Monday, April 24, 2017

One More Time

Dwight L. Moody as known as one of America's greatest evangelists, but he didn't start out that way.  His father died when he was four years old in 1841.  his mother was left as the sole supporter of nine children.  So at a young age, he was sent off to work for room and board.  In the mid 1800's this was quite common, so when he turned 17, he moved to Boston to work with his uncle selling shoes.  He began to attend church and was led to Christ by his Sunday School teacher.  He then moved to Chicago to start a church in the slums, but that church burned during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  Most in his congregation lost everything and he was only able to get away from the flames carrying his Bible and his reputation.  This was a turning point for him as he realized he should be preaching on a wider scope, so he moved back to Massachusetts and began a career as an evangelist.  He preached throughout Europe and America, preaching to more than 100 million people in his lifetime.  What if Moody had given up as child because of the intense poverty?  What is he continued to chase his dreams of amassing a fortune selling shoes?  What is he had given up on ministry after the fire?  Fortunately for many in eternity, he was willing to follow Christ one more time.

Life will always place obstacles in our path.  Even as followers of Jesus, we will have obstacles.  We should be prepared to even face more obstacles because we have chosen the path of most resistance.  We will face the unseen pressure from the spiritual world because the enemy wants to keep us silent.  If he can keep us discouraged, he can keep us silent.  If he can keep us busy with earthly activity, he can keep us quiet.  If he can keep us upset or frustrated, he can keep us quiet.  If he can keep us disconnected from our church family, he can keep us quiet.  Though the enemy wants those obstacles to distract us, God wants to utilize those obstacles to build our faith.  He wants us to trust Him in the midst of chaos and confusion. 

In Proverbs 3:5-6, the Bible reminds us to "trust in the Lord with all our heart and do not lean on our own understanding.  In all our ways, acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight".  Notice, He doesn't promised to make our path smooth, easy or down hill.  He promises to make it straight.  A straight path allows us to see the hazards of that path, it doesn't remove those obstacles.  God will not only let us see those obstacles, He will give us the strength to endure and overcome them.  Jesus even promises to be with us until the end of the ages.  So we will have company on our journey, not matter how difficult the journey.

God also provides us with a support team, much like getting tech support for our computers.  This support is known as the Church.  He established the church as His body in which He is the boss and in which He will move.  The strength to go "one more time" is found in the support of our church family.  We share our struggles in Sunday School and are surrounded by friends who love us and want us to be successful.  We share a prayer request via e-mail and get the unseen support of the power of prayer.  We can actually have a human set of eyes and ears to listen to our struggle as we share with a brother or sister in Christ.  Sometimes, we just need an embrace without words to strengthen us to get up just "one more time".  So make sure you are involved in the body of Christ consistently so you can give and receive support.

If Moody can continue after losing everything in a fire, we can continue.  All God wants us to do is to try one more time!  Just for one more day, get up and go at it again.  Keep loving that spouse that is distant or angry.   Keep caring for that child who is stubborn or bitter.  Keep studying Algebra, even though it doesn't always make sense right now.  Keep working hard at that job that seems like a drain and a waste of time.  You can do it, with God's help.  Just one more time!

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