Broken and Crushed...I will remember

Encouragement

Mike Taylor wrote a great essay about God, recent news, and judgment. I recommend it. Here is an excerpt from his essay "Our God is a consuming fire"

"Our minds cannot comprehend the vastness, the power, the might of Almighty God. We have scriptures in Revelation that John the beloved, tried to describe what he saw and they are partially revealing of the power of God, but I believe to express fully the power of God in all His glory is beyond the scope of mortal man. There are not enough words or adjectives that give enough information of what, and who we serve and the awesomeness of our God. ... Was this the judgment passed on the people of Japan or in other countries where the human toll was great? I don’t even begin to understand the ways of God and what His judgments are and who will be affected. Because I am reminded of the apostles when they came to Jesus and asked the same type of question that many wonder with all these disasters. It’s found in Luke--

"Luke 13:1-3 "at the same time there were present some who told him (Jesus) of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with [that of] their sacrifices. And he answering said to them, Think ye that these Galileans were sinners beyond all the Galileans because they suffered such things? No, I say to you, but if ye repent not, ye shall all perish in the same manner."

"Sin is in this world and all will perish unless they are forgiven of their sins against God. It is not only individual judgment on a particular people, but the whole of humanity that will perish apart from forgiveness of the sinful condition that is rampant on this earth, especially in these latter days of man’s existence. We can’t point to anyone event or disaster and say that it is God’s judgment, as that is left to God, but we can see what is happening all around us, and know that God’s judgment is close at hand and we will see even more as the days grow darker and more evil."

The time is growing short, but the news is so dire, it saddens all of us. I am asked quite often, how do I stay so cheerful? Optimistic? It takes work.

"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." 1 John 4:4

How does one overcome? You persevere. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Perseverance leads to endurance-- "If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;" (2 Timothy 2:12)

Endurance leads to overcoming-- ""I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Like any race you put one foot in front of the other, every day. Just never stop moving. Here is the practical application of how I do that:

I pray, read the Word, and listen to hymns, the ones that have the real verses in them. As for praying, I do all kinds. I do it every day at all times. Quick prayers, short conversations. A comment. Other times during the day I engage in intentional, deep prayer that is a humble, a spiritual communion with the Lord. The point is, the communication with Him is constant and doesn’t have to be in a special kind of theological language. He is God, but He is my friend, too. Fellowship with Him through prayer is the way to keep in touch and remain open to His communication back to me. It calms me to talk with Him, and it gives me peace and strength.

Reading the Word is the other way to remain in constant communication and fellowship with Him. Doing this gives me a center point. When I begin reading a peace washes over me. The peace turns to joy and usually tears as I re-read the promises He has made, or the nature and attributes He demonstrates in his Word.

I sing. Praise music leaves me just as hungry as when I began singing but I get full of the Word with the traditional hymns such as The Old Rugged Cross, Shall We Gather At the River, Glory to His Name, etc. I turn on Pandora online. You get 40 free hours per month, and it streams your favorite music. You can hone and refine the music by clicking ‘like’ or dislike;’ to a particular song. It will re-add or delete songs with those attributes so that the music list lengthens increasingly with only songs you enjoy. I particularly enjoy the Gaither Vocal band, with many traditional quartets. Even if I am doing dishes or another task that takes my mind away from intently concentrating on the words, the background noise in my home is reverential, joyous, and appropriate. This also puts me in good frame of mind. These days I need all the tips I can employ to keep steadfast and serene. If I have too much clamor in my heart, I can’t hear Him.

As for the negative tips, here is what I do. Sins begin with a thought (Mt 15:19). Footholds and fortresses begin with a thought (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When a thought comes creeping in, such a “Maybe you aren’t really saved after all, or  “Maybe you will be left behind” or “Maybe the rapture isn’t really pre-trib like you thought” I shut them out immediately. I mean immediately. I don’t dwell on them. I don’t share them with others. I don’t obsess over them. I don't muse over them in my journal. I knock them out of the ballpark right away, and I don’t watch them go. Satan will try to steal your joy by confusing you and weakening you. The way he does this is by planting seeds of doubt. When you are dragging around doubt it is the same as dragging around a ball and chain. Add another ball to the chain every time you let a non-biblical thought linger. Pretty soon you are so tired from dragging the doubt-chain behind you that you don’t walk any more. Not walking with the Lord means that you stop persevering. You stop enduring. You stop overcoming.

It is work to remain joyful and optimistic in days such as these. It’s work. It doesn’t come naturally, because though we are saved, we have a sin nature and by nature, sin is negative. It is work to remain walking with Him when the days are filled up with just surviving. We are working harder, we are working longer hours, knowing that there are so many out of work that we are eminently replaceable. We are tired. It gets easier to lay aside the bible, it gets harder to sing His praises when there is so much happening that we do not understand. But as any athlete knows, this is precisely the time to keep doing what we have always done, pray, walk, sing, study…because it is precisely now that we need it more than ever. And most importantly, the lost need us. As one famous advertisement says, not advertising is like winking in the dark. You know what you are doing, but no one else does. Everyone should know Jesus, and if we work at our relationship with Him we will shine brighter than ever, pointing to Him. "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (John 12:32)

So be of good courage, and persevere.

Comments

  1. Sister, what a blessing this post was to me this morning....we not only have the hand of the King of the universe holding us, but we have a friend in Christ that is closer than a brother. He told us that when we see all these things begin to come to pass to look up -- and that's exactly what we should we be doing.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you!

    Ian

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