I recently wrote a post with this same title, but today, I took the time to do something I have not done in a long time; record a new Youtube video. Psalm 93 recently ministered to me as I read it, and scripture says to comfort others as you have been comforted, so I wanted to put it to video as well.
I pray you are doing well, and that the Lord is drawing you closer to his side during this distressing time.
We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28
Oh truth most divine. Oh words most consolatory! All things under the government of an infinitely great, all wise, righteous, and beneficent God, work together for good. What that good may be, the shape it may assume, the complexion it may wear, the end to which it may be subservient–we cannot tell. To our dim view it may appear an evil, but to God’s far seeing eye it is a positive good. His glory secured by it, and His end accomplished–we are sure it must be good.
How many whose eye traces this page, it may be whose tears dampen it, whose sighs breathe over it, whose prayers hallow it, may be wading in deep waters, may be drinking bitter cups, and are ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me!”
Oh no, beloved of God, all these things are for you! “The Lord sits upon the flood.” “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters.” “He makes the clouds His chariot.”
Be not then afraid. Calmly stay your faith on this divinely assured truth, that “all things work together for good to those who love God.” Will it not be a good, if your present adversity results in the dethronement of some worshiped idol; in the endearing of Christ to your soul; in the closer conformity of your mind to God’s image; in the purification of your heart; in your more thorough fitness for Heaven; in a revival of God’s work within you; in stirring you up to more prayer?
Oh yes! good, real good, permanent good must result from all the Divine dispensations in your history. Bitter repentance shall end in the experienced sweetness of Christ’s love. The festering wound shall but elicit the healing balm. The overpowering burden shall but bring you to the tranquil rest. The storm shall but quicken your footsteps to the ‘hiding place’.
In a little while, oh, how soon! you shall pass away from earth to heaven, and in its clearer, serener light shall read the truth, often read with tears before, “All things work together for good to those who love God.”
Since they have closed the gyms, and we are all stuck at home, maybe it is time to bring out the chin-up challenge. Chin-ups are one of the best workouts because they impact so many muscle groups. Chin-ups develop grip strength, forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulder, but most significantly, back strength. They will also work your core. If you do not do chin-ups regularly, you will notice a significant difference after when you finish this challenge. The best part is it only takes about three to five minutes a day.
Here is how the challenge works. It lasts four weeks, and to start the challenge, you will need to be able to do ten chin-ups in a row. If you cannot do that, see below.*
One set of ten each day for six days and one day of rest. I prefer Sunday to be my day of rest.
Two sets of ten for six days and a day of rest. You do not have to do the two sets back to back. I tend to do one in the morning and one in the evening.
Three sets of ten for six days and a day of rest. Again, feel free to spread out the sets throughout the day.
Four sets of ten for six days and a day of rest. Again, feel free to spread out the sets over the course of the day.
*If you cannot do ten chin-ups in a row, and I know that is most of us, here is what you need to do. Every day do as many chin-ups as you can but stop one short of failure. Failure simply means, if you were to attempt one more chin-up, you would not be able to complete it. Be sure to stop before failure since you will be doing this six days a week with one day of rest. Even if you can only do one chin-up now, before long, you will be doing ten.
Surely I am with you all the days, to the very end of the age! -Matthew 28:20
The path in front of me may be full of flowers or full of thorns. Or, as is more probable, flower and thorn may be mingled together. The sky may be light or dark. The weather may be glorious summer or bleakest winter. But I go safely and happily, if the Lord Jesus, who can and will supply my every need, is with me all the days.
Days of Discipline
Some of the days will be days of discipline of the pruning knife and the cleansing fire. But when He is with me, the discipline is a blessing, and not a curse. It teaches me to grasp His strong right hand with a tighter hold, to pray more earnestly, to find heights and depths of meaning in the promises of God, to feel for others who are in tribulation.Mind and heart and character are bettered by the endurance of affliction.
Days of Monotony
Many of the days, too, will be days of monotony. They must be spent in little things–household labors, common concerns, unnoticed toil. I may long for a more striking and interesting experience. But when He is with me, I know that He makes my life like His own–the blessed life He lived among carpenters’ tools, and village streets, and peasant people. The drudgery is a love-message; it is Jesus Christ in disguise!
Days of Temptation
Every day will be a day of temptation. In the home, in the business, in company, in loneliness; I shall encounter the devil’s subtle snares. But let my Lord be with me, and temptation will but reveal the closeness and blessedness of the tie. It will be an instrument which He uses to impart more maturity to my graces, more courage, more patience, more trust.
