Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UFD ~ Encouragement for REAL People

Last weekend I showed you the glow from my window. Wow. My whole self smiled inside at the display of God's creativity. In another display of that same power, strong wind and rain came through yesterday, as in much of our country. As gusts and showers whipped around the house, they tore at my golden mass of leaves, until only a few refugees dangled from wet branches. Sigh. Fall is too short.

Life is not unlike the brilliant leaves of fall, glorious one moment, but torn apart by extreme conditions the next. Doing life in our earthly tents, we are given to discouragement at stormy times. Can you relate?

Throughout this month Up From the Dumps, I've shared passages out of Philippians. I've been slogging through Philippians in an attempt to memorize the book ... that's a first for me, but I so want to do it and know God wants me to.  It's like walking through caramel at this point, and I appreciate your prayers for my diligence and retention. "My" goal is the end of the year ... but the longer I'm "in it," the more I see. The more I've understood Paul was writing to REAL people about REAL reasons to be encouraged and get Up From the Dumps.

Philippians 4:21-23
Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household. 
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Doesn't sound profound at first glance, does it?  But it is.  These "saints" are followers of Jesus in the Church of Philippi, a real group of people in a real city. He even points out a specific household/family by name (a prominent one), and he makes it clear that individuals send their love.  Reading the book (or struggling to memorize it) reveals they were dealing with persecution, financial hardship, conflict in their church, worry, and social pressures.  He wanted them to "stand firm," not to be discouraged.  Life was gusting around them, and Paul was telling them more storms would come.

Do you ever feel like God's Word doesn't help "real people?"  Like His truth doesn't really change anything about what discourages you?  I spent Monday evening with some women from my church at the women's shelter in town; we took the movie "Letters to God" and some fall snacks and lots of love. As we discussed the movie afterward, with women who face all kinds of reasons to be discouraged, we all agreed God DOES care about us, He DOES hear our prayers, and He DOES believe we are all worth saving.

I am a REAL person writing to REAL people, and I know you might feel like that leaf dangling on the wet branch. The rest of the week I want to share some practical ways to apply some "Discouragement Busters" in our hearts, our homes, and our hands.When Paul ended writing to those he cared for, he used a great reminder meant to encourage the readers.  It's fitting for me to end with his words (God's words!) today as a reminder of what our encouragement depends upon:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

0 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT: