Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Encouragement: How to develop Confidence?

“For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared." Proverbs 3:26. 

Nothing in this world keeps us moving on but confidence. Yes, but confidence in what? Certainly not in the ever changing world; not in the frailty of human life; nor even in the fast advancing science and technology. But our confidence ought to be in the Lord God, the Creator and Sustainer of all. Amen! 
Let's look into a beautiful illustration of the three-fold meaning of confidence from God's conversation with Joshua many years ago in the history of the Bible. 

1. IT IS THE TRUST IN WHAT GOD HAS PROVED ALREADY: Joshua 1:5.There was perhaps nothing that could have strengthened Joshua's faith in the Lord at that critical time when the leader Moses was no more and a great burden was put on his shoulder. God's working through Moses in the midst of Israel for so many years was a strong and undeniable proof to encourage Joshua to put his trust in the Lord. Similarly, whenever we are faced with seemingly difficult task and are weighed down, we need to recollect and rest on those moments of joy In the past when God proved His faithfulness and we experienced His blessings; then begin afresh from that step on, so that we will have confidence and comfort. Remember, the Lord said"... as I have been with Moses, so I will be with you, I will not fail you or forsake you." Hallelujah! 

2. IT IS THE CONVICTION ABOUT WHAT GOD IS PROMISING: Jos. 1:6. It is not only the past experience of great spiritual upliftments that often encourage us to go on, but also the trustworthy promises of God. The Lord was promising Joshua that he will give the possession of the land to the people of Israel as He swore to their fathers. They waited for this promise for so many years through testings and travails. What a joy that now Joshua would he finally bringing it to pass! There are countless and more promises In the Word of God that belong to His children who are made heirs through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Titus 3: 7). Take holds of and stands upon the promises of God that can never fall and you will have confidence! Amen! 

3. IT IS THE FIRMNESS BASBD ON WHAT GOD CAN PROVIDE Jos. 1:7.In order to be partakers of all that God has and is promising (2 Peter 1:4), one, has to be firm in his devotion and allegiance to the Lord. Joshua was Commanded not to turn either to right or left but to do all according to what God had already commanded in His law. There is no alternative to unconditional and uncompromising obedience to God and His Word for a victorious Christian life. Yes, we are encouraged to hold fast that which is entrusted to us till the end. Heb.3: 6. It is God who provides and rewards hundredfold for all we do to honor Him and His Word at all times. We are also exhorted not to throw away our confidence, Heb.10: 35. Because the Lord is faithful and is able to provide all we need. Phil .4:19. Let that be our confidence! 

"IN QUIETNESS AND CONFIDENCE SHALL BE YOUR STRENGTH". Isaiah 30: 15. 

Be Encouraged.

A.Othniel 

><> Letter # 16 (16. 5. 2009) <>< 

Encouragement: Why Shouldn’t It Happen To You?

“Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). 

ARE WE expecting the Lord to coddle us, to remove all thorns from every rosebush, and all stones from every path? Sometime ago someone poured out a story of grief, loneliness, and heartache, then concluded by asking, “Why should all this happen to me?” I didn’t say what was on my mind at the time, but my first impulse was to answer, “Why shouldn’t it happen to you? It happened to Christ, to all the disciples, and to millions who gave their lives in martyrdom. Are you different? On what grounds would you like to claim exemption?” 

Anyhow, where did we pick up the idea that happiness is the normal lot of humanity, that trouble and grief are intruders? This isn’t the case at all. “Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). How can happiness be looked upon as the norm when sin is so universal in our world, and unhappiness the natural harvest of man’s depravity? Heart-breaking experiences are the lot of all of us, and few arrive at the age of fifty without experiencing the torture of cruel grief, or the blasting of some cherished dream. Jesus said to his disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). Then he added, “But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The tribulation is inevitable, and bound to come to all of us now and then; but overcoming power is available every day and in the face of the sternest need. 

Well, why shouldn’t it happen to me? It happens to others. Am I better than they? Can I claim exemption on some peculiar grounds? Do I think myself worthy of some special exemption from the working out of nature’s laws of cause and effect? The Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die,” so some day I am going to die. How or when I do not know. Is this a tragedy? What attitude should I take toward this dim-but-not-too-distant event? Well, this is the way I face it, and I hope you are doing the same. 
First, I place my life wholly and completely in the hands of God and leave it there. Then I say with Jesus on the cross, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” I am no longer my own, but his. I am his servant, his son, and I know beyond all shadow of doubt that he loves me. I have the promise “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Also, I know that into whatever land I journey, my Lord will go before me. Whatever I face, he will know and be there. Whatever comes, there will be enough grace to sustain me. No matter what the threat, the assurance of his keeping power will uphold me. 

