While visiting in Africa a few weeks ago, we drove through the dusty streets of the city, crowded with cars, buses, taxis, donkey carts, and horse carts. Throngs of people were walking about or hawking wares of every variety in stalls along the street. My brother pointed out men that were walking by who had what is called a prayer bump on their foreheads, which was the callous created as a result of them bending their heads to touch the ground during their 5 daily prayer times. I couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed.
We (our missions team) met young men who spent much of their early lives memorizing the Quaran in Arabic, a language they didn’t even understand, so they could recite it from memory, even though they didn’t speak or understand what they were remembering. Again, I felt somewhat ashamed.
We visited a local Pastor in a village that was a rough hodgepodge of mud-brick buildings, with people, animals, and every kind of goods for sale at street stalls. In the midst of poverty, challenging conditions, and incredible heat his wife was teaching young women how to bake in an outdoor earthen oven (she was known for being one of the best bakers in the area) so they could make a living. We were invited into their home and served delicious baked goods so graciously and generously.
A couple of days later we visited a small church in the city, meeting in a community center that was rough and rundown by our standards. They had plastic chairs and a worship band comprised of two drummers, no other instruments, no sound system, and no projection. Yet their worship was vibrant, authentic, and full of joy as they danced and sang to the Lord! And then later, praying with and watching deaf students signing in prayer, seeing the sincerity, authenticity, and faith in their faces as they talked to God, again I felt a bit ashamed.
Ashamed of how little time we spend praying to the Living God. Ashamed of how little time we spend reading, meditating on, studying, remembering God’s Word. Ashamed when I realize how much God has blessed us with, and how eager and willing we should be to sing with joy, shout with thanksgiving, dance with freedom, pray with faith and fervor, and give out of the abundance of our hearts!
1 Timothy 6:6-10 says, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
Paul goes on to tell Timothy in vs 17-19, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
What do you have to be thankful for today? How content are you with your life? What God has blessed you with? How much do we really trust God, and how rich are we in good works and generosity?
Regardless of how much or how little you have, of what the circumstances you find yourself in are, of what you are facing in your life, you are a child of the living God, and you are blessed and rich beyond measure! You are redeemed, set free from the power of sin, filled with His love and power, blessed by Him with hope, promise, and presence! He is your Saviour, your Healer, the One who delivers us from all fear, who sets our feet on solid ground, who picks us up when we fall, restores us when we fail, renews us when we are worn out and worn down, strengthens us in our weakness, and gives us victory in all of the battles of life!
Listen to what the Bible says about what to do when you feel discouraged:
The Psalmist says, “Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you—
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan,
from the land of Mount Mizar.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.”
Then we have this awesome perspective from Isaiah, who says,
“Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Remember God and His unfailing love! Sing His songs in the night, praying to the One who gives us life! Wait or hope in the Lord, who never grows weak or weary, and receive from Him power and strength for everything you face in your life, for this day and time we are in!
Let me finish with some words of encouragement, and some great worship music (just click the link) for you to read and listen to today. In the midst of our isolation and self-distancing, layoffs and loss of income, uncertainty and fear, school closures and travel restrictions, not to mention the struggles that you were already in before Covid19, remember this:
God is still on the throne!
But the Lord is in his holy Temple;
the Lord still rules from heaven.
He watches everyone closely,
examining every person on earth.
Pray without ceasing!
1 These 5:16-18
Always be joyful. Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Meditate on His Word!
I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.
I have recited aloud
all the regulations you have given us.
I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
I will delight in your decrees
and not forget your word.
Remember: You are not alone!
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Praise Him with joy and thanksgiving!
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Below is a video link to a few worship songs that go along with this post that hopefully will bless your life today!
May God fill your heart and life with the joy of His presence!