Tag Archives: Perseverance

Encouragement in time of need

There’s no doubt these are becoming increasingly difficult times.  Economic uncertainty, jobs are lost, retirements disappearing, the list goes on.  But like I mentioned yesterday these are NOT times of fear.  I want to follow up on that thought with a verse from Psalm 11:3-4

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?  The LORD is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.  He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them.”

What this verse says is that when all around us is falling apart, the “righteous” should look to the Lord.  We will see Him on His heavenly throne watching all that is happening.  He sees our struggles and He is unaltered.  There is no panic by God.  Picture this: Peter sees Jesus walking on water and calls out to Him, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus called to him; Peter stepped out of the boat and began walking towards Jesus.  But as the winds picked up, Peter lost faith and began to sink.  He cried out “Lord, save me!” “Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14:28-31 Unwavering, unaltered, Jesus lifted up Peter.  He will do the same for us.

Look to the Lord in your time of need.  “In the LORD I take refuge.  How then can you say to me: Flee like a bird to your Mountain.” Psalm 11:1

Tower of Refuge

I wanted to share a few inspirational verses to start the week with.  Sometimes in our weakest hour we need a Tower of Refuge to shelter us.  Let the Lord be your refuge.  Seek him with your whole heart and let him be your Deliverer through times of trouble.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” II Corinthians 12:10

“When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army.  He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.  For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:1-4

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.  I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:1-4

“He said: ‘The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.  He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent men you save me.  I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.’” II Samuel 22:2-4

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalm 5:11

 

Have a Blessed Day!

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

Trial by Fire

Many times in life (like now for me!) we’re faced with what seems like insurmountable odds. Such obstacles are those that we allow to sap our strength and question our faith. These trials by fire strike at our very core in what often can be described as character defining moments. To help illustrate this point, I want to paint a picture of the power of fire. Its ability to destroy virtually everything in its path, including property, forests, and plains. Fire can quite simply be summed up as devastatingly uncontrollable. But is it always bad? Can we only focus on the negative destructive forces or is there growth that can come from it?

Let’s answer those questions by looking at how nature responds to her trials by fire. No doubt we’ve seen or experienced the devastation of fire and its smoldering charred path. But were you aware that several plant species use fire as an opportunity for growth? For example, some plants shield their vital organs, like the Ponderosa pine, while others are equipped with moist tissues to absorb the heat. Others, like the Australian grass trees see fire as an opportunity to bloom and may in fact only bloom after a fire. Still other plants use fire as a way to promote their own reproduction by replacing those plants that were scorched by the flames. Fire also has the power to sweep through a forest clearing out underbrush and weeds that would eventually choke out other vegetation. So essentially, in nature, fire is capable of bringing growth.

How can we relate this to our lives? Well, perhaps the most inspirational biblical figure for growth via trial by fire is Job. Job was a God fearing, blameless, and upright man. He would be considered wealthy by even today’s standards and had been blessed with 7 sons and 3 daughters. As many of you might already know, God allowed Satan to test Job’s resolve and his faithfulness to the Lord. Satan took all of Job’s wealth, every child of his along with his servants and livestock died, everything was gone. Except for Job’s spirit; that’s the one thing that Satan had no control over. Job’s reply to his losses was, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21 Job was then afflicted physically with painful sores. Despite his wife’s admonition, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job was steadfast in his reply, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:9-10 In all of these trials, Job remained unwavering and did not sin. Though most of Job is actually a poem, it might best be described as a “tragedy”. What follows throughout the rest of the book is a continuation of Job’s trials, all the while being mocked by people for not cursing God. But Job weathered the fiery storm. After his storm, the Lord blessed Job with twice as much wealth than he originally had and blessed the later part of his life more than the first.

The story of Job should serve as inspiration to not only worship God in times of blessings, but also praise Him in our storms. In every trial there is opportunity for growth, but it’s how we respond to it that defines who we are. Our lives should mirror nature’s response to fire by exhibiting growth and Job’s resolve to remain steadfast in the Lord during that process. We likewise should see it as an opportunity to prepare ourselves for trials spiritually through prayer and reading the Word of God. And they will come, Christian or not. We need to view these times as character building moments that allow us to bloom and seize control of areas in our lives that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to grow in.