Graceful Truth

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CONTINUING WHEN THERE SEEMS TO BE NO REWARD

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There are many times that we do our work, but it is hard or painful and it looks like it is all done for nothing.

  • a couple pouring into a prodigal child, even though the child refuses to respond to their love
  • a person investing in an unbeliever, although they continually reject the gospel
  • a mate continuing to love and give to their mate, even though there does not seem to be love in return.
  • the employee who faithfully does his work "unto God" even though he seems to be opposed and looked over.
  • the one who is suffering physically and there seems to be no end.
  • the pastor or ministry leader who continues to minister faithfully, although there seems to be only minor fruit.

The Psalmist writes of the Israelites who had been in captivity and now, after many years, were returning to their beloved Jerusalem.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)

CONTINUED SOWING

The great lesson is that we must continue "sowing." We must do the right thing persistently and faithfully, even when we don't see the results we desire. We trust in the law of the harvest: that if we sow, we will one day reap a harvest.

And, we must remember that all we are doing is for a higher purpose and Person. We do our work faithfully “as unto the Lord.”

THE PROMISED RETURN

God sees this faithfulness and will always reward. The results may not be what the sower desired in the way or the time they anticipated. But God's promises are bigger than man's rebellion or the world’s pressures. He will answer the faithful in time. He will bring them back with the fruit of their labor in hand ("bringing his sheaves with him").

THE TESTIMONY

I often told my mother during a season when my dad was rebelling and leaving her for another woman, "Mom, you just want to keep taking the next right step: loving, forgiving, confronting when God prompts, and leave the results to God. You want to lay your head on the pillow each night knowing you've done the right thing. And the person who does the right thing in Christ always wins."

And she did. And you will too.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Bill Elliff
in Prayer

THE BLESSED PROMISE OF ANSWERED PRAYER

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In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and He answered me. (Psalm 120:1)

In this world there is one certainty for every man: he will have trouble. Jesus Himself stated this fact. "In this world you will have tribulation," He said.

The Psalmist made this personal. "In MY trouble," he said, reminding us that each of us have difficulties that are particular to us. Thankfully there is no problem we face that others have not faced (1 Corinthians 10:13), but our troubles are our troubles nonetheless.

THE GREAT FEAR

... is that we are alone. That we are left to our own humanistic devices. That there is no where we can turn. This thinking, which is a deception aimed like an arrow at our minds by the Father of all lies, is debilitating, for we know in our deepest hearts that we simply do not have the resources needed to fix the problem.

Only supreme arrogance would blind us to this staggering realization. But the reality that we are helpless is the first step to our salvation and the best prayer we can bring to God. Helplessness pushes us downward in brokenness and upward in prayer.

THE RIGHT RESPONSE

... in trouble is essential. We can try to figure it out on our own, enlist others help, or turn to the meager resources of a hostile world. 

But God has a better way and the Psalmist found it. He "cried to the Lord." Notice the action: it was not just a prayer but a cry, indicating the essential of desperation. And notice the direction. He cried "to the Lord." He went to the solitary source that could do something about his problem. And so must we.

THE BLESSED PROMISE

... for those who believe is that we have a Sovereign King who pays attention to the desperate longings of any destitute servant. God hears our cry. Over and over again, through biblical example and reminder, God tells us that His ear is open and attentive to us. That He is waiting and inviting us to come "boldly to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Wise is the man who turns to God first, not wasting time in an arrogant attempt to bypass God. A quick turn to God in the beginning of trouble is the sign of matured understanding and will be rewarded. The great God of heaven and earth will clearly hear and swiftly answer.

It will be in His perfect timing (which may not seem speedy enough for us). But we must understand that his timing is driven by Divine wisdom. He knows what He’s about and will send the needed answer with precision, motivated by perfect love.

When He hears and answers (and He will) there is only One to praise, One to worship, One to tell others about. And this is exactly as it should be.

Posted by Bill Elliff

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