Category Archives: Inspiration

A Hopeful Promise

Feeling trapped in a hopeless situation? Please know there is always hope in this promise the Lord makes us.

The Promise

John 14:2-3 says, “My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you. And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

“I’m coming back for you,” Jesus promises. In a world filled with broken hearts and unkept promises, these words of Jesus give us a promise in which we can fully trust. The promise is coming from a trustworthy source.

Jesus and his disciples are having an intense conversation. Jesus is preparing the disciples for events which will soon take place. The news is unsettling. It is perplexing and frightening to the disciples, so Jesus requests their trust and assures them of his return. Jesus’ words were a familiar comfort to the disciples.

A Familiar Promise

Jesus made his promise of returning in an everyday way to his disciples. An engagement would have immediately come to mind.

Weddings were done differently in the first century as the marriage was arranged. When it was decided a bride and groom would be married, the groom would make a promise to his bride.

He would say something like, “In my father’s house are many rooms, and I’m going to prepare a place for you. When I have finished preparing the place, I will come back to get you. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Newly married couples would live in the groom’s father’s house. If there were several generations living there, it could be a large structure. Upon their engagement, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare the necessary addition to the home. The only hitch was he did not know when the addition would be completed. His promise did not include date and time. He just promised he would return to get the bride.

While she was anticipating her groom’s return, the bride learned how to have a successful household from her mother, and at night, she would place a lamp in her window so the groom could find her if he returned. The couple would have a beautiful wedding ceremony when the groom returned.

A Hopeful Promise

Think again of Jesus’ words. “My Father’s house has many rooms….” Jesus is giving us the promise of a groom. He has gone to prepare a place for us.

Like a first century bride, our job is to prepare for his return, and just like the bride, we don’t know a date or time.

Jesus is off preparing a place for us, and he has promised us he will return. He has promised you and I he will return, and if we trust him, we can find much hope in this promise.

If you are feeling hopeless, cling to this promise. For there is always hope in Christ.

Acting

How do you find hope in this promise? Share in the comments below.

Know someone who would find this post encouraging? Please share it with him or her.

 

Jumping in Trust

Zack and his dad were hiking in the mountains of Tennessee on a sunny afternoon. Zack’s dad hears from above, “Hey dad! Catch me!”

Horrified to see Zack falling from an above cliff, the dad quickly put himself into position and successfully caught Zack. A moment passed while the dad calmed his nerves. Then he asked, “What happened?”

“I jumped,” the boy replied.

Why on earth did you jump,” the dad inquired.

Zack answered, “Because I know you are my dad and I knew you would catch me.”

Zack had complete trust in his dad because he was Zack’s father.

Trust is Foundational

Trust is the foundation for any relationship. Friends must trust each other. Parents and children must trust each other. Husbands and wives must trust each other. Our relationship with Jesus requires we trust him.

Jesus Requests Our Trust

Jesus requests in John 14:1 we trust him.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”

Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples, and he is giving them much to consider. He’s telling the disciples what is going to happen soon, but from their vantage point, there is still a great deal unknown. Jesus knows it is perplexing, maybe even frightening, for the disciples, so he makes a request that they trust him. The same request Jesus makes of us.

What’s going to happen in the future? If you could know the answer, would you want it? I wouldn’t, but the unknown is nerve-racking too. We dislike the unknown. We find it perplexing and frightening just like the disciples, so Jesus says, “Trust me.”

Jesus asks that we trust him. Trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, our money and financial health, and our lives. Jesus asks that we trust him with everything.

Why can we trust the Lord?

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. How will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

The Lord has proven himself trustworthy by giving us his son. So, the question you and I need to answer is do we trust him? Do we trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, and money and financial health, and our lives? Do we trust him with everything?

Do we have the complete trust Zack did?

Acting

Make a list of the areas of your life where you may need to trust the Lord more. Ask him to help you build that trust. Share your experience in the comments below.

Please share this post with anyone you believe would find it encouraging.

 

 

Music Monday: The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost

Welcome to Music Monday. I’m always fascinated by songs that can get us thinking about the Lord without even realizing it. The Lord’s encouragement and truth can sneak into a song and grab listeners by the heart strings. Suddenly a simple song thrusts the Lord’s encouragement and truth right before us. Music Mondays look at some of these songs.

