PASTOR RICK'S BLOG  

I once heard Chuck Swindoll the long time Evangelical Free Church Pastor tell the story of how Satan once put his tools up for sale in a garage sale. All of them were there: hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, pride—each with an individual price tag. Off to the side was a harmless-looking tool, well worn, but priced very, very high. One of the shoppers asked him what that tool was and why it was so expensive.

"That's discouragement," he said. "It's more useful to me than all the others put together. I can get at someone's heart more deeply with discouragement than with anything else. It's so worn out because I use it on almost everyone. And the best part is they rarely know I'm using it."

Listen, Satan is alive and well. He is the one behind the wickedness in our world. (Eph. 6: 10-12) One of his evil ways is to use discouragement as a tool, and he uses it on each of us day in and day out. Because discouragement often comes from pessimism about how things will turn out, one of the best ways to overcome it is to get God's perspective of our future. I believe order to do that, we have to let go of two myths.

The first myth about the future is that our situation "will always be this way." If your job has always been terrible, you'll eventually embrace the myth that it always will be. Same goes for a marriage, a home, parents, children, your golf game or whatever else you struggle with. If we want to see life from God's perspective, we have to reject that myth.

The second myth about the future is that when we make a change for the better, we expect things to start improving almost immediately. I have found that real life is just not that way. Many people find themselves in an overwhelmingly difficult situation and begin praying, going to church, studying the Bible, tinkering with their golf swing or trying to overhaul their lifestyle as a result. And when they've stuck with it for a week, a month, or even a year, and nothing seems to be getting any better, they feel like they've gotten a raw deal. Most of us feel that if we've made the right changes, we ought to see the right consequences happen pretty soon. And while God mercifully works that way sometimes, He doesn't always. Sometimes the fruit of our obedience takes a long time to grow.

A few years ago I started tinkering with my golf swing. For several weeks I tried every thing imaginable to keep from hooking the golf ball out of bounds to the left. I tried a new grip, new glove, new golf balls, a new swing. Nothing worked. I even tried swinging with my eyes closed. (Boy that was a sight to see).

Finally I just gave up. I stopped playing for a few weeks. After awhile my competitive nature begin to surface. I had to try one more time. So, I went back out to the driving range with a new attitude and a commitment to go back to the basics. To my amazement it worked. Just a simple swing path adjustment and a new attitude of optimism and appreciation for the game cured my wicked hook. A couple of days later I shot a 62!!! NO kidding.

God's perspective on our future is this: "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life (or a new golf swing) that God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12). That's a great promise. It encourages us that things will change; whatever we feel stuck in now isn't permanent. It will change. Don't give up and don't give in. God says you will receive a reward when the test is finished. Who knows you may have a 62 in you.

Walk Worthy,
Pastor Rick






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