Day of Death
Perhaps one of the days will be the day of death. But if He does not leave or forsake me, then death will be an ingredient in the training that fits me for the glorious inheritance! As John Bunyan pictures it, I must cross the ‘River of Death’ to reach the ‘Celestial City’. Jesus did it Himself, and the disciple is not above the Master. His Everlasting Arms will sustain me in the flood; and, on the other side, I shall enter the ‘Beautiful Gate’ and see His face!
All Your Days
All the days He is with me to the end, and through the end, and beyond the end forever and ever! Whether I live, therefore, or whether I die, I am His and He is mine!
How do you live with discouragement? Every attempt to remove yourself from the trial fails. When people look at you, they see courage, but you know it is nothing but a stiff upper lip. The last thing you want to do is burden them more than you have to.
The problem is that every setback brings you a little lower. It has become so much of a pattern that when you see a little light at the end of the tunnel, you refuse to let it lift your spirit because it has let you down so many times in the past.
You know you must fight, but the desire and will to do so has been beaten lifeless by the enemy. You had the courage once, but it has been taken from you. So what do you do now? Do you allow the misery to take over? Do you resign yourself to it? Clearly, the answer has to be, no, but what do you do?
It is at this point you find your will exhausted, and that is probably a good thing because perhaps the battle is not yours to fight. Or perhaps you have been fighting the wrong battle. The first thing we must begin to realize is that, in at least one sense, discouragement is not always the enemy. Maybe, just maybe, it is a tool in the hands of our loving God to do us good. Bear with me for a minute.
Our God is sovereign. He is not simply trying to manage the chaos of this world. He is in complete control of it. His sovereignty becomes clear when we ask two questions of any hardship. Did God know this was going to happen, and could he have stopped it? If we answer no to either of these questions, we truly are in trouble because God has ceased to be God, and something else is mastering him. This, of course, can never be because there is nothing beyond God’s knowledge or power. Being God means he knew you would face this and that you would respond to this trouble with discouragement, so dismay was part of his plan. I know this is the hardest part of the pill to swallow, so let me elaborate for a minute because the payoff will be worth it, and without this pill, experiencing disappointment will be unbearable.
The most significant objection people have with the conclusion drawn from the fact that God knows what is happening to us and could stop it, and that discouragement was part of his plan, lies in the fact that discouragement is often a sin. If God’s plan for us was to reach a point of discouragement, doesn’t that mean that God is causing us to sin?
The problem is that this way of thinking is too simplistic. The disconnect is in failing to realize that we are already sinful. The fact that the Lord allows us to face situations that draws our dross to the surface, in no way makes him the author of our sin. This understanding lines up perfectly with scripture. We are responsible for our sin, and God is completely sovereign. We cannot deny either of these truths if we wish to remain biblical.
If you are God’s child, and he has brought you to a low point, he’s doing it because he loves you. There is something he wants to do with this discouragement in your life, and ultimately, like all dross drawn to the surface, he will wipe it away.
The first thing we need to do when discouragement hits is to ask ourselves why we are demoralized. Discouragement is almost always tied to the things of the world. Our hearts cling to them, and when hardship hits, they start to falter. Dismay almost always involves the removal of some earthly pleasure. We have errantly placed our hope and trust in some aspect of the world.
Homes, cars, jobs, human relationships, health, quality of life, or even mortal life itself; discouragement is always the result of losing, or the threat of losing, one or more of these. But even as these begin to show weakness, God has not failed us. Knowing that God has not failed us, and we are still dismayed should be an indication that we have misplaced our trust.
This revelation of misplaced trust may be the the first blessing the Lord is bringing to us. He is going to use it to set us more firmly upon the rock of Christ Jesus. When we find ourselves discouraged, we are not to resign ourselves to it. We are to change the way we see it. Instead of trying to will our way out of it, we should ask the Lord what blessing he is giving us through it. The most significant blessing will always be increased faith.
Scripture tells us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials (1 Pet. 1:6).” There are two things we need to see in this verse to help us. First, we need to realize that this happens after we have received the gospel. That is what “in this you greatly rejoice” means. We rejoice in the gospel. This verse is talking to believers, and the trial taking place is happening to Christians. The second point is that it says you have been “grieved” by the trials. One version says, “distressed,” and another refers to it as “heaviness.” The point of all these synonyms is that these are trials you will feel. These are not merely outward trials you will float through on a spiritual cloud. They are trials that will hurt your heart; they will bring you low. Dare I say, “discourage” you. And as the passage indicates, if they hit us, they are necessary.
