Telling Ourselves the Truth

It is freeing.

George Washington Carver became one of his generation’s most honored and beloved scientists by focusing on a simple peanut. Carver eventually found some 300 uses for this common food item. Carver attributed all of his scientific discoveries to God.

Carver remarked he once asked God to explain the universe to him, but felt God saying that was too large of a task. When he asked for something he could handle, he believed God directed his focus to the peanut. Carver said he would be helpless if God did not pull back the curtain of truth.

Telling ourselves the truth and recognizing our place in God’s plans can be a freeing experience. The truth reminds us of our reliance on the Lord. The truth is fear and anxiety may be a part of our current circumstances, and God will be there with us.

The truth was freeing for David.

David may have understood the freeing experience of telling himself the truth. Some have suggested David wrote the Psalms as therapy for himself. In Psalm 57, we find David hiding in a cave as Saul is pursuing him. Everything seems grim for David, but he understands the Lord will take care of him.

David writes in Psalm 57, “I am surrounded by fierce lions, who greedily devour human prey, whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords.” There is no doubt he felt the fear and anxiety of the current moment.

We too may feel the fear and anxiety of the current moment. The fear of things getting worse. The anxiety of our bank account balance dropping. What happens when the emergency fund is depleted? The confusion of conflicting data and mixed messages. The truth is life has fearful and anxious moments.

Like David, we can look at the bigger picture in these moments.

A bigger picture gives a more confident viewpoint.

David writes, “My heart is confident in you. My heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises. Wake up my heart…I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.”

David was in the cave, but he knew God was beside him. David was being chased, but he knew God was shielding him. Amid his fear and anxiety, David told himself the truth concerning God’s presence.

Amid our fears and anxieties, we can echo the truth of God’s presence. The truth is freeing.

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Feeling Hopeless?

You are not alone.

As recent events continue to unfold around the globe, a feeling of hopelessness may be emerging. The unknown of the future is causing much anxiety and stress for many individuals. If this is you, you are certainly not alone.

Half of respondents to a recent survey state they feel hopeless about the future.

In Psalms 42 and 43, the writer shares the feeling of hopelessness. The writer felt separated from God. Perhaps he felt as if he was on an island all by himself. Though feeling separated from God, the writer recognized he should put his hope in the Lord.

Seek the Lord in moments of hopelessness, and he will provide hope.

  • Psalm 42:5 says, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God. I will praise him again.”
  • Psalm 43 says, “Send out your light and your truth. Let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God, the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my heart, O God, my God. Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God, I will praise him again, My Savior and my God.”

The Bible reminds us there is no hopeless situation. Having Christ as Savior means there is hope in hopelessness, life in death, and light in darkness. “Our hope is the anchor for the soul. ‘Where’s your hope,’ Jesus asks. It is the confident hope of the return of Christ,” states Max Lucado.

Give the Lord your list of hopeless situations, and allow him to provide you with hope. And, do not be afraid to reach out to others for help in this moment of hopelessness. The Lord has blessed us with individuals who can help us in our time of need.

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Pressing On

Looking and moving ahead.

We all have goals and dreams, and we work hard to achieve and fulfill them.

As Christians, our main goal should be imitating Christ. Paul provides some advice to help us.

In Philippians 3, Paul writes, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection, but I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing – forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us.”

We are encouraged to narrow our focus in two ways.

Forgetting what is behind.

This may be hard for us to do. We cannot allow the past to absorb and control our present and future.

  • We cannot get hung up on what we have already achieved. There’s still more work for us to do.
  • We cannot allow mistakes we have made to beat us down. In his grace, the Lord will help us move beyond mistakes.

Looking ahead.

We should look ahead to what is coming; our concentration should be on the Heavenly prize awaiting us.

Keeping our focus on the future rather than the past will give us the motivation to press on. Our Heavenly prize awaits us at the finish line.

 

No Matter What

“Through whatever you go through, I’m standing with you.”

The lyrics of I’m Standing With You are a powerful reminder the Lord is always with us.

In Proverbs 17, Solomon says a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. In chapter 18, Solomon reminds us we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. The Lord will always be with us.

When has the Lord truly came through for you?

 

The Lord came through in a miraculous way for the Smith family. The movie Break Through, portrays the chronology of the events. Tragedy strikes as 14-year-old John falls through the ice of a Missouri lake, John spends approximately 15 minutes under the water as firefighters feverishly work to rescue him. They pull him out and rush him to the nearest hospital. Doctors believe him to be dead, but somehow, someway, John is still alive today.

