Thoughts and Encouragement

BETTER DAYS AHEAD
posted: 11/15/2018

I know that many struggle at times with uncertainty in their lives. Uncertainty of where they are, how they got there, and even what to do to get out. One common misconception when it comes to struggling with difficulty is that we have a sin in our life that has caused it. This doesn’t have to be the case; in fact, I would venture to say that in most cases it is not the situation at all.

Take a look at the book of Job if you don’t believe me. Early in the book we find that the devil felt that Job was successful in life and able to serve God because he had everything going for him:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” – Job 1:8-12 (ESV)

We see a couple of things in this passage that I want to focus on this week. First, that we do not necessarily have to have a sin in our life as a reason for why things are seemingly going wrong in our lives; it could be that Satan has taken notice of us because of our relationship with God. The next thing we see is that God will allow the testing of our faith, but will not allow us to be harmed in the process.

If you are following the will of God you will get the attention of Satan, because he can’t stand for someone to follow the will of God. Satan will leave you alone if you are already out of God’s will because he doesn’t need to work to get you where he wants you, but someone who is striving to live a life that is pleasing to God, as was the case for Job, will grab Satan’s attention and he will do what he can to try and cause you distress.

We can hold on to hope today in our suffering that we will be taken care of by God, and He will not allow us to be harmed. God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 holds true in the story of Job, and will hold true in our story as well. God looks after His children, and no matter what trial we are facing, we have a promise today that it will not be something that will harm us. It may hurt when we lose a loved one, it may sting if we lose a job, and it may seem like our world is upside-down when life seems to slap us in the face, but according to scripture, all of these things build our perseverance and lead us into a joyous life with God.

The beauty of the promise is that we are given a hope and a future. We see that Job was doubly blessed in the end, and we can know that God will do the same for us. He will make our trials a blessing. We must learn to praise him through the storms in our life and take every opportunity to thank Him for the trials that are molding us into who He wants us to be. Today, take the chance to ask God to show you ways you can praise Him through the tough times in life, because, it is the tough times where we can see that there are better days ahead.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

MISSING MAYBERRY
posted: 10/22/2018

I have been thinking lately about the simple life of Mayberry that we see on the Andy Griffith Show.  What happened to the days where we could be a community, where folks trusted one another, where people enjoyed a good church service and a get together where they weren’t afraid to sing praises to our Lord. What happened to these days?

We live in a time of corruption; we live in a time where folks have turned their back on the old way of life.  Many seem to have forgotten where we come from.

Looking back to Mayberry, I think we can all see a way that life could be simpler for us.  We must learn to trust the Lord and trust one another again.  The problem is, no one cares these days if they are trustworthy.  People are too busy trying to look out for themselves and forget to look out for one another.  We forget that we are to be praying for one another.  We forget that we are to be showing the love of Christ to others and we forget that we need to band together as a community.

Ephesians 5:15-21 tells us about what has happened to our way of thinking:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

We must watch out for our steps, we must guard our actions, but we must also watch out for each other today.  We can’t be afraid to allow God to work in our lives.  We don’t have to miss Mayberry today, we can pray and get ourselves back to those days.  There is nothing wrong with the old way of life. What is wrong is our perspective.

I encourage you today to think back to how things used to be and see what changed.  I guarantee you that you are the one who has changed, the Savior is the same yesterday, today and forever.

FLY LIKE AN EAGLE
posted: 10/19/2018

A verse that has always been a strong part of my life, and I know has also been a favorite for many is Isaiah 40:31 which states, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

This verse was a favorite of both of my parents, as well as a verse that became a major part of my life because of the meaning that we see in it.  “But they that wait upon the Lord…” is a promise for each of us.  If you can be patient and wait on the Lord’s timing things will fall into place.

To me, this is saying, wait on what God has for you; do not try to pursue a life that may not be within the realm of His calling.  Do not try to force his hand and jump head first into something without prayer and application of the scripture.  God wants us to wait for His timing so that His work in us can be made perfect.

This verse continues with the promise, “…shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” We shall mount up as eagles if we just wait.  We may be worn down and ready to give up because we just don’t understand what is taking so long sometimes, but today I encourage you to wait.  Wait because our strength will be renewed; our strength will be restored…we will be lifted up.

We will run and not be weary and walk and not faint…nothing can overtake us when we are patient with the Lord and wait upon his timing.  God has a plan for us today, and when we are patient and wait for that fulfillment we will be blessed; we will be restored; we will feel renewal.  Revival happens when we ask the Lord to move and wait on His move rather than pursue it with our own motives.

Fly like an eagle today, wait on the strength the Lord will provide and mount up with wings like an eagle.  Fly majestically and beautifully through the plans of the Lord in your life while pursuing Him and His timing.  Spread your wings and embrace all that He has for you today and allow Him to complete His work in you in His way and His time.

If we today can be patient, waiting for the Lord while working to live a life worthy of His calling on us, we will soar above all that will come our way.  Nothing will be able to pull us to the ground, we will rise above it all and become what He wants us to be, all because we were willing to be patient and trust in His plans.  Today, you can fly like an eagle if you put your trust in Him.