And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
Some time ago I read Psalm 88. It was subtitled: "A Prayer for Help in Despondency." I, of course, immediately noted the word "despondency", another nice term for "discouragement" and I had an idea of where this Psalm was going. Throughout this psalm, the writer went in depth into his feelings of depression and despair. There seemed no hope for deliverance even as he constantly cried out to God. By the end of the psalm, I too could have felt discouraged because the psalm felt heavy and depressing as if there was no hope.
How many times in our own lives, we go through situations that leave us feeling totally hopeless and in despair? It seems we are crying out to God every day, even every minute of the day for an answer that never seems to come. God seems silent in the midst of a situation that threatens to consume and overwhelm us. We have cried many times: "God how long? When will deliverance come? When will the end of this situation finally come?"
David had learned to encourage himself in the Lord time and again. No matter what he went through, no matter how hot the battle, he learned to trust God. He put his complete confidence in Him. He cried out to God too, he asked questions, I'm sure he even complained BUT he also TRUSTED in his God. Sometimes, we just have to trust when even trust seems a waste of time. I have learned to use some tools God has provided: praise - it helps to remind me of who is bigger and more powerful, God not the problem; Prayer - it gives the right outlet to vent my frustrations and just throw myself on someone bigger and more able than me; and the Word - as I stand on His Word and on His promises, it gives me much needed hope that if He did it before He'll do it again and what He has promised He will do.
So, the next time your world seems to be collapsing, try the tools God has provided. I like to call them weapons of warfare because that's what they are. Use them, that's why God gave them to us. I guarantee you - because I have used them over and over - they will work for you!
Not once does the Bible say, "Worry about it," Stress over it" or "Figure it out." But over and over it clearly says, "Trust God." (Article from bibletopicsonline.org)
So, one night, I'm scrolling through Pinterest on my phone and come across this quote above. Pretty much immediately I consciously relaxed, I felt at rest. I went to bed feeling relaxed and at ease. Here it was God was reminding me that He was working, He wasn't on a break during which time it was my turn to put in some labour. He was working and He was not going to stop working on my behalf until the job was done.
But you see, although many times we know God is working, it is just natural human nature to worry, to stress, to try to figure it out. Why? Because if truth be told, we want God to do it our way and in our timing. We want God to work out that situation/s based on what our finite minds can comprehend. We're convinced that God must work it out the way we have logically worked it out in our minds. But you see, God's ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). With God, there is always a bigger picture. Many times we can't see it because our vision and understanding are limited, hence us usually trying to figure it out ourselves. The stress also comes when we don't see things working out the way we would have wanted or hoped. We start trying to force it to happen our way. We no longer care about a way out because we're now focused on making our way the way out. This is where trust in God truly comes in. Sometimes it will work out the way we had planned, but other times it will still work out but not the way we had hoped or planned. Did God miss it? No, He didn't. His ways and thoughts are still higher, better much more fulfilling than our limited plans would have been. Remember, God still wants to give us HIS best not OUR best. That bigger picture I spoke about earlier? It will always contain an end result that will bring permanent joy, peace, fulfilment than our end result could ever bring us. So, when God says to trust Him, and He does say it over and over again in the Bible, God is preparing His best and ultimately the best for you. You will not hunger again, you will not thirst again, you will not be dissatisfied. You also WON'T regret letting Him have HIS perfect way instead of your imperfect one.
To forgive is to forget. To forget is to remember no more. That's undeserved favour, that's grace, to act like it never happened. It's to treat someone like they never did you the wrong that they did. It is undeserved favour. They don't deserve it, it's not fair, it's just favour. That's why favour isn't fair. It causes you to treat someone like a saint instead of like a sinner. To treat your enemy like a friend. To treat someone like they've never betrayed you, never hurt you, never deceived you. It just isn't fair! But it's grace, it's forgiveness! Do you want to be right or do you want to be free? You see, forgiveness also sets you free; free from the trap of unforgiveness, of hatred, of bitterness, of stress, of anger, of depression, of no peace of mind. When forgiveness is your choice, you are also choosing freedom, peace, joy, favour upon your life as you freely give to someone else who may not deserve it. When a good turn is done to someone who does not deserve it, the rewards are greater. Matthew 5:43-48 speaks about loving your enemies, blessing them and doing good to them and even praying for NOT against them.
