Dear Salvation Army, Is It Just ‘Busy’ Work?

It is a question I have often asked myself.
Something I’ve pondered.
Waged war with.
Chewed on until my jaws ache.

Have I (personally speaking) focused too much on the ‘busy’ work instead of the priorities of salvation? Am I spending so much time doing the mundane, the time consuming, soul-sucking tasks that offer no vital substance to life?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not viewing certain tasks as beneath me. I am, instead, uncovering something that I feel has been convicting to me…and perhaps it has been revealed to you as well by the Holy Spirit.

We, as an Army, have grown far beyond a movement birthed out of the ashes and smoke the industrial era. This movement has grown arms and legs in order to meet human needs in Jesus’ name. But with that growth, it becomes inevitable that we develop not so good traits as well. Over working ourselves. Demanding more and more income to support bloating projects. Straining for every ounce of local and federal funding sources. Funds are, of course vital to our cause, but there is a danger here: We might become tempted, in our busyness to trust less in the provision of God and trust more in our own efforts, our own donors, our own coffers.

Have we allowed busy work to shape our faith?
Have we entered into simply trusting in the next financial campaign instead of diligently seeking out what God would have us do? I pray this is never the case!

I am certainly not negating hard work, I am simply pondering whether in the midst of our hard work we have stopped looking to the Author of all things in exchange for the things He has created? Instead of commanding time, time is commanding us. In a very real sense have we lost our first love and replaced it with busy work?

I understand that we mustn’t grow tired of doing Good (Galatians 6:9)
But there should be moments of reflect that we do in order to be brought back to our first love and first priority – Loving God. THEN we are able to reach out and offer our soup, soap and salvation.

So how do we avoid making what we do just ‘Busy Work’?

3 Ways to Avoid The Trap of Busy Work:

1) Practicing the Presence of God Daily (Even moment by moment)
Brother Lawrence was right – we need to get into the practice of communing with the presence of God moment by moment. We need to fellowship with our Creator during the most trying of tasks to the most mundane of them. When we open up our lives and everything in them to God, we begin to share our experiences with Him. We are inviting Him to participate in them with us. Just because we have to do required mundane tasks doesn’t mean that it is busy work. ‘Busy work’ is done when we have no purpose, no mission or no aim. Busy work leads no one to Christ, consumes all our time and offers nothing in spiritual nourishment. When we enter into God’s presence throughout our day, we begin to eliminate the busy work. When we ask Him to commune with us, we begin to see what truly matters and life (and tasks) are given purpose once again. Why? We because we are not living for ourselves, our own hard work, our own ambitions, our own understanding…we are now dying to self, dying to corporate ladder climbing, dying to the search for approval and acceptance of others. Instead, we are living a new created life born out of holiness and the desire to be selfless.

2) Asking the question “Why”?
When we find ourselves caught in the busyness trap, we need to begin to asked questions. Like, “why am I doing what I am currently doing”. “Is this task or habit really what I should be doing?” “What is this contributing to the Kingdom building process?” Why do I catch myself falling into this ‘busyness’ trap again and again?

Habits are hard to break, and I believe busy work can be one of these bad habits that needs to be broken. We all are given time to do the necessary reports, chores, tasks…yet how often do we catch ourselves staring blankly at a computer screen? How often do we labor away at things that don’t really matter? I’m not saying we don’t do them, I am saying that perhaps we place too much emphasis on them. We give them too much importance and so our time gets eaten up in the non-Kingdom building habits.

There comes a point where we must look up.
Where we see where God desires us to go. Perhaps it is to talk to that person in the Social Services waiting room. Maybe it is to go and visit corps members, sit with a person that needs a friend, or spend a few solitary moments in the chapel praying. Are we looking up? Or do we go about our day with our heads down and buried in our computers, meanwhile making all of our tasks and duties “busy work”?
Why?

3) Connect with others.
I have mentioned this already in the second point…but it begs saying again: we MUST connect with other people (and not just on social media). Look people in the eyes. Really listen to their needs. Hear the hurt. See the longing for fellowship. Be a light to someone in need. Winning the world of Jesus begins with one or two people. If we aren’t reaching people for Christ what is the point of calling our selves an army of salvation?

When we realign ourselves with our first love and, in turn, pour that love out on others, we will have eliminated all ‘busy work’? How?
By turning each moment and each task into an opportunity to serve God. When we change our perspective and our priorities, we reorient our mission and purpose to the place it should have been all along.

