Ruthie Gray character building, Christian living, encouragement Leave a Comment

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“But I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more.  My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.  I will go in the strength of the Lord God;  I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”  Psalm 71:14-16  (ESV)


     Are you losing hope?  It’s easy to do when you’re barely keeping your head above water.  Just trying to survive in a seemingly hopeless situation can take all of your energy.  You don’t have it in you to even pray one more prayer, let alone anticipate better circumstances.

     My husband is the eternal optimist.  Nothing is a problem – nothing is too hard.  Anything is possible, until proven otherwise.  I’ve watched the man do things with large vehicles and machinery that make my heart faint, and he always comes out smelling like a rose.  The same with any kind of project he thinks up – he will tackle it with gusto and bring things to pass that I never thought possible.

     I tend to limit my world due to small thinking.  I limit God this way as well. 

     Lack of hope can stunt your growth.

     But praise can give you hope.

     That’s why David inserted praise next- it is the remedy for hopelessness!  Have you ever sat down and listed all the qualities you could think of that God possesses, and then prayed a prayer of praise specifically for each thing?  Try it, it works wonders for your soul.  I’ve started keeping lists like this for reference every so often.  I add to them when I realize yet another of God’s traits for which to praise Him.  It helps a great deal!

                             You can also keep praise passages ready to pray back to the Lord.

     Something else that gives us hope is to share with others what God has already done for us. How He met a need or brought you through a trial, or how He provided when you couldn’t see the way.  How long has it been since you stopped and thought of how He suffered for your salvation?  We should be thanking Him for that daily, and yet I know I for one forget that most basic thing sometimes!  He saves me from my sin – past, present, and future.  He forgives me daily, for the rest of my life.  His one act on the cross did that for me, and you, and the whole world.  He is waiting for others to come to Him – they need to hear our story of His deeds of salvation!

     “For their number is past my knowledge.”  Just for me alone, all the things God has done is past my knowledge, let alone for anyone else.  Why, He caused the sun to come up just this morning, He met all of my physical needs today, I am still breathing, and I didn’t go hungry.  Those are just basic things that I take for granted.  Not to mention answered prayer and deeper, spiritual issues He is walking me through.

     Going in the “strength of the Lord” means dependence on Him.  I recently read a phrase on God’s strength that struck me from Bruce Wilkinson’s book, “The Prayer of Jabez” :  “…For the Christian, dependence is just another word for power.”  He cites 2 Chronicles 16:9 as proof:

     “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself STRONG on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

     Wilkinson describes a day in the park with his family, watching His son try out three different sizes of slides.  The boy conquered the first on his own (after glancing at dad), and with much trepidation did the same thing on the next.  But on the last, halfway up and scared to death, he finally yelled for dad to help him go down the slide.

     “Like any dad on the playground, God is watching and waiting for you to ask for the supernatural power He offers.”

     Mark 9 tells the story of a man who brought his mute son to Jesus to be healed.  The reason the boy was mute was because he was inhabited by a demon.  This demon also threw him to the ground, made him foam at the mouth, grind his teeth, and go stiff as a board.  At times, it pitched the boy into the fire or the river in order to kill him.  This had been going on since he was a little boy.  Can you imagine?!  The man pleaded to Jesus,  “If you can do anything, do it.” (quoting from “The Message”)

     I love Jesus’ reply:  “If?  There are no ‘ifs’ among believers.  Anything can happen.”  (You may be more familiar with this version: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”)  (NKJV)

     The father did believe (although he admitted he had some doubts, for which he asked Jesus’ help), and Jesus healed the boy.  It’s a great story – people thought the kid was dead after the demon threw him to the ground and thrashed him about, but Jesus took his hand and raised him up, wholly healed.

     Our God is the God of the impossible.

     Corrie Ten Boom, Holocaust survivor, said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.  It empties today of its strength.” Corrie survived an impossible situation with a hopeful attitude.  Every day she encouraged others in the Lord, as they slaved and suffered side by side in deplorable conditions  She also said this, “There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world” (remember Jesus’ response to the father of the mute boy?) “And no places that are safer than other places.  The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”

     Let’s review the remedy for hopelessness:

     1.  Hope in God (continually)

     2.  Praise Him more and more

     3.  Tell of His righteous acts

     4.  Go in the strength of the Lord

     God has a purpose and a hope for you, for me, for everyone who comes to Him.  Don’t give up hope – God isn’t done with you yet.  That’s why you’re still here.  After all, “God never gives us anything to do that He does not give us the strength to do.” ~Jack Hyles.

     What situation do you need hope for today?

     “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.  I will go in the strength of the Lord God;  I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”
Psalm 71:14-16 (ESV)


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