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Posts Tagged ‘opposition’

Obstacles, Obstructions, and Opposition

November 1st, 2013

“Amid all these things we . . gain a surpassing victory through [Christ].”  Romans 8:37 AMP.

An overcomer is your identity in Christ, not your ability apart from Him.

My thoughts and comments today are about “obstacles, obstructions, and opposition.”

Life can be challenging. Obstacles, obstructions, and opposition impose themselves across your path and into your plans. Such moments require choices with consequences good or bad. Do you look for an easier path, settle for less, waste valuable resource with little progress, or do you seek Godly solutions not previously considered? You have two options; you can overcome obstacles or be overcome by them. For the Christ-follower, the latter is not an acceptable option.

Too easily, you can indulge yourself and be overcome by things such as: worries, doubt, fears, failures, regrets, disappointments, temptations, or habits until you feel overwhelmed and helpless to resist. Be warned, “By [whatever] a person is overcome, by [that] also he is brought into bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19 NKJV. Paul’s counsel is plain and simple, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 NIV.

Obstacles, obstructions, and opposition can have differing sources. Some obstacles are merely circumstantial, inevitable situations which are common to any of us – things the Bible calls, “the cares of life.” Overcome such obstacles by seeing the opportunity they present, “When trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.” See James 1:2-4 NLT. Read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV/1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT.

Other obstacles result from a spiritual adversary seeking your harm who will use evil “schemes” to dissuade you or misdirect your life. See 2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV/1 Peter 5:7-9 NKJV. Be wise to his intent and undeterred by his opposition. “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NKJV.

Obstacles may even be providential on occasion, evidence of God’s loving intervention to wisely direct or protect you. The obvious or your preferred option may not always be God’s highest and best. But His love will guide you “in the right paths for His Name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 NIV. God may use an obstruction to prompt you to pause and pray about a decision or direction that would not be His highest and best for you. Discern times when God permits an obstacle, obstruction, or opposition in your path. Ignore an obstacle and God may allow an obstruction. Ignore the obstruction and God might allow opposition to get your attention. Paul expected and embraced God’s providential direction in his life. See Acts 16:5-10 NIV.

“Amid all these things [obstacles, obstructions, and opposition] we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 AMP. God has given you the spiritual authority, as well as a solemn responsibility, to be “. . more than conquerors . . [who] gain a surpassing victory THROUGH HIM who loved us.” Paul viewed himself and every believer as overcomers of the highest order. An overcomer is your identity in Christ, not your ability apart from Him. “In Christ!” What a glorious place to be. Read Ephesians 1:18-23 NKJV.

John echoes Paul’s confidence, “You have overcome . . because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world . . For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” See 1 John 4:4/5:4-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your identity be clear and your confidence strong in God.

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Adversity

October 25th, 2013

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT.

There is too much worry, yet too little wonder of the love of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “adversity.”

Ever have times when you felt like everything was working against you? Anyone might feel like that on some occasion. Be careful; you could easily begin feeling sorry for yourself, which is a major waste of time and emotion. Life is not always fair, and the winds of circumstance are not always favorable. Time and circumstance happen to one and all.

Your success in life does not depend upon the good fortune of favorable events. Everyone will have their share of laughter and tears; so will you! Tears are usually the result of troubling times and/or troublesome people. Be advised; Jesus warned that those experiences have the power to steal the word of God from your heart. Jesus called such moments, “tribulation and persecution.” Your well-being comes from successfully handling such times and people. Read Matthew 13:20-21 NIV.

When adversity – big or small – seems to beset you or opposition seems to array against you, ask yourself the same question Paul asked, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT. The Bible does not promise an exemption from challenging times and cantankerous people. Those are the experiences about which Paul refers. Life is more about those who are for you, than those against you. And God is for you.

Paul asks some probing questions that expose the raw nerves, yet persevering faith, of a man that experienced the best and worst of everyday life. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NLT/6:4-10 NKJV. In his letter to Christ-followers in Rome, he asks, “Who dares accuse us . . who then will condemn us . . who can separate us . . does it mean He no longer loves us?” Romans 8:33-35 NLT. Your answers are more critically important than any of your questions.

You may feel the sting of those who privately criticize your best efforts, while you fear that any adversity results from displeasing God, just as Job’s friends suggested of him. Or from those who wonder aloud if your pain or loneliness are symptoms of Heaven’s disapproval. Or maybe from the devil’s whispers that create doubts of God’s love. Such things waste time.

Here is Paul’s answer, and I hope it will be yours: “No, in spite of all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And I am convinced nothing can ever separate us from His love.” Romans 8:37-38 NLT. The Apostle Paul was establishing this simple truth: adversity or opposition do not indicate the displeasure of a God who is unchangeably and altogether for you. Rest safely and confidently in God’s care. There is too much worry, with too little wonder of the love of God. Read Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find your rest and refuge in Christ alone.

