Confidence, Peace, & Promise

Psalm 91 offers encouragement in uncertain times.

Life is uncertain. We never know what tomorrow will bring. Thankfully, we are not alone. Psalm 91 offers confidence, peace and a promise.

Confidence

Verses 1-3 encourage, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: he alone is my refuge. My place of safety. He is my God and I trust him. For he will rescue you from any trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

Our confidence comes in trusting the Lord. He has our back, and he is going to protect us. Our confidence can give us peace.

Peace

Verses 5-6 say, “Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”

Along with having confidence in the Lord, we can find peace in him. The Lord will help us through whatever life throws at us.

These verses do not mention specific adversities. As Christians, we can insert the difficulty which we are experiencing. Lost jobs, financial struggles, a struggling economy, and any other adversity can be inserted. The Lord will help us through it. You and I can find peace in the Lord’s promise.

Promise

“The Lord says,” records verses 14-16, “I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

The Lord’s promise is to anyone who trusts him.

As we face the uncertainty of today and the unknown of tomorrow, we can have confidence and peace because of the Lord’s promise.

 

 

Count Your Blessings

“Always take time to count your blessings.”

Song lyrics can present the Lord’s message to us in a melody which goes straight to the heart. We are reminded of timeless truth which can change our outlook and attitude.

Blessings by Florida Georgia Line has those lyrics.

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We are reminded of our blessings. “It sure ain’t hard to count your blessings,” the chorus says. An inventory of our blessings won’t fit on one hand or even two. Thinking about our blessings helps us see we have an abundance. A comprehensive list of our blessings can move us from discouraged to encouraged.

The old hymn Count Your Blessings suggests we name them one by one.

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings. Name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings. Name them one by one.

Count your blessings. See what God hath done.

Count your blessings. Name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

It is not hard to count your blessings. Every good and perfect gift has come from the Lord above. Share how the Lord has blessed you in the comments below.

Blessings Is available at Amazon.

An Overcoming Character

The twists and turns of life often create barriers and hurtles needing overcome. The path to success is blocked by any number of obstacles forcing you and me to take a different route. The challenges posed by finding an alternate route can overwhelm and discourage us.

Thankfully, we are not alone. Many have overcome obstacles and barriers to find their way to success. Their stories can serve as encouragement to you and me. The Bible gives us examples of people who overcame life’s difficulties to fulfill their purpose.

Ruth went into the unknown.

Ruth is one of those overcomers. Her life seemed to be ordinary. A native of Moab, Ruth fell in love with a young man from Bethlehem. He and his family moved to Moab to escape a famine, and he was smitten by Ruth’s beauty and character. The two were married, but it wasn’t long before life challenged Ruth.

Her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law died leaving Ruth and her relatives as widows. Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided to return to Bethlehem, and Ruth had to decide what she was going to do. Ruth had to decide which direction to go; stay in Moab or go with Naomi into the unknown.

Stay or go?

For Ruth, this was a pivotal moment. The choice she made here was going to chart the course of her future. This was a big decision. It could have easily been overwhelming and discouraging. Can you relate?

Life is going well, but suddenly, it changes. You and I are pushed into a moment of change and required to make decisions charting our future. It is an overwhelming feeling and can be discouraging, especially if we thought the path to success was clear. Ruth illustrates the best approach for us.

Ruth allowed character to determine her direction.

To spite being overwhelmed, Ruth allowed her character to determine her direction. She was unselfish and loyal, so she went with Naomi into the unknown. Naomi was at an age where she was going to need help and Ruth believed she could be of assistance, so she went to Bethlehem. Her character propelled her into the unknown.

The unknown soon became familiar.

Bethlehem soon became familiar to Ruth, and she developed a relationship with Boaz. The two were married and had a son. This put Ruth in the lineage of Jesus.

The same will be true for us. If our character pushes us into unknown territory, it will soon become familiar.

Ruth’s secret to success was character.

Ruth was able to overcome barriers in life and find success. Her secret was character. Ruth allowed her unselfishness and loyalty to move her into the unknown.

Acting

Cultivate a character that’s ready to overcome barriers. Allow your character to determine your direction rather than feelings. A properly cultivated character will help us find the path to success.

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3 Ways God Views Us

woman and girl painting

When God looks at us, what does he see?

The picture wasn’t much. It was a hand drawn sketch of what was supposed to be a dog. It had a few oddly placed stickers around the dog, and there was really no theme or artistic thought given to the picture. Most everyone would look at the picture and declare it trash, but in the eye of the recipient, it was a beautiful work of art.

The recipient was a mom and the picture created by her daughter, making it a masterpiece worthy of hanging on the refrigerator. No one else saw the beauty. No one else saw the potential, but the mom did. She did because it was her daughter.

The same can be said about our lives from the Lord’s perspective. No one else may see the beauty. No one else may see the potential, but the Lord does. In his sight, our lives are a masterpiece by his grace.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

In his grace, the Lord overcomes the messiness of our lives. He looks past all the dirt to see our heart, our potential, and our purpose.

When the Lord looks at us, here is what he sees.

A Masterpiece

He sees the shattered pieces of our lives put back together in his grace. The result is a beautiful mosaic in his sight.

A person with a purpose

You and I are not just aimlessly wondering through life. The Lord has a purpose for the mosaic he has created. The Bible reminds us the Lord has plans for us. Plans to give us hope and a future.

A person who can do some amazing work

The purpose the Lord has for us is awesome and will leave behind a lasting and beautiful legacy.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you view yourself as he views you.

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.