Last night scripture breathed life into me! I was very discouraged with some business dealings, more so than I can ever recall. A friend called me out of the blue, and we talked. Of course, he gave me solid advice regarding the Christian position on trials, particularly that God doesn’t punish his children by them. Yes, he may desire a change, but he doesn’t punish us. Although I knew that, it was certainly good to hear.
What really snapped me out of it was yesterday’s bible plan and Charles Stanley’s lessons that accompanied them. I spent the evening chasing his teaching through the Old and New Testament. In a nutshell, he stated over and over that discouragement is a choice. We can rule over our emotions or we can be ruled by them. It’s up to us to decide. That’s all fine and good, but this is still the advice of a man. What really mattered was the Word of God. Those are the words of life. Teachers help explain. God is the one who inspires.
What were some of those words?
Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you.
1 Timothy 1:12-17 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Psalm 86:1-7 A Prayer of David. Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you – you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
Charles Stanley says that discouragement is one of the most effective schemes of the devil. I think he’s right. These verses and his teaching got me on the right track. As I pondered all these things, God showed me that my business is special. Why? Because we are so free to share the gospel with our customers. Indeed, we do. We pray for our customers, not only in general, but specifically, too. We pray when we find out their troubles. We follow up and tell them we are praying. We have some great stories about all this. He also revealed to me that he is calling me to directly get involved in the things are troubling me so that I may share the gospel like never before.
I believe that God is allowing Satan to attempt to discourage me to quit what I do. He is using a series of events to make me doubt whether it is worth it. But, I know that God allows this type of trial as a springboard for even greater things. Look at Job and Peter, for example. Both of them were severely tested by Satan. In both, God built his kingdom. Now, I’m not suggesting that I am anywhere on the same plane as those two. What I am suggesting is that I have this little piece of God’s kingdom that he is using me to build. I believe great things will come of today’s adversity. How? By sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, just like Paul says.
Thank you, Father, for turning this situation around. Strengthen me as I set forth on this journey. Protect and deliver me from evil. Let this seeming victory of Satan’s turn right back on him. Let the gospel be widely shared because of it. Turn it into a wildfire of revival! Amen!
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers