Tag Archives: Encouragement

The Promise of His Presence

Standard

IMG_9453“…for God [Himself] has said,

I will not in any way fail you,

Nor give you up

Nor leave you without support.

I will not,

I will not,

I will not

In any degree

Leave you helpless

Nor forsake you

Nor let you down.”

Hebrews 13:5b (AMP) 

Read the words above with this truth in mind:  God keeps His word.  He doesn’t break His promises.  If you are a child of God you can rest in the assurance that God will not leave you…ever!

In the book of Genesis we learn about the life of Joseph.  During one season of his life, Joseph’s jealous brothers stole his possessions and then threw him in a pit, then eventually sold him into slavery.  As a slave, he was falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned for over two years in a dark dungeon with vile conditions along side the worst of criminals.  Yet those who met Joseph along the way knew that no matter what God was with him.  Even in the midst of these terrible circumstances, God never left Joseph.  In fact, the Bible tells us that when Joseph was a slave, “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…The Lord was with him and gave him success in everything he did.”  (Genesis 39: 2a, 3b)  And while Joseph spent time in the grim conditions of the prison, we are told that “the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” (Genesis 40: 21)  Even though he was in the most terrible situation of his life as a prisoner, “the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Genesis 40:23b)

Perhaps you can identify with one or more of the hardships that Joseph faced:  betrayal, financial loss, abuse, abandonment, false accusations, or even dire living conditions.   If so, remind yourself of God’s promise to His children:

I will never leave you…

Forsake you…

Abandon you…

Fail you…

Leave you alone…

Desert you…

Run away from you…

Forget you…

Leave you without support…

Give you up…

Let you down.

I will not relax My hold on you…assuredly not!

Joseph’s responses to each circumstance in his life give us a good example to follow.  His positive attitude transformed each of his setbacks into a step forward.  His lowest point was like a launchpad for his successful future.  After two years, Joseph was released him from prison and Pharaoh put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.  He quickly went from a dingy, dark prison to Pharaoh’s palatial palace.  During his lowest points, he didn’t dwell on asking, “Why are these things happening to me?”  In each situation he trusted in God and held on to the personal knowledge that God was with him.  Instead of asking why, he chose to ask, “What can I do now…”  His life was a testimony to others of God’s presence, provision, protection and blessing in spite of hardships.  He thrived in situations where others would have simply given up.

If you are find yourself in a “pit” in life, remind yourself that God will not leave you…ever!  Perhaps He is molding you and preparing you for greater things through these difficulties.  Allow God to transform your setbacks into giant leaps forward.  Although you face difficulties, it doesn’t mean that God has abandoned you.  He is true to His word, and He will never, ever leave you alone or helpless.

 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,

for He who promised if faithful.”

   Hebrews 10:23

 

               

Advertisements

Absolutely Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of Christ

Standard

Sunsets 001

Can anything separate us from the love of Christ?

 

Can trouble

Suffering,

Hard times,

Hunger,

Nakedness,

Danger,

Or Death?

Roman 8:35 CEV

 

The life of a believer is not always perfect.  We face many of the same kinds of problems today that believers have endured throughout history such as hardship, trials, hunger, illness, suffering, heart break, abandonment, danger, and even death.   Difficult times could cause you to fear that Christ has abandoned you.  Yet His death on the cross is proof of His unconditional love for each one of us.

Romans 8: 38 – 39 gives us one of the most comforting promises in all of Scripture:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life,

neither angels nor demons,

neither the present nor the future,

nor any powers,

neither height nor depth,

nor anything else in all creation,

will be able to separate us from the love of God

that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (NIV)

 

Absolutely Nothing can stop Christ’s constant presence with us, and ~ nothing ~ in all of creation can separate us from His never-ending, unchanging, limitless, unfathomable, and eternal love for us.  If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will never fear, no matter what circumstances we face.

You’re Invited…

Standard

P1100245

You’re Invited…

“Come with me

by yourselves

to a quiet place

and get some rest.”

~Jesus

 

Mark 6:31b

 

Imagine going to your mailbox and finding a personal invitation from your best friend to a relaxing, weekend get-away at an off-the-beaten-path location beside a beautiful pristine lake.  Just the thought of that could begin to melt away stress and worries!

Read the words of the divine invitation above from Mark 6:31b, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  Envision Jesus speaking this invitation directly to you.  Allow these words to penetrate your soul and pause to grasp the full meaning of each phrase.

“Come with me…”

 The Son of God is personally inviting you to join Him for a break from the busyness of your life.  He loves you, and He wants YOU to be with Him!

“…by yourselves…”

 The Savior of the World desires to have a personal relationship with YOU.  He longs for you to spend time alone with Him.  It’s difficult to get to know someone in a crowd.  True friendships are formed through one-on-one interaction, and Jesus is asking you to develop a one-on-one connection with Him.  He wants you all to Himself, without anyone else around…including your cell phone, computer, iPad or any other type of distraction…totally unplugged and disconnected from the outside world.

