God is actively working behind-the-scenes for you right now to meet your needs in ways that you don’t see. You don’t have the answers; God does. You don’t know the next move; God does. You can’t see how it will work out; God does. Everything you really need will really be supplied. Not maybe. Not probably. Definitely. God will provide for every need. Not some of them. Not most of them. All of them, without exception. Right when you need it, not a second too late. Today, do the work that God has said is for you to do, and believe that He is doing the work that is not for you to do.
Bad circumstances, bad people and bad news make me want it. The more I survey the landscape of the sinfulness and brokenness we are all a part of, I look forward to our eternal heavenly home that Jesus is preparing for us so we can be with Him forever. A place where there will be no more sorrow, suffering or sin. A place where bad things will be eliminated, good things will be perfected and the best things will be unveiled. Our citizenship is in heaven, and God has put a longing in us for our homeland. When it’s hard here, let’s take heart and remember: He is preparing a place for us, and preparing us for a place.
It is defined in different ways. It is pursued in different ways. It is measured in different ways. But what happiness has in common no matter how it is defined, pursued and measured is this: every single human being wants it. The message of the world is to “do what you want to do and be who you want to be” and this will make you happy. Only it … Does. Not. Work. The message of Jesus is “do what I want you to do and be who I made you to be.” In doing so, we will experience His joy, and our joy can be full no matter what else is happening in our lives. Want to be happy? His. Way. Works.
Darkness isn’t just the time between dusk and dawn; it’s also any time you are facing the unknown. This is especially true of those seasons of suffering when the light at the end of your tunnel is nowhere to be seen. It is during those times that you must not give up hope. For even on those dark days when you can’t see what is up next, what step to take next or how anything good will come next, hope remains. Jesus is still there and Jesus still cares! Ask Him to give you the faith and inner strength that is needed to endure. And though the outer darkness may yet linger, the Son will rise and shine His light in your heart.
The enemy of your soul doesn’t care about you. His only interest in you is as a victim. He wants to “steal and kill and destroy,” and a primary way he attempts to do this is by leading you astray. How? By making sin look attractive, and obedience seem restrictive. He wants you and me to believe that sin isn’t sin, that sin is worth it, that sin isn’t that serious, and that sin won’t cost too much. Jesus leads our lives to deliver us from sin and deliver to us abundant life now and eternal life later. When He calls us to follow Him in loving obedience, it is not because He’s a tyrant; it’s because He intends to set us free from one.
The gospel emboldens us to not draw back when others push back against our countercultural loyalty to God and His ways. Because Jesus has overcome sin, Satan and death, we can have courage; the kind of courage that does not shrink back from saying and doing the right things no matter what people might think of us, what might happen to us, and what it might cost us if we remain faithful to Jesus. Our courage and encouragement are based on this truth: Jesus has overcome all the tribulations, troubles, trials, tests, and temptations of this world! And… He is for us. He is with us. He is coming to get us.
One word that defines every genuine Christian is this: perseverance. That is, those who are heaven-bound keep going until they get there. Grace will make sure that they do! He who has called us is faithful to keep us! So… If you find that serving Jesus feels fruitless or pointless, keep serving. If you find yourself fighting back discouragement and fighting for joy, keep fighting. If you find yourself tempted to give in to the world and its ways, keep resisting. There will be many moments that you fail and fall, but don’t despair. Trust in Jesus and trust in this: He will pick you up and power you on… so you can keep going.
Let’s be honest about something: oftentimes our lives are a mess. Busted. Bruised. Broken. Things don’t work out like we hoped they would no matter how hard we work at things. In times like these, let us not lose heart! This is our hope in Jesus: the best is yet to come. Let us believe it, expect it, anticipate it and await it to come true because Jesus said it’s true. Let us watch for the daily doses of His grace to appear when we need them. And let us regard the eternal pleasure of heaven with Him as something wonderful on the calendar that is certain to come at the appointed time. Because it is. Because it will.
It’s a fact. It’s a certainty. It’s a promise. God will provide for your every need. But He often won’t do this in the way you think He will. Instead, He will astonish you with a “didn’t see that coming” choice of the 81st way you might have thought He’d come through for you. It may come through a shepherd boy instead of a warrior, an ark instead of fair weather, a few fish instead of ample supplies, a manger instead of a throne. But it will come exactly when it is needed to accomplish exactly what is needed. Today, expect God to work in your life for good. Just don’t expect Him to do it like you think He will.
How much authority does the Bible have in your life? How is it shaping the way you see the world, the way you see polarizing issues, and the way you see yourself? How fully and frequently do you rely on it as the final say in how you live? The Bible isn’t an out-of-date, out-of-order, out-of-touch book with no real relevance for us today. It is God’s Word that still speaks today telling us what is good and bad, right and wrong, true and false, beautiful and ugly, necessary and frivolous, wise and foolish. God intends for us to seek it out and live it out as the ultimate authority for the Christian life. Indeed, it is where life is found.
There are days when our faith falters, but Jesus does not abandon us. There are days when we feel like giving up, but Jesus does not let us. There are days when we are too overwhelmed to carry on, but Jesus does not move on without us. Jesus came from heaven to earth to make a way for sinners like you and me to go from earth to heaven. And every step we take together is...