Category Archives: Acts

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.


The Gift and Danger of Memory

Nostalgia is a gift from God because it takes us to a place where we remember the love and grace of God in the past.  I love to visit old general stores, because the things they offer and the smell of the candy take me back to wonderful memories of trips with my grandparents.  This aspect of memory is a gift and it is okay for us to delight in those memories as long as they do not distract us from what God desires us to do now.

Memory of salvation history was important to the Israelites.  In fact, they were told to continually teach the mighty works of God to their children and descendants.  There were times when they failed to do this, but in the days of Jesus, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes knew the accounts of Moses, Abraham, Elijah, and Elijah.  They knew to be looking for a Messiah and that God was going to bring salvation to his people.  We see this in the salvation history of Israel that Stephen shared in Acts 7.

In this passage, Stephen recounted the ways God worked through his people in the Old Testament by reminding them of the great works of God to the Jewish leaders. This group was so focused on how God worked in the past that they could not see God’s hand in the present.  In Acts 7, those listening to the message of Stephen rejected the present gift of God and killed Stephen.

Nostalgia and memory are gifts from God, but just like every good gift, Satan can distort and use it to keep us from experiencing God’s desire in the present and hope for the future.  We are told in Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  This verse specifically speaks of the day Christ will grant salvation through his death, burial, and resurrection.  It is important to note that this was the exact event the Jewish leaders were missing because of reveling in the past.  They delighted in the past to the point they were blinded in the present.

Today is a gift from God designed for you to know him more intimately, but it can be missed because of two things: focusing on the past, or worrying about the future.  Worry is a subject for another time, but know that God has a greater knowledge of himself to reveal to you today.  This idea alone makes today better than any other day.  Don’t let your focus on the past rob you of seeing God’s gift in the present.

This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas on 8/11/16.

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Posted by on August 11, 2016 in Acts, Monitor Articles, Psalms