Wednesday, July 8, 2015

We All Have Days Like This

We often have periods in our lives where we want to just say, “To hell with it all” and throw up our arms in despair. Whether we suffer from loss of job and income, loss of home or the loss of a family member, we need to realize that we are not alone and that many others are going through the same kind of stresses and anguish in their own lives, and is more prevalent in todays world than ever before as we read the news and see the dark clouds on the horizon. Sometimes we feel like Job whose entire world was collapsing around him and as he lay covered in running sores one of his "friends" told him that he might just opt to curse God and die, but he refused and prevailed. His great faith and faithfulness to God carried him through the calamity that had befallen him and God rewarded him for surviving his testing. His health, his family and his fortunes were more than restored. 

How did Job do this? What was the secret of his success? There is a wise saying that goes like this: “You can’t be optimistic if you have a misty optic!” It simply means that one has to keep their eyes on what is most important and remain focused, and that whiners who engage in self pity have lost sight and will ultimately fail. When I was in paratroop training and was totally exhausted and unable to continue, I was told that there is no such thing as “can’t,” that it was just a word that means won’t when our carnal minds and bodies have given up and want to quit. I took that advice to heart and it has served me well over the years and has enabled the spirit to prevail over the desires of my weak flesh.

Here we have an example of how important it is to stay focused on Christ in order to prevail over the seeming impossibilities continually testing our spiritual as well as our physical lives…

(Matthew 14: 22 - 33) Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

Take note that the moment Peter moved his focus off of Christ and instead focused on the storm tossed seas around him, he began to sink and would have drowned had he not called out to the Lord to save him. This is a depiction of a spiritual principle concerning our need for a sense of vision, remaining focused on the prize and faithful to our calling and is applicable also in our daily lives if we are willing to apply it.
Sometimes we think that we can somehow control the issues around us but sadly we inevitably discover that is not true, because behind every thought, word and deed there is an overruling spiritual element involved that we are most often unaware of. I can attest to these frustrations having been involved in a guerrilla war where the enemy was unknown and often hidden in plain sight. Though I have long since hung up my shield and spear, the lessons learned won’t be forgotten, because although there was much carnage, the real battle was for the minds and hearts of men everywhere in the world. This is the modus operandi of the enemy of our souls lest we forget and lose sight of that fact and make the mistake of focusing on the carnage around us.

(2 Corinthians 10: 3 - 4)  For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 

We live in the most evil of times where evil machinations are so subtle and cunning and yet so malicious that most people don’t have the slightest understanding of what is happening before their very eyes. Today men are liars and deceivers as it is advantageous to achieve their selfish goals. Many people's motives are suspect at best, it becomes abundantly clear as we observe our own political leaders whose agenda’s are never righteous and are usually self serving. Here Paul exposes the truth and gives us a prescription of how to deal successfully with it.

(Ephesians 6: 11 - 13) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Meanwhile Paul admonishes us to pray for our leaders that they may make the right decisions, I’ll also add that it would be fair to pray for their failure when it is obvious they are attempting to bring us in harm’s way. 

(1Timothy 2: 1 - 2) First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.

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