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Archive for the ‘In times of difficulty’ Category

330px-Glacial_Valley_MtHoodWildernessEven in the Valley (Whisnants)

High upon the mountain the sun is shining bright
My heart is filled with gladness
here above the cares of life
but ive just come through the valley of trouble fear and pain
it was there I came to know my God
enough to stand and say…

Even in the valley God is good
even in the valley he is faithful and true
he carries his children through
like he said he would
even in the valley God is good

This road of life has led you
to a valley of defeat
you wonder if the father
has heard your desperate plea
there is hope in that rugged place
where tears of sorrow dwell
can’t you hear him gently whispering
im here and all is well

even in the valley God is good
even in the valley he is faithful and true
he carries his children through
like he said he would
even in the valley God is good

Even in the valley God is good
even in the valley he is faithful and true
he carries his children through
like he said he would
even in the valley God is so good
God is so good
he carries his children through like he said he would even in the valley God is good

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Here’s a great post written by a friend of mine from high school.  It offers encouragement to those who are facing difficult circumstances.

The Ultimate Rescue Operation

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The LORD promises that with His love He will quiet us.  In Zephaniah 3:17, the prophet tells us, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The picture is perhaps of the child who buries her face in the bosom of a parent; the small body shaking with sobs.  The parent speaks soft words, sings gentle songs of reassurance until the sobbing subsides.

This is a picture of our Heavenly Father.  He will hold you to His bosom as you pour out your sorrow, your fear, your loss, your frustration, or whatever is stealing your “quiet.”  In that moment, He whispers to you of His great love for you.  Knowing of His love, being reminded again of how much He loves you, all His promises to you, you become quiet.  He has quieted you with His love.

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Sometimes as believers, we use terms that only we understand.  What some might call “Christianese”  Understanding these terms and being able to “translate” them to those who don’t speak our “language” is essential to effectively sharing the gospel.  What does it mean to be saved?  What happens when we are born again?

The Basics

  •  Salvation is a gift    (John 3:16)
  • The only Requirement is belief (John 3:16)
  • Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, satisfying all the righteousness requirements of the law (2 Corinthians 5:21)

What happens?

  • We’re made alive spiritually  (Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1)
  • The charges against us are dropped (Colossians 2:14)
  • We’re forgiven of  all our sins (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We’re purified for God to be His own (Titus 2:14)
  • We’re made new – a new creation in Christ  (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Old things are gone; all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • We’re reconciled to God (restored to right relationship) (2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:21)
  • We’re presented to God holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-23)
  • We receive the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:32)
  • We receive lasting inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
  • We have abundant life now (John 10:10)
  • We receive everything needed for life and godly living (2 Peter 1:2-11)
  • We receive the power of  the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
  • We receive weapons for warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18)
A Word Picture to Illustrate
     If they still don’t get the idea, give them a picture:  “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.  Isaiah 1:18

May the One who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy keep you from stumbling  and present you to God as without fault (and only God can do that).

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One of the most anticipated and exciting times in a new parent’s life is when his or her child hints at walking.  Even before it is close to being a reality, the parent will stand the baby up on his wobbly legs and encourage him to take a step.

So it is with God.  Like the parent of the child learning to walk who doesn’t condemn the child when he fails to walk the first time up or falls after only a few steps, God is focused on our standing and not our falling.  He is most concerned with our progress and not bogged down with our failures, our fits and starts, our do-overs.

For our failures, which will surely come and perhaps more often than we’d like, God has provided the blood of Jesus.

God has also given us tools, weapons to help us stand.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13.

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David tells us of his relationship with the LORD, I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4.  The things we learn about God from this verse are

  • God hears
  • God responds when He hears
  • God delivers us from ALL of our fears

One of the reasons God hears us is because He stays near to us.  God tells us in Jer 23:23, “Am I a God near at hand . . . and not a God afar off?”

Not only does God hear us, but He then does not leave us where we were.  God tells us, through the prophet Jeremiah, “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jer. 33:3.  Some people like to say that this is God’s telephone number.

In Psalm 40:1-2, we read the Psalmist saying, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”    We learns some additional things from this verse including:

  • I may have to wait for God (I should do so patiently)
  • God moves closer to me to hear me and is not unmoved by my cries
  • God delivers me from the places that I have allowed myself to fall
  • God puts me on a firm spot, a rock (Jesus is the Rock)
  • God gets me started on my way and makes paths for me to walk in

In thinking over the scriptures that I wanted to use for this post, I realized that the God who hears makes the best deliverer.  The last thing you want in your time of trouble when you are calling out to God is a God who has a hearing impairment.   On the other side of the coin, having a God who hears well, but ignores me or makes my deliverance a low priority on His list is also distressing.  Praise God that He hears well, sees well and desires to deliver me out of my trouble and calamity.   Blessed be the name of the LORD!

