Tag Archives: Encouraging

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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Visitors at the Door

Peering into the stars, the scholars noticed something different and amazing one night. As they researched, their familiarity with the Scriptures caused them to follow the star. They knew a Messiah was coming, and they wanted to see him. Their journey took them to the land of King Herod, who asked a lot of questions, and eventually, their journey took them to the home of Mary and Joseph.

Matthew 2 records, “After this interview, the wise men went their own way, and the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped at the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshipped him, then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route. For God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.”

These wise men’s example offers some pointers for anyone desiring to deepen in our relationship with the Lord.

  • They were sensitive to the Lord’s leading. When they saw the star, they followed it. They didn’t ignore the prompting of the Lord. Do we pay enough attention to the Lord to know when he is prompting us?
  • They worshipped the Lord. The wise men realized who they were in comparison to the Lord, so they offered the Messiah praise. How often do we thank the Lord for what he has done for us?
  • Matthew tells us the wise men shared with the Lord. They shared gold, which is something of value, and frankincense and myrrh, which are incense. For us, we can share the gold of our time and talents with the Lord and the incense of our prayers with him.

As you think of the wise men’s example, try putting these pointers into practice in your walk with the Lord.

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Make 2022 A Year Of Encouragement

It has been said the biggest struggle we face is discouragement.

As we tear the first page from the calendar today, 2022 has 364 days to go. There’s still ample time to meet our New Year’s Resolutions and accomplish the goals we have set for the year. Is encouraging a neighbor one of those goals? Hebrews 3:13 exhorts, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Notice the writer says we are to be daily sources of encouragement.

We live in a hurting world and interact with hurting people each day. As you go through your day-to-day activities this year, ask the Lord to help you be a source of encouragement. This doesn’t have to be a grand presentation each day. It might be something as simple as smiling at a cashier, saying hi to someone as you pass in the store, or telling someone to have a good day at the end of your conversation. Encouragement comes in all shapes and sizes. How will you be a source of encouragement today and throughout 2022?

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New Opportunities

Goodbye 2021!

Hello 2022! We’re excited you’re here!

Today ushers out 2021. For many, it brings a welcomed relief. This year was difficult in a lot of ways. The calendar resets tomorrow.

Perhaps this is the perfect time to reignite your passion to meet your goals and fulfill your dreams. Perhaps it is the perfect time to strike out on that new adventure for which you feel called. Maybe this is the year for your grind to lead to an achieved goal. You and I will be given a fresh calendar of 365 days to use, and the Bible encourages us to make the most of every opportunity. So, how are we going to use 2022?

Take some time today to develop a strategy to move forward on your passion, goals, and dreams in 2022. Perhaps these things had to take a back seat to the flux of last year, and it is time to pick them up again. Ask the Lord to guide you as you plan and make the most of the opportunity 2022 brings.

Please offer this post to a friend as a bit of encouragement today.

Hope on the Horizon

The day seemed ordinary. Vickie dropped Leo off at daycare and went to work. Later that evening, they returned home and spent family time with John. Everyone retired to bed with thoughts of the next day, but they had no idea what awaited. Vickie passed away from a heart attack in the middle of the night. It was a peaceful passing in her sleep.

This left John and 6-month-old Leo devastated. It was only a few short months ago they welcomed 2021 as a family. John and Vickie had several goals for the future, and now, all of that had changed. The man and his son are left to navigate through the world without Vickie. But, there’s hope!

A lot of folks read John and Leo’s story and relate. Change the names and a few minor details, and it becomes their story. 2021 has been a devastating year. Life was abruptly interrupted by death, divorce, or illness. The year is not wrapping up with the same joyous celebration in which it began. But, there’s hope!

Hope comes in knowing we don’t have to walk into 2022 alone. We may still be recovering from the devastation of this year, but the Lord says he is walking with us. In Hebrews 13:5, the Lord promises, “I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.” He didn’t leave when the bad news hit. The Lord is beside each of us, and he wants to grab our hand to help us walk into the new year and through this rough season.