Dear Salvation Army…is there ‘busy work’ taking place in your ministry right now?
Do you find yourself missing the mark and feeling unfulfilled in your calling?
Perhaps you must look up.
Perhaps a reprioritizing of life needs to take place.
Perhaps a rededication, a recommitment, a reigniting of the heart is in order.

Busy work happens to all of us…but we mustn’t remain there, we need to get up and move.

Something more for our Army to ponder today.

The Problem With Submission…

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” -James 4:7-8

I have a tough time with one word in this passage.
It has nothing to do with God, faith or salvation…it has everything to do with how this word is used in the world, sometimes maliciously, in order to put people in their place.

What is the word?

“Submit”.

I don’t do well with submission.
Honestly, it makes me feel like a prisoner having to obey the warden. (Images of Shawshank Redemption come to mind)…

Perhaps it is because I have personally witnessed that word being used and abused.
Perhaps it is because I struggle with my own need for freedom.
Regardless of the why, there is still the issue with the how…how do I submit…and the ‘who’ – who am I to submit to?

For some of us it is the trust involved in such an act.
Questions like, “what if my trust is betrayed”, and “can I really trust them”?
Many time it isn’t even about submitting to God, but rather authority figures in our own lives; Bosses, business advisors, managers, family members…etc. Then, when we have been burned by submitting to a faulty human-led system, we transplant this disappointment and disillusionment upon God…as if He too is imperfect and will let us down.

I too have struggled with this notion, meanwhile transplanting my own mortal experience upon an immortal God. But have I short changed God when I’ve done this? Do I still struggle with these trust issues? Can I fully submit to God in spite of my past hurts and the numerous failed dumpster fires of attempted human submission?

Maybe I’m overthinking this…have you ever done that?
I’ve counted all of the variables, outcomes, pros and cons way before ever taking a step. My 1st Grade Teacher’s voice keeps ringing in my ear as she said, “look before you leap.” But maybe in this case, it’s the other way round?! Perhaps I just have to go for it and place my all before God when I do.

In James 4:7-8, perhaps it’s more about coming near to God than it is about submitting to Him…because wouldn’t we naturally do that anyway when we really, really know someone? After all, didn’t God come close to us first when He sent Jesus into this messed up world? He met us more than halfway as He hung on a cross for our sins.

You see, I know all of the theological implications of such an act. I know Jesus intellectually, but are there still times when my heart does not know Him…when I’m not near to God, in fact, I couldn’t be further from Him? Have you ever felt like that? We have all of the head knowledge, but when it really comes down to it, there’s a heart issue that still needs working out.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you’re still trying to reconcile what submission looks like with God. I’ve been on this journey for quite some time, and I feel that the Holy Spirit has led me this far, I’m going to have trust Him in the things I have yet to figure out. He hasn’t given up on me, and I’m positive He certainly hasn’t given up on you either. Perhaps it’s not so much submission that He’s after, but rather a closer relationship with us. After all, doesn’t submission come from a place of trust? I cannot submit to something I don’t trust, and I cannot trust if I don’t come close enough to God.

The trouble with submission is we aren’t close enough to a God who desires a relationship with us…and I’m still working through this. I don’t have a Mary Poppins answer for you, just a notion and a nudge to deepen your relationship with the Almighty…we just might discover that is what was needed all along.

-Something more to ponder today.

Fear the Walking Faith…It’s a journey!

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Oh how our faith can waver sometimes.
It seems that the gusting of a slight breeze of discord or worry can shake our quivering feet of faith.

Have you ever come to a moment of realization that your faith is not as deep as you once thought it was? We all encounter times, while on this journey, where the feel as though we have entered into the desert and we are found lacking in our resolve and fortitude. This journey will take us into places that require us to dig a little deeper and to endure the dry and thirsty places – where we find ourselves questioning everything and reaching further for God…who seems to have gone silent.

Have you been to this place?

I remember when I first learned to swim.
My parents would take me into the deeper part of the waters where my feet couldn’t touch and then let go of me, and as they let go of me they step back out of my reach. I remember there was a momentary panic. The saving hands were no longer on me and I found myself struggling to keep my head above the waters. I remember having to reach out my arms while kicking my feet so that I could reach the safety again. As I did this, without realizing, I began to swim by myself for the first time.

My intentions were not to swim. My intention was to reach the safe arms of my parents who were just out of reach.

There is growth within the tension and fear.
Growth that can only take place when we are left to our own devices.
Growth that can only transpire within the turmoil and desert places of our faith journey.

