Life is full of challenges but one of the most difficult times we face is when the bottom falls out and you wonder how you’re going to keep going. It’s easy for people to think, “I just can’t go on.”
But you can.
After all, everyone has trials. Even the big names of the faith whose stories we read in the Bible often struggle.
For Instance, the Apostle Paul found himself alone at the end of an incredible career. He was a prolific church planter. He wrote about 1/2 of the New Testament. But he came to the end of his life alone & discouraged.
How did he respond? The key for him was the presence of the Lord.
Even David in Psalm 23 talks about this when he experienced his deepest, darkest times. He, too, was reassured by the presence of the Lord. His hope is expressed in the phrase, “You are with me.”
It’s life changing to know God is there. He is present in your life.
You may still go through the valleys, but when you have the assurance that God is there, that will make all the difference.
God is with you. You are not alone. The Creator of the Universe is by your side.
What does that look like for you?
Well, you may need to make some adjustments to give God a place in your life. You may need to find a good local church and start attending regularly. You may need to get on a Bible reading plan. You may need to make prayer a part of your thought processes throughout your every day.
You don’t have to become a spiritual giant overnight. But you do have to take some steps to take care of your inner self and give God room so He can be right there with you.
And that will make all the difference.
Perhaps you have a little down time over the next few days now that Christmas is over. This is a good opportunity to read some inspirational stories or biographies. I can recommend several that you may find hard to put down once you begin. The following people have incredible stories that have impacted me, so I want to share my list:
John Wesley – the founder of Methodism in the 1700’s and one of the most influential people in all of Christianity.
John Newton – a former slave trader who converted to Christianity and is best known for writing the hymn Amazing Grace. His ministry was in the late 1700’s.
Adoniram Judson – an American missionary to the country of Burma in the early 1800’s. It took him three years to learn the language, and converts were slow in coming. Lots of fascinating stories.
Hudson Taylor – an incredible story of a man who was totally committed to ministering to the Chinese culture. He spent over fifty years as a missionary in China. Keep in mind what life might have been like during that time period.
George Muller – one of the most inspirational stories you’ll ever read. He cared for over 10,000 orphans in England without asking for money. You’ll read some amazing answers to prayer.
Bill Bright – perhaps the greatest evangelist outside Billy Graham in the 20th century.
Through Gates of Splendor – This book is about five guys and their wives who went to Equador and lost their lives trying to reach a tribe no one else had been able to approach. Note: You may not be able to put this book down. I read it in one sitting years ago.
That’s enough to keep you busy and is way more entertaining than a movie at the local theater. One of these books could actually change your life, while most movies won’t have that kind of impact.
Choose one and enjoy.
I write this after the first days of the playoffs. Many have predicted that the Cleveland Cavaliers will be in the finals. Time will tell. But you have to win to get there.
In Cleveland’s first game they were humiliated, losing 98-80. It was a lopsided game from start to finish.
Yet Cleveland has Lebron James, who is considered to be the best player in the NBA. Without a doubt he is the King of Basketball.
So why did Cleveland lose?
Simple. No help. Winning is a team effort. You could be the best at what you do, but if you are not getting help from the people around you, it’s a no-win situation.
That’s how it is in sports and in life. Unfortunately, many will never reach their potential because they don’t have the help of others. Which means we all have the opportunity to help someone go further in life.
Today, this week, you can help someone win. Who will it be?
Let’s face it. We all get busy. Too busy. It’s been a while since I wrote my last post. Life has been a little hectic as Carol and I are building our fourth house. And I have finally moved my study into the basement even though it is unfinished. The house is nowhere near complete. But I needed to use my extra time to get the house under roof.
At any rate, I have been busy just like you. Which means that just like you I would like to be able to find simpler ways to do things.
My guess is most believers could not readily identify their spiritual growth plan. While the 7 steps I am offering are not a complete list, this is like Personal Spiritual Growth 101.
But let’s move on to the 7 steps.
That’s it. Not complicated. But you do have to start.
Why not start today?