Don’t Get Discouraged!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23,24 NIV

If we pay too much attention to those around us who are always complaining, always negative, and always finding fault with others–if we allow their noise to infect our spirits, we become discouraged. We have to shut out the noise of bitterness and complaining and fault-finding and encourage ourselves in The Lord!

When we understand that people have neither heaven or hell for us–we don’t have to pay attention to them or we certainly should not consider their opinion of us–we can work–diligently–knowing what we do, The Lord sees and He will reward.

I have discovered in life that no matter what we do–we will never please all people all the time. So, I’ve learned to not consider what people may think (unless I value their opinion) and do what is right in the sight of The Lord. There is a peace that settles in my spirit when I know He is pleased with what I do, no matter what others think.

Pleasing people–who are fickle-minded and subject to change as quickly as Michigan weather–is a waste of time. I’m not saying we should not do what we’re supposed to do–especially in situations of a job or in a role of responsibility. I’m saying, as long as what we do–we can be assured that we have done our best to get it right and do what’s right–we shouldn’t worry about people. I have been in situations where those in authority expected me to cheat and lie and I refused. I have been in situations where people thought making fun of cultural differences was acceptable and when I refused to join in the stupidity, I was ostracized. None of them mattered because I knew right from wrong and would not veer from doing right.

On this journey in life, we have to know who we are and who we serve. We have to be secure in the knowledge that no matter no people do, we will not shame God by being disobedient to Him. When we know who we are–nothing moves us from God’s Truth. When we know our role in life is to please Him, what others think won’t matter. And if there comes a time when we start to doubt ourselves–we look to The Word to encourage ourselves–to keep doing things God’s Way.

We see people like Kim Davis and Tim Tebow who refuse to bow to popular opinion and we watch their persecution when they remain steadfast in their beliefs. Many of us are being persecuted on a smaller scale because we will not succumb to being like those around us when they prove they do not honor God with their living. I don’t know about other people, but I keep talking to God–seeking His wisdom and direction in all things. I freely admit, I don’t always know how to handle various situations, but I know He does. And even when I hear Him say things that my flesh does not want to hear, I clench my teeth and obey.

Remember this–no matter what people do–Our God reigns and nothing by any means shall deter us from living our lives to please Him!

On The Journey–Qoph!

I cry out with my whole heart;
Hear me, O LORD!
I will keep Your statutes.

I cry out to You;
Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.

I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.

My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.

Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
O LORD, revive me according to Your justice.

They draw near who follow after wickedness;
They are far from Your law.

You are near, O LORD,
And all Your commandments are truth.

Concerning Your testimonies,
I have known of old that You have founded them forever. Psalm 119:145-152 NKJV

The 19th letter and stanza–total reliance and trust expressed.

Crying out to God with our whole hearts–expecting Him to hear us and save us from whatever dilemma rises in our lives–should be our stance.

The writer expresses his reliance upon God by acknowledging it is in Him that salvation is possible, that his cries will be heard and that his hope is in Him. While waiting to see God’s response, he meditates upon His Word; he awakens in the middle of the night, meditating upon His Word; and when he rises in the morning, his heart is still focused on God’s Word.

Do we have that kind of hope, reliance and trust in God and in knowing His Word? I would venture to say that the more we know His Word, the greater our reliance becomes upon Him. For when we know God’s Word, we know that it is only because of Him that we can keep going. The more we know–the greater the realization becomes that within ourselves, we have no might and can do nothing, apart from Him.

Perhaps this is why those who don’t believe Him, think they can accomplish anything in their own wisdom, knowledge and might. They are mistaken. They ridicule us when we pray, calling our God–the invisible spaghetti monster and prayer a waste of time. But when the going gets really tough, and they cry out, “O God!” which of their gods do they expect to intercede on their behalf?

Just as the writer expresses, we know that God is always near because we are told in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us. When we call upon Him, He hears us. When we obey His Word, He responds to us. Our faith–total reliance and trust in Him–keeps us focused on His Word and mindful that we have nothing to fear because our God is always near!

We know–from the beginning when God established His statutes that they were intended to be a light in the darkness for all times--guiding us as we navigate life. But His Word can only be a light in our lives when we have understood His purposes for our lives.

Though some think that because they can memorize and quote God’s Word they have accomplished something, if there is no understanding–no comprehension, what have they really accomplished? The enemy knows the Word and knows how to distort it to deceive others. We know because he used The Word to tempt The Word and he failed miserably because Truth will always break the shackles that bind the mind.