Discouragement

Not Sure What to Do?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

This implies that God is always present with us, is willing to be consulted by us, and will surely attend to us.

This implies that our way is likely to be difficult, dark, and perplexing; a way in which we have never traveled before, and in which we are likely to be misled.

This implies that only way to be safe, to walk securely--is to seek Divine direction; and this God is willing to give--but He will have us ask it of Him. We are dependents--and we must realize our dependence. We are but children--and we must feel it, and act as under the impression of it.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him."

You have His Word--consult it; make it your counselor, your directory and your guide.

You have His promise--believe it; He says, "I will teach you and instruct you in the way which you shall go, I will guide you with My eye."

Are You Taking Advantage of Kingdom Synergy?

Historically, no outpouring of God has lasted very long apart from intentional Kingdom Synergy. What is "synergy?" Synergy happens when two or more entities decide to join their visions for the purpose of an agreed upon outcome. They realize that doing this greatly enhances the outcome they could ever achieve alone.

Many places in the New Testament, believers were instructed to be of one mind and heart. As a matter of fact they were told to do nothing but pray together in the Upper Room until they came into oneness-'Kingdom Synergy'.

After His death, he (Jesus) presented Himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, He talked to them about things concerning the Kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together He told them they were on no account to leave Jerusalem, but must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon. Acts 1:3-5, Msg.

If you can be patient with me for a moment, I'll share a bit of "Ron's" (loosely held) theology. My experience is my experience. I'm not saying any one has to agree with or mirror mine.

Hold Fast !

Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. Revelation 2:25


Jesus asked, "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8 Sometimes, as we look around us, we wonder if He will. There are so many - individuals, congregations, denominations - who haven't held fast anything, but have piece by piece or wholesale given away the most precious truths in the universe, exchanging the Word of God for a bowl of weak, watery, unsatisfying something.

Jesus has called us to hold fast what we have. We don't know everything about God's will, His plan, His purpose, or His activity, but what we do know, we are to cling to. We have His Word - I could reach out my hand from my chair right now, and touch or pick up 15 separate copies of the Bible, plus what's on my computer - and we are to hold fast to it. And this isn't merely the physical printed Book. As wonderful as it is to be able to own 15 copies of the Bible (there are places in the world where a single copy, or a single book of the Bible, has to suffice for an entire congregation), it's not enough to own them, or even read and study them. Someone who's drowning in Bibles, yet lets what it says slip through the fingers of his mind as water slips through the fingers of his hands, might as well never have seen a Bible in his life.

Do You Have Tenacious Resolve?

A dear friend and brother gave me a medallion to remind me of "tenacious resolve". It has the words "finish strong" inscribed on it. I keep it in a place where I will see it often. I don't know about you, but I need reminders. God is great about giving us sign-posts and reminders. There are always little, and even big reminders along life's path---they are there to show us that he is still our strongest encourager.

Here is one of my favorite "tenacious resolve" Scriptures:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. So we are not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Msg

We are prone to loosing heart and giving up without this level of regular encouragement. It's bad enough without negative reporters, naysayers, critics, and discouragers. They seem to abound the harder circumstances become. Which am I-a spiritual cheerleader or "frump grump"? Never heard of a "frump grump"? They only prognosticate on how much worse it's going to get.

So, what do we do with all the evidence of things seeming to fall apart around us? First, resolve not to ever give up! It's just not an option. With that "tenacious resolve" you will not lose heart. Once you lose heart-it is easy to become overwhelmed to the point of seeing only the negative and missing all the positive signs around you.

The Reservoir of Christ in Me

The longer I walk with Jesus; my Elder Brother, Lord and Savior, the more I need strengthening from the inside out! "Out of our innermost being flows the river of life." This flow of life is more than abundant and it is always and only experienced from the inside out. And it always has its origin and power in the reservoir of Christ in me! So why do I seem to persist in my veiled attempt at living from the outside in?

16I desire for you to realize what the Father has given you from His own limitless resources, so that you may be dynamically reinforced in your inner being by the Spirit of God.

17 This will impact your faith with capacity to fully grasp the reality of the indwelling Christ. You are rooted and founded in Love. Love is your invisible inner source just like the root system of a tree and the foundation of a building. (The dimension of your inner person exceeds any other measure that could possibly define you.)

18 This is your reservoir of super human strength which causes you as saints to collectively grasp (come to terms with, make one’s own) the limitless extent of His love in breadth, in length, in height (rank), and the extremities of its depths.

Why doesn't God seem to answer my prayers?

Why doesn't God seem to answer my prayers?

Often quoted is Psalm 37:4b, "and he will give you the desires of your heart." This portion of the Scripture is often used to say that God will give you what you ask for. However, the first part of this verse-often unquoted-provides the true meaning behind it. Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will grant you the desires of your heart."

If you are taking pleasure in the things of God, and you want for yourself no more and no less than God's will for you, then you can be confident that He will grant you your desires. But, when you mix your own desires and self-made plans into your prayers, God may not answer the way that you thought you wanted Him to. James 4:3 says, When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

When You Feel Like Giving Up - Hang in There

There are times (though they are fleeting) that I feel like giving up on everything and everybody. That includes me and even God. Thankfully Heavenly Papa doesn't take me seriously. And neither does He issue me a citation for going too far out of bounds from His Watch Care, Grace and Love. David said,

If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon,
you'd find me in a minute - you're already there waiting!
Psalm 139: 8-9, The Message

I ne'er could plumb the depths of Love

I ne'er could plumb the depths of Love
Though oft engaged in cloistered prayer
It seemed some nether-fisted glove
Would quash all missives offered there.

Books aligned every wall
Pen and inkstand newly filled
Parchment waiting, pristine, called
But nought invigored sluggard quill.

Casement oped to garden path
Fragrance pouring sweet surround
Merging steamy sassafras
Senses piqued, muse stayed bound.

Mantras from a host of saints
Tiptoed through my idylled mind
Casting seeds like golden grain
Fertile fields, nought a vine.

'Til one day a child at play
Laughed at flitting butterfly
I let my world of letters lay
Breathed in the air, imbibed the sky.

Are You a Ragamuffin in Need of Grace?

Brennan Manning loved to refer to the Gospel as the Ragamuffin Gospel. I always liked that! Why? I didn't come to Jesus with any piety or with the veil of religious performance. I was completely surprised when I encountered Jesus. He was totally other than my immature image of Him! And I had hit "my" bottom as a drug addicted Hippie. My home was the streets.

Jesus took me in through the love and hospitality of two of His Ragamuffin Saints. And He immediately sensitized me to the realities of being drawn into Him. He threw out the welcome mat to my heart to be at home in Him. I had no theology. Not even the slightest pretense of having a clue about my life "purpose" or "worth." I was entirely "clueless!"

Brennan Manning eloquently communicated the Gospel of Grace without even a hit hint of religious pride. And he never wavered or compromised it. Instead; he was faithful to the message of grace through his own personal struggles, failures and shortcomings. The following quote succinctly captures the essence of Brennan's life message!

I trust in Jesus for my salvation, but why do I still struggle with sin?

I trust in Jesus for my salvation, but why do I still struggle with sin?

After receiving e-mails from thousands of people over the years, we've concluded that all believers have to struggle to maintain their faith. Some folks have to struggle more than others, but generally everyone has some level of difficulty.

It's the people who have no guilt or realization of their eternal state who make the Christian walk seem all the more difficult. Show me a believer who says, "I never have to worry about backsliding," and I will show you someone who is already deep into apostasy. We're all running in a race, and God doesn't care how many times we stumble. The only thing He cares about is who makes it to the finish line.

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