This morning I read these words. “You'd be surprised who is watching your journey and being inspired. Do not quit.” Makes you stop and think doesn't it? After all, who might be interested in our journeys...right? Many folks are knee deep in their own. Except many folks are looking for inspiration, a reason to keep trudging along, some sort of hope for their day. You just might be it! There are inspirational stories on the news occasionally. Social media still has a couple now and again. Our inspiration may come from family, friends...even folks at church.
Scripture is full of stories of inspiration...people who have done amazing things in spite of what life and following the Lord has handed them. When we think about the early followers of Jesus and the tormenting, torture and death they endured, there is plenty of inspiration there. Paul said he counted it as joy, to suffer for the Lord. Sometimes we need to hear stories. Other times we need to immerse ourselves in God's Word. So here are some words of inspiration for today. Some of them I may have referenced before. Perhaps that means they really are places of refuge.
The psalmist writes "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8. It is one thing to look for inspiration. It is quite a another to find it and then hang on to it. We are told over and over in scripture to keep our focus on the Lord. He has promised to always be with us. We see the assurance of that promise in Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” These are God's words to Joshua as he prepares to lead God's people into the promised land. They are His words to us as well, no matter where we go.
Paul reminds us of this. ”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13. Here we see where our hope comes from, along with our joy and peace. This from a man who was flogged, beaten, shipwrecked and stoned and left for dead. And after the stoning, Paul got up and traveled on to the next town to preach the saving message of Jesus Christ once again. Perhaps Paul knew these words from the Gospel of Mark. ”Jesus looked at them and said, with man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27. Our God is the God of impossible things. He has made a way for us when there was no way. He has given us gifts beyond measure.
The rich young man asked what he needed to do to get into heaven. Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. And the man went away sorrowful because he had much. But God sent His only Son. He was sold for 30 pieces of silver...the price of a common slave. Jesus gave all he had...to the poor. The poor in spirit, the poor who mourn, the poor who are meek, the poor who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the poor who are merciful, the poor who are persecuted for righteousness sake. In other words, Jesus gave all He had to give...to us and for us. And He continues to give even today.
These words of Paul's always make me shake my head in wonder. This man who was so abused as he preached the Good News of Jesus Christ, wrote these words to the church in Corinth. ”So we do not loose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Paul saw his earthly challenges as a slight momentary affliction! I don't know about you but being stoned and left for dead doesn't really seem like a slight momentary affliction. And yet, Paul knew what many of us are learning. There are troubles and struggles. All of us have them, have had them, or will have them. But in the scheme of things they do not last all that long. It just seems like it. And in those struggles and troubles we are drawn closer and closer to our Lord and Savior. He will walk with us. He will uphold us with His mighty right arm. He will give us strength for the journey and peace as we go. It is in Him that we live and move and have our very being.
Because of that, we read these words of Paul's, ”I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. What we do for the Lord is not in vain. He will give us what we need to walk the journey we have been given. And He will give us what we need to complete the task we have before us. He will never leave us or forsake us. We can count on that.
In His grip
Pastor Matt W