Smile, Jesus Loves You…
I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store today when I saw a little sign on top of the cash register that said, “Smile, Jesus Loves You.”
I realize that the saying “Smile, Jesus Loves You” is often used and is usually put out there with little understanding of what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus. But after a long day of running errands and after an even longer few weeks of challenges, I truly appreciated the reminder.
At some point over the last few weeks, I have become weary.
Weary of COVID & all of the restrictions that comes with it. Extremely weary of the media and being told what I should think and how I should feel. Weary of the political maneuverings of people who are capitalizing on the current circumstances to further their own agenda.
On a personal level, weary of constantly working and yet never seeming to get anything done. Weary of other personal challenges.
I started the day with this same mindset. I was further bothered by the fact that I wasn’t paying attention and I went through a devotional from a different study than the one I had been working on. But as I pondered the message throughout the morning, I realized that it was no accident…this is what the Lord wanted me to hear today.
The devotional went over the life of Joseph. He was his father’s favorite son, which caused Joseph’s brothers to hate him. Joseph further complicated the matter by sharing his dreams of his family bowing down to him. His brothers sold him into slavery and over the next several years Joseph was elevated into a leadership position, then cast into jail, elevated to leadership again in jail, and then was made second-in-command of Egypt.
The gist of the devotional is that even though Joseph went through many hard situations in which he was falsely accused and unjustly treated, God used these trials to train and shape Joseph for His future plans to save many people from famine.
GENESIS 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Life application? I need to change my mindset. Regardless of what trials I am experiencing, God will use them to shape, refine, and prepare me for His purposes!
Although the struggles are very real and sometimes seem never ending, the Bible tells us that we should count them all as joy because the testing of our faith produces patience. Our trials also produce perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope.
JAMES 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
ROMANS 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Our hope is solely in Jesus! He alone is the author and finisher of our faith. It is through His sacrifice that we are made new and He will continue to do a good work in us, transforming us to be more like Him!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
PHILIPPIANS 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
This is good news! The Lord loves us & is not finished with us yet, my friends! And that is indeed something to smile about.