Dr. Michael Layne
Greensburg Daily News
"But they that wait up in the Lord shall review their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall walk and not be weary, they shall run and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
Have you ever been in the middle of a project and things seem to not come together?
Have you ever found yourself struggling with family issues and it seems that one family member is just as difficult as ever to get along with? What about your financial situation, just not enough money to make it to the next check?
One thing for sure, you are living in today's world and not the outer limits. As long as we are alive there will be those issues that pop up that need to be resolved.
Some of those issues have a tendency to drain us of every ounce of strength. We feel that we just can't go another step of the way. The difficulty in life sometimes feels overwhelming and beyond our control. The first question to ask ourselves is: "How am I going to respond this situation?" That is a question for you to answer. I have found the best place to start is the Holy Bible and prayer.
In our praying, it is important that we repent of any sin we have committed. God does not bless when there is the wall of sin to hinder His help. But when we repent He hears those words of repentance and the first thing He does is to forgive us.
Once we have removed any roadblock to His blessings, He is willing to hear and respond. It's easy to become weary in our lives and almost get to the place of giving up. I know about that. I've certainly had my moments when the going was so difficult that I have been tempted to lay aside whatever ministry project I was working on.
Then I am reminded of the passage from Isaiah 40 that gives me strength for the journey. Sometimes in reflecting on this promise from God and through prayer I find that I must make a change in my life. Some would call this a "course correction." If the route we are taking doesn't get to the destination we have envisioned, then it's time to correct our course. We have one of those GPS units. The first one we owned had a voice I identified with. "Cletus" was a good ol' boy that sounded like it. If we missed a turn Cletus would give us an indicator that we had messed up. He would say, "Oh, shoot, you done missed your turn. Turn around and go back."
Often, the Holy Spirit is like our GPS system: It gives us direction, but it is also important that we listen for His voice and become sensitive to His guidance. God really wants all of us to be blessed and become strong in our faith.
Repentance is one of those ways we become strong. One of the things we do in our services is called a "General Confession." This is a response from the people as they respond to the prayer of the pastor. There is a time of silent reflection and self-examination for all.
At the close of this segment of the service the pastor will say: "Almighty God, in His mercy, has given His Son to die for us and, for His sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the Church, and by His authority, I therefore declare you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the Name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
I realize many churches do not practice a liturgy, but I must tell you that since I have discovered this ancient tradition of the Church, I have found a real joy in not only telling people their sins are forgiven, but also seeing it on many faces the relief of hearing it verbalized, possibly for the first time, that their sins are forgiven. Remember what Jesus told Peter, "Whose sins you forgive they will be forgiven!"
Maybe you just need to hear someone say to you, following your prayer of repentance, that your sins are forgiven. So, if life has been difficult and you are ready to just give up, hang on, God really cares for you, but he also wants to have a relationship with you.
If you need to know how to receive Jesus Christ into your life, please contact me for more information.
Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-662-5154 or through www.faithandcourage.net.