If you want to be more like Christ then you have to do like Him. On the cross, He never said, "Father kill them, the wretches!" Instead He said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." How could He receive our sin and guilt upon Himself anyway with unforgiveness in His heart? How could He do what He came to do - save the world - with unforgiveness in His heart? He had to provide salvation through forgiveness in order to bring forgiveness to us. In other words, He had to go through the ultimate act of betrayal and sacrifice and to forgive those who helped bring Him to that point, in order to provide salvation for us through the forgiveness of sins. HE HAD TO FORGIVE so we could be forgiven. He had to act as if it never happened so we could receive new life in Him, eternal life with Him. And, since He set the example we just need to ask for His help to forgive, to release those who have wronged us, to set ourselves free from bondage, from being a slave to unforgiveness. When we refuse to let go, we're really refusing to let ourselves go, we're refusing to free our own selves.
Do you want to be truly free? Then forgive. Act like it never happened. You can't do this on your own but you can do it through Christ who gives you the strength you need to get it done. I'm not speaking off the top of my head, I'm speaking from experience. I can write this because I have had to and still have to do this on a regular basis. No, it's not easy at all, in fact it's downright difficult at times. But the more I choose to forgive, the easier it becomes. Let me say that when I really chose to forgive I actually felt a burden lifted off of me. I'm not kidding!!! I was finally free from this burden and it felt so good. There are days when I have to consciously forgive more times than I can count and other days not so much. I even find myself more and more seeing my enemies through God's eyes. I understand and acknowledge that He loves them too and He does want the best for them just like He wants the best for me. It makes my God happier when I can love my enemies instead of hate them and it makes me feel lighter, happier, FREE!!!! And, by the way, don't worry about whether or not your enemies will get away with what they have done to you, that's God's business NOT yours!!!! (Romans 12:19)
So, make the choice to forgive. Make that first step and let God carry you the rest of the way to victory. You will regret it if you don't, you won't regret it if you do!
I was speaking with a friend of mine and she shared something that happened to her. She was having a tough day. Someone said something to her that threw off her entire day. How many of us have had experiences like that where one word, one conversation can throw off your whole day?
Anyway, she spent the day going about her usual business but feeling discouraged and down. She did not feel inclined to share what had happened with anyone, and so, kept it to herself. By the end of the day, however, she received a phone call from someone that she had encouraged in previous times. This person is not a christian, yet, he had felt led to call and tell her that he loved her. All the tears she had managed to hold back during the day came tumbling down by just hearing those precious words: "I love you." God had once again come through for her when she needed it.
How many times does God do the same for us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, He'll always be there for us (Deuteronomy 31:6b; Hebrews 13:5b). He is a present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). These are God's promises to us, that no matter what we are going through, He will be there. But isn't that like our God? When no one else knows what is happening with us, no one else sees our tears on the inside, God sees them and He knows who to send and when to send them, to offer comfort and strength. And sometimes, He just orchestrates it so that the right song, the right sermon comes within our hearing and brings comfort, reassurance and strength. You are not insignificant!!!! You are not invisible to God!!! God sees, hears and knows. Sometimes, He may seem to take longer than we would like to answer our cries and our prayers, but He will answer and He WILL send what is needed at the perfect time.
So, as we begin a new year, let's not forget all that our God has done for us in the past. If He did it before, He will do it again. Whatever, therefore, we must face in this new year, we don't have to face with fear or anxiety. Our God came through for us in the past, He will come through for us in this new year and beyond. He's the same yesterday, today and forever. Our God never ever fails!
Trust... Have you ever noticed how in order to trust God, you seem to have to lose everyone else? The people, the things you feel you can't do without, are exactly what you need to let go of if you want God to do His best in and through you.
God is still a jealous God and wants you all for Himself. He doesn't always want to share us with anyone else. Count that a privilege because it means that His eyes are on you and you are that important to Him! He, then, should be that important to you too, moreso than anyone else. Oh, it doesn't mean that you can't have friends and that you should neglect and reject your loved ones, but it does mean that there are times when it's going to have to be God and God alone. He alone has the answer, His timing is perfect and although your family and friends may mean well, they don't have all the answers, sometimes they have none. But, God is always dependable, trustworthy, a confidante, a husband, a true Friend. He knows, He sees, He cares, He always has the answer, He always knows what's best. That's His job, that's His profile. He can't help it, He's just God and He will allow us at times to see how inadequate and incompetent our human support system is so that we can see how perfectly competent and capable He is and that there is indeed none like Him, none that can compare to Him. And when we run to Him and Him alone, we will be satisfied, our faith will be renewed, our strength will be renewed and He will be able to work and do what He does best - fix it - and He will get all the glory! And He won't just "fix it", He will in the process, mould and shape us, give us backbone and develop our character into what He wants it to be and that we too can be proud of.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.