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With You

This past weekend as my girlfriend and I were leaving church for the 45 minute drive to Monmouth, a warning came over the radio. There were tornado watches in our county as well as all of the counties surrounding ours. She asked if we should turn back. Looking out the window, however, I noticed a rainbow in a blue sky. “Let’s keep going, but take a moment to remember God’s promise.” We continued.

Before long we heard another radio broadcast, this time informing us that there had been a tornado touchdown leaving massive destruction in its wake. After hearing this, we decided to pray for those affected by the damage. Yet before we could even finish our prayers the clouds opened and we found ourselves driving through blinding rain, hail, lightning, and winds. A semi was forced off the road. The car was only moving 20mph in a 65mph zone. We rounded a corner and found a truck completely engulfed in flames. My girlfriend started praying frantically for God to get us to Monmouth safely. The radio had no reception. We didn’t know what weather was still coming. We didn’t know how safe we were. The rainbow we had seen, the proof of God’s promise, seemed like the farthest thing away at that moment.

And then, for just a moment, the radio broke through. Love & the Outcome’s song “He Is With Us” come flowing through the speakers, but only long enough to get a few lines through. But for those few seconds the radio blasted the lyrics, “He is with us, He is with us – Always, Always, He is with us, He is with us, Our God is with us.” And then I started laughing.

I wasn’t laughing because I had finally snapped. The storm had not made me crack up in a fearful panic. I was laughing for joy – joy that our God was with us. He had heard our prayers. Though we were frightened and unsure about the future, God came down and whispered through the radio, “I Am with you.”

In the darkest, scariest moments of life, God is there. He does not leave when the road is tough or the path is hard to see. When the rain comes, and calamity strikes, God remains steadfast. Though the winds blow against you, and destruction looms on every side, God stands by your side. Do not get so caught up in the chaos of the moment that you forget about the peace that God offers.

It can be hard to find it. The wind and rain did not make it easy to hear past the radio static. The lightning and fire did not make it simple to stay calm. But when you put your hope in God’s hands and trust Him, He will rush in to deliver you. And, true to His promise, He will be with you until the end of the age.

Read it for yourself: Matthew 28:16-20, Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 139

Trusted by God

Serving God is hard.

Whether you pastor a small country church, lead a mega-church, travel for missions, play worship, or simply tell a friend about God, serving God is never easy. It might bring joy, but it always costs.

Often, the cost can dampen even the brightest fire for God. When someone complains about the message that was given or the way a song was sang, feelings get hurt. Low attendance can humble the greatest confidence, and rejection can make it easy for someone to stop sharing the Gospel. Even in the greatest ministries, one failure can be enough to make people lose hope.

We know what we are supposed to do when we get discouraged. Call on God! Put your trust in Him! Believe that He has a plan for you! These are all great things to do, and anyone in a situation of despair should do them – but they do not bring encouragement. Waiting for God to answer one’s call tries the patience. Believing that God has a plan for you grants a future hope, but does nothing to assuage the present anxiety. We are not worthy or able to complete the task, so we must wait nervously and impatiently for God to come and lift us up.

But God sees things differently.

You ARE able and worthy to fulfill the duties that God has given you. You are in the position that you are in now because for a reason. God did not elevate you to a position of leadership so that He could embarrass or discourage you – He placed you there so that you could excel and bring Him glory! God gave you this opportunity because no one else could do it like you can. He has made you with a purpose, and He has entrusted you with the reputation of His Church. God’s hope for the Church is in you. He considers you trustworthy.

So, next time you begin to feel worthless or lost in your service to God, remember:
God believes in you.

He has placed you according to your abilities.
He considers you worthy of His name.
God trusts you.

Read it yourself: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Wall-Destroying God

“When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.”
Joshua 6:20

Entering into the Promised Land wasn’t an easy task for the Israelites.

They had to bury the man who led them out of Egypt and gave them hope for something better.
They took a step of faith and walked through the Jordan River, trusting God would get them through on dry ground.
They took flint knives and had to circumcise every male in their group.
They had to change from being nomads wandering the desert to warriors taking cities.
They had to scope out the land and come up with a plan to drive out the current occupants.

It was a painful, exciting, nerve-wracking experience.

Then they came to the city of Jericho.

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He has Overcome

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

I love Christ’s bluntness.

After explaining one of His parables, promising restoration, and telling His disciples that God will give them anything they ask for in His name, something we all like to hear, He drops a bomb.

In this world, you will have trouble.

It was something the disciples didn’t want to hear.

They believed their Messiah was going to give them an easy life. They expected Him to show up, overthrow their Roman oppressors with their taxes and laws and persecution, and restore Israel to its former glory. They had visions of being His right-hand men, helping to rule and reign in this new kingdom, while enjoying the financial benefits of knowing the man in charge. Not to mention, Jesus just promised they would be given anything they asked for.

Following Christ was going to guarantee them an easy life.

We tend to believe the same.

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