New Year – New Beginning

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

January 2022 began a little on the down side for me in California. I developed Covid, ended in the hospital for five hours one night where God put me in a position of receiving an experimental antibody drug. Recovery was slow over a three to four week period, but I waited – impatiently – for the energy I so lacked to return. Thus I began writing this EncouraGem in bed as Jesus dictated what He would have me say to not only encourage you, but myself as well.  I am fully recovered now and continuing to finish this January article in February, while thankfully welcoming the return of my energy.

Now let me clarify that I was not depressed as the meaning of depressed means “Sad and gloomy; dejected, downcast, pressed down.”
Whereas I was discouraged “deprived of courage, hope or confidence, dispirited, disheartened.” Your prayers kept filtering through my gloom lifting my spirits upwards, and keeping my eyes focused on Jesus for my healing.

As I laid here daily in bed not able to read or do much of anything but rest and sleep, my ‘down’ state constantly replayed the negative goings on in the world around me. My own struggles over the years and how I acted or reacted to each situation bombarded my mind while I skimmed over Scripture I had learned from childhood.  I wondered how it was relating to what was happening to me now?

My mind kept leading me away into the past with thoughts of the time that I followed false prophets. I remembered asking myself… “Why would I want to stay on this narrow road of pain and troubles and follow Jesus? The wide and easy road is sounding so good that I think I might venture down it for a little ways!”  Which at the time I did, paying dearly for my disobedience as time went by.

The Corona Virus of course, was very present in my mind at this time, along with the world around me in constant chaos, anxiety, turmoil and political power grabs.  The fear of death seemed to be ever present in the thoughts and minds of Christians and non-Christian’s alike.

Wars and Rumors of Wars also came galloping into my mind. “What’s taking you so long in your return Lord? The ‘Times of the Gentiles’ was fulfilled in 1948. The Jews began governing Jerusalem for the first time in 2573 years on June 6, 1967!  All you prophesied would happen thousands of years ago, are now being fulfilled in my lifetime.” 

My mind kept a constant scrolling through scripture that tells of all the happenings in the world. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.” Mark 13:12

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

“Everyone will hate you because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Mark 13:13 –

“Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.  As the Scriptures say, ‘He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.’  And again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.'” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20.

At this point in my recovery, I finally began to question all these negative thoughts that were bringing me nothing but discouragement.  “Lord“, I said to myself – “Why am I letting the wisdom of the world and all its troubles occupy my mind?  You have told me in your word what You think of the world’s wisdom, that You are the One in charge and will do what’s needed in Your timing!  Lighten my spirit and help me get back to good health with Your comfort and joy always foremost in my mind.”

Would you say that my negativity during my convalescence showed I was not in a very ‘Up or Positive’ mood to say the least?  Perhaps it was the fever sapping me of strength, or perhaps I lacked the faith required at that time.  I know in my heart that Jesus cares more about me and the state of the world than I will ever understand and He will rectify all the worlds wrongs when the timing is right.

As I was finally beginning to recognize this truth, early one morning, 3:30a.m. to be exact, Jesus gave me the answer.  I began listening to Chuck Swindoll’s sermon on the book of Habakkuk. This led Chuck to his Five Statements of Faith he brought forward out of this Scripture.  I knew this was the answer and had to adopt this to my life!  My gloom and doom attitude needed an immediate overhaul back to joyful praise to the Lord for all He had done in the past, and was doing in my life right now!

Habakkuk starts out just like me, discouraged and complaining to God about when is He going to right all the world’s wrongs?  Then the Lord answers him, and Habakkuk listens well as he finishes with praise to the Lord and for His sovereignty.  I too ended up in thankful praise to my merciful and loving Lord.

Here are Chuck Swindoll’s Five Statements of Faith on Habukkuk 1-3

1) God is able – I am not
2) God knows what is best – I do not
3) God sees the end from the beginning – I can not
4) God should have His way in this – I should not
5) God must be glorified through this – I must not

I encourage you to listen for God’s voice; feel His love through the Holy Spirit’s comforting words; ask for His wisdom to encompass you and then watch Him banish all your fears and worldly wisdom to the garbage heap where I finally threw mine and where it belongs. 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles, They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

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