The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost by Craig Morgan reminds us of the hope we have in Christ. Morgan wrote the song as a tribute to his late son. It reminds us in the most hopeless situations, the Lord gives hope. The last line sums up our eternal hope. “One day I’ll wake up and I’ll be home with the Father my son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Situations may seem hopeless, but in Christ, there is always hope. If nothing else, Heaven awaits.

God Won’t Leave

Will God leave me? This is a fair question, and one we may ask in a difficult time. The Bible says the Lord will not leave us, and Joseph’s story helps us see the Lord can use the difficult stuff to do some amazing work.

The Beginning of Joseph’s Story

Joseph was one of many brothers, and his father loved him the most causing strain among Joseph and his brothers. It may be safe to say his brothers hated Joseph. Not only did his father love him the most, Joseph had some dreams the family found upsetting.

Over breakfast one morning Joseph told his family he had a dream where they all bowed down to him. This angered his brothers, and Joseph’s dad told him not to speak like this again.

A few days after the breakfast incident, Joseph was sent to check on his brothers as they were tending the sheep. They saw him coming and plotted to kill him, but one brother, Reuben, convinced the boys to throw Joseph in a cistern to avoid bloodshed. They did, but later sold into slavery. Joseph found himself in Egypt where he worked. You would think Joseph had enough trouble at this point, but his troubles continue.

While in Egypt, Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and spends a few years in prison. Bad things certainly happened to Joseph.

Bad Things Happen

Joseph’s story reminds you and I bad things happen in life. We are not immune to adversity and trials, yet we can find great encouragement in God’s word. Scripture teaches God will not leave us when bad things happen.

God will not leave us.

The Lord is committed to staying with us in bad times. Paul, in Romans 8, says the Lord will stay with us when bad things happen.

Romans 8:37-39 says, “No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

None of these things will cause the Lord to leave us. This is an exhaustive list, and to make sure he covers everything, Paul ends the list by saying, “…in all creation.” I hope you find this statement as encouraging as I do. The hardest of times will not drive away the Lord.

The lost job will come, but the Lord will stay. The money trouble will come, but the Lord will stay. Our hearing or eyesight may go, but the Lord will stay. The disease may infect, but the Lord will stay. The mistake may occur, but the Lord will forgive and stay. Nothing will drive the Lord away. Our relationship may be strengthened amid these seasons.

He Carried Her

One night a lady had a dream in which she went to the movies. The movie playing that night was a movie of her life. Each scene was a season of her life, and there were footprints in each scene. She noticed something odd about the footprints.

In the good scenes of her life, there were two sets of footprints. One representing her and the other representing God, but in the bad scenes, there was only one set of footprints.

At the end of the movie, the lady had an opportunity to interview God. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Sir, you promised you would never leave me or forsake me, but in all the tough scenes, there was only one set of footprints. I mean I didn’t do well in math, but if we were both present, would there not be two sets of footprints?”

God answered, “Oh, that’s easy. I had to carry you through all the rough times. You couldn’t make it on your own.”

He’ll carry us in the same way if we just hang on.

The Result of Tough Times

Romans 8 reminds us God works everything together for good. He can use the bad things currently happening to do some amazing work. Joseph’s story didn’t end with him in prison.

The Rest of Joseph’s story

Joseph was wrongly imprisoned, but he did not stay there. While in prison he interprets dreams for a couple of Pharaoh’s officials and is eventually called upon to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. Joseph says a severe famine is going to take place, and his interpretation is so impressive that Joseph is promoted to an Egyptian official. He is given the job of preparing Egypt for the famine.

Through bad things happening, the Lord put Joseph in position to save his family and help them refocus their attention on the Lord.

If Joseph had not been an Egyptian prisoner, he would have not been an Egyptian governor. The iron chains around Joseph’s feet ushered in gold chains around his neck.

Acting

Join me in thanking the Lord today for being with us. Maybe even carrying us through the hardest of times.

Please share this post with someone you think would find it encouraging.

 

10 Ways to Offer Encouragement

Has this ever happened to you? You notice someone having a difficult time and believe they could use encouragement, but you don’t know what to do. I hope I’m not the only one who has had this experience.

To spite our feeling, we have nothing to offer, we do. We can make a difference. Here are some tips and ways to offer encouragement.

4 Tips to Remember

If you are struggling to offer encouragement, here are 4 tips to remember.