 

Break Through is available at Amazon.

Portrait of Grace

He gave to his enemies.

Saul was after David. He felt threatened by David, but Saul is eventually mortally wounded. David becomes king. He establishes his kingdom, and gives us a striking picture of salvation by grace and true friendship.

Meet Mephibosheth. We do not know much about him. He was the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul. This would have put him in line for the throne, so when Saul was killed, Mephibosheth’s family feared for his safety.

In those days, one of the first acts of a new king was to eliminate any threat from the previous king’s family, so Saul’s family was obviously in a hurry to hide.

2 Samuel 4:4 records, “Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was 5-years-old when the report came from Jezrell that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled, but as she hurried away, she dropped him and he became crippled.”

David did not have any plans to follow tradition of killing the previous king’s family; however, Saul’s family had no way of knowing David’s plans. They hurried, dropping the boy and causing permanent damage to his feet.

For nearly two decades, Mephibosheth lived in a distant land. He was afraid of David, and he was unable to help himself. That is, until grace entered the picture.

David remembered his promise to Jonathan, and fulfilled it through Mephibosheth. David invited Mephibosheth to eat at the king’s table; this was a great honor. David gave Mephibosheth servants and land. In short, David took care of Mephibosheth’s needs.

Sound familiar?

Like Mephibosheth

There are some paralleles between Mephibosheth’s story and our story. We too had needs which were unmet, and we were unable to help ourselves. God, in his grace through Christ, invited us to his table. He offered us salvation to meet our needs.

Romans 5:6 says, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.”

Like David

In many ways, we are also like David. During the course of our lives, we will come into contact with people who have needs. The Lord may use us to meet those needs. When we are tasked with meeting those needs, may we respond with the same grace we have been shown.

 

Remaining Confident

A shaken life of a confident person.

David spent much of his life running and hiding. As a young man, David had to hide from Saul. Saul was jealous of David’s popularity, so he wanted to kill David. As an older gentleman, David had to run from a rebellion started by his own son. David’s Scriptural biography is filled with turmoil and heartbreak.

On one occasion, David writes in the Psalms, everything is shaken. Nothing is stable. He writes in Psalm 11:3, “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”

Perhaps you can relate to this feeling.

Everything is up in the air. Life is shaken. Your life has endured an earthquake leaving everything trembling in its path.

The career you worked hard to establish has vanished. The good health you once enjoyed is fading. Your journey is not what it once was.

David’s wasn’t either, and his Scriptural biography is filled with confidence in the Lord.

Amid everything, David had great confidence in the Lord.

It may have seemed like everything was falling apart, but David remained confident in the Lord.

He continues in Psalm 11, “But the Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord still rules from Heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.”

In Psalm 12, David writes, “The Lord replies, ‘I have seen violence done to the helpless and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them as they have longed for me to do.’ The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed….”

Can we remain confident in the Lord?

As it seems everything is falling apart around us, we too can remain confident in the Lord’s promises. The promises are as pure for us as they were for David.

 

Enabling Grace

David was reminded of God’s grace.

David was in a season of turmoil. His family was a mess; there were many reasons for the messiness, and one of David’s advisors wanted to help him clean it up. He drafted a woman to tell David a parable.

The parable consisted of a widow with two sons. One son murdered the other, and the community shouted for the murderer’s head. If he was convicted, the widow would have no hope of continuing her family line. She pleads for mercy from the king.

David compassionately says she should receive mercy. Then, the woman applies the parable to David’s situation.

She points out David has a banished son needing reconciliation, and reminds David God himself makes plans to enable a banished person to be reconciled to the Lord. 2 Samuel 14:14 says, “All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again, but God does not just sweep life away. Instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.”

Mistakes; they have been made. Regrets exist. The list of things we would not do or redo can be extensive, but God knows how to handle all of it.

God has devised a plan to restore us to the family.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his son into the world, not to judge the world but to save the world through him,” Jesus explains in John 3:16-17.

Jesus also says in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Jesus is the plan which enables man and God to reconcile.

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A Promise to Us

The 3-fold promise of God.

Walking through uncertainty is a part of life. We can try to avoid it, but eventually we will have no choice. We will have to walk through uncertain territory.

