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Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica he was writing to a people who had all but given up hope. It seemed to them that the anti-Christian forces were overtaking them and soon they would be defeated. The truth of the gospel had become a mockery to everyone, so it seemed.

Paul’s words here are actually a prayer. He prays that those who are feeling hopeless in the midst of trial and despair would be comforted and strengthened by God’s grace. There is it again. That word GRACE. Grace is the building block on which everything we say and do is built. Grace says that even though we are powerless to do anything to deserve hope, we are granted hope because of Jesus.

Grace says that even though our efforts to live for Christ are thwarted by evil in the social and political realm, we have hope and comfort because of God’s love for us. Grace isn’t dependent on government or legal systems or financial stability. Hope is grounded in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. No human system or spiritual darkness will change that.

Grace says that even though it seems like everything is stacked against me, the good that I do will not go unnoticed. My efforts for Christ may be ignored or misunderstood by others. My commitment to live by God’s standards and not worldly standards may be labeled old fashioned or intolerant by forces of darkness, but my Father in Heaven sees my heart and my actions and gives me comfort.

Don’t let the forces of evil discourage you. Don’t allow Satan, the great deceiver, to trick you into thinking that things are out of control. Things are out of our control, but they have never been in our control. Everything that is going on around us is under the control of a Loving, Sovereign, Grace-full God. Put your hope and comfort in Him. Let the truth of God’s word empower you as you continue to do and say good things in his name.

The world system wants you to believe there is hope in politics, money or religion. The only hope we have is through grace given us in Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that I look around me and don’t always find a lot to be hope-full about. The political world scares me. The financial and legal system are a shambles. Religions that don’t acknowledge you as the Creator/Sustainer of the world seem to be overtaking us Christ-followers. I ask that you would empower me by your Spirit to remember that my hope is built on Grace through Jesus Christ. May I go about my day doing and saying good things to glorify you, Amen.

 


Buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well. Proverbs 23:23

When you want something of value you save every penny to get it. Let’s say, for example, you are a collector of fine art and you find a rare painting by your favorite artist, You decide you MUST have this painting so you plan on how to get it.

You give up other things of less importance; cut back on other expenses; perhaps get a second job. You study up on this particular painting and find out all you can about it. You become an ‘expert’ on this cherished of all possessions and the artist who created it.

After all your labors, on that day of all days, if you’ve worked hard and scrimped and saved, the time arrives. You go to the seller to make the purchase. You examine it one more time making sure there are no flaws and that everything is just as it should be. Once assured of this you lay down all that you have to make that cherished possession yours. Success has come. The fruit of all your labor and sacrifice has come. Let the celebration begin.

Now that the picture is hanging securely on the wall, how much would you sell it for? You would no doubt look at me incredulously. “Sell it? I just bought it!” you say. “Do you realize how much I’ve given up for it? The ball games I’ve missed. The fishing trips I’ve passed up? The party invitations I’ve passed on? It’s NOT for sale. No amount of money in the world would be enough. It’s mine.”

Solomon, in all of his wisdom, had enough money to buy anything and everything he wanted. Yet he tells us in Proverbs 23:23 what is really important: Truth. In our world of relativity Truth with a capital ‘T’ is hard to come by. We’ve bought into the idea that Truth is what you make it. What’s true for me isn’t true for you. Honesty is dependent on the situation. Wisdom changes with every new philosophy and whim of mindless, science based religion.

As Christ-followers, each of us is given Truth by the God of the universe, through His Word (the Bible) and His Son Jesus Christ. He has given us His Holy Spirit so that we can gain wisdom in understanding His ways and insight into how to walk this journey we call life. Seek after the Truth He has to offer us by drawing close to Him in relationship. Read His Word. It is still the only source of real truth available. Pray daily and often. What a marvelous opportunity prayer is. To think that we as mere mortals can talk personally with the Creator of the Universe! Don’t let past mistakes and your inability to understand God completely keep you from spending time getting to know Him. As God’s cherished possession, He has given all He has to acquire you and He’ll never let you go.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many voices that are calling out to me to be tolerant of this or accepting of that. There are so ideas out there that confuse me as to what is right and wrong. I confess to you that I’ve not always followed you as I should. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to empower me to grow in relationship and understanding of Your ways so that they become a part of my daily existence. Thank you for giving so much so that I can live in Truth. In Jesus name, Amen.


Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

There are times in life when you just feel like ‘enough is enough’. People say ‘God will never give us more than we can handle’ but there are times when each of us have looked towards Heaven and said “Really? Isn’t this enough? I can’t take it anymore. Maybe YOU think I can handle this. I don’t’.

The ‘human’ tendency in each of us is to take matters in our own hands. We may not verbalize it to anyone, but deep inside us there’s this voice that says we are on our own. God either doesn’t exist, doesn’t care, or is just too removed from my situation to know what to do.

It’s a normal thing to do and God understands that. After all, He created us in His image. He created us to think on our own and to make decisions based on what we know and not on instinct. So, in the midst of our turmoil we seek our own answers. We may turn to revenge and call it justice. We may attempt so cope with the pain with drugs, alcohol, new relationships or even religious practices. But none of those will work and we find ourselves in the same turmoil.

In Psalm 20 the Psalmist offers up a prayer for those of us who have suffered the wounds of physical, emotional or spiritual abuse. His prayer for us is that in the midst of our darkest hour when anger and hate and revenge seem the only way out, that we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

The Psalmist doesn’t tell us to trust His power or look at His works and trust those. The power is in the name. Horses and chariots were items most people considered to be unbeatable in battle. They were swift and dangerous. While Jesus walked on earth many were healed simply by calling on His name. Life is hard. Tragedies come. People and churches and spiritual leaders fail. Family and friends will hurt you and abandon you in the time of your deepest need. But God is there. He desperately wants to walk with you through whatever life throws at you.

Call on His name. Talk to Him about your hurt. Release the pain and burden into His hands and ask Him to bear your load. That’s what He is there for. He loves you and it doesn’t matter if what you are going through is the result of your own choices or the actions of other people. His concern is about you.

Nothing anyone can do to you, no physical or political or even evil spirits can harm you when you call on the name of the Lord your God. Jesus is waiting to hear from you.

PRAYER: Dear God. I’m calling on you today. The trials and struggles that lay ahead of me seem insurmountable. I’ve been beaten up, battered and bruised. You say to call on you instead of calling on physical things like horses and chariots so I’m doing that. I need to feel Your presence in my life today. Empower me by Your Spirit to trust in you because I’m not sure I can do that on my own. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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