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Follow me as I follow Jesus

Monday Morning Munch No. 4 – Encouragement Through the Trials

“Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose…’
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.”
(Isaiah 46:8-11 ESV)

I don’t know what is going on in your walk with the Lord, but as I spoke with brothers and sisters at church yesterday it was apparent that Satan was assailing people with doubt and discouragement through various trials. Even our Sunday School class was about that and it obviously resonated with the majority of the body of Christ. 
When we are attacked by the evil one, seemingly out of the blue, and taken by surprise (even though we aren’t supposed to be surprised, 1 Peter 4:12), our hearts can rest and rejoice knowing God is not taken by surprise. He declares the end from the beginning and His counsel will accomplish everything intended, even if it’s uncomfortable, painful or difficult for us. 
Yesterday’s Morning entry from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening echoed this: 
“God is God; He sees and hears
All our troubles, all our tears.
Soul, forget not, ‘mid thy pains,
God o’er all for ever reigns.”

“Fear not death, nor Satan’s thrusts,
God defends who in Him trusts;
Soul, remember, in thy pains,
God o’er all for ever reigns.”

“For this life’s long night of sadness
He will give us peace and gladness.
Soul, remember, in thy pains, 
God o’er all for ever reigns.”
The Lord does forever reign over all things, not just the good things. Is He the author of evil? Absolutely not, but He still reigns over it because evil was conquered at the cross. 
In the midst of challenging, heart-wrenching situations, our comfort comes in knowing our great God will work each situation for His children’s good, His glory and for the purpose of conforming us to the image of His dear Son. 

Encouragement for the Journey

Here are some verses of encouragement that have helped me over the past few days to not have a victim’s mentality through these attacks, but to see God orchestrating a bigger, greater plan than I could ever conceive in my finite mind. I hope they encourage you in whatever situation you are facing.

“But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:7-8 ESV)

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 ESV) 

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your Word gives me life.” (Psalm 119:50 ESV)

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:7-8 ESV) 

 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)

“All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10 ESV)

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV) 

“The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV) 

This one should really encourage us and propel us to the throne with a heart drenched in gratefulness and humility: 

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:8-10 ESV)

Wow. Whatever we are going through, no matter how hard and painful it may be, our sweet, merciful, gracious Lord is still dealing with us in ways we don’t deserve. 
Thank You, God, for being so gloriously good to Your children. Help us to not be blinded by circumstances around us or look at situations without seeing Your grace in the details, but rather fix our gaze on You and Your holiness. Help us not be consumed with ourselves, our struggles or our pain, but look at Jesus’ example on the road to the cross as He took on the greatest struggle and pain as You turned Your face away from Him to bear our sin and conquer the evil one once and for all. Help us to be encouraged through this light momentary affliction and take advantage of it as a way to proclaim Your name in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation in which we shine as lights holding out Your Word. More than anything, may we glorify You in our response to trials and take comfort in Your abundant steadfast love that endures forever. 
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