Challenges

 

 

I have had some challenging times and life being what it is I expect more challenges. In life, there are always challenges. One cannot escape the probability of challenges, we all have and will face any number of challenges and difficulties. Those challenges may be due to financial problems, job changes, marital, loss of family members due to death, health difficulties, difficulties with home repairs, automobile repairs, temptations, problems with completing school work or hard tests to take. There is always some sort of difficulty around the corner waiting for us. Some, so overwhelming that one cannot see how they could get past them, how they will be able to afford the cost, whether financial, emotional or physical. Facing challenges has costs that cannot be avoided. If facing a huge bill that they don’t have the money to pay. They see a pending loss of a loved one that they do not see any way they will be able to cope without that person in their life. I remember watching my parents as they slipped away from me. Praise the Lord, they are with Him now, but I faced those losses with such an emptiness that I could never have imagined being possible. There are some challenges that are smaller, less difficult to face and others so overwhelming that a way to overcome them is beyond the grasp of ones mind.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].                   1 Corinthians 10:13

After facing all manner of challenges in my life, before and after my salvation, but since my salvation I find that even the difficult challenges are easier, the hard times less so. Praying to help me see how He would have me react in those times, to see what path He wants me to take and of course, letting Christ carry my burdens for me.

28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  Philippians 4:6

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:13

So. As I face new challenges in life, because life is full of challenges some worse than others, sometimes more frequent but I will face more challenges. I have His strength to help me be strong. I have Christ to bear my burdens. I have a Lord that loves and protects me in difficult times.

 

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].  1 Peter 5:10

 

I will lean on Him in the challenges; seek His counsel when confused; ask or His comfort when dealing with troubling situations.

 

Lord, Praise You in all Your Glory. I thank You for the comfort You give in troubled times, for the strength to stay the course when I am facing struggles to continue on the course You have laid before me. I know that I will never be at a point that challenges do not come my way but I thank You for being there to help me through those times. I ask in the name of Jesus that others facing challenges, facing big decisions or difficult times, currently or in the future, be given the grace You have shown me and that You speak to their hearts and minds that they know that You are with them and give them guidance and understanding of their individual paths so they know what they need to do. Show them Your will in their lives and give them the peace when You speak to them so that they have the comfort only You can give. Thank You Lord for my salvation through the sacrifice of Your Son Christ.

Amen

Well, its cold in the Midwest and hopefully will warm up soon. I hope all have a blessed day and are able to be a blessing to someone else.

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Fitness Test

fitness

 

I mentioned being in the military. I was active duty for several years and have been in the National Guard for a several years since my active duty time. One part of military, active duty or reserves is fitness testing. We have to take the fitness tests a couple times a year that consist of sit ups, push ups and either running, walking or some other event to test aerobic and cardio fitness the Army physical fitness test or APFT because the military loves its acronyms. Well, years ago when I first had to start doing them, I could pass, but didn’t do as well as I would have liked, more on that later. But, I ran a lot, worked out more. Due to other events in life I was doing less working out so the tests were more of a hassle, my scores went down, I still passed, but not as easily and not as well as previously. I started working out more, losing weight, getting back into shape and we had a test at the last drill. Well, funny how it works out, but when one works out and prepares, if they work to get more fit, the fitness tests are much easier, you perform better.

I got to thinking on that, how I had evaluated my physical condition and fitness, realized I needed to get into better shape, so I did. I also thought about how much more important it was for me to evaluate my spiritual fitness. I also thought about how when I exercised in my spiritual life: with prayer, studying the Bible, praising our Lord, I was much more spiritually fit as well and that when I had spiritual fitness tests in life, I performed better, I responded better, to events in my life. Once upon a time, I was much more fit spiritually and things went well spiritually. When difficulties or challenges arouse, I dealt with them better and they were usually less stressful anyway. God looks out for us when we follow Him and are living the life He wants us to live. Well, since I returned to Christ, I am learning to be more spiritually fit. God does not disappoint, when I put the effort into things, the spiritual fitness improved and tests are easier to pass. Oh, just like the physical fitness tests, some events are more difficult at times. But, if one prepares, one passes the test. Praise the Lord for His help improving my spiritual fitness.

