It’s All Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

These past four weeks did not have a lack of devotional topics; there were certainly plenty, several per week even.  But after I shared the last post, I can say it was game on for spiritual wrestling between God’s insight to grow me up, and the irritation/frustration/anger and tiredness towards the state of this country and world.  I kept praying, reading Scripture, serving at church while following the social distancing guidelines, encouraging others when it was needed…situation normal, right?  Except it wasn’t.  Tiredness weighed heavy and affected me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Updates on Breonna Taylor’s death and Rayshard Brooks, videos of protesters of all ages vs. police, other videos and screenshots of hateful, fearful people verbally assaulting people of color…articles about Elijah McClain.

So tiring. 

Using a quote from civil rights activist and pioneer Fannie Lou Hamer, I became “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  And this was the last thing that a child of God should feel, for any extended period.

You see, Fam, the encourager (me) needed some more encouraging but was in a “tired” loop and so she did not ask for it.  Why she didn’t open her mouth and ask the Lord, only He knows.  But He also knew I needed today’s verse:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Or to put it like The Message translation: “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good.  At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”

“But the fatigue already set in, Ms. Writer; you just said so.  So what are you doing now?  What and where was the encouragement from the Lord in this verse?” (I figure y’all might be wondering.)

First, I know – as do you—that God specializes in many things, including giving us chances to get it right.  Even though the tiredness was upon me and I became weary, I was reminded through an AWESOME sermon this past Sunday that I didn’t have to stay that way.  I was reminded that “…that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)  Because I – we – are tied up, wrapped up, tangled up in the love of God who has all power and authority and therefore victory over everything, that means we have it, too.  We have victory over our minds and hearts, for which this knowledge is a great motivator to keep on keepin’ on despite what we see and hear around us.

Second, this “good” that we are doing in this world ain’t for or about us, and never has been: it’s all for God, His Kingdom, His glory.  Carrying the weary weight instead of casting it upon the One whose yoke is easy and burden is light affects the caliber of what we do: it becomes “okay” instead of becoming “excellent”.  It becomes a task to get through instead of a new mercy, a new joy to experience.  It becomes 42 muscles to frown instead of 4 muscles to smile.  Thank God that His options for the good He does are “excellent” and “more excellent”; I don’t even want to imagine what life would be like if God just did “okay”.

Third, there is the promise in today’s verse, and we all know how good the Lord is at keeping promises.  Through the apostle Paul, God promises that “…at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Praying, serving, helping, encouraging, fasting, giving, loving, forgiving – all the markers of being members of God’s family and citizens of His kingdom help plant spiritual and physical seeds in this world.  I’m talking about the people who come to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive salvation. 

I’m talking about ministries and churches forming and/or growing to tell a dying world the Good News about a living God.

I’m talking about the various types of healing that people have been waiting on.

I’m talking about the confirmation and equipping of God’s purpose for our lives as individuals and as one body of faith.

I’m talking about the God-led response and action against injustice and hatred of any kind, anywhere.

I’m talking about blessings on blessings on blessings.

I’m talking about a much needed, recuperating rest.

I’m talking about a lot, huh?

Now I think it’s safe to say that the “at the proper time” part, we can be sorely tempted (and even succumb!) to throwing a true Veruka Salt tantrum from the original Willy Wonka movie.  That little girl had some spectacular fits.  And like her, we want the promised harvest now, tout suite, pronto.  But God’s timing is not ours, His scheduling is not ours, and in case someone doesn’t know this: He’s an on-time God, period.  So, we must adjust and focus on what we are doing today, believing that we will reap the harvest from the One who’s in charge of it, anyway.

So yeah, I grew weary but the Lord knew how to bring me out of it, and when.  That bounce-back spirit within keeps me going, and just as it does all of you.

And you know what?  It’s all good.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for another chance and reminder that You didn’t create us to become tired and quit in the face of so much distress.  Thank You for the promise of reaping a harvest if we don’t give up.  Thank You for this second wind to keep on going, being, and doing for Your Kingdom.  We’ll keep going, Lord.  Amen.

His Name

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11

Question: Have you ever considered the power that is in the name of Jesus?  I’m not talking about the titles and honorifics we ascribe Him, though He is worthy of every single one of them.  No, I’m talking about His name, five letters which combined exudes a level of authority that nothing earthly, man-made can attain.  His name is infinitely greater than the title of president, prime minister, king, or queen.  His name commands a response out of all who hear it, both mortal and spiritual, and that response is the acknowledgement and confession that Jesus Christ is Lord.

It is at Jesus’ name that demons tremble and flee:

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;” – Mark 16:17

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” – Luke 10:17

It is in His name that infirmities and disease are healed:

“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” – Acts 3:16

It is by His name that salvation and restoration to a right relationship with God is possible:

…for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:13

It is by His name that we can receive joy, love, and peace, to help live this life to its fullness.  It is when we call on His name that things change, both our circumstances and our perspective.

The name of Jesus is powerful.  It connects us to God and His power and authority, and that’s what the Enemy wants us to forget.

It’s important to remember and live this truth because as the days of our “new normal” go on, we must call on Jesus’ name to access that power which can transform anything.  Returning to what was familiar is not an option, especially if it was harmful to us in mind, body, and spirit.  Moving forward on our own knowledge and strength is not an option, either, for if life thus far has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know everything.  But the truth of Jesus’ name is the one thing we can count on so that we do more than survive: we thrive.

No matter how many times we must do so, we must call on the name of Jesus: not just for ourselves, but also our families, friends, churches, and the world.  At all times let us remember and lean on the power in His name to renew minds, cleanse hearts, and revitalize our spirits.  Let us draw from the authority in His name to speak life into dead situations, and protection for the defenseless.  Let us invoke the name of Jesus Christ for increase in strength, confidence, and faith.

When we do this, live the truth of the power and authority in His name without backing down, we get to experience another truth about Jesus Christ:

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” – John 14:13-14

When the Son of God says He will do it, best believe that He will.

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for the matchless name of Jesus Christ, which by itself is full of Your power and authority.  Help us not only to remember but also to live this truth every day without fear or uncertainty.  Regardless of what we see before us, we know that You see it all, and will hear and answer our call.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.