By Steve Troxel
God's Daily Word Ministries
In the message "God's Thermal of Encouragement" we saw how God promises to lift up those who hope and trust in Him. We must understand that this promise does not depend on the difficulty or darkness of our situation. No matter how hopeless our circumstances may appear, hope in Christ is sufficient and we must trust Him with all our heart - He WILL lift us high and send us soaring! We also considered how we are called to provide lifts of encouragement when others are drifting in the valley of despair.
The Corinthians believed in Jesus and were strengthened in their faith through the efforts of multiple people. Paul reminded them that although many may have provided influence and guidance, it was God who did the real work.
1 Corinthians 3:6
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow."
My grandparents loved the Lord and each other very much. They were married for sixty-five years, lived most of their life in a small farm house, and died a few miles from where they were born. In my youth, their lives were the foundation upon which I could stand when all else was crumbling. God used their love, and years of patient watering, to soften my rebellious heart and call me to His side.
When I entered full time ministry I had little knowledge of the Bible, but God gave me an understanding that He is in control. His call on my life was relatively simple: I was to freely cast out the seeds of His Word and trust Him with ALL my heart. This call has never changed. God said His Word "will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). I am to plant and water, and trust God to grow exactly all He desires.
I received the following note in response to the message God's Thermal of Encouragement:
"Your message came at a time when I am in the valley. I live in Zimbabwe and currently we are facing a lot of challenges. I've been really drawn down, my Christian walk was affected, my prayer life was affected. I really felt as if I was alone in everything I was facing. Basically I've been trying to do everything with my own strength. But after reading your message I realized that my strength comes from the Lord and He will lift me up from this valley that I'm in, all I have to do is keep calling upon Him."
Indeed, God's Word does not return empty! No matter what our current circumstances, we must obediently plant His message and continue to water with encouragement at every opportunity. Many people are walking in a Spiritually dry land and we may be the only bit of Jesus they see or hear...or read. Some seeds take a long time to germinate, and some plants can take years to fully mature and bear fruit. Let's minister with our focus always on the glory of God. He will produce the growth in His timing, according to His plan. Let's join His work by simply, and faithfully, continuing to plant and water.
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