Category Archives: Encouragement

Silent for Us

He was innocent, yet the people brought many false charges against him. The Roman official couldn’t find any reason to charge him, so he gave the people a choice. Who did they want released? The innocent or a known murderer were the options, and the people shouted for the murderer to go free.

The trial came, and he remained silent. He offered no defense or accusation against his accusers. He was silent through it all: the trial, the verdict, and the punishment. He was innocent, but he remained silent for us.

Why did he remain silent?

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream, but he was struck down for the rebellion of my people” (Isaiah 53:7-8).

His silence was a gift to us. He was innocent, but no one else was, so Jesus exchanged places with the guilty; Jesus exchanges places with all of us so we could find peace with God. He did this all for us.

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For Us

He came from the Father full of grace and truth. He was full of mercy and love. His compassion ran deep, and his actions for us were bold. For us, his love was immeasurable, and he did what only he could do.

  • For us, he carried weaknesses and sorrows that did not belong to him. They were ours, but he carried them for us (Isaiah 53:4).
  • For us, he was beaten so we could be whole; he was whipped, so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5).
  • For us, he was pierced and crushed (Isaiah 53:5).
  • For us, he was unjustly condemned (Isaiah 53:8).

He is Jesus, and his love for us compelled him to help us by doing what only he could do. He took our guilt so we could have peace.

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Guilt Removal

We kick ourselves when we’re down. We beat ourselves up today for yesterday’s mistakes. We know we’ve messed up, so we feel guilty. Having feelings of guilt is certainly a shared experience.

Psychology Today post reports, “We experience 5 hours a week of guilty feelings. One study found that if you add up all the moments you spend feeling mildly or moderately guilty, it adds up to a pretty significant chunk of time.” 

It is not that we experience Guilt which causes a problem. It is our handling of the guilty feelings which makes a difference. Guilt is a trigger that can lead us to action, and it can be used by the Lord to help us discover true peace.

Guilt can be the tool which drives us to the Lord. Our guilt can push us to fully accept the Lord’s grace. Those mistakes, those failures of the past can create much guilt, but we can be set free in God’s grace.

Notice the words of Psalm 103:12, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Look to the east. Now, look to the west. The horizon stretches as far as we can see. Through Christ, that is how much distance there is between us and those mistakes of yesterday. The Lord offers us peace through his grace, and he invites us to rest in his peace rather than wrestle in our guilt. Challenge yourself to rest rather than wrestle today.

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Never Grows Weary

Is the Lord going to get tired of me? Is he going to stop helping me? Is he going to turn his back and ignore me? No, of course not; that would be the complete opposite of his character.

Psalm 103 gives us a glimpse into how merciful, compassionate, and gracious the Lord is toward you and me. Verses 8-11 say, “The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.”

This Psalm is a reminder of God’s grace. We do not get what we deserve; we get far more! In his grace, we can find freedom in Christ. The Lord removes our guilt and replaces it with his peace. He removes the guilt from past mistakes and replaces it with a hope for a better future. When you think of your past, do you concentrate on the guilt of past mistakes or the peace of Christ’s forgiveness?

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Never Rejects

Rejection. This is one of our deepest fears; we all want to belong, and the fear of someone rejecting us keeps us from moving. It may keep us from asking for that date or applying for that great job. And, it may be keeping some of us from asking for the Lord’s forgiveness.

We feel our lives are too messed up; there is no way the Lord wants to mess with someone like us. But, we are assured that is not true. We can be confident the Lord will never reject our request for forgiveness.

The Bible shows us the Lord will forgive the guilt of our past mistakes, and reassures us the Lord will always receive us.

  • Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit; you will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
  • 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive.”

The Lord will never reject us! We can ask for forgiveness knowing he will grant it through his grace! Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from asking. You won’t be rejected.

Asking for Mercy

He was taking a stroll on the rooftop, looking over the kingdom he ruled, when someone caught his eye. She was beautiful, and he longed to spend some time with her. He sent for her, and she spent the night with him in the palace. The next morning, with the one-night stand over, he sent her home.

Some time later, she sent him a message informing him they were expecting a child. This was a problem because her husband had been on the battlefield for a long period of time, so the king thought he could trick the man into coming home and spending the night with his wife. After all, this would keep their affair secret. It didn’t work, so David eventually gave orders for Uriah to be killed in battle, and Bathsheba became his wife.

The Bible tells us the Lord sent Nathan to David to deliver a rebuke for his sins. It seems David is filled with guilt and shame because of his actions, and after Nathan’s visit, David pleads for forgiveness as he writes Psalm 51.

“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love, because of your great compassion,” David writes. “Blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean of my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion, for it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, I have sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just…. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow. O, give me back my joy again. You have broken me, now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins; remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a loyal spirit within me.”

David realized he messed up. In recognizing his mistake, David understood the Lord would forgive him, so David asked for forgiveness. We read in the Bible the Lord did forgive David, and he will forgive us as well.

