A Word of Encouragement

Are you low?  Does this statement resonate with you? “For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws close unto the grave.”  Psalm 88 begins with this statement, and it clearly written by someone pouring out their heart to God in a time of deep despair and affliction.  But there is a word of encouragement in this Psalm.  I invite you to listen to this three minute audio message on how this Psalm spoke to me during my hard times.

 

Listen to: Word of Encouragement (mp3)

Remember what God has done for you

Yes, I’m in the midst of another crises – this one of employment and career. There are many pressures and worries that are attacking my mind and many hurts that have cut my heart. However, the fact remains is God is in control and he loves us.  It’s good during these times to remember all the ways God has come through for us in the past. This time is no exception. Consider this Psalm of David:

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. – Psa 103:2-6 NIV

The fact is we can’t live life alone.  We would have been destroyed and killed a long time ago without His help.  God will fight for you, but he wants your trust.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
– Exodus 14:14 NIV

God leads us into impossible situations

With all the relationship trials and other tribulations, you are no doubt looking forward to God bringing you out of the trials.  But did you know he brings us into trials?  But God will have a victory, and your testimony of faith is what he wants.

James MacDonald looks at the famous story of how the Israelites were brought out of Egypt right into a situation where they were blocked between the might of Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea.  God lead them right into a dead end, before he delivered them with a miracle.  The fact of the matter is God leads us into our problem as part of His plan.  It is a hard thought that a good God would lead us right into trouble, but it is our faith and trust that he wants.  He is in complete control and will lead us out in His time.

Audio – James MacDonald – I am your victory

 

God sees your mission is done even though you are still waiting

What does your unanswered prayer have to do with a space mission?  The recent successful landing of JPL’s Curiosity mission on Mars demonstrated a similar principal in the Bible-  success can already have happened even though we are still waiting for it. Confused?   Read on . .

Since it takes radio waves 14 minutes to reach Earth from Mars right now, the Mars mission control at JPL in Pasadena received word of a successful landing long after the events had already happened.    While the scientific world sat on the edge of its collective seats, and waited as each bit of telemetry and data trickled in, on Mars the probe had landed many minutes earlier, guided automatically to its landing.

We too have a limited view in our lives of the events we are praying for.  It seems to us we are waiting forever for our prayers to be answered, but in God’s eternal time, he already sees the end.  To our earth-bound minds, it seems like the answer to our prayer is a long time off.  But God’s way will happen;  you can be sure.  Trust Him to unravel your prayer in His time.

 

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. Isaiah 46:10

 

Hope from your failure

The sting of failure hurts.  In relationships, in our career, in ministry there is often failure.  The harder we work, or the more we pray, it seems the more we can miss the mark.  Then there are the expectations we have of burdens and hopes we’ve prayed months or years about only to see things not progress or even get worse.  Dear ones, everyone experiences this discouragement, and  including the giants of faith, such as Moses, Elijah, David Livingston and, most importantly, Jesus.  God does take us down roads where things get worse before they get better.  But the accusations of failure are the lie from the pit of hell.

Isaiah 49:4 Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my just reward [is] with the LORD, And my work with my God.’ “

 So give a listen to David Wilkerson’s great sermon:

Audio: “I Have Labored in Vain: A Message for All Who Carry a Sense of Failure

Here’s the text of the sermon as well.

 Learn of the Hope in God amid a temporary sense of failure.

Breaking the illusions we have of others

We have to trust people everyday.  For example, we trust that airline pilots, bus drivers and other auto drivers in traffic will do the right thing.   Beyond this more temporary trust, do we really trust people to never make mistakes or disappoint us?

Our unrealistic expectations – The truth is, many of us have built up unrealistic expectations of people.  When we first meet someone, there is that new excitement of a relationship and we expect him or her to live up to the imagined view we have of them. People, including us, cannot live up to high expectations.  They may feel the crushing pressure we put on them to live up to our illusions.  Also, over time, people inevitably do things that hurt us and we experience the deep pangs of disappointment.

