Monthly Archives: February 2018

The End of Me

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . .”  Charles Dickens penned these words in the first chapter of A Tale of Two Cities.  Do you feel like you are in the “worst of times?”  It is easy to adopt a pessimistic view of the world.  Anyone that watches the news for more than a moment may feel overwhelmed and hopeless.  It seems as though bad things are happening all around us.  What do we do in the worst times of our lives?  Is there something that keeps us going?  Maybe you are in one of those situations right now.  There is hope.

During these hardest times, God is with us and he has something for us.  If you feel like you are ready to give up, I want you to know that you are in good company.  Even Paul had a moment, when everything seemed to come crashing in, and he felt like giving up.  He writes in 2 Corinthians 1:8, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”  Did you catch that?  Even Paul, the Apostle that penned 13 letters in the New Testament was in despair.  Paul came to the end of himself.

Some of you have used the words, “I can’t go on . . .” or “I just can’t take this anymore . . .”  You feel as though you have nothing left in you to keep going.  In the midst of Paul’s struggle he found a great truth.  Verse 9 says, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”  When Paul came to the end of his own strength, he realized that he needed to rely on God.  Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song that contained these words, “His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.  He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.”  This is the same message that Paul shares with the Corinthians.

If you find yourself in this situation, maybe it is time to lean into God.  Paul set his eyes on Christ and saw the hope that he had.  This made his despair disappear.  His problems didn’t go away, but they faded in the glory of God.  Paul learned to rely on God during the hardest times of his life.  Are you relying on God?  His strength is perfect.  Lean into him and he will see you through.

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Posted by on February 18, 2018 in 2 Corinthians, Monitor Articles


When The Going Gets Tough . . .

Sometimes things are overwhelming.  I’m am not talking about a busy schedule; I am talking about those things that happen when it seems like hope is lost. These moments are hard, and we tend to ask the question, “where is God?”  There is a simple answer to this question – He is right there with you.

We need look no farther than the account of Joseph in Genesis.  At times, things were pretty rough and overwhelming in Joseph’s life.  Where was God when Joseph’s brothers threw him into the pit?  Where was God when Joseph was sold into slavery?  Where was he when Joseph was falsely accused of an attempted rape?  Where was God as Joseph was innocently thrown in prison and then forgotten about?  Where was God?  Acts 7:9 tells us, “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him.”

We live in a Genesis 3 world.  This means that everything around us is corrupted and tarnished by sin.  Evil takes place all around us because mankind rebels against the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, God.  Jesus told the disciples that they would have trouble in this world, but they were not to fear because he had overcome the world (John 16:33).

Are things overwhelming?  I want to encourage you to have hope.  I am not speaking of hope as if it is wishful thinking; I am talking about an anticipated certainty.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 tells us, “For this light 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. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Don’t lose heart.  I cannot promise you that your current situation will change, but I can promise you that if you lean into God and the truth of his love you will find hope.  This is because our momentary affliction is nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.  Our circumstances do not change God’s love and purpose for our lives. We trust in God’s plan and we faithfully proclaim with Joseph that what is meant for evil, God intends for good (Gen. 50:30).

Our hope is in the Lord.  By the work of the Holy Spirit, through the redemption of Christ, God is bringing us to a place where his presence will be uninterrupted by sin.  Don’t let the current circumstances lose sight of your hope in Christ.  Remember that God is with you, even when you don’t see Him or feel Him.


A Lesson on Prayer

Many of you have never met my youngest son, Levi.  Levi is 6 years old and has a rare condition called Tetrasomy 9p.  It is a rare genetic disorder and according to the National Organization of Rare Disorders, only about 30 cases had been reported in medical literature as of 2001.  When people meet Levi, most understand there is something different about him.  The most telling feature is that is verbal language is very limited.  People do not understand why he doesn’t speak back to them; it is because he cannot.  His main form of communication is sign language and he knows about 230 words.  He understands a lot more, but his communication is hindered.

Levi is my son and a gift from God.  He is a blessing and there are things I have learned from our journey.  One lesson is how much our heavenly father longs to hear from his children.  It was December of 2015, and the age of 5, when I first heard Levi say, “Dada.”  There was an overflow of joy that is beyond description.  He knew me, I knew him, but it was a whole new experience when he was able to cry out to me.  He could call to me and get my attention, he could verbally acknowledge me as his father, and he could tell others who I am.  This is part of the message of Romans 8:14-15, “ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ “

When we come to know God, through Christ we are able to call on God as a Father, we can call and he gives us his attention, and we have the ability to tell others who He truly is.  It is an amazing gift to us, but it is something that God desires!  He desires to hear the voice of his children initially and continually.  The way this happens is through prayer.

I long for him to be able to tell me what is wrong, what he is thinking, and what happened throughout his day.  As our Father, God desires these same things from his children.  Time does not permit me to provide multiple Scripture references, but know that God delights in communicating with his children.  Proverbs 15:8 tells us “. . . God delights in the prayers of the upright . . .” Will you talk to him today?  God desires you to hear from him, but he also wants to hear from you.

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Posted by on February 6, 2018 in Monitor Articles, Romans