Be encouraged today, dear ones!I know it’s easy to get discouraged. We hear bad news everywhere. Kids are departing from the faith. Hate and violence overwhelm our streets. Churches are shutting down. Families are splitting apart. Unrighteous lawmakers seem to prevail. Children are abused. Our world seems to be going crazy in many respects.
Fear and sadness grip our hearts as we hear of these things. But is this the whole story? Are there any battles being won for righteousness? Are there any advances being made for the kingdom of Christ in our world today?Oh, yes. Yes, there are! And you and I can be a big part of these victories, as we serve Christ in the humble realm of the home. We are serving the victorious King!
As we go about our daily duties, serving Christ by serving in the home, are we living like we are on the winning team? Are we living in light that we serve the Risen Savior who is even now seated at the right hand of the Father?* Do we recognize the victories for Christ’s kingdom in and around our lives each day? Satan is a powerful enemy, but we must remember that he is defeated. Are we living in light of victory or in light of defeat? “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4
A major tactic of our enemy is to make us believe we are defeated and that he is obviously prevailing. He is the master liar and the master of lies. The victories for the kingdom of darkness are broadcast loud and long and incessantly (by the news media). Do we realize that from that source we are only getting part of the story? If Satan can make us think we are already defeated, he surely will.
There is a spiritual battle going on in this world– the kingdom of darkness against the kingdom of light. We only see little bits of it from our small perspective, but our great Commander-in-Chief sees the whole story. He is continuing to write the story of this world (His world) and we are privileged to be a part of it.
The victories for the kingdom of light happen much more quietly. These victories aren’t likely to be reported on the major news networks. We really shouldn’t be surprised by this. Often God’s work happens slowly and almost almost imperceptibly, like a tree growing from a seed. We see this all through history. Watching a tree growing up close, from day to day, likely won’t give you the impression that anything big is happening. But with the passage of time, it becomes clear that something big has been happening all along. Make no mistake, victories are victories, whether they are publicly broadcast or not, and whether anyone seems to notice or not. Our Commander-in-Chief notices, and ultimately that’s all that matters.Live out God’s plan. Whether it seems to be working or whether it doesn’t. Humbly do things the way He wants. This is called living by faith. (This is also called worship.) God’s plan works.
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, ‘the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, ‘Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your midst].'” Luke 17:20-21I am coming to realize more and more that:
Every child who is lovingly nurtured….
Every lawmaker who stands for righteousness….
Every new home that is formed, built on God’s truth….
Every pregnancy center that shows Christ’s love to a needy girl….
Every word of encouragement that is spoken…..
Every meal lovingly prepared…..
Every peacemaker who reaches out in reconciliation….
Every new life welcomed into the world, to be raised for God’s glory….
Every Bible that is printed and distributed globally….
Every home that provides a safe haven…
Every young person who steps out to follow God’s calling on his or her life…..
Every gift of money given to ministries that reach hurting people…
Every late night rocking chair session with a sick little one….
Every minute spent petitioning the throne of heaven….
Every time the truth of the gospel is preached…
Every time suffering is alleviated…
Every time life wins….
Every time Jesus Christ is honored and obeyed as Lord and Master….
All these things and many more ARE the kingdom of God in our midst. May God give us ears to hear and eyes to see these things. And may He give us faith to believe, so that we may carry on!These aren’t things anyone is going to exclaim over. The news media won’t flock in to report on it. But this is how God works, can we say most of the time? Quietly and slowly and almost imperceptibly.
“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
“You can change the world, but probably not in the way you think. Learn to be extraordinary at ordinary. Excellent at normal.” -Jonathan Brush
Pray for big things! Expect great things! And all the while be faithful in the everyday deeds that fill our days: cooking food, washing clothes, facilitating the education of our crew, cleaning again (and again), sorting clutter, listening to a discouraged friend, caring for the needs of others, and so much more. We have been commissioned by our Commander-in-Chief to work for His Kingdom in our tiny corner of the world, and to fill our tiny corner with His light, His love, His goodness, His vibrant and abundant Life. We are His body here on earth; doing His work in His way.
Pray and believe in faith that God wants to use our families in mighty ways for His glory! Determine to stay faithful even when times are difficult. There will be suffering and sacrifice. We are engaged in spiritual warfare and that is no light matter. But may we always remember that we are not and we will not ultimately be defeated. Jesus is already victorious! Pray and work today, in your home, for His kingdom.Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
Press on in this church-building, kingdom-building work of everyday faithfulness. Let us see, with eyes of faith, that God is using our humble efforts to accomplish great things. We are part of the continuing story of God’s redemption plan. Praise His holy name!♥
*For more explanation about the ascension of Christ and all that it means for us today, listen to this message Steve preached recently. I think you will be inspired by the truths he shares.