The uncertainty we experience may be caused by events outside our control or decisions we have made. Either way, the Lord will stick with us.

Psalm 32:8 states, “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Here we find a 3-fold promise from the Lord.

Instruct his children.

The Lord promises to guide us on the best pathway for our lives. This means…

  • God will direct us in the way we should go.
  • He is willing to help us stay on the straight path that leads to fellowship with him.
  • Through his word, God gives us accurate counsel.
  • He leads us with gentleness and trustworthiness. This makes us feel safe.

Give us wisdom.

Through his word, the Lord will guide us. He will help us make the best possible decision. James encourages us to request wisdom and says the Lord will generously give wisdom to us.

Watch over us.

The Bible says the Lord will watch over our coming and going, both now and forever more. Psalm 121 says the Lord will not allow our foot to slip. He will watch over us as we take life’s journey.

Life is filled with uncertainty. Recent days have magnified this truth; however, the Lord’s promise is still the same. He guides us, though it may not always make sense.

Life may not always make sense, but we can rest assured God knows the plan. Psalm 32 goes on to say unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

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3 Be’s of Cultivating True Friendship

Social distancing does not have to be a barrier to true friendship.

Proverbs 18:24 states many unreliable friends will bring a man to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

True friendship, especially with Jesus, is an invaluable possession worth seeking. It is a priceless treasure worth offering. You and I have the challenge of being that true friend. We ought to be the type of friend to others Jesus is to us. Cultivating this type of friendship is neither quick nor easy.

In an era of social distancing, developing true friendships may seem impossible, yet the season is right for growth. Placing six feet of physical distance between ourselves does not require distancing our hearts. We can meet digitally, give someone a call, or have a social distanced gathering. Fostering true friendship may be more difficult and look differently than before, but it is a fruitful time for development.

Here are some keys to keep in mind as you meet the challenge of true friendship.

Be Intentional

Be intentional while interacting with others. Our interactions may be via digital platforms like Zoom and Skype, but we can still be intentional in building relationships. No matter the platform, we can place others interests ahead of our own. We can express genuine interest in their lives. We can help others meet needs they may have. Being intentional is essential to starting a true friendship.

Be Bold

Be bold in meeting new people. For some of us, this is the hardest part of building a friendship. We are introverted, so stepping out of our comfort zone is unnerving. Experiencing the rare treasure of true friendship is worth mustering the boldness necessary to step out of our comfort zone.

Be Open

Be open to new relationships. We should be open to new relationships, and not dismiss someone based on his or her interests or age. Most of us have a wide array of interests, so we can find commonality in some way. Intergenerational relationships can produce rich friendships. Older generations have a wealth of life experience and wisdom to offer, and younger generations have much technical expertise and a fresh viewpoint worth noting. We should keep an open mind when approaching someone new.

Finding true friendship is certainly challenging. The outcome is worth the work. We will gain the priceless experience of sharing life with a true friend. We will have someone to help carry our burdens, celebrate our victories, and encourage us through rough times. We will have a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

 

Friendship is a Rare Treasure

A friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Many friends come and go. We have a temporary friendship which produces nice memories, but the relationship eventually fades. It does not stand the test of time. Distance between people, disputes, and other changes in life cause friends to drift apart.

Solomon states these types of relationships are unreliable; however, there is a friend who will stick with us through thick and thin.

A true friend is a rare treasure. It is someone with whom you can be transparent; there is no need to hide your feelings in fear of judgment. It is someone who celebrates your victories and mourns your losses with you. It is a person who answers the call at midnight when you are in need. A true friend is worth much.

Jesus offers this rare and true friendship to all.

Scripture helps us understand the type of friendship we have with Jesus.

He always remains open to us.

Any time day or night we can ask Jesus for help. The Bible tells us Jesus understands our needs, and the writer of Hebrews encourages us to ask for help. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” says Hebrews 4:16.

Jesus is a friend who will never leave us.

He will walk with us through life. In John 14:18, Jesus says, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.” Jesus is not the friend who runs away when life gets hard. He sticks around.

Jesus is the friend who went to the cross for us.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” Jesus remarks in John 15:13. He laid down his life for us. He sacrificed for us. Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

A CHALLENGE

True friendship, especially with Jesus, is an invaluable possession worth seeking. It is a priceless treasure worth offering. You and I have the challenge of being that true friend. We ought to be the type of friend to others Jesus is to us. How well do we do?

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