I want to encourage you in this final partner letter of 2020 with some words that I trust will provide support to your life.
Over the last few weeks, I have heard many statements concerning how the outcome of 2020 has deflated the momentum and forward movement of vision in some. Questions continue to be unanswered concerning many of the year’s events and their effects on the future of our daily lives. When there is a sense of hopelessness and overwhelming fear, hearts begin to grow weary not knowing how to advance or what steps to take. The devil takes these types of scenarios to remove individuals from their positions and hinder the kingdom of God. It is vital that we continue to have spiritual eyes that see and perceive the truth in the midst of such corruption and deception.
With this said, I want to encourage you to stay the course and finish the year strong. To encourage simply means to put courage into the heart of another. That is my aim for you in this letter. I believe that how you finish one season is how you will begin and enter the next one. Circumstances do not have the ability to dictate the outcome or end result, but our beliefs do.
This is the best definition of courage that I have found: “The quality of mind and spirit that enable one to face difficulty or hardship without fear.” When I hear this phrase, I think of the Apostle Paul in Acts 27. As you read this chapter it seems to have a similar atmosphere to 2020 with seemingly nonstop and relentless setbacks and hindrances that will not subside. In fact, Acts 27:20 reads, “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us…” If that doesn’t sound like the last eight months, I don’t know what does. But know this, the beating of the storm does not prevail in Paul’s life nor affect his destiny in fulfilling his purpose. It is also important to note that the fear caused because of the storm was not controlling Paul’s thinking or decision-making ability as it was with some of the others. There was a confidence and steady strength in Paul’s mind and words.
Like Paul in Acts 27:22 in the midst of what seemed like a certain end, I say to you, “And now I urge you to take heart (courage), for there will be no loss of life among you, but only the ship.” There may have been some disappointments this year, but I believe we will come out with a great reward if we don’t give up and will experience the opportunity that will take us to the next level as we persevere.
As you continue along with Paul’s sea experience, you come to the key to this whole story. Acts 27:23-25 reveals Paul’s secret to his victory and success.
Verse 23 reads, “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.” Paul points out two major factors in this statement. One, the knowledge of his connection and fellowship where God was concerned. This belonging is an indicator of sonship. God was his Father, and therefore the overseer and caretaker of his life. Being a parent, I understand the responsibility that I have with my children; protection, housing, clothing, and daily nourishment are just a few of these duties. We are children of God; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (Psalms 100:3)
The second factor Paul states is his dedication and loyalty to God. This unwavering commitment solidified his God-given authority. There is no authority without submission and to serve another suggests that there is a revelation of a higher power other than oneself. The Centurion in Matthew 8 explains this perfectly to Jesus as he paints the picture of command and obedience and the outcome it produces. He said, “Speak the word only…” The word spoken produced the desired result.
Verses 24 continues, “…saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul….’” Fear is a manipulator forcing one to accept false information. Fear grips the heart and removes courage placing one into the state where there is disagreement between the spirit and mind. This is where doubts grow and impossibilities take over every thought, leaving no room for development.
Paul finishes this compelling speech in verse 25, “Therefore take heart (courage), men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Paul’s belief concerning God’s word was the turning point in his life. I am certain of this because believing is done with the heart (Romans 10:10) and the heart is the combined agreement between the renewed mind and the made alive born-again human spirit. When a heart is focused by truth, the double-minded tendency of doubt is destroyed, and the ability to receive inherited promises reinstated.
It is important to note that beliefs dictate your thoughts, and your thoughts direct your emotions, which in turn produce or hinder results. Believing is what moves you from the impossible to the possible and provides relief. Does it matter what you believe? Absolutely! How do you believe this year will end? I believe it will be just as God said it would be. Let’s believe together and see the vision for our lives come back into focus, reinstating the drive that promotes destiny and purpose! We have more to do in this end season of the church age, so let’s finish strong!