Tag Archives: Encourage

3 Reasons God is Our Refuge

Psalm 46 confidently proclaims the Lord is our refuge.

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Here are 3 reasons God is our refuge.

1. God is our salvation.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ, our Lord, has done for us.”

2. God is our safety net.

Romans 8:35 asks, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity or are persecuted or hungry or destitute or in danger or threatened with death?”

Verses 37-39 answers, “No, to spite all these things overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And, I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below, indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God has our back. When everything else around us crumbles and falls, God stands strong and keeps us safe. Financial markets may crash, retirement funds may plummet, illnesses may come, but the Lord holds us safely in his refuge.

3. God is our strength.

Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

It doesn’t matter where we are; whether we have plenty or are lacking, The Lord gives us strength to get through the situation.

“Be still and know that I am God,” the Lord says in Psalm 46, “I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’ The Lord of heaven’s armies is here among us. The God of Israel is our fortress.”

With God as our refuge, we can have peace. This is a peace which transcends human understanding.

Philippians 4:7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

As things shift and move around us today, we can enjoy the peace given to us by being in the Lord’s refuge.

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The Lord personally goes before us in uncertain times.

Don’t be afraid. God will personally go ahead of you.

Israel was about to go into Canaan. This was the land the Lord had promised to them, and it was time to enter the land. Many barriers still stood in the way.

For the Israelites, this may have been an uncertain time. What was going to happen? How would they move forward? What challenge would they face tomorrow? These are questions everyone seems to ask in uncertain times, and Moses reassured the people.

Moses says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “So be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic before them for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Moses reminded the people the Lord would personally go ahead of them. The Lord would create the path, and he would show the way to go. So, the people of Israel could walk into uncertain times with the confidence the Lord would be with them.

In the same way, we can have confidence the Lord is with us. He will personally go ahead of us. He will create the path and show us the way to go. We can have confidence following the Lord’s leading will get us through uncertain times.

We are living in a time and place which may be unsure, uncertain, and fluctuating, but the Lord is constant. He is never changing.

Hebrews 13:6 says, “So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.”

You and I can have confidence in the Lord; he is personally traveling ahead of us. He is creating the path and will show us the way to go.

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9 Jokes Guaranteed Not to Make You Laugh

Some humor to help you get through the day.

Amid the stressfulness of life, one of the best ways you and I can encourage one another is offering a slight diversion. So, here’s a slight diversion.

Here’s 9 jokes guaranteed not to make you laugh.

1. What did Mr. and Mrs. Hamburger name their daughter?

Patty

2. How do you convince a farmer’s daughter to go on a date with you?

A tractor.

3. What are the weakest days of the week?

Saturday and Sunday. They are the weekends.

4. Why are skunks intelligent?

They have lots of sense.

5. What do you call a farmer who counts his corn stalks?

A corn stalker.

6. What did the one egg say to the other egg?

Get cracking.

7. Why does a golfer take two pairs of pants to the course?

In case he gets a hole in one.

8. What do you call two monkeys sharing an Amazon account?

Amazon Prime mates.

9. What did the triangle say to the circle?

You’re pointless.

I hope this has encouraged you in some way. In this stressful season, remember to stay calm. The Lord is our constant as everything changes around us.

Share your clean joke which will not make us laugh in the comments below.

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3 Keys from Psalm 16 for OverpoweringCircumstances

Here are 3 keys from Psalm 16 to help in the storms of life.

1. The Lord is a place of refuge during overwhelming times.

David’s life had its share of overwhelming situations. He faced down Goliath. He found himself being surrounded by his enemies and being chased through the wilderness. During these times, David found his refuge in the Lord.

David says in verse 1, “Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.”

Life creates moments when we need the shelter of the Lord, and we can seek refuge from him. He will rescue us.

Psalm 17:7 says, “By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.”

When the pink slip arrives, the bank account hits negative numbers, and we’re not sure what tomorrow holds, the Lord shelters us. When the loved one leaves and we are heartbroken, we can enter the sanctuary of the Lord. Life’s storms will hit, but the Lord will keep us safe and give us refuge.

