Charles Swindoll, in his book The Finishing Touch, recalled starting his ministry in California.
After many years of pastoring in a small town, he suddenly faced a city teeming with people. As he thought about the enormity of the task ahead, God reminded him that it was impossible to reach everyone. His responsibility was to make a difference in the lives of those he came in contact with.
In his words, “I stopped paying attention to the enormity of the impossible and started pouring my time and energy into the possible.” This made all the difference for him.
I don’t know about you, but I relate to this story. Often I have been faced with seemingly impossible tasks. Something big becomes overwhelming and I don’t know how to cope. That’s when I need to focus on the next possible step. God will direct me to achieve what is needed.
Another quote I like is by Lysa Terkeurst, from her book Embraced. “Even if you don’t know all the details of your calling quite yet, thank God for making you perfectly equipped for your assignment ahead. And when insecurities start to make you doubt, flip it around and say, “God, I may doubt myself, But I will not doubt You. So, I will let Your perfection override my feelings of imperfection and do what You instruct me.”
The lesson for me is to trust God and not to rely on my own strength. Each morning He provides me with what I need in order to accomplish his plan for that day. The perfection of God will always override my imperfection and turn the enormity of the impossible into something possible.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:23 NLT)
My chiropractor schedules regular progress exams with his patients. After a certain number of treatments, an assessment is done. I have completed three progress exams.
One part of checkup is having my photo taken while standing in front of a grid on the wall. This enables us to see if I am off centre. A thermal rolling scan was done as well as a questionnaire regarding my health
The purpose of all of this is to find out how my body is responding to treatment and if any changes are needed to make it more effective.
I think of other areas in life where it would be a good idea to get regular progress reports. I’ve been working on having more patience. How am I really doing with that? It seems to be going well until I’m in a stressful or frustrating situation. Those tests clearly show where I am off center. My calm, cool demeanour is shattered and my voice takes on a sharp edge. I’m not happy with the outcome of this testing but am now aware of changes that need to be made.
God allows us to be tested to teach us endurance. It is a way to train us to persist and not give up. The question I need to ask myself is how to make the necessary changes to improve my spiritual health.
I can start by spending more time in prayer and reading God’s instruction manual, the Bible. My time with Him will reveal the answers to my progress exams.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.” (James 1:12 NLT)
My friend was standing on the top rung of a step ladder, arms fully extended to replace some burned out light bulbs. I was at the foot of the ladder ready to exchange the old bulbs for new ones.
Personally, I’m not fond of climbing up ladders. It feels too precarious to me. I commented that I’d be nervous but she seemed confident. My friend replied that she doesn’t like heights but learned a long time ago that there are things you need to do despite the fear. Replacing light bulbs happened to be one of them.
To emphasize her point I said, “So if you don’t take the risk you’ll end up in the dark.” We looked at each other with the realization that a greater truth had just been spoken.
There have been many risks I was too afraid to take. I’ll never know the light of new discoveries if I don’t take the chance. Jesus came that I may have a rich and satisfying life. Part of that is embracing the new adventures he has for me.
When I have taken the risk and stepped out in faith I’ve learned to keep my focus on Jesus. If I stumble I know that he is there to pick me up again. Other times he steps back to watch me soar. Either way, any risk he encourages me to take is more than worth it.
When I said, “My feet are slipping, “your mercy, O LORD, continued to hold me up. When I worried about many things, your assuring words soothed my soul. (Psalm 94:18,19 GWT)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)
In my last attitude, negative thoughts, God, trustpost I told you about not wanting to miss the boat due to flight delays en-route a cruise vacation. My daughter and I managed to board the ship on time even though our delays put us eight hours behind schedule.
When we finally reached our destination we were dismayed to find our luggage had not arrived with us. After checking our claim tickets, we were told that our luggage was on the next flight and would be there in two hours. We were extremely relieved when we finally had suitcases in hand.
This experience caused me to re-evaluate what I pack in my hand luggage. Most of the bag was filled with snacks, although I also had a book or two, some paperwork and my sunglasses. What it lacked was a change of clothing and my swimsuit. If I had been forced to leave on the cruise without my luggage, how would I have coped?
Relating this to my life, I realize how often I pack around thoughts I don’t need at the expense of those that would be beneficial. Just like an overabundance of snacks for the flight, my attitude can be something that provides no provision for the future.
By putting my faith and trust in God, my negative thoughts will diminish. I will have the confidence to handle whatever comes my way. When he is with me, I have no concern about coping with the days to come.
The Lord will be your confidence. He will keep your foot from getting caught. (Proverbs 3:26 GWT)