Strengthen Others

What has Jesus brought you through that He wants  to use so you may “turn and strengthen others”?

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that Your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.    Luke 22: 31-32

When life sifts you, Jesus prays for you.  Jesus knew Peter and knew what Peter would do in the coming days.  Yet He still loved him and prayed for him, even in Peter’s betrayal.  It is the same with us.  Like Peter, we must turn back to Jesus.  We must repent.  Or if the trial is not caused by sin, we must run to Jesus in the midst of it. We come through the sifting of Satan only by the prayers of Jesus which give us the grace and power we need to move beyond these places of sifting. This truth gives us much hope in our daily struggles.

But notice this verse does not leave us there.  Verse 32 ends in this way, “And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”. John Piper says about this verse: “Jesus provided for the ten by providing for Peter.”  As the Lord strengthens us in our life’s siftings so may we, in turn, strengthen others. As He builds our faith, we can be used to encourage and build up each other.  It is never only about us individually.  God wants to use every  sifting, every failure, every blessing, each trial for His glory.  This is done by sharing with others the work of God in our lives so others may be strengthened.

How does this walk out in your life today?  What has Jesus Christ brought you through or is now bringing you through that He wants you to use to “turn and strengthen your brothers and sisters”?  We each have a place in this, so obey and be a part of the process of God’s plan.  Nothing is wasted!  God is glorified and we all grow!

His Mercies Are New Every Morning

             As I walked along a beautiful beach recently on a crystal morning this verse came to mind…

          ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:20-23

            While I watched the waves wash the sandy shore, I thought of the great privilege and blessing of the truth of this verse.  God’s mercies are available each and every day, not only as we awaken, but also as we go to sleep at night and all through the day.  His mercies wash over us as waves wash over the sand, wiping it clean, clear, and smooth. As I glanced behind me, my footprints, disappeared in the rushing water.  Ahead of me was a fresh path, though an unknown path, but never the less one that my Father has marked out for me.

           Yesterdays worries, sins,and problems, if given to our Lord, are either gone or seen through His eyes.  We can have a fresh perspective and not carry the rubble of the past into the new day.  The sin is washed away.  We stand in newness and holiness before our God.  A new start is available each and every morning.  Who would not take advantage of this?  But how often do we not receive the gift before us?  How often do we hold on to the past and continue to look backward,not forgiving ourselves or someone else?

           Embracing God’s mercies that are new each morning allows us to live free and unfettered.  It brings confidence and strength and grace for the new day.  We can be optimistic and hopeful, for we do not live under the cloud of yesterday.  These mercies are given because God has decided not to give us what we deserve and (I love this) He says He will give them “every morning” because He knows we need them every morning, every minute of every day.  He knows our frailties and faults. He knows our weakness and how we waver.  He knows what we need….

         So why not cash in on this truth?  Let’s take it to the bank, embrace it, make total use of what God has given us.  His mercies are always abundant; not just enough but extravagant.  So awaken tomorrow morning and confess this truth, praise your Father God for His mercies and walk through your day like a stroll on a fresh wave washed beach.

 

Overwhelmed

   Overwhelmed means to be heaped upon as flood waters submerge, to drown beneath a huge mass. Have you ever felt that these words described you; that you have been heaped upon or that you are drowning under a huge weight?  There are probably times that we each feel this way.  There are definitely chapters in our lives that are  overwhelming.  The question is; how do we move through them?  As great as the trouble or trial may be we often add to the problem by the ways that we respond to it. Some of these ways may be: we take on what is not ours to take on, or we think we are the one in control and all depends on us. Maybe we spend too much time and energy worrying about tomorrow or we may have tunnel vision and can not begin to see the big picture. No wonder we become worn out and at our “wit’s end”.   So what can be done?  What or WHO can rescue us from this over whelming place we may find ourselves in?

     God instructs us in His Word that we can have peace, a peace that is not understood because it is His peace, even in overwhelming times.  How can this be true  for us?  May I make a few suggestions for you to consider? First of all, “just do the next thing”. As  we look at all the details and possibilities, we can be paralyzed by it.  Our thoughts circle continuously round our minds but do not move us to action.  Psalms 119:105 gives us wonderful advice in this area.  “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Ask God what is the next thing for you to do, not what will you do next week or next year. I share this because in the days these words were written there were not any flashlights or spotlights that shone far down the road ahead.  As one would walk along a path they would carry a lamp.  This lamp would only give light for the next step.  As each step was taken there would be light for the next one. Definitely a trusting way to walk. So do the next thing He shows you and you will have light for the next step.

      Next remember that God has a plan even though you can not see it. Jeremiah 29:11 promises that He does. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that man plans His ways but God directs his steps.  It is as we depend on His direction of our steps one at a time that it becomes His plan.  So do the next thing, one step at a time, as He directs.  A large component of being overwhelmed is worry.  Worry runs away from trust and jumps on a horse that runs in all directions at once.  Or it overtakes a heart and paralyzes us. What good is that?  Matthew 6:34 tells us, “Therefore do not worry for tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about it self.”  It is important to see what the “therefore ” is there for.  Verse 33 tells us to” Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.” Worry drains us and confuses us and we know where that comes from!

       Elisabeth Elliot said it well.  “Today  is mine.  Tomorrow is none of my business.  If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.”  So let us all apply these truths to our overwhelmed lives and hopefully we will move to a new kind of overwhelmed.  Big Daddy Weave sings a song titled “Overwhelmed”.  May we join him in his words, “to be overwhelmed by the works of God’s hands, His great love.” To sing with him…” All that You are is so overwhelming… I’m overwhelmed by YOU, I run into Your arms.” (check it out on utube.com)

.