Advancing Through Adversity

Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions: Compass
Compass, China, 220 BCE. by Susan Silverman AC. Earliest records

Advancing Through Adversity
Dr. Charles Stanley
Ephesians 3:14-21

One noteworthy trait of the apostle Paul was his determination to advance through adversity. There are many people who get stuck in life's hard spots. They are either too scared or too bitter to move through the hardship.
Instead, these folks wait for the Lord to remove the trial, but He doesn't always work that way.

How a person responds to hardship reveals his or her true character. Hard times are when God's people most need to match actions to words. It's easy to say, "I trust God" or "My Lord is faithful," particularly when life is good. But unless we recognize that He is sovereign even in adversity, the same lips will complain and seek pity. Believers who trust in the Lord's faithfulness and supremacy will steadfastly focus on Him and thereby keep their anxiety and doubt subdued.

In order to conquer adversity, we must begin moving through it. It is essential for a suffering believer to surrender to God's will. We may not know what His purpose is. We certainly won't like the pain, and we'll definitely want the situation to change—fast. But giving the Lord free rein allows Him to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our lives.

Surrendering does not seem like a way to advance anywhere. But in reality, we're just handing over the controls to God and saying, "You guide me where You want me to go." Doing so requires a lot of trust. We serve a Lord who is worthy of our faith and confidence.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

"There is a difference between leadership and ambition. Leaders have the courage to be unpopular with those that disagree with them. The ambitious want to befriend as many people as possible. " - Simon Sinek

An Audience of One
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

What audience do you play to? Each day you are seen by many who will make a judgment about the way you handle yourself among different audiences. Politicians have learned to play to their audiences, customizing messages for the needs of their particular groups. Musicians have learned to play to their audiences. Pastors play to their congregations each Sunday morning. Workplace believers play to the audiences who will buy their product.

Christ has called us to play to one audience - the audience of Himself. When you seek to please any other audience in your life, you become susceptible to situational ethics and motivations based on the need for the moment. Your audience becomes a pawn in your hands because you know what they want. Is that wrong? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

Pure obedience to pleasing God in our lives will often meet the needs of those around us. It is God's will that you and I love our spouses, provide good services to our customers, and look to the interests of others before ourselves. This will result in meeting many needs of the audiences in our lives.

However, there are other times when our audiences are asking for something contrary to God's will. Politicians are often forced to appease their audiences, even though it may go against God's laws. When we are asked to go with the flow, we discover which audience is most important in our lives. Is it the audience of One, or the audience of many?

Today, be aware of which audience you are playing to. Ask yourself why you are taking a particular action. Is it to please the audience of One? Or is it to please the audience of others who might negatively impact you should you not play to their tune?

Today's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders

"This hymn, found on Michael Card's "Hymns" album, has had a place in American history. We are a flawed country governed by flawed individuals but we are still one nation under God. We must guard this liberty to continue as receptors of God's grace.

It could be said that this hymn's story is also our nation's story, as well as the story of any individual desiring to live as God intended him to live." - Beanscot

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

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