A Word of Encouragement

Lately I have not been sleeping through the night. I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, sometimes even earlier. I stare at the ceiling for a while, and hope for sleep to overtake me again.

Instead, I decided to get up and give those early morning hours to the Lord in prayer. I read the Word, meditate on my own condition, and ponder on the state of world affairs, particularly in our own country.

I also started reading a book by Michael Medved entitled, “The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.” I am only on page 67, but the accounts describing the early struggles of our nation are amazing. Truly, the Father had a hand in raising up this nation.

When I look at what is going on, and what our elected officials are trying to do, it causes me great worry and sorrow. Crime, inflation, drugs, corruption at the highest levels of government, the media spewing lies and misinformation; it’s easy to forget what the ultimate goal is.

I say this to myself as well as sharing it with you – the Lord God is in charge. What He desires will be accomplished on the earth. What does He desire? Easy, it’s truth, righteousness, salvation, joy, prosperity, peace! Amen!

Here are a few passages from recent readings in Isiah.

Chapter 45, verse 18:

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Chapter 48, verses 12 and 13:

Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.

Chapter 49, verses 8 through 11:

Thus says the LORD, In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;

Saying to those who are bound, “Go forth,” To those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.” Along the roads they will feed, And their pasture will be on all bare heights.

They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them And will guide them to springs of water.

I will make all My mountains a road, And My highways will be raised up.

This last passage speaks directly of the Lord, Jesus himself. It gave strength and encouragement to me.

Chapter 50, verses 4 through 10

The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient nor did I turn back.

I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me.

Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.

Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

Finally, an exhortation to us directly from the Father is found in Chapter 51, verses 1 through 3.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, Who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn And to the quarry  from which you were dug. 

Look to Abraham your father And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; When he was but one I called him, Then I blessed him and multiplied him.” 

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

Hallelujah and amen! We must emulate the Lord every day with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yes, our nation seems as if it is bent on going to hell in a hand basket, but that’s not what is in store for us. It is the Lord that raises up rulers and nations, and brings them down again. The nations are like grasshoppers in the site of the Lord. Like drifting smoke, blown dust they are.

So, a word of encouragement: don’t lose heart. Don’t let your love “grow cold”. Even if we have to suffer for the sake of righteousness, the rough places will be made smooth. Mountains will be brought down and valleys raised up. There will be a highway where only the redeemed of the Lord will walk. He has planned it from long ago, He will execute it and bring it to pass. All who long for peace and love in this world will be vindicated. The Lord Jesus will make it happen for His own sake. He has sworn by His own name; it will happen.

Truly, that is Good News Only.

Thoughts for the New Year

It has been truly bewildering trying to make sense of the crazy times we have lived through this past year. Our country is in turmoil from within, tearing itself apart. One of my dilemmas is trying to ascertain where I fit in as a Christian. Specifically, do I speak up for rationality and clear thought? Do I say something when I hear hateful speech and lies? How much should I argue with anyone about anything? Will it matter? Good questions all. Ultimately God will have His way here on earth, just as it is in heaven. It’s determined! So how much should I engage? Is it worth the risk?

It’s a balancing act for those of us who are trying to love God. I’ve heard some say that to raise our voices at all is tantamount to having no faith. They say, “we must follow Christ’s example.” Indeed, faith is required – it’s what protects us, but I believe faith does not require that we be absolutely silent in the face of lying and false accusations or evil. We are called upon to defend the poor, widows, and less fortunate. In order to fulfill His mission Christ did just that.

On the other hand, Christ’s anger did rise up a bit sometimes. In Luke 12:50 His words were,

“I have come to cast fire on the earth; and how I wish it was already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished.”

Jesus held Himself in check because He knew why he had come and what he had to do. Otherwise, His holy boot-heels would already be planted in the appropriate places on His enemies. Thank God they will be soon. So what does that mean for me as Christian?

Well, I already know the anger of man does not accomplish the will of God. Experience as taught me that in my case, that is especially true. I am in no position to judge anyone at all. Humility must comes first and foremost. God abases the proud, but lifts up the humble. He hates a haughty look and an arrogant heart. It’s all over scripture. I’m working those things out in my spirit. However, do I speak or not speak?

Proverbs 9:7-8 says:

“He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you.”

Proverbs 23:9 says:

“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”

I know I am in no position to judge people to determine who is foolish or not. We know from scripture there is only one Lawgiver and Judge. My job is to be slow to speak, and slow to anger. If we listen, we can hear.

However, faith does not require that we cower in fear and let evil run rough-shod over us. Faith might mean having the courage to speak truth when the time comes. When someone says something so against God’s Word and laws, it might be time to speak up for the Word, to protest for love. There is plenty of encouragement within the scriptures for defending our faith.

In 1 Peter 3:15 it says,

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

For me, that last part is difficult.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says,

“for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Notice that it says, “our warfare are not of the flesh” – to me that means street confrontations are not required. The fortresses we are destroying are spiritual ones, invisible ones, those of the mind.

So for me the best strategy is putting on the complete armor of God: Faith, Love, Peace. Pray constantly, be kind when you can, look out for your neighbor, be on guard against evil, and as much as I can be, “be wise as fox and gentle as dove.”

Anyway, enough said. Happy New Year to your and yours if you happen to be reading this post. May God bless you and yours this coming new year, keep you safe and sound and under the protection of His care. I pray you find peace and love. Take care.Sign up for notifications of new posts if you like.