Like Jesus Does

We should approach people in the same manner as Jesus. Each time Jesus approaches an individual in the Gospels, he does so compassionately. He shows concern for the situation, and the person can tell he is understanding. We should attempt to approach those around us in the same way.

Everything Counts

We know the value of encouragement, but we convince ourselves what we are going to do is not enough to help. However, every act of encouragement makes a difference. If 4 or 5 people encourage a person in small ways, it doesn’t take long before the person is standing on a mountain of encouragement.

The small things count. Smiling as you go through a cashier’s line, being positive with your waiter, and saying hi to someone as you pass in the grocery store counts. Sending a card or note to a friend who is struggling counts. Every act of encouragement counts in the sum.

Every Day Counts

As you and I go about our daily activities, it is inevitable we’ll meet someone needing encouragement. Make each day count.

Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to encourage one another daily. This verse reminds us to build each other up constantly. Discouragement never vacations, so we cannot afford to take a day off.

No One is Exempt

Everyone will need encouragement at some point. Discouragement knows how to sneak into everyone’s life, and it seems the Lord responds by placing people in our lives to encourage us, so we should always be ready to offer encouragement.

Satan’s Yard Sale

There is an old story told in which the Devil is having a yard sale. He’s ran out of room in his workshop, and he opens the doors to perspective buyers. The tools of worry, strife, anxiety and division were priced to move.

One buyer noticed a well-used, old tool lying on a corner shelf. As the man was looking at it, Satan said, “That tool is not for sale.”

“I’ll give you whatever you want for it,” the man replied, “just name your price.”

Again, the devil said, “It is not for sale.” Only this time, he offered an explanation. “All the tools for sale are useful. They help me sway people in my direction, but the tool you are holding is responsible for causing the most havoc. For people than my other tools combined.”

The man realized the label was worn and he could not read it, so he asked, “What tool is it?”

The devil answered, “It is discouragement. I could never part with it. I would give up all my other tools, but never this tool of discouragement.”

10 Ways to Offer Encouragement

It is important for us to receive encouragement, so here are 10 ways to offer encouragement.

  • Smile at a cashier as you go through his or her line.
  • Tip a waiter who is obviously having a bad day
  • Greet a person as you pass in the store.
  • Send a card or note.
  • Provide a meal to a friend you know is ill.
  • Tell a coworker “Good job.”
  • Pay for the person behind you in the coffee shop line.
  • Give a small gift.
  • Offer to pray for a friend.
  • Share your favorite passage of Scripture with a neighbor.

Acting

Offer encouragement to a coworker, friend, or neighbor in the next few days. Share your experience in the comments below. What ways do you offer encouragement? Share in the comments. Know someone who would find this post helpful? Please share it.

 

Always Here, Always Helping

Do you ever feel alone? Perhaps we all feel this way occasionally. We can be surrounded by people who we know care about us, yet we still feel alone in the moment.

The moment our boss delivers a pink slip. The moment the doctor gives us an unexpected diagnosis. The moment a loved one leaves us to enter Heaven. Life has these moments. The idea of facing them alone is unsettling; however, the Lord promises we will never be alone. He will always be with us through the Spirit.

We are encouraged in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever.”

The Spirit has been summoned to be with us. He has been called to come along side us on life’s journey, so you and I never have to face hard times alone.

Who is the Spirit?

The Spirit is…

  • Our Comforter
  • Our Encourager
  • Our Advocate
  • Our Helper

4 Ways the Spirit Helps Us

Here are 4 ways the Spirit helps us.

The Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26).

When we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit does. When we don’t know what to say, the Spirit does. The Spirit intercedes for us in ways words cannot express.

The Spirit gives us peace.

The Spirit grants us a peaceful calmness which can only be found in our confidence in God.

Jesus says in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart…so do not be troubled or afraid.”

The Spirit marks us as a member of God’s family.

Ephesians 4:30 will identify us at Christ’s return.

The Spirit teaches and strengthens.

We can find understanding and strength through the Spirit. Jesus says, in John 14:26, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative, that is the Holy Spirit, he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

Acting

You and I are not alone. How have you witnessed the Lord with you Share in the comments below. Please share this post with anyone who would find it encouraging.

 

 

4 Exciting Facts about Heaven

Whether we are having the time of our life or we are going through hard times, you and I can find comfort in knowing Heaven awaits. Heaven will be an exciting place and Revelation 21 gives us a sneak peek.

“Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. For the old order of things has passed away.”

