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After the Word comes a prayer, and then a blessing.
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“Can you Survive and Thrive in a Recession? Are you serious?” Yes, you can, because of God’s goodness towards you, so let’s get right down to it.
There are at least three keys to surviving and thriving in a recession. Here they are…
The first key is to recognise and embrace the fact that we are not in this on our own, although it might feel as though we are.
When we commit our lives to Jesus, He comes and dwells within us. “Christ In Us, the hope of glory.” We have Jehovah Shamma, “the God who is With Us.”
God has promised to be with us through all the circumstances of life. David wrote: “Even though I walk through the darkest Valley I will not fear any evil; for you are with me, and your rod and staff comfort me.” Our God walks with us as our companion and defender.
Our God loves us. His love is vast as the ocean, high as the heavens above. He is not capricious – there is no shadow of turning with him. It is a huge love, steadfast and unmoving. You are the apple of His eye and He will never leave you or forsake you.
Our God is a faithful provider. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac on the altar of obedience (see Gen 22) an angel cried out from heaven and stopped him. Then he saw a lamb caught in a thicket. Abraham called the place “The Lord will provide”. David points out that the Lord provides food for the hungry, perhaps reminding people of how God sent manna from heaven and released water from the rock in the wilderness.
Jesus makes it clear. Your Father knows what you need. Make the kingdom of God your first priority and all those other things, including food and clothing, will be provided for you too. (Matt 6:25-34.)
The God who did not lift Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the fiery furnace, walked in the furnace with them, liberating them within that situation. Nebuchadnezzar looked into the furnace and saw not three but four men walking, one of whom looked like “a son of the gods’. How much more will Jesus be with you in your fiery trials.
The second key is to watch our attitude.
‘Attitude’ speaks of our general worldview, our response to life, people, concepts and things. This is the time to look at our attitude and repent of our worldly and fleshly attitudes.
Always wanting to find someone to blame is a fleshly response to life, and we need to repent of it where necessary. It’s how the world reacts. We are not of this world if we are followers of Jesus and His Spirit is with us.
Attitudes are easy to spot in others, but harder in ourselves. “He or She has attitude” conveys our view of them and paints a very strong yet negative picture of them.
Dealing with our own attitudes is far trickier than killing someone else with a phrase. They are hard to change.
Attitudes tend to be shaped by our family background, our growing up, our personal experiences and the media. Walking in godly attitude, and in step with the Spirit, starts with bringing these four areas of life to Him, recognising their effect on us and assuming personal responsibility for our ongoing response to them. Recognition leads to confession; confession leads to forgiveness; forgiveness leads to the cleansing and healing power of the blood of Jesus. All this leads to newness of life in Jesus.
The Bible challenges us to live a new life with new attitudes. Let the mind of Christ live within you. Such a deep healing and change can only be initiated through the New Birth of repentance, surrender to Jesus, and being baptised, followed by a life of obedience and fellowship with Christ and service towards His purposes and mercy towards others.
The third key is to show mercy to others.
As we have received mercy, so we must show mercy to others. Jesus spelt that out very clearly as He said: “Be merciful, even as your Father in heaven is merciful”.
Having mercy is to lift the weight off someone and carry it yourself. That’s what God did for you when He lifted the weight of sin and its penalty off you and nailed it to the cross. Jesus took it in your place so that you don’t have to carry it yourself anymore. We then demonstrate the mercy we have received by lifting the weight off others.
Jesus was generous, always stopping for the needy person in front of Him, however inconvenient. Let that be our attitude.
Jesus was kind. Even though the band who travelled with Him were themselves living by faith, there was still a bag from which to give support to the poor.
Here are some practical things you might consider doing.
- Pray for provision for yourself and for others. Ask the Lord for enough to live and enough to give (what we call wealth) for yourself and for the needy.
- If you are a church leader, could you offer a warm place for people to drop in and spend some time?
- Could you invite someone who is struggling to a free cuppa in a warm café with you?
- Could you invite some poorer neighbours, lonely people, pensioners, to a simple lunch of warm soup and toast in your home?
- Could you volunteer to serve the local Foodbank?
- Could you offer to visit the lonely or housebound in your area?
- Could you give support a foodbank with food or finance? Remember to ask the Food bank what food would be most helpful.
- Are there other voluntary or charitable bodies that you could support?
If you have other practical suggestions, or if you have any comments about the suggestions above, please leave your comments.
Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that your kingdom is not in recession, but remains full of promises and help.
I offer you the gift of myself as a living sacrifice. Will you make me holy and acceptable to you.
Help me keep focussed on you and your faithful love towards me.
Cleanse my heart, mind, and spirit, that I might be a growing reflection of the Lord Jesus.
Father, your ears are always open towards the poor. Please give me the same heart and show me how I might share your care with those around me.
May your name be glorified and your kingdom come to my part of earth, transforming people and communities.
Through Jesus Christ.
I bless you in the name of Jesus, that the peace of God may fill your mind. As you face the recession, with its disappointment and strains, I bless you in His name to hear His voice speaking straight into your being: “Peace be with you.”
As Christmas draws near, I bless you in Jesus’ name that you may recognise afresh the coming of the glorious Prince of Peace.
And I bless you in Jesus’ name that you might be a carrier of the Prince of Peace into your local community, opening the way for God’s love and care to be expressed to many.
And I bless you in Jesus’ name, putting His name upon you, that you might rest in His promises and provision.
Peace be with you.
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