Staying the Course - Encouragement for Today - July 18, 2018

Ruth Chou Simons

July 18, 2018
Staying the Course

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

I’ll tell you a secret.

I am an artist who captures flora and fauna with the stroke of her brush. I thrive in the flourish of hand-lettered script and the delicate detail of petal and pistil. But, despite my love for nature, I may be the most non-outdoorsy mom of six boys I’ve ever known.

And yet, as they say: God moves in mysterious ways. Or as Paul says in Ephesians 3:20, He does “more than we ask or imagine.”

I never imagined it a possibility, but I recently found myself asking to go four-wheel driving with my seven guys.

My secret? I have now turned into a bit of an off-roading junkie.

You’ve seen the pickup trucks with mud caked on the tires and flung up the sides, begging you to trace “Wash me” in the dirt coating the tailgate.

When we go off-roading, we drive very narrow, treacherous, single-track, rocky, dirt roads up a mountain to 12,000 feet on the side of a cliff with loose rock falling around us.

If that description isn’t enough to make you fling your mom-arm out in a seatbelt save, I don’t know what would.

Did I mention there’s no cell service? No bathroom. No food trucks. And no air up there, either.

But do you know why I’m an off-roading convert?

Because I have seen the top. I’ve witnessed views that take my breath away. I’ve journeyed the unparalleled experience of knowing that God is the creator, and I am not. And no matter how skilled an artist I may be, my most creative work will always be reflections of His handiwork. Witnessing His greatness causes the journey to be worthwhile.

When I am at the base of the mountain, strapped in tight, ready to brace myself for the bumpy, windy, unpredictable road ahead, I look to where I'm going and I fix my eyes there — at the top.

It’s no different walking with the Lord.

None of us plan to write confusion or failure into our stories. Or pain, conflict and suffering. No one plans to struggle to love her husband, to feel helpless in motherhood, to feel lonely in ministry, or question her identity — as we so often do.

How we journey through unexpected circumstances depends on what we believe about the road we’re on. We tell our souls what to do, as the psalmist does, by preaching to ourselves and questioning ourselves and by fixing our eyes on the truth about our journey and the One who sets our course. You see, you can find hope in the present when you preach the truth to yourself about where you’re headed.

We need only to look to God’s Word. When we fix our eyes daily on the eternal hope of Jesus, and preach that truth to ourselves, we see that no present obstacle is ever bigger than His glory.

We must believe as Paul did, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

The Bible is God’s letter that tells us what He has planned for us, and how He’ll provide until we are with Him forever.

When we preach the truth of that love letter to ourselves, we can fix our eyes on our eternal home, even while navigating our present circumstances.

How much energy and time do we spend perfecting strategies, reading self-help books and creating the best scenario for success, when what we lack is not so much resources, time, support, knowledge or even know-how? What we lack most is an eternal perspective grounded in gospel truth.

Fixing our eyes on our eternal hope empowers us to persevere in our earthly homes, trusting Jesus to not only lead us, but sustain us to finish the course.

Heavenly Father, I ask today that You help me fix my eyes on the eternal hope I have only in You. That I remember no matter the circumstances I live in or face each day, You are bigger still. Keep me grounded in You and Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 13:9-12, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (ESV)

In the rush of each day, do you feel lost in the struggles and distractions of the world? Every moment is a chance to remind yourself of God’s truth. With the Garden of Truth devotional from bestselling author Ruth Chou Simons, experience the beauty of God’s handiwork with each reminder of His unending grace. Available from Barnes and NobleAmazon and bookstores everywhere.

For daily encouragement from Scripture through word and brush, visit, or join Ruth on Instagram.

Enter to WIN a copy of Garden of Truth by Ruth Chou Simons. In celebration of this book, Harvest House Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify them in the Comments section by Monday, July 30, 2018.}

What truth from God’s Word do you need to preach to yourself today?

© 2018 by Ruth Chou Simons. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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Christianity / Devotionals / Encouragement for Today / Staying the Course - Encouragement for Today - July 18, 2018