“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
Hard situations have a way of blindfolding you to hope. The darkness can loom so thickly that doubt tries to claim squatter’s rights it never dared in the light. Backpedaling on the solid ground of your faith, your unbelief pushes you to the edge and you plunge headlong into despair. Even then, God’s great hand can rescue you. Even then, He knows a way out. He is the One Who makes a road in the wilderness, creates rivers in a wasteland, and springs roots out of dry ground! (Isaiah 43:19). Nothing is impossible with Him, including whatever situation you are facing. Remind yourself of Who God is, My Friend. Renew your mind through His Word, share your struggles with those who have seen God do the impossible. You will discover anew that you can get where you need to be from the impossible place you are now.
Forgiveness is not pretending the offense never happened. It is extending the same grace to your offender that Jesus extends when you are the offender.
God doesn’t always tell us the “why” when He tells us the “what to do,” but when we do it, we discover the “wow” and “wonder” in the “what,” and we wonder why we waited so long to walk in His will.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15
We who are followers of Christ have the very words of life. When sharing those words, we must be careful that they flow from our mouths with a tone that reflects the love of their original Author. Truth shared with a condescending undertone might as well be muted, because they hit the hearer like daggers. Yes, the truth can hurt but not because we dipped it in the poison of sarcasm or harshness. Our motivation must be to help those caught up in sin to see that God offers a better way. We must seek to lead them gently and with respect, otherwise we risk provoking them to stay where they are because our demeaning attitude distracted from the very truth we are proclaiming.
Let us ask the Lord today as we deliver His message to those who have strayed that He to grant us the respect that should accompany it.
Beware! Like the creators of the Emperor’s “new clothes,” loneliness can tell lies you desperately want to believe!
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
People in your circle of influence are drawing conclusions about Jesus based on what they see in you. If you know yourself at all, such a statement should strike alarm in your heart but not if it strengthens your human resolve to do better. A wiser response is to recognize anew your utter dependence on the Lord to live His life through you. Decrease your striving just to look right on the outside; increase your cry to Him to change you from the inside. Of course you and I will never get it right all of the time; failure is a part of growth. Regular exposure to God’s Word, constant communion through prayer, and fellowship with other lovers of Christ are important cars we dare not unhitch on the train to Christ-likeness. Never forget, however, that Christ in you is the Engine supplying the power to live the life that attracts others to Jesus by your example.
” And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42
We often think we make the biggest impact when we do big things for God. The more the sacrifice, energy, or expense, the greater the influence, right? Heaven may reveal a different story. Though the flow of good from a large venture can, should, and does yield a flood of praiseworthy results, small but significant acts have the power to do even more. For example, a meal served with a side of eye-to-eye conversation and a heaping helping of “you-are-worth-slowing-down-for” time is better than any store-bought gift. The way we talk to people different from ourselves in color speaks volumes to young eyes and a momentary example can yield a lifetime of imitation. A kindness extended can funnel hope into a heart scorched by injustice, causing a recalculation that everybody who looks like you is against them. A trickle of smiles and courtesies can cut a canyon of confidence in those prone to lack it. The God Who birthed a nation from a barren woman and her elderly husband also changes the world through little things you do everyday. Invite Him to have His way in you today; you will find Him working and using you in more ways than you realize.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:9-11
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the happenings in the world these days? Does it sometimes feel impossible for significant change to come? Everything seems to be impossible when you look at it in light of your own limitations. God warned you that these days would come. With so much going wrong so quickly, you may be tempted to think there is nothing you can do. Not so! You are a part of the body of Christ! God has gifted you to be part of the solution in your corner of the planet to the people within your reach who need love, a listening ear, and a willingness to gain insight into what they think and feel. In other words, love!
The enemy of your soul desires for you to bunker into self preservation, but you possess everything you need to minister to those on your watch (2 Peter 1:3). Resist the urge to make it complicated! Let His Spirit be your guide, and with a prayer always on the tip of your tongue, step out and let God use you in any way He desires. Loving others is always the next right thing to do. You will be amazed at what He can do through you in your crazy, hungry-for-hope corner of the world.
“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Are you feeling distant from God? Maybe you are struggling with what the Bible calls a besetting sin, and you are discouraged. Perhaps you are tempted to think it is too difficult to get right so you are trying to make peace with your shortcoming. You may be in a good place spiritually, but you have a goal that seems to run out of reach each time you take a step toward it. Grief or loneliness may be your struggle at this time, or a difficult relationship may be plaguing your spirit with stress. Whatever is going on, whatever the struggle, remember, know, and believe that it is always too soon to give up. God knew you would be in this place, and He has made provision for you! Strength, encouragement, perseverance, hope, and comfort are in abundant supply in His presence.
Sometimes when you come to Him, what you desire does not come immediately because He wants you to linger awhile, or step a little closer to get a better view of His love for you. Your cloud of problems tend to obscure His power and the Father wants to give you a clearer view of His Omnipotence. Step closer, My Friend, and be amazed anew. Whatever you need is available. The road to whatever you need will always lead to where He is.
“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
I used to think that to go to one’s grave without having fulfilled a longed-for dream would be a deep tragedy. I do not believe that anymore. American culture sets great store in making dreams come true, and honestly, it can be beautiful when it happens, especially if it means someone else has a better life as a result. Dreams, however, possess a little bit of authority or control that may not always be healthy or rightful. A dream is something the dreamer created and as such, is susceptible to error despite being noble. A dream is a concoction of what the dreamer deems best; it’s colors and design and location reflect the dreamers idea of what true fulfillment should look like.
What about God in that scenario? What if His plan contradicts the dreamer’s ideal? Again, the dream can be pure while being the opposite of what the dreamer’s Creator intended. What then? To reorder or surrender that dream can be a painful struggle and a slow death, but it must happen if the dreamer’s true purpose is to reach fulfillment. This is not the kind of truth that makes for joyful shouts, but does provoke, “Well done” from the throat of the Almighty. Which is more important to you?
Be encouraged, My Friend. Nothing that we lay at the Father’s feet is ever a true loss because what we gain in doing so bears an eternal weight that will outlast any earthly disappointment.