Encouragement

God, Our Champion in Hard Times

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Did you know God promises to put you back together after a hard season is over?  If you’re in a trial, a time of suffering right now, there are brighter days ahead.  I know it might not seem that the sun will ever again shine as brightly as it once did, but it will, because God says so.  Days darkened by death, disaster and disappointments will give way to the light of new hope, provision and direction.

1 Peter 5:10 is a powerhouse of promise for your future. “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. “(NLT) First, he indicates that suffering will pass. Second, he assures us that after the storms of life deplete us, he will replenish us. Some tag team verses to this idea are: Psalm 34:19, 2 Corinthians 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11, John 16:20, John 16:33, Psalm 27:13-14, Job 5:11, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and Isaiah 61:1-2.   I encourage you to put these on sticky notes and plaster them around your house if you’re in the thick of it right now.

Remember, the hideous torture of Christ’s cross turned out to be the beginning of new life for millions of people, not the death of God’s agenda, as Satan imagined.  Our enemy is no different today than 2000 years ago.  He sees us up against the ropes and he works to convince us that this is our new life, defeat and anguish.  Lies, lies and more lies.   Jesus said, in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  We must decide who we will listen to and believe during dark days.

Here are more strategies for holding onto hope, peace and the belief that once again, “you will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. “(Psalm 27:13)

  • Memorize scripture. You can’t see sticky notes in the dead of night when you are awakened by fears and troubling thoughts.  Truthfully, Satan will try to dump his garbage anywhere he thinks you might be vulnerable.  I often become gloomier about problems when I am ill or tired.  Be prepared with a well-sharpened Sword of the Spirit, to cut through his strategies and keep moving forward.

The work of the cross establishes us as victors.  We battle, but it is from a position of victory already accomplished by Jesus Christ.  Filling our hearts and minds with key verses keeps us in a victor mentality instead of a victim mindset.

  • Stop sharing your troubles with everyone.  Let’s follow the example of Christ and not talk about our crosses all the time.  Yes, he spoke of his coming suffering, but he talked so much more about the power and beauty of his Father’s kingdom and its truths.  Share the good things God’s done for you during your troubles.  Talk about his goodness, mercy and faithfulness.  It’s up to you whether people will inwardly say, “Oh nooooooo….” when they see you coming, or “Oh good.”  Do you want to be known as an encourager or a complainer?
  • Set aside time to listen to God.  Struggles can tempt us to talk too much during our prayer times.  God asks us to present our requests and he loves to hear us speak his word out in faith.  He’d also like to get a word in edgewise.  Yes, he speaks to us through the Bible, but he also speaks to us.  I’ve become more certain that he is talking far more than we are listening.   Psalm 42:7 tells us that “deep calls to deep.”  God hungers to commune with us, spirit to spirit.

In our culture, this requires discipline.  My pastor often says that Satan makes the best to-do lists for him during his prayer time.  Our own flesh and the enemy will constantly try to shanghai our thoughts when we still ourselves before God.  Keep a pad of paper handy and write important thoughts down to attend to later.  Ask God to cover your mind with Jesus’s blood and to quiet you.  Then, don’t doubt what you hear.  Expect to receive some confirmation from other sources but rest in the knowledge that you are his sheep, and you do know his voice.  My former pastor used to say, “The first voice you hear will be God’s.  The second one will be Satan trying to convince you that you didn’t hear from God.”  Truth.

God knows the intimate details of what you are facing today, and he cares deeply.  He’s given you his own dear presence, his word and the countless resources of the body of Christ.  Grab hold of every sermon, song, book, conversation, blog, podcast or whatever, that will speak life into your situation.

Finally, remember, no matter what is against you, he is always for you.

 

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