An Ounce of Encouragement

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Devotion:  1 Thessalonians 5:11-14

An ounce of encouragement is worth a pound of false hope; or something like that.  You know I made that up; right?  Actually I wouldn’t trade one encouraging remark for any amount of false hope in the world.  Encouragement brings hope and the Bible says; “hope does not disappoint”.

Even if you do not have the gift of encouragement; you can still offer words that will change someone’s demeanor in a nano second.  Encouraging words or actions can change someone’s attitude in a split second.  Here’s the thing.  It’s actually a choice to choose to encourage one another.  The Bible says encourage one another while it is yet today.

There are people dealing with all kinds of un-curable sicknesses and diseases.  They need encouragement.  There are people who’ve lost their jobs and for the life of them, can’t seem to find one.  They need encouragement. There are those who’ve lost loved ones.  They need encouragement.  There are those who are caregivers for loved ones.  They always need encouragement.  That is what Christians are called to do.

Why would we ever offer false hope with cliche remarks such as; “Just hang on; everything’s going to be all right.”  “Chin up, you are stronger than you think.”   “Don’t take it so badly, it could be worse.”  Well, yes it could always be worse; but what good does that do?  Those kind of remarks just serve to make people feel worse and worse.

So how do we provide some encouragement?

Pick up the phone and make that call. Go purchase  an encouragement card for your loved one and  include some promises from God’s Word. For instance; “Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31.  “God loves you with an everlasting love and underneath you are His everlasting arms.”  “Thou will keep in perfect peace, he who’s mind is stayed on Thee.”

Encourage all your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Encourage your family and neighbors.  While there is time; encourage your Christian brothers and sisters in Christ.  Encourage the lost people to invite Christ into their hearts.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Lord, may I always offer encouragement to those whom You have given me.  You are a God of encouragement through Your Word and through Your people.    I thank You for loving me so consistently and continually.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

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Authority

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Devotion:  Romans 13:1-5

I found ninety one verses under Bible Gateway regarding authority.  Why do so many people resent any type of authority? We are to submit to those in authority over us.  It may be your father, your mother, your boss, or your pastor to which God requires you to submit to their authority.  More than anything; God wants you to submit to His authority.

Many people want their own way versus seeking the will of God, regarding submitting to those in authority over them.  God’s Word declares, “every man’s way seems right in his own eyes”. (emphasis on his own eyes.)  How many of us have honestly said, Father God, “not my will but Yours be done.”?  If we pray the Lord’s prayer, we find, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

God says, “If we seek Him; He will let us find Him, when we search for Him with our whole heart.”  Sometimes we so desperately want our own way that we seek God for what we want versus what He wants for us.  We try to make our will be His rather than His will being ours.  It can’t work both ways.

The Lord of heaven and earth holds all the authority over the earth, whether people acknowledge it or not.  One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  If we submit to His authority, we will find it easier to submit to our earthly authorities. It is God who places kings and pastors in their place of service. Even if we don’t agree with everything they say and do; we must respect and submit to the authority of the office they hold.  This pleases the Lord.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I submit to You and to those You have placed over me.  You  are King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  You shepherd my heart.  I trust You to accomplish all that concerns me.  I trust You to accomplish what concerns those in authority over me.  I love You Lord. I will respect and submit to the office they hold. In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

Waiting With Hope

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Devotion: Psalm 31:24

George Matheson said: “Waiting with hope is very difficult, but true patience is expressed when we must even wait for hope.  I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.”

As I pondered this man’s wise words, I remembered the passage from Isaiah 40:31: “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint.”

If you have ever begun to doubt while in a time of waiting; you know exactly what I am talking about.  You want to run away but you don’t know where to run or even which direction to take. You find yourself stuck, feeling as if there is no way out.  Losing hope is a serious matter.

Let’s break down today’s verse to examine how to wait for hope.

“Be of good courage,”  How can you muster up courage in the middle of your raging trials and tribulations?  You can be so overwhelmed with the circumstances, you forget to pray.  Ask God through His Holy Spirit to give you courage and resolve to press on.  Wait for Him to build you up in your most holy faith. When you exalt Him above that thing that’s going on in your life, He will lift you up.

…”and He shall strengthen your heart.”  Have you ever carried such a heaviness in your heart that you literally thought it was going to break in two pieces?  Your heart felt very fragile and weak.  This verse promises if you will choose courage and yes, it’s yours to choose.  God Himself will strengthen your heart.

…”all you who hope in the Lord.”  Where have you placed your hope?  You see, your hope is not in your earthly circumstances. It’s in the Lord your God.  Lift up your eyes to Him.  Cry out to Him.  Place your hope in Him. Believe He will restore the years the locusts have eaten.  The, with great expectation; watch to see what He will do.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord God, with Your help, today; I will be of good courage.  I know that you will strengthen my heart because my hope is in You Lord. I love You Jesus.  It’s in Your Name I offer up this prayer.  In Jesus Name. Amen

Covering and Removing

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Devotion: Psalm 103:12-14

My husband and I are painting the main part of our house, which includes the den/kitchen/dining room and hall way.  Everything is in the middle of the floor or piled up on the dining room table and kitchen counter tops.  My goodness, I  hope we don’t have any company for the next few days.  This is how we will spend our Memorial Week-end.  Can I say I am excited?  I guess I just did. Those are not exactly the words Ben would use.  He hates painting but he does it out of love for his bride.

We are covering that awful golden color with a more updated light grey.  Next we will rip up our seventeen year old carpet, that has stains refusing to be removed. I can hardly wait to refresh this area we live in ninety nine percent of the time.

