Believers in Jesus Christ are not hidden from the challenges and obstacles of this world. As long as we are living in this world we will face challenges and obstacles. We may face sickness and disease. We may face financial difficulties. We may face problems in our families. In fact, the Apostle Paul reminded the Church at Corinth that:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
Believers in Jesus Christ may experience the same things non-believers experience because we live in the same world. However, it is not the will of God for us to fall under the pressure of the challenges and obstacles of this world. It is God’s will for us to keep standing. It is God’s will for us to overcome every challenge and obstacle. God is so serious about this that He looks at every specific challenge and obstacle we face in our lives and formulates a specific plan of escape so we can endure.
- Joseph was sold as a slave into Potiphar’s house but God blessed Joseph can caused Potiphar to “put [Joseph] in charge of his entire household and everything he owned” (Genesis 39:4 NLT)
- Joseph was wrongfully accused of rape and placed in prison but God gave Joseph favour and the keeper of the prison “put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison” (Genesis 39:21-22 NLT).
- Jesus was wrongfully convicted, sentenced to death, beaten and forced to carry His cross to Calvary but God caused the soldiers to force another man (Simon of Cyrene) to carry the cross. (Mark 15:21)
Can you see it?
- Even though Joseph experienced betrayal by his brothers, the life of a slave and a prisoner, Joseph was able to endure until he got to the Palace. God gave Joseph the grace to endure and in the end Joseph was able to save his family and Egypt from seven years of famine.
- Even though Jesus was betrayed by his own disciple (Judas), was wrongfully convicted, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, Jesus was able to endure until He got to Calvary. God gave Jesus the grace to endure and in the end Jesus was able to save the entire world from a lifetime of sin.
God gave Jesus the grace to endure. In other words, God ensured that Jesus had enough energy to make it to Calvary. God will do the same for us. God will not allow the challenges and obstacles we face to overcome us. God will give us grace to endure them and overcome them.
The Avengers (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) are referred to as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. These heroes are not mighty only because they have superior strength, skills and power. They are mighty because of the great battles they have won and the great challenges they have overcame. The Bible is also filled with mighty heroes.
Moses delivered the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt:
Moses was a man “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was MIGHTY in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22 KJV)
With MIGHTY power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:12 NLT)
Samson delivered the children of Israel from the oppression of the Philistines:
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his MIGHT; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. (Judges 16:30 KJV)
Jesus delivered the children of Israel from sickness, disease and demonic oppression:
And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and MIGHT, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2 NLT)
And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet MIGHTY in deed and word before God and all the people: (Luke 24:19 KJV)
All of these mighty heroes died and were buried. However, one of them defeated death. Jesus was crucified and was buried but God raised Him from the dead:
…and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. (Ephesians 1:20-22 NLT)
Jesus Christ is Earth’s Mightiest Hero and He is alive and well. There is no man, no leader, no angel, no power or authority which is greater than Jesus. In times of trouble it is comforting to know that there is someone with great authority and power that can help us. Jesus is our Mighty Hero. He delivered us from sin. He is able to deliver us from evil and help us in temptation. With the help of Jesus Christ, (Earth’s Mightiest Hero) we can overcome every obstacle:
Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. (Hebrews 2:18 NLT)
Can you remember any of the conversations you had with others two days ago? I can vaguely remember the conversations but I certainly cannot remember every word I said. The Bible is filled with many conversations between God and human beings. Within those conversations we will discover that God made promises. Those promises were not fulfilled immediately. Sometimes it took months before those promises were fulfilled. Sometimes it took several years before those promises were fulfilled. Sometimes it took several centuries before those promises were fulfilled.
In life many promises are unfulfilled because of the amount of time that has expired. However, in the Kingdom of God, promises do not expire with time. God always remembers the promises He has made to His children and to His creation. God promised to save Noah and his family along with all kinds of animals from the flood. The flood covered the earth for several days while Noah, his family and the animals were in the Ark:
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. (Genesis 8:1 NLT)
God promised Abraham that He would deliver his descendants from bondage. The children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt for more than 400 years. They were suffering and experiencing severe hardships. They forgot about the God of their fathers. However, when they cried for help, God heard them:
God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. (Exodus 2:24-25 NLT)
God promised the children of Israel that He would send a Messiah (Saviour) to deliver them and be their King forever. Several centuries passed since those promises were made. The Romans were in control. Spiritual darkness covered the land. The people of Israel were in bondage to sickness, diseases and demonic activity. God remembered His promise and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver them:
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness… and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. (Matthew 4:23-24 NLT)
Sometimes it is easy to forget the promises that we have made to others. We are human beings and many things fade from our memory as time goes by. Nevertheless, be encouraged by this fact:
God always remembers His promises
Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. (Romans 15:8 NLT)
A promise is a powerful thing. A promise can motivate us when we feel discouraged. A promise can strengthen us when we feel weak. An employer promises to pay his employees a salary at the end of every month. This promise motivates those employees to wake up early and travel to their workplace. This promise motivates those employees to travel through the rain and the snow to reach their workplace. In other words, that promise made by their employer strengthened their resolve to get to work in spite of whatever obstacles they faced each day.
We are motivated by mere human promises. What about the promises that our Heavenly Father has made? God’s promises are guaranteed. God’s promises are reinforced by His nature and character:
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19 NLT)
Sometimes we forget to fulfill the promises we have made. Sometimes we are unable to fulfill a promise we have made because of the uncertainties of life. God is not subject to human failure. God is not subject to human weakness. God is not limited by the uncertainties of life. We can trust God’s promises twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
We can trust God’s promises in the wilderness:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’” (Exodus 16:11-12 NLT)
We can trust God’s promises in the fire:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. (Daniel 3:16-17 NLT)
We can trust God’s promises in the storm:
For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. (Acts 27:23-25 NLT)
There are many buildings in this world which were built to endure natural disasters. God’s promises are built to endure natural and spiritual disasters. God promised Jesus that He would not leave his soul in the grave (Psalm 16:10). Jesus stood on God’s promises and willingly died on the cross to save the entire world. Three days later God raised Jesus from the dead. The strongest building can fall. The strongest rock can be broken but God’s promises can never fail. Your world may be falling apart but you can plant your feet upon God’s promises.
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
(Psalm 46:1-3 NLT)
Sleep is a necessary part of life. Sleep gives our physical bodies the opportunity to rest. Medical professionals recommend that human beings need a specific amount of hours of sleep every night to function at their best. This is true but the quality of that rest is much more important. We can sleep for the recommended amount of hours and still wake up tired, cranky and frustrated. What we sleep on is just as important as how long we sleep.
There are many mattress companies which promise us the best sleep possible. There are mattresses which offer the best back support. There are mattresses which contour to the shape of our body. All of these are good but they cannot promise us the rest we really need. They cannot promise us that everything will be alright in the morning. They cannot promise us that all of our sorrows will be turned to joy. They cannot promise us that we will be victorious in life. There is only one mattress that can do that:
This mattress is supplied, tried and verified by God Himself. Many people in the Bible slept on this mattress during their lives on earth. Jacob slept on this mattress. While Jacob was on his way to his uncle Laban’s house, he stopped somewhere to sleep. Jacob slept on the ground and used a rock as his pillow. While he was sleeping he had an interesting dream:
…he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD… (Genesis 28:12-13 NLT)
The LORD God told Jacob:
…The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:13-15 NLT)
When Jacob received that dream he was homeless. He was alone. He had no soft bed to sleep on but God gave him a Promise-pedic. God’s Promise-pedic is a mattress full of God’s promises. God gave Jacob promises that he could rest on for the remainder of his life.
- God promised to give him the ground he was lying on.
- God promised to give him many descendents
- God promised to bless the families of the earth through him and his descendents
- God promised to be with him
- God promised to protect him
- God promised to bring him back to that land
- God promised to never leave him
You may be alone, in debt, distressed and frustrated with life but you can still have a good night’s rest on God’s Promise-pedic.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6 NLT)
I want to encourage all who work for the Lord in any capacity. I want to encourage those who are spending energy, money and time to ensure that the gospel of Jesus Christ is spread within their community, their nation and the world. The Bible reminds us that serving the Lord is “good work”, but sometimes that work can overwhelm us and feel more like a burden than a pleasure. However, there are three things we must remember as servants of the Lord:
- God started that “good work”
- God will continue that “good work”
- God will complete that “good work”
The Church at Philippi was always eager to support the Apostle Paul financially. While the Apostle Paul travelled from country to country, the Philippians would send supplies to him whenever they could:
As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. (Philippians 4:15-16 NLT)
The Philippians were not financially rich but God started a “good work” within them. The Apostle Paul reminded them that the same God that started that “good work” will continue it until it is completed. Some serve the Lord through giving financial support. Some serve the Lord through public ministry. Some serve the Lord through private ministry. Some pray for others. Some encourage others. Some bear the burdens of others. Whatever you do to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ is “good work”.
You may not be financially rich but God started that “good work” in you. You may not be physically strong but God started that “good work” in you. You may have made mistakes while working for God but God started that “good work” in you. God will continue that “good work” in you and He will complete it.
That “good work” that God has started in your life is like a puzzle with many pieces. Every step you take for God, every minute you spend with God, every cent you give to God, everything you do for God are just pieces of the puzzle. God will ensure that all of those pieces come together perfectly to produce a beautiful picture. Don’t give up but be encouraged:
God Always Finishes His “Good” Work