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.

Once a man was asked, “What did you gain by regularly praying to God?”

The man replied ‘nothing…but let me tell you what I lost…’”

Praying to God is an amazing blessing and honor. He answers prayer in a variety of ways. In addition to all that we gain from His generosity, sometimes the best answer to prayer is not gaining but losing, which is gain.

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

The Lord changed me in numerous ways when I accepted Christ at age 27. Most people probably wrote it off to maturity, but I knew that I was a brand-new person. It was wonderful to begin regularly praying to God and experiencing real change.

The Lord moved in and did a deep cleaning of my life. In addition to many changes, He renewed my mind and gave me wholesome thoughts. He gave me a new heart; replacing anger with love, compassion and concern for others. He helped me to discard all questionable reading material and He gave me a love for reading the Bible. I gained by losing negative habits and traits.

Countless lives, including mine, have been transformed by praying to God and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior as I did. This is because Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, make it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

The Happy Boy Who Never Had a Toy

I got to give him his first toy.

On my first trip to India I encountered a happy boy and learned about joy. It was a missionary trip in 2000, when we stayed with a widow who had a nice home and a shack out back. In the small hut lived a family of three: mother, father and a boy of about 4 years old. They cared for the landscaping and house, and cooked their food over an open fire beside their small hovel.

The happy boy who never had a toy.

I had thrown into my suitcase a toy I thought some child in India might like, although it was a reject by my own boys who lived in America and had too many toys. When I gave it to the young Indian boy, his face lit up and he hardly knew what to do. After a little inquiry, I found out that it was likely the first toy he had ever received in his life and that he would likely receive for a long time.

Reflecting on that experience, here are 3 lessons I learned from the happy boy who never had a toy:

#1. Virtually all westerners are well-off compared to the poor in many countries.

Here in California, we have a lot of people who stand at traffic intersections and hold up signs saying things such as:

The bad news is time flies…

…the good news is you’re the pilot.

The bad news is that time flies and sometimes it seems to move quickly, while at other times it seems to move more slowly. But, the good news is we are the pilots and that means we can choose how we spend our time.

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

This quote reminds me of when I was in my teens and 20’s and how I piloted my own life. I was in control, charting my own course and spending my time chasing selfish pursuits. I lived a self-directed life and as a result, I spent time doing things I now regret. But, God in His mercy, changed my life when I accepted Christ at the age of 27.

I remember my Pastor giving me a short essay called: A Tandem Ride With God, to explain how God wants control of our lives when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s an analogy that describes new believers and at first, they are usually the ones pedaling and sitting up front on a tandem bicycle with Jesus sitting on the back seat. But, then Jesus suggests that they switch places and let Him be the driver. As a result, life becomes a thrilling adventure with Him in control and leading the way.

Will Christians Escape Judgment in the End Times?

Here’s what the Bible says.

Many Christians think that they will escape judgment in the end times. They are sadly mistaken—the Bible is very clear that Christians will be judged. But how they are judged must be understood.

Here’s what Scripture says about judgment for Christians: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)

The word translated “judgment seat” in this verse is the word “bema” in Greek. Thus, this judgement of Christians is often referred to as the Bema Seat judgment. All Christians will stand before the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ, and we will give account for what we have done.

This judgment is not to be confused with the Great White Throne judgment where unbelievers will be judged and sentenced to hell. (see Matthew 8:12, 25:41, 46; Luke 13:22-30; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Jude 7; Revelation 20:11-15)

Here are 3 very important things to know about this Bema Seat judgment of Christians:

#1. If we have NOT been faithful, we’ll be ashamed.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble…

…and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Life is full of trouble and lately, there have been so many disasters and tragedies. Do you ever wish you could hide when trouble comes? This verse reminds us that the Lord is our hiding place.

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

This past week, I received a frantic phone call from my daughter that her computer hard drive had become encrypted. In other words; her computer files were inaccessible and irretrievable. She had spent the past 24 hours searching the Internet for help and trying various remedies to retrieve the files, but without success. She was now panic stricken and understandably distraught.

She lost her college projects, art work, resume, portfolio and photographs were missing and she had not backed anything up. Those files represented countless hours of hard work. The loss was too staggering for my words to be of any comfort.

Finally, I said something that seemed to help. I told her that even if the files were lost forever, that God could help her to start over. We prayed and later she phoned again and was much calmer. She had spoken with a professional who could determine if any files were recoverable and possibly help her. It was a small ray of hope, but she felt better.