Even in the midst of dire circumstances, as with Paul in 2 Corinthians 11: 23-29, we can have hope beyond hope. We can have God Himself direct our path. Because, this life is a small wrinkle in time, a mere rehearsal to what is to come in the vastness of eternity. We are made for Heaven, and our life here is a classroom experience to learn and grow closer to God and those around us, to be our best for His glory. So, our true life is what we have not experienced yet, what is still to come. Thus, we should not get frustrated or lose faith. God has given us His Spirit to be our comforter and guide. In so doing, we can have greater trust and perseverance through good times and bad, as long as our eyes are upon the Lord!
· Faith helps us, with the Spirit's guidance, to know what sin is.
· As a pastor, you must know what is meant by and apply being "an offering." As a pastor, you must know what it is to be a conqueror. Do not just know that God is sovereign, but believe and live it!
· Real faith will help us to see what God is trying to accomplish in our lives and through us for others.We will be able to see where He is kindling and be the person that the Holy Spirit uses to fuel it on, so to create a roaring fire for His glory!
· We are to see the world by what its potential is, not just by the suffering we experience and see. This is where we apply our faith. Since we are His heirs, we should accept the responsibility and the inheritance (Matt. 19:28; Acts 3:21; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rev. 21:1).
· The world may live in sin and desire its evil, but there is a longing for order and a better existence; hence, the "felt" need to receive order and the Holy Spirit's role to reveal Christ that can fill that need.
· We must not remain in our ignorance and infirmity by receiving mercy, yet never giving it.
· When we lose hope, we lose desire to serve Him and receive His blessings.
· One of the Holy Spirit's roles is to reveal the deeper things of God. He wants not only to live through us, but work through us. He gives us the tasks and the strength; will we just accept it (John 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 12:4-13; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:6;5:16-23)? He will carry us through all that we could ever face, from sufferings and sorrow to joy and jubilation (Luke 11:2-4). By the way, the deeper things of God will never contradict the Word of God!
· God turns our faith into reality (Matt. 6:33; John 14:9). Allow Him to do so!
· The goal of faith is not the work we do, but allowing Him to do His will in us! There is no such thing as chance; this is God's providence. We may not understand; all we can do is "hang tight" and trust Him.
· Beware of trying to run ahead with your desires or distractions, or behind God's timing. Faith is not an excuse to do what you feel or desire or want. It must be focused on Christ alone!
· The Bible gives us the precepts and the plan; the Spirit enables us to follow!
· We are made for prayer, and not just for our needs. Prayer is not a tool to get our way and will. Prayer is to bring us closer to Christ. Prayer and faith work together!
· Never waste time with God seeking what you cannot have. Just as the role of the Holy Spirit is to intercede for us, we are called to do the same with one another (Mark 11:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25). So, do we? The Holy Spirit will "turbo boost" our prayers. He will fill in the areas that we do not understand and fill in the information we do not have. This is no excuse to be lazy in our prayers! We always need to know as much as we can and pray as specifically as we can!
· Faith helps us with patience as God will continually place people in our lives that we do not like. Our desire is to put them down or avoid them. Unless we are truly worshiping God, we will miss crucial learning and growth opportunities; if we persist, He may allow us to fall apart! When we are callous to one another, it is a slap in the face of God! Let us keep His temple undefiled!
· We must continue to fight against pride and selfishness that get in the way (Eph. 6:13-18). That is, we are to wrestle before God against our nature and never wrestle against God (Gen. 32:24-25), unless you desire to be crippled!
· God's purpose and plan is to make us His children (1 John). He is the good Parent who guides His children and protects them. At the same time, He does not over protect them so they lose out on life's opportunities to please Him, to the ultimate good. Here, we are temporarily looking to the hope we have now and to come. Christ will see us through if we trust and obey to be in His way.
1. Do you have a problem receiving suggestions from others regarding your decisions? If so, why?
2. What is it that Scripture calls us to do in those times of hardship?
3. What is it that you need to do so you can have greater trust and perseverance?
4. How can your church, as a community of Believers, demonstrate a greater trust and perseverance to one another? If they did this, what difference would it make?
5. How can you accept the responsibility and the inheritance of being His joint heirs?
6. When we lose hope, we lose our desire to serve Him and receive His blessings. Do you think this is true? Have you seen this demonstrated by your life or that of others? What do you need to do to grow beyond your fears to embrace hope?
7. One of the Holy Spirit's roles is to reveal the deeper things of God. So, what are the deeper things of God? Remember, these deeper things will never contradict God's Word. If they do, they are not from God!
8. How can God turn your faith into reality to allow Him to do His will in you?
9. What happens when we try to run ahead with our desires or distractions, or behind God's timing?
10. Why do some Christians think that prayer is a tool to get their way and will? What is the true purpose of prayer?
11. What do you need to do to have hope beyond hope?
12. We should not get frustrated or lose faith. So, what do you need to do to listen for God, Himself, to direct your path?