It is as if God steps back from us, and we are faced with the seemingly terrifying notion that we must step into the deep alone. The truth is that we are most certainly not alone, but rather there is growth that is only found in desert. And so we step out, unsure of ourselves…unsure if we can reach those safe arms of Christ again.

Remember Peter on the waters before Jesus?
He is asked to step out into a turbulent, uncertain space.
Peter takes a couple of steps, loses sight of the arms of Christ and begins to sink.
He takes his eyes off of Jesus.
He considers the impossibilities of such a journey.
He must have recalled his inability to do this feat, and as the doubt sinks in so does Peter.

We often chastise Peter for his lack of faith.
We often sermonize this passage to implicate the lack of resolve that ‘the Rock’ had…
But where were the other disciples?
Do we read about their steps of faith on the waters? No.
They were still in the boat watching it all go down.

We have to get out of our boats.
We will encounter dry and thirsty times in our faith journey.
It will feel as if we are all alone out in the wilderness, but we are not alone.
God steps back and watches us within the tension of deeper waters.
And it is within those deeper spaces that we grow.
It is through perseverance that our character and the very image of Christ becomes clearer in us.

Some have turned back and returned to the safe places.
Some have given up because they have felt abandoned.
Others have persevered and they have grown.
The Lord desires all of us to deepen our faith, and so these times of dryness should be seen as opportunities to grow up into this amazing faith.

Being like Jesus isn’t easy.
It takes determination and desire on our part.
Are you prepared to allow God to deepen your faith?
Is it your desire to get off of spiritual baby formula and begin to feast on more sustainable spiritual nourishment?

Take that next step…don’t be afraid, He’s got you, and He isn’t far from you right now!

Something more to ponder today.

Dear Salvation Army, The Fish-Bowl Effect…

Dear Salvation Army, are we fooling ourselves?
Are we seeing one thing within our ivory towers while the reality looks quite different?

Please don’t take offense.
I mean no disrespect.
I just wonder if there are times that we are disconnected from how things truly are as opposed to how we perceive them to be.

It’s like the notion of missing the mark of evangelism & missions…It is like aiming for the lost with a harpoon when what you needed was a loving hug and a warm cup of coffee. Or perhaps, there is this grandiose idea of what success will look like (we envision a mega church with people all neatly lined up trying to get in) when in reality it is meeting with that single mother and ensuring she has enough to feed her family and she takes the leap of coming to church on a Sunday morning.

Do we miss the mark because our notion of successful mission has been aligned with a faulty or unrealistic sense of who we are serving and what they need? It can become that illustration of insanity, ever endeavoring to do the same thing over and over again, only to realize that it hasn’t worked in thirty years.

Perhaps we need to wake up.
I fear we have become too insulated in our own fishbowls, be it the corps, divisional headquarters, territorial headquarters or beyond. We cannot sit in our offices and expect the people to come to us. Yes, our branding is recognizable, but that doesn’t mean that we become lazy in our planning and in the reaching for the lost, hurting and oppressed. We cannot afford to sit in our fishbowls. We cannot become complacent, overly busy with interior paperwork, when outside in our communities families and individuals need to see the hope that the Holy Spirit is prodding us to give because we serve more than just an Army, we serve the Lord first and foremost.

Dear Salvation Army,
I am fearful that we have lost our way, because of mission drift.
I am fearful that leaders from every rank have forgotten what it means to have a heart to God and a hand to man. This is a broad brushstroke, not aimed at offending, but perhaps prodding those who need it. There are many, many saints in our Army. I wish to recognize that as fact, may we ever endeavor to emulate their great faith!

Lastly, we cannot program our army to death.
We cannot course correct without first dispelling the faulty realities that have gotten us to this point.

Questions to Ponder:
What fishbowls do we need to get out of today?
Do we truly know the communities and people that we have been commissioned to minister to?
Have we prayed about our mission and vision for the lost in our areas of influence? (Not all of these places will look the same, or require the same kinds of ministry tools to reach the lost and disciple the faithful).
How can we (I) encourage 1 person today (maybe more, but start with just one)?
Can we pray that God would reveal to us the hindrances and hang ups in our lives right now that prevent us from having a greater impact on the Kingdom in His name?

