Tag Archives: Encouragement for LIfe

When Trees Clap Their Hands

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You will indeed go out with joy
and be peacefully guided;
the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

The scorching Georgia heat radiated off the black tar of the parking lot where I stood waiting to meet my son. He was running late, and I was quickly running out of patience. To make the most of the delay, I pulled out my cell phone to check emails. But as soon as I read the first sentence, the sickening sight of a blank screen and dying battery appeared, and my frustration level escalated.

I felt a slight, welcomed breeze blow through my hair as I looked for a shady place to sit, and I glanced toward the sky to see if a summer storm might be brewing. That’s when I noticed the lone tree topped with limbs forming a perfectly shaped cross. The beautiful scene stopped me in my tracks as I felt God nudging me with a reminder that my day had been so jammed with appointments and to-do lists, I had not taken time out for HIM.  He too had been waiting for His child to meet Him…and she was too busy.

“Holy goosebumps” tingled from head to toe as I felt God bending down reminding me to align my priorities appropriately. He paused my schedule right there in the blazing hot parking lot to send me a sign of His love. The tree He destined as my messenger also served as my shade from the scorching sun. I remembered the verse from Isaiah,

“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Joy and peace were blatantly absent from the hours leading up tho this moment, but my frustration melted into joy while I treasured this heaven-sent gift. I did not schedule this divine appointment, but I am so thankful that He interrupted my chaotic life with a holy meeting.

I pray that God will open your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of mountains singing and trees clapping their praise to Him…or growing their limbs in the shape of a cross! Make your time with Him a priority, and He will fill you with joy and guide you peacefully through your day.

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Keep Your Eyes on God ~ not your difficulties

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Eyes on God

“Then Peter called to him: ‘Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.’ ‘All right,’ the Lord said, ‘come along!’ So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.”

Matthew 14:28 – 30 TLB

We may not walk on water, but we do walk through periods of tumultuous circumstances in life. If we focus on the swirling waves of difficulties surrounding us, we can easily feel like we are being swallowed up by the surge of life’s problems.

Peter experienced a rather unusual example of God’s power when he went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. His faith in Jesus gave him the courage to throw his leg over the side of the boat and step out into the stormy sea.  However, his faith wavered when he realized what he was doing. Once he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the crushing waves around him, he began to sink.

Like Peter, we often start out with great intentions. We may be “prayed up” and filled with holy confidence before we begin to face the day. But once we wade into the undulating sea of life, our faith begins to falter, and we sink in despair. We feel ill-equipped to navigate the storms that batter us. Yet this doesn’t mean that we have failed. When Peter’s faith faltered, he immediately reached out to Jesus. In his time of greatest fear, he called on his Savior to rescue him.

When you are afraid of the troubles that swirl around you, keep your eyes on Jesus’ power rather than your own inadequacies. Call out to Him for help, and He will rescue you from the stormy seas.

“We have to pray with our eyes on God ~ not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:31-33

Rock Bottom

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Rock Bottom

“He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and the clay.

With a gentle hand, He pulled me out to set me down safely on a warm rock;

He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.”

Psalm 40:2 (VOICE)

Have you ever been so low that “up” is the only way out? If you find yourself in a situation like that today, remember that God is the ROCK in your bedrock. No matter how deeply mired you are in life’s muck and the clay, He is right there beside you ~ ready to take your hand in His and lift you to higher ground. He sees each teardrop that streams down your cheeks and hears your cries for help. His love is greater than anything you are going through.

So go ahead and reach out to God’s gentle grasp. He will pull you out of that dark hole where you find yourself stranded, and set you down safely on a firm foundation. He will hold you there, wrapped in His divine embrace, until you are steady enough to continue on your journey again. In your weakness, He will be your strength.

Take comfort in knowing that He is the Rock at the bottom of your pit!

