Deacon Bruce McElrath's Blogs-We Are Rich & Faith and Endurance

We Are Rich
Because money represents power, authority and success, often it is difficult for wealthy people to realize their need and their powerlessness to save themselves. The rich in talent or intelligence suffer the same difficulty. Unless God reaches down into their lives, they will not come to Him. Jesus surprised some of His hearers by offering salvation to the poor; He may surprise some people today by offering it to the rich.
It is difficult for a self-sufficient person to realize his or her need and come to Jesus, but “what is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God.”(Luke 18:27)
Peter and the other disciples had paid a high price-leaving their homes and jobs-to follow Jesus. But Jesus reminded Peter that following Him has its benefits as well as its sacrifices. Any believer who has had to give up something to follow Jesus will be paid back in this life as well as in the next.
For example, if you must give up a secure job, you will find that God offers a secure relationship with Himself now and forever. If you must give up your family’s approval, you will gain the love of the family of God. The disciples had begun to pay the price of following Jesus, and He said they would be rewarded.
Don’t dwell on what you have given up; think about what you have gained and give thanks for it. You can never out give God.

Faith and Endurance
We, Christians, will have troubles but it is possible to profit from them. The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face pain but to have a positive outlook (“let it be an opportunity for joy” James 1:2) because of what troubles can produce in our life. James tells us to turn our hardships into times of learning. Tough times can teach us perseverance.
We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we act under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others when everything is going well, but can we still be kind when others are treating us unfairly?
God wants to make us mature and complete, not to keep us from all pain. Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them as opportunities for growth.
Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask Him to help you solve your problems or to give you the strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave you alone with your problems; He will stay close and help you grow.
We must believe not only in the existence of God but also in His loving care. This includes relying on God and expecting that He will hear and answer when we pray. We must put away our critical attitude when we come to Him.
We must remember that God does not grant every thoughtless or selfish request. We must have confidence that God will align our desires with His purposes.

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