2. The Lord will guide us in overwhelming times.

David says in verses 7-8, “I will bless the Lord who guides me. Even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken for he is right beside me.”

The Lord will prompt our steps and guide our direction. He will help us navigate overwhelming situations. We need only to trust him.

Proverbs 3:5-7 advises, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, submit to him and he will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil.”

The direction we go may seem strange, but we must remember the Lord will not lead us astray nor will he leave us. He will pilot us through the darkest of times.

3. Victory comes in the Lord.

At the end of all the struggles, David knew victory comes in the Lord.

He says in verses 10-11, “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”

Acting

The next time a storm comes in your life, apply these points and allow the Lord to go with you through the storm.

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Faith Overcomes Barriers

They told the man, “It can’t be done.” Climbing the mountain would be difficult, and there were giant obstacles standing in the way. “It can’t be done,” they continually repeated. Sound familiar?

There are barriers in life that seem like mountains. The goal is huge, the dream is enormous, and the calling seems impossible. We believe we know our purpose, but fulfilling it is overwhelming. So, we become disheartened. If this is you, the Bible offers encouragement.

Caleb was able to overcome a mountain.

The Bible records the story of Caleb. He faced much adversity on his path to fulfilling his purpose. Caleb kept hearing the phrase “it can’t be done,” but he was able to overcome the barriers thought to be disabling.

They said, “It can’t be done.”

Caleb was among the 12 spies who explored the land promised to Israel. Most of the spies came back with an unfavorable report. They did not believe it was possible to take possession of the land. They said, “It can’t be done.”

This is a disheartening statement.

“It can’t be done” is a short statement but has the power to demoralize the recipient. It did in Israel’s day; they heard the words causing panic and a lack of faith. Unfortunately, the same happens today.

We take steps to fulfill our purpose, and we are met with resistance; “it can’t be done,” we are told. Odds are we won’t be successful because of our background, socioeconomic status, or we have a disability. Society creates a stereotype deeming you and me unsuccessful, so we are instantly told, “it can’t be done.”

Hearing this phrase is discouraging. Our desire is to overcome barriers and fulfill our purpose, yet attempts are cut short by a few words. In turn, placing another barrier on the path. Caleb shows us how to respond when this occurs. He responded to the statement with faith.

Caleb was able to overcome the statement.

Caleb responded to the “can’t” statement with faith.

“If the Lord is pleased with us, he will let us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us,” Caleb says in Numbers 14:8.

Caleb remembered the Lord had already helped Israel, and he knew the Lord would help them again. Caleb had faith, which is the most important key to be an overcomer.

Caleb had a proper understanding of his own abilities. He understood his own capabilities and limits. We too need to have a proper self-image. We have limits, and it’s in our weaknesses God does some amazing work.

More important than a proper self-image, Caleb believed in the limitless power of the Lord. If the Lord was with Israel, Caleb knew they would be victorious. The same is true for us. If the Lord is with us, we will be victorious.

Caleb’s faith propelled him past doubt to knowing the Lord would help Israel accomplish the purpose.

His faith allowed him to take a mountain.

Caleb remained faithful as life continued. Israel had to stay in the desert 40 years because of their disbelief. Caleb continued living the life of an overcomer, and when he was 85 years old, Israel had taken possession of the land, and there was a mountain needing conquered.

This was no ordinary mountain. Its inhabitants were giants. Caleb faced some barriers in taking this portion of land, but he believed he could. Again, Caleb’s faith propelled him past doubt to knowing the Lord would help him.

Caleb was not someone satisfied with the average or commonplace. His goals and dreams were big. His purpose was important, and his faith was strong. There were barriers standing between Caleb and fulfilling his purpose, but Caleb’s faith helped him overcome the barriers.

Our faith needs to propel us past doubting to knowing.

Our goals and dreams are big. Our purpose is important, so we need our faith to be strong. There will be barriers standing in our way. Some may seem as large as a mountain occupied by giants, but we can overcome them. The Lord will be with us as we accomplish the purpose, he has given us. Like Caleb, our faith needs to propel us past doubting to knowing the Lord will help us.

Acting

Faith is like muscle. The more it is used, the more it builds. Build up your faith by taking steps to accomplish your purpose. Identify one or two steps you can take in the next week, and in faith, take them. See what happens.

