So done, over it all?

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War, has an interesting history. He enjoyed great success and failure more than once. The man whose gravelly voice kept England’s morale up through the war, was turned out of office the year the war ended. Amazingly, he recovered his political strength and returned to the office of the PM six years later in 1951.  On Oct. 29, 1941, he visited Harrow School, his alma mater, to speak, at a time when the possibility that the Nazis would win the war was very real. His words reflect the spirit of the man: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense?”   

When London was in flames from Nazi bombs and England’s armies were in retreat he called on the British to stand firm. “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.”  History regards Churchill as a great leader in spite of the failures in his life. Why?  Because he stayed consistent, doing his best even through the worst of times.

So many people these days are tired – weary of the endless political bickering, tired of COVID briefings and contradictory advice, exhausted by the cultural shifts that are redefining our nation so quickly. Depression has grown more common in the last year. Abuse of alcohol has increased, too. A majority of Americans report that they have put on some noticeable weight!  All indicators point to one fact – we are stressed.  If you are feeling this way, remember everybody gets discouraged sometime. We get worn down by fatigue, battered by criticism, disillusioned by failure- our own and of those around us, and disheartened.  “Never give in!”

Christian, have you lapsed in faith, setting aside worship, daily meditation, and intake of Scripture?  Are your prayers cold and lifeless, perhaps even non-existent?

Here is the promise of God’s faithfulness and a call to renewal of hope. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV)  The same writer, inspired by the Spirit, tells us to “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” Hebrews 12:2 (The Message)

How can we go steady on, doing the right things, keeping faith?

Take a strategic break. Maybe it is just an hour of diversion, maybe it is a day off, maybe it is a change in routine. On Tuesday, I took the afternoon off and dug in the dirt, sat in the sun, and rested my soul. The ‘break’ was refreshing.

Strengthen your network.  Keep your friendships intact, your family ties strong. Few things do more for the health of our soul and emotions than having people with whom we share life.

Lengthen your perspective.  Look past the problems of the moment, with hope for tomorrow, with faith that includes God’s eternity.  When I was in the depths of grief five years ago following the death of my wife, it seemed that each day would never end, that the wound would never heal.  But, time has healed my heart. Yes, the scar remains, with tenderness, but God has given new life, new challenges, new hope.  

Here is a word from the Word. It is from St. Paul, a man who endured much difficulty and deprivation in his lifetime of ministry. His words have the ring of authenticity.

“I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven…
we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own,
using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.
Dear brothers and sisters, I love you and long to see you, for you are my joy and the reward for my work.

So please stay true to the Lord, my dear friends.” (Philippians 3: 13-14; 20-4:1, NLT)

Never give up!

Graves Into Gardens

I searched the world but it couldn’t fill me
Man’s empty praise and treasures that fade
Are never enough
Then You came along and put me back together
And every desire is now satisfied here in Your love

Oh there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

I’m not afraid to show You my weakness
My failures and flaws
Lord You’ve seen them all
And You still call me friend

‘Cause the God of the mountain
Is the God of the valley
And there’s not a place
Your mercy and grace won’t find me again

You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You’re the only one who can

You turn graves into gardens
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can

Brandon Lake | Chris Brown | Steven Furtick | Tiffany Hudson © 2019 Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

Maverick City Publishing Worldwide (Admin. by Heritage Worship Publishing)

Bethel Music Publishing

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