God is not surprised, nor is he intimidated by the challenges we face. They are inevitable and a necessary part of our growth process. Since our response to challenges determines our growth or regression, we need to adopt the correct one.
In this 5 - day plan, we will look at the importance of having the correct response to challenges and identify some of those responses using biblical references and examples. I believe after these five days, your perception will shift from viewing challenges as problems to viewing and recognizing them as opportunities.
According to the English Dictionary, a challenge is a demanding or stimulating situation. It is a call to action. In Matthew 4:1, we see Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Wilderness speaks of hardship, trials, challenges, and testing. We would prefer not to go through these situations, such as an unloving husband or wife, a rebellious child, an annoying nosy neighbor, an unscrupulous workmate, or an arrogant 'wicked' boss. However, it is in these wilderness experiences we learn and gain practice in subduing our fleshly desires. We learn to recognize and activate the gifts while in the wilderness. Like Moses in the backside of the desert, this is where we learn to recognize the potential we have and have had in our hands all along. This is where our eyes are open to see that the talent, job, and business ideas we thought to be nothing have the potential to become multi-million dollar corporations or transform lives, families, communities, and even nations. When we are faced with intense challenges, we develop a total dependency on God. This is the best posture we can take, for in the Kingdom of God absolute surrender to Him means certain victory for us. We stand tallest when we are on our faces before him.
While Jesus was in the wilderness, the enemy presented several challenges to him, and each time He responded, "it is written." In other words, this is the established law of the Kingdom I represent. It is what governs my actions and shapes my reality." You see, challenges call us to act upon the word which the Lord has taught us. For too long, we have been sitting in our comfortable airconditioned buildings listening to messages after messages, week after week. Challenges are blessings in disguise. They are a part of the way God is working things out for our good. They call us to rise out of complacency by applying the word of God to our situations and see it work for us. Challenges call us to become doers of the word and not just sit in the pews saying "Amen and Hallelujah." They call us to maturity. When God presents a challenge to us, he is calling us to come higher. If we understand there are benefits, hidden treasures, in challenges, we will rejoice when they arrive.
What challenges are you faced with currently?
How will you respond?
After hundreds of years, the time had finally arrived for the children of Israel to enter the land of Canaan promised to their forefathers by God. They were about to receive their long-awaited inheritance. But there was a challenge; there were giants in the land.
In yesterday's entry, we learn that a challenge calls for action; it demands a response. Now how will these people who God wanted to bless respond to this massive challenge before them? Well, sadly, they chose to focus on the giants and adopt a defeatist attitude. Our attitude is our position, feelings, point of view, or disposition on a matter. We may not get to choose our challenges, but we get to choose our attitude.
Caleb and Joshua had been with the others who scouted the land, but because of their firm belief in the God they belonged to and his proven ability to deliver them, they saw a different picture. Like the others, they did see the giants, but they also knew their God was bigger. A winning attitude looks beyond the challenge and sees the victory. Like David, a person with a winning attitude sees the giant falling in the Spirit, although he presently stands tall hurling threats. We have to choose to believe that God will do whatever he says, even if everything around us says otherwise. Faith does not mean we deny the reality of the challenge, but we know that our God is bigger.
A winning attitude says:
- Anything is possible if I only believe
- There is nothing too hard for the Lord
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
- If God is on my side, then no one can be against me
- Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world
- I am more than a conqueror because I am in Christ.
When we respond to challenges with a winning attitude, we will receive all that God promised us.
Today's response is one of thanksgiving. The act of thanksgiving is an act of God-seeking. You see, when you choose to give God thanks always, you are choosing to look for him diligently/persistently in every situation because you know he is present and he is working. He promised he would never leave us, and he cannot lie. Regardless of what is happening around you, look for the good in it; when you find that good thing, that is him at work. Thanksgiving causes us to look for God in disappointments. I must point out that the greater the fellowship or intimacy we have with him, the easier it will be to recognize him in the most challenging situations.
When we give God thanks amid the challenges, it pleases him. Thanksgiving is us operating in the will of God, and he releases angels to fight on our behalf. He has never lost a fight. Do you remember the battle between King Jehosaphat and his enemies? Talk about an intimidating challenge. The armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir marched against the people of God to destroy them. Yet, Judah responded with praise and thanksgiving. As the people sang, God took charge of the battle, and they did not have to lift a finger. He fought, and they received the plunder. Hallelujah! Who is like our God? If you have been responding to your challenges with complaints and fear, it's time to change your strategy. Begin to thank him for who he is and all he has done for you. There is always something for which you can thank him. Our God is ALWAYS good regardless of what is happening and how we feel. He deserves continual thanksgiving.
