Tag Archives: Encouragement for living

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

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Just Be Held

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“The Eternal God is your shelter; He holds you up in His everlasting arms.”

Deuteronomy 33:27a (VOICE)


Just Be Held ~ A beautiful message to remind us that God will never let go, no matter what.

“Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. Not a tear is wasted, in time you’ll understand. He’s painting beauty from the ashes; Your life is in HIS hands.” ~ Just be held. (Casting Crowns)

God Colors

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God Colors

“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
~Jesus
John 8:12 (ESV)

My family and I recently took a trip to explore a huge, underground cavern called “The Lost Sea,” so named because at the bottom of the .75 mile cavern is the world’s second largest underground lake. As our tour descended further and further into the dimly lit cave I was amazed at the enormity of this geological formation inside the earth. At one point our guide stopped the group in a gigantic, cavernous “room” and began to explain its colorful history, describing the types of people this room had housed throughout history: including Native Americans, Civil War soldiers, even Roaring 20’s prohibitionists.

As I was imagining the types of activities which might have taken place right where I stood, the guide told us to remain still for a moment as he turned out the lights. My husband, son and I huddled close together to prepare for this experience. Once the lights were extinguished, there was absolute and total darkness. Deep under the earth, in complete absence of light, I could not see my own hand in front of my face, and without any visual point of reference I began to feel unsure of my footing, even though I knew my feet were planted firmly on solid earth! It was an especially eerie experience to know that my loved ones were standing right next to me, holding hands to steady each other, and yet my eyes could not perceive them…even faintly.

What a big relief when the lights were finally turned back on! As my eyes readjusted to the light, I was amazed at how colors began to pop out at me. The walls and ceiling of the cave seemed to sparkle from the light. The path ahead and my surroundings were once again visible, and my anxious feelings during the brief moment of darkness were calmed.

Jesus tells us in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus brings the light of life to all mankind, and His light ensures that we will never have to stumble in darkness. His light illuminates our path, shines His truth into every situation, and removes the darkness of sin from our lives.

As children of God, we reflect the blazing light of our Savior into the dark corners of the world, bringing out the “God Colors” for others to see. The world is watching how we respond to tense situations, how we treat our family members, how we provide care and comfort to others in need, how we bow our heads to say our blessing of gratitude before a meal, and overall how we live our lives. As the light of Christ shines through our lives in each situation, the God Colors begin to sparkle. God’s presence in our lives is not a secret to be kept, and as His children, our best way of drawing others to the Light of the World is by letting the brilliant light of our Savior shine in our everyday lives.

So let your light shine brightly and reflect the divine God Colors throughout the world!

The Immeasurable Power Within

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“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them,
because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
 

Do you realize that God’s Spirit lives in you, if you are a child of God? His Spirit is your constant companion.  From the day you became a believer in Jesus Christ, He “set his seal of ownership on you, and put his Spirit in your heart as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NIV) So as one of God’s children, you are “sealed” by the royal seal of the King of Glory ~ you are HIS, and nothing can break that bond! And even though you may not always feel His presence, the Spirit of God is always within you. He placed His Spirit in your heart as a security deposit, as a guarantee that He will fulfill all His promises to you.

“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God Himself is present in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 (MSG) So if God Himself is present in you, you possess an unlimited supply of God’s power, protection, wisdom, discernment, guidance, and provision.  His capabilities are immeasurable, unlimited and unsurpassed.  You have nothing to fear because GREATER is He who is inside of you, than he who is in the world! Think about this: The Creator of the Universe indwells your heart! The very same might and power which raised Jesus from the dead is at work inside of His children. With Him, all things are possible.

So tap into the limitless power source within your heart. God’s Spirit will work through you to accomplish great things!

  • “Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power. Friends, it is this same might and resurrection power that He used in the Anointed One to raise Him from the dead and to position Him at His right hand in heaven. There is nothing over Him.” Ephesians 1:19 – 20 (VOICE)
  • “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” Ephesians 1:18(NIV)

Soul Strength

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“On the day I needed You,
I called, and You responded 
and infused my soul with strength.”
Psalm 138:3 (VOICE)
 

 Do you need an infusion of strength in your soul? Then plug into your Divine Power Source through prayer.

Prayer is your direct connection to God.  It is sharing what’s on your heart with your Heavenly Father ~ not that God doesn’t already know what’s on your heart, because He knows that better than you can even express it to Him. But by expressing your heart’s desires to Him, you acknowledge your dependence on Him and your gratitude for His blessings and help. In fact, one of the shortest verses in all the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) says simply, “Pray continually.” So in other words, in all circumstances, never stop talking to God and sharing your heart with Him.

  • When you are worried, pray.
  • When you are afraid, pray.
  • When you are thankful, pray.
  • When you are sick, pray.
  • When you’re in need, pray.
  • When you’re heartbroken, pray.
  • When you are confused, pray.
  • When you are happy, pray.
  • When you need courage, pray.
  • When you need comfort, pray.
  • When you need forgiveness, pray.

Even though God doesn’t always answer your prayers in the exact way you think He should, you can be confident that:

  • He bends down to listen ~ “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalm 116:2 (NLT)
  • He hears your prayers~ “We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan.” 1 John 5:14 (VOICE) 
  • And He answers your prayers ~  “I will answer their prayers before they finish praying.” Isaiah 65:24 (CEV)

So tap into your heavenly source of soul strength through prayer, and remember this good advice, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Phil 4:6 (MSG)

“Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)

“You can get anything—anything you ask for in prayer—if you believe.” Matthew 21:22 (TLB)

Seeing with Eyes of Faith

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Faith is like a radar
“The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (VOICE)
 

If you have ever driven through a dense fog, you know how difficult it is to navigate safely through the dangerous conditions, especially if you are unfamiliar with the road. Your visibility is limited, and you can’t see what hazards lie ahead.

Sometimes your journey through life can also feel like you are passing through a thick cloud bank of uncertainty.  You can’t see what lies ahead, and you feel scared and unsure of which direction you should head.  But the Author of Life sees your future clearly. After all, He wrote your story, and He knows the beginning, the middle and the end.  If you place your faith in Him and allow His divine guidance to be your radar, you can be certain that He will chart the BEST path for your life. Trust Him for all the things your human eyes cannot see.

 

Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left. Isaiah 30:21 (VOICE)

 Teach me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; Guide me in your truth and teach me, for your are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
 
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

Get Up and Go!

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Get up and go
 
“While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men are looking for you.  
So get up and go downstairs.
Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.'”
Acts 10:19 – 20 (NIV)

Has God given you a vision or dream for your life? Has He gently whispered His plans for your future? What are you doing about it right now?

Like Peter, God may be telling you to stop thinking about the vision and start doing something about it.  The Holy Spirit instructed Peter to “get up and go” without any hesitation, fear, doubt or second-guessing. Do you feel God nudging you into action today? Is it time to take the first step ~ or leap ~ toward making the dream a reality?

You can be confident that if God has given you the vision, He will give you the provision and wisdom to successfully bring it to fruition. If you feel inadequate to accomplish His plans, you can rest in God’s promise that where you have weaknesses, you are strong in the grace of Jesus. So take that first step and pray for supplies of divine strength and grace to fulfill His vision for your life.

Stop thinking…start doing….get up and go!

“Each time He said, ‘No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.’
Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am;
I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 (TLB)