Sunday Series: Encouragement for Believers
Hello and welcome back to the blog!
Today I wanted to write to all the Christian women in our circle who might need a little bit of encouragement in these dark times.
One of my favorite chapters of Scripture to read when I am experiencing hardship is Habbakuk 3. This section of the Bible has gotten me through many dark times in my life, constantly reminding me of God's greatness despite the difficulties I might be facing. I encourage you to read the entire chapter, but today I will only highlight the end.
Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord
"17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
Habakkuk is essentially saying that although there is no food, no future, and no hope, he will take joy in the Lord. He does not blame God for His troubles nor for the brokenness of this world; rather, he uses this difficult time as an opportunity to remain faithful to the Lord.
May we all be so steadfast.
Today I would like to leave you with a few Scripture-based encouragements.
Be encouraged Dear One. Remember that God allows dark days to shape us into Christlike believers.
People throughout Christian and world history have faced many greater trials than we could ever imagine or fathom, but it does not mean that the things we face in our day will not be troublesome or difficult. Regardless of what comes our way, may we look to it as a refining fire, set forth and allowed by God to shape us into righteous believers and followers of Him. He never fails to work the evils of this world towards our good.
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."
Be encouraged, my dear believing friend, to continue to set yourself apart from the world.
For we are to live in the world but not of the world. If you find yourself standing out, different from the rest, and even different from those in your close circle, I encourage you to not lose heart. Rather, be strengthened by the calling God has put on your life and rise up to the occasion.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Be encouraged dear friend, when the trials and temptations of this world seem to be too much for you.
Know that the Lord does not call believers to a trial or temptation beyond our capacity and that if we are truly overwhelmed, He will make a way for us.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
"Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
Be encouraged Believer, by the ministry of Jesus Christ, God's Only Begotten Son.
He lived a humble life in service to others, not looking towards His own needs but rather to the needs of others. If you move through this life in humble circumstances, caring for the needs of others, you are indeed living a Christlike existence.
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Be encouraged my friend, not downcast, as we have the Holy Spirit living within us, and His fruits are that of JOY and PEACE.
We can find peace by resting in the inerrant word of God, remembering His greatness and patience for us despite our sinful hearts. We can find joy in the promise of eternal life, and joy in the future laid out before us.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
Be encouraged today my dear, for when everything in this world is falling around us, it is not a sign of God's absence, but rather proof that this world is broken and we indeed need a savior.
God is good, and at the end of the day, whether we can find natural encouragement in our circumstances or not, we can INDEED find encouragement by the mere knowledge that a Good, Gracious, and perfectly Just God is ruler over all, and He has our names written in the book of Life, despite our sinful nature.
"but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
I ultimately want to encourage you, Dearest Believer, to keep being faithful to the cause of Christ. Take hold of the blessing of the new life you have been given and never take it for granted. Each day, take heart and remember that we do not serve the people of this world who are fickle-minded, wicked, and unjust.
We serve a good and faithful God.
A God whose justice echoes throughout His Word, and whose strength no one can match. We serve a powerful and incredible God who has us in the palm of His hands. No matter the trials we face here on earth-- no matter the temptation at our door-- God is still Ruler over all things.
To God be the glory. Amen.