As I sit here and write this, I admittedly have first considered the fishbowls that I have placed myself in. No, this has nothing to do with appointments or rank, but as a follower of Christ there are walls that I have constructed that have not been ordained by Him. Constructs that insulate my selfish heart and profit nothing for the Kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps you can relate, dear Soldier. I believe that if we do not first dispel these walls and climb out of our fishbowls, so too will our impact for the Kingdom be limited.

Can we identify these fishbowls?
Are we prepared to climb out of them?

Something more for our Army to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Hope In Discouragement?

Let’s face it, we’ve all been to the well of discouragement.
We drink from this well from time to time.
Discouragement is alive and well in this world.
It can hit us at anytime and any place, especially when we aren’t looking for it…most of the time, unless we’re a glutton for punishment, we don’t go looking for trouble and/or disappointment.

Pick Your Poison: poison
-We find discouragement when:
-our friends let us down.
-our workplace and those we work with treat us poorly.
-there is added stress at home.
-our kids act out or are struggling, or are rebellious.
-our health or the health of loved ones is in question.
-we are stressed out with the responsibilities of life and work and the ever increasing “to do” list seems to never end.
-when depression hits.
-when we are in a financial mess.
-when, when, when….

Truths: 
discourageDiscouragement happens.
People will sometimes let us down.
Health, finances, relationships, families, hopes, dreams, school – all can wane from time to time.

I don’t say this to further discourage you today, I say this because we MUST face reality – Discouragement is often times unavoidable.

– BUT – 

We don’t have to live there.
We don’t have to continually drink from this well and let it further poison our faith, our relationships, our lives.  We can find hope in the midst of discouragement!

Question: How do we find this hope even when we are discouraged?  
Here are 4 Answers: 

discouragement1.  Don’t Quit! 
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
-Galatians 6:9
Discouragement will tell you to just quit.
It may try and convince you that you’re not strong enough or good enough or healthy enough, and that you should just quit.  – DON’T!  Don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t let the lie saturate your faith and hope.  FIGHT!
You WILL see better days again!
You WILL survive this season of discouragement.
You WILL find happiness and hope again!

eyes2. Walk By Faith, Not By Sight!
for we walk by faith, not by sight.” -2 Corinthians 5:7
The Apostle Paul and the early Church faced many obstacles, frustrations, persecution and extreme discouragement – yet they did not quit.  Why?  Because their mission and purpose was bigger than they were!
In this faith, we have been given a very large mission and purpose, and it’s bigger than we are!  We are called to this higher purpose and with that we drink from a well that provides us with life, strength and hope!  Although we can’t see what tomorrow holds, and all we might be seeing right now is this discouragement in our lives, we can boldly step forward and onward because we know WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE!   With this knowledge firmly in grasp, we can survive these days of discouragement!  We cannot allow discouragement to dictate what our next steps will be!  Don’t allow it hold you captive – Christ can and will break these chains in your life!  Simply (although it isn’t always so simple, this we all know) trust in Him!  Cry out to the Father!  Ask for His Holy presence to guide and sustain you!  It may be hell right now, but you can keep going because you have this amazing faith to rely on!

3.  No Pain, No Gain!?! -Right?! pain1
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” -1 Corinthians 9:24
This is about holiness, about Christ-likeness, but this is also about striving beyond our discouragements and pains and into something eternally worth-while!  We will face opposition, pain and discouragement!  We will endure hardships, stresses, sleepless nights and pain, but we MUST gut it out!  We must persevere beyond the turmoil and the pain.  When we keep going through perseverance, we will rediscover the hope that His holy presence has placed in our lives!  Keep going, keep on – His well of living water will restore your discouraged life!

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
    His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
    (“He Giveth more grace” -by Annie Flint)

hope34.  The Source Of Our HOPE is External not Internal!  
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
When we are facing our struggles and discouragements and troubles, we might only be seeing that which frustrates and defeats us.  We might be treading water but our eyes are only focused on the strong currents of those waters as they attempt to pull us under.  We might be missing the strong hand of the rescuer as He attempts to pull us up out of those depths.  The source of our salvation doesn’t come from ourselves, although at times we try and fool ourselves into thinking that WE have it all under control.  -That WE don’t need rescuing.  -That WE don’t need help period.  Sure, help is for the weak, for the helpless, but we’re not helpless, we’re strong – we’re almost superhuman.  NEWSFLASH: We aren’t superhuman.  We need help!  We need continual saving.  We need His source and supply of strength, hope, glory, grace, endurance.

Questions:

-Does God still supply your needs?
-Are you trusting in Him to be there for you?
-Are you allowing Him access to your life so that He can do the rescuing OR are you still attempting to control it all and save yourself?