God’s realistic expectations – We know from the word of God that all people, including ourselves, are broken, fallible creatures capable of sin and hurting others.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9

Does that mean we should become cynical and bitter towards people?  Not at all.  Christ gave us the model:

Christ understood people, so he did not entrust himself them. But he Loved them.  In John 2:24, as Christ looked over the multitude of people in Jerusalem, it says “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.”  What does this mean?   Jesus knew the fickle and sinful hearts of people, so his expectation was realistic.  Jesus decided ahead of time not to have illusion of people.  Yet Jesus loved people so much that he died and suffered beyond what we can ever know to save them.   He was never cynical; he trusted his father God.

Only God can meet your expectations.  Have people let you down?   Then trust the only one who will never let you down – God through Jesus.   Focus on God.  Be grateful and let the Lord fill you with his love and forgiveness.

See  James MacDonald – When it’s hard to trust

 


He’s greater than you

John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Not only is Christ greater than the world around us, He is greater than ourselves  in our weakness.  He is building a new person inside of us; a new person and yes a new personality.

So as  we stumble at times in our lives with broken relationships and job (or lack thereof)  pressures, the wilderness journey will be fraught with impossible battles only the Lord can solve.   If you are saved in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of you.  Invite him to take over, don’t listen to the old voices of failure, for the Lord can and will do great things for others through you.  For “Philippians 1:6: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

 

Don’t take the easy way out

The Lord spoke a strong word tonight via a  sermon he directed me to.  David Wilkerson’s “Standing Steadfast in Christ” spoke about not seeking the easy way out.  As the Lord shows us in scripture through nature, those who choose to avoid conflict, people and the inevitable fires of life will suffer spiritual apathy.  It’s clear my trials at work and at home most be met head on with the grace of Christ.  So “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” combined with the fact Christ will see me through my storms outside and my emotional pains within is absolutely necessary for me to grow.

And growing means not focusing on my own self but on how I can serve Christ and others.  Wilkerson reminds us of Peter, who after he returned to the Lord and the risen Christ told him “Do you love me?  Feed my sheep?”

Lord, help all who read this know that we must face life with your grace to grow and bear fruit for you.  Let us not shrink from the spiritual battles at home and at work, but let us focus on helping the least and the lost of this world, in Jesus name.

Listen to Standing Steadfast in Christ>>

When the Ship Sinks by David Wilkerson

In “When the Boat Sinks” David Wilkerson talks about when Paul’s ship to Rome sinks.  The Lord will sometimes allow the thing we fear to happen – the divorce, the health crises, the death of a loved one.  Yet like Paul’s ship, the very breakup is a vehicle the Lord uses to spread His salvation.  From Paul’s ship sinking came a series of miracles: no people on the ship died, they all made it safely to shore, and they and many on the island where the ship sank saw miracles of healing in their midst through Paul.

So in our crises, the breakup between with our spouse can result in many testimonies for Jesus as we stand for restoration – no matter how long it takes.

When the Boat Sinks-David Wilkerson (mp3)

Faith in the Waiting Room by Alistair Begg

Waiting for God to reconcile a relationship, to change another’s heart, to save a lost loved one, or to heal a sickness can be the most trying experience of your life.  It is compounded by the voices of “reason” which are all around you among family, in the church.  They say “Why wait?  Get on with your life.  Move on.  Did God really tell you that he will restore?”

God wants more than anything to have your faith and trust.  The age-old pattern is for God to have us wait upon him.  In his wonderful Scottish brogue, Alistair Begg reviews the truth of faith that is shown in the lives of Abraham and Sarah. You may be pressured to take matters into your own hands, but the lesson is we will make a mess of things.  Wait upon God, He will always be faithful and His outcome will always be best.  Years may pass, but God’s word always comes true.

Listen- Alistair Begg-Faith-in-the-Waiting-Room

For more on Alistair Begg’s teachings, check out TruthforLife.org