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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

The Light of the Upright

November 23rd, 2017

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)

A short little verse, but a wonderful promise from God. The upright are protected by God and light comes for them in times that appear dark to others. John wrote: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 2 ESV). Our lives in general are not to be more prosperous than our souls are rich with the knowledge of God. The first and greatest secret to all prosperity – whether it is in health, friendship, success in our career, or our possessions – is the spiritual progress of our soul. 

The greatest test of the health of our soul is how we endure darkness. The darkest time of the night is just before dawn, and often in our lives God entrusts into our hands dark times. We may feel friendless, lonely, without resources, weak, and fatigued, but the Lord is on our side and He will send His light at the right time. It is our job in such moments to patiently wait for Him and to continue to act in an upright way.

To be upright means to walk the way of the Lord, to be continually conscious of Him, to do what is right in all circumstances, to treat others rightly according to the commands of God, and to trust in the Lord. Trust is found not only in what we do but in what we do not do. The upright does not panic, does not waste resources, does not get ahead of God, rather he submits all things to God in prayer.

His relations with others is characterized by graciousness, mercy, and righteousness. Rudeness is not part of his nature. He acts with kindness towards others, and fairness. He is considerate of the difficulties that others face and is concerned about them. Compassion is what he feels – feeling what they feel and wanting to help them. He prefers to help the weak than to be seen among the strong.

So the upright man does not live in fear. The upright is a light of encouragement and strength to those who are troubled. He says in the midst of the storm, “Never fear. ‘The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge’ (Psalm 46:7).” He lives in the light of the compassion and faithfulness of God, and considers God the chief reality of the universe, and everything else mere shadows without substance.

Matthew Henry wrote:

They shall have comfort in affliction … Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. It is here implied that good men may be in affliction; the promise does not exempt them from that. They shall have their share in the common calamities of human life; but, when they sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to them, Mic. 7:8. They shall be supported and comforted under their troubles; their spirits shall be lightsome when their outward condition is clouded. Sat lucis intus—There is light enough within. During the Egyptian darkness the Israelites had light in their dwellings. They shall be in due time, and perhaps when they least expect it, delivered out of their troubles; when the night is darkest the day dawns; nay, at evening-time, when night was looked for, it shall be light.

Faith alone provides some light, but faith can never be light by itself. Faith by itself is merely us thinking positively. Faith must believe in One greater than us, and biblical faith believes in God. It is not merely a positive, forward looking attitude that guards us from worry. It is God Himself, and He is in finitely more than our thoughts alone.

Daily Devotions, Dealing with Difficulties , , ,

Relating to Each Other in Trust and Integrity

September 13th, 2017

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring you to God … I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:7,14)

The fourth core value that the Vision and Mission Team identified in 2008 is: We relate to one another with trust and integrity

Christians can be confident in one another because of the work of Christ in each or our lives. We can believe the best in our fellow Christian and in spite of our many weaknesses we know that God will complete in each believer what He began at their salvation.

One of the interesting things of the apostles is that they always saw Christians in the highest possible terms. Despite the problems the churches were dealing with, despite their weaknesses, when they wrote to them they described them positively. For example, Paul wrote: “To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ” (Col. 1:2); “To the saints … the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1); “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy” (1 Cor. 1:2). This was typical of the positive way they saw each other in Christ.

The habit of some to criticize, to find fault, and to doubt whether anyone can really improve or change, all falls away at the power of the cross. Through the cross we learn that none of us is able to save himself. We all are fallen creatures. But God is at work in Christ redeeming us.

Because of the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit, we can see each other positively – not in light of our failures but in light of the power and grace of God.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:16-17)

Now we can relate to one another positively and honestly, in hope and confidence, not negatively in suspicion and doubt. And because we treat others positively, they will treat us the same way.

  • Pray that God would wash away from our memories old disagreements and old pains of betrayals.
  • Pray that in the place of doubt we would have hope for one another
  • Pray for those who serve on committees and in ministries in our church, that we would all see each other in light of the progress we have found in Christ, and not in the light of our old failures of the flesh.
  • Pray that we might be worthy of respect and trust.
  • Pray that we might deal with one another honestly – not lying for some personal advantage, but trust in God and simply telling the truth.
  • Pray that God may give you patience with others, even as He gives them patience for dealing with you.
  • Pray that we would be kind, positive, and uplifting with our words with one another.

21 Days of Prayer 2017 , ,