I have been reading “Everyday a Friday” by Joel Osteen. In fact, I must be going through the book my fourth time. In the book Joel provides an inspiring story of Mordecai “three-finger” Brown. He sustained damage in his youth to his fingers on his throwing hand. He turned this setback into his advantage. This brings to mind the story of Joseph, shortly after his father Jacob died:
Joseph Reassures His Brothers
14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. 16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
Many times we look at a setback, a situation that we are facing and have fear and become discouraged. When times like this come, let’s remember to keep serving God in faith. Let’s remember that God allows everything for a purpose. That at times we may feel disadvantaged when God doesn’t see a disadvantage, He knows that we are equipped and able to achieve His vision. Mordecai Brown had it in his heart to play baseball. He didn’t allow a setback to discourage him and loose his dream. Joseph had many setbacks in his life, but always remained in faith. Let us too remain in faith and know that God is in control. Let’s focus on His vision for us and not let anything take away our hope or joy.
If you want to read more about Mordecai Brown here is a link.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
Our God is all seeing and all knowing, and He is with us at this moment. Sometimes we may not feel that way, but yes He is with us. The evil one wants to make us feel alone, forgotten, forsaken. Let’s not fall into his trap. Let’s remember and keep alive the saving power of the Lord in our life. Let’s continue to reach out to Him. He is our great God, our deliver and our Savior. I love what it says in Job.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; You will remove iniquity far from your tents. 24 Then you will lay your gold in the dust, And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks. 25 Yes, the Almighty will be your gold[a] And your precious silver; 26 For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, And lift up your face to God. 27 You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you, And you will pay your vows. 28 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. 29 When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person. 30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”
This describes what our great God will do! We only need to turn to Him and seek his path of righteousness. The evil one wants to cast us down, he wants to make us feel that there is no hope, no future. But the future for us is bright and secure. Remember the three boys who were cast into the furnace. They had sustaining faith that saw them through their difficult trial. The King presented them with a challenge. Were they going to serve our Lord God, or bow down to an idol?
12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.” 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
They had a high position working for the King. They had power and comfort, a good life in comparison to many. They could have maintained this life with one simple act, bow down to the golden idol. They did not forget their belief in God, that the Almighty was their gold! They had been in difficult times before and chose to serve God. He sustained them. Now they needed to have sustaining faith! They had no assurances as to how this would turn out, yet they placed themselves into the hand of the Almighty. Here is what they said:
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
We know that these boys were delivered from the furnace. However, even if they had not been delivered from the physical pain and death, they still would have been delivered for their eternal life. We need only look at the example of Jesus who endured suffering and pain and now sits at the right hand of God. God’s purpose for Christ was not to dwell any longer on the earth. God’s purpose for the three boys however, was still on the earth. He used an impossible situation to glorify His name. Their test became a testimony! We are still here; God is not finished with us yet. He has a purpose for us, a path of blessing and prosperity.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Let’s follow the example of these three boys and put our trust in God even though we do not know how it is going to work out. Let’s activate our sustaining faith! Even though the knowledge and wisdom of the earth from the evil one says there is no hope. Let’s hold on to the knowledge and wisdom of our God!
26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Our God is with us right now at this moment. He is leading us down a path of greatness and brightness. When it becomes really difficult, He even carries us. He will never give up on us or leave us.
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Scenes from his life flashed across the sky
and he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life had flashed before him,
he recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
Dismayed, he asked, “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
I don’t understand why, when I needed you most,
you would leave me.”
The Lord replied, “My precious child.
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering
when you saw only one set of footprints…
That was when I carried you.”
– Footprints in the Sand
When we start to feel alone or forgotten, that there is no hope, let’s reach out to the Lord even more. Let’s activate our sustaining faith and declare His promises over our life. Let’s put away our thoughts and ideas and put our full trust in Him. Let Him carry and take us to where we need to be. We can be assured that the place He takes us will be a place of brightness, prosperity and blessing!
This is a great article on how to encourage someone who is unemployed.
Often during a job search we can become discouraged. Maybe we came in second for the job we were hoping for after a long interview process. Maybe we talk to person after person and we get no breaks, it may look like we are just treading water. Maybe we apply for position after position and get no response. Of course we have to make sure our resume is in good order and our interview skills are as good as they can be, etc. But what if we have done all we can and still nothing happens. At times like these let’s remember that our God, the one who created the heavens, the earth, and the stars in the sky is still reigning on the throne. He is still leading us to victory. It says in Philippians 4:19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Our God will supply the job we need; He will see us through every test. We just need to remain in joy and faith knowing that our God is with us.
On the people of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land, they also became discouraged. Numbers 21:4-5 says, “4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” God was still leading them. At this point, they had witnessed many of the miracles of God. They had been sustained to this point, yet they became discouraged because the way was difficult and things were taking longer than expected.
When we feel discouragement coming, let’s not allow it to take hold of us. Let’s remember that God has not left us, He is with us in this test. Let us remember what Paul said in Galatians 6:9, “9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Let us remember that on the other side of this discouragement is the Promised Land. On the other side of this test is our promotion. Let’s lift up our heads to God as it says in Psalm 24:4-7, “4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.” This promise is our through Christ!
God has a plan, a vision, and a future for us. If not, we would not be on the earth still. It says in Jeremiah 29:11-13, “11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Maybe we do not know what the plan or vision is. Let’s declare to God that we know he has a plan for us, we know he has a future and thank him for this. Let’s thank him that we are the head and not the tail and that He is leading us to the job that is ours! Remember what Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”