A Note of Encouragement!

Over the past few weeks, I was sorting through letters I've written and received. It was amazing to see how many people have impacted my life over the years. One letter I wrote to a friend who was experiencing some great difficulties a few years ago, was especially encouraging to me, and as I re-read it I thought it might be encouraging to share with you as well. May God continue to give you the  strength to press on in your life no matter what challenging obstacles you may face!

My Dear Friend, 

After talking with you yesterday, I felt God impressing upon my heart to write a note of encouragement to you. 

" For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:" 1 Peter 2:20-23

From my perspective, the natural man is foreign to the idea of rejoicing in the midst of suffering. It is basically impossible for us in our own strength to give thanks in everything. So why does God call us to give Him praise when we feel like we're being destroyed? Because He wants us to ask Him for the strength. He wants us to come to the place where we say " I can't, but you can." "My strength is gone, but I will press on in your strength alone." I would venture to say that total surrender to Christ is the only way we can truly rejoice in the midst of our sufferings. 

I believe that every pain has a purpose. Your struggles, heartaches, and hassles, are all leading to one end- the ultimate glory of God. And because you know God, your pain is a process with a certain purpose. We are made through strength into the image of God. And in this perspective, the pain is worth the gain. Your suffering is just that short period before the final victory. 

Come boldly before the throne of grace. Even when you have failed. When you repent of your sin, and are broken before The Lord, He sees you through the consequences. His grace and mercy enables you to bear every trial with hope. We must admit our mistakes, and ask forgiveness of those we have wronged. We must suppress the desire to run and hide, and instead come humbly into God's presence, as we are, guiltily and without excuse. Time and anger are intertwined. The longer an offense goes unresolved, the more deep seated it becomes. Then the heart becomes a hotbed for a root of bitterness. 

Realizing we are broken guilty vessels is the beginning of healing. No one remains untouched by chaos. Sooner or later, we will all experience problems. The goal is not to have a problem free life, but to know how to deal with each problem that arises. Will we cast our cares upon The Lord, and trust that He cares for us, or will we press on in us own strength and eventually fail? The choice is ours. Every time we have a problem in our lives. 

Having found the strength we have been looking for in Christ, we can now have the joy of giving it away. We can forgive people instead of judging them, and we can see others as God sees them- bundles of hurt that need Christ's love. We never touch the oceans of God's love as much as when when we love our enemies. It is such a joy to accept forgiveness, but it's almost a greater joy to give it to others. Often we spend our time trying to avoid pain, but there's a better more enjoyable life available to us. One that does not avoid pain, but finds God faithful and powerful in the midst of it. We must truly believe that no matter what we are going through, God cares. 

In closing, I would like to encourage you that no matter what you have experienced, remember this. There are people who've had it better than you and done worse, and there are people who've had it worse than you and done better. The circumstances we face really have nothing to do with the our future. We must choose to get over our past history, and allow them to make us not bitter, but better. The choice is ours each and every day. We create the world we live in by each and every choice we make. And when all is said and done, our small choices determine our destiny. 

When Christ is the center of our lives, when His glory is our ultimate goal, and when we refuse to be intimidated by life's obstacles, and when we live totally in obedience to Him; we will find a lasting hope that will cary us through the darkest of valleys. I will continue to pray for you, and know that the circumstances in your life are being used by God to cause you to look to Him for every ounce of strength you need. 

"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

Keep praying! Keep forgiving! Keep trusting! 

With Love In Christ, 


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