Here are 4 exciting facts about Heaven.

The Lord will dwell among us.

The place Jesus is currently preparing will be finished. The Lord will be physically with us.

Perfection will be restored.

The perfection enjoyed in the Garden of Eden will return. Everything will be perfect and peaceful.

There will be no more pain or sorrow.

Everything causing pain or sorrow will be gone. Hurtful words, diseases, genetic mutations, and loss of a loved one in death will all be gone.

We will be reunited with those who proceeded us in death.

This fact alone is enough to make most anyone anticipate Heaven.

Acting

What about Heaven do you find the most exciting? Share in the comments below. If you know someone who would find this post encouraging, please share it with him or her.

 

Hard times? Here is encouragement.

Going through a hard time? You are not alone. Life’s rough times are something we all share. 2 Corinthians offers us some encouragement during these times.

We read in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “That is why we never give up. Though are bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long, yet they produce a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now. Rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

3 Points of Encouragement

We can find 3 points of encouragement in this passage.

Our Spirits are being Renewed

Paul says he may be wasting away physically, but spiritually, he is being renewed each day. Everything may be falling apart around us, but the Lord will still be with us. We are promised the Lord will not leave us or forsake us. As things crumble around us, we can find strength in the Lord. “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his spirit” (Ephesians 3:16).

Its Temporary

As we are overwhelmed by a rough situation, it can be hard to remember this. We are weary of the current circumstance and just want it to end. You may be amid an extremely hard time. I do not want to minimize the difficulties you have endured. You’re tired, so I hope you find encouragement in these words.

This is only a temporary time. One season of life always gives way to another. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 reminds us the present may be overwhelming, but it will not overtake us.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

Gaze at the Future

We are encouraged to look intently and steadily on the future. Look toward eternity in the presence of the Lord. We are promised there will be no more tears, heartache, difficulty, or struggles. We are encouraged to stare at eternity, peering into its beauty, glory, and majesty.

The Best is Coming

Whether in good times or bad, we know there is a better time coming. Eternity will be the best time. As we go through hard times, we can find comfort and encouragement in this promise.

Here are 4 Exciting Facts about Heaven.

Acting

Gaze at eternity and share how it encourages you in the comments. If you know someone who would benefit from this post, please share it with them.

 

Worried? Here’sSuggestions

You and I are not the only ones who worry. We can safely say worry is common and has negative effects. Here is some encouragement to help cope with the problem of worry.

A Professional Worrier

Two friends were having lunch and discussing the state of their lives. One friend said he was having a rough time. “I just lost my job, my savings account is empty, the bank has repossessed my car, and the lender is threatening foreclosure on my home. I’m not worried though.”

“You are not worried,” the other friend exclaimed! “How can you not be worried?”

“I’ve hired a professional worrier,” the other friend explained. “He does my worrying for me, and he only charges me 50 K a year.”

Surprised, the friend asked, “How can you afford to pay him?” “I don’t know. That’s not my worry,” the man answered. “It is his.”

The Problem of Worry

Worry can cause many problems.

Physical Health Concerns

Worry has many implications on our health. It can cause heart issues, migraines, and cause our bodies to produce too much of a stress hormone.

Mental & Social Concerns

Worry can influence our mood causing problems in social situations. A worried person can be irritable, and worry can be a starting point for depression.

Takes Tomorrow’s Thrill Away

Worry causes us to think of the worst-case scenario and traps our focus there. The problem is these scenarios rarely occur, and when they do, worrying excessively does not help change them. Worry has the power to rob us of the thrill found in the future; paralyzing us so we can’t enjoy the adventure of tomorrow.

3 Encouraging Suggestions to Help Cope with Worry

Here are 3 encouraging suggestions to help us cope with worry.

Look at Nature’s Example

Matthew 6:26 encourages us to look at the birds. They do not plant, harvest, or store food in barns, yet they have food. Jesus says the Lord feeds them. Birds have what they need. If the Lord will take care of the birds, he will care for you and me as well.

Matthew 6:28 challenges us to look at flowers. They do not worry about their looks, yet they are stunningly beautiful. If the Lord puts this much time and attention into a flower which is here today and gone tomorrow, he will take care of you and I as well.

Concentrate on Today

Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” In other words, don’t bring the worries of the future into the present. We are encouraged to plan, not be paralyzed by worrying about the future. Concentrate on today. What good things have happened to you today? How have you been blessed today?