“The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Savior; my God is my Rock in whom I find protection. He is my Shield, the Power that saves me, and my Place of Safety.” Psalm 18:2 (NLT)

Be a Rainbow in Someone’s Cloud

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“What a wonderful God we have—He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy,and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.”

2 Corinthians 1:3 – 4 (TLB)

God is the Father of Compassion and the God of all Comfort. When we go through trials and heartache, He comforts and strengthens us. But that’s not where it ends.

Like one-the-job-training, when we experience difficult circumstances, we become uniquely equipped to help others who might be experiencing similar hardships. While some might see failure and loss, God sees divine qualifications to be used mightily for blessing others. Our painful struggles give us a vocabulary to encourage and support other people who are going through the same things, and our despair allows us to empathize with their difficulties. When you view life’s anguish through God’s perspective, your miseries can be turned into your ministry.

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud today!

“Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them.”

Luke 6:31 (VOICE)

Be Still

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“Be still,

 be calm,

 see,

and understand…

I am the True God.

Psalm 46:10 (VOICE)

If your mind is whirling with anxious thoughts, take time to simply be still in the presence of God, thanking Him that He is already in your future. Relax in the knowledge that He is in control of every detail of your life. The things you are worried about right at this moment will probably never happen, so why waste your time and energy with useless, tiresome fretfulness? You don’t have to pre-plan for every possible scenario. Your Heavenly Father knows the future, so go to Him with all your apprehensions and concerns and trust that He will equip you to handle whatever comes your way.

Quiet your mind and take in deep breaths of His indescribable Peace. Allow His holy presence to permeate your thoughts and calm your spirit. Notice how the knots in your stomach gradually dissolve as you place your trust completely in Him. Be confident that He is watching over your life, and know that He is with you every step of your journey. Give all your cares to Him and receive the precious treasure of His Peace. Simply be still…and know that He is God.

  • Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are his people,the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3(NIV)
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

The Door To Your New Life

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Open Door to Your New Life

“Look! I’m making everything new.

Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

Revelation 21:5(MSG)

On the first day of a brand New Year, are you looking forward to closing the door on your past and opening the door to your future? Perhaps you are glad for the chance to breathe in the freshness of the new possibilities that the coming year might bring. Are there pages (or entire chapters?) that you would like to delete from your life’s story? “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.” Ephesians 3:14 – 17 (MSG)

By opening the door of your life to Christ, He promises to bring about a glorious transformation inside of you, and you’ll be renewed from the inside out. There’s no better way to start out the new year than by accepting the gift of a fresh start with God. He alone can erase the pain of your past and the mistakes you’ve made along the way. You don’t have to spruce up for God or clean up your act before turning to Him. He meets you right where you are with His limitless love and grace. By inviting Christ to be the center of your life, He’ll be the compass guiding you along the path to your very best future.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG)

Now take a deep breath, close the door to your past, open the door to your best future, and step through to a new life with God!

  • “In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9 (NCV)
  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2(NIV)

Nothing is Impossible

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“So the impossible is possible with God.”

Luke 1:37 (VOICE)

With God, nothing is impossible! What an encouraging, universal truth. Though the demands you face today may seem insurmountable in light of your own limitations and weaknesses, remind yourself that The God of All Possibilities is right beside you, as an ever-present help. He simply asks that you trust Him and stay connected to His limitless resources through each moment of the day. When anxiety invades your thoughts and you feel overwhelmed, turn your attention away from obstacles and difficulties and focus on His capabilities, rather than your inabilities. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. Remember that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever imagine or request in your wildest dreams. 

If your life’s purposes and actions are directly aligned with God’s will, nothing can derail you. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, every moment of your day. Trust Him to illuminate each step of your journey and to equip you to handle any problems that come your way. It’s through your weaknesses that God displays His infinite strength, so His power working through you is an unstoppable combination!

  • “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
  • “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
  • “God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide?” Psalm 46:1 (VOICE)
  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
  • “But he said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIRV)
  • “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)