I was watching the HBO mini-series, John Adams, a few weeks ago. I was moved deeply by this rendition of Mr. Adams' life, the life of America's founding fathers and the great sacrifice paid by men and women. Their courage to confront an army that was greater in number, resources, training and structure exposes the thinness of own courage while inspring to me thicken my hope for greater things. Why is it, when we see something that reflects a glorious era of our past we are challenged and motivated? I think a verse from the bible may have something to do with it. If one looks at the original language of Hebrews 11:3 they will discover that through the word of the Lord the ages are aligned. You read past that early verse, travel through the lives of heroes and heroines and you will discover something unusual. The author pens in Hebrews 11:39-40 this valuable insight, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only TOGETHER WITH US would they be made perfect.” Did you catch it? "Together with us would they be made perfect." I don't understand it, but the author references people who lived hundreds of years prior, but no spanse of time, race, ethnicity or gender should separate us.
So we are connected to each other and we are connected to the generations that pioneered before us and tethered to those generations who are behind us. We are living for a generation we will never see. Our ceiling is their floor. Our finish line is their starting line.
However, we are born into a war, a spiritual war, a conflict between good and evil, freedom and slavery, light and darkness. As such, it's very possible that what our parents and grandparents fought so hard to build could be gone in a flash. According to recent statistics we are one generation from the extinction of the church. But I love that God is not bound by statistics, nor is He impressed with them. He invites us to believe for the impossible and to partner with Him for the purpose of expressing and demonstrating His supernatural love.
How do we do that? How do we build a culture of promise? How do we stay joyful, hopeful & encouraged in the middle of "life"? How do we build for a generation we won’t see?
I have a simple idea. Let's REMIND OURSELVES AND OTHERS OF GOD'S GOODNESS.
It's not rocket science, but it's critical. When we remind ourselves of God's goodness we take every obstacle and turn it into an opportunity. We see that every problem has attached to it a promise.
Here are three tips for how you can REMIND yourself and others:
1. Consider Him faithful. This is what Sarah did when she was told she was going to have a baby at 90. There is power when you consider Him faithful. It strengthens your hope and faith. You are able, like Abraham, to walk through unbelief and not waver. External forces want you to conform and be shaped by disappointment, despair or disillusionment. God wants you to experience a power on the inside of you that renews your mind so that outside looks like the inside. The Kingdom of God is an INSIDE-OUT kingdom. (Read Genesis 18, Romans 4, Hebrews 11)
2. Speak words of life. God calls Heaven and Earth to attention to witness the choice that we will make. What are we choosing? We are making a choice for life or death. Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us that God has placed these two before. Then admonishes us to choose life because if we do so our descendants will live. The result of such a decision is that our hearts are impacted by the life of God. Our conversation and vocabulary are witnesses testifying to the health and quality of our heart. Dr. Luke would write in 6:45 the words of Jesus. Jesus said that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. To speak words of life means we have a heart that is touched by life. (Read Deuteronomy 30, Proverbs 18, James 3)
3. Experience the life of God. John, one of Jesus' disciples, pens in his letter (1 John 1:1-4) some powerful encounters with God. His use of personal pronouns and sensory language is compelling. He speaks of Jesus as if he knew Him...and beloved He did. God wants you to experience His love, His heart, His nature. He wants to have a vibrant relationship with Him.
So as you Consider, Speak and Experience God what would happen this week if you….?
…meditated on the word of God. (Colossians 3:16)
…engaged a discipling relationship. (Matthew 28:19-20)
…fasted negativity. (Isaiah 58)
…encouraged others. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
…shared stories of hope. (Romans 15:13)
More to come. So until next time…stay encouraged my friends!