I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence. Psalm 140:12-13
Soooo…. The other day I was struggling with depression. Yes, [raises hand] I struggle with depression. For those who know my story, the last few years have been incredibly painful. Where can I find hope when my heart hurts? I have looked in many places. The only thing that has brought life to the deep sting of death is God’s Word, the Bible.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
So there I was again, feeling beaten down after a long day. Despairing of life. My hands reaching up as a last-ditch effort for God to meet me in my need. I read a section from a little devotional book and it settles me just enough to fall asleep.
I wake with the same pain and anxieties I went to bed with. But I open my Bible reading app and read the assigned text for the day. And that’s when it hit me…
//Pause// Have you ever read something in the Bible that you’ve totally read like 1,000 times… except for this time, it seemed completely new and written just for you? That was me at that moment! //Play//
THIS is my hope!!
In a raw and real way, the author David pours his heart out to God. He is in so much pain! He doesn’t know if it will ever end. I feel ya man! But then he ends with this:
“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.”
Truth: The Bible says that there is purpose in our pain. Now, this verse is telling me that God Himself will maintain that purpose and not let it slide. No matter how deep or long the affliction, God will not let pain be a waste.
Response: “O Lord, engrave in my heart the surety of You maintaining my cause!”
“Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.”
Truth: These are promises, friends! If you are in Christ, then the words righteous and upright apply to your account. Let us gaze upon the cross and be silent. The longer I gaze the more I find thankfulness bubbling up in my heart. The more I imagine seeing Jesus face-to-face in Heaven, the more excitement swells in my soul!
Response: “Father, set my heart solidly on the far yet near future of dwelling in Your presence, and overflow my heart with thanks to Your name.”
Thinking I was alone, the next day I shared my deep, ugly struggles with a friend. And wouldn’t you know it, she said she’s been struggling with the same thing! We then shared with each other some solace we’ve found in Scripture. And let me tell you, it was a balm for the soul!
Dear friend, are you struggling? Please don’t be silent and alone! Reach out to us, a Christian near you, someone.
If you are a Christian, then you’ve been adopted into a FAMILY. You’re not supposed to go at this life alone, and you don’t have to. I only say this because that’s what I used to believe. But it’s not true.
Be an encourager! Share in the comments below a Bible verse that has helped you through a trial. Struggling in life, but can’t think of a Bible verse? Please comment and let us help you think of some!
Of the three apostles closest to Jesus, Peter, James and John, James is the one we know the least about. His name never appears alone in the gospels. He is always mentioned with his younger brother John. Much like Peter and Andrew. The only time we see James mentioned by himself is in the book of Acts where it records his death. James was the first apostle to be martyred.
James, and his brother John are often referred to as the sons of Zebedee. This indicates that their father was of some importance. His prestige may have been a result of his financial standing, family lineage, or both. It appears, from Mark 1:20, that the family business was large enough to employ several servants.
"And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed Him." Mark 1:20
Early church records tell us that John's father, Zebedee, was most likely a Levite and related to the high priest. This is another explanation for the family's prominence. Prestige must have followed John as well. His acquaintance with the high priest gained Peter entrance to the high priest's courtyard on the night of Jesus' arrest.
The fact that James' name follows Peter's in the list of apostles tells us that he must of been a strong leader. James was present when Jesus:
Isn't that what we need to see to strengthen our faith?
His power | His glory | His sovereignty | His agony
Of the four apostles closest to Jesus, Andrew is the least known. Yet he was often the means by which others were introduced to the Savior. He is known as the apostle of the small things. From the very beginning he had an eagerness to follow Christ and a zeal for introducing others to Him.
"One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus...." John 1:40-42
Those five words, "he brought him to Jesus" define Andrew's purpose in life after he himself met the Savior.
"...it is clear that the four disciples in the inner circle all aspired to be leaders. That is why they sometimes had those shameful arguments over who was the greatest. Their eagerness to lead, which caused so many clashes when they were together as a group, ultimately became immensely valuable when these men went their separate ways as apostles in the early church. Jesus was training them for leadership, and in the end, they all filled important leadership roles in the early church." —John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men
Scripture doesn't tell us much about Andrew. Apart from the places where all twelve disciples are mentioned in the New Testament, his name is only mentioned nine times. He lived his life in the shadows, and that's how he preferred it. He realized the value of small things.
I love how the passage in John 1:40-42 says, "He first found his own brother..." After Andrew made the decision to follow Christ, the first thing he did was go and tell someone else—his own brother! Simon Peter was Andrew's brother, and would eventually become the Rock of the early church. Read more about that here. This says a lot about Andrew's character and his mode of operation.
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