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Psalm 13 begins with the Psalmist sounding like he is accusing God.  “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?  How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?”  (Ps. 13:1-2)

In these verses, the Psalmist evidences an uncertainty about God.  Uncertainty can cause one to doubt God’s motives or doubt God’s timing.   Sometimes when we become fearful and afraid, we accuse God.  We mistakenly consider Him to be reacting to us like the humans around us who may forget us or hide their faces from us or allow our enemies to over take us and do nothing to help.  But God is not like us or those around us.  He will not forget us.  Isaiah 49:15 tells us,  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.”  Deut 31:6 tells us, “do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

From accusation in verses 1-2, the Psalmist moves into calling out to God and reasoning with God in verses 3-4.  In these verses, he says, “consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.”

Finally, the Psalmist makes a choice in verse 5.   He states, ‘but I have trusted in Your mercy.”  He decides to trust in God’s mercy.  He decides to believe  and act upon what He knows about God.  This is internal to the Psalmist.  A choice to believe God and trust God must come from within.  I must, like priests carrying the ark across the Jordan, step into the water first rather than waiting for them to recede.  Trusting God is a choice I must make daily,  sometimes moment by moment.

From that choice, there is an immediate reward, the Psalmist says, “my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.”  When I choose to trust God, I am impacted in my walk with God, in my fellowship with God.  He immediately reinforces the positive step I have taken.

Verse 6 gives us the result for ministry, ” I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  When I trust God, my heart rejoices in His salvation, and from that comes an outpouring from me to those around me.  I will sing to the LORD!  I will declare to the world about my God, about His great bounty, His mercy, and His faithfulness!
To review, here is the progression:
  • Accusation against God
  • Calling out/reasoning with God
  • Trust in God (choose)
  • Receive from God
  • Give out in ministry

We all have times of accusing or doubting God, even if it is only in our thoughts.  The important thing is to move forward in the progression.  Cry out to God, choose to trust God, receive from God and then give out what you have received to those around you.

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Perhaps you have had a day (or two) when you asked the LORD, “How shall I go on?”  Perhaps it is illness, drug addiction, abusive relationship, fear, enemies who would seek to destroy you or just a sense of overwhelming fatigue . . . in looking at your circumstances, did you turn to God and ask, “How shall I go on?”  And what did He say?

  • Wait? Sometimes the LORD says to wait.  Don’t go forward or back.  Don’t go to the left or the right.  Don’t seek to change your circumstances, just wait.  Sometimes, the waiting is the hardest part.  But we wait because He is God.  Like a parent who tells a child to stay on the curb because a car is coming, God tells us to wait because He sees all things and knows all things.  He tells us to wait because that is best for us.  He promises “strengthen your heart” while you wait.  (Ps. 27:14)  Psalm 37:9 promises that ” those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.”    Isaiah says, “who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”   (Isa. 40:31)  As you wait, the LORD may give you new strength.  He may allow you to soar above your troubles, keeping them from disturbing your peace.   He may take away your fatigue, allowing you to go a little further.
  • Cry out? Sometimes the LORD would have us to cry out to Him, recognizing that He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides everything.  There is certainly lots of scriptural support for crying out to God in times of trouble.  Psalm 18:6 tells us, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”  In Psalm 34:17, we read, “the righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.”  Psalm 56:9 tells us when ” I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me.  In Psalm 57:2, it says, “I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.”   He is a God who hears and answers, so maybe He would have you to cry out, expecting His response.

Whether you wait or you cry, or you cry out while you are waiting, waiting and crying out are done in expectation, in faith.  I wait for God to deliver me, to strengthen me.  I wait because there is none other like Him.   “LORD, what do I wait for?  My hope is in You.”  (Ps. 39:7)   He alone has the words of eternal life.  When I cry out, I cry out to God in faith because God alone knows my circumstances.  God alone has power over all things.  I cry out to God because He alone is God.

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In Deuteronomy 31, Moses teaches the strategy for overcoming the enemies in your life.  I believe this strategy can be applied to enemies of any kind including enemies from within.  Essentially, if you read Deuteronomy 31, you will immediately notice one important element of the strategy – God.

Deut. 31:3-6 “The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the LORD has said.  And the LORD will do to them as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and their land, when He destroyed them.  The LORD will give them over to you, that you may do to them according to every commandment which I have commanded you.  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Almost all of the doing is being done by God:
  • He goes first
  • He does the work of rooting out the enemy
  • We just walk into the land He has already made ready for us to possess

This is a strategy I can live with.  All the heavy lifting is done by God.  He destroys all the enemies and gives me what they had.  He promises to always be with me.  I need only do what He has commanded – walk in the paths He has laid for me.

Remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!  Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew.  Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places.”  Deut. 33:27-29

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Attached is a poem about being safe in the Father’s arms.

SAFE

May the LORD bless you and keep you today and always.

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