I also thought about how our physical condition and strength, if we train to a certain level, that is the level we reach. We do well at that level. Years ago I used to train for the APFT by doing the events. I ran the 2 miles, did the push ups and sit ups for 2 minutes each and such. Well, I would pass, like I mentioned, but would be finished physically by the time I was done, I had reached my limit. One day after the APFT a buddy and I were talking, well he was in better shape than I and didn’t appear exhausted like I was and I commented on that fact. He asked me how I trained for the test, I told him I ran the 2 miles and such. He then said something that really made me think, he said, “You know, if you train for the standards, you meet the standards but that’s all you can do and it is hard to do it because that is the max you can perform. But, if you train for more than that, do more push ups and sit ups, run 3,4 or 5 miles every day, the test is an easy task.” Simple concept, but eye opening. So, I started doing that, actually did at least twice the distance and other things and guess what, HE WAS RIGHT! The next time the APFT came around it was a piece of cake. I did better than I ever had and wasn’t exhausted when I finished. AMAZING!

Now, why does physical fitness have anything to do with my Christian walk? Well, if we spiritually prepare for normal events, normal life, work, home, etc then the more significant challenges one encounters will spiritually drain you. If you study the Bible and pray, seek God, just enough, then you are spiritually prepared for the normal day to day events, but the sudden, unexpected hardships will cause a set back. One needs to train for more than they think will happen, one needs to spiritually be ready for the really tough times. God will be with you either way, He just makes dealing with it even easier if we are ready before hand.

More thinking, if anyone has ever used a personal trainer, they come up with a plan to help you get physically stronger, they give you goals. Once you reach that goal you can stay there, just train to that level and that’s where you are with physical condition. But, if once you reach that goal, they set another goal for you, push you, get you to reach higher levels of physical conditioning and strength. God does that too. Sometimes, just by making one want to pray, study the Bible and seek Christ more, other times, like a physical trainer puts more weights on the machines, God puts more weights on us, sometimes He helps us get stronger by giving us a harder burden. Nothing more than we can endure, but more than we had previously. That isn’t always a punishment, sometimes it is a reward. He knows you have improved your spiritual strength to a point you can endure more, but Christ still wants more from us. He wants us to continue to grow as Christians. He doesn’t want us to get to an okay level and remain there, He was us to excel and, if that means putting more burdens or hardships on us for a while, He will do so. If we respond to those challenges as we should, by seeking Him, praying, looking to the Bible. WE GROW STRONGER as Christians.

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Yeah, I think I want to start training above the standards, I am going to work even harder on my spiritual growth, more time in prayer, more time reading the Bible, more time seeking God. If I have challenges, I will be ready for them, if they seem to be too much, I know He will be there to help me get through. He will never leave me or forsake me. He won’t give me hardships I can’t endure and when the time is right, I can give those burdens to Christ. Praise Jesus what a wonderful God we serve.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

 

Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

 

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

The LORD [is] my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he [is] my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:2

There is so much more on how God is our strength and salvation, with Christ I can do all things. Such powerful words.

Lord, I praise You for all You are. I thank You the lessons You are teaching me and how You do strengthen me and help me when things get tough. How You have helped me get through difficult times, even when I wasn’t serving You, and how now, You make it so much easier to deal with any adversity. I pray You continue to work on me, work in my heart and help me train more for the future challenges. Help me grow spiritually stronger that I can be the Christian warrior You wish me to be in my life. I ask You to strengthen loved ones in their walks with You and draw those not serving You to Christ that they may know the salvation You have given me.

Amen

 

Thanks again. I appreciate the readers and folks that are following my blog as well as the likes and comments. Please pass this on to someone if you believe they could benefit.

Remember, whatever you do, be a blessing to someone.