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Obstacles and Opportunities

September 2nd, 2013

“A great and effective door has opened to me . . there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV

Adversaries congregate where opportunities abound.

My thoughts and comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

Opportunities abound; so do obstacles. That’s reality. “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Your attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” J. Sidlow Baxter, Theologian, Author (1903-1999). Your attitude has everything to do with your perspective of what constitutes opportunities and obstacles. One person sees a unique opportunity and proceeds despite obstacles. Another person, easily deterred by obstacles, disregards an opportunity. Such  moments define the measure of your future success or failure. Thomas A. Edison correctly observed, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Opportunities will include some measure of sacrifice and effort?

Obstacles and opposition are inevitable realities. An obstacle is a circumstance you didn’t need or want. Opposition occurs when people interfere with your progress, actively or accidentally. Such adversity should not be surprising, but is rather to be expected. In fact, little success is achieved without your choosing to persevere and prevail when situations or people impede your advancement. Obstacles present opportunity for inventiveness and invite problem solving to discover better paths to success. Opposition provides opportunity to demonstrate grace and perseverance.

When feeling tired or overwhelmed, let Jesus be your example; “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition . .” Read Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV. His joy to provide your salvation and mine exceeded the suffering and shame He would endure. See James 1:2-5 NIV.

The Apostle Paul was realistic about the reality of challenges in life and faith when he wrote, A great and effective door has opened to me and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV. Paul personally experienced adversity and adversaries. See 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NKJV. Adversaries congregate where opportunities abound. You might as well prepare yourself for the inevitable. Someone – oblivious, jealous, or antagonistic – will be trying to shut the open door God sets before you. Paul was neither dissuaded by obstacle nor opposition. When he saw an opportunity for the Gospel to be advanced, he was single-minded and fearless.

Paul did not flinch even when forewarned that “. . chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of our God . . the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.” Acts 20:23-24 NKJV/2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV. Paul did not resign himself to an unavoidable fate; he embraced his opportunity and destiny. Neither adversity nor adversaries should dissuade you from fully pursuing the will of God in any and every situation.

My prayer for you today is that you celebrate the faithfulness of God in every difficulty.

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Adversity and Opposition

December 2nd, 2010

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT

People give too much worry with too little wonder at the Almighty God.”

My thoughts today are about “adversity and opposition.”

Ever have times when you felt like everything was working against you? Everyone can feel like that on some occasion. Be careful; that’s when you could easily begin feeling sorry for yourself, but that is a major waste of your time and emotion. Life is not always fair, and the winds of circumstance are not always favorable. Time and circumstance happen to one and all.

Your success in life is not the good fortune of favorable events. Everyone will have their share of laughter and tears; so will you! The tears are usually the result of troubling times and troublesome people. Be advised; Jesus warned that those experiences have the power to steal the word of God from your heart. Read Matthew 13:20-21 NIV. Jesus called such moments, “tribulation and persecution.” Much of your success and well-being comes from how successfully you handle such times and people.

When adversity – big or small – seems to beset you or opposition seems to array against you, ask yourself the same question Paul asked, “If God is for us, can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT. Let me first note what that verse is not saying, even if I wish it were. The Bible does not promise you exemption from challenging times and cantankerous people. In fact, Paul is addressing exactly such times.

Paul asks some probing questions that expose the raw nerves, yet persevering faith, of a man that experienced the best and worst of everyday life. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NLT/6:4-10 NKJV. In his letter to Christ-followers in Rome, he asks, “Who dares accuse us . . who then will condemn us . . who can separate us . . does it mean He no longer loves us?” Romans 8:33-35 NLT. What questions do you ask, and what does your heart answer in response?

You too may feel the sting of those who accuse you, believing that adversity and opposition is the just result of some wrong that has angered God, just as Job’s friends suggested of him, or those who loudly or privately condemn you while you are just trying to survive, or those who would say that God has withdrawn Himself from you and the pain and loneliness you feel is Heaven’s reaction, or maybe even the nagging questions of your own heart, doubting God’s love. Don’t waste valuable time believing any of those.

The Apostle Paul was establishing this simple truth: resting safely and confidently in God’s care, adversity and opposition that is against you is never an equal counterpart to God who is unchangingly and altogether for you. It is sad to have so much worry, with too little wonder at the Almighty God, who is ever at your side!

Here is Paul’s answer, and I hope it will be yours: “No, in spite of all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And I am convinced nothing can ever separate us from His love.” Romans 8:37-38 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you find your rest and refuge in Christ alone.

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