Anchors of Hope in Difficult Times
March 5, 2018
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I have heard from so many people lately who are struggling and dealing with issues ranging from marriage to health, work to family, finances to variety of other challenges.
No matter the trial or storm, I want you to know that God has not left you, nor has He forsaken you. The grace that saved you is the grace that will sustain you.
Here are 10 encouragements to cling to during difficult times:
1.) Look to God. He is the Author of life. In our trials, may we adopt the same mindset as the psalmist who wrote in Psalm 121:1-3, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber…” Take comfort in these true and faithful words.
2.) Seek wisdom from the Bible. There is a goldmine of wisdom and encouragement in Scriptures. People will search for knowledge from motivational speakers, new age teachers, videos, Internet memes, and even pithy statements on the end of a tea bag! But nothing compares to the truth that is found in the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” And Psalm 119:97 declares, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Do you love the Bible? Are you meditating on God’s Word all day long?
3.) Stay in church and Life Group. The church is your family of like-minded believers. No church is perfect, but the bond of fellowship among followers of Christ is one of the things that sustains us during hard times. When we wander away from the flock and try to go through life alone, we are easy pickings for the enemy. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
4.) Pray, pray…and then pray some more. Ask God to intervene in your situation. Oftentimes people ask me, “How do I know what God’s will is?” First Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us clearly: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
5.) Seek godly counsel. Wisdom can be found in the voice of those who have walked faithfully with the Lord. Psalm 1:1 (New Living Translation) puts it this way, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.”
6.) Don’t allow sin into your life. Don’t compromise just because you are going through a rough time. You may face all kinds of temptations to cut corners, damage your integrity, seek dishonest gain, or do things in your own power. But Psalm 66:18 reveals, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…”
7.) Listen to Christian music. Just about every city in the country has a Christian radio station. Find out what yours is—or make your own playlist on a music app with your favorite worship songs. It will lift your spirit and give you strength.
8.) Focus on getting through today…and don’t look at yesterday’s difficulties. Recently I shared a meme on social media that read, “Don’t ruin a good today by thinking about a bad yesterday. Let it go.” This is so true! Are you looking forward or backwards today? Jesus said in Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
9.) Don’t stop treating people around you with respect. Just because we are going through a tough time does not mean we have the right to be mean to others. Jesus gave us the Golden Rule in Luke 6:31, and it is important to live by this principle in good times and in bad: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
10.) Trust in the leading of the Spirit of God that is within you. Jesus promised believers the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this is how He described him in John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” God will lead you in all righteousness no matter the season.
Pastor Dudley Rutherford is the author of Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith and the senior pastor of Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, California, which has campuses in Agua Dulce, West Los Angeles, and the West Valley. You can connect with Dudley at www.LiftUpJesus.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram