Hold On

My blog today is actually an email response to a friend in ministry that is feeling the effects of the economy. He is frightened and discouraged over the inability to spin enough plates to takes care of his family and also build a fledgling ministry he feels God has called him to. Maybe his plight strikes a chord with you. If so, read on…

“Don’t worry about sounding glum. I appreciate knowing where you are and knowing how I can pray for you. I know these are very difficult days and it sounds like the stress is hitting you doubly hard. We men are wired to be the providers and when that role is threatened nothing is more debilitating. You are in my prayers.

I wish I had a fail proof, “do this and everything will be okay” answer but we both know there isn’t one. I can tell you some things God is teaching me in all of this.

First, I am learning to focus. When I begin to panic I start frantically running in every direction. When God has called me to do something I need to maintain that focus and work toward that goal. I can’t give every effort to my ministry because I have to work hard to feed my family. My days are short and I am stretched thin. But, that is all the more reason to not give my energy to too many things. I work to provide a living and all my other focus goes toward building what God has called me to build. At times like these the thing I have said to my sons for years is especially true, “You can do anything you want to do. You just can’t do everything you want to do.” Paul said it best in Philippians 4, “This one thing I do.” Examine your activity. Look closely at where your energy is going. Regain your focus.

Second, don’t discount what God is doing while you are on the backside of the wilderness, both in you and with you. At one period in my life when Doris and I were just entering “recovery,” I had to go to work for Tractor Supply. I can’t tell you how I felt putting on my little pink striped shirt each day and going to sell lawnmowers to young, yuppy, housewives, half my age and ten times my net worth. It was in those days of sheer drudgery and discipline that God did some of his best work in me. I proved to myself, my family, and everyone watching that I could be counted on. I learned the value of putting the one foot in front of the other and doing the next right thing. Both Moses and David had to tend sheep before God could use them fully. That’s the “in you” part.
The “with you’ part is that He, in those circumstances is still using your testimony and your talents. Come on, your email said you led someone to Christ. Most believers go their whole lives and never do that. If you starve to death tomorrow (which you won’t) you have laid up treasures in heaven. You are a mighty man of God and that is true whether you are sitting on the platform of a mega church or fixing lawnmowers at TSC. God WILL come through in your behalf.

Last thing, I didn’t mean to preach but I care about you guys, God will honor the prayers of His people. You know that better than I. I will put you on our prayer list. This Tuesday 279 people around the country will pray for you. You have a network of prayer warriors. God is going to provide. You have the privilege of being a great example of faithful living. Some people God can’t trust so He keeps them hedged about and protected. You He loves enough and trusts enough to know you will stand strong in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition so He lets you be at the forefront of the battle because He knows He can use you for His glory. Somewhere He is whispering to another struggling soul today, “Look at my man over there. He doesn’t quit.” And that soul is encouraged through you. You are Hebrews 11 material. This season in your life is You are Hebrews 11 material. This season in your life is Hall of Faith kind of stuff. If God is who He says He is, (and He is) and you are who He says you are, (and you are) then we know that “all things work together for good.” Don’t even think about giving up. We who are watching you need you to hold on because it gives us strength.

Enough rambling. We will get through this. We will look back someday (face to face) and laugh at how wonderfully God came through. Doris and I will pray for you all today and each day in our devotions. Thank you for your friendship.”

And for the rest of you, “Take your stand…and after you have done all, stand.” You are an inspiration to someone, (someone like me.)

Mike

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