Facing Difficult Circumstances
                 And keeping the right attitude


We all have to face things that are difficult, we must keep the faith and that
Includes having a good attitude.
God doesn’t care for bad attitudes (neither do I)
(Romans 1:12-16 NIV)
. . . that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to
you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have
a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. I am obligated
both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I
am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed
of the gospel


Corrie Ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, relates an incident which taught
her a very important principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been
transferred to Ravensbruck, the worst German prison camp they had seen. Upon
entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea infested.
Their Scripture reading that morning had reminded them to rejoice always, pray
constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and
give thanks to the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at
first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. She
finally succumbed. And during the months spent at that camp, they were surprised
to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard
interference. It was several months later when they learned that the guards
would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.


Can the circumstances you face change your attitude, or does your attitude change
the circumstances?

Your attitude will change how you deal with your circumstances and determine the    impact those
circumstances have on you.
God will use  circumstances oftentimes to do a work in your life.
You see, He is not after your comfort. He is after your obedience, dependence and reliance.


How to develop Christian Character

By a Thankful Attitude;
With a Servant's Spirit;
With a Prayerful Concern;
With a Submissive Will;
By having a Gracious and Greatful Heart.


Christian character comes from a life that has been seasoned and tested through the tough times.
We learn the most from the difficulties we face. It is in the fire that we are refined and that our
character is molded.

When we can thank God for the fleas, then we have taken a great step in the right direction. Then
we begin to really understand what God is after in our lives.


An Humble Mind
One of the greatest stumbling blocks in the Christian life is Pride.
Pride keeps us from becoming what God wills for us to be.
Pride in admitting that we have a need.
Pride also keeps us from being in a position where we can receive from God.
Pride keeps us from experiencing what God desires for us in our lives.

Paul had learned both the destructive power of pride and the constructive value
of humility. As a result, he had adopted a humble mentality. He talks to these
inexperienced Roman Christians about being mutually encouraged by each other's
faith. Here was the great apostle, who had accomplished many mighty works in the
name of Jesus Christ, telling these young Christians that he could receive from
them. He not only wanted to give some spiritual gift to them, he declared that
he needed to receive from them out of their storehouse of faith. This indicates
a genuine humility in Paul.

When we find ourselves in the frame of mind which leads us to believe that no
one can teach us anything, we are in a very dangerous position. In fact, we are
deluded. We are very much like those Christians Paul described in the church in
Corinth. They had divided into various groups based on the teaching of the
teacher they were partial to. Some were following Paul, others Apollos, still
others Cephas (or Peter), and finally, some claimed they followed Christ. What
some fail to understand, however, is that all of those groups were wrong. Not
only were those wrong who claimed to follow the human teachers, but so was the
group who claimed to follow Christ. You see, they were all claiming that their
way was right. They were all puffed up in the pride of their position. Paul
pointed out to them the error of their divisive spirit. Pride has no place in
the body of Christ. Christ is not divided. When we are, we are not walking in
humility.

We must be open to hear Christ speak to us through whomever He chooses. The
youngest believer in Christ can be an instrument through whom Christ speaks. We
all can learn from one another. In fact, we must. This is how we grow in our
faith. And it is through a humility of mind that we will be always open to
receive from one another. This is the kind of attitude Paul maintained. This is
the kind of attitude that is a mark of maturity for the believer.

A Purposeful Determination
But while Paul maintained a humility of mind, he was far from passive. In fact,
Paul had many plans which motivated him. He was possessed by a purposeful
determination to accomplish the Lord's work.

One can see this clearly in verse 13 when he says, "I do not want you to be
unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been
prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among
you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles."

Paul understood the God had a plan for his life and that he should make plans in
accord with the plan of God. He told the Roman Christians that he planned many
times to come to them. His life had direction. He made plans. And so should we.

Now, our plans, like his, should not be simply pulled out of the air.
We should never simply make plans and ask God to bless what we have planned.
No, our plans should be based upon our understanding of the will of God gained through prayer
and the Word.
Paul prayed and knew that God desired to use him to reap a harvest of people for the Kingdom.
He understood clearly his purpose.
Therefore, Paul could confidently assure the Christians in Rome that God desired for him to reap
a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
Paul had a purpose. That purpose was given to him by God. He was driven by that purpose for
his life.
That purpose guided what he did and didn't do.

A mark of maturity is that we have a purposeful determination that guides our
life and ministry. And there may be many purposes. But all of these ought to be
born in prayer and study of His Word as we seek God's will in every area.


An Obedient Heart (being intent to do the work of God)
Paul understood fully just what God had done in his own life. He knew where he had
come from and where he was now. He had been delivered by the power of God from a
life of religious zeal without spiritual reality. He had possessed something of
the knowledge of God but without the power. Meeting Jesus Christ had changed all
of that for Paul. And now he could serve Christ as one who could never pay the
debt of love he owed. And because of what Christ had done in his life he felt
obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and to the foolish.
This obligation was to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people. This
is what He meant when He said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Yet when I preach the
gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not
preach the gospel!"

There is a very real sense in which our obedience to Christ is not simply a
choice. It most certainly is a choice to be made, but it is more than that. It
is the result of the life of God in us. Because Jesus Christ has deposited His
life in us, we are moved by that life. We are changed by that life. That life
motivates us, stirs us, challenges us, changes us, and compels us. We are
talking about more than an intellectual decision here. To encounter Christ -
really encounter Him - means that we cannot go away unchanged. Christ makes all
the difference in our lives.

Obedience, then, begins as an attitude of mind reflecting the mind of Christ. As
we are being comformed to the image of God's Son, Jesus, we begin to think like
Him. And anyone who thinks like Jesus will desire to please God. So our
obedience is more than an intellectual choice on our part, it is an unavoidable
result of a relationship with God. It was for Paul. It is for us, as well.


An Eagerness to complete the task
The great apostle continues to reveal his heart by telling these Christians in
Rome that he was eager to preach the gospel to them. A characteristic that
marked Paul's life was an eager expectation.

He made plans. He desired to be obedient to Christ. But he approached his task
with an eagerness based on his expectation that God was at work. What an
important characteristic to have.

Are you eager? All of us are eager about some things. We are eager to go to the
shore, or to the mountains, or on vacation. But when we look at our own lives as
Christians, how does the term eager describe us? Are we eager to serve? Are we
eager to see the Kingdom enlarged, when it will cost us our time, energy, money,
convenience?

Our eagerness is a reflection of what we love. When we are in love with God, we
will be eager for God's work to be accomplished and His will to be done. And
that eagerness will create an expectation that as we step out in faith we will
see God at work.


A Fearless Faith
One final characteristic in our text that marked Paul's life was a bold faith.
He says without hesitation that he is not ashamed of the gospel. A mark of
maturity in Christ is a boldness and confidence in Christ.

It is an important lesson to learn. As Christians, we should never be on the
defense. Rather, we should be on the offensive. The Bible tells us that demons
tremble before the power of God. Let the demons tremble - we should not. Over
and over God said to Joshua, "Fear not. Be of good courage."

The reason why we do not have to fear is the same reason why God could tell
Joshua not to fear. It is because God is with us just as He was with Joshua.
God's power is just as real today as it was in the days of Joshua, and in the
days of Paul. The power of the gospel to save is just as real today as ever.

I am reminded of what one Christian disciple wrote:

I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed." The die has been cast. The
decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't look back, let
up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm
finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth
knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and
dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or
popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised,
regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love with
patience, live by prayer and labor with power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way
is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is
clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back,
deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in
the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the
pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up,
prayed up, paid up and spoken up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of
Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and
work till He stops me.
And when Jesus comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My
banner is clear: I am a part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed."

What are those characteristics which mark your life in Christ? Paul's life was
marked by a humble mentality, a purposeful determination, an obedient intent, an
eager expectation and a bold faith. I don't know about you, but I want my life
to be like that!

God does not need my intellect
God does not need my understanding.
God needs my Obedience, to accomplish His will in my life
What about you?
MKMann