Spiritual ‘Face Lift’

1 Samuel 30:6And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

Here in Wisconsin, and in much of the midwestern United States, we were hit recently by two waves of snow that took us by surprise. Much of the populous had high expectations of Spring and the warm weather it brings. The 4-6 plus inches that have fallen and much, much more north of where I live was like a slap in the face.

Our first response for many of us is to complain. I read on social media just how ‘done with winter’ people really are. Some mildly complained. Others ranted on and on… But one thing was clear. People’s spirits were not happy.

I am forever the optimist. If there are clouds, I’ll say, “The sun is shining somewhere!” If it is extreme heat, rain, sleet, snow or cold; I realize that no matter how put out I am because of the weather, any complaint is against the One who controls it.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I am convinced it is disobedience to take up any other position than gratitude for what it is that God provides. We balk at that, but the Word of God is clear – In every thing give thanks – and He concludes with – for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I have had to repent of my own complaining lest you think I am this ‘happy idiot’ who isn’t flapped by anything.

But today, I read of David’s situation as I have many times and thought how many of God’s people are given the opportunity to be a witness by how they handle adversity.

Years back, my wife had undergone heart surgery to replace two defective valves when my mother took suddenly ill. Traveling 30 miles between hospitals, it was trying times. My mother took a turn for the worse and went into a grand mal seizure from which she would not recover.

Each of us children said our goodbyes. Being the oldest, I asked to be first and witnessed to my dying mother one last time for her to trust Christ as Savior. That evening, as the machines that kept her alive were disconnected, she passed quickly into eternity.

In preparation for her funeral, our prayer was only this; “Father, pour forth Your grace and let us have such a spirit that others will see that You alone are the One that makes the difference in our life.”

We surely needed that grace as my wife was only days out of open heart surgery. Coupled with the shock and grief of Mom’s passing, everyone around us had been devastated by the loss.

The day of the funeral, we stood for what seemed like hours to greet friends and family. It was only by God’s grace we made it through that day. So many commented on how well we were taking the whole ordeal which only speaks to God’s glory and His wonderful provision of grace.

David encouraged himself in the Lord his God… There have been times when I have failed of that grace and sunk into my own pity party. I can say that many tried to help me out of that place, but it was truly God that lifted me. It was His presence, His power, His Word, His songs that were the healing balm to my troubled soul.

You and I may face situations and circumstances that seem impossible. But know this that we serve the God of the impossible!

Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

But yet we fail… and I have found it is my lack of faith that is at issue.

Matthew 17:25 “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

The Bible is unclear as to just how David encouraged himself, but in reading the Psalms, you cannot help but think that his meditations and music played a great part in encouraging his heart.

Once David found the strength, he encouraged others.

You and I will do well to take the focus off of ourselves and place our attention on others. It is surprising that when we give to others, encourage others – even when we, ourselves are hurting – we are lifted above our circumstances; the things that brought our spirit low are seemingly gone.

Does this work every time? Not always. But unless I have a plan when discouragement comes, when that evil day comes upon us; I will be taken by emotion and possibly held captive and wounded to the place where I cannot fulfill that which God gave me to do.

Look into the faces of those who go to your church. Do they show the love of Christ? Does their smile seem infectious and genuine? Can the same be said of us? Ultimately, would you want the same Jesus they profess to have based upon their spirit and demeanor?

Would others want the Jesus we profess if today we do not encourage ourselves before we head off to work? Do our children want the same Jesus we tell them about by the way we greet them each morning?

Something so casual as a trip to the store can mean the difference in eternity if we would prepare to be a blessing to someone when we go.

I think you get the picture.

Be the change agent in your home, at your work, in your church. Be the one who sees the good in people, the sun shining even when its raining; the warmth when cold chills us to the bone. Only God can supply the grace we need to be that kind of person. He longs to be that through you for others!

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