There is a reason for this adversity. It is not pointless. The passage continues, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith may be tested,” and that faith is worth more than gold. It is worth more than any earthly possession because faith is our trust in God, and he is purifying it. The result of this is the praise and glory of God (1 Pet. 1:7).
Even when our health fails and we find our quality-of-life slipping, we must remember that even though the outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. This continued renewal in the face of hardship is why we do not lose heart (2 Cor. 4:17).
How do we not lose heart? The scripture tells us, “by looking not to the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen.” For the things that are not seen are eternal, and everything else is passing (2 Cor. 4:18). If the things of Earth are not letting you down yet, they will.
How do you live with discouragement? You allow it to do the work God intended it to do when he sent it to you. You let it turn your eyes away from this world, begin looking toward home, and be renewed spiritually. All of this will end in the glory of God, which is the chief end of man. This is where our true enjoyment will be found, and that enjoyment is eternal with a weight of glory that cannot compare to the heaviness you are facing now. Let the dross rise to the surface, look to the things unseen, and your loving Father will begin to wipe it away even if the trial remains.
As if we are not suffering enough already, celebrities decided to sing John Lennon’s song, Imagine, to encourage us, but do they realize that Lennon himself described Imagine as “virtually the Communist Manifesto.” Secularism has no good hymns.
What do you sing to the world when you have no real hope to offer?
Imagine there’s no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people living for today
You pretend there is no heaven or hell, so nothing you do in this life has any eternal consequences. Nothing like telling people who are facing a pandemic that is taking lives that there is no heaven. You then tell people to live only for today, which, of course, would be the worst thing you could do during coronavirus. After all, is that not what the spring breakers in Florida are doing, and everyone is upset about that, but if celebrities sing it, it is “beautiful.”
Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do
They would go on and ask us to pretend like there are no countries, while borders are closed for their protection.
Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can
They would continue by telling the world to imagine there are no possession, while they record these videos from the safety of their homes that they certainly are not sharing with the world.
And no religion too
Finally, they would ask us to imagine a world without religion, but it is secularism’s denial of the living God that leaves them in a place where they have nothing to offer the world. Imagine is really the best hymn secularism can offer, and it is terrible.
Secularism hates the idea that we are made in the image of God but that we have fallen into sin. They hate the idea that we are glorious creatures in an abnormal state because they say it is demeaning to think of humanity that way. Then they declare that “God is dead,” but if God is dead, so is humanity.
It is a secular philosophy of life that says, as messed up as we are, we are not in an abnormal state. We are evolving creatures, and there was never a time when we were more glorious than we are now. So if you look around and see the despair, it is important to remember this is the best secularism can offer you.
The remedy to all of this is to look around and see that things are not the way they should be. Man is not in his most glorious state; something is seriously wrong. This is why things like covid-19 exist. Sin has touched us all, but unlike the secular worldview that leaves us in our despair, the truth of Christianity lets us know that even though we have fallen, God has provided a way for us to be redeemed.
Our guilt, even though it is true guilt against the Holy God of the universe and not just an internal feeling, can be forgiven through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who took our punishment on the cross. For those who come to him in faith, our relationship with our creator is restored. We, at that moment, are given a new life in Christ, and he begins a work in us that he promises to fulfill when he calls us home. For those of us who know Jesus, never forget that we are part of the greatest campaign ever imagined: to know God. Our calling is to glorify him and enjoy him forever. One day, all things will be set right. Maybe next time celebrities will sing us a gospel song.
Grocery store and supermarket workers are some of the most valuable members of society right now, and they look exhausted. We must realize that not only are they working extremely hard; they are also vulnerable to cornavirus because of their constant interaction with large groups of people.
Almost every job in society is important. Though most of them tend to be under-appreciated, there are times when events highlight the importance of their role in our way of life. Grocery workers, this is your time. Typically, you meet our demands so well we do not even realize you are doing it, but we notice you now.
Imagine the chaos that would ensue if you were not there to keep things running. I am sure you have experienced anxious customers over the past several days, please be patient with us. For all of us who will be shopping these stores, let us go out of our way to show our gratitude. Grocery store workers, thank you for your work. We appreciate you.