Over the next few weeks, leading up to Christmas, we’ll be posting some of our Executive Director’s prayer letters. Phil writes about the times in our lives when we encounter trouble. It happens to all of us in many different ways. Where does our hope come from? Where does our confidence come from in those days? Join us each week as Phil explores this topic.
When you stop and look around at the world it certainly can be discouraging. The morals in our culture are not slowly eroding, they are rapidly evaporating. Violence, court decisions, decisions of national boards, as well as evil men who say “I’m not a monster, I’m just addicted.” It makes you want to crawl in a hole or to want to leave this world.
I also see believers that are going through very, very difficult circumstances. They are financial and health issues, jobs lost, jobs being sought, rebellious children, and marriages that are in turmoil. My prayer list is long and heart wrenching. That is not to say that all is lost, because we know what the ending will be. But it gets tough in the trenches.
What do we say to these things? I read a quote from a Quaker who said, “God, I’m not surprised You have so few friends, because of the way you treat the friends You have.” Or listen to what Martin Luther said in his devotional Faith Alone, “Indeed Psalm 121:4 says, the Guardian of Israel never rests or sleeps. But human reason responds, ‘That’s all fine and good. It even sounds nice. But I’m experiencing the exact opposite. God not only sleeps, He snores! In reality there isn’t a God who takes care of me or watches over me.”
Titus 2:12 says, “Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in the present age.” In my despair I sometimes say “Why?” That is a lot of effort for seemingly little return. When I get that way, I need to preach to myself these essential truths.
- God is the answer. There is no meaning, no perspective, no hope, no joy amidst all the confusion and chaos without Him. Life makes no sense without God.
- We belong to Him. He brought us salvation, He’s adopted us into His family. He has declared us righteous, free from guilt, forgiven, joint heirs with Him. We are no longer condemned or separated – or can be separated – from Him. He freely gives us all things. He redeems us.
- He loves me. How this is understated in Titus 2:14, “He gave Himself for us…He suffered, He endured the cross, He broke through all that Satan could throw at Him. He took on our sin, our rebelliousness. He took on shame, reproach, death, and separation from the Father. Yes, Jesus gave Himself, the Father gave His Son, and the Spirit is still giving – daily into our lives. He loves us. He loves us. He loves us.
As always, I’m so grateful for your fellowship, your prayers, your commitment to this ministry. We are the Body of Christ and we do all things together for Him and by Him. We can’t do it alone. As we face darkness and despair, we have to remind each other of Who our God is.
I’ll pick up this theme in my next newsletter. There are many other reasons why we should pursue Godliness and say “no” to worldly passions. Until then, remember we are loved, we belong to Him, and He is the answer.
In our Lord,