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“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James‬ ‭1:12‬‬

I hung up the phone and hung my head. Had I done enough? Was there something more I could have said…or said now to help? Psychologists have coined the term “Messiah Complex” to refer to individuals who have a firm belief that they are responsible for the physical, emotional or spiritual well-being of others. At this point I was in full blown “Messiah Mode!”

The phone call was from a friend who had been struggling for years with relationship issues, self-doubt and fear. On the other hand she was compassionate, understand had, on the surface anyway, a deep love for Jesus. The last few months had been tough. Her family life was hard, her job ended, and God seemed unwilling or unable to help. Her phone call was short but not sweet. She’d had it with God and with living the illusion that he existed and cared about her. She asked me to leave her alone and not bother to pray for her because prayer is worthless.

I have to admit, I don’t blame her. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve struggled or seen the struggles of others and asked the “Why?” question.

There aren’t easy answers. He’s wonderful and confusing all at once. Yet, for me anyway, one thing I’ve noticed is that God’s greatest blessings often seem to come during, or on either side of life’s greatest trials. Had I not known the depths of despair, I never would have experienced the strength of his peace.

I’ll respect my friends desire for distance, but I’ll continue to pray that she sees the God I see. I don’t understand him, but I’m nothing without him. As Peter said when many were leaving Jesus because he disappointed them, “Where else can we go?”


Taking delight in there Lord is easy when the bills are paid, the kids are stellar, you love your job and your weight is right on with the insurance charts. Taking delight in the Lord is easy when the doctors report is good and the bank calls asking to borrow some of your money because they are a little short this month. But for the rest of us, it’s hard to take delight when life is hard. In those times we need to hold tight to the promises and not reality from our perspective. Most of the time we struggle to take delight in the Lord because we rely more on our heart than on the promises of God We trust ourselves more than we trust him. Don’t follow your heart! The Bible tells us that over and over again. It can’t be trusted. The heart is in tune with the enemy and focuses on disappointment and fear. The heart focusing on God’s promises reminds us of the hope we have in him even when the world seems dark around us.


“Don’t forget to do good…”

I’ve often heard people misquote this verse and others with a similar message to justify their social activism and political agendas even though their ‘actions’ are completely contradictory to the context and whole of the Bible message.

‘Good’ can not be defined in human terms because ‘good’ in human terms is relative to the situation at hand and the mindset of the person or group defining it. Is the good you are doing helping the good of the majority of people who think like you do?

On the other hand, ‘good’ defined by God’s standards is impossible to attain without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The guidance of the Holy Spirit will never contradict God’s word. It is what empowered Jesus during the wilderness temptations to stay true to his mission and resist satanic influences. Each of the things Satan tempted Christ to do were not wrong in and of themselves but the motive behind them was!

When we consider our ‘good’ actions measure them according to the standards God instituted. Then thank him profusely for grace because even at your best you can’t do everything perfect. Thank him for his inner peace too because if you stand with God, you will ultimately stand against culture and society.

You’ll fair better in the long run when you stand with the one who holds your eternity in his hand that you will standing with those whose future is limited to this world. Your good deeds should be done according to God’s standards, not the whims and fickle ways of culture.


Desire. We all have it at different levels. It’s desire that drives us to work every day. It’s desire that fuels our relationships. It is desire that drives us to fulfill, or attempt to fulfill our dreams.

Desire in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s an emotion God has created and placed within each of us. Desire can be destroyed by constant criticism. Desire can be wounded by our tendency to focus on failure and our past. Desire can be crippled by outside forces beyond our control or choices in our past that disqualify us.

On the other hand, the psalmist frequently tells of his desire for a closer relationship with his God. The Apostles tell us in the New Testament writings to ‘earnestly desire’ the things of heaven.

Society tells us to desire those things our eyes can see, our hands can touch, our pride can rest in. If you gain all those things, we are told, you will find fulfillment, contentment and happiness.

But those things will never give us the peace and satisfaction we seek because they are temporal. The secret to contentment is a close walk with Jesus Christ Don’t be sucked in by the things of the world, bask in the fulfillment of eternal things: love, grace, mercy, goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, joy. These things can’t be bought or stolen, and they last for eternity.


I’ve read these verses a hundred times before I realized what total devastation is being described. The entire economy of the nation Israel was dependent on agriculture. We are blessed today to be diverse in our economy and global in our accessibility of the staples of life. Not so the readers of Habakkuk.

We are a generation of the entitled. We naturally expect that if we are uncomfortable, someone is to blame and someone better fix it. If our marriage is unfulfilling we seek other partners; if our church isn’t entertaining enough, or doesn’t make me feel happy, I’ll go elsewhere; If you talk about sin, or point out my failings you are judgmental and I’m going to unfriend you.

We tend to make the same expectations of God. But the testimony of Habakkuk, Job, David, James, Peter and many others in scripture (including Jesus himself!) sends a message loud and clear to those of us who claim to love God and believe in his sovereignty.

The rest of the world can fall apart around me. My relationships my fail me. My job may not pay enough to meet my needs. I may not like the music at my church. My health my be faltering. I may be ashamed of my _____________ (fill this one in yourself). Yet, although I may not understand; although I may struggle to believe; although I may not see the evidence, YET I put my trust in you O God because I know, ultimately your way is best.

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