July 29, 2015 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers and Sisters,
Normally my time with the Lord consists of a few elements. First, I read the passage that I’m going to be preaching on Sunday and I make a few hand-written notes along the way. Secondly, I pray (for myself, my family, my church, and my unbelieving friends). Finally, I try to read something by a faithful Christian author. That’s my normal practice, and sometimes I break away from it and do something else or expand on it. That’s what I did today. I expanded on my normal practice. Let me explain, and I hope that this explanation will encourage you to pursue a regular practice of meeting with God, but also remind you that our freedom to extend and redirect that meeting with God can also be beneficial, especially in times of discouragement or disappointment.
Today I read Numbers 15, and prayed from 15:39, “Lord, do not let me follow after my own heart and eyes, but let me look to Christ and keep his commands.” I prayed that I would be a faithful husband and father. That the Lord would strengthen the faith of my wife and give my children faith if they do not yet believe. I prayed for those of you with the last names of L through M in the directory. I prayed for my neighbors and friends who don’t know Christ – that God for his glory would save them. And I read a chapter in Vern Poythress’ book Inerrancy and Worldview.
Still, today, I felt as though it would be beneficial to my soul to read more Scripture and reflect on God’s Word. Why? Because, frankly, today for me was one of those days when I felt discouraged. It doesn’t happen often for me, but it does happen. My conscience isn’t nagged by any particular sin or doubt. That’s not why I felt a tinge of discouragement today. I think I’d simply say that God’s recent providential dealings haven’t been what I hoped they’d be. I’m content with the ways in which he is leading and guiding. I trust him, and yet I think that there is still room for us as Christians to be disappointed. We were made to feel after all. We must be careful not to allow disappointment to give way to complaining and grumbling. We must be careful not to allow disappointment to give way to questioning God’s providence. Instead, while we may momentarily recognize and observe our disappointment, we must give ourselves to remembering and rejoicing in God’s good providence.
I’ve written about what to do when you’re spiritually dry, and if you remember that little letter, then you’ll recall that my prescription was keep throwing yourself in the way of God’s means of grace – reading the Word, prayer, and fellowship. Do you want to know what to do when you’re disappointed and discouraged? Read God’s Word, pray, and pursue fellowship. That’s why I felt as though it would be beneficial to my soul to read more Scripture and reflect on God’s Word. I turned to Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s chart for daily Bible reading and read the passages for July 22. I read Judges 5, Acts 9, Jeremiah 18, and Mark 4.
Do you know what I found in those passages? Lots of encouragement. Judges 5 encouraged me to give thanks to God for rescuing and saving his people. No matter what disappointments and discouragements we may be facing, we must always remember that we have better than we deserve. Acts 9 encouraged me that God saves some horrible people (Saul) and then delights to use them for preaching his good news. Jeremiah 18 encouraged me to remember that God delivers us from ourselves and our enemies. And Mark 4 reminded me that I have been saved and called into an unstoppable, constantly growing kingdom.
I cannot and will not promise you that when you are discouraged and disappointed that reading more Scripture will cheer you up and make all of your troubles melt away, but perhaps by God’s grace, they will be adjusted into Biblical perspective.
Warmly in Christ,
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