This discouragement that you’re facing isn’t new.
Many have walked the path that you’re on right now.
Many have survived – and so can you!
Don’t simply rely on your own strength to just “survive”.
Allow God’s holy presence to be with you and to provide what you need when these days of discouragement do happen!

You aren’t alone in this battle!
He will come through for you even in the midst of the storms that you are facing right now.
Take heart, the Lord is with you!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I cannot see this path that I am on right now.
All I can see are the crashing waves that are about to envelop me.
I confess that I have often attempted to take control of my life while failing to include you in it.
I am often times stubborn and I fail to ask you for your help.
Be with me today.  Help me.  Guide me.  It is your strength that I seek, your wisdom that I need.
Deliver me from these waves of discouragement, I want to drink deeply of your living water again today.
In your name I pray these things.  -Amen.

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

“Finding Refuge”

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  “Selah” -Psalm 46:1-3

How are you today?
Do you feel beat up, crushed, broken and worn out?
How is your spirit?
Are you running on empty today?

There is much in the world that never seems to turn out right.
There is so much pain and suffering in our world!
Sometimes I feel as if this world is hopeless and that evil has won.
Sometimes I turn on the tv and hear news stories or genocides, terror, natural disasters, political tensions and it all just seems to inundate our lives.  Is this all that we are?  With all of our progressive science and medicines and technologies we still see death, famine, disease and death.

Some would say that this is just life, they way it has always been.
I’m not happy with that simplistic answer.   It seems too apathetic to me, too jaded.
Innocent die every day in every corner of the world, and we could compartmentalize this and say, “well at least it’s OVER THERE, and not here…”  Really?  Are we not all human?  Are we not all connected to the very fabric of what makes us live on this earth?  I don’t presume to have the answers to the sickness of our world, but I do know that there is refuge.  I do know that there is hope.  I do know that we can must rise above this existence!

Finding the Strength to overcome? 
It comes from God – “God is our refuge AND strength...” (Psalm 46:1)
Is God something evident in our lives today?
Are we relying on His strength?
Is He accessible to you?
Do you call out to Him in your desire to find refuge from your problems, sickness and fears?

He is our ever-present help in times of trouble! (Psalm 46:1)
When we recognize Him for who He is, we can find the strength and courage to overcome.
When we seek out His refuge in our lives, it makes all the difference in the world.
In fact the writer of this particular Psalm states that even if the earth gives way and everything crumbles before us we don’t have to fear.  Why?  Because God is near.  God will be our strength.  God will be our refuges. The creator of the very earth that is crumbling before our feet is there to offer His help to us.

I don’t know what is going on in your life today, but I do know that there is a mighty God who wants to be included in it!  He wants to be your guide, your refuge, and your strength!  If you’re seeking refuge the deluge of life today, look no further…because God is there!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, please help me in my day to day, moment by moment.  Help me with the problems that I am facing today.  You know my situations and I am seeking refuge in your loving arms!  Grant me peace, allow me to feel your strength and guidance just now.  In your Holy name I pray these things.  -Amen.

Something more to ponder today, He can and will be your refuge in your times of trouble…do you trust Him?
God bless!

Either Put Up or Shut Up! I’m All in or nothing at all!

The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 

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The Jewish leaders struggled over 613 individual moral statutes or commands by which they were to live and conduct themselves.  Sometimes they debated among themselves as to which of these moral statutes were vital and which of them were less vital.  They didn’t want to make the mistake of placing some statues above more important one and vice-versa.  Yet this struggle brought itself right before Jesus.  One of the teachers ventured to ask Him this question, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28).  

Jesus laid it all out for those who would hear Him; “The most important one,” Jesus answered, “is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Now, dear fellow Christ-follower, it is either time for us to put up or shut up.  I don’t mean to be crass here or offend you, but I cannot stress how vital it is for us to love the Lord with every fiber of our being.  Jesus placed this as the #1 priority in the lives of those asking and still today it ought to be #1 in our lives as well.  

Let me illustrate: 

Our homes are powered by electricity (well most of them are anyway).  If we were to bring in a brand new television to watch we first must take it out of the box and connect it to a power source.  Without the power source all of our favorite shows and possibilities are impossible.  We need to plug that television into the power in order for anything to happen, without it nothing works and nothing ever will.