Hope comes in knowing Heaven awaits. Revelation 21 promises a day where there will be no more struggle, and all of those in Christ will be reunited. For John and Leo, this means they will be back with Vickie someday. For you and me, this means death is not good-bye to our loved ones, but only see you later. The future is hopeful.

Offer this post as a source of encouragement to a friend today.

Trading Spaces

The show Trading Spaces gives couples a chance to trade houses with a neighbor for a few days. They trade so that each couple can give a make-over to a room in the other’s home. New paint, wall hangings, and furniture usually go into place, and at the end of each episode, the couples go back home to offer their reaction to the newly decorated space. Sometimes it turns out well. Other times not so much. Trading spaces can mean giving up something valuable.

It did for Jesus. The Bible teaches he traded places with us. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Allow these words to dwell in your mind for a moment.

Jesus had everything. He was not confined by time or space; he did not have the limits of our bodies. He was in Heaven and had it made, yet he was willing to trade spaces with us. He traded all of Heaven’s perfection for all of this world’s imperfection. He did this so we could experience Heaven.

His trading spaces allows us the opportunity to have a spiritual make-over. Through Christ, all the richness and fullness of Heaven awaits us. All the difficulties of this world will give way to no more pain, sorrow, or suffering. The imperfection will give way to perfection because Jesus traded spaces.

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Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:11 says, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.”

You and I have been given a gift. The gift is Jesus. Jesus brings the gift of grace. He came to help us. Jesus did not stand at the top of the mountain and tell us to climb. He came down to hold our hand as we climbed. Jesus did not stand on the opposite side of a gulf and tell us to cross the bridge. He came across to help us. Jesus came as our Christmas gift.

The angel’s good news to the shepherds is for you and me also. As you celebrate today, I hope you have a moment to reflect on the gift of Jesus.

I appreciate you spending part of your day reading this, and I hope you have a blessed and merry Christmas. Please share this post.

No Broken Promises

It has been said promises are made only to be broken, and since we do not live in a perfect world, this holds true on many occasions. Someone with the best of intentions makes a promise to us, but the person is unable to keep it. For many, politics comes to mind as soon as they think of broken promises. An imperfect world leads to imperfect promises.

But what if I told you there was someone who always keeps promises. What if I told you there is someone who always tells the truth? There is! He is the Lord, and we see this lived out the night the shepherds heard of Jesus’ birth.

The stillness of their night had been interrupted by an angel giving them good news of great joy, so the shepherds went to investigate. Luke’s Gospel tells us, “They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby lying in a manger” (Luke 2:16). They investigated the message they received from the angel and found that it was true. Everything was just like they had been told.

God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t change his mind or his character; he doesn’t go back on his word. Hebrews reminds us the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. He will always keep his promises. His word will always be true.

We can trust the promises given to us in the Bible. We can trust that the Lord will give us peace. We can trust that he will be with us. We can trust that he will provide for us and protect us. There is not one promise in Scripture which will be broken. God will always keep his word, so we can be like the shepherds, praising God for finding things just as we were told (Luke 2:20).

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Good News of Great Joy

The sun had set, and the shepherds were gathered around a small fire keeping warm in the darkness and coolness of night. Their sheep resting close by. It seemed like an ordinary night, but suddenly it became extraordinary. The darkness was pierced by the light of an angel, and the shepherds were terrified. Who can blame them? The darkness of night interrupted by the brilliance of an angel is enough to make the hair on anyone’s neck stand on edge.

“But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord, has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David. And you will recognize him by this sign: you will find a baby, wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger.’ Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others, the armies of Heaven, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest Heaven and peace on earth with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:10-14).

Good news of great joy is what the shepherds needed. We all need good news of great joy, especially in the darkness of this era. Everywhere we turn we find negative headlines, but Christmas is a reminder there is good news, joyous news that is for everyone. This good news is Jesus. He is our way to peace with God.

The Bible says, “Do not let your hearts be trouble, but present your requests and petitions to God in prayer. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Because of Christmas, we can take the anxieties of this world and hand them over to the Lord. We can rest in the peace he offers.

The shepherds were the first to receive good news of great joy, but it is also for you and me. Allow the light of the Lord to pierce the darkness around you and bring you peace this Christmas season.

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