“Place all your troubles on the Lord, for he will help you to keep going – he will not allow those who honour him to fall” (Psalm 55:22). How many times have you fallen? How many knocks in life have you had? Maybe this pandemic has made you look long and hard at what has or is happening in your life. Jeremiah says this “the Lord himself helps all whose way is pleasing to him to take firm steps. Although they may falter, they will not fall, for the Lord’s hand will keep hold of them.” (Jer. 10:23). Even when we feel let down ask God to lead you in paths of peace and into His presence and stay a while and talk to Him.
How many times have you heard the expression “use it or lose it”? God has given each one of us gifts and if we don’t use them – we’ll lose them. Many years ago I went to a Housing Conference and the guest speaker had written a book about motivation. It had a title something like “My Fire’s Gone Out” somewhere I’ve got a signed copy of the book but as this guy was speaking I was writing notes and thinking about me as a Christian. Had my fire gone out? Was I still as passionate as I used to be? To keep the fire burning you have to keep stoking it otherwise it will die.
Paul wrote to Timothy and he said this “ for this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power, love and self-discipline”
Fan into flame in this context means to keep our spiritual gifts alive.
I preached about prayer life and do we do it with the right reasons and motives.
Today I want to talk about giving. A widow offered two small coins. When he looked up he saw wealthy people putting their gifts into the treasury. He said "this poor widow has put in more than all the others for they have contributed out of their plenty, but she, despite her poverty has put in everything she had to live on." That story is found in Luke 21:1-4.
How do you give? Is yours an offering like hers or a donation? When I bless the offertory I always ask God to bless those who placed their contribution in the basket and those who will make theirs through their bank accounts. But I always ask God to accept the offering of ourselves. We can all offer those free gifts of love and time to others. Don't do it half heartedly or grudgingly but like that widow offer your all.
In my display cabinet I have a cross. It is made of glass and has these words inscribed on it:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr(1892–1971).
Serenity is another word for peace. Where do we find this peace? Peace comes from trusting in God. Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you”
In Paul’s letter to the Romans he recounts all the effects of God’s goodness toward us. We are forgiven, strengthened by His Spirit, and granted wisdom and hope. We are promised the prayers of Jesus Christ for our needs and the assurance of eternal life. He asked a question and wrote “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? (Rom. 8:31-32).
We continually encounter hardships. Look at the situation with this pandemic. But God is constant and compassionate. At times we feel hurt and alone but God assures us that he cares. We feel anger and resentment but God provides wisdom and strength. May he give us ears to hear, hearts to trust and minds to rest in Him.