Acknowledge that you do not know everything and you cannot do everything on your own; you need help. We all need help. Even the best contenders need a coach, and we have the best coach in us and with us all the time. Jesus told us in John 14:16 that his Father will send the Counselor, Helper, and Intercessor (AMPC version). The Holy Spirit is our teacher and mentor. He is the one who leads us into all Truth.
If we want to overcome the challenges we face, we must first learn to enquire of the Holy Spirit for guidance and solutions to the problems we face, then do whatever he says. In the words of the wise King, Solomon "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take" NLT (Proverbs 3:5-6). We have to learn to follow his instructions. He is the Spirit of Truth and knows what is needed to get us through. The correct response to the challenges we face is to continually decrease so the Spirit's rule can increase in our lives. He knows the nature of the challenge and what we need to do. We have to be willing and ready to do things his way. A person who feels they know everything cannot be taught and therefore will not grow. Learn to follow the Holy Spirit's lead. Every challenge you face will not be the same, so you have to rely on him every time to lead you. Following him means we have to keep our eyes and ears open for his instructions at all times. It necessitates us being continually yielded to his plan every step of the way, even when we do not understand it. Following the Holy Spirit means always being open, ready, and flexible to changing our plans when he says to do so.
Remember that the battle we are engaged in is not a physical one, but it's spiritual. God is not trying to make your life miserable by allowing challenges to come against you. He is right there going through it with you. Your Father is not the kind of parent or friend who disappears when things get tough. He has a beautiful plan for your life, and he is ordering your steps to get you there. The path he has set out for you is perfect, even with the potholes along the way. God is about accomplishing his will in and through your life.
Joseph came to appreciate the challenges and recognized that God used them to train him for rulership in Egypt. You see, our level of maturity is tested and proven in the challenges we encounter and God rewards maturity with greater responsibility. Our God is not short-sighted as we are; he is All-seeing and All-knowing. He knows his plans for us and what is required to get us there. At times, challenges will arise from right in your home or church, or from persons closest to you. Do not take it personally and allow self-pity and depression to overtake you. Do not allow anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness to consume you.
Over the years, I have learned it is not that some of these people are evil but that I had to learn to be confident in what God said about me. At times, we can find ourselves longing for recognition and validation from a leader who we admire, a spouse who we love dearly, or social media "Likes" for us to feel like we are somebody or that the anointing on our lives is legitimate.
The Holy Spirit in you, the child of God, is a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness. He is here to bring refreshing, restoration, and transformation to every area of your life and by extension the world. He is ready to move mightily against your enemies. Do not stifle him by taking offense to everything, which leads to bitterness and unforgiveness. Do not take it personally. Let go of the offenses quickly. Allow Christ to define you. As a child of God, your life is "hidden" (concealed. kept secret) in Christ. He is the one the Father sees when he looks at you and must be the one the world sees as well. It is not about you; it is about him. The challenges that come against you are coming up against him. Therefore, the battle is for him to fight. Be still and see him take care of it. When you keep your eyes on him, you will not respond based on how you feel.
If you enjoyed this plan and would like to learn more about dealing with challenges and conflicts please feel free to check out my podcast series on the "Correct Response To Conflicts." https://www.everydaykingdomlivingpodcast.com/
Regardless of how long we have been saved or in the church, none of us is immune to temptations. As humans, we all have desires, and quite often, our enemy, the devil, seeks to prey on our desires to cause us to sin against God.
In this 3-Day Plan, we will look at the subtlety of temptation and, therefore, the need for us to guard ourselves against it. Temptation is perhaps the more used and ancient weapon in our enemy's arsenal. He has been using it since creation and continues to use it today. We are not ignorant of this device, so it's time we stand our ground against it.
We Thank Ann-Mary Joseph for sharing with us such an inspirational reading plan. To learn more about Ann-Mary, visit her Facebook Page.
There is more than meet the eyes with temptation, and therefore it must never be underestimated. It always promises pleasure, but the result is death. Uncontrolled or ungoverned desires lead to temptation. We all have a responsibility to control our desires and not have our desires control us. Governing our desires is one of the ways the Holy Spirit helps us. He gives us self-control to subdue those desires and, in that way, resist the devil. How many have gotten caught in the web of temptation manifesting in the form of addictions? The truth is temptation is deception, and deception masquerades as Truth, but once we give in to it, we will find ourselves like Adam and Eve, losing our identity and our inheritance in God. We need to recognize and confess the desires - those weaknesses and seek help. To confess that thing is to reveal it (bring it out in the open); to deny it is to conceal it, and whatever is concealed cannot be healed.
In our lives today, we are bombarded by many temptations of the world, but God has provided a way of escape so that we, as believers in Christ, can subdue them. When Satan came to tempt the Lord in the wilderness, Jesus was fully ready. Whenever satan would twist the scriptures, Jesus would respond with wisdom. In the same way, when we are tempted, we should respond like Jesus. However, because of our fleshly desires, we tend to mess up and fall into the lies of the enemy. At times we willfully place our minds and bodies to the exposure of temptation. What do I mean by this? For example, when you choose to watch pornography, knowing its effect on you, you are willfully exposing yourself to temptation. Or maybe you have a problem with stealing, yet you decide to be the treasurer of the men's club donations; this is also willfully exposing yourself to temptation. The bible says to resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The question is; Do we resist temptation, or do we accept it, knowing that God extends grace and mercy towards us? Let us not allow the enemy to defeat us by giving in our fleshly desires but let us press towards the mark, which is Christ Jesus. Choose to exercise the self-control with the Holy Spirit gives; resist the enemy, and he will flee.
Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit who you sent to be with us and in us. Holy Spirit, I choose to surrender to your authority today. I have self-control that comes from you, and therefore I am no longer a slave to my desires, but I am seated in Christ above those desires. Please help me quickly discern the weak areas, those desires I often so easily give into, and help me subdue them. In Jesus' name. Amen
Everything that God made is good. Whatever it is, he wants us to enjoy it fully but in the right way and at the right time. He wants us to live a life of purity. He wants us to experience freedom in whatever areas we have been powerless. Yet, for many of us, sex has been a challenge. Sexual temptation comes in many ways; Lust, adultery, fornication, incest, rape, and the list goes on. I want you to know that whether you went through this before and you overcame it, to God be the glory, but for those who are still struggling, there is deliverance, and its starts with you.
We live in a world where technology is at its best, and there are so many influences around us that can cause us to fall into sexual sins. God made sex to be enjoyed between a man and his wife. It is sacred, holy and it's a communion between two married people of the opposite sex. It's not what the world is portraying to us. Unfortunately, many of us as believers get caught up in the world definition and perception of what sex should be. It has been a constant struggle for many in the church, and it should be addressed because it's a secret sin that plagued the church for too long. We cannot be practicing sexual sins with everyone we meet in the name of love. Sex is such a connection that even when you break up with that person, he or she is still a part of you. Our mission is to abstain or be patient and wait upon the Lord for the right partner as children of God. Remember, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we should honor God with it. God wants us to save sex for marriage not because it's terrible but because it's unique and wonderful. It is not just for having fun or an excellent way to express mutual love. It is about two people who genuinely love each other, becoming one in the flesh.
Father, we ask you to forgive us for the many times we have failed you with our bodies. Lord, help us to honor you with our bodies in every way. Help us remember that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we should not defile it in any way, form, or fashion. Please help us to flee from temptation when it comes our way. Bring our bodies into subjection unto you right now in Jesus' name. Amen
Do you know a person can also be tempted financially? Temptation regarding finances is a huge reason for us making bad financial decisions and why we end up in financial difficulties. Like sexual temptation, financial temptations are everywhere. There are so many reasons we, as believers, can become financially tempted if we don't stay focus. A few of those reasons are:
1.Competition with friends, neighbors, or families for material things.
2. You not being contented with what God has blessed you with
3. Your wants are greater than your needs.
4. You don't have any plans for your finances.
Nonetheless, we can avoid all of these temptations. God desires us to be wise with our finances which means we should not allow ourselves to be lead by what we see. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you get tempted, he will always provide a way of escape so that you can endure. Many of us as Christians have become caught up with the things of the world, and thus our priorities and goals have become distorted. Many of us have traded the Truth for deception. We have to ensure that we do not get easily distracted by the things around us. Let us plan well and make wise decisions when it comes to our monies and spending habits.
Lord, I thank you for the financial blessings that you have given me. Help me be content with what you have blessed me with and make the wisest decisions regarding my monies. Help me seek you first in every decision that I make with my finances. Lord, blind my eyes to the things of the world that I don't need. Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from unnecessary spending in Jesus' mighty name. Amen