“…to a quiet place…”

 The Prince of Peace is inviting you to come away from your daily responsibilities and join Him in a quiet place.  There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to carry on a conversation with someone in a loud and distracting environment.  A quiescent place is tranquil and calm and free of disturbances.  It’s a place of peace, and the type of place you can focus solely on your interaction with the Messiah.  In that quiet place you can talk to the Wonderful Counselor and listen as He to speaks to your soul.  You can reverently honor Him and praise His power and majesty.  You can sense His presence and know that He is with you.  In Psalm 46:10a, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.”  Jesus’ invitation is encouraging us to come to a quiet place alone with Him so that we can truly know Him.

 “…and get some rest.”

 God knows the importance of rest.  Even the almighty, all-powerful Creator of the Universe, who never sleeps nor slumbers, rested from His work after He created the world and everything in it.  Jesus understands that we get tired and weary from all the demands and burdens of life, and He promises that a relationship with Him will provide rest for our souls.  (Matthew 11:28 – 29):

Dear Child of Mine,
 
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on Religion?  Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11:28 – 29 MSG)
 
Love, Jesus
 

How will you respond to Jesus’ invitation?  He’s patiently waiting for your R.S.V.P.  Relax in the unforced rhythm of His grace and mercy, and find rest and peace in this life-changing relationship.

 

 

 

Nothing is too hard for God!

Standard

IMG_2012

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
Their starry host by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
He puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the people of the world revere Him.
For He spoke, and it came to be;
He commanded, and it stood firm.

Psalm 33:6 – 9

When I watch beautiful displays of nature, I am reminded of Jeremiah’s affirmation to the Lord:

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth with your outstretched arm.

Nothing is too hard for you!” 

 Jeremiah 32:17

If God can create the heavens with His word and the starry host with His breath, He can speak life into any situation that you or I face here on the earth He created.  Absolutely nothing is too hard for Him.  Since He also created everything in the earth…including you, He knows – and cares about – everything in your life.  If you face a problem that seems insurmountable, turn to the God who gathers the waters of the sea into jars for help.

 Your problem is not bigger than God.

The Most Excellent Way

Standard
IMG_9577 

And now I will show you the most excellent way.

If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels,

But have no love,

I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:1

 Love is the greatest of all human qualities.  In fact it is an attribute of God Himself; 1 John 4:8 tells us, God is love.”  So if we possess special abilities, such as eloquent speech, but we don’t have God, then those gifts are useless ~ nothing more than a noisy bell, a clanging cymbal, or the creaking of a rusty gate.

 Love makes our gifts and talents useful.  God’s love working through our lives is directed outward toward others.  He has blessed each of His children with unique and special gifts, and His great plan is for us to use those talents in the work of His kingdom serving others.  He desires for us to use our skills and abilities to build up and strengthen others in our sphere of influence. 

 We all don’t possess the same types of talents and abilities, but love is available to everyone.  By allowing God to live through us, we are able to show His love to others.   God’s love blended with our talents creates a dynamic synergy with divine purpose.  This is “the most excellent way.”

 

A Little Boy’s Lunch

Standard

Cannon Summer 2010 035

“There is a boy here who has

five loaves of barley bread and two fish.

But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks,

and distributed to those who were seated

as much as they wanted.

He did the same with the fish.”

John 6:9,11

“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.  Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”  Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”  Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.  When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”  John 6:5 – 13

As a little girl I remember learning this story in Bible School. It captured my attention because of the fact that Jesus performed this miracle using a little child’s lunch.  As word of Jesus’s miracles and healings spread, his popularity among the people grew, and on this particular day, over 5000 people had gathered to see him. As the story goes, Jesus first asked Philip for a human solution to this problem.  How could we possibly feed more than 5000 hungry people?  Jesus already knew what he was going to do, but he wanted to strengthen Philip’s faith (and anyone else who hears this story!) in the process.  Philip immediately began assessing the probable cost of feeding this massive crowd.  By going through this process, Jesus highlighted the fact that financial resources are not the most important ones.  By Philip’s account, it would be humanly impossible to feed this huge crowd.  But with God, all things are possible!  Jesus can take the little that we have to offer and turn it into something great.

 Something else that we see in this story is that the boy gave what little he had while others gave nothing.  I’m sure there were others in the crowd, including the disciples, who probably had more resources than the boy, but they felt they didn’t have enough to make a difference, so they gave nothing. If we offer nothing to God, He will have nothing to use.  The boy gave the tiny amount that he had, and Jesus used it to perform one of the most spectacular miracles recorded.  With the boy’s small lunch, Jesus fed the enormous crowd and even had enough left over to feed all twelve disciples!

God can take whatever we offer Him in our time, talent, and resources and multiply its effectiveness beyond our wildest imaginations.  No matter what your age, physical abilities, bank account balance, skill level, intelligence, or family background, if you take the first step in making yourself available to God, He can take what you offer and use it in mighty ways to advance His kingdom.

So what’s in your “lunch box” today?