Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Plan for Strength + Perseverance in Times of Struggle

I wrote this last spring for a friend in need of a boost, I found it again today looking through some of my old Word documents. I did a bit of editing and here it is. Ha. I believe it's still just as relevant. So enjoy. Also just want to say thank you to Patrina for commenting on my posts. They have been hugely encouraging and uplifting, thank you very much! I also want to say that if anyone would like to contact me they are free to email me at the address listed on my profile, I'd love to talk to the people who read this and get to know them more. Thanks.


  Times are tough.  Life is though. Economy is bad. Jobs are bad. Health and Flu are bad.  Family problems. Relationship problems. Personal problems. Everything is tough!  But not forever.  I could write you an entire novel on Job.  Just about all of us are going through some version of Hell, but he was broke down in the middle of Hell, in comparison.
            You can see, though he went through so much, it ended up better than before his world fell around him.  The thing that led to his suffering was Satan. God allowed Satan to have power so that he could test Job. Satan is the reason for all of your life’s problems right now.  Look at two verses Ephesians 6:12 and 1 Peter 5:8.
   For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
In Ephesians, Paul makes it clear, your problems and struggles are not with other people and events, it is with Satan and his demons.  The devil seeks out for your weak spots, whenever he can see them, he pounces on the opportunity. 
After reading 1 Peter 5:8, it can kind of make you feel like your odds aren’t good.  The truth is, so long as you have God on your side, you cannot fail.  Look at these two psalms.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
      for the Lord holds them by the hand. – Psalms 37:24

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and my God. – Psalms 42:11

           
Is that not at least a bit comforting?  It is from here things will improve.  Once you have hope that God will make the wrongs right, it’s time to go on the offensive.  Read 1 Peter 5:9, the verse just after the last one.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:9
It calls for active resistance.  Do not give in.  Fortify and build up your faith, take insight in the fact you aren’t facing troubles alone.  You know I like to throw a lot of verses out so here’s another: Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1
The next step is to let go of the burdens of your sins.  Pray to God for forgiveness and lay them at the feet of Jesus.  Don’t beat yourself up about them because then you are just picking them up from where you left them all at.  Instead set your mind on the challenge set before you.  Realize you can’t win by being swift or strong, but by endurance in faith alone (Sola Fide).  If that seems unmanageable and scary look to Exodus 14:14
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14
I absolutely love that verse. Do you feel the quiet power in it? I see that verse and I think of 1 Kings 19:12 for some reason. Just use that endurance, keep your trust in him and he will do the rest.  Remember 1 Peter 5? Look at 1 Peter 5:10, the final verse we’ll show from Peter:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.  – 1 Peter 5:10
The God of ALL grace!  You can’t put value on even an ounce of grace, yet he has all of it! He will use it! He will use it and he will bring you into his glory.  Once there he (note HE, not one of his angels, cherubs, or any other servant, but THE God Almighty, HIMSELF) will restore (make you whole), support (keep you from falling back into dismay), strengthen (make you better than before), and establish you (root you in him).  All of that is guaranteed if you have faith.  Comforting isn’t it?  Read Psalms 18:28 and Psalms 71:20-21.
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
       my God turns my darkness into light. – Psalms 18:28

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
       you will restore my life again;
       from the depths of the earth
       you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor
       and comfort me once again. – Psalms 71:20-21

The darkness will never penetrate because he stands over you as light.  I suggest you look up this skit called the Everything Skit on tangle (formerly Godtube), as I mention some things from it here.  At the end where Jesus holds off the sins, temptations and doubt; that’s this verse in action.  He will never break and darkness will NEVER touch you.  He will increase your honor (meaning beyond what it was) and bring you comfort!  He is speaking DIRECTLY to you here.  I’m going to leave you with one final verse.  It’s my favorite in the whole bible: Micah 7:8-9.  Replace “O my enemy” with Satan. Say this both as a rebuke to Satan and as a prayer to God.  Remember this verse.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy
   Though I fall I will rise;
   Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.
   I will bear the indignation of the LORD
   Because I have sinned against Him,
   Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me
   He will bring me out to the light,
   And I will see His righteousness.

Micah 7:8-9



Take Action
 I suggest if you wish to take this lesson further trying some of the following:
Write down on a piece of paper, all of your struggles and problems.  Anything big or small that comes to mind.  Pray to God for them. Rebuke Satan from coming near any of those areas of your life.

Write out separately all the comforts God is bringing you in your life, big or small or promised.  Keep this with you as a reminder.

Ask yourself what reasons might God be putting you through struggles? Pray to God to reveal the reason so that you may grow and learn from it and that it will bring you closer to him.

Remember to let go of your burden and weights, they will pull you away from him and they cast doubt in your heart.

Hold on for dear life to your faith! You’ll never be as desperate as you would be if you gave up on the real Hope.

Rejoice in small comforts and say thanks to Jesus for them. 

Remember, I’m praying for you too.

1 comments:

Patrina said...

Thanks, Luke, for joining me on the Bridge, and for honoring me here on your page.

I've had company from out of town so am late in reading this post. I'll send you an e-mail when I have more time, after company leaves.

I'm pleased to know that you are praying for me. :) As always, another right on post! I love the way you've weaved appropriate scripture through-out. I love the "Take Action" part, for further application. I've already walked through every step you've suggested, even within the last 7 months - And more than once on some :)

So, yes, it is still and always will be relevant - because scripture and God remain the same - yesterday, today, and forever.

Keep looking forward, Luke.

Patrina

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