The sweetest times I’ve had in ministry have been when I have worked with a team of like-minded, Christ-centered people. When the synergy is good, it’s really good, and when it’s bad, it’s really bad.
Receive this sweet reminder from the Lord: We then, as workers together with Him… (2 Cor. 6:1). Jesus is your Co-worker. He is Savior, Lord, King, and Creator, but He is also right beside you working with you to do the work of the Lord. You’re in this together! It’s indeed a team effort, and you are on His team.
I confess feeling frustrated that a decision I had prayed about and felt good about fell through at the last minute. I wondered, why did God have me go through that entire process and go forward with that decision when He knew in the end He would pull the plug? Why put me through the anguish of having to decide to back away in the end? How much easier it would have been if God had never led me down that path and I could have avoided it altogether. Then God reminded me – the process is just as important to God as the destination.
Sometimes God wants us to be in situations where we must trust Him even when it hurts, even when we must suffer loss, or perhaps even lose face. God knows our relationship with Him is strengthened when we would rather obey Him and take a loss than go our own way in stubbornness and pride. Sometimes we are perplexed, but there is no need for despair (2 Cor. 4:8). He is trustworthy.
One cool thing about being an author is hearing others share about the book they hope one day to write. Most people who want to publish a book would love to tell their life story. What a great endeavor to tell the world the great things God has done for you!
In reality most people won’t put pen to paper, and that’s okay too, but actually, each of us represents a book, or more accurately an epistle, or a letter. Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3). We are a letter from Jesus to the world. What’s being written on your pages?
Since I started exercising, I can tell you which ones I enjoy – mountain climbers and push ups. Also which ones I loathe – sit ups and more sit ups.
God’s expectation is inviting: for by faith you stand (2 Cor. 1:24). Just stand up. Get to your feet and stay there. When Paul describes spiritual warfare and the armor of God, we hear again that the expectation is that we stand (Eph. 6:13). It sounds easy, but it must be more difficult than our first thought because so many Christians are sitting down.
Maybe you got knocked down. Did you get back up? Maybe you fell down. Did you recover? Maybe you were intimidated and your knees buckled beneath you. Did you find your feet again?
Christian friends, how might God work through us if we would simply by faith choose to stand?
No is a tiny word with a big sting. No, you can’t go. No, I don’t like you. No, I’m not interested.
Sometimes God says no. I don’t like it when He says no, just being real, but I realize He’s always right. But isn’t it grand when He says yes? Second Corinthians 1:20 teaches, All the promises of God in Him are Yes. Hear God talk to us. Yes, you’re included. Yes, you’re going to love heaven. Yes, you’re my favorite. Yes, I’ll carry your burden. Yes, I’m listening.
God is good and His promises are Yes!
Do you ever wonder if others handle problems like champions while you’re falling apart?
We hear often that God won’t put more on us than we can handle, based on 1 Corinthians 10:13. Actually God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. I suppose we might include that to mean that God won’t allow us to be burdened to a point of no longer being able to hold onto hope in him. But the burdens of this world can indeed be heavy, we can be shattered, and the wounds deep.
Paul’s transparency in 2 Corinthians encourages me, as he tells of his journeys and suffering: we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life (1:8). I’m so sorry for his grief, and so thankful for his honesty.
I also have been burdened more than I could put into words, though my precious friends had to endure lots and lots and lots of words as I poured out my sorrows to them. I have been hurt more than my own strength could handle. I’m not sure I’ve ever despaired of life, but I have often longed for heaven in times of great stress and sorrow.
Godly friend, don’t beat yourself up for one more second for struggling with despair. But know that God will supply strength when we have none, and His comfort is soothing for the moment and healing for your tomorrow.
Ever want a snack but can’t figure out what you want? Sweet or salty? Maybe both? Crunchy or creamy, who knows. Sometimes when I think about my life in general, I’m not really certain of what I want. That’s okay, because I don’t get to pick for me anyway, God does.
The struggle, though, is the matter of what I’m aiming for in life. What does God want of me? It sounds like such a textbook Sunday School answer but it’s true: God wants me to desire Him. God wants me to know and love Him and walk in His grace. Isaiah wrote that there is no one who… stirs himself up to take hold of You (64:7). Oh, what tragedy if God were to scan the earth and find not one of His creation truly intent on knowing Him intimately!
Give this some thought: what would it look like if you were to “stir yourself up” to take hold of God?
One day while I was out for a run, I witnessed something quite remarkable: a complete rainbow, end to end, on dazzling display. God, You keep Your promises. What promises do I need to remember today? My mind was so frazzled I could think of nothing.
As I pushed forward down the road, I lost sight of the rainbow and raindrops began pelting my face. And just that quickly, God, the rainbow is gone and I’m in a storm. You know I’m struggling; why did You take my rainbow away? Then God spoke back to me: What’s wrong with your short term memory? What an amazing object lesson for me. Does God have to give me sunshine and rainbows all the time in order for me to remember His goodness?
As I passed by a grassy field, I barely noticed a mix of black cows and white cows grazing lazily, until a bright orangy-brown cow caught my eye. Its coloring was brilliant, a standout from the rest.
Please indulge me a moment as I compare us to our bovine friends to make a point. There’s a lot of black cows and white cows in this world. Most of us want to be the prettiest black cow we can be with a shiny sleek coat, or the loveliest of white cows with a creamy design and long eyelashes. But what if God doesn’t want us to be like everyone else? What if God wants us to stand out in the crowd?
The Psalmist said he would praise God for being fearfully and wonderfully made (139:14). When you think about who you are and how God made you, are you praising God? Instead of trying to blend in with the crowd, be willing to be brilliantly different for the glory of God.