Since Jesus trod the winepress alone, as the Bible puts it, certainly he knows and sympathizes in the lonely isolation of those who are in trouble, those desperately ill or face to face with death. Hasn’t he already taken “the loneliest journey”? He knows what the road is like, how deep the river at the crossing, and what is on the other side. And he whispers, “Because I live, you shall live, also.” 

What a difference there is in the way people face trouble! Some curse, rant, and rave about being treated unjustly; or protest that God doesn’t love them, that he refused to hear their prayer. God owes me nothing; yet I will be unable to face trouble as I should, unless His love abides in my heart, and there is a firm faith in my soul. Parents need to remember this when a wayward son or daughter breaks their hearts. But don’t blame God for the unholy carrying on of an alcoholic husband or a flirtatious wife. The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; yet God, in His infinite love and wisdom, does not see fit to strike dead transgressors who spurn his mercy. So we sometimes have to put up with them right in our family circle, and call upon God with broken hearts for a full measure of His available grace. I’ve watched a good many people wade through the deep and muddy waters of trouble, and none has done well if his heart was clouded with sin, censure, or self-pity. But when one’s trust is fixed solidly in God, He is always there to carry the heavy end of the load. 

Many things happen to us in this life, the reasons for which we cannot now understand. In such a time it is wonderful to be able to trust and hold on to God, to place your life in his capable hands without reservation or explanation, and abide there. We need to go through life neither asking for nor expecting to be spared the hardship, sickness, and disappointments, which come to the family next door. Yet when these things come, we shall be sustained by love, and shall endure through faith. We can’t expect, with our finite minds, to understand everything in this life. God does not see fit to share all of his knowledge with mortals, but saves some revelations of truth, and some explanations of earthly events, till that morning when eternity shall dawn. “Now we see through a glass, darkly;” said Paul, “but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12). 

Of course, the most important thing in life is not, what happens to you, but how you take it, how you use it. And what happens through you. God’s grace is sufficient. You can trust that it will remain true in any emergency life may bring upon you. Paul said, “We glory in tribulations” (Rom. 5:3). Do you? It isn’t easy, but it is better to glory than to shed tears of self-pity or to “curse God and die.” It is better to glory than to despair. It is better to glory than to go down in defeat. 

You can take it! You can take whatever life sends your way, strengthened by the power of God. Hold fast to his promises, be steady and true, and God will bring you out. Paul said, “We both labor and suffer because we trust in the living God” (1 Tim. 4:10). Keep your trust in that living God, even when everything is going wrong. Dare to be true. Dare to be obedient to the heavenly vision, and God will never forsake you. And when you are at last called upon to die, let it not be with whimpering and complaining, or with finding fault with the Lord. Die like a saint! Die in the faith! Die in the Lord! Die in triumph, holding tightly and serenely to God’s unchanging hand. Why shouldn’t it happen to you? 

Be Encouraged.

A.Othniel 

><> Letter # 15 (26. 4. 2009) <><      ><> Many Useful Resources at : www.ctouch.org.in 

Encouragement: You will need time to grieve.

"... a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,...(Eccl 3:3) 

Why some people can never come out of their grief? Recently, I was reading about parents grieving over their only son's death who was murdered in Mumbai City some years ago. They were expressing it so emotionally, saying that their only married daughter now calls them every ten minutes to share in their grief!. There are so many like this who are grieving over the loss of their beloved ones. Some are grieving over the breakdown of relationship and so on. For some it is uncontrollable. Some may never overcome it till their own death. Here are some interesting and comforting observations from real life stories. 

We need to understand that each person’s timetable for healing is different. All loss is not the same loss. All grief is not the same grief. Someone may ask: "How long would it take for the words, ‘Go on with my life,’ to drift through my consciousness?" The answer is, lots of time. Years, maybe. Society wants you to get over it and get on with your life, but God understands the process it will take to heal (Ecclesiastes 3:3).

King David’s grief for his deceased infant child was different than the grief for his grown son Absalom. He seemingly resolved the grief of one loss rather quickly, while the death of Absalom all but took the life out of David. Why? 

God understands that even though we may have buried a loved one, we cannot bury our feelings. We need time to vent—and invent ways of coping with the loss in our lives.

God records in His Word that people in biblical days were in no hurry to rush through the process of grief. 

Neither should you. God helps you to find comfort and peace in the midst of any tragedy or loss, so you can go on with life walling with God in the light of His Word. He heals and binds the broken hearted and sets captives free. He releases the pain and pressure in your life, as you surrender to Him and submit to His perfect plans for your life. He knows what is best for you because He alone knows your future like no one else! Wait on Him to see you through!! 

Be Encouraged.

A.Othniel

><> Letter # 14 (19. 4. 2009) <>< ><>  Many Useful Resources at : www.aothniel.net