And the angel said unto them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people."
In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah mourns the destruction of Jerusalem and of his people. He had warned them, pleaded with them but they had refused to listen. What he had declared from God finally came to pass. Yet God, the covenant-keeping God that He is, did not put a complete end to this nation. He saved a remnant who would come to repentance and prosper in enemy territory. He was still determined to keep His promise to Abraham and this people!
Like I said, God is a covenant-keeping God. He always keeps His end of the bargain even when we don't. He simply finds a way to bring what He has promised to pass. God will try and try with us. It only ends when we refuse to relent and death brings an end to us. Once we are alive there is always hope.
But that's one of the great things about serving our God, He doesn't give up as easily and as quickly as we do. He will try, He will work with us to bring about change. That's what He did with Israel. He sent prophet after prophet to speak to them, to warn them, to plead with them. He knew that their sinful actions would bring about their own destruction and He was trying to spare them the heartache, the heartbreak and not to mention the loss of life. God sees around corners, we can't. Our vision, our understanding is limited and this is where He tries to help us out. Unfortunately, we think we know everything and we foolishly destroy ourselves.
It's about absolute surrender, absolute trust that God knows and sees what we don't and can't and that He allows it to be like this so we can learn to trust Him and rely on Him. But we miss it and end up messing up and missing out many times.
I mentioned in a previous post that I had backslidden many years ago. I thought I was happy but I was not and I certainly wasn't free. I was depressed and initially didn't know why but afterwards realised it was because I had moved away from God. I tried different things to be happy and resisted God's efforts to bring me back to Him. Still I was unhappy. When I finally surrendered to Him I discovered a joy that was beyond just plain happiness. I had never experienced this before. I was also finally free . . . because I surrendered to God.
Won't you surrender to Him today? Trust Him, allow Him to guide you because He does see and know all. It's not about giving up your freedom but rather gaining it. When we go our own way, we put ourselves in bondage and are miserable. Resisting Him would bring sure destruction and a life without hope; surrendering to Him, a life of joy, peace and freedom like you've never experienced before. It's not a life without challenges but one with an assurance that the God who is able to deliver and protect is on your side. You will have your own personal warrior fighting for you every time!
“God sees me. I am not invisible in God’s eyes. I may be invisible to others but not to God.”
Sometimes we go through life feeling invisible. It seems no one sees, no one knows, no one cares about what we’re going through and that we need help. We may try to reach out, but to no avail. Sometimes we don’t even bother because we don’t even know who to reach out to, who to trust.
Today I dealt with the topic of depression with the Christian club at my school. It was just an introduction because it is such an extensive topic that you can’t deal with it in just a few minutes. I spoke to them about the different ways a person might feel depressed and the many things people turn to in an effort to deal with their depressed feelings. As I spoke I saw the interest and I realized that these students could relate to what I was speaking about. They could relate to feeling alone in a crowded room; to feeling discouraged and not knowing exactly why; to “cutting” themselves as a means of dealing with the emotional hurt that was just too much for them to bear; to not knowing who to talk to because they don’t even know how to express what they’re feeling. We can, I guess all relate to depression. We may have all experienced it at some point in time or another.
Many years ago I moved away from God and suffered from feelings of depression. Initially I couldn’t understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling until finally I was able to link it to the fact that I had backslidden. Because of this a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness had taken control of me. It even led to thoughts of suicide which I battled with for a long time. But when I re-dedicated my life to God He gradually lifted those negative feelings and the desire to end my life finally left.
That’s my story, what’s yours? Everybody’s story is unique and different. The one common denominator is the feeling of depression as we battle with situations and circumstances that seem beyond our control. Here’s the thing. God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6,8). Even when we move away from Him He does not go anywhere. He is right there waiting for us to come back to Him. Or, maybe you are not backslidden. Maybe you are serving God but there are situations that you are facing that seem to want to crush the very life out of you and you feel absolutely helpless and hopeless. It seems as if you’re crying out to God and He isn’t listening. You’re wondering: “God when will this hell that I’m going through be over?” “When are You going to come through for me?” Even now there are times when I wonder when will God come through for me. But indeed His grace is so sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). His grace gives you the strength to go through the fire, feel the burn and yet still be able to STAND! I remember there were times in my life I just wanted to give up as I faced an impossible challenge in my flesh. Yet, at just the right time, God would send a word or a song, SOMETHING that would give me the strength and motivation NOT to give up, not to give in, to keep pressing on, to keep holding on to my God, to my life and to His promises to me.
So, I encourage you today, keep holding on, don’t let go of your God and if you don’t know Him, simply ask Him to rescue you out of the mess, out of that hopelessness. I can guarantee you, if He did it and continues to do it for me at just the right time, He will do it for you too!
"For Thou oh Lord art a shield for me, the glory and the One who lifts my head" (Psalm 3:3).
This verse reminds me of a song sung by Byron Cage (Thou art a Shield for Me) some years ago. It speaks of God's protection around His people. Once we're alive, challenges, battles, storms, negative situations will come against us. We can't get away from or escape that. But we can't also ignore the fact that as children of God we are assured of His protection and covering in times of crisis.
David faced crises at various times in his life, including the crisis that promoted the penning of this Psalm 3. He was running from his son Absalom who was trying to take over his kingdom (see 2 Samuel chapters 15 - 18). He cried out to his God and literally put his life in God's very capable hands and of course, God did not fail him. His son, Absalom, was killed and he regained his kingdom.
It is interesting to note how confident David was in his God. In verse 5 he says: "I lay down and slept; I awoke for the Lord sustained me." David, in the midst of his turmoil and distress was able to sleep with the confidence that his God would take care of him. How many times do we miss sleep, are unable to rest, because we are stressed over situations. Yet, in God, we can rest. We can put the problem in His hands and sleep comfortably knowing that while we sleep, God is taking care of the situation. Not only that, but He is protecting and keeping us while we are asleep so we don't have to worry or fear. In verse 6 David says with confidence: "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around." "Ten thousands", that's a lot of enemies coming against you at the same time! Yet, David says he will not be afraid if they surround him. Why? Because he knows that his God will rescue him! Although David feels outnumbered, and he is, this fact never once caused him to fear or to lose confidence in his God. I think David understood perfectly how big and powerful his God is.
He never once loses confidence in God's ability to protect and deliver him. Maybe it was because of what he learned when he was a shepherd and had to protect his sheep from dangerous elements. God protected and delivered him then. Maybe his slaying of Goliath in the name of his God gave him confidence. God protected and delivered him then too. Maybe it was his long season of running from King Saul that built his confidence. God protected and delivered him then too. David went through many trials and testings in his life and God protected and delivered him every time. So, why should he not have confidence in his God now while fleeing from his son Absalom.
Maybe we need to be like David. If we're honest with ourselves, God has delivered us time and again from a variety of challenges, even scary situations. He has never failed us. So, how dare we forget His faithfulness as we face another trial, another test? The same God that saved us before will save us now and even after now. God does not change. The situation may change, but our God remains the same Deliverer, Healer, Fighter of our battles. His attributes will never change.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.