I love my job as a preacher and an elder, and every day I truly thank God for the fact that I can be used by him to do what I can to help others to know God better and to know His Son, Jesus. If I had life to do over again, I would preach again, and strive to do a better job than I have in the past. Thankfully, I have a loving congregation that has been patient with me, and I appreciate this more than you know.
In the course of this week, I have had the opportunity to talk with three of my brothers and sisters in Christ here at South Cobb. As I talked with them I have seen the burdens that they have on their heart. One is facing surgery soon for cancer; another faces the possibility of a diagnosis of cancer. Yet others have struggled with difficulties and struggles with ongoing cancer. You never hear them complain; they are worship with the church with smiles on their face and songs in their hearts. Others here are dealing with daily sickness and striving to get better; yet others struggle with the “joys” of growing older and being reminded daily of all of their aches and pains.
Couple this with the fact that, lately, there has been on my mind and heart the struggles families in this congregation are dealing with financially, emotionally and spiritually. My heart goes out to the husbands, wives and children of this church who are struggling with these family problems – and what their beliefs about God and His Son are. Will these precious souls remain faithful to God, or will Satan win?
God’s word has the power to deal with all of these things. It brings hope and comfort to those who are facing the burdens of life and are getting them down. May I suggest these things for all of us to study as we all face these burdens of life:
Psalms 23 – a passage read at funerals, that tells us that when we walk through the “valley of the shadow of death, we should fear no evil, for God is with us.”
Matthew 6 – Jesus talks about discipleship and how we must be better than the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20); but he really keys in on worry and fear in Matthew 6:25-34. He emphasizes that we cannot, by worry, add one cubit to our stature, or worry about food to eat or clothes to wear. We must do what we can, but we must have faith in God for all that we can’t.
Philippians – the entire book stresses the fact that we can rejoice in all of our troubles. Paul emphasizes that life is short, and he would not mind his own passing so that he could be with Christ (Philippians 1:20-23). He kept his mind focused on eternity. (Without doubt, this is what every Christian needs to do daily – think eternally!) God has designed men for fellowship with him, and he sent his Son to save us so we can have that eternal fellowship. Sometimes we get to attached to things here – beloved, we need to think eternally. In Philippians 4 Paul states that he knows how to be humbled and how to abound. He has learned to be content with the things of this life, as well as its sufferings, and he knows that he can get through it all with Christ (Philippians 4:13). We can as well.
Hebrews tells us that it is worth it to be faithful to the Lord. While many Christians were giving up their faith to return to Judaism and the world, the writer encourages faithfulness in light of the fact that everything is “better” in Christ. As he winds down the book, he stresses what other passages has stressed, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with what you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6, the Hebrew writer quoting from Deuteronomy 31:6 and Psalms 27:1). It is interesting that the Hebrew writer quoted from the Old Testament for these things, emphasizing that these things can be used by any generation and by all people.
We need encouragement in this walk of life; God gives us His word to guide us, and brothers and sisters to encourage us. We all face