Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Today, I want to encourage people who have tried to make a commitment to God expecting everything to get better and for a special exemption from pain but ended up feeling overwhelmed in life. Maybe you felt or feel like God is actually against you and not for you. Like the universe is playing some cruel and twisted joke each day of your life. Well, you are not alone.
There is a verse in Matthew 5:45 that talks about the sun rising and the rain falling on both the just and unjust. Pain is no respecter of persons and the only difference between a person who follows Christ and gives him first priority in life and someone trying to go it alone, is knowing God will not let one of his followers be crushed beyond what they can handle. Now, if you are in the middle of some kind of test, you may have already rolled your eyes at that statement before I even got done typing this sentence. There are a few things to consider when we think about the term being “overwhelmed” in life.
First of all, we can actually TAKE ON more than we can handle. An example would be carrying the pain or despair of people we know. Not even anything happening to us personally but hearing of someone else in despair and thinking that by worrying for him or her that we can help his or her situation, which will never happen.
This is not saying that things will only ever happen to you one at a time. When you feel overwhelmed and are a follower of Christ, think of this truth; at that moment of despair, God probably trusts you more than you trust yourself. Want proof?
Check out 1 Corinthians 10:13. (NLT)
“But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”
Listen to this thought from the Believer’s Bible Commentary:
“Paul adds a marvelous word of encouragement for those who are tempted. He teaches that the testings, trials, and temptations which face us are common to all. However, God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tested beyond what we are able. He does not promise to deliver us from temptation or testing, but He does promise to limit its intensity. He further promises to provide the way of escape, that we may be able to bear it. Reading this verse, one cannot help but be struck by the tremendous comfort it has afforded to tested saints of God through the centuries.”
So basically, when you feel overwhelmed ALWAYS remember that God is for you and not against you and trusts that you can stand up under the pain you are enduring. You can say that you will not make it but guess what…God believes in you and your ability to TRUST IN HIM for the outcome.
Today, be encouraged that God is for you and not against you and that He trusts in your strength. Maybe it is time for you to start believing the same thing God does about you instead of what the devil may be whispering in your ear.
Have a great day and praying for you!
I love it when God shows me something AFTER I am obedient and listen to his promptings in my life. It is like the dessert capping off an amazing meal. They are moments that make me want to not just ASK God to give me an opportunity to step out in faith but to actually follow through with promptings from the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. Something happened to me last week with an outcome that meant more than what I expected. Let me explain.
I was at a shoe store and by the time I got done looking around, didn’t even realize why I was in there. I knew I was in there looking for shoes, but not sure why I had picked that day to go to that particular store. I had found a pair of shoes that I liked, but decided to put them back. This is SUPER unusual for me, as I love to shop and especially if I find a pair of shoes for the right price.
As I was finishing looking around, I walked by a lady and her son who was probably in his early 20’s. They were walking through the aisles and I had walked by them a few times in the course of walking through the store. As I was passing them I overheard the lady mention to another shopper that it was her son’s birthday the following day. I thought that was nice and continued to walk towards the front door to leave. As I was walking out, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that I needed to get that kid a gift card and give it to him.
At first I thought it was just me and not something that God was putting on my heart. As I continued to walk out of the store, I got almost sick to my stomach that I knew I needed to be obedient and do as the Holy Spirit directed me. As I was standing in line, the thought came to me that I wanted to do this and not share anything about it (like the blog I am typing right now) or say anything to my wife, which THAT thought turned out being just me and not God.
I purchased the gift card and as I was walking up to the mom and her son, I was thinking of all the amazing things that this interaction could do. Maybe they would start crying or maybe they would say that this was a confirmation of something else that they felt was happening in their lives. The possibilities were endless. I walked up them and said, “I overheard that it was your birthday tomorrow and wanted to bless you with a gift card and say happy birthday.” While the mom grinned ear-to-ear and said thanks, the young man gave me a handshake and said, “Thank you very much!” I told him to enjoy his birthday and to have a great night. The interaction was simple, quick and straight to the point.
