The OT prophets had it pretty rough. They faced rebuke and persecution from all sides, especially when their message was the total opposite of what the people wanted to hear. So where did this boldness come from? How were these mild-mannered, many times even timid men able to stand before Kings and High Priests proclaiming God’s Word? It was the Holy Spirit within, enabling them to go boldly into battle for the Lord. Are you brave enough to pray the prayer the Apostles did in Acts 4:29? ” Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.” Boldness empowered by the Holy Spirit will change your perception. For you’ll no longer have your limited vision, but God’s.
I urge you to read this Psalm sometime today…for within the 43 verses, you’ll see yourself portrayed somewhere. For this passage tells of those who wander and are lost. It tells of being in desperate situations…places that invoke feelings of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. There are the lost – those who are wandering alone in the wilderness. There are the guilty – those who are slaves to sin and full of shame and self-loathing. There are the fools – godless ones being deceived by the world. Finally, there are the tossed – those who have been battered by life’s storms. But in all these situations, when they cried out to God for help, He answered. So despite what you’re going through today… God is there, ready and willing to help you.
You can ask my husband, I intentionally engage checkout clerks, wait staff and anyone else who may be helping me. I am polite and courteous, asking how their day is going and allowing them to talk. I ask thoughtful questions and encourage them with kind-hearted words. The other day I was speaking to a sleepy looking cashier at a large retail store…come to find out he had worked until 1am and was back again at 4am for his next shift. Sadly, we become so focused on our own agenda…our own needs…our own impatience – that we totally forget that it’s another human being standing in front of us, with their own story. I challenge you this holiday season to give a kind word to all those assisting you…for you don’t know how it may cheer them up.
As a Believer, you have been given the Spirit of adoption and strength. No longer are you an orphan, fearful of tomorrow. No longer are you a slave to anxiety or dread, for you have been embraced by your Heavenly Father…taken in as family and becoming a joint heir with Jesus.
In most households, it’s either a mother or grandmother who’s the glue that holds the family together. They’re in charge of holiday dinners and celebrations, complete with all the family favorites and traditional foods passed down from generation to generation. But when they pass, many customs and practices can cease, unless the younger ones are willing to take up the mantle and carry on. Are you your family’s glue? You’re building your legacy with your own hands…strengthening and uniting your household and extended family into one. Keep up the good job!
Anytime sacrificial giving is mentioned, people get real antsy. It’s not that we don’t want to give to Kingdom work…it’s just that we’re selfish. Now you’re probably thinking I’m talking about money…No, I’m not! I’m talking about something far more valuable to you than money…it’s your time. We’ll happily give to charitable organizations, relief funds, and soup kitchens…but ask us to volunteer our time and that’s a different story. It says in II Corinthians 8:12, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” God wants you, not your money…He wants you to volunteer rather than just donate to the cause…He wants you to give sacrificially of your most valuable resource…yourself.
The Lord would like you to know that you are loved. You are valued and precious in His sight. Regardless of where you come from…how notorious your background may be, or how far you’ve walked away from Him…Jesus loves you. You may say to yourself, “No one can love me…I’m too bad of a person.” But you don’t know the Lord, and if you would just take a peek into His Word, you’d see that all of Scripture is a love letter to you. It’s written just for you, to encourage and exhort…to strengthen and establish and allow you to become the very best person you can be. By His wonderful grace – God’s loving kindness towards you – there is the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation back to your Heavenly Father. There’s no need to walk out this life alone with feelings of isolation and loneliness…Jesus loves you, just as you are, right where you are today.