When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty trust him fully…

…because only two things can happen.

We can trust God fully when He pushes us to the edge of difficulty, because He often tests our faith to see if we will trust or doubt Him. However, God will never tempt us to sin nor should we take steps of faith without prayer and confirmation.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

5 years ago, I was pushed to the edge of difficulty as I suffered through depression. It was dark and scary. The worst of it lasted 5 months and was compounded by the fact that I couldn’t sleep more than 1 to 2 hours per night. I had experienced depression years ago and God had helped me then, so I reasoned He could help me again. With stubborn faith, I clung to Him and His Word like never before. I put my trust in Him and as I took steps of faith to recover; He graciously restored me.

It was Better Than the Olympics Opening Ceremonies!

I was so blessed to witness this extraordinary gathering.

Recently I watched the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies from PyeongChang, Korea. They were wonderful: full of Korean cultural celebration, pageantry and dazzling effects. The synchronized drone light show was the highlight for me. It would have been awesome to be there in person. However, a few years ago I attended an outdoor stadium ceremony in Seoul, Korea that I think was even better!

About 60,000 cell group leaders gathered for their annual Day of Prayer that I was privileged to attend in 2009 in Seoul, Korea.

The event I attended was a Day of Prayer during the 2009 International Church Growth event hosted by the largest church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel. About 60,000 cell group leaders from that church gathered in a stadium for the event. These were not just cell group attenders, but the leaders of cell groups of about 10. It was mindboggling to think of how many were part of that enormous church.

In comparison to the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, it didn’t have all the dazzling laser lights and pyrotechnics. In fact, the most colorful element was that each section of several thousand cell group leaders, representing a region of the city of Seoul, had on the same color T-shirts and in most cases umbrellas, pool noodles or other decorations. It was huge, but it wasn’t flashy.

However, I believe it was even more impressive than the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.

Here are 3 reasons the ceremonies I attended in Korea were better than the Olympics Opening Ceremonies:

#1. Olympic athletes are exclusively young people. But Christ’s “Gospel Olympians” are all ages!

In your presence there is fullness of joy;…

…at your right hand are pleasures forever more.

Where do you look for happiness and joy? Happiness is usually fleeting and dependent on circumstances which can change. But true and lasting joy are found only in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christians have the joy of Jesus and the hope of heaven; where there are pleasures forever more at the Father’s right hand.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Before I became a Christian, I pursued sinful pleasures to find happiness and joy. Initially, I enjoyed the immediate gratification that sin offers, but as time passed I grew increasingly miserable. Sin is a trap that certainly promises short term joy, but in the end only causes pain and suffering.

The First Time I Flew in an Airplane

It was an unforgettable childhood experience!

The first time I flew in an airplane was sometime in the early 1960’s. Our family friend from church, Harley Snook, had an airfield and a small airplane near our home. Harley took the plane up with my father and me beside him. I was absolutely enthralled. You can see some pictures of the actual airplane and a watercolor painting of the airfield below.

This is a color pencil drawing of Snook Field done by my friend and former neighbor Colin Sutphin. Facebook users can read his vignette on the “You know you’re from Reynoldsburg page…” HERE. Used by permission of the artist.

I remember looking out the side of the airplane with the window open! My father next to me was holding tight onto his little boy, I’m sure. We flew over houses that looked like pieces on a Monopoly game and roads looked like something created for a toy railroad display. I was absolutely mesmerized.

Since then I’ve flown to every inhabited continent of the world. Most of the visits to 65 countries have involved flights. It all started with that first flight.

Recently Colin Sutphin connected me to an article saying that very same airplane is now going to be on permanent display at the Ohio State University.

Although I was young, I think I learned a few lessons on that wonderful day.

Here are 3 lessons I learned the first time I flew in an airplane:

#1. Exciting things can happen when you step out in faith.

Character may be manifested in the great moments…

…but it is made in the small ones.

A person’s true character is often revealed during the great moments of life, but it is forged in the small moments through choices we make and actions we take on a daily basis.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net. 

There is nothing quite like an unexpected crisis to show one’s character. The day started out like any other. But by 10:30 p.m., it was obvious that our home of 15 years was in the direct path of a huge, Santa Ana wind-driven; and rapidly spreading fire. The Police and Sheriff departments called with warnings to leave.

Local news stations reported that evacuation centers were full and my husband was calling hotels. They too were full. I panicked and questioned my husband, “Why did we wait so long and where are we going to go?”  Then I told him, “We need a plan!”

Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God …

…whose ways you may not understand at the time.

We need faith and deliberate confidence in the character of God, especially when we don’t understand His ways. He is worthy of our trust even when we can’t imagine what He may be doing in our lives. Faith is making a conscious and intentional choice to place our confidence in the character of God in spite of circumstances and feelings.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

I’ve had many opportunities to trust in the character of God through times of testing during the past 30 years. There have been trials, hardships and difficulties. Currently our family is dealing with long-term chronic and incurable disease, a variety of other health issues; and family members with difficult challenges.

These hard circumstances have caused me to have doubts at times. But, I have witnessed the character of God displayed through these tests. I have seen His grace and kindness in each trial. I am learning to have confidence in the character of God, even when circumstances seem to contradict the fact that He is good and loving.

Many people put their faith and confidence in people because they trust them, but how much more should we trust the faithful and unchanging character of God?

7 Reasons Christianity Provides the Ultimate in Positive Thinking

Christians should be the most positive people on planet earth!

My father, Claude A. Williams Jr., was an insurance salesman. He was well-schooled in positive thinking and practiced what he learned. I remember him listening to Napoleon Hill records on the small record player in his bedroom. He once took me to a positive thinking conference where we heard the top speakers of the day, including one of my “heroes” Zig Ziglar.

With Bible in hand, this guy looks like he’s focusing on the positive teachings of God’s Word!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Yes, you could say that I also “drank the Kool-Aid.” But by that I don’t mean I was suckered into the excesses of some who took positive thinking too far. Or those who made it all about money. And neither did my father. He was all about helping people, especially the down-trodden he met and tried to help.

Leaving aside the excesses, I believe, as a pastor, missionary and Bible teacher, that Christians should be some of the most positive thinking people in the world.

Here are 7 reasons Christianity provides the ultimate in positive thinking:

#1. Christians believe in being thankful no matter what happens.

This is one teaching that the Bible is quite clear about:

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith,…

…and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.

George Mueller was a man with great faith in God. He cared for thousands of children in Great Britain in the late 1800’s through the establishment of homes and schools to care for orphans. He relied on God for everything and as a result, God used him in great ways. Mueller lived for the glory of God and left a legacy that is a testament to God’s faithfulness.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

The autobiography of George Mueller is one of my favorites and I have read it numerous times. I really enjoy reading Christian biographies and autobiographies such as Mueller’s for hope, encouragement, inspiration and motivation. These true stories inspire me to have faith that God can use me in great ways too.

However, I must confess that anxiety is an ongoing struggle for me. Sometimes my faith falters and it is hard to resist the temptation to worry. This is an area of weakness for me, but when I’m anxious God is faithful to remind me of His flawless track record in my life. He renews my faith and trust in Him.

It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

--Deitrich Bonhoffer

Gratitude makes life rich because it helps us focus on what we have instead of what we lack.  Expressing gratitude is a decision we make to count our blessings instead of our problems. We can learn to be grateful and with God’s help, we can even express gratitude during times of difficulty.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net. 

I learned about gratitude and resourcefulness during my childhood while my parents struggled financially with my dad’s landscaping business. He left the Marine Corp to pursue his love of plants but, after 8 years of back breaking labor, it became extremely difficult to meet even the basic needs for our family.

Then when I was 15, God gave my dad a wonderful job. He was hired by a wholesale nursery to sell plants to retail nurseries. He worked hard and was promoted to sales manager, and eventually he became part owner of a wholesale nursery. The company grew and expanded to sell plants nationwide to Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes. My 2 brothers, my step sister and I all worked for the company at various times.

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you…

…to go through it, not without pain but without stain. –C. S. Lewis

God is omniscient. He knows each trial and tribulation that we will face in our lives. But, thankfully He has graciously provided for believers to go through difficult times not without pain but without stain.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net. 

The idea that I can be in God’s perfect will and still be suffering is oddly comforting to me. I think it’s because sometimes when I face tribulation, I tend to think God has forgotten about me, or I am being punished, or maybe He’s mad at me. I think if only I could do better I wouldn’t be suffering.

But knowing that God has orchestrated all of my days including the painful ones to accomplish His plan which is ultimately for my good and His glory is a blessing. It helps me to realize there is a purpose for each trial and tribulation.

Being a believer doesn’t exempt us from suffering. We live in a fallen world, which means we will have times of trial and tribulation.