(This is the fourth post in a 30-Week Series – Getting to Know God.)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Easier said than done, right?
On the outside I was confident I was following God’s direction by starting a contracting business in the spring of 2010, but inside I was weak with anxiety and insecurity. I reasoned that I had no choice since after literally hundreds of unanswered online job applications and circulating my resume, my family would soon be teetering on bankruptcy. My pride could not allow that to happen. And neither could my pride allow accepting government assistance so with a sizable withdrawal from my 401(k) retirement plan, I set out to earn a living on my own… of course it could not have happened without God and His “angels.”
The Value of Prayer
The temptation to give up is often easy when there doesn’t seem to be a way around a circumstance. When Jesus started his ministry, he encountered Satan in a series of temptations that are representative of what faces each of us. Satan confronted Jesus when he was most vulnerable. Satan does the same thing to us in our vulnerability.
Jesus was led by the Spirit
Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights Jesus was hungry. Satan would tempt Jesus three times.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Mark 4:1-11
I didn’t know at the time if starting a business would be my wilderness, but I followed Jesus’ lead by relying on the value of prayer. And with every temptation to give in, give up, or give out I immersed myself in Scripture, so I could be reminded of the truth and wisdom in the face of Satan’s temptation and lies.
Jesus’ begins his ministry
Although Jesus did not hold an official position nor was he specifically trained to be a priest, he began his ministry wherever common people were found. He taught and performed miracles around the Sea of Galilee and throughout the entire area. It is here that Jesus was rejected in Nazareth.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.
30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Mark 4:16-30
As I have mentioned in previous posts in this series, I relied heavily not only on prayer and Scripture, but the angels God had placed in my life as I started to learn the industry I was endeavoring, making contacts for work assignments, and my many years in sales positions. Was I a fake as I thought earlier after my layoff? Only time would tell.
Had I never learned about Jesus or if I had stopped reading Scripture after Jesus’ experience in Nazareth I may never have learned in starting my own new venture that Jesus’ life teaches each one of us about rejection and acceptance. My faith would be the key to my success.
I was rejected by prospects and I was also accepted by others to keep going with my new line of work. I just kept praying that enough work would come along and that my clients would be paying me timely. My husband and I were trying desperately not only to catch up, but not fall behind further in our bills. Would my faith pay off? Only time would tell.
A prayer from my journal
Lord of my life, bless me Lord, my daily life and especially my work. May my work reflect Your goodness in all I say and do. Help and guide me so my work does not turn toward selfish purposes. Forgive me when I fail. Lift me up in your Word.
Lord of my life, help me to remember You are still in control when I feel discouraged and useless or when I am anxious and angry. Help me to realize that all good comes from You when I am satisfied and pleased with my work.
Lord of my life, take my work into Your own hands and bless not only the work but the people involved. Use what I accomplish to be a benefit not only for my family but to others and that it further Your purpose and will for my life and others for Jesus’ sake, I pray. Amen
May I pray for you?
The Prayer Journals are my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir. My posts in 2018 are a series relating to this theme. If you have just joined The Prayer Journals, I hope you will take the time to explore previous posts on this site.
Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be a master writer. Perhaps you are an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. Use your gifts to communicate with God, however you wish in your prayer journal.
Blessings on your day,
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