“We are too prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings in sand.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
All of us have painful memories from our past that we cannot seem to erase out of our minds. Even after long periods of time, these painful memories will occasionally come to mind. Sometimes these memories leave scars that take years to overcome and if we are not careful will rob us of our present joy in living. How do we overcome these painful memories and regain the joy of the Lord?
First, we must recognize that God knows and understands our hurts and our pains. The Bible says that in Hebrews 4:15 “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” This verse reminds that we serve a God who not only understands our sufferings but He has faced them as well.
Also, I think that it is important for us to remember who we belong to and the hope that is only found in Him. As a child of God, we are promised that we can find peace from those trials and painful memories in the person of Jesus. John 16:33 promises us that peace when Jesus declares: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Not only does this verse promise us peace in Him but it also provides us with an overwhelming hope. Jesus reassures us that even though we face difficulties we should take heart because He has already overcome the world. In other words, Jesus is much bigger than anything we could face.
Romans 8:37-38 describes even further the hope we have in the midst of difficulties because of our relationship with Jesus. Paul tells us in these verses:
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-38
What a promise that we are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” None of these difficulties or painful memories can overcome us when we rest and trust in Him. Verse 38 goes on to promise that nothing can separate us from His love. God loves us through the difficulties of life and enables us to conquer anything that life can throw at us.
Finally, God has reminded me to take more time to reflect on all the blessings of God. I love the quote above from Spurgeon and it challenges me to begin writing the blessings of God in marble instead of sand in my heart. I found it so helpful when dealing with trials and living with painful memories to focus on all that God has blessed me with over the years.
Recalling the blessings of God and embracing just how good a Father He is helps me to not allow the burdens of this life to steal my joy and my focus. May God use these verses to encourage you today!
“For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” Isaiah 64:4
I have never been what you would describe as a patient person. I do not like to wait. It is a wonder that my wife ever married me. On our first date, I went to three different restaurants before I found one that did not have a wait time. I am the person best described by the prayer “Lord please give me patience but hurry up.”
However, God has used this area of my life to teach me so much about learning to wait on Him. I have come to see the truth that when I wait on Him and trust Him the outcomes are so much better than I could have ever achieved on my own.
This is precisely what Isaiah 64:4 is teaching us. That verse reminds us that we cannot imagine the incredible way God is working on our behalf when we trust Him and wait on Him. Knowing this truth should give us a different way to approach the issues in life that we face.
In fact, God has shown me specifically some areas of my life where this truth has changed my perspective. For example, one of those areas in which I learned to wait on God is with my children. The easy thing for me to do when they were growing up would be to try and plan every area of their life and work out all the details so that I could ensure that they would succeed.
Instead, God has taught me that it is my job as a parent to first and foremost teach my kids to love, honor, and trust God with their heart, soul, and mind. Our primary responsibility is to lead our children to faith in Christ and disciple them to be committed followers. From there, I believe we are to trust God and wait on God to move on our kids hearts as to what He would have them to do and pursue with their life. As the parent of older children, I can tell you that I have seen God do things in my kids’ lives that I would have never imagined because we waited on God and trusted Him.
Interestingly enough, that same principle holds true for all of our lives. He always has our best in mind. No matter the problem, difficulty, obstacle, or direction needed for life I have seen that God is worth waiting for. I love something that Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of old, once said about waiting on God. Spurgeon said:
“If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes.”
May God bless you, encourage you, strengthen you, and do more than you can ever imagine as you wait on Him!
“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakeable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.” Hebrews 12:28
One of the hardest moments of my life came in 2006 when my dad passed away. He was my mentor, my hero, and my friend. At that moment, it seemed as though my world was completely shaken and turned upside down. It was not long though that the presence of the Lord began to bring me a sense of peace that I could not comprehend or understand. It was very much the “peace that passes all understanding” that Paul described in Philippians.
Not too long after my dad passed, God reminded me through His Word of some very powerful truths and promises. One of those promises is found in Hebrews 12:28. This verse reminds us that as Christians we are part of a Kingdom that is unshakeable. In God’s Kingdom, He has not only conquered death but has also promised us life eternal. In fact, 1 Corinthians 15:54 tells us that “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Because my dad placed his faith in Christ I have the unshakeable confidence through Christ that I will see my dad again.
This unshakeable Kingdom that we as believers are a part of can also give us exactly what we need to face everyday life. We all face difficulties and circumstances that can overwhelm and shake us. We all need to be reminded that we serve a God who is unshakeable and above all that we could ever face in this life. May we all remember that His strength, His peace, His comfort, and most of all His presence is with us at all times and in particular during those tough times of life. Even the Psalmist reminds us that God is very near “to the brokenhearted.”
Hebrews 12:28 goes on to instruct us that because we are part of this unshakeable Kingdom that we need to be thankful and please God by living a life of worship before Him. I thank God today for all that He has done for me in my life. He gave me incredible, loving, Godly parents who pointed me towards Jesus and He also gave me a loving and very Godly wife to share my life with. God also blessed me with three great daughters who are the joy of my life.
Finally, I want to, as Hebrews 12:28 instructs, spend my days pursuing and worshipping our great God with all my heart, soul, and mind. I pray that the powerful hope we find in Hebrews 12:28 will be a blessing to you today and remind you of the unshakeable hope we have in Christ Jesus!
Most people remember the line from Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” that says: “To be, or not to be - that is the question.” From that classic phrase, I would like to pose a question for all of us to consider when it comes to our use of social media. “To post or not to post” is a question I believe that we should consider before we post on social media.
The use of social media has exploded in our culture. With that use, we see a lot of abuse that goes along with it. I regularly see rants, gossip, attacks, and many more posts that work to tear relationships apart and hurt folks rather than promote and encourage others. As a Christian, what are our responsibilities when it comes to posting on social media?
First, I believe that there are Biblical principles that we should follow in everyday life regardless of whether it is personal interaction or social media use. The principles have challenged me over the years in my walk with God and are great for us to consider before posting. These principles are as follows:
Biblical Principles to Follow
The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat. 7:12) We should treat others as we would like to be treated when we decide to post or not.
Whatever is Excellent: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) The list that Paul gives in this verse is a great roadmap for determining what we should post.
A Good Reputation: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” (Prov. 22:1)
Bad company corrupts good morals (including online company): “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor. 15:33) We should strive to protect our reputation and name. More importantly, we should, as Christians, guard our testimonies and represent Christ well with all we say even in the world of social media.
Is it profitable?: “All things are permissible unto me, but all things are not profitable: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) We should consider before posting whether that post is going to benefit our testimony or help others in their walk with God.
Will it bring glory to God?: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Is what we are about to post going to bring honor to God? This is a tough but great principle to live by.
The principles above are challenging but honoring to God. Using and following these as a guidepost will enable us to use social media as a forum to honor Jesus and uplift and encourage others. It will give us clear direction on whether “to post or not to post.”