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Hard Working Fishermen

The fishermen worked hard while they were out to sea. The task list required hard work. Putting bate in nets, casting nets, and pulling nets full of fish into the boat must be done as a part of the job. This was not easy. It took hard work, and fishermen’s day didn’t stop when they arrived back at shore.

When ashore, fishermen had to unload their boats. They had to repair nets. Fish had to be cleaned and sold. The work on the ground was as hard as being at sea. Successful fishermen had to work hard.

Their willingness to work hard was one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples. Jesus knew being “fishers of men” would require much labor, so he called those who were willing to work hard. The same is true today.

Working hard is a key to success. Many scams and schemes have been developed over time trying to skirt hard work, but there is no substitute for rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.

The Bible links working hard for the Lord and successfully fulfilling our purpose.

  • Psalm 128:1-2 says, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor. Blessings and prosperity will be yours.”
  • Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
  • “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…,” Colossians 3:23-24 says, “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
  • Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord,” says Romans 12:11.

Fulfilling our purpose requires you and I to work hard. There is just no substitute for hard work, and as we reap the benefits of our labor, we must remember the cause of our success is the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 says, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me,’ but remember the Lord your God. For it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth….”

The Bible encourages us not to become conceited. The success you and I enjoy comes from the Lord, and the writer of Proverbs says, “Pride comes before the fall.”

It’s Not About Me tells the story of a frog with a problem. The frog’s home pond is drying up, and the frog has heard a vibrant stream is just across the field. Getting across the field would be an impossible journey for a frog with short legs, so a plan is developed.

The frog convinces two birds to fly across the field carrying a stick. Each bird carried one end of the stick in her mouth, and the frog clinched the middle of the stick with his mouth. The birds were flying the frog across the field when a cow looked up and saw the three. “Who come up with that idea?” the cow wondered aloud.

Not able to resist, the frog opened his mouth and said, “I did.” Pride comes before the fall.

As you and I enjoy success from our hard work, we must remember it comes from the Lord. Working hard for the Lord does bring success. It may not come today or tomorrow, but if we hang in there, it will come.

What is the Lord calling you to do? Completing this calling will take hard work and working hard for the Lord brings success.

 

3 Take-Aways from Psalm 121

It was a dangerous road. Traveling the road was nerve-racking, and most travelers were filled with anxiety as they made the journey up this road. It was the road going up to Jerusalem, and there were many obstacles which could interrupt a pilgrim’s trip. The road was filled with twists and turns. Cliffs and caves lined the road adding to the danger.

Accidently stumbling could send a traveler head-first over a cliff. The caves made wonderful hiding places for wild animals and robbers to await an unsuspecting victim. The road was dangerous, but it was an essential passageway in Israel.

Does it seem like life is the road to Jerusalem? It is filled with twists and turns; there are many obstacles waiting for the opportunity to interrupt our journey. Financial struggles, losing a job, being forced to move, or navigating through life with an ever-changing eyesight may all be on our journey. Anxiety and lack of confidence may be ever-present struggles on our journey as we wake each day wondering how we will get through that day. Yet the Lord is with us just like He was with the Israelites traveling to Jerusalem. We can find great confidence in the timeless truth of Psalm 121.

This Psalm was written for the Israelites to recite as they traveled the road to Jerusalem and offers us great encouragement. Here are 3 take-aways from the Psalm.

1. Our help comes from the Lord.

We are reminded to look past the obstacles interrupting life to the source of our help.

Verses 1-2 say, “I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth.”

2. The Lord never takes a break.

The Lord is willing to help us 24/7. He doesn’t take a break.

Verse 4 says, “Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.”

3. The Lord will still be with us tomorrow.

The Lord doesn’t help us today, then walk away. He will still be with us tomorrow.

Verse 8 says, “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go. Both now and forever.”

Acting

The road of life is filled with twists and turns. There are many obstacles waiting to disrupt our journey; they desire to overwhelm and discourage us, but Psalm 121 reminds us the Lord is on the journey with us. The next time life is interrupted, try reciting this Psalm.