Now, as I tell that story some in the “church” community would wonder why I didn’t take advantage of the situation because I was giving him something as a stranger and try and share the plan of salvation that God offered as a free gift as this gift card was being given to him. Nope. None of those things came out of my mouth and I think there was a great reason.
I am going to say something, not as a blanket statement about all followers of Christ, but as many who do not have a fundamental truth operating in their life that needs to be addressed. Godliness starts with KINDNESS. Kindness and being a loving and giving member of this earth is not automatically given to people who have maybe the best intentions for introducing people to Jesus without seeing how they can meet a basic need and just be kind.
I had a conversation with an older lady who is a viewer of our programming on CTN here in Denver and she said that someone came up to her and said something derogatory about her love of animals and it offended her so bad that she never went back to church. This statement broke my heart for her because she based the ENTIRE church congregation on the idiotic statement from a member of her church. Also, this church member forgot the first principle of Godliness: KINDNESS.
I think the reason why God impressed on me to be kind to that mom and her son was so that I WOULD be able to share my experience and have each of us take inventory on how we treat our fellow man. If every person who called Jesus the Lord of their lives, would put kindness first and focus on being a part of people’s journey to find God then I think we could actually make a difference in this world we live in. Never forget that even though heaven is the ultimate goal that we have a RESPONSIBILITY to represent God in everything we do and say and that starts with nothing religious.
I felt the full gravity today of thanking the person that helps manage the property for our television station. I could tell when I first met her that she deals with more than her fair share of negative words and attitudes with tenants and people telling her that crap is broken and for her to drop everything and assist them.
We had some leaks that have existed in our portion of the building even before we moved in. The church that used to own the building we lease in had done everything in their power to try and help get the leaks fixed but it always ended up with water pouring in everywhere. When the new company took over our lease, we contacted the lady who was the asset manager and asked them to fix the leaks in our area. After a few phone calls back a forth, they brought out a roofing specialist and they made the appropriate repairs that have been working great for probably two weeks.
I decided to give our property manager a call and thank her for their company fully fixing our leaks and preserving the electrical equipment that we have stored all over our office. It was funny because when I called her she didn’t really know how to respond at first. I told her I was sure that 99% of the phone calls she receives are negative in nature and can be wearing on her. I told her I wanted to encourage her and thanked her for her help. I could hear her voice loosen and she said that I made her day. I am not sure if she is a follower of Jesus but from my simple thank you I have gained entrance into her life just from being grateful.
Then I thought of the verses in Luke 17:11-19 where it says that Jesus healed 10 lepers and only ONE came back to thank him.
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Verse 17 gives such an interesting response from Jesus before he tells the man to rise and go. He mentions the nine other lepers that had the same condition of this man but did not come back to find Jesus and thank him. I wonder if this portion of scripture is here to remind us of the importance of a thank you? Or is it an example of being obedient to the urging of God when thanking people in your life and not looking for an equally generous response? I think it was a bit of both.
You can NEVER underestimate the power of a simple thank you. Thinking of all the things that Jesus endured while here on the earth and the countless stories of his power moving in people’s lives, there are very few examples of people actually saying thank you.
Think today about your life and if people around you would consider you a grateful person. Is there someone in your life that you need to thank for something they did or they do on a consistent basis? I have heard many people say, “That person knows I appreciate them. Why do I have to say anything?” Verbalizing a thank you is not only for encouraging a person, but it is also for you to hear yourself appreciating those around you.
Your words have power to speak life or death and a simple thank you is the best example of life-giving power in someone else’s AND your own life.
I went to a store going out of business in my area last week and thought I would share my experience for humor and an important lesson I learned. First, when I pulled up, there were two signs on the side of the building. One said “Going Out of Business Sale – Everything Must Go!” and the other one said “Now Hiring!”. After chuckling and doing a double take, I thought I should take a picture and send it in to one of the late night talk shows so that others could get a laugh out of it. It was so weird to see those signs hanging next to one another knowing that only one of them were true. When I walked into the store, it looked like ants disassembling a Sunday picnic with people walking all over the store assessing the best deals and making their purchases. Plus, in the entire time I have lived in my area, that store has never had that many people in it to my memory.
As I walked up to pay for the discounted treasures I found, the check out aisle had a completely FULL kiosk of gift cards for the store. Again, I chuckled and then was instantly struck with a truth that applied to that store and to life; no one buys a gift card for a company going out of business. Our world puts an incredible focus on the temporary things causing people to strive to get things that, when they die, will not matter anyway. I remember taking my youth kids from church to a graveyard and asking them how many garages they saw by tombstones. The answer was obvious as I shared that there are no garages in graveyards. There are no U-Haul trucks in a funeral procession full of possessions to leave with the deceased person at their gravesite.
There is an incredible responsibility on all true followers of Christ to share with others about the relationship that they have with Jesus and help people shift the focus off of “gift cards that won’t have any value” when the “store” of life closes. Even greater, is if you call yourself a follower of Christ and have a passion to acquire things in this world that is out of balance with your pursuit of Christ, then you need to reevaluate your relationship with Jesus and what HIS value is in your life. I am only saying this because God has done some “housecleaning” in me including an evaluation of my focuses and things that I value.
Today, you have an incredible opportunity to show people around you the power of a focus that is on eternal things and not just the temporal. Just remember that not everyone you come in contact with will understand this principle and needs to not here your WORDS about what you believe with well crafted social media posts but see your ACTIONS that have a magnetic power to draw people to Christ through you.
I am firmly convinced that as human beings, we don’t like things to go wrong. It’s not like we think relationships, finances, family and just life in general will always end up the way we planned it but we stay away from mistakes and things going wrong (or we should) at all costs.
As a person who gives Jesus number one priority in my life the perception can be that when you ask Jesus into your heart and life everything you do or that happens to you has two things; an out or an explanation but sometimes, neither are true. When I got sick with my eye condition one the hardest things to deal with was the fact of not knowing why I was going through such hell. I evaluated my life (as most good highly religious people do) and immediately started to compare what I was going through with my perceived level of religious goodness. (Like that one? It took me a while to come up with that last sentence) The balance of what was happening to me did not fit all the “good” things I thought I had done my whole life. Sadly, I had to learn the hard way that if I knew what God knew in my situation then I would be God…and I’m not.
Even after everything I went through, and still dealing with damage to my retina and vision in my left eye, It is still very difficult for me to deal with things that don’t go my way. I am still learning a very important principle that I think God is trying to teach me.
So here is my story. I had some custom work done on my car headlights recently but needed to add a part to make the LED halos blink on each side. It took me about an hour to get everything wired up and working the way I wanted. It had started to rain and I was trying to hurry and get everything finished. I put all the wires where they needed to be, shut the hood, put all my tools away then tested my headlights. My fix didn’t work and I was NOT happy. I got out of my car, in the rain this time, to get my tools and continue to fix on my STUPID lights.
I had been working an additional 15 minutes on my problem lights when my neighbor who lives around the corner walked up and stood behind my car. She and her family have always been on my heart and I have prayed for and helped them previously just trying to show the love of Jesus. She proceeded to ask me if I go to a church that she could come with Yolanda and me on a Sunday. She told me that she had wanted to ask me for a while but there was never an opportunity for her to ask. I told her yes and scheduled a Sunday to bring her with us.
The point I am making is that if the fix for my lights would have worked before I had to redo them, then I would not have been there in my driveway and able to connect with my neighbor. So because my life had a “detour” thrown in it for a few minutes I was able to reap the investment of prayer and kindness for the years previous. She walked away from our quick conversation and I felt like an idiot for getting mad at, first of all, something so stupid and then not stopping when my wiring went wrong and asking God, “What is the opportunity you are presenting to me?” Sometimes we can have something go wrong and nothing happens as far as our interaction with anyone but IF WE DON’T ASK WE WILL NEVER SEE THE NEED.
So I am programming myself to ask first to take the place of getting angry. The only thing that keeps us from God’s WILL is our WILLingness to ask and then do.
Have a great week and praying that God helps you with the things that may be keeping you from experiencing him in his fullness!