July 8, 2015

Psalm 31:23-24 Love the Lord, all his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.

Life is filled with all sorts of things to get us down, and the devil is constantly trying to deprive us of joy, or of any of the other good things the Lord has for us. It is important to stand against the devil’s onslaughts, as James said, (James 4:7) but the key to doing that is in the first part of what James said, that is, to submit to God. It is when we focus on God, as David is exhorting us to do here, that we are able to resist the devil. Nothing else will get the job done! It is when we live life as training for and a foretaste of heaven that we walk in all the Lord intends for us. Frankly, there is no end to the depressants available to us, on the news and elsewhere. Some people choose to avoid those things, so they think, by turning inward and focusing on personal pleasure and convenience. That is ultimately futile and leads to the emptiness described by Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Others give up hope, period, and “live lives of quiet desperation,” as someone has said. The only real solution is focus on God and His Son Jesus Christ, who out of overflowing love provided salvation for everyone who will receive it by faith. David didn’t know about the cross of Christ, except perhaps in glimmers of prophetic revelation, but he knew God from experience, so he tells us, “Love God!” It is indeed those who wait in hope for the Lord who can be bold, who can strengthen their hearts.

This is certainly timely! The experience of discovering one of the members of this church dead, and then having to deal with all of his stuff, since he had very little family, kind of set me up, and then a real flurry of scheduling things, along with some church members who are losing some skirmishes in spiritual warfare, had me feeling pretty down. The answer, as always, is to lift my eyes to my Lord and praise Him, because He has not changed and will never change, and He is more than worthy of all praise, honor, and adoration. As I have told others countless times, all I need is a change of focus. I think some of the people who know me, in this church, even, would be shocked to know that I need to be exhorted to keep my focus on God in praise and worship. Things, that is, material and temporal objects and circumstances, can distract from that, and that’s my current difficulty. I need to “build [myself] up in [my] most holy faith” (Jude 1:20) and rejoice in God!

Father, thank You for this Word of encouragement this morning. I certainly needed it! Thank You for pointing out that each of the things confronting me is not so large individually; it’s the aggregate that got me down. Thank You that even if they were big, they would still be no problem for you! Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, allowing You to deal with the issues and deal with me, so that I may be Your agent of blessing for everyone around me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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