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A year-end Thanksgiving prayer

Gracefully father, thank you for picking me out of the crowd. I was lost and puzzled until I heard a voice. I turned to face the source of the voice, and I saw your love and compassion, which is what drew me to you. You removed shame and confusion from me, and I am pleased! Thanks for dressing me up in your glory. Thanks for the closed doors, disappointment, rejection, delays, and unanswered prayers.  You knew I deserved more than what I asked for; you knew I could've messed up. From the beginning of the year, I saw your hand working in each area of my life. I am grateful for your comfort, love, mercy, and compassion.

Understanding of seasons (Part 1)

Nature has four seasons, which are: summer, autumn, winter, and spring. When it's summer, we think of sunshine and warm weather, and when it's winter, we think of cold temperatures. Just as there are four distinct seasons in nature, there also seem to be several spiritual seasons in our lives. God’s Word uses the seasons as a metaphor for biblical living because life is not constant.  When we fail to recognize and understand the season we are in, we can occasionally find ourselves perplexed and trapped in issues that completely devastate us.

How can I realize the guidance of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit also serves as a counselor, guiding us in the right path and revealing God's truth. Knowing God's Word is one of the most important ways to realize the Holy Spirit's guidance. The Holy Spirit does not speak on his own; he speaks what the Father tells him to say (read John 16:13). And knowing God's Word can help us determine whether our desires are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit will never push us to do anything contrary to God's Word, we must test our desires in light of Scripture. Another way to determine whether we are following the Holy Spirit's leading is to look for evidence of His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22). If we walk in the Spirit, we will see these qualities grow and mature in ourselves, and they will be visible to others as well.

What should we do if we are persecuted for our faith?

We must recognize that hardships are a necessary part of our journey at every stage. We can, however, conquer them if we are spiritually equipped and rooted in God's word. We can't run away from them, but we have been given the ability to face them. Without some form of suffering, you'll never be able to grow spiritually and become who God wants you to be. We must learn that God works, sometimes in greater ways, through human suffering than through any other means. You'll quit griping and crying about anything once you realize this. In the midst of life's challenges and persecution, it will require a genuine person to remain faithful.

Message of encouragement when facing difficulties

Struggles are a part of life, just as good, pleasant, and joyful times are. However, if we face our challenges with faith, we will be rewarded abundantly! When life throws a brick at you, get down on your knees and ask the Mighty One to intervene. Struggles aren't meant to kill us; they're meant to strengthen our faith by enabling us to rely on God for the strength and boldness to face difficulties.  In moments of doubt, remember who God has always been and recall his promises. Even if you're full of doubts and uncertainties, if you keep going to Him, he'll reveal Himself to be trustworthy over and over again.

Why does God hide in times of trouble?

The psalmist addressed this inquiry to God (read Psalm 10:1). The psalmist felt as if God was hidden somewhere, unable to observe the suffering of the righteous in the hands of the wicked. As Christians, regardless of the extent of our spiritual maturity, it’s possible to reach a point so low that we literally feel that everyone, including God, has forgotten us. When we are confronted with circumstances, we may begin to question God's availablility. That was David’s desperate circumstance when he wrote Psalm 10. Our questions, our wrath, and our doubts are not too big for God to manage. He sometimes uses hardship to discipline us for our own good (Hebrews 12:7–13).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ

God demonstrated his love for you and me by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us. Jesus took our sins upon himself in order for us to be forgiven and reconciled with God. Jesus arose from the dead on the third day and he ascended to God's throne, where he now reigns supreme over his kingdom. He also sent the Holy Spirit to us to instruct and guide us in the life to which he has called us. The resurrection of Jesus means that those who believe in him have been raised from the dead because they are in Christ.  This is God's generous offer of eternal life to anyone who repents, believes, and confesses that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.