“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Two of the most crucial elements to walking any journey through life are “God’s Love” and the “Perseverance of Christ” within us, which allow us to take those sometimes, difficult steps forward on a daily basis. The Apostle Paul prayed a blessing over the church of Thessalonica which began with reminding the believers there, that it would be the result of the Lord’s direct guidance in their lives which would lead them continually to these very powerful realities. Centuries before Paul's time, the prophet Isaiah spoke of God's renewal and strength for His people, "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength...They will run and not grow weary.." Paul's first desire was for the Thessalonians to recognize the importance of their essential understanding of God’s great love for them, which serves as a firm foundation where the True Hope of the believer is deeply rooted in Christ. Similarly, Paul had encouraged the believers within the Ephesian church regarding the love of God in Christ, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Secondly, he understood the importance of the believers to grasp the crucial element of perseverance in Christ for their daily journey. Paul was very well-acquainted with the necessity for every believer to comprehend their desperate need for the strength and perseverance of Christ within them. In fact, in his personal journey with trial, hardship, and weakness – Paul pleaded with the Lord three times to deliver him out of his troubles, yet the Lord had a very different message for him. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) He understood for all believers then and now, we desperately need the grace, strength, and perseverance of Christ in our lives in order to continue taking small steps of obedience along the journey toward hope in eternity which we’ve been guaranteed through our salvation in Christ alone, by faith alone. However, we must choose daily to allow the Lord to lead and guide us in His true wisdom which is, “pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits (Fruits of the Holy Spirit)” (James 3:17)
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, You are our ultimate source of wisdom, guidance, and direction through Your Great Love along with the Persevering Spirit of our Savior, Christ Jesus within us. May we recognize our desperate need for You today, “Trusting in You will all our heart, leaning not on our own understanding. But in all our ways acknowledging You, (Your amazing love, strength, and power within us), allowing you to direct our paths,” along this journey in a world full of uncertainty. You, Lord, are forever faithful, forever true, and forever unchanging. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
In times of great uncertainty within our world, our nation, and in our personal life’s history, so many are searching for hope and relief from potential health, financial, and unknown crisis in their own journey. The Apostle Paul addressed these very circumstances in several of his writings, one such instance is found in the book of Colossians. He encouraged readers to do several essential things which would remind them of their true source of hope and refocus their perspective on ‘things’ that would set them back on a firm foundation regardless of the uncertain nature of their immediate circumstances. During this time in the history of the world, there is more anxiety, fear, and uncertainty than we have most likely ever witnessed in our lifetimes. People are desperate for what was their sense of normalcy, peace, and what appeared to be control over their daily lives. In truth, not one of us has ever had ‘control’ over our lives, as control itself is an illusion which quickly fades in times of crisis, suffering, pain, or uncertainty.
Paul first reminds us that we ‘have been raised with Christ,’ meaning our true sense of hope and peace rests in the personal relationship we have with our Savior, who is Lord over all the earth. Secondly, we’re reminded that our Savior sits at the right hand of our Almighty Heavenly Father who is always in control and able to ‘work in all things for the good of those who have been called according to His purposes’ (Romans 8:28), and is able ‘to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us’ (Ephesians 3:20-21). Finally, Paul encourages us to ‘set your hearts on things above…set your minds on things above, not on earthly things,” which can so easily shift our focus from the truth and promises of God, setting us on a path to panic, anxiety, uncertainty, worry, and to the point of paralysis, fearing everyday life itself.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, this is another day You have made, and regardless of what appear to be uncertain times like we’ve not seen in our lifetime, we can still choose to focus on Your truth and promises which are unchanging. Help us through the power of Your Holy Spirit within us, to ‘set our hearts and minds on You and the things above’ which are far beyond the uncertainties and chaotic distractions of this world. Your truth is our firm foundation which allows us to stand firm and hold fast to the True Hope and Peace that is only found in Jesus our Savior, and through the presence of Your Holy Spirit within us. Father, thank You for your faithfulness and for Your presence with us, along with the unchanging truth You’ve given to us in Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
If you’ve ever wondered where God was in your circumstances, rest assured He has never been far from you. God is so often simply waiting for us to call upon His name for help as He is always near to us and will never leave us. Regardless of the severity of our trials, the depth of our pain, or the difficulty of our circumstances – God cares and is close to us. The psalmist writes, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ What a promise of restoration which reminds us that God will never leave us in our current situation to struggle exhaustively ourselves in our own strength and understanding. But the true reality of God is that He is even more drawn to us when we’re in those places of hardship, trials, and suffering in which the mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual pain hurts so deeply it blurs the very reality of His closeness to us, causing us to begin loosing hope. Therefore, today if you feel the sting of brokenness or the weight of being crushed by life’s circumstances, call out to the Lord and invite Him to walk with you step by step along your journey.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for the promise that you are with me even in the deepest, darkest, most painful valleys of my journey. There are daily moments of experiencing weariness of mind, body, soul, and spirit in which I am in desperate need of complete surrender in order to fall into your loving arms, and simply be held together. Lord, today may You mend my heart and restore my once thriving spirit which in these moments feel crushed. Help me not to loose hope, but rather to begin to see you very clearly once again, both through Your word and as I experience Your glorious creation. Through Your Holy Spirit, strengthen my heart, mind, and soul to continue pressing on in small steps of obedience toward You. Thank You Father, for the promise that You are always near to me, and ever-present in my circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.