Replace Worry with Prayer

Do not worry about anything, Philippians 4:6 encourages, but in everything present your requests to God in prayer. Replace the time we spend worrying with time in prayer. Praying through worries will bring us peace.

You can find some more tips to stay positive here.

Our Professional Worrier

Like the man in the story above, we have a professional worrier. The Lord is our professional worrier.

  • “Come to me all you who are weary, and burden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
  • “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
  • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Acting

Try these suggestions this week to reduce the time you spend worrying. Share how it goes in the comments below. If you know someone who could be encouraged by this post, please share it with him or her.

 

 

3 Responses to Procrastination

I don’t know about you, but I procrastinate sometimes, particularly when I need to do something I am dreading. It seems our natural response to dreaded life change is procrastinating if possible.

 

This may be especially true when we believe the Lord is calling us to a life change, we do not understand or a project for which we feel ill-equipped. The good news is we are not alone. Moses shared in this experience.

 

“The good news is we are not alone. Moses shared in this experience.”

 

Moses was tending sheep one day when a nearby bush was ablaze but not consumed by the flames. Moses’ curiosity got the best of him, so he walked over to see what was happening. Moses walked over to see a burning bush but had an encounter with the Lord. The Lord revealed his plan, and Moses made every attempt to tell the Lord why it would not work.

 

When I arrive at my “burning bush,” I often procrastinate by telling the Lord I am not the right person. What about you?

 

Moses tried to convince the Lord he was not the right person, but for every reason Moses offered, God provided a response. It seems we offer the same reasons, and God offers the same responses. Here are 3.

 

No one’s listening.

 

Moses said no one would listen to him. They would just accuse him of being in the sun too long. God dismisses this reason by obvious work in Moses’ life.

 

Do you ever feel like you are talking, and no one is listening, so you just stop talking? Maybe you ask yourself, “Why do I even say anything? It is like talking to a brick wall.” Like Moses, the Lord’s work in our lives is obvious. And, while it may seem no one is listening, it turns out they are paying attention.

 

Reimaging Faith Formation for the 21st Century cites studies showing our family members are listening. For those of you who are grandparents, you are the second most influential person in your grandkids’ life. You follow only their parents, and in some cases, you are in the number one slot. You sit in a position to speak a lot of wisdom into their lives as they witness the Lord’s obvious work in your life. Just when you think no one is listening, it turns out they pay much attention.

 

The work the Lord is doing in our lives is obvious. It stands as a testimony to the words we say.

 

I can’t.

 

Moses tells the Lord he is not a good speaker, so how can he stand before Pharaoh and say anything. God responds by saying, “I gave you the abilities you have, so go, and I will help you.”

 

We may feel we are inadequate for God’s calling. We know we should do something, but we try to convince ourselves and the Lord we are not capable. We identify a barrier that could cause us to fail, and instead of jumping it, we hide behind it.

 

Moses identified a barrier of speech. What is your barrier? It could be any number of things. No matter the barrier, the Lord’s response is the same. “I gave your abilities and I will help you, so go.”

 

Not me, please.

 

After other reasoning failed, Moses simply asks the Lord to send somebody else. The Lord tells Moses to stop procrastinating. He has already put provisions for him in place. Moses is the one God called for this purpose, and the Lord will help Moses accomplish it. He began a good work in Moses, and he will bring it to completion.

 

Can you relate to Moses? “Lord, I just don’t want to,” you say. Perhaps we can all relate to Moses. The Lord’s response is always the same; he has called us each to a unique spot in his plan. Therefore, he will help us accomplish the purpose. He, who began a good work in our lives, is bringing it to completion.

 

Moses was in a special place in time to perform a special task for the Lord. His biography records Moses leading God’s people out of Egyptian bondage and guiding them to the border of the Promised Land. He may have felt inadequate, but God used him in a mighty way. God completed a good work in Moses’ life.

 

Acting

 

We are in a special place in time to perform a special task for the Lord. Each of our biographies will record how we served in the Kingdom. What is the Lord calling you to do? You may feel inadequate, but the action step you can take is growing in the Lord. Paul tells the Philippians to grow.

 

  • “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).
  • “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Continue to walk with the Lord and fulfilling your purpose. Again, what is the Lord calling you to do? How have you responded to your “burning bush?” Share in the comments below, and remember, he, who has begun a good work in you, will bring it through to completion.