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Faith Focus: Can you be trusted when times get hard?

When Steve Carrizales came to the Buckner Family Hope Center in Penitas, Texas, he was a broken but determined man. He hadn't see his son since his divorce.

He enrolled in the Hope Center's 24/7 DAD Fatherhood class. He knew he'd be reunited with his son one day. When that day came, he was determined to be ready.

Faced with difficulties, Carrizales could have folded in self-pity. Instead, he turned to Buckner, a source of help and hope.

In Romans 15, Paul provides clear instructions to Christians. We are to be reliable sources of encouragement and assistance for others. To be what God calls us to be, Paul offers four practical points.

1. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. (v. 1-2)
2. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (v. 5-6)
3. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (v. 7)
4. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (v. 13)

This is the type of support, encouragement, acceptance and hope Carrizales found in the Hope Center. As a result, he grew in his parenting skills.
More than 165 days after his divorce, Carrizales finally got to hug his son again. He said he was so grateful for the program because it helped him see other perspectives about fathering like being present when you don’t necessarily feel like it. Also, he said the class helped him focus on the little things that matter which he sometimes took for granted.

Deeper reflection
• How do the four points found in Romans 15 compare to how we typically see people treat others in need?
• Which of the four characteristics in Romans 15 are personal strengths of yours? Which are weaknesses?

Next steps
• Read Romans 15:1-13. When Christians live out this passage, what message is conveyed to others?
• Pay particular attention to how you treat others this week. Look for opportunities to share hope with those around you.

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