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Not Home

“This is my temporary home. It’s not where I belong.”

Music is a messenger for the Lord’s message, and the message is often absorbed by the listener without realizing it. The message is interwoven in lyrics which capture our attention and grab our hearts. Temporary Home, by Carrie Underwood, is a powerful deliverer of the Lord’s message.

The song reminds us where we are now is only a temporary home. It is not a permanent stop; we’re passing through on the way to our permanent home.

2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven not built by human hands.”

This verse helps you and I realize we are not home. Notice we are living in the temporary, a tent, now, and it will be replaced with the permanent, a building, in the future. What we experience now is only temporary.

2 Corinthians 5 continues, “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened because we do not wish to be unclothed but clothed instead with our Heavenly dwelling. So that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”

This is our temporary home. It’s not where we belong. Our permanent home, the one where we belong, will be in the future. We can look forward to it.

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Today Counts

The people were grumbling; they believed the lie the goal was too big. They did not understand how the Lord was going to help them. The obstacles standing in the way blocked their vision. Quickly forgetting how the Lord helped them previously, Israel did not believe they could move forward. They were stuck in the lie they were telling themselves, so they rebelled.
They grumbled against God and Moses. Their grumbling resulted in another 40 years wondering in the desert. Their grumbling also resulted in Moses pinning the words of Psalm 90.
This psalm reminds us today counts.
In verse 12, Moses requests, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom.”
What you and I do today counts. The steps we take, decisions we make, and the direction we go counts. Time is fleeting, so we need to make the most of every moment.
What are we going to do today? Good stewards of time do not waste it. They execute in the moments they possess to fulfill their purpose. Each day counts in fulfilling our purpose, and when finished, Psalm 90 reminds us a difference for the Lord should be made.
“Let us, your servants, see you work again. Let our children see your glory. And may the Lord God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful,” Moses requests in verses 16-17.
You and I should invest our time in things that will have a lasting impact. Be a friend or a mentor. Work on a project which will outlast us. Completing our calling will leave a legacy, so we must not fall into the trap of believing we cannot do it.
A generation of Israel fell into this trap and missed possessing the promised land. If they would have believed they could possess the land with the Lord’s help, they would have taken the land just as the Lord promised.
If you and I believe we can leave a legacy, we will with the Lord’s help. Every day counts, so be intentional. What are we going to do today?

Fishermen are Team Players

If you’ve played a team sport, you’ve probably heard a coach say, “There’s no I in team,” or “Nowhere in team does it say me.” Teamwork is essential for success. Teammates must work together for the greater good of the team. Ego and self-centeredness must be set aside, and when the team succeeds, everyone on the team looks good. Members benefit from the team’s success.
Jesus understood the importance of teamwork, which is why he called fishermen. Fishermen are team players; they know how to work together.
Fishing, in Jesus’ day, was hard work. It required much manual labor. Manually pulling in a net full of fish took hard work. Everyone on the boat worked together to pull in the net. The crew worked together to pull in the net; the team worked together to achieve their goal. They did not allow one person to do all the work. Here’s an example.
The disciples had fished all night, but they had caught nothing. Jesus instructed Simon to put down the nets once more, and the nets were filled with fish and began to tear. Simon and the others on his boat were working hard, but they needed more help.
“A shout for help,” according to Luke 5:7, “brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.”
A shout for help brought out the whole team. The fishermen on the shore didn’t stand at a distance watching the others struggle. They went to work helping pull in the nets. The moment was right to catch fish, and the fishermen had to work as a unit to get the abundant catch into the boats. The fishermen had to work together as a team, and teamwork is a characteristic Jesus desired.
Teamwork is still a characteristic the Lord desires today. As Christians, Scripture calls you and I to work together to achieve a common goal. Our Goal is extending the Lord’s invitation of grace to the world. Achieving this goal requires teamwork, and in his grace, the Lord has equipped you and me to play our part on the team.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well, so if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is encouraging others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously, and if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
The Bible reminds us we have a part to play, and our part is different than everyone else’s. Our role on the team is unique like us, and our role matters. The Lord desires teamwork.
And remember, your role is vital to the Lord’s team achieving the goal.