We know we’ve messed up, and the Lord invites us to exchange that guilt for the peace he offers. Jesus invites us to exchange our heavy load of guilt for his light load of peace (Matthew 11:28-30), so make that exchange today.

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Full of Mercy and Grace

The Bible tells us a great deal about God’s character. He is an all-powerful, awesome Creator, who can begin and end events with a single word. He is a God with whom nothing is impossible. He is also a God of mercy and grace, worthy of praise. Notice what David writes in the Psalms.

Psalm 103:1-6 says:

“Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
 He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord gives righteousness
    and justice to all who are treated unfairly.”

Think about the picture these words paint of God. Dwell on his forgiveness and mercy. This Psalm goes on to remind us the Lord can take away our guilt, so challenge yourself to allow the God described above to be the Lord of life today.

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Reasons for Hope

1 Thessalonians 4:18 says, “So encourage one another with these words,” and since we can all use a dash of hope today, here are 2 ways verses 13-18 give us hope.

Our hope is in Christ.

Our hope is not in a temporary or fading person or place, it is in Jesus. We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again so we could have eternal life. This means our hope in Christ is eternal; it is not going to disappear. As this passage declares, one day all who are in Christ will be united together with him.

We will be with the Lord forever.

Verse 17 reminds us that we will be with the Lord forever. As Jesus promised, he is preparing a place for us, and when it is ready, he will come get us (John 14). That day is coming. A day in which the Bible promises no more pain, heartache, struggle, or difficulty. It is a day for which we can have hopeful anticipation.

We are challenged to encourage one another with these words. Our hope is real, and it is in Christ Jesus.

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Our Source of Hope

“Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?”

These words of Psalm 77 are like those of a personal journal. The Psalmist’s ink quail puts to paper the truth of his thoughts. They may be private thoughts; embarrassment would come if anyone else knew how he felt. However, they are relatable thoughts. Many ask the same questions amid life’s troubles. In fact, you may have noticed the questions and wondered how I knew what you were thinking.

It seems we ask these questions in hard times, feeling the answer may be yes, but Scripture reminds us the Lord is always faithful, always keeping his promises. As Hebrews 4 says, the Lord will never leave us, and Isaiah 64 states the Lord works for those who wait for him. The Psalmist said he asked these questions, but found hope in remembering the Lord.

He says in verse 11, “But then I recall all you have done, O Lord.” As he remembered the Lord, the Psalmist hope was restored.

We too can find hope in remembering the Lord.

We can find hope in remembering his deeds.

In verses 11-12, the Psalmist says, “I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.”

Remember all the deeds of the Lord: how he brought the Israelites out of Egypt, how he helped Israel with the overwhelming task of conquering Canaan, and how he come walking out of the tomb. The Lord has always provided an answer to his people. Our hope can be restored by remembering his deeds.

We can find hope in remembering his character.

The Lord is holy. The Lord is merciful, gracious, loving, compassionate, faithful, and more! Remembering his character can bring us great hope.

We can find hope in remembering his power

The Psalmist proclaims in verse 14, “You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.”

God’s power has been on display throughout history. It was visible when he brought Israel out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, toppled the walls of Jericho, and calmed the storm with a single word. The Lord’s power is awesome, and he works for those who wait for him. Remembering the Lord’s power restores our hope.

The Lord’s deeds, character, and power can provide us with much hope.  The next time you feel rejected, failed, or as if the Lord has turned his back on you, restore your hope by remembering his deeds, character, and power.

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An Answer at the Door

It is rare that I lose my keys, but it does happen. One morning I unlocked an office door and left my keys hanging in the knob as I turned to put several items down. I was going to grab my keys next, but the phone rang. One thing led to another, and my day had launched.

A few hours later I couldn’t find my keys. Searching, I mentioned to someone I lost them.

He said, “No, you didn’t. They are hanging in your door.” There the keys were in plain view.

Sometimes the answers to our prayers are in plain view, but we are astonished so we miss them. Just ask Rhoda, and the others, who were praying for Peter.

They forgot to open the door.

Acts 12 records Peter being put in prison to face persecution, and many of the believers gathered at Mary’s house to pray for him. They are praying, and simultaneously, an angel is freeing Peter from prison. No one expected a rapid answer to their prayers. This causes some confusion at Mary’s house.

Verses 13-16 say, “Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed, she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’ ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said it must be his angel. But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Luke paints a humorous scene here. Christians have gathered late at night to pray, and suddenly there is a knock at the outer gate. Rhoda checks and discovers Peter, but forgets to open the door to the answered prayer. She is so shocked the prayer was answered quickly, or answered at all, she runs away from the answer. She runs away to tell others the answer was at the door. Disbelief, shock, and surprise keep the others away from the door. No one is opening the door for the answered prayer.

Meanwhile, Peter keeps knocking. They finally open the door, and there stands Peter. He is the answer to their prayer, and he is standing there in plain view.

Be ready to open the door.

While God always answers our prayers, the timeline is not always so sudden. The answer may come concurrently or it may take a minute. As we pray, are we ready to open the door when the answer knocks? Are we ready to receive the answer at any time? We just never know when the answer will knock on the door.

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