Without first loving God with our EVERYTHING nothing else will work.  Without first loving God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind and strength we are powerless.  It is either all or nothing.  God doesn’t want a partial kind of love.  He isn’t some on again off again God, either get on board with Him and love Him completely or don’t at all.  

Secondly, don’t try and fake out God…He’s not buying the act.  Others might see how good we look dressed up for Church and how we act in front of other Christians but if this isn’t consisted behind the scenes God knows.  This is a tough pill to swallow.  I’m not here to say that I have this all figured out either, because I too struggle at times with a divided heart.  Not intentionally mind you, but at times I catch myself and find that I have to once again realign my relationship and priorities with God.  

How is your heart today?  Do you find that at times you have a divided heart when it comes to your relationship with the Lord?  Perhaps it’s time for a heart realignment so that you can once again get plugged back into the true sources of power and life.  

Scriptures readings:  

Isaiah 29:13, Psalm 86:11, Mark 12:28-34

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Elijah in You (Poem)

Image
“But He wasn’t in the earthquake or fire” (1Kings 19)

It is at wits-end that God is there
but He is also there when tears fall
before you call, He has heard your heart
from the start, you’re never alone.
Sometimes like Elijah depressed and dejected
emotionally high yet fear has boldly infected
the soul with a broken heart inside
waiting for God to show up as you hide…
no, not fire, or earthquake He’s in
but His still small voice, He knows where you’ve been
you might feel weak and powerlessly alone
but find strength, He will come
He won’t leave you alone, 
Hold on, don’t you quit, or lose sight
See, here He comes with power and might
don’t lose fight, don’t believe the lie
the strength you now have, comes from on high. 
You don’t need to call down fire from above
you don’t need to have visions to receive His love
but faithfulness in spite of the place
His rescue comes in full as does His grace.   

Finding Encouragement:

encouragement

 

Let’s face it, we are all accustomed to disappointment and discouragement.  Some days we might even ask ourselves ‘why did I even get up this morning?’  Yet I do know that there is comfort in the knowledge that we aren’t alone in our disappointments and troubles.  Though these times come to us all, we can recognize that we don’t have to endure these difficult moments alone.

Are you facing trouble today?  Are you downcast, disillusioned, weary?  Allow me an opportunity here to share with you an encouraging passage of scripture:

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Did you catch that?  Let me break it down for you:

1. The Lord God is here in your midst: 

God is here

He’s not far away, or distant.  He is with you in your good days, your bad days, your indifferent days.  God is near!  How encouraging is that?!  We serve a mighty, all knowing God that isn’t distant but personal with each of us.  He care for you.  He wants to be involved intimately in your life!  And despite our struggles, God is here in your midst.

2. He saves us!

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He doesn’t wear a red cape like superman, but He saves us!  His love doesn’t end with being near, He desire fellowship with us and for our deliverance from sin and death!  In Christ’s suffering and death, God provides salvation!  Our redemption comes through Christ, and now we not only long for Eternity but we have the Kingdom of God here on Earth with us!  We have been redeemed!  We have been saved!  Hallelujah!

3. He will quiet us with His love!

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Have you ever gotten bent out of shape?  Have you ever found yourself panic stricken, stress laden and crying out for relief from it all?  In your despair God is there and He, with His loving arms, will quiet our manic lives.  How amazing is that?  I can’t tell you how often stress gets the better of me.  Or how often my mind won’t turn itself off at bed time because I’m so consumed with worry or fear.  Yet when I allow God access to these emotions and these situations, I am not only comforted but I am reminded that His strength is enough!  There is nothing, absolutely nothing too difficult for Him to handle!  He will quiet us and our distress…if we allow Him access to our lives!

4.  He will exult over you with loud singing…

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um, ok that sounds kind of funny doesn’t it?  Yet think about it?  And don’t envision God with a megaphone singing loudly in your ear either!  But think of it like this:  God spoke the world into being with just mere words.  He will comfort us with these same audible words that formed the very stars that we look at!  How encouraging is that?  God will remind us of His might through this as well!  If He could do all of these marvelous deeds, how tiny our problems must seem to Him.  He will bring to us His songs of peace and deliverance.  He will declare His majesty through the music of Eternity.

-Put it all together-

Think of it again…in every season God is there! He wants to be involved in our lives and He will be there in our discouragements and in times of despair.  Take comfort in this verse, though it was originally intended for Israel at a time of exile, this verse is for all those who are called children of God through faith in Jesus Christ!

Discouraged?  Find Encouragement today!

-Just a thought.

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