Praising God in Difficult Times


Job, a perfect and upright man in the Old Testament lost everything he owned including his ten children. However, he knew how to praise the Lord in difficult times. He said, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). “Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). In the end the Lord rewarded Job with twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10).

We need to be like Job, who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain my own ways before him” (Job 13:15).

We do not worship God because of our trials, but we worship God in spite of them. We do not praise God for our tragedies, but we praise God in them. Like Job, we hear God speak to us out of the storm (Job 38:1).

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Elements of Church Growth in the Local Church – Part One

The church is designed to be a world-wide force for evangelism and impact in society. How can this be done? We cannot have realistic church growth without preaching the message of the Early Church (Acts 2:38). Preaching from our pulpit is Word-centered, anointed, and also relevant and practical to the people.

Consider five elements of church growth based on Acts 2:41-47. In order for the church to grow, each of these principles must be operating in the church and they must be in balance. There is not one that is considered to be more important than another and each are necessary.

1. Fellowship

The first church members were in unity; shared in fellowship and in breaking of bread. This is why it is important for each member to attend church regularly. The church where fellowship is strong is a caring church. Believers demonstrate a genuine concern for each other. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

Not only did the Early Church fellowship with each other but they also had fellowship with their God through prayer. The first church was brought into existence as a result of a prayer meeting and continued to grow as a result of prayer.

Miracles began taking place in Acts 3 when they were on their way to prayer. The prerequisite to a miracle is someone in need. Needs are met at church. God can also move in the churches established and exemplified in our homes.

2. Discipleship

We are called to make disciples; to reproduce ourselves. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

In the Great Commission Jesus Christ placed “discipleship” at the top of the list of things needed to be done. As a church we must never forget about discipling and enabling our members. It is important to attend and participate in the elective series offered for adults and Sunday school offered for all ages. It provides spiritual nutrition for us to grow.

Are we making a difference in our community, culture and country? How can we make a greater impact in a shorter period of time? This can be done through discipleship (training and teaching). The Early Church “ceased not to preach and teach” (Acts 5:42), and therefore “filled Jerusalem with their doctrine” (Acts 5:28).

Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). If we do not teach people what is expected of them from the Bible we are rendering them “Bible Illiterates.” Therefore, we have a strong emphasis on both preaching and teaching in our churches.

3. Worship

Worship and praise are vital to church growth. In sports we realize there is something greater about a game that is played in front of thousands of people compared to a game played in front of a few hundred people. As we gather together at church, there is an atmosphere of celebration. When we begin to celebrate our God and what He has done for us we are expressing our love for God. We enter the church to worship and leave to reach others for Christ. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3).

To Be Continued…