We’ve only painted about one and one half walls at this point. As I sit here typing with the mess surrounding me; I thought about God’s covering of our sin with the blood of His only begotten Son.  He removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more.  As our Bridegroom; Jesus gave His life for you and for me.  He suffered an awful death; totally laying down His life for yours and for mine.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

God is so good to give us His only begotten Son to die in the place that should have been ours. We are the ones who have sinned and fall short of His glory.  Jesus hated the shame and reproach of crucifixion; however, He first loved us! There had to be blood shed by the Perfect Lamb of God to cover our sins.  As long as I live, I will never get over His “marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe.”   Bless His Holy Name.

What a way to start the day!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Ok, gotta go make breakfast for my husband so we can get painting.   I pray you have the best day ever!

Prayer in Motion:

Oh Lord, Your mercies are new every single morning!  Great is your faithfulness!  Thank You for covering my sin and removing it from me as far as the east is from the west and remembering it no more.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

One of Those Days

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Devotion: John 16:33

How do you define a bad day?  Is it when you go for a regular yearly examination to find out the doctor has sent you to the wrong place?  Is it when both cars are in the repair garage at the same time and the bill is way more than you expected?  On top of that; you drive away from the automotive place only to have to turn back in because the air conditioner is blowing out very hot air.  It was just one of those days.

Do those days define us or do we define them?  It’s just part of living in a fallen world.  Things break.  People give you wrong information, unintentionally.  These do not define a bad day.  A bad day is when you or someone you love gets a bad report, is in a tragic accident, or dies unexpectedly.

The LORD our God is still in control.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  He is with us always.  He will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him. You are always on His mind.  He is your protector, defender and sustainer.  He will provide everything for which you have need.

God knows about every single day He has ordained for your life. He knew each day before there was one of them.  Those days are ordained “for training in righteousness.”  He is teaching us to “lift up our heads.”  We are to lift our heads and our prayers up toward Him.  He knows.  He sees.  He is still in control.

It is our choice to exhibit the fruit of His Spirit or not.  Will you choose to display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control?  Ask the Savior to help you to be a victorious warrior.  He is with you in the battle against your flesh.

Prayer in Motion:

“Jesus, be Jesus in me; no longer me but Thee.  Finding more power, this very hour, Jesus be Jesus in me.”  Lord as I think of that old hymn, I long to be a victorious warrior in the heat of the battle.  The battle is Yours Lord.  I love You and long to finish well the race set before me.  You are the Author and Finisher of my faith.  I trust You Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

The Secret of the Lord

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Devotion: Psalm 25:14

Many years ago there was a game show called “I’ve got a secret.” The contestants had to figure out through the clues given by the host, the unknown secret.  Did you know the LORD has a secret?  This verse declares He does and those who know Him can know His secret.  To know the LORD is to fear Him or revere Him.

Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

If you read the rest of Psalm 25, you will discover David declares his eyes are ever toward the LORD.  When our trials and tribulations are unbearable, we must give them to Jesus.  He is the only One who can deliver us from the net into which we have become entangled.

David tells the Lord He is troubled, distressed, afflicted and in pain.  He then begs God to forgive all his sins.  Sin separates God from hearing our prayers; therefore David wants to make sure it is not His sin keeping him troubled, distressed, afflicted and in pain.   David knows he has many enemies that hate him with cruel hatred.  He asks the LORD to keep his soul and deliver him.

David places his trust in God.  He waits upon the LORD asking that his integrity and uprightness would preserve him.

David knew God personally.  He poured out his heart before the Lord.  This Psalmist then determined to wait upon the Lord until he heard from heaven.  He cried out to God to redeem Israel from all their troubles.

You see David knew where to go when he was in trouble.   Who do you turn to when you are in trouble?  Do you turn to a trusted friend?  God had declared David, a man after His own heart, so we know David knew God in an intimate way.  God had shown David His covenant.

My dear reader, may you and I know the secret of the LORD. May we fear and revere Him all the days of our lives.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, may I know You so well, that I know Your covenant. I pray I will always hold You in high esteem and fear You and revere You.  You are my hiding place.  Morning by morning; I come into Your presence, seeking You by Your mercies.  I want to know You more fully and Your secret.  Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.  In Jesus Name I offer up this prayer.  Amen

 

New Life

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Devotion:  Genesis 25:26

Yesterday, Jacob Hunter, our sixth grandchild was born. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  He is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Jacob made his entrance into the world on May 24, 2017, weighing in at 7 lbs and 14 oz.  Brand new life. Clean slate.  Gives new meaning to “In the beginning God created.”

Just as God created the heavens and the earth; He creates every child that is born.  Jacob took his first breath at 4:11 a.m. Only God knows the days He has ordained for this precious child.  All of us who are privileged to be part of his life are called to pray for and encourage him as long as we both shall live.

This is my prayer for Jacob Hunter.  Lord, I pray that his days will be long upon this earth; that he will come to know You at an early age and glorify You all the days of his life.  I pray You will give my son Joshua and my dear daughter in law Kelli , the wisdom to train Jacob up in the way he should go, so that when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Keep Your hand upon him always and be a shield about him as he grows up.  Protect him and defend him and use him mightily for Your honor and glory. Raise him up to be a valiant warrior for the kingdom of Christ!  In Jesus Name I offer up this prayer.  Amen.

I can hardly wait to behold this child, to hold him and to drink in his fragrance.   New babies have the most wonderful smell ever! Thank You Lord for this brand new life.   We are forever grateful to You.

Prayer in Motion:

Thank You Lord for the gift of new life.  Just as Jacob was born into this world this morning, You offer brand new life in Christ as well.  Lord, if anyone is reading this right now that does not know You, I pray this will be the day of their salvation.  May they repent of their sin and invite the Lord of the universe to come live in their heart.   I love You Jesus.  It’s in Your Name we pray.  Amen