praying for the persecuted, and encouraging those who are imprisoned.

CBH

Original here